Modern man and scientific sophistications in the third millennium
- by Gerald Ogbuja
- 15 years ago
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SOPHISTICATED SCIENTIFIC PRODIGIES IN THE 21ST CENTURY
My logic remains that man’s urge for excitement of the latest refinements is behind the many sporadic scientific changes of our times. Scientific prodigies of our time are manifold. The production of nerve gas through the application of chemistry and the production of atomic weaponry via physics are biological and physical wonders of science. Alternative fuel care has overrun the ordinary usage of gas. Cars can be run on alternative fuel such as hydrogen, solar power or steam engine. Infect, any automobile powering of engine that does not involve petroleum is fast. Diesel powered cars can now run with little or no modification on 100% pure bio-diesel. Mileages can now be calculated in megawatts. Off-peak electricity production and transmission capacity could fuel 84 percent of the country’s 220 million vehicles if they are plug-in hybrid electrics. Technology as well has made video games hard to give up. Kids and adults stay glued to video games because the fun of playing actually is rooted in fulfilling their basic emotional and psychological needs. Besides video games, computer graphics, artificial intelligence, are now designing new high-tech medical tools to equip the operation room of the future, in an effort to help doctors treat patient more safely and effectively and allow them to perform to optimal capacity. Technology as a radical evolution promises and enhances human minds, bodies, and what it means to be human. Also, scientists have made emotional intelligence to matter more than human IQ. Visual experiences have taken over to real bargaining and shopping. Online visual experiences have improved consumers knowledge of a particular product. This market tactic back fires by creating a false sense of what the product’s real capabilities are. In Sci-Fi moves, robots are seen doing human bidding- a prove of concept that demonstrates that an individual can “order” a robot to move to specific locations and pick up specific objects merely by generating the proper brain waves that reflects the individual instructions. A classical example of Robotic intelligence is the killing and destruction of human infrastructures. The “I” robot of Will Smith is a testament of a monumental degree of Robotic influence on man. Scientists can now control the movement of a humanoid robot with signals from a human brain. The discovery of galaxies beyond the Milky Way has a cosmological red shift. In human history, Active-endocrinology, intra-fallopian transfer, artificial wombs, Uteruses, twin fusion and parthenogenesis are some biological sophistications that impact the sacredness of man. Other biological sophistications by man are genetic engineering. All that we know today is that genetic modification is the basis of human evolution.
Genetic engineering is a horrific credit of biotechnological inventions. In Genetic engineering, man employs a technological program of experimenting with genes and elements that produce human species. The DNA makes a pale-ontological inquiry into the exact origin of human life. This scientific inquiry begins from the theory of DNA (Deoxyriba Neucleic Acid) to RNA (Related N.A to D.N.A in the synthesis of Protein). Beside the D.N.A are other sophistications that attempts to manufacture human lives. Today, babies are produced from the sperm and egg banks presently spreading around industrialized world. Astro-physical achievements like the invention of microscope, radar and other physical outreaches are few conquest of biotechnology. In Biotechnology, human genes are altered and this alteration affects not only animal socialization but human communities. Similar alternation affects human predispositions to become either good or bad. Hyper technology has not only made scientific research on human person more sophisticated, but has equally transformed life and challenged man to a radical constrain. Human embryo could now be bought and been preserved in refrigerators. High quality babies are now selected and reproduced via cloning. The ambition of cloning according to Iroegbu is to produce modern ‘Anapheims or a super race.’ In biological science, cloning means producing 4,6,12, 24, 48 persons that are the same simultaneously. In cloning, individuals are replaced exactly as their originals: Height, IQ, Complexion, Character, traits, and everything that human wisdom could imagine. From the discovery of DNA to the cloning of various animals, the study of genetic engineering has overturned the way society view life in general. In addition, science has woefully failed to convince modern man if a cloned child could be mallible to chromosomal irregularities or inherited disorders such as brain abnormalities, behavioral dysfunction, inappropriate learning experiences and biological dysfunction. It has not been able to identify a cloned child cognitive status (average, mild, severe or profound). Studies have shown that products that are genetically engineered may cause severe negative effects on human society. This industry possesses the potentiality of leading modern man towards the unnatural selection of humans to possibly environmental disaster that put mankind in peril. Society along side with modern man will be in jeopardy since genetic engineering has the potentialities of being disastrous (Azete, 2008).
The dangers of cloning are manifold. The undoing’s of cloning is irreconcilable to the human mind. The fundamental danger here is that scientists call themselves the creator of man. Jeremiah Curran (1993) articulated that scientists insert a man-made-man between himself and the God fabricated man. I make bold to say that God-made man is the man born through a natural biological way, while the man-made man is the fabrication from the laboratory of a scientist through cloning and invitro -fertilization. Another danger of modern effort is that humanity heads towards atheism or the cataclysm of self-creation and human destruction. Without negative feelings, one could say that cloning has some moral and ethical consequences. An ethical danger in cloning is that it contradicts the ethical value for the respect of man as an individual. Also in hetro-logos artificial fertilization, modern man employs scientific techniques to obtain human conceptions artificially by the use of gametes coming from at least one of the married couples. Similar breakthrough includes Invitro- fertilization (I.V.F), and Embryo transfer (E.T). In reality, Invitro fertilization refers to the scientific process in which an egg is fertilized by sperm in a Petri dish rather than in the womb of a mother. Critics of biological advancement argue that a child conceived under a Petri dish cannot be as rational as a child conceived through a natural biological way. Such child in my opinion would not match a natural child in IQ, wisdom and common sense. A child conceived through a Petri-dish could exhibit artificial intelligence, but would lack common sense in the everyday human activities and operations. This child in all standards would not be able to make a distinction between intelligent realities and common sense knowledge. Hetrologous artificial fertilization is contrary to the unity of marriage, the dignity of spouses and the unborn to be conceived through conjugal act.
Homo-logos artificial Insemination is another scientific prodigy of our time. In this type of scientific process, modern man obtains human conception through a transfer into the genital track of a woman of the sperm collected from her husband. As scientists would say, homologous artificial insemination within marriage is permitted except that it technically helps the conjugal act achieve its natural objectives. On another extreme, this technical means becomes morally illicit when it takes the place of conjugal act. In the 21st century, modern man has witnessed advancement in motherhood. This advancement is technically called surrogate motherhood. Surrogate motherhood is an advanced method of impregnating a woman with a man’s sperm with an understanding (arranged by contract) that the child would be given to the sperm donor and the child would be theirs legally. In surrogate motherhood, the borrowed mother carries and delivers the baby for the legal mother. At all times, a strong moral judgment is placed on surrogate motherhood. Here, human metamorphosis is interrupted and disintegrated. This process is an escape of biological identification of humans. One would logically say that the process is a biological destruction of elan vitae (life). The merit of biotechnology is allowing man to genetically engineer organisms against nature’s will. Nature is about the earth, animals, man and his environment. Modern man took it upon himself to domesticate animals such as dogs for hunting; turkey for family reunion and German dogs for security and sniffing of drugs and finally cattle for food. Biotechnology has changed human environment in which organism lives, by external conditioning. Through scientific conditioning, Modern man has found himself gripped by technology that allows him to genetically engineer organisms against nature’s will. Manipulating the genes can take any forms to advance modern man’s yelling. Biotechnologists have made lasting contribution to sustain human development. But there is something still lacking when it comes to human progress and development. Plant biotechnologists are helping the entire world to grow more and better food for human consumption. They are also producing greater yields of crops used to produce bio-fuel to help meet modern man’s energy needs (Council for Biotechnology Information, 2007).
Today, modern man is witnessing some terrifying advancement in military prodigies. The history of military carnages in the 21st century has come a long way with myriad military advancements. Destruction at every combat has grown from minimum to maximum. Today, metals, bow, arrows swords and guns have been replaced by atomic bombs and nuclear energies. These sophisticated replacements have today widened the horizon of warfare to wear a dramatic shape thus sweeping human lives to an unprecedented proportion. The atomic bomb of Hiroshima and Nagasaki has presently overrun ordinary bombs to intensify modern carnages. Ballistic Scud missiles, warships and nuclear submarines are now the latest in both land and sea combats. “Fab Man” is the codename for the atomic bomb that was detonated over Nagasaki Japan on August, 1945. It was the second of the only two nuclear weapons to be used in warfare and was the third man-made nuclear explosion at that time. The design of “Fat man” nuclear assembly was substantially the same as “the gadget” detonated at the trinity test in July 1945 (Hakim 1995). Trinity was a test of an implosion designing plutonium bomb. It was the first test of technology for a nuclear weapon. Mighty cities and human opponents are bombarded and leveled in minutes only by pressing one computerized button. The operation desert storm of Gulf crises of the 90’s otherwise “the mother of all gruesome wars” raised lots of fear concerning the growing military strength and sophistications. Air pollution in our time has been confirmed to be the most dangerous threat to man and the extinction of animal species. The consequences are observing our beautiful earth hurtling towards a warmer climate at a quickening pace. War has been confirmed a gruesome phenomenon to war mongers and war enemies. Also the ecological lives, vegetations and mineral resources of both the victor and vanquished in which inhabitants depended heavily will be incalculability damaged. It has been confirmed that air pollution is now the most dangerous threat to modern man and the extinction of animal species. In this case modern man is experiencing incalculable damage in animal and environmental species. The consequences are observing our beautiful earth destroyed. The effect of all these make global warming a reality of our time. It has been argued time without number that global warming is capable of destroying the ocean and the atlantics, and sea inhabitants. Citing accurate experience, beach erosion claimed an Alaskan home rendering owner and the city homeless. Authur Max (2007) confirmed that a climate report from earlier 2007 predicted that the sea levels would increase seven to 23 inches by 2100, spreading erosion and threatening coastlands without mercy.
The potential impact of air pollution, industrialization and global warming has become “so severe and crippling that only an urgent global action would help provide remedies. Because of these menace, environmental scientists describe China as one of leading world’s biggest polluters of air and “the most precious treasure of our planet.” This means that other industrialized nations need to respect the sacredness of man and reduce the speed of their technological navigation. The Japanese and the Soviet approach to technological transfer for economic development display far more differences than similarities (Sternheimer, 1981). Technologically speaking, China and the Japanese have been nicked- named the world’s junkyard of electronics. Jamie Choi, a campaigner with Greenpeace China in Beijing accounted that more than 1 million tons of e-waste has enabled Chinese technocrats to produce 5 million television sets, 4 million fidges, 5 million washing machines, 10 million mobile phones and 5 million personal computers. These efforts account for the acceleration of international trade and agreement in technology. This singular act also informs the present recall on tolls from China by the U.S and other industrial nations of the world. Manufacturers such as dell and Hewlett are two companies in the world that have immensely profited from e-waste recycling and mega market expansion. Bodeen (2007) and many others note that when one visit south eastern Chinese town regarded as the heartland of “e-waste” disposal, it shows that little has improved while it is not. Chinese environmentalist as well as the church has highlighted the dangers of Chinese e-waste nightmare. Accurate figures about shady and unregulated environmental mess is estimated at about 70 percent of the 20-50 million tons of electronic waste produced globally each year as they are dumped in China. The Chinese environmental protection Agency believes that it is cheaper to export e-waste than to dispose of it at home. When these cheap wastes are exported to China, and other third world countries the consequences become too much for ordinary citizens. Chinese migrant workers in an effort to dismantle much of the world’s junk waste of electronics smash picture tubes by hand to recover glass and electronic parts, releasing as much as 5.5 pounds of lead dust that is dangerous to health. Dust from the lead is capable of causing pulmonary disease or cancer to mine workers and people living outside the mine. Other health risks include throbbing, headache and metallic taste in the mouth. All these and many other related health crises are horrific consequences of e-waste. Long time health consequences can include kidney and nervous system breakdown weakling the immune system and precipitating any form of cancer. Chemicals including mercury, fluorine, barium, chromium, and cobalt causes skin rashes and respiratory problems. All these and many other factors make the production of toxics and e-waste both a credit and debit of modern ingenuity. In addition to modern ingenuity is the menacing disaster discovered in post-communist holocaust. These frightening discoveries were simply traumatic on human lives that the world and the church are now afraid to clean up the mess. A gallant question needs to be posed here. Would environmental humanist whose mission is to preserve nature’s gift to mankind fold her arms, pinch her nose and keep mute to these ungodly sophistications? Would the church marked with the insigna of human evangelization hide her feelings and allow scientific prodigies to destroy millennial humanity of God-created universe? My answer is no. My answer will remain no till the 22nd century.
FEARS AND MORAL IMPLICATIONS OF SCIENTIFIC INVENTIONS
When the book of Genesis empowered man to have dominion over created things (Genesis 1:28), he never authorized him to have irrational mastery over nature. Man was not authorized to produce objects of his own end and destruction. He was not empowered to manufacture objects that frighten him. It is unfortunate that modern man has abused this scriptural injunction through his technical inventions and mastery. Abuses on human invention inform the fear of the church especially now the world is approaching the next millennium. By millennium fear, I mean awe and uneasy feelings of modern man. I mean anxiety for the safety of millennial humanity from scientific destruction and inventions. I have the feeling that modern man is afraid of mega-technology. Modern man is afraid of investions that destroy his sacredness. Modern man is afraid that he will not only conquer nature but also conquer the master of nature (Man). Modern man is afraid that he is producing something that has the capacity to place him at a distance from God. He is afraid that he has plunged himself into doubting God as alpha and omega. Mega technology discourages human spirituality. Advanced inventions maim human holiness. It contradicts the teachings of God by rendering human minds less human and turning human’s spirit more elemental and atomistic. In the viewpoint of Ehusani (1991), technologization robs man of creativity, affectivity, spontaneity, and responsibility, making him mere cog in the industrial mega-wheel, or turning him to what Yablonsky calls Rob paths. When man becomes robot, he is enmechinized. Enmechinization makes modern man mechanical that he no longer uses his God given brain. Enmechanization compels modern man to obey the dictates of machines to the extent that he becomes more cedonical than machines. The almighty computer otherwise artificial intelligence is the product of human mind. This product hardly provides man room to think independently. The almighty computer has denies man the opportunity to advance his writing skill. At all times, I hold this as my first empirical postulation that there is no logical relationship between bad hand writing and intelligence. What technology has done to modern man is to avail him the opportunity to type in word document, thus making it increasingly difficult for him to write legibly on paper (Ogbuja, 2007). In technology, modern man leaves thinking solely to computer with emerging sophisticated language and thought patterns. The effect is that man’s rich perception and imagination that allows for simple mental and thinking operations is affected. Again, formal operational thinking, abstract thinking, deductive reasoning are destroyed. Here thinking is no longer bound by perception and human logic but something modern man has made to act quick.
THE POSITION OF MODERN CHURCH IN MEGA ADVANCEMENT
The church irrespective of her fears and anxiety should engage in the moral examination of scientific methods by unveiling those scientific wonders that confronts modern man. Modern man would not have peace unless these moral examinations are conducted. It is the duty of the church therefore to re-establish a symbiotic bond between moral theology (church) and her sister science (technology). It is the responsibility of the church to caution scientists morally and neutrally so that through her advancements, and research, they would carry out their refinements with full recognition of the church magisterial. Scientists should channel their refinements to respect the dignity of man. They should anchor their findings to respect man as being created in the image and likeness of God. Scientific discoveries are to be placed at the service of modern man to enable him come closer to God. This is a millennium message to all scientists around the globe. This is a millennium message to readers of this reflection. Millennium messages of this kind require scientists and technocrats to desist from further destructive inventions, resist sophisticated temptations, insist on the improvement of human lives and persist only on rational inventions that assist millennium humanity. When scientists and technocrats put these caveat into consideration, especially in the approaching millennium, they would have contributed in no small measure towards exalting man in excelsis (Glory and happiness).
Also, technology has made it possible to break into people’s laptops while they are sipping a latte surfing the net at favorite neighborhood wireless Café. The same advancement has made it possible for blogging, email and IM. Other merits of science is online forum and message boards, online shopping, online social networking/websites, web programming, downloads, web design and publishing. Modern man can now watch movies and music online. Another credit of modern invention is space shuttle, satellite, Apollo moon mission, home electricity, electrical troubleshooting, computer hardware, car electronics etc. Despites the above merits, war and accidents come to mind as apparent demerits of scientific advancement. New technologies are used for war, like nuclear weapons. Accidents happen like Chernobyl. Culture changes happens too fast as cars have caused pollution and obesity in industralized societies. Consumers are drawn increasingly indoors to the entertainment centers and are desensitized. Modernity has desensitized youths and created a world where the mind is being wasted as well as the body.
GLOBAL WARMING AND CLIMATE CHANGE
The intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) has made little effort than modern man expected. One primary contribution of this panel was to make the phrase ‘global warming’ become familiar to many people as one of the most important environmental issues caused by science and technology. Climate change is growing very rapidly today. Climate change as a result of industrialization and scientific pollution is now a new phenomenon of our time. Goldemberg and colleague (1999) write that any large change to the average climate tends to bring stress off modern man. Most importantly, extreme climate events and climate disasters which emphasis the importance of climate to our lives and which demonstrates to countries around the world their vulnerability to climate changes is now common experience to modern man. A vulnerability enhanced by increasing demands on earth resources. The following questions need to be posed here? Do all these point to a changing climate due to human activities? Do they provide solid evidence of global warming because of the increased carbon dioxide and other green house gases being emitted into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels? Tropical cyclones called hurricanes or typhoons, wind-storms, floods, tornadoes and droughts whose effects occur more slowly, but which probably are the most damaging disaster experienced by modern man would continue to be his contemporary nightmare. Despite these damaging experiences, modern and industrial nations continue to pollute our atmosphere. There are about eighty hurricanes and typhoons that have occurred around the tropical oceans each year. Hurricane GUSTAV and KATRINA has put inhabitants of Louisiana on a sudden stampede. Loss of lives and properties are always painful to recount. Similarly, hurricane Gilbert caused devastation on the Island of Jamaica and the coast of Mexico in 1988, Typhoon Mireille hit Japan in 1991; Hurricane Andrew caused a great deal of damage in Florida and other regions of the southern United States in 1992; Hurricane Mitch caused great devastation in Honduras and other countries in central America in 1998 (Gates, 1993). These are notable recent examples. However, Scientists know that windstorms or hurricanes are by no means the only weather and climate extremes that cause disaster that frighten modern man. Like weather forecasters we watch on our televisions, their results are not entirely accurate, but can provide useful guidance to how far our beautiful earth is destroyed.
Global warming has been identified as one of the consequences of industrial and scientific exploration by modern man. A question needs to be posed here. What causes global warming? Research shows that global warming results when Carbon dioxide and other air pollution that is collecting in the atmosphere like a thickening blanket, trapping the sun’s heat and causing the planets to erupt causing the largest U.S source of carbon dioxide pollution. Climate change is growing very rapidly and its growth is becoming a startling tradition to be accepted by modern man. The destruction of green vegetation and man’s environment has become the cornerstone of modern man nightmare. Disruption of habitats such as corals reefs and alpine meadows could drive many planet and animal species to extinction. Warmer sea surface temperature will fuel more intense hurricanes in the southeastern Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Melting glaciers, early snowmelt and severe droughts will cause more dramatic water shortages in the American West (NRDC, 2008). Debates on the issue of human-induced climate change have grown at a rapidly increasing pace. That was why in his new documentary: An inconvenient truth, formal Vice president Al gore sounded global warning to technocrats and scientists around the globe. Al gore identified that the planet is heating up very fast. He sounded very convinced that Glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising, cloud forecasts are drying and wildlife is scrambling to keep pace. According to Al gore, it is clear that humans have caused most of the past century’s warming by releasing heart-trapping gases as we power our modern lives. He believes that Global warming is not just about science and that it is not just a political issue. It is really a moral issue (Al gore, 2006). Houghton (1997) adds that the domains of science and religion are simply complimentary ways of looking at the merits and demerits of science and technology. Like weather forecasts, their results will not be entirely accurate, but can provide modern man a vision into the future.
The scientific basis of global warming is the likely impacts of climate change on human society. At all times, scientists argue that much of the assessment of climate change is focused on science, its impacts and response strategies to alleviate its effects on human lives. Without pointing accusing fingers to any human department, technology has been found to be one pressing problem confronting modern man. Without any accusation of a sort, we know that modern man has brought this whole drama upon himself. In an effort to reach new and astonishing peak of scientific success, modern man has placed his life, neighbors and environment on an awe-inspiring threshold of failure and disappointment. He has succeeded in producing machines that think and the instruments that peer into the unfathomable ranges of interstellar space. Modern man has succeeded in making the unseen to appear, the unheard to be heard; the visually impaired to see and the emotionally unstable to become stable. He has succeeded in making the irrelevant relevant and the minor major and magnificent. He has built gigantic bridges to span the seas and gargantum buildings to kiss the skies. His airplanes and spaceships have dwarfed distance, placed time in chains, and carved highways through the stratosphere (Martin Luther, 1964). Modern man has learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers (Luther, 1964). This is a dazzling picture of modern man’s scientific and technological progress. But in spite the spectacular stride in science and technology, and still unlimited ones to come, something basic is missing in the life of modern man. There is a sort of poverty of the spirit which stands in glaring contrast to our scientific and technological abundance. The richer modern man becomes materially, the poorer he becomes morally and spiritually (Luther, 1964). The rescue of modern man must come from God and the church. Besides, scientists have no choice but to care for the earth solicitously as its ‘gardeners’ in a partnership with God (Houghton, 1997). My critics including scientists and avowed agnostics will find my declarations a little bit out of context. But I know that the domain of science and religion are simply complimentary ways of looking at the truth. Truth is hard to speak and only truth will save modern man from his technological romance.
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