Wednesday 16 December 2020

Where is Science Taking Us?


Where is Science Taking Us?


(If the aim of science is the conquest of man’s environment, what should be its ultimate goal?)

When man first began to think, he asked himself the deepest of all questions – a question which you have undoubtedly asked yourself many times: What is the Meaning of Life? What is it all about? Where are we all going? What drives men ever forward to work and worry? And now there’s this other big question – a newer question which is beginning to force itself into our notice. One that is not ages old ….. That has not been with us since man first began to think. It is: Where is Science Taking Us? First, where is science taking us with regard to ethical and spiritual values? We know what it is doing with regard to material things, for material things are its daily business; but what is it doing with regard to non-material things? If the answer were ‘nothing at all,’ that would be bad enough; but the actual answer is ‘less than nothing.’ Here science is actually doing less than nothing. Its material teachings have been so over-emphasized that many people are floundering and wondering whether after all man is but a machine animated by forces over which he has no control. Let’s concentrate on material things, the things that form the very stronghold of science. Look at the machine, for instance. This is the age of the machine. Machine are everywhere – in the fields, in the factory, in the home, in the street, in the city, in the country, everywhere. To fly, it is not necessary to have wings; there are machines. To swim under the sea it is not necessary to have gills, there are machines. To kill our fellow men in overwhelming numbers, there are machines. Petrol machines alone provide ten times more power than all human beings in the world. In the busiest countries, each individual has six hundred human slaves in his machines. What are the consequences of this abnormal power? Before the war, it looked as though it might be possible, for the first time in history, to provide food and clothing and shelter for the teeming population of the world  – every man, woman and child. This would have been one of the greatest triumphs of science. And yet, many a time especially during the war we have seen the world crammed full of food and people hungry. For that’s the way of science and the machine age. Science produces the goods, it makes the goods, but has no control over the consequences. The machine age gives us year by year more hours of leisure but it fails to teach us how to use them. It gives us mechanical habits of mind and represses the spirit of adventure – except along machine-made lines. We will need all our creative powers to think our way out of the social problems which science has created for us. It is science that has given us the unexpected redistribution of the age groups. Almost every year, some modern drug adds a little more to the average span of life, until the upper group is overcrowded. In the United States, for instance, there are already nine million people over the age of sixty. This talk was delivered around the 1950’s. In fifteen years’ time, this number will reach the astonishing figure of forty-five million. Who is to keep them? It will need some readjustment.

And so science goes on raising its problems. Compared with our fundamental question-What is Life? – these problems may seem to be of less importance. But they are not really so. What is happening is that science is creating problems faster than they can be solved. Man is struggling in a sort of vicious circle, always striving to catch up and never getting nearer. And there are no signs that the glut of discoveries is coming to an end. War is the worst example; science has pushed it so far forward that ethics and morals are floundering hopelessly behind. It makes one sometimes ask: What is science really after? What are its aims? What is its goal? Its aims seem to be obvious. They are material, of course.

One aim is the complete understanding, indeed the conquest, of man’s environment; the conquest of everything material, big or small, bringing all powers within man’s reach. The other aim is the understand ding of all the mysteries that lie within the human body – the material mysteries, the innumerable chemical and physical actions that make the body work. If these are the apparent aims of science, surely they cannot represent the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal, if there is such a thing, must be the understanding of everything that makes life worthwhile, the enrichment of all that life means. That goes beyond material things; for man needs more than food and shelter and clothing and the understanding of what goes on within his stomach. What is really needed in the world today, perhaps more than ever before, is not some new world-shattering discovery in nuclear physics, or some breath-taking discovery in chemistry or medicine. The advance for which the world is waiting ; beyond any doubt, is a small advance-a slight advance-in charity, in understanding, forbearance, tolerance, justice and mercy. That is what the world is waiting for, and waiting rather anxiously. But charity, and tolerance, and forbearance, and the understanding of one another are non-material matters. And in non-material things-in the simplest social things-science has been helpless. It cannot even help us to distinguish good from evil. May be this will not always be so. Who knows? It is quite

probable that someday science will effect an improvement in the human brain itself. Not a structural improvement, for in structure the human brain is the greatest miracle of all; its understanding will come last. But there might well be a functional improvement. That is far from fantastic. The advances in science might one day well increase the capacity and reasoning power of the human brain. I should say there is little doubt that man will one day improve on the natural man, raise his intellectual status, and give him greater power of reasoning and understanding. He might have sufficient reason and understanding to abolish war. Whether that will be so, whether and when he will have a better understanding of his fellow men ….. that remains to be seen.

It brings us back to the question: Where is Science Taking Us? Despite the present vicissitudes, we are going somewhere. There are troublesome times ahead. But those who fear for the future are the craven (cowardly) in spirit; for life is becoming more and more interesting, intriguing and exciting. I wish I had another hundred years.

