List and discuss some ways in which individual culturesrespond differently to scientific discoveries and applications.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Different cultures definitely respond differently to technological advances.  Let's face it, most modern cultures openly embrace new technologies and technological advances.  Be it in healthcare, transportation, or personal communication devices, most people are either actively interested in or at least passively interested in new technologies brought about by scientific advances because they feel that they improve their lives.  It could be something lifesaving like a medical scanning technology for diagnostic purposes, or it could be something like a smartphone to help easily connect people to pass the time.

But not all cultures openly embrace technology like I suspect anyone on this website would.  The Amish people of North America (particularly Ohio and Pennsylvania) certainly do not; in fact, they actively avoid it.  The Amish people try to live out a basically 18th/19th century lifestyle.  This includes no electricity or automobiles.  Gas lamps and horse drawn buggies are used instead.  The Amish feel that modern technologies (which they view as nothing more than conveniences) simply detract from the important things in life, including work, family, community, and worship of God.  They choose to exclude them so as not to distract from their culture and lifestyle.

Other cultures are largely left out of technological advances but for different reasons.  I read recently in National Geographic about a community of people who live in the most remote part of India in the Himilayas at the borders of Tibet and Nepal.  Just getting to this area from the nearest city is several hours by car across treacherous roads until the roads just end and then you must travel by horse or on foot the rest of the way.  These people scratch out a very simply existence in very harsh and unforgiving terrain where it can snow in July.  Modern science has largely left these people behind but it's not because they inherently dislike technology.  Instead, they place a higher value in maintaining their independence and traditional way of life on their ancestor's homeland, which in this case means being extremely remote from the rest of civilization.  But even here, cell phones have made their way into the culture.  Not that there is any actual cell service within hundreds of miles of them.  They like the phones becuase they can use them as digital cameras and they can function as something of a status symbol (much like they do everywhere else in the world).  Plus, there is no electrical grid infrastructure to provide the electricity to charge them so they have to hook them up to car batteries in their homes!

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial