Who should decide when science has gone too far?
After all the catastrophes that happened because of the scientific advances these past decades such as Chernobyl (1986) or Fukushima in Japan (2011), we are led to wonder: Who should decide when science has gone too far?
Science has brought us many things over time like the knowledge of physics, chemistry, biology, and scientific discoveries, instead of satisfying us with their answers, have always raised more questions; thus we discovered that the atom that is normally the smallest matter can be broken and can liberate an incredible amount of energy leading to nuclear weapons; this means that even though scientists know the moral and danger limits of science, there is always this thirst to know more and understand better.
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Also, most scientific discoveries bring money to states since they find out how to provide for a population’s needs for instance: it is very profitable for a state to provide electricity to the country with nuclear energy. Thanks to science, medicine has developed a lot in the past century and we are now able to cure many diseases like breast cancer.
Without science, Mankind would be nothing because it is the knowledge of man that helps us understand human nature; in the 19th century, Naturalism which was a literary movement meant to scientifically understand the human condition in society affirmed that “ultimately, there is the knowledge of man. ” But science is a double-edged weapon. Indeed it’s helped society, but it has been misused in many ways. Horrible things such as war have needed science to accomplish what they do best: killing; it even is now technically possible to destroy a whole people, a whole country by pressing a button. But the dangers of science are not just voluntary.
Indeed, accidents happen and some of them can be real disasters: what happened at Chernobyl in 1986 has proved us that an irresponsible decision, or that a handling mistake can expose thousands of lives to risk and that is, for many years (the ground in Ukraine is still contaminated). Over that, humanity is exposed to natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis and it doesn’t necessarily need to be even more exposed to danger when governments like the Japanese one are not careful and place their nuclear centrals on dangerous spots. It is in fact the governments that are supposed to control the uses of science.
It is for instance forbidden in France to practise cloning, even on animals and researches are strictly controlled according to an ethic. But the governments have proven us though History that they can’t stop science from crossing limits: the atomic bomb is a perfect example for that (Hiroshima, Nagasaki). Though they’re the ones in charge, even them made mistakes with science and probably still will. No one can really decide when science has gone too far, we see it has after the disasters and one can only hope that the ones in “charge” such as scientists and politicians won’t make the same mistakes.