July 23, 2024

Society’s Constant Closed-Mindedness Is A Burden To Us All

Discoveries in science, technology, and society (STS), rarely ever occur without opposition. Discoveries can lead to change if they are thought to improve society’s overall quality of life. Yet, change can often be a scary thought or idea. Thus, not everyone is welcoming, or accepting, of new science or technology, at least not right away. Some might even protest the implementation of new science or technology. Ultimately, change never happens without a fight or an argument. Even when change is able to occur and life seems to improve, society is still not always receptive to new ideas and may resist innovation.

In the Book of Science and Nature Quotations, Isaac Asimov states that “[t]he saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom”. In reference to the speed at which science gathers knowledge, Asimov is most likely alluding to how much technology has advanced in only a few years. The rise of technology has allowed science to progress at an astronomical pace. For instance, in just twenty-two years, the field of genomics has been able to grow tremendously with changes in sequencing technology. The development of Sanger sequencing in 1977 was a major breakthrough but problems arose due to the cost of the technology and the fact that it took a large amount of time to sequence a relatively small piece of DNA (Heather & Chain 1–8). In the year 2000, next-generation sequencing (NGS) was created which allowed entire genomes to be sequenced at a much faster rate and at a less expensive cost (Barba, Czosnek, & Hadidi 106–136). Since then, many more kinds of NGS technologies have been developed to be more accessible and affordable on a widespread scale.

According to Asimov, the speed at which society gathers wisdom starkly contrasts the speed at which science gathers knowledge. Despite science’s amazing ability to constantly evolve and adapt, society does not change at the same velocity. Society’s weakness is refusing to learn from its mistakes. Throughout history, society has often opposed new science or technology that has ended up greatly improving the lives of many. Still, society has not learned to be more open-minded. Time and time again, society continues to cling to ancient preconceived notions of what is best even when all of the newfound data suggests otherwise. Climate change is the perfect example to prove Asimov’s statement as true. Science and technology has only been improving over the years, allowing for the data collected today to be the most accurate to date. Nevertheless, climate change deniers still exist and often claim that the data is inaccurate. Accurate data is not always enough to convince society that something is true because people are inherently attached to their own beliefs and values, which supersedes any new ideas that science could possibly bring to the table.

Society could be so much more progressive if everyone learned to be more unprejudiced and receptive towards new developments in the fields of science and technology. Advancements in STS rarely occur without opposition from at least a few and society would benefit greatly if this was not the norm. If society just learned from moments in history when what was protested ended up benefitting the masses, maybe society as a whole would be more willing to cooperate when new ideas are brought forth.

 

Works Cited

Asimov, Isaac, and Jason Shulman. Isaac Asimovs Book of Science and Nature Quotations. Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1988.

Barba, Marina, et al. “Historical Perspective, Development and Applications of  Next-Generation Sequencing in Plant Virology.” Viruses, vol. 6, no. 1, 2014, pp. 106–136., doi:10.3390/v6010106.

Heather, James M., and Benjamin Chain. “The Sequence of Sequencers: The History of Sequencing DNA.” Genomics, vol. 107, no. 1, 2016, pp. 1–8., doi:10.1016/j.ygeno.2015.11.003.

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