The Instigator
RangersHockey
Pro (for)
Tied
1 Points
The Contender
Z-man
Con (against)
Tied
1 Points

Is Science Essential to Humanity

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/4/2013 Category: Science
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,436 times Debate No: 36363
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (2)

 

RangersHockey

Pro

You said it yourself, science has done wonders for humanity. Our life expectancy has gone from the 30s in medieval Europe to 70+ in most industrialized countries today. The flu used to be a death sentence. Now, with a little help from Tylenol, it's a minor irritation. Vaccines have prevented millions, maybe billions of deaths. Antibiotics, maybe more. We now know our entire DNA sequence, which will come in handy if we want to cure cancer or other usually fatal, non-viral/bacterial diseases. We sent people to the Moon, many times, and we will send humans to Mars soon, within our lifetimes. Maybe we'll reach the stars before I die. Science is the catalyst for economic development. The Industrial Revolution was sparked by many inventions all at the same time. The Internet was the product of science. The military could not exist without basic science.

Science is the backbone for our daily life. You may not know it, but hitting two rocks together is an example of science at work. Physics explain what happens when the rocks hit. Chemistry and geology tell us what rocks to hit together to make fire.

Science is the difference between living in trees and caves and our modern industrialized world. We need science to understand what happens in the world and what causes it. I'm not Christian, but I highly doubt a God made such an amazing world and universe for us NOT to study and explore it.
Z-man

Con

I will not deny that scientific study has greatly impacted the daily lives of humans. However, I argue that science is not essential to humanity. Without science, humans might not study and explore the world, but that isn't required to be human. For most of the time that humans have been on Earth, there has been no science. Although early humans had shorter life spans and less sophisticated technology, they survived.

You can't assume that a God made a world for humans to study and explore. This debate isn't about God, it's about science. I find it unreasonable to assume that humans are nothing without science. Humans can do many things without studying and exploring the world, and many humans do. There are still primitive societies in the world with no understanding of science that manage to survive.

Science is important to humanity, but it is not required for humanity.

Thank you for challenging me to this debate, and I await the next round.
Debate Round No. 1
RangersHockey

Pro

"I will not deny that scientific study has greatly impacted the daily lives of humans. However, I argue that science is not essential to humanity. Without science, humans might not study and explore the world, but that isn't required to be human. For most of the time that humans have been on Earth, there has been no science. Although early humans had shorter life spans and less sophisticated technology, they survived."

Without science, we probably don't survive out of the Ice Age. How else would we learn to adapt to our changing world? I disagree that science and knowledge isn't required to be human. If we don't have knowledge, what makes us different from chimpanzees? We can argue the definition of humanity more in depth later if you like, but I think exploration and learning is part of our species' nature and what got us here, to being the dominant species on the planet, in the solar system even.

"I find it unreasonable to assume that humans are nothing without science. Humans can do many things without studying and exploring the world, and many humans do."

Like what? Being nomadic hunter-gatherers who don't even have basic weapons to hunt with? Who live in caves because they don't know how to build a structure? Everything we do today is based on scientific innovations from people before us.

"There are still primitive societies in the world with no understanding of science that manage to survive."

They barely survive. What happens when a plague strikes, or a pack of deadly predators move in, or when the Earth gets hotter/colder? How can they survive if they don't even understand what's happening? Many of these societies have at least a basic understanding of science, they can make fire, build shelters, etc.

Science is the foundation of what it means to be human.
Z-man

Con

In this round, I will attempt to address each point you made in Round 2 one at a time.

"Without science, we probably don't survive out of the Ice Age. How else would we learn to adapt to our changing world?"

You defined science as "the study of the natural world". I argue that humans survived the Ice Age because of evolutionary instincts rather than scientific study. I don't think that early humans were studying anything, they were just doing what was necessary to survive. Do you have any evidence to suggest that humans in the Ice Age were scientists?

"I disagree that science and knowledge isn't required to be human. If we don't have knowledge, what makes us different from chimpanzees? We can argue the definition of humanity more in depth later if you like, but I think exploration and learning is part of our species' nature and what got us here, to being the dominant species on the planet, in the solar system even."

Humans are different from Chimpanzees because of DNA, not because of what humans do with their time. Maybe humans wouldn't be the dominant species without science, but they would still be human.

"Like what? Being nomadic hunter-gatherers who don't even have basic weapons to hunt with? Who live in caves because they don't know how to build a structure? Everything we do today is based on scientific innovations from people before us."

This debate is not discussing what humans would be without science, but merely if humans could exist without science. Please don't think of me as being anti-science. I like science, and I'm not saying for a moment that humans would be better off without it. I am just arguing that science is not absolutely essential to humanity as a whole.

"They barely survive. What happens when a plague strikes, or a pack of deadly predators move in, or when the Earth gets hotter/colder? How can they survive if they don't even understand what's happening? Many of these societies have at least a basic understanding of science, they can make fire, build shelters, etc."

