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The Dark Side of Science

The technology spawned by science grows ever more powerful, and does so at an ever-faster rate. Where is it taking us?

Science has bestowed enormous benefits on mankind. But it has a dark side as well. It gives us miracle medicines, but also, germ warfare. It bestows upon us nuclear power, and nuclear bombs. Its power can be used to benefit the environment or to destroy it.

But there is another aspect of science, one that has nothing to do with technology. It has to do with shaping our worldview. In doing so, it influences how we structure our society, our laws, and our moral codes.

What is most remarkable about science is not its gadgetry, but rather, what it tells us about ourselves, who we are, what is our purpose and destiny. Do we have inherent value? Or are we just another species of animal?

In other words, there is a powerful philosophy that underpins science. It affects us all.

Science is based on the premise that the universe has rules, unbreakable laws that do not depend on our opinion, but which are revealed to us by observation and reason. As far as we can tell, the universe is orderly; it has structure and hierarchy. Is that all just meaningless coincidence?

Until recent times, nature was correctly seen to be the work of a divine designer whose purpose, plan and meaning are revealed to us in the wonders of Creation. We have a special place in that creation; we are its stewards, its gardeners. We have life, we have consciousness — and we possess free will. Therefore, we are accountable for our deeds. Our noble purpose is to love one another, to be our brother’s keeper, and to treat each other with the same kindness and respect we desire for ourselves.

But that was then, this is now.

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