Evolution and Man's Progress

Evolution and Man's Progress

Evolution and Man's Progress

Evolution and Man's Progress

Excerpt

Because of their special knowledge, scientists and scholars may be in a position to see some of the future consequences and costs of current social practices before they become evident to decision makers, either in large enterprises like governments or small enterprises like families. Few have either the time or the talent to become informed about long-range implications arising from advances in science and technology. And yet in the twentieth century, as compared with previous centuries, the impact of science and technology upon our ways of living and our destiny has become paramount. The mushrooming clouds of new notions and new patterns of behavior are altering the nature and circumstances of human life more within a few years than they were altered over centuries in the past. There is no guarantee that these new circumstances are going to be stable or viable; instead, there is a probability that a civilization, whose decision makers operate in ignorance of where this onrushing current of events is taking us, may unwittingly be headed for disaster.

Of course, the future consequences of present actions and circumstances can hardly be predicted in detail by anyone. But perhaps those who are scouting the frontiers of new knowledge can envisage potential opportunities and disasters ahead of their contemporaries. In our time it has been the physicists familiar with the characteristics of nuclear weapons and the biologists aware of effects of radiation who have taken the initiative in warning the public of the dangers of nuclear testing and nuclear war. It has been the social scientists concerned with demographic problems and the biologists and other . . .

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