thumbnail of Advances in science; Sample
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
Can peace be achieved at all. Can science help in the achievement of peace. And what are the chances of man's natural life changing sufficiently to ensure the availability of a peaceful world. I'm Michel Krauss and to answer some of these questions based on their appearances here at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meetings our three distinguished visitors Chadwick Alger Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at Ohio State University chairman of the symposium toward a world community international organizations. Richard de Falk professor of international law and practice at Princeton University and his subject is status imperatives in an era of systems overload. And George W. Ross Jones Jr. professor of political science at MIT who is speaking on peace through change. Gentlemen the initial question that I would like to try around the table beginning with Professor fall what is it how would you state what the scientific and academic community can contribute toward bringing about a peaceful world. Is there a specific expertise that will work.
Well I think that it's difficult to know what will work in the sense of what will influence those who exercise power to change the way they exercise that I do think that the academic community can contribute greatly to a clarification of the underlying facts and depiction of the world order situation as I would put it that in my view would dramatize the need for drastic changes in the way in which governments are oriented toward. The pursuit of security taught the kinds of goals that at this point animate both domestic and foreign policy and I feel that unless the academic community and those who educate generally reorient the
populations of major societies toward a more globalist view of world order than now exists the prospects of human survival and of the habitability of the planet are gravely jeopardized or fall because of international legal authority and as a raster and you're a professor of political science how would you answer my question. Well I think that we in the academic world have some advantages. The political people don't and they just have to be exploited by us. We don't have a constituency to whom we are responsible in the same sense that the politicians are. We are perhaps not quite as much captives of our past. We are used commonly to moving I think perhaps a little bit more in international circles. They are. All of this I think enables us to think and speak a little more freely and to explore
new ideas and new concepts more readily than political people can so that we can break break ground in a way for them now. What we have to say is only indifferently accepted by political people but I think it does have an impact. We can provide them with some help we can provide the general public with some help in you know in exploring the kind of changing world we live in it has changed enormously and is changing very fast and I think you know run of the mill population and the many political people who really don't comprehend this as well as some academics who are used to speculating a great deal more. I have in mind particularly the impact of nuclear weapons. Many of us I think are thoroughly persuaded that a. A major nuclear war would would mean the end of the kind of civilization that we that we know it that we that we know of and I don't feel that many political people really have that concept
in their bones yet they may pay lip service to that. But one still hears them speaking of winning a nuclear war one still sees them in their approach to arms control negotiations and other things trying to drive what I would regard as advantages that are trivial in terms of international competition compared with the risks that they're facing. So I think we have an advantage in just being able to think more freely and more speculative pressure Alger do you have a different view than we've heard. It seems to me. Possibly the most I say from my point of view and the things I'm involved in the most useful thing that academics can do at this point is help liberate both officials and the general public from what I would call the territory of certain presumptions about how the world has to be organized. We are a sort of a a mind's view of how the world
is organized into a nation state system tends to so pervade our thinking that we think it has to be organized this way for all time such that even when we try to implement policies that will solve problems because they are put into operation in this mode they only make things worse. And one of one of the panels will will try to to acquaint the public and any officials that might be listening with the fact that our our very knowledge of the great variety of transnational activities that actually takes place is so limited that for the most part we can't yet see that part of the future that's been before our very eyes. Since we do not see most the public is not really acquainted with with the wide variety of transnational business non-governmental scientific functional organization activity that actually takes place. And
therefore I say there are the the factual bases there for more creative thinking about alternatives. But we are with a nation state meth in his soul impregnated within our minds that particularly in the big continental nation we find it hard to do to free ourselves of this so we can creatively think about the future because we can't even really see much of the present. You know we're in the middle it seems to me of another phenomenon right now with the popularity of such theories as spies posed in the book The Human Zoo in storage or an imperative. With this being letters A. It is today's technology adequate to tomorrow's needs. Will technology have to change. Will society have to change. Here to discuss these and other
questions in the field of technology today are Dr. James Frey of the department of mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts and U.S. Institute of Technology. Dr. Earle Cooke professor of geology and geography and associate dean of GIGO sciences at Texas A&M. And David Keller manager of the advanced Earth observation program of the General Electric space division. Dr. Fay to go back to the opening question is today's technology adequate to the needs of tomorrow. I think the prevailing opinion among engineers is that there's a great deal of potential and area of technology to meet tomorrow's needs the needs of society. I think the present opinion right now is that. And not enough effort is going into the development of the kind of alternatives that might be required in the next several decades to meet the sorts of demands that society is making. For
example in the whole area of abatement of pollution which is one of great current interest the need to preserve our environment before it deteriorates very badly. That isn't an area in which technological alternatives provide possibilities for Milia writing environmental degradation. That's the prevailing opinion now. My own feeling is that as a whole engineers and scientists don't quite understand the very complicated way our society tries to adjust to it's its own evolution and requirements in the future. And there's I think more optimism on the part of engineers and scientists about how technology might reduce or solve these problems. And I and I believe is really warranted. Still I do agree with the general thought that there are