                                 Dr. S.W. Pennycuick From a Broadcast Talk from ADELAIDE, Australia



ethical:     (adj) connected with beliefs and principles about what is right and wrong Is it ethical to promote smoking through advertising?


spiritua:   (adj) connected with the human spirit People have set aside spiritual values and do what they feel like.


animated: (adj):  full of life and activity In the TV show, the cartoons were quite animated.


overwhelming:  (adj) very good or very strong She felt an overwhelming desire to go home.


flounder         (v)to struggle to say something When he was asked difficult questions at the interview, he began to flounder helplessly.


forbearance:    (n) being patient and sympathetic I thanked him for his forbearance.


vicissitude:       (n) change in circumstances We all have to go through all the vicissitudes of our lives.

intriguing:       (adj) unusual but interesting, secret and suspicious The expedition to the Mars has raised intriguing questions.




A.   Comprehension Questions


(i) Answer the following questions in your own words:

1. Why does the author of 'Where is Science Taking US' say that Science is doing less than nothing?

Ans. Science has given man all powers to have control over the physical world. But it has done nothing for the progress of ethical and spiritual values. Therefore, the author says that science is doing less than nothing.


2. What are machines doing for the humans?

Ans. Machines are producing things we need for our daily use in large quantities. They enable us to fly in air and dive into sea water. In fact, machines are responsible for the material progress in this age of technology. But man is also misusing them for killing his fellow men in large number.


3. What is the greatest triumph of Science?

Ans. Machines, which are products of science, possess abnormal power. They provide food, clothing and shelter for the large population of the world. Hence, machine is the greatest triumph of science.


4. What are the consequences of war?

Ans. War causes huge destruction of life and property. War renders people homeless. Hospitals get crowed with wounded people. There is scarcity of food.


5.. “Today the upper age group is overcrowded.” Why?

Ans. Science has helped man to live longer. People do not easily die of serious diseases due to advance of medical science. During to discoveries of medicines and drugs, the average life span has increased. So the upper age group is over crowded.


1.     What has happened to the ethics and morals in the modern world?

Ans. There has been decline in ethics and morals in the modern world. People are running after things. Nobody cares about moral values like charity, tolerance and fellow-feeling.


2.     What is really needed in the world today?

Ans. Moral values like charity, tolerance, justices, mercy and fellow- feeling are really needed in the world today.


8. Why does the author of 'Where is Science Taking Us' wish to live another hundred years?

Ans. The author is optimist. He hopes that life will become more interesting, complicated and exciting in future. He wants to enjoy such a kind of life. So he wants to live another hundred years.


(ii) Answer the following questions in about 50 words each:

1.     List the material triumphs of Science and the non-material necessities to make the world a better place.

Ans. Material triumphs of Science are found in the machines which have given us all things that we need to live a life of ease and comfort. Science has given us more spare time. So it has made our life enjoyable. Science has also increased average span of life by inventing new drugs. But we also need many non-material things like charity, tolerance, justice, mercy and fellow-feeling to make the world better place. In this regard, science has done less than nothing.


2.     What should be the ultimate aim of Science?

Ans. Science should make human life free from want, hunger, poverty, fear and superstition. It should do everything to make man’s life happy and peaceful. Virtues like charity, mercy, tolerance, and justice are real needs of human being. With the progress of these virtues, science should make this world a heaven on the earth. This should be the ultimate aim of Science.


B. Vocabulary Exercises

(i) A synonym is a word which is either identical in sense or has the same meaning as the other word. In the exercise which follows, some words have been taken from this lesson. The synonym of each word under column A rhymes with the other word given under column C. Try to fill up the blanks in column B with the synonyms of words under

A. The first one is done for you. A B C


1. Fury                                      rage                                                page

2. Began                                    …..                                         Parted

3. Consequence                          …..                                        Insult

4. Conquest                                      …..                                          History

5. Ethical                                …..                                           Oral

6. Apparent                                      …..                                          Tedious

7. Tolerate                              …..                                                    Tear

8. Charity                               …..                                          Nation

9. Sufficient                            …..                                          Rough

10. Abolish                                       …..                                         Mend


Ans.1.  Rage                                               6.  Obvious


2.. started                                         7. Bear


3. results                                           8. Donation


4. victory                                          9. Enough


5. moral                                            10. End



(ii) Match the words under A with their antonyms under B:

       A                                            B

Material                        destructive


Forward                        defeat


Necessary                      more


Creative                         unnecessary


Triumph                       spiritual


Less                               backward


Obvious                         injustice


Ultimate                        dull


Justice                           initial


Improvement unclear exciting deterioration




Material                         spiritual


Forward                        backward


Necessary                      unnecessary


Creative                         destructive 


Triumph                       defeat


Less                               more          


Obvious                         dull  


Ultimate                        initial


Justice                           injustice





(iii) Look at the italicized words in the following sentences:


1. To kill our fellowmen in overwhelming numbers, there are machines.


2. Material teachings have been over-emphasized.


3. What is needed today is not some new world-shattering discovery in nuclear Physics or some breath-taking discovery in chemistry or medicine …. These are compound words. They are formed by joining two simple words. An addition to the beginning of the word is a prefix and an addition to the ending is a suffix. See if you can make some more meaningful words by using over and under as

prefix or suffix


 ……… arm                                  

  ….. come

  ………    do                                                                                      …….line

  ………. ground                                                                                pull ……. 

