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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: WW 1 & 2 were both attributable to the power vacuums that were created when the Ottoman and Hapsburg empires fell. Nuclear weapons, scary though they are, have enforced a "stalemate" that has prevented another world war. Most of the technological advances we've made are a direct result of military R & D.

    NO ecosystems have been destroyed; altered, attenuated, weakened, changed to no one's benefit certainly, but not destroyed and more attributable to population growth than "violence".

    The exploitation of oil and gas has benefitted the entire planet, has driven innovation, prosperity, economies…progress…and yes, it has consequences. Our "science and reason" is also helping to mitigate those consequences as much as increase productivity and impact social change to bring us closer to a more peaceful state.

    So yes…progress
    • Mar 4 2013: Do you think that science and reason has to be tempered with ethics?
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        Mar 4 2013: Do you think they are not? Have you considered what the world would be like compared to today if they were not?
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        Mar 4 2013: I agree with Daryl. They have been and I think will continue to be. If not, we'll just be conducting experiments on anybody at any given time without their consent. You should keep in mind that these ethical values do not only end with human beings but applies to many other things like dogs, cats, chimps and the environment.

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