“Men and science in this scientific age”


By. Dr. H.H. Mate
Men, the creation of God, have reasoning powers to put things in order in their environments. God gives them wonderful lights such as knowledge, wisdom, understanding and skill to fulfill the goals of men’s lives on this earth but in this world there is a strong corporate sense: “Plenty of all -poverty for many”.

There is one thing and only one thing that causes breakdown in men-an exploitation of human and natural resources on earth The cause of breakdown starts when men become greedy and strive hard to monopolise the earth’s resources under private ownership and also to dominate their fellow beings. Their life styles become pompous and gregarious and hence, this necessitates them to grab more and more from nature. Their value systems changed to exalt all personal achievements, even at the expense of others and their outlooks become too narrow and human culture itself is degenerated. The net result is that humanity is plunged into perennial conflicts of interests ridden with all sorts of hostilities, both individual and collective. This disrupted harmony and peace everywhere on the earth.

Today basic needs of men are limited while earth’s resources are unlimited if used only to meet these limited need of men. When the natural character ends culture of men becomes sinful, evil structures emerge in the various realms of human action. In the economic field the structures so emerged were exploitative . God has provided abundant resources on earth to feed all human beings and even animals for all times. God is the owner of these resources and human community has to function as God’s trustees. God’s provisions were squandered for gluttoning greed which caused exploitation, depletion and waste of resources including the non-renewable and damage to ecology. Greed of men are unlimited and when greed becomes unlimited, the unlimited resources are limited. So men are what they are. These are the personal attitudes of men on earth.

There can be no existence of science without men. Before men knew the knowledge and application of science which involves the systematised observation, experiment and induction men did not know how to produce the useful things which can be developed in their environments .Primitive men had used primitive tools and methods. Men become wiser and soon they discovered how to protect themselves from pests, diseases etc. and men, with their thinking, developed and adopted new technologies. They have always been looking forward to accept new technologies. Though the early men used woods and stones, they discovered copper and used extensively for storing and  cooking food as utensils and  making variety of tools.  They thendiscovered bronze and iron and with these materials men came forward to discover and invent new things for their domestic/household purpose in the society.

In the past, the only source of energy to work available to men was their muscular energy and energy of animals. Later men learnt how to tap energy of the wind to make the boats move. Water came into play and thus non-resources were converted into resources. Today further advances are made in the fields of electrical engineering and electronic technologies. The field of atomic energy gives us an unlimited energy. This proves the fact that science gives many innovative ideas to men in this scientific or computer age. In the fag end of the 20th century, new discoveries and inventions led to new technologies. These, in turn, changed the course of development of society. The development of thermodynamics, telescopes and rockets, in particular, are the examples of technological development in this scientific age.

Almost in the beginning was curiosity. And this curiosity, the overwhelming desire to know, is not characteristic of some forms of living organisms, which, for the very reason, we can scarcely bring ourselves to consider alive. It is men who have curiosity to know things around them in this world. We know that a tree does not display curiosity about its environment in anyway we can recognize, nor does an oyster. The wind, the rain, the ocean current bring them what is needful and from them they take what they can. If the chance of events is such as to bring them fire, poison, predators or parasites, they die as stoically and as undemonstratively as they live. Early in the scheme of life, independent motion was developed by some organism. It meant a tremendous advance in their control of environment. A moving organism no longer had to wait in stolid rigidity for food to come its way; it went after it this meant that adventure had entered the world—the curiosity. The human brain is the most magnificent organized lump of matter in the known universe, and its capacity to receive organize and store data is far in excess of the ordinary requirements of life. It is this excess that we owe our ability to be bored. A human being forced into a situation where he has no apportunity to utilize his brain except for minimal survival will gradually experience a variety of unpleasant symptoms up to and including serious mental disorganization.

A number of superstitions about science have become established in the public mind. Some of these superstitions are that science is all powerful, limitless, that the application of scientific principles and methods to problems of economics, sociology, political science, aesthestics, philosophy and religion would solve all the world’s problems. Within this frame work of superstition, the scientist seems to be member of super-human group that knows all the secrets and holds all the powers. But   science is not   necessarily the final
answer to all problems in the world, and scientists of this world are not quantitatively different from other people. Scientists are human beings like us, and science, therefore is human too, science belongs to all people. But the people must understand the nature of science. It is the responsibility of scientists to provide this understanding, so that the people can make intelligent judgment about the uses and the priorities of science.

Today science presents the kind of challenge that attracts to its young men and women who tend to have a high degree of a certain kind of intelligence. Science, this particular kind of intelligence, is relatively easy to recognize and measure, and since many other types are subtle and illusive, even though perhaps more important, we tend to adopt this one type as the norm. In addition, this particular type of intelligence leads rather promptly to tangible results. This circumstance leads to the conclusion, which is then something of a tautology that scientists are more intelligent than other people. This may or may not be true; more important however, it may be neither true nor untrue in the sense that the attempted comparison is meaningless. However, despite their appearing to be so bright, scientists are not special creatures; they are people as we are. Like lots of other people, they are good at their own task. They are the men who work round the clock while others are sleeping to discover or invent something which are unknown to men on earth.

