Is science a blessing or a curse? With the upcoming achievements of modern science, many authors of American Gothic seem to doubt and reject the promise that science is able to improve human...

Is science a blessing or a curse? With the upcoming achievements of modern science, many authors of American Gothic seem to doubt and reject the promise that science is able to improve human conditions and thus make their readers reflect on the use and abuse of scientific methods. This is a topic which still has a most prominent relevance today.

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rskardal eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Perhaps we could distinguish between the condition in which we live our lives, and the nature of humanity. Medical science, for example, is capable of curing many illnesses that used to be deadly. However, curing human nature usually involves a definition of the proper way for humans to behave that seems to take the joy out of life. I tend to think of this as a conflict we see in science fiction, a recent example being Margaret Atwood's Oryx & Crake. However, there are times when science can seem almost horrific. For example, perhaps the most gothic setting in Frankenstein is the doctor's laboratory. A visual exmaple that comes to mind is from Tim Burton's adaptation of Sleepy Hollow in which we see Johnny Depp's character wearing magnifying glasses. All of the townspeople are horrified by his appearance.

engtchr5 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Asimov is another good one to teach on the topic of science's good vs. its evil. The movie "I, Robot" was based on work by Asimov, and it stirs great discussion over how much man relies upon his technology, and how much scientific technology should be allowed to control our lives.

Kids often dissect the topic of "Is science good or bad, and how should it be controlled, if at all?" They really get involved in this one, as the broad range of opinions asserted just excites others to join the debate.

This is a great strategy to use if you're teaching other Asimov works, or if you're doing science fiction of any sort, really.

kwoo1213 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a controversial question.  For the most part, I believe science is a true blessing.  There are some advancements that I think are flirting with playing "God," which I believe is a dangerous thing, quite honestly, though.  In some ways, I think humanity has become too reliant on scientific advancements instead of human condition, too.  It is true that there is abuse in the scientific world, as well!

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I love this...there are never any wrong answers in my classes as long as students can back up and support their opinions. I love "The Birthmark" and Frankenstein for these reasons among other stories.  Another favorite of mine is "Dr. Hiedigger's Experiment."  It is our job as teachers to get kids thinking and to keep them on their toes.  They must be taught how to think and debate!

kwoo1213 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Yes, controversial questions certainly are good for provoking some good thought!  I agree wholeheartedly and I don't shy away from those in my own classes. :)  I'm partial to "The Birthmark." I love the lesson of that story!!!

erabene3 | Student

This is a controversial question.  For the most part, I believe science is a true blessing.  There are some advancements that I think are flirting with playing "God," which I believe is a dangerous thing, quite honestly, though.  In some ways, I think humanity has become too reliant on scientific advancements instead of human condition, too.  It is true that there is abuse in the scientific world, as well!

Controversial questions are good for my exam, I guess. That way my professor and I could disuss a bit:-). As examples for my thesis I thought of Hawthorne's Rappaccini's Daughter and The Birth-Mark
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