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Author: Kaylie-Anna Vallee (Page 1 of 2)

How humane is humanity?

If we were to compare and contrast the society of the 21st century to that of the 20th century, would we be satisfied with how we have turned out? What if people who lived in the 20th century viewed our society today? Would they be proud of what we’ve become, or would they look at us in disbelief?

The society expressed in Brave New World can be paralleled with these questions. In this novel, it is not allowed to have free-will and to experience any feeling other than happiness and stability. The inhabitants of the Fordian society in London are created with machines that fertilize eggs and fetuses grow in bottles, engineering people to look a certain way, bringing them into the world with a social pre-destination. Throughout their lives, the members of this dystopian society take a drug called soma that reduces/eliminates any feelings of unhappiness. By distributing this drug to the members of the society, the government can social engineer the society by placing members in certain social conditions, including their place of work, without them getting upset and revolting. This idea of eternal happiness seems to be wonderful; you never have to know what it feels like as long as you continue to take the drug, and who wouldn’t if it meant such beneficial effects?

The main problem with the distribution of soma is that the society also does not have relationships within it. There is no “love” allowed, no ties after two people hook up, something that is highly occurring in this society. Instead, these people are conditioned to think of sex as being recreational and meaningless, while relationships are fluid and changing. Having parents is not common because having children is a life event that does not take place in this society, instead the inhabitants of the society are created by engineering. To many people even in today’s society, the idea of having sex without regard as to who it is with and no repercussions resulting from it sounds like their ideal way of hooking up; the intercourse is completely meaningless and its purpose is for pleasure to both parts involved. It is true that they don’t have to go through the pain of childbirth nor the pain of heartbreak and divorce, but they also don’t get to feel what it’s like to fall in love or to hear your child laugh for the first time. The absence of any feelings other than happiness and joy leads to the members of this dystopian society to miss out on many parts of life that those of us in the real world look forward to in our lives.

This society may seem great in aspects, but it was shown to be horrifying when an outsider lived in it. A man named John, also know as Savage, was the product of sex resulting in a child, the father being one of the major government officials of the society. John and his mother lived in a different society, one where there was no soma and he felt all kinds of emotions. He was brought up learning religion, associating sex with violence, and knowing the true extent to what death is.

John had the chance to become a part of this society by taking the soma and doing the necessary treatments. But when he tried, he realized he would rather continue his previous life style. Through out his stay in this London, John met a woman named Lenina who was a soma-taking member of the society. Their interactions showed the great difference between a human being and someone who was created by engineering and takes a drug for eternal happiness. Despite her slowly catching feelings for John, Lenina viewed sex as meaningless and wanted to partake in the activity with John. But for John, sex was not associated with meaninglessness, but instead with relationships and involving women who had to be “won,” not women who throw themselves at him. When Lenina did so, he reacted in anger, threatening to kill her, and this sparked the beginning of his resentment of this society. John viewed the society as having such a horrifying social system, that he decided to kill himself rather than taking any part in it.

This book offers a viewing of society from an outsiders point of view while also viewing it from those living there also. John viewed the society as being corrupt in the sense that the people should have free-will and should feel every emotion, not just the good ones. The Controller, named Mustapha Mond, is a man that controls the World State, similar to what a government would be. He has seen both the real world while also taking part in controlling this dystopian world, and he prefers the latter. Mond is a believer in the stability and comfort of society, maintaining social order with both high and low pre-destinations for the members. The comparison of these two characters and how they view the society differently could be compared with how people in today’s society could view that of the 20th century.

Looking back 50-100 years ago, would our ancestors have been proud of us for having nuclear bombs and for racism and prejudice still being a social concern? Would they have agreed to legalize gay marriage or to accept the global warming that is occurring? Would our ancestors be satisfied with the fact that we communicate by tiny electronic devices and send meaningless emojis to people? The answers to these questions are unknown, but I do believe that their reactions to some of these instances could be similar to John’s reaction to the Fordian Society. After being somewhere that you are so used to, where everything seems so normal, any change to that style of living could cause an abrupt burst of emotions that some people may not be able to handle. John could not handle the dystopian society, so he took his life rather than be apart of it. Do people of today’s society not do the same? Some children are placed in a variety of foster homes, each with different environments and lifestyles. Do all of these children survive or reach adulthood as a sane person? The idea of Brave New World brings up many social concerns and many abstract views from the characters, with one of its biggest being the hope for a humane society. Is this novel much different from our world? It is possible that many of the events that take place in this society could happen one day. Will we look onto this society from the outside the same as John did, or will be give in to things like peer pressure and self-desire, omitting our self-control and giving our freewill to the government?

