Human beings are beings possessing intention. This is one of mankind's unique qualities. This means the search for knowledge cannot be totally without values. Because human beings are the highest kind of being, capable of attaining a realization of the truth and the highest good, they should aspire to realize this potential.
As long as science lacks clarity on its position in relation to values, and yet exists within a world of values, it will have its direction determined by other interests. As a result, scientists wilt feel cheated and frustrated in the pursuit of their research, As long as industry is society's 'star player', it can exert a powerful indolence over science, through government channels, with its influence over government policies, and through final institutions, with grants for scientific research. For example, if a scientific institute submits a proposal for research in a particular field, but such research is not in the interests of industry, the industrial sector has the power to withhold support, thus pressuring the government to do likewise. When this happens the scientists may get discouraged and end up like Sir Isaac Newton.
Now Edmond Halley, the scientist who predicted the cycles of the comet named after him, saw the value of Newton's work, and so he went to Newton and comforted and encouraged him, until Newton began to feel more heartened, and started to work on the momentous book, Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica.
But then, when he had only finished two thirds of the manuscript, another scientist, who, during the twenty-two years that Newton had refused to put his ideas to print, had come to an understanding of the Law of Gravity and calculus, claimed that he had discovered all this before Newton.
When Newton heard this he went off into another sulk. He wasn't going to write the book after all. He had only written two thirds of it, when he gave up once more. Halley had to go to him again and give him another pep talk to coax him into continuing his work, after which he finally completed it.
This is a good example of how values can completely overwhelm a scientist, with repercussions for the whole scientific world. If Newton, who was a genius, had had a strong heart, not giving in to feelings of hurt and indignation, he may have been able to give the scientific world so much more than he did, but because of his moods he threw science away for over twenty years.
In the present time, when the industrial and financial sectors are all-powerful, science must have the strength of its own values to prevent external values from overwhelming it. In this age of environmental ruin, some of the truths being discovered by science may not be in the interests of some of the industrial and financial sectors.
We hear statements in the USA by certain research teams that the greenhouse scare is unfounded; that the world isn't gating to heat up, they have results from their research to prove it. Then, at a later time, another group of researchers tells us that the first group was influenced by financial considerations from certain industrial sectors in the assessment of its results. The situation is very complicated. Personal advantage begins to play a role in scientific research, and subjects it even more to the influence of values. Even the knowledge and research being conducted in the present time concerning the environmental situation is a concern of values; that is, it is dedicated to realizing specific needs, but in this case they are positive or constructive values.
At the very least, ethics teaches scientists to have a pure aspiration for knowledge. This is the most powerful force the progress of science can have. At the present moment we are surrounded by a world which is teeming with values, mostly negative. In the past, science and industry worked together, like husband and wife. There were great advances. Industry spurred science on, and science helped industry to grow. But in the coming age, because some of the interests of industry are becoming a problem in the natural environment, and because science is being questioned about this, the answers to some of these questions are going to embarrass the industrial sector. It may be necessary for science and industry to part their ways, or at least to experience some tension in their relationship. Science may be forced to find a new friend, one who will help and encourage it to find knowledge that is useful to the human race.
As science approaches the frontiers of the mind, the question arises, Will science recognize the sixth sense and the data which are experienced there? Or will scientists continue to try to verify moods and thoughts by looking at the chemicals secreted by the brain, or measuring the brain's waves on a machine, and thereby looking at mere shadows of the truth?'' This would be like trying to study a stone from the plops' it makes in the water, or from the ripples that arise on the water's surface. They might measure the waves tacit correspond to stones of different sizea - if there is such a sound that means the stone must be of such a size - they might turn it into a mathematical equation, predicting the size of stones, corresponding to the various plops! in the water, or estimating the mass of the stone that's fallen into the water by measuring the ripples extending from it.
Has this been the approach of science's study of nature? The fact is, they never actually pick up a stone! If this is the case, science may have to take a look at some of the ways of observing and experimenting used in other traditions, such as Buddhism, which maintains that observation and experiment carried out from direct experience in the mind is a valid wayof observing the laws of nature.
...It is not necessary for science to try to
evade values. It is more a mater of trying to
clarify the values that science does have...
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