by Evans Yonson
(Note: This is the last piece of the Academic Saturday series.)
I woke up early this morning by the sound of my electric alarm clock which has a built-in radio/CD system that automatically plays my preferred music at the time I set the night before. I took a hot shower and used liquid body soap and shampooed my hair and rinsed it with a conditioner. I dried myself using a towel made up of synthetic cotton. I put on a deodorant. I brushed my teeth with toothpaste that is mint-flavored. I dressed up with a white 100% cotton underwear and t-shirt, a sheep’s wool sweater, a black corduroy pants, a pair of black cotton socks, and a pure leather black shoes. For breakfast, I sat down on a pre-fabricated table set from Turkey sold by a Swedish company in Barcelona. I took a 100% fat-free skimmed milk from Portugal with a teaspoon of Colombian coffee and sweetened it with honey from the south of France. After eating my Nicaraguan banana, I stood up and got ready for school. By the time I wake up till I reached school or any destination, science is there most of the time.
Is science all too good? Or does it have its bad side too? As social scientists, what are we to do? As ordinary citizens, what are expected of us?
There are always two sides of things. Yin and yang. Up and down. Left and right. Right and wrong. Science is good. Science is bad too. Today, human beings are enjoying the fruits of scientific discoveries of the years past. Like in the field of medicine, the discovery of penicillin led to better quality of life of all. It is human nature that if a problem arises, we immediately investigate and explore for solutions with or without the awareness of the consequences of such acts. Let’s take for example the idea of mobility. If one can afford to buy a car, because he/she wants to be more mobile and gets more access to public places, then purchases the car. In a 2007 statistics, there were 478 cars per 1000 individuals or 2 individuals per car. Considering that these automobiles offer mobility and faster transfer of individuals from one point to another, than the regular bus and train public transportation. It has also been expected that there will be more cars sold/purchased immediately after the financial crisis in the late 2008. Prices of cars have dropped and fuel prices have on steady decline. Air pollution is expected to worsen. Science brought good (for the moment of need) and bad things (during and/or immediately after the need has been satisfied) to human beings. Sometimes we fail to acknowledge the long-term effects of things because we are overshadowed by the fulfillment we derive from all these momentarily.
As social scientists, I believe that we continue to research for what benefits the society at the same time continuing to study what effects these things might have in our society. Science is after all a never ending cycle of research. One good thing leads to another – good or bad. Research never stops. We never cease to inform and make society aware of our research findings.
As human beings, we always want to elevate ourselves into a higher plane. We need to be responsible members of society by being aware of the consequences of the things that matter not only to ourselves but for the majority of the society. I remember attending a seminar in UB Campus Mundet with Joaquim Sempere where he mentioned that prevention is the solution. We should try to do our own share of making science a good field. We know the consequences then we should prevent the realization of the bad effects it may have on ourselves, in particular and the society, in general. We can always try to cut down our personal consumption of physical and environment hazardous things like food, clothing, tobacco, fuel, etc. Some skeptics would always reason out that who cares if science will eventually find a solution to our problems in the present. I care because I want a quality life while I am at it.