Will Science Exterminate Mankind?

By Christopher Zoukis

In the 19th century, Thomas Love Peacock, the author of numerous social satires, made the following observation.  “I almost think it is the ultimate destiny of Science to exterminate the human race.”  Approximately one hundred years later, having just witnessed the power of an atomic explosion, a famous physicist made a similar observation.  The physicist’s name was Robert Oppenheimer.  He said, “I have become death, the destroyer of worlds” (Sherwin 501).

Both men believed that Science, if left to its own devices, would probably annihilate mankind.  Many others agreed, while still others disagreed.  Literature is replete with end-of-the-world scenarios, in which humanity is responsible for its own demise.  And of course, Hollywood picked up on the theme, producing myriad apocalyptic blockbusters.  These books and movies reflect a simple proposition, that of cause and effect.  The effect is the extermination of the human race.  The cause is Science run amok. 

Science is responsible for thermonuclear weapons, bio-chemical weapons, the slow destruction of the ozone layer, and the pollution of the earth.  And even worse horrors are on the horizon.  Science is already engaged in genetic experiments, bio-engineering of foods, time-space travel, and promises that nanotechnology will soon be a reality.

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