SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Have some appreciation for technology and science
BY PATRICK UHLMAN ON MAY 16, 2014
The modern world we live in today is one that has become almost entirely dependent on technology and science, and its continued growth and development depends on the advancement of this technology and other scientific endeavors. In contrast to this dire need for science and scientists to facilitate it, our society grows increasingly apathetic to science and some even oppose it. This is a recipe for disaster in a world fueled by centuries of accumulated scientific knowledge and work.
The root of this problem actually comes from the products of science itself. As more advanced technology is created, it makes our lives significantly easier, relative to our ancestors, and allows us more free time. We have countless appliances in our homes that make us comfortable and safe, from the air conditioning to the water heater. However, because we have to put minimal effort into making our lives comfortable, we have come to take these amazing inventions of science for granted. We focus solely on our social, academic and occupational lives, and disregard what makes all that possible.
In the past two decades, personal computers and other in-home electronics have made astounding advances. Everyone watches television and uses the Internet. Technology is so common, nearly every person has a relatively powerful computer in his or her pocket. How often do you stop and think about the technology you’re currently using to browse Twitter or Instagram? Essentially, my point is that the ease that science and technology has provided for us has in turn allowed us to forget just how important it is to understand and promote it.
Along with this growing sense of apathy, we also suffer from insufficient public education. We don’t necessarily see this at Rose because of the great faculty and wide variety of classes. But from a national point of view, general education has been suffering, most notably science and math. Having an educated population is key to successful growth and prosperity. If we continue to grow in population, yet fail to prepare the rising generations effectively, serious issues will arise. The best way to ensure the continuation of a stable global environment is to raise educated and intellectually capable children that will one day be the ones making the decisions. In this regard, educating people scientifically is absolutely crucial. As I said before, our world works only because of the science behind it. If we continue to have a majority people living and growing that are entirely indifferent to science, how can we continue to prosper?
To make matters worse, there are those who flat out fight the teaching of and even the existence of ideas that they deem controversial or questionable because of personal reasons. For example, evolution, the big bang, abiogenesis, or anthropogenic climate change. In this situation, evolution and climate change typically receive the most attention, with evolution being seen in various court cases over the past few decades. The reality is evolution is a widely accepted scientific fact, and is usually targeted by people who argue that it conflicts with their personal religious views. In the case of climate change the cause for conflict is because it questions large economic industries; oil and coal. We burn fossil fuels and it harms the environment, and there’s plenty of empirical evidence to back that up. A lot of people aren’t willing to accept that because it means that oil and coal use needs to be reduced, which has large national and global economic implications. This shows that religion is not the only reason people deny science. Sometimes, it’s all about money.
As a result, the issue is not that proper science is being wholly withheld from our youth, but that an attempt at doing so even began. This implies that people are not willing to accept science, simply because it does not conform to what they believe or want- which is a serious problem. I personally have a passion for science. I’ve stepped back and looked at the big picture; how important it is to our lives, and even how interesting it all is. If we’re going to continue to live the way we do, and if we want our children to live in a world like this, I think we all need to learn to appreciate the science and technology that runs our lives everyday. Where would we be without science? What can we do to make sure science continues to advance? Think about it a little more, and help make the world a better place.