Evolution has gave humans basic survival instincts that they can use to survive. If a plague strikes, some people are naturally immune. If deadly predators move in, humans fight or flee. If the Earth gets hotter/colder, humans migrate. These decisions aren't because humans of studied the situation and decided what to do using the scientific method, but simply because human instincts tell them to do certain things. When primitive societies use fire, they do it without understanding the scientific how's and whys behind it. They build shelters without knowing the physics explanation. I argue that making use of the natural world is not science. If a human walks, they don't need to know which muscles they are moving. They just walk.

"Science is the foundation of what it means to be human."

That is your opinion on what it means to be human. Someone else might think that walking upright or having opposable thumbs is the foundation of what it means to be human. Science isn't the only thing unique to the human species. Do you have evidence to suggest that science is the foundation of what it means to be human?

Thank you for what so far is a challenging and fascinating debate, and I await the last round.
Debate Round No. 2
RangersHockey

Pro

I argue that the scientific method is an extension of basic survival instincts and thought processes used for survival. It's simply the thought process in formal wording. Therefore, primitive humans still use the scientific method, they just don't realize it or publish their work. Humans do need to understand the how and why fire happens. You can't just use any two random rocks to make fire, you need to know which type of rock and why you can't use that one over there.

Humans aren't exempt from survival of the fittest. Science makes us the fittest, and without it, we won't survive. A primitive human needs to know how to best design his shelter, otherwise he gets eaten by a lion in his sleep or gets crushed when it collapses on him.

"Evolution has gave humans basic survival instincts that they can use to survive. If a plague strikes, some people are naturally immune. If deadly predators move in, humans fight or flee. If the Earth gets hotter/colder, humans migrate. These decisions aren't because humans of studied the situation and decided what to do using the scientific method, but simply because human instincts tell them to do certain things."

Their instincts tell them to do things because they've arrived at a conclusion, after thinking (even for less than a second) about it, analyzing the evidence. That's the scientific method. In all the scenarios and all your rebuttals, humans have had to think about the problem and use the scientific method in their minds. Although, instincts don't tell your body to automatically become immune. I'll substitute the humans quarantining or simply moving away from the infected individuals. That required them to look at the evidence that disease spreads from close contact. Then they came to the conclusion that a disease can't spread if it's too far away from any potential hosts. Scientific method.

"They build shelters without knowing the physics explanation. I argue that making use of the natural world is not science."

Well, you can't build a shelter if you don't know that you can't put everything on one column and expect it to stand.

How can you make use of the natural world if you don't even understand it? That's like me using my TV but I don't know that the ON/OFF button on the remote does just that. You need to understand something in order to use it.

"That is your opinion on what it means to be human. Someone else might think that walking upright or having opposable thumbs is the foundation of what it means to be human."

Little nitpicky, but IIRC orangutans and some other primates have opposable thumbs, and we're far from being the only bipedal species.

"Thank you for what so far is a challenging and fascinating debate, and I await the last round."

Right back at you.
Z-man

Con

If, supposedly, primitive humans used some basic scientific observation, that doesn't mean that they had to in order to survive. I agree that humans aren't exempt from the survival of the fittest concept, but I am not convinced that science is necessary to make humans fit for survival. You have not offered any solid proof that science is essential to humanity. Your example concerning the design of a shelter is speculation. Furthermore, there was a time in human history when humans didn't make shelters but rather used natural ones such as caves.

Since you are representing Pro, you have the burden of proof. You need more than speculation to win this debate. You have yet to provide a specific example of a situation in which the human race would have ceased to exist if it weren't for science. Speculation about early humans and their activities is not sufficient evidence.

Humans are animals, and every other animal manages to survive without science. It is true that humans are different from other animals, but it is unlikely that we would have died out if humanity hadn't developed science. Without science, humanity would be different, but it would still be humanity.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Sagey 3 years ago
Sagey
Human perceptions are often Illusion.
Things are rarely exactly as we perceive them.
This is what the job of science has been.

To sort out reality from misconceptions or poor perception.
We owe our better concept of reality in the modern world to science.

Otherwise we would still be blaming tsunamis, earthquakes and floods on mythical Deities.
Posted by Z-man 3 years ago
Z-man
Can more people please vote?
Posted by RangersHockey 3 years ago
RangersHockey
Science - the study of the natural world

Essential - required for daily life
Posted by Z-man 3 years ago
Z-man
Before I accept, could you give definitions for the terms "science" and "essential". I'm slightly confused because I know that without scientific concepts, nothing in the universe would exist. However, human scientific exploration and discovery is a different matter.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by johnlubba 3 years ago
johnlubba
RangersHockeyZ-manTied
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: I may vote on this in a while, But I see no problem with Pro's English
Vote Placed by rajun 3 years ago
rajun
RangersHockeyZ-manTied
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Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: Both are good enough but Pro loses because of his english. Its 0:1.