As we are now living in this scientific age, I would like to highlight or explore in brief some of the recent developments in science & technology on eruption of volcanoes, mobile telephones, creation of clouds, etc.

Scientists still do not appear to understand sufficiently that all earth sciences must contribute evidence toward unveiling the state of our planet earth in earlier times, and that the truth of the matter can only be reached by combining all this evidence. It is only by combining the information furnished by all the earth sciences that we can hope to determine ‘truth’ here, that is to say, to find the picture that sets out all the known facts in the best arrangement and that, therefore, has the highest degree of possibility that each new discovery, no matter what furnishes it, may modify the conclusion we draw.

About 60 more volcanoes erupt on land every year and at any given time. There may be 20 or more that are currently in eruption. Some volcanoes release small amounts of gas and rock almost continually, but others undergo periods of violent release, or eruptions. Sometimes the volcanoes seem to explode, but in mos.t cases a side of the mountain bursts from pressure within or the mountain collapses because the magma reservoir has emptied.

The widespread use of mobile telephone in recent years has heightened public concern about possible adverse health effects. Mobile phones work on microwave frequencies and are known to emit low-level radio frequency electromagnetic fields, which some people think can cause brain tumour, but any link between the use of mobile phone and brain tumour has always been controversial, despite claims in support and against any link between the two, scientific studies have been few and far between. The largest study so far on mobile phone and cancer was a Danish study in 2006, which looked at over 420,000 people who had been using mobile phones for many years. It is found no link between mobile phones and any type of cancer including brain cancers and leukaemia, but it was combined to only one country . A recent multinational study has only found no evidence for an association between tumour risk and mobile phone use. The latest study was carried out by an international collaboration called INTERPHONE, run by the International Agency for Research on cancer in Lyon, France, part of World Health Organisation, the finding of which were published in the International Journal of Epidemiology on 17th May, 2010.

The INTERPHONE study was aimed at establishing whether of mobile phones increased the risk of the two main types of brain- tumour- glioma and meningioma. It involved 2,708 people with glioma, 2,409 with meningioma, and 7,658 matched controls without brain tumour. The subjects were drawn from 13 countries. Sixteen study centers from 13 countries like Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Israel and the U.K were included. To have the most representative samples, the INTERPHONE study focused on tumours in people in the age group 30-59 years, as they were expected to have had the highest prevalence of mobile phone use in the previous 5-10 years, and on regions likely to have the longest and highest use of mobile phones mainly large urban areas. Detailed information on past mobile phone use was collected during face-to face interviews with the study subjects.

Atmospheric Scientists have been trying to build artificial cloud since the 1940s, with mixed success. The most popular methods, which include shooting particles of silver iodide into the sky or aerial spraying of dry ice or salt on clouds, relied on the fact that rain drops need something to condense around. Varying degrees of success have also been reported. Now a research team from the University of Geneva has achieved encouraging results from taking a more hi-tech approach using laser to create clouds.

The Swiss team has reported success in laser powered cloud seeding a both inside and outside the laboratory. Inside the laboratory, the researchers used a cloud chamber, normally used to detect cosmic rays, highly energetic sub-atomic particles that come from deep space. The cloud chamber works because the cosmic rays or other energetic particles knock electrons off the water molecules, leaving behind charged particles that act like specks of dust for water to condense on the Swiss researchers shot powerful pulses of infrared laser beams into a cloud chamber cooled to minus 24° C to cause visible clouds of vapour to form in its wake. Droplet about 50 micrometers in diameter formed first, and grew to about 80 micrometers in diameter over the next three seconds. When they fired laser into the skies although nothing was visible to the naked eye, condensation of water vapour could be detected by using a second laser. This is the first time that a laser was used to condense water in both laboratory and in the atmosphere.

According to the researchers, the technique provides a new and attractive tool for remote characterization of humid atmosphere and cloud formation . In addition, it may even provide the potential to influence or trigger water precipitation using continuously operating laser rather than rockets.

Mitochondria are found in all eukaryotic cells and contain their own genome. Unlike the nuclear genome, which is derived from both the egg and sperm at fertilization, the mitochondrial DNA in the embryo is derived at most exclusively from the egg; that is, from the mother and is passed to successive generations. The fact that mitochondrial DNA is inherited only from mother enables researches to trace maternal lineage far back in time. But mutations in mitochondrial DNA are known to cause a diverse range of currently incurable human disease and disorders. In recent years, researchers have identified more than 150 harmful mutations in mitochondrial DNA, some of which can cause serious and debilitating diseases. Some estimates report that 1 in 6,000 people may have inherited a mitochondrial DNA disorder. Now scientists may have found a way to prevent the transfer of serious inherited mitochondrial diseases from mother to child by replacing the mitochondrial DNA.
(The writer of this article is the former Assistant Editor of Electronics Research Journal)


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