Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Lesson from History

The speaker has shown that the coming together of different cultures can lead to the development and improvement of modern sciences. However, I believe history is studied to tell us something, for us to learn and to create a better future. Therefore the speaker should draw a moral conclusion from his study. The lesson that I can conclude is that the advancement that leads to modern science is unlikely by just relying on one culture, one civilisation.
The culture of civilisations at any time should be distinct enough to enable the thinkers and scientists of that time to think in very different ways. From there, the different view points on the same topics can be produced and when a meeting of culture happens, the ideas can be combined, argued, and compared to advance the best idea, theory or even create a better one with the ideas available.
I feel that the speaker did not make the connection of this to what is happening now.
With the advent of the internet and the trend towards globalisation, many cultures are meeting at the same time, thus producing a lot of output in terms of the advancement in sciences. Universities tend to hold international conferences and dialogues for researches, this way, a lot of ideas are communicated freely and progress are made fast. The surges of ideas exchanged and the increased advancement of science can be clearly seen now as in the case of the Large Hadron Collider where physicist from many countries come together to discover the fundamental theory of the universe.
However, as globalisation progresses, the cultures of the world are slowly unifying. Even though there will always be individual thinkers, it might be harder to think of the something that others had not already thought of as everyone tends to share the same unshakable unspoken assumptions. They simply cannot think out of the box. Then the progress of science would slow down considerably, and science might have to rely on the occasional genius like Einstein to break our everyday notion of the absoluteness of some principles like absolute time.
This implies that maybe it might not be very good for scientific advance that the world is heading towards globalisation. But certainly, more research needs to be done in this respect.
This research is important to clarify these questions. Does world peace or world government come at a price of scientific advancement? And if so is it worth it? Furthermore, will the momentum of science be stopped eventually and forced to turn back? Will the events similar to Asimov’s Foundation series in which a great empire collapsed due to lack of advancements of science happen? Is it inevitable or can we somehow avoid it?
Of course this whole speculation is based on the assumption that science is advanced based on different viewpoints of scientist. This is indirectly implied from the topic of the speaker, “The Dialogue of Civilizations in the Birth of Modern Science” and is also open to research.

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