  ……estimate                                                                                     ………… age

  …… statement                                                                        ……..pants  

  ……….current                                                                       ………charge


C. Grammar Exercises

(i) Rewrite the following in Direct speech:


a. The minister said that he had spoken about the rights of the citizens in a democracy. He went on to say that he must speak about the citizen’s responsibilities too.

Ans. The minister said,” I have spoken about the rights of the citizens in a democracy. I must speak about the citizen’s responsibilities.”


b. My mother advised me not to waste my time during the holidays but to do some useful reading.

Ans. My mother said to me, “Do not to waste your time during the holidays, but do some useful reading.”


c. The school inspector said that he had been very pleased with the school. He added that he wished to congratulate the principal and the staff.

Ans. The school inspector said,” that I have been very pleased with the school. I wish to congratulate the principal and the staff.”


d. The boys said to the teacher that they hadn’t understood the question and they requested her to explain it once more.

Ans. The boys said to the teacher,” we have not understood the question, please explain it once more.”


(ii) Change the voice in the following sentences:


1. He has passed the examination.

The examination has been passed by him.


2. You must speak the truth.

Ans. The truth must be spoken by you.


3. You should follow your uncle’s advice.

Ans. Your uncle’s advice should be followed by you.


4. She can sing a song now.

Ans. A song can be sung by her now.


5. Ram will pass the test.

Ans. The test will be passed by Ram.


6. Why did you abuse him?

Ans. Why was he abused by you?


1.     I have to do it.

Ans. It has to be done by me.


8. He will be arrested soon.

Ans. The police will arrest him soon.


9. She cannot tell a lie.

Ans. A lie cannot be told by her.


7.     This must be accepted.

Ans. You must accept this.


(iii) Put the words in the brackets into the ‘be-going to’ form (Present Tense)


a. You (miss) your bus.

Ans. You are going to miss your bus.


b. The man with a brick in his hand (throw) it at the dog.

Ans. The man with a brick in his hand is going to throw it at the dog.


c. We are wearing red clothes and the bull (attack) us.

Ans. We are wearing red clothes and the bull is going to attack us.


d. I (not sleep) in this room, it is dirty.

Ans. I am not going to sleep in this room, it is dirty.


e. Due to some technical fault, the aeroplane (crash).

Ans. Due to some technical fault, the aeroplane is going to crash.


f. They (make) a lot of money out of this deal.

Ans. They are going to make a lot of money out of this deal.


g. I (collect) my new dress this evening.

Ans. I am going to collect my new dress this evening.


h. I’ve reminded you once; I (not do) it again.

Ans. I’ve reminded you once; I am not going do it again.


i.                   He (smuggle) this gold out of the country.

Ans. He is going to smuggle this gold out of the country.


j. Look at the clouds. It (rain)

Ans. Look at the clouds. It is going to rain.


D. Pronunciation Practice


Note that the words given below contain the vowel sound /i:/, long vowel sound as in beat, seat, heat,  keep etc. Say these words aloud: each weep receive police foetus lead keep brief ravine people sea tree siege ski quay (pronounced like key) Note that the same sound has different spellings in different words.


E. Creative Writing and Extended Reading


1. Write a short essay on any one of the following topics:


a. Science and Human Happiness

b. Advantages and Disadvantages of Science

c. Your Idea of Happiness



2. Discuss the following topics with some of your class fellows under the guidance of your teacher.


a. Is man really happier today than his forefathers?

b. Man today is not a master, but a slave of the machines.


3. Put together your ideas on the following topic with the help of a table: Science Advantages and Disadvantages


4. On the basis of the above ideas, sum up the topic “Science and Human Happiness”. You have to consider: how much has science added to human happiness?


5. (a) With another classmate, make a chart showing what man can do and what machines can do. Later compare this chart with those made by other classmates.

(b) Divide your class into two groups. One group can prepare to speak “for” and the other “against” the topic. ‘We are happier than our forefathers.’


6. See some pictures of World Wars on the Internet. What do you see about the weapons, machines etc. used in these wars? Some of you can tell the class about the use/misuse of Science in wars.



Just a little fun:

Doctor Bell fell down

The well and broke his collar-bone.

Doctors should attend the sick

And leave the well alone.