Another Perspective On Science

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Science, as we have come to it, is about innovation and the way forward. It may be defined both as a process and as an outcome – the process of obtaining knowledge and the knowledge that is obtained. Thomas Kuhn, a Physicist and historian of Science, hints at this duality when he says that Science is “the constellation of facts, theories and methods collected in current texts”, while “scientists are the men (and women) who, successfully or not, have striven to contribute one or another element to that particular constellation.”

Science is essentially believed to be “value-free” and without any biases. It is deemed as the quest for truth and new knowledge however in this search for truth lie some prerequisites which if fulfilled enable the quest for knowledge. One of these prerequisites is funding for research which governments only give to research for “hard sciences.” The question this poses however, is that is it really a way forward when limitations have been imposed on what is to be studied and understood, and what is to be unravelled? 

The answer to this can be found in the predominant economic system that prevails. When one views science as the primary implement of improving the world and also sees science as a competition, capitalism seems like a perfect dance partner. Scientists can be pushed to develop life-saving and life-sustaining products by the joint allure of profit and personal recognition. The capitalist society creates the perfect situation of supply and demand and through the competition that it generates it reaps profits. Science is used as an instrument to aid a profit agenda as opposed to serving humanity because capitalism has associated a value with everything that exists from human life itself to what it needs to survive.

Consequentially both negative and positive outcomes have been observed however, in the present day associating profit with science has led to a loss for humanity. One can better understand this through an example.

Infectious diseases that used to be easily treated are now able to kill once again. 700, 000 people die a year from antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Yet company after company have abandoned their antibacterial research programs and today only four main companies have an active antibacterial research program. This is due to the concept of relative value that has been associated that has led to such a change.

One can conclude by saying that the majority of the countries are in a quest to promote great technological advancements in all walks of life. However, if responsible research is conducted and if the driving force is more about serving humanity and its welfare as opposed to profit generation and elimination of competition the outcome would be far greater.

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