Has science helped d man to progress

Banneker himself and his earliest biographers described him as having only African ancestry.

Has science helped d man to progress

Ideas That Have Helped Mankind by Bertrand Russell from "Unpopular Essays" Before we can discuss this subject we must form some conception as to the kind of effect that we consider a help to mankind. Are mankind helped when they become more numerous?

Or when they become less like animals? Or when they become happier? Or when they learn to enjoy a greater diversity of experiences? Or when they come to know more? Or when they become more friendly to one another?

I think all these things come into our conception of what helps mankind, and I will say a preliminary word about them. The most indubitable respect in which ideas have helped mankind is numbers. There must have been a time when homo sapiens was a very rare species, subsisting precariously in jungles and caves, terrified of wild beasts, having difficulty in securing nourishment.

At this period the biological advantage of his greater intelligence, which was cumulative because it could be handed on from generation to generation, had scarcely begun to outweigh the disadvantages of his long infancy, his lessened agility as compared with monkeys, and his lack of hirsute protection against cold.

In those days, the number of men must certainly have been very small. The main use to which, throughout the ages, men have put their technical skill has been to increase the total population. I do not mean that this was the intention, but that it was, in fact, the effect.

If this is something to rejoice in, then we have occasion to rejoice. We have also become, in certain respects, progressively less like animals. I can think in particular of two respects: In these respects we have certainly become progressively less like animals.

Two ways to read the story

As to happiness, I am not so sure. Birds, it is true, die of hunger in large numbers during the winter, if they are not birds of passage. But during the summer they do not foresee this catastrophe, or remember how nearly it befell them in the previous winter.

With human beings the matter is otherwise. I doubt whether the percentage of birds that will have died of hunger during the present winter is as great as the percentage of human beings that will have died from this cause in India and central Europe during the same period.

But every human death by starvation is preceded by a long period of anxiety, and surrounded by the corresponding anxiety of neighbors. We suffer not only the evils that actually befall us, but all those that our intelligence tells us we have reason to fear.

The curbing of impulses to which we are led by forethought averts physical disaster at the cost of worry, and general lack of joy. I do not think that the learned men of my acquaintance, even when they enjoy a secure income, are as happy as the mice that eat the crumbs from their tables while the erudite gentlemen snooze.

In this respect, therefore, I am not convinced that there has been any progress at all. As to diversity of enjoyments, however, the matter is otherwise.

I remember reading an account of some lions who were taken to a movie showing the successful depredations of lions in a wild state, but none of them got any pleasure from the spectacle.

Not only music, and poetry and science, but football and baseball and alcohol, afford no pleasure to animals.

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Our intelligence has, therefore, certainly enabled us to get a much greater variety of enjoyment than is open to animals, but we have purchased this advantage at the expense of a much greater liability to boredom. But I shall be told that it is neither numbers nor multiplicity of pleasures that makes the glory of man.

It is his intellectual and moral qualities. It is obvious that we know more than animals do, and it is common to consider this one of our advantages.

Whether it is, in fact, an advantage, may be doubted. But at any rate it is something that distinguishes us from the brutes. Has civilization taught us to be more friendly towards one another? The answer is easy. Robins the English, not the American species peck an elderly robin to death, whereas men the English, not the American species give an elderly man an oldage pension.

Within the herd we are more friendly to each other than are many species of animals, but in our attitude towards those outside the herd, in spite of all that has been done by moralists and religious teachers, our emotions are as ferocious as those of any animal, and our intelligence enables us to give them a scope which is denied to even the most savage beast.The humbling of the atheists: How religion survived the progress of science Not so long ago, there was a countercultural boldness in standing up for atheism.

Hence, the theory of scientific progress is not merely a descriptive account of the patterns of developments that science has in fact followed. Rather, it should give a specification of the values or aims that can be used as the constitutive criteria for “good science.”.

Has science helped d man to progress

Ideas That Have Helped Mankind by Bertrand Russell I am not convinced that there has been any progress at all. As to diversity of enjoyments, however, the matter is otherwise.

Darwin, and the doctrine of evolution, that first upset the faith of British men of science.

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