 

 

The smart house and our enemies

There is no doubt that technology has accelerated in advancement over the last decade, but will it continue to do so for the future? Will us humans still be living on this Earth as the ones who make the call, or will we have created a machine that will overtake us and soon make us their aid?

A decade ago the first machine-powered airplane and air conditioners were invented. In the mid-1900s the computer and its software was invented. It was only 11 years ago that Apple came out with their first touchscreen iphone, a cellular device that is now capable of being unlocked by face-recognition. In today’s society machine technology is advancing at an accelerated rate. How fast is the technology going to progress, and to what extent?

There are many controversial ideas of the creation of a robot, something that is capable of human actions and perhaps human thoughts, except better. It was foreshadowed in many classical movies that the 21st century would have robots and flying cars. Perhaps in the beginning of this century many would have laughed at that remark, thinking it to be impossible. However, now we have cars that are capable of driving themselves and robotic tests being conducted, the foreshadowed future is still in sight.

There are now what people call “smart houses.” These are houses where modern technology has taken over. The lights and many electronic appliances can be controlled by someone on their smart phone who may not even be in the same city as their home. There are home security systems that are supposed to protect those living inside from any harmful intruders on the outside. Smart houses even have thermostats that can be controlled by smartphones while the owner may not even be physically inside the house.  I agree that technology is prospering right now, with all of these wonderful and brilliant gadgets to control our lives. But, what happens if these systems start to fail, what happens when our phones die and we need to unlock our house or access something crucial? Many members of the elderly community consider those who are young adults right now to be “millennials.” One characteristic associated with this stereotype is that we are people who are obsessed with technology and can’t live with out it; but are they wrong?

The children’s movie Smart House is a good representation of what could possibly happen if technology were to malfunction on us. Inventors want to create machines that can learn to think for themselves, but what happens when they do so and rebel against us? In this movie a family wins a computerized house that is decked-out in technology, it even has a robotic system stimulating a woman of the house taking care of everything. However, everything goes terribly wrong when this house starts to disagree with the decisions being made by the humans inhabiting the house, and does not allow them to do certain things. The machine that once was created by humans to think for itself and do what they tell it to do, is now controlling the humans and thinking too much for a non-living object. When this house started malfunctioning, the family could not control nor do anything because everything that they had in the house was computerized and therefore controlled by the robotic system. This is a similar situation to what could happen in today’s society if we become too dependent on our electronic devices. If our phones die, we can not communicate with anyone and are unable to navigate. Many people living in today’s society could not travel places if they did not have a GPS because our generation grew up with smartphones that navigated for us. Our houses that have security systems to protect us could become hacked and potentially put us in more danger by the possibility of being locked in with an intruder. The biggest predicament with electronic devices controlled by internet and cell-phone towers is the fact that anyone who is smart enough is able to hack anything you own and take any of your information. This is a very dangerous situation that could lead to people having their identities stolen, being stalked by the hacker, or even having their house hacked and completely malfunction.

A T.V. show called Grey’s Anatomy  had a recent episode where someone had hacked the hospital and no one could access any patient records, the blood supply, or even any medicine to give to patients. Most hospitals are switching to storing all their files on the web and are locking their doors with codes that are controlled by a security system. If someone was intelligent enough to gain access to all of these things, the hospital would be in major trouble and could be without access to patients files and medicine, creating possible life-or-death situations for certain doctors and patients.

These sources of media portray possibilities of potential situations that could put us humans in harms way, something that could be inevitable if we continue to rely so deeply on technology like we are today.  Our generation needs to take a step back, and try to focus on bettering out lives without the need for such advanced technology. The amount of trust that we give non-living inanimate objects in our lives is frightening, and could ruin us in the end.  There will always be someone out there who will feel the need to hack into a system and try to ruin the lives of others. The best way to prevent this is not by initiating stronger fire walls, but to stop entrusting so much in our electronically devices and be more conscious of what kind of information we have on objects that can be invaded by strangers.

Research Proposal

Title: Epidemiology and disease, are we doing more harm than good?

Critical Question: Have humans been killing each other off through man-made diseases and vaccines, or are we truly innocent and trying to help our own?

Thesis (tentative): Arguments claiming that certain diseases are man-made and vaccines do more harm than protection are not well-supported by factual evidence and therefore are not reliable.

Brief Description:

I plan to discuss the controversies of why people think certain diseases are man-made like cancer and diabetes and the extent that this may be true. This will be one of my points, while another will be around the attempt to prevent certain diseases, vaccines. There is a huge controversy on whether or not vaccines are helpful, so I will also discuss the extent to which this controversy can be true or false. I will also provide a brief history on both topics to show the progression of both, supporting my arguments. My goal of this paper is to discuss popular controversies and provide the reader with information they may not have known, allowing them to learn more about the topics and not have false claims without knowing hard evidence.

