Science and the Human Condition in India and Pakistan

Science and the Human Condition in India and Pakistan

Science and the Human Condition in India and Pakistan

Science and the Human Condition in India and Pakistan

Excerpt

C. P. Snow, in his celebrated essay on the "Two Cultures," argues that the central problem confronting mankind in the second half of the twentieth century is the widening gap between the rich and the poor nations. He goes on to observe that:

We cannot know as much as we should about the social condition all over the world. But we can know, we do know, two most important things. First we can meet the harsh facts of the flesh, on the level where all of us are, or should be, one. We know that the vast majority, perhaps two-thirds, of our brother humans are living in the immediate presence of illness and premature death; their expectation of life is half of ours, most are undernourished, many are near to starving, many starve. But this suffering is unnecessary and can be lifted. This is the second important thing which we know--or, if we don't know it, there is no excuse or absolution for us. . . . It does not require one additional scientific discovery, though new scientific discoveries must help us. It depends on the spread of the scientific revolution all over the world.

If indeed the scientific revolution holds the key to the central problem confronting us today, what are the prospects for it to spread to other parts of the world? What will be the impact on developing societies as scientific endeavor grows within them? In an illuminating analysis of this prospect, Caryl Haskins suggests a number of reasons why it is critical for the "new nations," as he describes them, to embark vigorously on the promotion of their own scientific revolutions. He points out that "as the whole history of the scientific revolution has demonstrated so vividly, technology cannot remain a vital and a growing thing in the modern world without continuing nourishment from the wellsprings of the living science." But in addition to this and other obvious circumstances -- such as the continuing dependence on foreign technology, which will be inevitable until individual scientific traditions have been established -- Haskins points out that there are deeper reasons for developing societies to cultivate scientific endeavor.

Without some structure of indigenous, living science the new nations are likely to have great difficulty in developing standards of judgment by which to ap-

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