For over a century, science and technology have largely been responsible for the rapid improvement and development in economic competitiveness and national living standards in most countries in the world. However, the cost of such great progress is not only measure in economic terms, but is also measured in social and human terms, as well. The world today heavily depends on these scientific advancements and developments; thus, if their long-term political and physical consequences are not controlled and well monitored, then their forces might be hugely as destructive as they are progressive with regards to world peace as well as on the well-being of humanity (Islamic Republic News Agency). It is true that, since the 17th century, science and scientist have played a role both in helping promote world peace as well as in supporting wars; likewise, the military has been a key promoter of science such as the advancements in nuclear science, space science, as well as in the development of antibiotics and radar technologies. The question, however, is whether or not scientists and science can be trusted to foster world peace and ensure the well-being of humanity.
Indeed, technology and science have an important role to play in promoting peace, progress and the well-being of humanity; for instance, ensuring food security, sanitation, dealing with climate change, disaster preparedness, disarmament, and public health. Science and scientists have been able to bring and can still bring many important solutions to the challenges that the world faces today; however, their efforts often go unnoticed, and a huge chunk of the world is cut-off from this reality (Islamic Republic News Agency). Science also offers a lot of answers to most of threats that countries in the world share, as well as many innovations and inventions that can help us exploit common opportunities. Advances in science also affect security, peace, human rights; threaten global resources, social and economic development, and other many aspects of life important in ensuring the well-being of humanity. These advancements in science and the work that scientists play can be used for the betterment of man, economically, physically, and socially, but they can also be used for the detriment as well as the ultimate destruction.
Science can be utilized for the promotion of peace and the well-being of humanity, if scientists are encouraged to pursue constructive objectives such as those aimed at improving the climate for disarmament and arms control (“Promoting Peace through Science”). They can also work towards constructive aims to promote amicable dialogue on important issues and topics related to the positive contributions that the knowledge of science can make with regards to peace, ecological balance, security, and general well-being of humanity.
There are scientists who have used their influence and scientific knowledge to inform political and social discourses. One such scientist is Albert Einstein, one of the greatest scientists to have ever lived. Einstein used his celebrity status, which he obtained through scientific discoveries to advance his political and social ideas. He lived at the time of World war I, World War II, and the period in which nuclear weapons were created and used; a time when the world did not know peace (Krieger 1-6). During this time, and in his later year, Einstein fervently advocated for peace and policies that were aimed at promoting world peace. He also strongly supported human rights and the well-being of humanity. Likewise, today, there are scientists that make attempts of using science to promote world peace. It is argued that scientific knowledge and exchange is not bound by any boundaries; thus, it can be used to promote understanding and interactions across boundaries. For instance, promoting peace between the Palestinians and Israelis is a tough call, but there several international efforts that have been made in order to foster peace-building and collaboration through, medical, technological, and scientific endeavours in those countries and in that region. For example, there is the project, SESAME, which resulted in the construction of a particle accelerator in Jordan by scientists from both Israel and Palestine’s (Berg). Additionally, the work that OPCW, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, plays in the overseeing of destruction of chemical weapons such as the one currently it did in Syria, have helped eliminate more that 80% of chemical stockpile in the world. This shows that science and scientists have an important role to play with regards to driving important diplomatic breakthroughs. These examples and many others not discussed here, show and are a proof that; indeed, science and scientists both play a vital role in the promotion of world peace and in ensuring the well-being of humanity.
However, without denying science and scientists their due importance, it is not possible to trust science and scientists with the fostering of world peace and the humanity’s well-being. This is so because, even with the advances and developments in science that we have today, we are still confronted with same old sad news of crime, violence, terrorism, wars, and disasters all over the world. Despite the wonders that science and scientists have done, human problems still persist; in fact, more serious problems emanate from those countries that are more scientifically advanced. Science alone is not sufficient since we are yet to succeed in ensuring that there is peace and that human suffering is alleviated (The Dalai Lama). There is no denying that science and scientists have immensely contributed to the overall well-being, material comfort of mankind, and to the greater understanding of the world. Putting too much emphasis and trust on science and scientists would put the world in danger of being out of touch with other aspects of human understanding and knowledge that aspire towards altruism and honesty. Therefore, to ensure world peace, humanitarian and spiritual values should be nurtured instead; we should endeavour to transform human attitudes (The Dalai Lama). These values have hugely shaped civilization of the world in all aspects.
- Berg, Dirk Jan van den. “Syria Chemical Weapons Teams Show How Science Can Boost Peace.” CNN. 2013. Web. 16 Feb. 2014.
- Islamic Republic News Agency. “UN Chief Stresses Role of Science, Technology in Promoting Peace, Progess.” Islamic Republic News Agency 10 Nov. 2011.
- Krieger, David. EINSTEIN: MAN OF PEACE. New York, 2008. Print.
- “Promoting Peace through Science.” Nature Immunology 8 (2007): 895.
- The Dalai Lama. “A Human Approach to World Peace.” dalailama.com. 2013. Web. 16 Feb. 2014.