You owe everything you have to Science & Engineering It annoys the hell out of me when I see anti-capitalist demonstrations, more so when I see criticism that ‘science is bad’ or somehow evil. Science gets a bad rap, more so as time goes by. It should not. The diminishing importance of science and engineering, the increase of pseudo- science, religions increasingly dominated by extremist views and increased technical illiteracy are portents for a much poorer future for western economies. Luckily for the human race some countries (China, ironically) understand the importance of science & engineering and have a strong capitalist or entrepreneurial spirit. (Having travelled in China 4 or 5 times, I can say they are the most capitalist nation on earth right now. They also have far less state control and interference in their daily lives than any modern western economy. By many criteria, they are more free in China than we are in the West). The result is that we’ll all become more reliant on China, and Asia generally. China really will be the greatest, most powerful, nation on earth within a generation. While the Western economies produce more lawyers than engineers, this is inevitable and unavoidable. People should never forget that almost every positive aspect of modern society, of your life, is a direct result of science. I'm taking about the absolute basics here (admittedly from a very western society point of view); Being able to feed yourself Access to fresh water, for free To live in comfort in an uncomfortable (often worse) climate Access to almost miraculous medical and dental care An education (so you can read this) Books Music Incredible communication capabilities To live to an average age of 70 years or more To be able to travel the world. Your Health Not forgetting the more superficial benefits of a civilised world such such as TV, Internet, Cinema, and more. (OK, I know that the Internet should not be called trivial, and I agree it has as great a potential as any technology before it.) ALL the above is a result of science, and more specifically a combination of science and capitalism. Almost every aspect of a modern, civilised society, even so called ‘primitive’ societies is based on science. It is the natural state of the human being to want to improve his lot, by whatever means he can. It is the natural state of human beings to be curious, to want to learn, to explore. That is basically what drives science and capitalism and the advance of all mankind’s lot. Sure, science has been responsible for some evils, but the benefits outweigh, I mean majorly outweigh, the negatives. We live in a utopia compared with previous generations (I'm thinking over a period of centuries).  It wasn't long ago, that none of the above benefits were available to the general population. Now most westerners take these things for granted. Many don’t even give them a second thought. And those who think that somehow science is bad, that capitalism is bad, that perhaps we'd be better off in a simpler world, a more old-fashioned world haven't got a clue. They don’t get it. They're hypocrites, benefiting from everything that science and capitalism has given them, and then criticising the foundations upon which their lives are built and lived.
Aug 2009
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