There is no question about it, I am a big fan of science and technology. Both my academic and professional dispositions revolve around them. And so is a great chunk of my hobbies. I literally wine and dine on their table. They are great! They are fascinating; yet, not anywhere near as authoritative and as impressive as many people think.
Science has made remarkable progress in the last Millennium. And likewise, technology has soared to loftier heights in the last century alone. The uncountable fallouts from the industrial revolution of the early twentieth century attest to this fact. But the problem is that humanity is often overvaluing these progresses. And with this kind of attitude comes excessive praise and beliefs.
Although everybody is guilty of overestimating science and technology, I personally heap most of the blame on journalists. This is not because journalists are worse than other professionals; rather it is because they sometimes overhype what they really did not understand. Having some pride and confidence in oneself is hardly a crime; but excessive self-aggrandization is very close to it. It all boils down to self-deceit, which could create illusions and other kinds of latent problems.
My love and admiration for science and technology is indescribable. And I have always tried to evaluate them in qualitative terms. But I must confess that I am less than impressed with most of the inferences my frank assessments could yield. Perhaps, this is because I always insist on commencing my investigations from the empirical stages, using every verifiable basis. And, I will not apologize for adopting this mode of research, because it helps me to unravel and question everything without assuming anything. It is neither easy nor amusing, but does (sometimes) produce astonishing results.
The fact that most people who reflect on science and technology do so with the air of “Oh! What fantastic things they've done for us!” is one of the reasons why I am writing this review. There is absolutely no question about it, science and technology have made a lot of dreams come true. Mankind would have been foraging in the wilderness of hopelessness without them. However, these outstanding achievements should not make us excessively proud. They should not make us ignore some of the glaring failures and/or shortcomings, which are attributable to them (i.e. sci-tech).
One of the greatest failures of science, technology, and all those who overestimate them is to overlook the current status quo of our world. For instance, we must not ignore the fact that the diseases, which were ravaging the world before Christ was born, are still the biggest killers of today despite all our scientific expertise and inventions. As a scientist, I am secretly ashamed of this fact.
It bothers me that in our 21st century "civilized" and "scientifically advanced" planet, we still could not find effective answers to ancient killers like: tuberculosis, malaria, dengue, influenza, and diarrhea. Our extensive understanding of Agricultural Science and Technology means little to me, if hundreds of millions of infants and children continue to cry to sleep every night: because of hunger and thirst. No need to start analyzing what starvation does in our global backyards! I am ashamed as a scientist. These afflictions and diseases do nothing but mock our “progresses” and “civilizations”. We have (till date), failed to confine them to the dustbins of history. And having this failure staring at me day and night, I am reluctant to rejoice and sanctify the achievements of our dear science and technology.
Despite my confident and daring nature (as an individual), I always try not to overestimate any advantage or accomplishment, which we humans have attained. And if you are a not-so confident person reading this, do not let it sway you. All I want to highlight is that we are overrating and praising our achievements out of proportion. It is not that we have failed badly. Far from it! It is only that we still have a lot of overdue hurdles waiting to be scaled.
I have reviewed many scientific and technological inventions right here at Lunch. I am not infallible; but did praise each one according to what I felt it deserved. In the process, I received a number of private e-mails. Some agreed completely with my assessment, some invited me for online discussions on other websites, whereas some suggested what they would like me to review next. If you are one of those people, and I have not done your wish, please be patient. I did not forget you. It was just that I participated in a sizeable project last month. So, my spare time has recently returned to normal. And, I shall do my best to honor your request.
Indeed, one of the technological marvels that I reviewed here at Lunch was the fastest military aircraft in the world. In case you missed it, it is called Lockheed SR-71. It is still the fastest military jet; despite having been designed before Mr. Barack Obama, the President of the United States, was born. So, no scientific progress since then. At least in that particular direction! That is “rapid advancement of science and technology” for you! Myself and many other scientists know honestly well that scientific and technological advancements are far slower than many people care to notice. But we just don’t say it loud!
What did you think of this review?