Matt Swatski

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Matt Swatski
Posted about 1 year ago
Considering the violence that occurred during the previous century, can the Western ideas of science and reason be considered "progress"?
I feel that this statement is an oversimplification of the ethical dilemmas facing science today that cannot be answered with a simple, scientific answer. For example, I think most people can concur with the statement that not destroying the planet is generally beneficial to everybody involved. Most people can also agree that practical, clean energy is a noble objective. However, when we look deeper at ethical issues, such as human cloning, embryonic stem -cell research, animal rights, preserving ecosystems, prenatal genetic testing etc... science does not have an answer. Just because we can do all these things, does not mean we should. We need to look deeper to find an ethical framework to wisely choose which of these advancements can be considered "progress", and which of these advancements should be thrown in the same garbage bin as Mercury thermometers, eugenics, nuclear weapons etc...
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Matt Swatski
Posted about 1 year ago
Considering the violence that occurred during the previous century, can the Western ideas of science and reason be considered "progress"?
I would argue that Germany was one of the best-educated countries in the world at the time of World War II. In fact, many of the supporters of the Nazis were not the "poor, uneducated masses", but rich, powerful German nationalists who believed in the racial philosophies promoted by intellectuals that interpreted the works of authors like Friedrich Nietschze to justify the superior Aryan race. I do certainly hope that this vision of peace for the future is fulfilled, but the past century and the current crises we face does not inspire optimism
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Matt Swatski
Posted about 1 year ago
Considering the violence that occurred during the previous century, can the Western ideas of science and reason be considered "progress"?
I guess I was hoping that this conversation could go toward teaching ethical values of human dignity and environmental protection to our children, because I feel that we spend our lives living in comfort and hearing about how much better our lives are compared to just 300 years ago, yet we forget that we are still human. Although we may believe that we are more advanced than our ancestors, we still have the capacity to use our knowledge of science to the detriment of society. I think you are right in talking about "green" as an issue, and this is a perfect modern-day example of how we have to temper our science with ethics. Many scientists talk about science for science's sake or progress for progress' sake, but I believe that science is an incredible tool that can be used to achieve our goals that our founded on our beliefs and principles. Unfortunately, the prevailing attitude, as exemplified by nuclear weapons and climate change, is "to hell with ethics, if we can do it, why shouldn't we"
Noface
Matt Swatski
Posted about 1 year ago
Considering the violence that occurred during the previous century, can the Western ideas of science and reason be considered "progress"?
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?