Science lessons must be part of ethics teaching too!
Sciences have been held up as glamour knowledge. But science today is different from yester years. Today,science and technologies have also led to many problems.In India sciences were held as holy cows.They are no more.In today’s world we confront several issues that fall outside pure sciences and pure technologies.
The new science of molecular biology has raised many such issues. You can’t manipulate science too much.Biotechnology manipulation has its own dangers like bioterrorism, warns the Nobel Laureate. Sciences give better jobs, yes, Then, there is a limit to seek profits from sciences.There must be the joys of knowledge, discoveries and making it big in sciences. Winning Nobel Prizes must be an aspiration for young scientists in India. So we say:teach today’s sciences as part of some humanities issues too.Like raise moral issues on human cloning and debate what biotechnology can do and what it cannot and should not do?
There are issues for which there is no easy answer. So, what the scientists or technologists do need to be assessed by moral philosophers, judiciary needs consultation with philosophers, as they do in UK.
Only in India we see the strict castes of scientists and the humanities experts. We have here the knowledge seeking:pure cramming, tuitions and exams and job seeking grind!
Science : teaching, research and opinion-making calls for more dedicated science leaders!
We have lots of great scientists! This much we concede.What we can’t concede is the type of mindset of Indian scientists!
Indian scientists conduct themselves not as thought leaders. Their first loyalty seems to be to the government of the day. The government that pays them! Their loyalty is not to their convictions, their beliefs, their own disillusionments! They never criticise the government nor the dominant prejudices or public opinions based on wrong premises. Some of the top scientists seem to openly align themselves with caste and religious denominations!
Why we say these things?There was recently a great scientist namely, Dr.Sydney Brenner the Nobel Prize winning genetist who spoke so openly about some of the common prejudices and superstitions that prevail over the new science of biotechnology.
He came and didn’t deliver a sweet speech in which our scientists excell. He delivered a series of warnings about the misconception of biotechnology, the new science that is just 50 years old,the moecular biology is just 25 years old, biotechnology is just a newer one to provide so many practical solutions.
But warned Brenner:not quick profits, it is not good, nor human cloning, it is foolish mistake to go for it. Then, he warned:don’t get excited by genetics.Try to learn to live with nature in harmony. Food production through biotechnology? No need,he said. There is already plenty of food, Americans are dying with obesity. It is a question of sharing and distribution.
We have science teaching in our schools. There is distressing news reports about how the 12 std and PUC students suffer at the hands of tuition classes all through their summer vacations just to go through the science courses.Most students forsake their summer holidays! This is no way of teaching science. But then, like all other things, Indian education has a way of killing all joys of learning.
We are not sure what sciences are favoured by youngsters these days.
We suspect students take science courses to become either doctors or some other big-money giving jobs. May be engineering course also have some use for science,we don’t know.