Science and Values
- 1. “There are certain things that our age needs, and certain things that it should avoid”. Discuss in the light of Russell’s essay “Science and Values.” 2002,2004, 2010 Sup
Or Enumerate the good things science can increase and the bad things it can decrease. (P.U.95)
Russell explains how science can promote values, remove different social evils and bring peace and prosperity in the world. He being a pacifist desired peace and prosperity in the world.
He says, “There are certain things that our age needs and certain things that it should avoid.” Our age needs all the good things and should avoid all the bad things.
Our age needs compassion, a wish for happiness, desire for knowledge, hope, democracy, peace, prosperity, birth control, the equal distribution of wealth and impulse for creativeness.
Science can increase good things. It has spread education on a large scale. Increase in education has provided opportunities for young men to rise to high positions. It has led to happiness and prosperity in the world. The results of the use of science and spread of education are seen in Britain and America. Science has done miracles in medicine. Death rate has been reduced with the discovery of vaccination and anaesthetics. Science has also reduced crime rate by street lighting, telephone, finger printing and the psychology of crime.
Science has also helped us get rid of bad things. Fanatical creeds encourage hatred, tussle and impede free inquiry. Dread of the hydrogen bomb can lead to its use. People sick of their problems, wish for death. It can be removed by hope, love, courage and optimism. To bring peace and prosperity in the world, war, nationalist propaganda, evil passions, lust for power, hatred, intolerance and mutual distrust between East and West must be eliminated. 251
- 2. How far has science succeeded in controlling evil passions in human nature?
Or what according to Russell are things which are an enemy to human happiness and human progress?
Or The chief causes of violence are love for power, competition hate and fear. 2003
According to Russell there are many evil passions which are an enemy to human happiness and human progress. Some of them are fanaticism, hatred, fear, despair, suspicion, intolerance and lust for power. The fear of war or the fear of the use of atom bomb or hydrogen bomb has been looming over the world since the end of the Second World War. This fear leads to death wish among people. People develop some suspicions about others and can no longer rely upon others. They can’t tolerate difference of opinion in politics and religion. This intolerance leads to disputes and quarrels among people and nations. Suspicion and intolerance is turned into hatred which results in wars. Fanatical creeds also lead to hatred among the people. Lust for power is the source of great trouble in the world.
However, science has, to some extent, controlled or suppressed these evil passions due to spread of education and democracy. Education has helped people suppress fear, suspicion and superstitions. Democracy has trained them to tolerate their religious and political opponents. Democracy has also taught people to share power with others. Therefore, they don’t have intense lust for power. 193
- 4. How does Russell condemn fanatical creeds? (P.U.95)
Or How does Russell prove that all the financial creeds are harmful
to mankind? 2001
Or the desire of fanatical creeds is one of the greatest evils of our time. Discuss
A fanatical creed means a belief based on extreme enthusiasm. The world is full of fanatical creeds and they are very harmful to mankind. They often arise from fear and despair. In history the holders of one fanatical creed have often persecuted the holders of other creeds. In 16th century Roman Catholics and Protestants persecuted each other. Similar was the case in the Roman Empire. Roman Emperors persecuted their rivals. Most of the ancient battles were the outcome of fanatical creeds. The holders of one creed use force against the holders of other creed as they fear to lose power. Priesthood in power wants to maintain status too. Similarly political parties and governments adhere to their fanatical creed and use force against their opponents.
Thus fanatical creed is the most harmful evil of our time. Now we come across Christian and Communist fanatical creeds. Fanaticism also results from fear of atom bomb or hydrogen bomb or despair. It ultimately leads the people to wish for death. It wanes their hope and courage to face life. Hope, courage, love and optimism can rid the people of fanatical creeds. 187
- 5. How far has science succeeded in the banishing poverty from the world?
Science has succeeded in eliminating poverty from European countries, especially America and Britain; but the process is slow in Eastern countries. Poverty can be minimised by raising people’s standard of living. Science has raised people’s standard of living by spreading general education, by increasing production through industry, by curing dangerous diseases, by improving sanitary conditions and by quick transportation methods. Education gives opportunities to young people to use their talent to acquire big posts. It leads them to improve their standard of living. Education opens more chances for employment. Different inventions and discoveries have increased agricultural and industrial production. Science has controlled death rate. Now every family has more earning hands that can improve the lot of the family and thus reduce poverty. Now people are more prosperous than their forefathers. They enjoy more comforts of life than ever before. Science can eliminate poverty totally if it succeeds in ending war from the world. But ending the war from the world seems to be a remote possibility. 167
- 6. Discuss Russell’s views about a single world authority or government.
Bertrand Russell visualised a single world authority or government which could abolish war from the world and solve all the disputes. He proposed that it should control all the military power of the world, maintain an international army and regulate competition in the world. By abolishing war it can remove fear and hatred from the world, leading to peace and prosperity.
Russell’s dream of a single world could not come true during his lifetime. After the disintegration of USSR, America has appeared to be the single superpower in the world. She dictates her policies all over the world through UN, which has become almost a puppet in her hands. She can impose economic sanctions against any country of the world which goes against her policies. Any country can be declared a terrorist state. She declared Lybia and Iran terrorist states. She declared a war against Iraq and imposed economic sanctions against her. After the disintegration of USSR and the end of cold war she has waged an undeclared war against the Muslim states.
Russell’s dream of a single world authority has come true in the form of America. She neither has established an international army nor abolished war. Her policies, especially New World Order are escalating war, rather than abolishing it. As long as she imposes her own policies she can’t solve world problems.
Q.7. Evolution from agriculture to industry was positive and progressive.
Pleasant illusions can do a lot of harm sometimes. Something looks good but actually it is not good. So is the case of science. Science can diminish poverty and excessive hours of labour. Before the development of agriculture, man needed only two or more square meals to keep alive. Then agriculture got technical advancement along with more and better production. But it introduced slavery and serfdom, human sacrifice, absolute monarchy and large wars. It also increased population. Man was used by landowners as their slave for the promotion of agriculture. Then industry came. Evolution from agriculture to industry was positive and progressive. With the growth of industry, democracy developed. It brought a revolution in the lives of people. They got jobs and their living standard improved. Only agriculture could not change the lives of the people. Fortunately, industry and democracy grow together. Standard of life depends mainly on democracy, trade unionism and birth control but these things have always been exploited by the rich. If these three things are extended to the rest of the world, poverty and extended hours of labour can be diminished. Russell says agriculture and progress in industry have solved the problems of man but they failed to end the human misery and unhappiness