How does scientific progress relate to cultural advancement?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Scientific progress itself is a fairly objective thing.  If scientists come to know more things, that is progress.  What is more debateable is whether we should equate scientific progress with cultural advancement.  In other words, does science really make our cultures and our societies better?

We clearly have experienced scientific progress.  That is not something that can be argued.  We have, for example, ways to extend our lives longer than ever before and we have ways to communicate that surpass anything that could have been widely imagined even as recently as three or four decades ago.  The question is, have these things advanced our culture?

That is a much more difficult question and one that should really be subject of discussion.  I would argue that the tangible benefits of scientific progress have advanced our culture and our society.  The fact that our lives have become easier (physically speaking) and so many more diseases can be cured or managed outweighs things like the greater amount of stress we experience through our hustle and bustle lifestyles or the fact that our lives are sometimes prolonged even when we might be better off dead.

However, this is something I would like to see moved to discussion because there are many ways to argue this question.

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