Do you think the theme "misuse of science" is also up to date today? Thanks a lot.Do you think the theme "Misuse of science" is also up to date today? Than's a lot

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timbrady eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This question is always up to date.  There are two important distinctions in the concept of science:  theoretical and practical.  The theoretical deals with studies of the principals of science; eg. how do atoms split to release energy.  The practical deals with application of the theoretical concepts;  build nuclear power plants or atomic weapons.

Science is generally not concerned with morality; there is a tendency to do anything we can just because we can.  It is important, therefore, to have someone maintain a moral or ethical position on each scientific implementation because things are right just because we can do them.  There are many examples in our world.  Cloning may be the most obvious.  Should we clone humans just because we can?  Should we carry on embrionic research (eg. stem cells) before we are sure than an embryo isn't a human being (I think the jury is still out on this one, but I'm not sure everyone would agree on this)?

And even if everything we decide to do with science is moral, since we can't do everything, who decides what we should use our limited resources for?

These are just some examples of the complex nature of our relationship to science.


Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This theme was relevant when Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, it is relevant today, and it will always be relevant--so long as scientific knowledge advances faster than our ability to integrate it into the moral framework of society. Physicians especially struggle to reconcile what they can do with what they should do. Hospital committees and physician groups act as ethics watchdogs, attempting to reconcile this conflict, patient by patient. 

What constitutes a "misuse" of science becomes subjective when science collides with personal moral standards and philosophical beliefs. Is science being misused today? Some believe so. However, at least we recognize the possibility and engage in the debate. Our human nature is to learn what we don't know and to do what never has been done. This being the case, wisdom must temper knowledge.

ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Science will always have the potential for misuse, and scientists will always have a propensity for misusing it. Shortcuts are still taken to get a new drug on the market before anyone else. Statistics are still tweeked to show the "right" numbers. This is not always a danger factor, but it could be.

epollock | Student

That theme is not only relevant but also political when you try to merge religious beliefs with advances of science.  That doesn't mean that they can't go hand-in-hand, but the topic can always be used in a political format of relevancy.  In the book science was only used for good, and there were no conflicting views on that issue.

krishna-agrawala | Student

The description "misused for science" should be used only for deliberately destructive uses such a for war and for forcibly subjecting people to indignities.

Use of science which results in unintentional harmful effects is not misuse. A medicine which is developed and widely sold may have some harmful side effects not detected earlier. On this account the development and initial use of that drug should not be classified as misuse of science.

When we examine the use of science in Brave New World from this perspective, there is no misuse, except perhaps to the extent the savages are confined within the reservations by means of electrified fences.

We may may disagree with BNW thinking of what is good for people and what is not, but there is no doubt that science is used in BNW only for constructive purposes, in the interest of what they believe is good for people. Even the methods adopted by the police for crowd and rowdy behavior re very gentle ones like guns spraying soma vapours, and gentle persuasion by words. Punishment to people is sending them to islands where they are likely to find life more in line with their temperament.