Science - Is it the Messiah?
I am required to design and edit a magazine individually as apart of my graduation and the ideas have to be professional and original .I wrote the article below for this magazine.The magazine is called SCOPE.Check it out and let me know what you think.

The Twenty first century feels like a let down. We were promised flying cars traveling with the speed of light,space colonies,virtual reality tours etc..Robots were supposed to do our chores,except when they were rebelling. Children were supposed to learn about diseases from history books. Portable fusion reactors were supposed to be on sale at home depots. Even dystopian visions of the future predicted leaps of technology and social organization that seem to leave our era in dust.
Looking beyond the whirring lights and gizmo's,though the new century is shaping up as one of the most amazing periods in human history. After several centuries of faster than exponential growth humanity has grown into a master of the planet. The great transitions set in motion by the Industrial revolution are reaching their culmination .Let us take a small example for this.
Every morning i wake up up to the sound of the digital alarm and take a hot water bath in a geyser.i quickly dress up and have break fast of bread and eggs cooked in a toaster and microwave. I drive my car navigating thorough perpetually growing traffic regulated by automatic signals to my office and use the elevator to get to my fifth floor air conditioned cubicle. There go over the days appointment on my palm held PDA,and check for e-mails(not to mention the spam) and and other work. I finally get down to work. During the course of my work i work with various gadgets(with seem to be simply getting smaller by the day) like a calculator,fax,computer etc..when my work is finished for the day i get back home ,grab the remote control to the television and DVD for a much needed rest. This is just any other day in my life made simple thanks to science and technology.
In this way all of us cope with science and technology in our every day life. All of us are aware how science has made life smooth and easy for us in the Twenty first century. Most of us born around the 1980s are very fortunate .We witnessed the prime time of science in the prime of our youth.
But what exactly is this "science"?
In essence science is nothing more than a method of inquiry.This method says that an assertion is valid and merits universal acceptance ifand only if it can be in dependently verified.The impersonal rigour of the method means it is utterly apolitical.A truth in science is verifiable whether you are white or black,male or female,old or young.
And again what is the need for this "method of inquiry" or what we call science?
In this vein let me tell you a story.
Once the scientist Bertrand Russel was giving a public lecture on astronomy described how the earth and other planets revolved around the sun and how the sun in turn orbits round the center of a vast collection of stars called the milky way galaxy. At the end of the lecture an old lady at the back of the room got up and said "What you have told is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a tortoise".the scientist gave a superior smile before replying"And what is the tortoise standing on"."you are very clever young man,very clever" said the old lady "but it is turtles all the way down.
Today most of us would find the idea of a flat world supported on a pillar of tortoises rather ridiculous. But why do we think we know better than the old lady?.What do we know about the universe that she didn't?And how do we know it? Where did the universe come from and where is it going? Did it have a beginning and will it have and end?How did we humans,animals,birds and plants evolve?
It is here that science makes its impact. Breakthroughs in science,made possible in part by fantastic new technologies suggest answers to some of these long standing questions. Some day the answers may seem obvious like the earth orbiting the sun or perhaps as ridiculous as a tower of tortoises. Only time will tell. Gone are the days of the stone,iron and bronze ages. we have zoomed past the industrial age into the information age with the help of scientific advancement and technology.
When in the 1940's the first computers were beginning to be built,the computer makers predicted that about five computers,one in every major continent would do the computing work for the entire world. But today Ironically we have billions of computers in education institutes,factories and homes most of them linked by the communications network we call Internet sharing millions of bytes of information each day. The day is not far away when there is a computer in every home and office.
Some time in the near future our search for scientific knowledge will collide with our growing technological power. One area where I suppose this will happen is the fields of Computer technology,AI,Nano technology and Biotechnology .What all the four have in common is the ability to produce self replicated,intelligent and evolving entities. Nano technology and AI are the newest of these technologies and in some ways the the most radical. It is the quest to build machines of extremely small size of about 100 nanometers or a hundredth billion of a meter. Pundits predict that these machines will provide everything from miniature computer components,new disease treating drugs to weapons of war. As of now nano technology is already being used to make sunscreens,strain resistant fabrics and composite materials in cars. Soon they will be used to make computers, storage devices,cellular phones. watches,of extremely small sizes.
At the moment nano technology is primarily a materials technology. But its potential goes beyond that.For decades there has been speculation about the integration of Nano,Bio,Computer technologies with AI to produce what we would like to call Robots. In 1980 a NASA paper discussed this.
excerpts fom the paper...
"Within fifty years a new class of artificial organisms will emerge. These will be artificial in the sense that they will originally be designed by humans. However over time they will evolve into something other than their original form. They will be "Alive".their pace of evolutionary change will be extremely rapid. the impact of on humanity and the biosphere could be enormous,larger than the industrial revolution,nuclear weapons or environmental pollution. We must take steps now to share the emergence of this artificial organism"
The Twenty first century will be a century of change. More things will change in more places in the next 10 years than they did in the previous 100.We are on the threshold of a new dawn. But all through these years,science has not only seen development but also had its falls. Alston Chase once said
"When the search for truth is confused with political advocacy the pursuit of knowledge is reduced to the quest for power"
The past history of human belief is a cautionary tale. We have killed thousands of our fellow human beings because we believed they had signed a contract with the devil and had become witches. Just a century ago a new theory emerged know as"eugenics".Eugenics postulated a crisis of the "gene pool" leading to a "detoriation of the human race".the best human beings were not breeding as quickly as the inferior ones-the jews, foreigners,immigrants. degenerates and unfits. it was first put forward by Francis Galton a British scientist was soon adopted "science minded" Americans as well as those who had no interest in science but who were worried about immigration of inferior races in the early Twentieth century .This was soon again adopted by Hitler to further the theory of his "master race".This paved the way for the massacre of millions of men,women and children in what is today known the world over as "The Holocaust".After the second world war nobody was a eugenicist,nobody had ever been a eugenicist. Eugenics ceased to be a subject for class rooms ans research,although some argue that its ideas continue to have currency in disguised form.
Eugenics had little basis in science or fact. There was no hard research backing it.Infact nobody at that time knew what exactly a "gene" was. The Eugenics program was really a social program masquarading as a scientific one.What drove it was concerns about immigration and racism. It can be phenomenally dangerous when you start to take as policy something you want to happen and begin to claim it's science-based. Science has to stay independent, it has to stay focused on the data and it cannot be involved in where this is going to lead. In those days it was immigration policy and the "gene pool." Today we face a new theory about climate change and environmental instability which has little in fact and much in guess.A guess is but just a guess. We need hard fact to back it. We need science. Keep the politics out of it.
This is the danger we now face. And that is why intermixing of science and politics is a bad combination,with a bad history. We must be certain that what we present to the world as knowledge is disinterested and honest. In my view there is only one hope for mankind to emerge from what Carl Sagan called the "demon haunted world of our past".That hope is science.
-Magnus aka The Scribe