Status of Modern Science and Religion

By Ramalingam, Paul S. | Forum on Public Policy: A Journal of the Oxford Round Table, Summer 2008 | Go to article overview

Status of Modern Science and Religion


Ramalingam, Paul S., Forum on Public Policy: A Journal of the Oxford Round Table


A. Science today and the future

Scientific discoveries and inventions over the past century alone have transformed the lives of humans to a new standard never witnessed in human history. Along with the increased convenience and overall quality of living came increased longevity and hence, the human population has quadrupled during this time. Our views of all life forms and the nature of the universe have also changed drastically. The knowledge that humans are connected genetically to all living forms allows us to bestow dignity and prompt preservation of other species. We endeavor to benefit from the secrets of a tiny cell as well as the complexities of the universe that surround us. Technological achievements, especially in the information arena, made the globe shrink even further. We communicate with all nations with ease and understand the multiple cultures and their aspirations. This journey of ventures and scientific marvels is truly exciting and awe-inspiring. With all that, nevertheless we prove that we are still humans retracing earlier sad histories in today's world. There is still violence and wars due to misunderstanding and misconducts among several nations based on economic, political, social, racial, or even religious reasons.

We will examine three vital areas in which major breakthroughs in science have helped foster overall human welfare. Addressing human health first, recent breakthroughs in cellular sciences specifically related to stem cells announce promises to cure diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, dementias and other related neurological disorders. This new frontier offers also hopes for certain kinds of cancer, autoimmune diseases, and organ transplants. Prevention of many of the communicable diseases today owes much to the ongoing research in many sectors--vaccinations, pharmaceutical measures against drug-resistant bacterial and viral forms, better understanding of epidemiological factors, etc. The etiologies of emerging diseases such as AIDS, BSE, Ebola, Influenza, and others alike are quickly determined to ward off massive human deaths. The treatment and prevention procedures are immediately brought to public awareness. Advocacy by the scientific community to resist the onset of insidious illnesses such as obesity, lipidemia, arteriosclerosis, hypertension, even excessive sunlight, has led most citizens in the advanced nations to be aware of the risk and the need to alter their behaviors and life styles.

Modern medical technologies such as MRI, CT scan, PET scan, laser surgery, radiation and chemotherapy assist in early diagnosing and preventing the progress of certain deadly diseases such as cancers of the prostate, breast, etc. for which there were no cures in the ancient time. Imaging procedures furthermore guide to improved surgical procedures and early recovery.

In the agricultural front, the advances made in crop sciences over the past forty years have reduced the poverty level in many countries despite the population surge. Without doubt, many Asian countries have boosted the production of rice, wheat, and other grains using short season and dwarf varieties during the Green Revolution in the 1960s. But, now, in the context of widespread drought in many continents, many national leaders, crop scientists, and political advisors insist on a need to formulate a second Green Revolution to prevent massive starvations and food shortages particularly in developing countries.

Genetic manipulations have helped enhance the taste quality, food value, shelf life, etc. of most varieties of vegetables, fruits, and other organic products that adorn the shelves of the market places today. Despite the controversies over the Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO), they helped to limit the food shortages in many nations. Furthermore, research on the genomic constitution of other species has yielded wealth of information related to the control and regulatory mechanisms of the genes. …

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