Is science value neutral or not?
Is science value neutral? Before answering this question, it is necessary for us to know the limitations of the scientist. The greatest enemy of the scientist is his mind. He has to conclude his researches and terminate enquiries at the final frontier of the mind. The authors, Stevenson and Byerly put a question and try to answer it. Perhaps the authors lack conviction about their own answer. Their poser is, “What is the aim of science? One short answer is “truth.”…science is not simply technology…it is the application of knowledge for practical purposes, to make things and achieve humanly useful results.” (Byerly, Henry, Stevenson, Leslie, 2000, p, 2) When someone adopts the position taken by the authors on this count, I must say that scientists, up to the present times have no right to speak about virtues like “truth” and “humanly useful.” For, the explicit teaching of values and truth in science is rare. Rather these are considered as obstacles because they bar inquiry—they consider values as prejudices that keep people from being open-minded.
Values and truth, and science have always been the two contending forces; the two opposing forces; the forces that do not see eye to eye with each other. Scientists do not like the pure value and truth seekers, but the truth seekers have no aversion for the scientists; they rather pity them. For those who research, investigate and enquire about nature by observing, comparing, organizing, communicating, relating, inferring and applying, these skills are meant to be value-free.
What is this truth the scientists are speaking about? There is no truth for a human being other than communion with God (also known as Self-Realization). Science might have succeeded in retaining certain authority on human culture as for its achievements in providing and increasing materialistic comforts to humanity. But has this sum total of materialistic comforts brought forth peace in the real sense to humanity?
Therefore, what should be the goal of science education? To create great scientists or to mould great, noble human beings! Or can pure science or scientific approach (from the materialistic point of view) lead a human being to nobility? Once, a great scientist-surgeon asked a man of faith, a Realized soul, “I am a surgeon. I have performed thousands of operations on human beings. I have dissected each and every part of the human anatomy. I have not come across the Divine Spirit (God) anywhere in the body.” “Is that so?” asked the Realized Soul, “You must have come across and seen mind-level emotions like love, hatred, anger etc. in the body while performing the operations!” “How can we see them? They are for experiencing,” said the Surgeon. Now the Realized Soul confronted him with the clincher. “You are unable to see the mind-level experiences. Divinity is something that transcends the mind. There is a divine procedure to transcend the mind and experience the state of bliss. The laboratory for this experience is the inner world of each and every human being. Someone else can not experience it for you!”
All good accomplishments of the science can come to naught with one wrong and fatal decision by the politicians, who have command over the application of scientific achievements. Scientists, as such, have no functional freedom. They are the servants working for their masters and have to carry out the orders. The weaponry researched by the scientists, produced by the concerned authorities, and stored at strategic points, is alone sufficient to destroy the entire humanity, within a matter of minutes. Can one say science is value neutral and be satisfied with this empty consolation?
God forbid– there will be none left on this Planet Earth to answer this question!
Byerly, Henry (Author), Stevenson, Leslie (Author) Book: The Many Faces of Science: An Introduction to Scientists, Values, and Society
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Westview Press; 2nd edition (August 21, 2000)