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Should we place our trust in science?
by Lenny Espisito
Chandler: Um, ok... the fifth dentist caved and now they're all recommending Trident?
Our society has a love affair with the idea of science. If you turn on the television, there's always a man in a white jacket telling you how this product will relieve you headache better than any other. Women are sold skin cream that is "doctor recommended." We're always hearing how our kids are falling behind other nations' high test scores in science. If you're from the United States, you may take particular pride in the fact that your nation is the only one to ever put a man on the moon. Science, it seems, is the way we will conquer the plagues of our day.
And why shouldn't we hold the highest regard for such a field of study? Look at the advancements that have been made in recent years simply by having scientists investigating and making wonderful discoveries. A prime example is smallpox. Smallpox was a disease unique to humans, afflicting them since 10,000 B.C. It was considered the most dangerous disease through its existence; it's estimated that smallpox killed about 400,000 people every year throughout the 18th century! Many more were blinded or disfigured. It was responsible for more deaths than any other communicable disease. But smallpox was number one in other areas, too. Small pox was the first disease to have a vaccine developed against it. It was also the first disease to be eradicated from the planet through vaccinations.
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Because of science we live in a brave new world
Smallpox is only one example of the many benefits we enjoy as a result of science. The only word to describe the way science has changed the way we live is "amazing." We live at a time unparalleled in human history, a time where we can do things considered unthinkable just a few decades ago. Scientific progress has produced changes as important as increasing our life expectancy or as benign as having an iPod hold 15,000 of your favorite songs.
Given that the many advancements we see today can be taken for granted, it may be helpful to step back and get a better perspective of how different life has become. Pick three points in history: say the time of Israel's zenith, the time of the Revolutionary War and today. If we start some three millennia ago when King Solomon was on the throne, we notice that people could only travel as fast as the speed of their horses. The quickest way of communicating with each other over long distances was a message written out and carried by a messenger to the recipient. And their houses and clothing came from natural material that were either gathered or harvested: buildings were built from mud, trees or rock and fabric made from plants such as cotton, animal skins, or wool…
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