Should Any Limits Be Placed on Scientific Developments?

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Man, powered by his imagination and inquisitive character, has wondered he mechanisms of Nature since time infinite. This quest for the truth, the ways in which his surrounding works, has led to many a scientific discoveries and innovations. Since the art of making fire and creating handcrafted tools, our civilization has come a long way. Science and Technology are making advances at an amazing rate. From telephones to the Internet, calculators to computers, cars to rockets and satellites, we are submerged in a sea of discoveries and inventions made possible by Science. Fields like Medicine and communications have made inroads into our cultures and thus our lifestyles.

So vast is the impact of Science in our lives, that people fear the unthinkable. It leads them to accusations such as Science tries to play God, as in the case of cloning. Repeatedly, it is also heard that we are so dependent on Science and Technology that we who create it are nothing but slaves to it. However I feel that it would not be wrong to term Science as a friend of Humanity. This faithful friend has come through many a times. We have reaped innumerable benefits out of this friendship. Therefore in the question of whether any limits should be placed on scientific developments, we have to assess whether these benefits and also the cons.

What better field of science then, to platform our discussion than the field of medicine and forensics, which has stirred much controversy?

Medicine has helped humankind in uncountable ways. People have started taking charge of their own health and life. Therefore, the life expectancy of a person living in the nineties is about twenty years more on an average from that which people enjoyed at the start of the last century. By the virtue of medicine, not only does a person live longer but also lives his life to the fullest in the best of health.

Deadly diseases such as small pox, plague and polio have caused a large number of epidemics resulting in major loss of life. The Plague Epidemic of London in the 1600's had wiped out nearly a fifth of its' population. Researches and scientific effort led many scientists to find cures or preventive vaccinations for these life-threatening diseases. Today these diseases have been eradicated from the face of the earth. Thanks to our Science, millions of lives have been saved from the clutches of these evils.

The field of medicine today is well equipped to cope with the health problems faced by man. Science behind Medicine has led to awareness and preventive education among the public. Antibiotics and other medicines sometimes help us fight life-threatening conditions. In short, the patients are often handed a second chance to live. We are no longer at the complete mercy of nature. The right to choose and to take control of one's life has been passed down to the individual.

As pointed out by Willard Gaylin in his essay, Harvesting the Dead, science has essentially changed the definition of death. Now although a person could be declared dead, he could have willed his usefulness beyond his mortality. Medical technology has reached a point where organs can be transplanted from one individual to another. However many see red in such an act as desecration of a human body. But by donating his or her organs, the person would not only have saved someone's life, he would have also found a meaning not only in his lifetime but also in his death.

Medicine has often been cited as a means to over-population. Sure, it helps us live a little longer but it also provides us with birth control techniques such as contraceptives and sterility operations to help prevent it. Speaking along this line, instead of blaming science for our troubles, would it not be right to blame those who do not heed the advice provided by Science and make use of the technology it has provided to curb over-population?

Issues such as euthanasia and abortion have always been topics of debate in the...
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