I believe this is important, because in the case of things like cancer, there are things that can prevent cancer, things that are man-made, but cancer itself is not man-made, despite certain beliefs there is no evidence for this idea. I hope to also briefly provide ways that someone can better prevent themselves from cancer, despite the fact that it is often inevitable, there are some things that provoke it. Being educated about vaccines is also important, because you’re not only putting a foreign substance into your body, but sometimes if you don’t it could harm others. I want to discuss the pros and cons, because many people don’t know the whole story for both sides, and if they chose to get a vaccine or not, they should know what is it, the effects, and its effect on themselves and those around them.

This topic is relevant to STS because the history of science will be discussed when writing about the development of vaccines and progression of certain diseases, along with how society reacted in the progression of events in these topics. The technology piece ties in with the tools that are used to create vaccines, ways vaccines are administered, and the development of objects that can cause the diseases. Society is involved through the discussion of people’s reactions and opinions on the topics.

 

Outline:

  1. Introduction
    1. Discuss the common controversies of both
    2. State thesis
  2. First point – Diseases
    1. Cancer
      1. Discuss how cancer can be believed to be man-made
      2. Discuss contrasting evidence to suggest it’s most likely not man-made
        1. Include brief history
  • Discuss how cancer can be related to man-made objects and the real causes of cancer (cigarettes)
    1. Indirectly related cause by people
    2. Suggest ways to help minimize risk of cancer
  1. Diabetes (maybe, if enough room)
    1. Discuss how diabetes is thought to be man-made because people think that it’s linked to vaccines
    2. Discuss contrasting evidence on how diabetes actually came about
  • Discuss ways risk of diagnosis of diabetes can be minimized
  1. Second point – Vaccines
    1. Discuss the ways that vaccines can be bad
      1. Moderate to severe problems that can occur due to vaccines
    2. Discuss the benefits of getting vaccines
      1. Good for individual and those around them from getting certain diseases
      2. Discuss the society impact – how people thought of vaccines when they first came out
        1. History of vaccines
  • Provide data that shows populations with more vaccinations vs populations with less vaccinations and show how those with more vaccinations have a smaller occurrence of the certain diseases.
  1. Wrap-Up
    1. Discuss how despite the small harm, there is many good things coming from vaccines
      1. “Is harm by inaction better than potential harm by taking action?”
    2. Discuss how cancer is not man-made, it is due to a mutation in cells causing them to reproduce excessively.

Bibliography:

Arney, K. 2010. Claims that cancer is only a “modern, man-made disease” are false and misleading – Cancer Research UK – Science blog. http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2010/10/14/claims-that-cancer-is-only-a-“modern-man-made-disease”-are-false-and-misleading/.

David, A. R., and M. R. Zimmerman. 2010. Cancer: an old disease, a new disease or something in between? Nature Reviews Cancer 10:728–733.

Elliott, R. B. 2006. Diabetes – A man made disease. Medical Hypotheses 67:388–391.

Moolgavkar, S., E. Luebeck, J. Turim, and R. Brown. 2000. LUNG CANCER RISK ASSOCIATED WITH EXPOSURE TO MAN-MADE FIBERS: EBSCOhost. http://web.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail/detail?vid=22&sid=a017729a-c79b-4d11-ae70-6b9f14f3949c%40pdc-v-sessmgr01&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3D%3D#AN=7428584&db=a9h.

Sarkanen, T. O., A. P. E. Alakuijala, Y. A. Dauvilliers, and M. M. Partinen. 2018. Incidence of narcolepsy after H1N1 influenza and vaccinations: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Sleep Medicine Reviews 38:177–186.

Timeline | History of Vaccines. (n.d.). . https://www.historyofvaccines.org/timeline.

Torres, M. 2010. Most Modern Day Diseases Are Man-Made. https://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/ciencia/ciencia_industryweapons125.htm.

To which culture do you belong and what brought you there?

The idea of “two cultures” represents the hard line between those that are considered “scientists” and those that are considered “intellectuals,” but where do those that are neither lie? Is it correct to propose that people who don’t reside in one of two distinct cultures are outsiders? This idea suggests that there are two strict divisions of people as if culture is black and white. However, the reality of the manner is that there is a rainbow of cultures out there, providing support to their subcultures and everything that follows. C.P. Snow’s book The Two Cultures shows the reader that the people of the world need to come together and unite. This situation won’t happen through people placing themselves into one of two groups, but instead among many groups, diversifying and building our characters and personalities together. There are more than two cultures out there, and the best way to begin exposing people to the various cultures is through schooling.
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