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Considering the violence that occurred during the previous century, can the Western ideas of science and reason be considered "progress"?

The twentieth-century witnessed the most technologically advanced nations in the world (i.e. Britain, Germany, France, Japan, and Russia) engage in two World Wars which killed millions of innocent civilians. Not only did the wars itself create unprecedented destruction, but atrocities such as the Holocaust were perpetrated by advanced, "civilized" nations. Although we have not had a major world war in seven decades, the most powerful nations in the world have created nuclear arsenals with the potential to destroy ever inhabitant on the planet. Finally, the Western lifestyle, perfectly exemplified by the United States, is warming the planet and destroying fragile natural ecosystems. Can this be considered progress?


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    Mar 3 2013: let's just ignore abundance of food, vaccination, comfortable living conditions, travel, cellphones, the internet, advanced medicine, human rights or democracy.
    • Mar 3 2013: I think this is the best argument against my point. I did fail to mention the incredible advances such as food production, vaccinations, the internet, and human rights. I think that these are all valid points that can be used to justify why western ideals are better than anything that existed before. However, these incredible advances don't wash away the "dark side" of progress and industry. Even in the United States, where we have human rights, democracy, advanced medicine, cell phones, the Internet, comfort, we are still living a lifestyle that is just unsustainable. Do you think that maybe we have to temper our advances with a perpetual awareness of human dignity and protecting the environment?

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