What’s Wrong With Western Science?

Western science has been a tremendous force behind the advancement of human civilization for the last 300 years or so, and the benefits it generated are as evident as they are numerous. But like everything beneath the heavens, it is not perfect.

Let’s look first at the positives of western science, which are plenty to say the least. The emphasis on the observation of “observable facts” and the collection of “quantifiable data” are both empirical foundations in western science. Combine that with “experimentation” and the testing of hypothesis before it becomes thesis, you have yourself an extremely effective “system” of answering questions with ostensibly “observable answers”. I say it is effective because it really is. From medical technology to transportation technology, and not to mention the ever expanding electronic and digital computing science; western science has allow us to transform the way we live in mere decades, and it will continue to do so. These are the actions of western science, an area which it excels in, but what of the underlying morals that guides these actions?

The problem with western science is that it lacks an underlying set of morals to guide its super-effective actions, this lack of morality comes from a dearth of deep and clear understanding of the world and it’s natural patterns and tendencies, an area which is fundamental to Oriental science. The nature movements of the seasons, the changing of the weather, the never-ending cycle of sun rise to sun set, these are all observable facts in both Oriental and Western Science, but western science only sees these as “observations” or “physical and chemical reactions” in motion, while Oriental science digs deeper into these observation to see clearly the “nature” of our world. Oriental Science goes deeper than to say there are “+ and – charges”, “protons and electrons”, it explains the nature of opposites combining to form an ever-changing world, a world of “yin and yang”, and a world where humans are actually equals with “heaven and earth” and not a product of it, so as to instill a sense of respect for the world around us in order to co-exist with it as we advance forward with technology, it’s like getting along with your partner of the group project of your life.

What western science suffers from is a absence of  “responsibility” in their questions and action, that comes from an overall lack of respect for the world which they can “observe in detail” but cannot “understand with clarity”. This problem is as much a product of western philosophy and religion (individualism, democracy, “God gave us this Earth to”, etc.) as it is the influence of an unwarranted “Western Pride” that has co-developed with European imperialism and expanding technological advancement since the 2nd Industrial Revolution. Many authors and film-makers has warned us about the “irresponsibility” of western science, from films like 2012, I am Legend, Prometheus, Planet of the Apes to childhood books like Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax. They are all warning us of this “slight mishap” within Western science, and that if we do not start to change it soon, it will amount to momentous disaster. That or they can start reading the “I-Ching” aka Classics of Change, the building block of Chinese culture.

One thought on “What’s Wrong With Western Science?

  1. Daniel says:

    To answer your discussion about the lack of morals in Western science, I say that 1) amorality does not exist solely in the Western scientific world, and 2) it is completely justifiable to their profession. Their purpose is the pursuit of original knowledge and its practical applications, not whether their discoveries are “right” or “wrong” for mankind (and who are they or we to determine that?). Can you imagine how we might have turned out if Edison or Wright Bros. or Oppenheimer & Co. or Gates or Jobs deciding to shelve away their inventions because they felt what they had produced was socially “bad”? It’s more efficient to to allow governments and individuals to make that choice. Scientists do what they do best: discover knowledge, with the burden of ethics and morals residing with us and how we choose to apply what they discover. Blaming scientists for any number of 21st century crises is akin to blaming a coal miner for causing global warming.

    The real people to blame are us, but there is a neat caveat: we are all guided by the market principles of supply and demand and externalities, which in turn is another one of nature’s indisputable truths. So we justifiably can blame ourselves because we are the ones who buy the gas-guzzling cars and use non-recyclable plastics. But since natural economic law insists that we usually fail to comprehend the full costs many of our actions to society at large, we can lay the blame on natural law instead.

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