(When I began to think of blending literature and science, this refused to stray from my mind. Pretend you haven’t seen this movie and scene a million times.)
“Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could that they didn’t stop to think whether they should.” Obviously applicable to the scientific revival of dinosaurs, this classic line is more recently used to denounce food monstrosities like the caramel apple oreo and KFC doubledown sandwiches (look them up. Definitely an abuse of science.)
But what about real issues that face this concern? That the powers of science may be flourishing far more quickly than the grip of ethics can take hold? We reach farther and more rapaciously each day. It was only in 1981 that the first embryonic stem cells were isolated in an experiment from mice, and now we can use them to research and cure a multitude of diseases and injury.The genetic importance of DNA was only discovered in 1953 and already we have learned to clone an entire being. And perhaps the most powerful, terrifying scientific discovery to date: in the 1930’s scientists began theoretically discussing nuclear fission. And in 1945, we tested Trinity, the first nuclear device that was by far the most devastating and powerful weapon ever seen before.
These, of course, are examples of the most polarizing scientific advancements. While the first two have become more accepted over time (duly so, in my opinion), all large leaps in science have been approached with fear and apprehension. Is this something that is morally okay to do? Is this “natural”? What are the possible consequences? And where will it lead? These are important questions that the scientific method doesn’t account for. All the empirical data in the world cannot give these answers. These questions and those like them can be used as a fear mongering tactic, but open minded, rational and respectful discussions of these concerns are necessary. Furthermore, despite the insistence of many that these kind of questions impede scientific advancement, I would argue that they enhance it. And it is English that teaches us to ask these questions. Continue reading “How Interdisciplinarity Prevents Dinosaurs (sort of)”