alternatives that are available and can be explored in the future and that more needs to be done to look at these. But when it comes down to hard choices about what alternatives can we afford that I think is the level at which that competing ideas put forth by various scientists and engineers still has to be resolved. DR COOK When I agree with. What he's been saying I would make the point however that technology provides us with alternatives for moving toward goals but cannot define the goals themselves. Society does this. Sometimes these goals are strongly influenced by available technology. It seems to me that day in the field that I know best technology
is coming along well in providing us with available alternatives but the. Basic science is lagging behind the science that we need to determine our goals and goals in terms of let's say standards for air and water pollution. We really don't know. Enough about the effects of chronic exposures to low levels of various pollutants to quantify hazard into risk and we need to do that before we are able to make a rational assessment of the. Technological alternatives of abatement. Isn't there also a great debate going on as to whether or not the kind of economic and technological growth that we've been experiencing for decades can continue whether enough that we might be
coming to the end of that growth curve. Today's technology has provided us with the standard of living that we enjoy today that's not universally enjoyed. The technology has yielded the situation we have today where we are making a significant impact on the environment around us and we don't understand fully the effects of these air pollution water pollution on specific locales and many of the pollution factors have a global implications too which to some extent could even threaten the health of the whole planet Earth that we live on. So we need the advanced technology in terms of developing systems which have minimal effect on environment. Also we need to develop technology which enables us to assess the health of our environment so we can measure the
effect of technology increase power generation for example on environmental factors. You know it well would you say then would you gentlemen say you have all been involved in the field of technology and technology has often been accused of leading as a. Oh. A scientist doing a good job of communicating their findings to the American people. Is ignorance about the nature of science doing damage to the cause of scientific research. Is there a tide of anti scientific feeling in the United States. Here to discuss these and other questions in the field of science is a participant in the 138 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science Margaret Mead curator emeritus of ethnology at the American Museum of Natural History
and an acute commentator on many areas of science. Dr. mean are scientists telling their story to the public the way they should. We you know I think the real point is that we have much better science writers and we used to have I can remember the days when you were very likely to get a police court reporter sent to cover a mental health meeting you know and we've gotten. First we had first class scientists writers of course on some of the big newspapers than smaller newspapers got interested a lot of work was put in work was put in by the Science Writers Association by foundations and by scientists to increase communication on both sides. And then the growth of the scientists information movement you know what we call simply the scientists Institute for Public Information has involved groups of Concerned Scientists right around the country who think it's their job to make technical material intelligible to the layman. And of course we're also understanding more and more that. Everybody is laid to
the other person's special profession that a biologist talking very technical but biology isn't intelligible to many of the other sciences either. And if you'll talk intelligibly in simple English you can be understood by a great variety of people. One of the paradoxes seems to be that as communications have improved the public attitude toward science seems to be worsening. That is right now this does seem to be a good deal of talk that science is evil and technology is not good. Do you think that's cause and effect. Well I we made a study in them middle 1950s of the image of the scientists in this country. When these people were in high school and we predicted this was what was going to happen because the image of the scientists was being projected everywhere by the mass media and by scientists themselves was a man in a white coat who forgot to kiss his wife and never went on picnics. You know who lived in a laboratory where he didn't see the sky experimenting on animals and
with a great deal of association with death. I mean a fear of the bomb which was still you know very salient in people's minds. And so that I think we have to consider three things now we have to consider the image of the scientists of the 40s and 50s and even before that we made him very remote and very inhuman. And that was perpetuated by the mass media. If he if he even is either mad or detached then we have to add the fear of warfare and everything that we know about nuclear warfare and biological and chemical warfare. And now we have to add pollution now pollution was not created by science but we wouldn't have the kind of technology we had if the technologists hadn't been able to take scientific discoveries and unchecked by anyone including the general public who are the worst polluters we've got. Went ahead and broke the net. The chain of man's relationship to
nature and we've got all these three things a present on people's minds. See there the old image of the scientist which was not good. Then war and the dangers of terrific. Devastation in war and pollution now are you saying that the bad image of the society the overall anti-scientific feeling as a result of failure of communication by scientists or a failure by scientists to do the sort of things they should do. No I think it was the willingness of the scientists to continue to perpetuate an image. You see the press photographers have told me for instance they go out to photograph a botanist and the botanist would be out in the botanical garden digging up something with a spade. But he went through photographing there he go indoors and put on a white coat and have some bottles back of him or some apparatus. This is the image of the scientist that was being projected. Well the same sort of image still is being projected isn't it. That's right. And so it's one cause of anti-Semitic anti
scientific attitudes. Well what do you do about that. Try to get scientists to come down off their pedestals when you try to find the scientists who are concerned. You know which doesn't need to be all of them of the sort of thing that makes a scientist who can devote years and years of his life to selling one small problem that there nevertheless may be crucial for some solution of some disease or some very basic thing. He may not want ever to be bothered by anything. If some woman can put up with him well that's fine but he wants to get on with his work and is no reason why I shouldn't. But we need a body of scientists who are concerned who are willing to stop or we're willing to read all the reports that they see through and interpret them to other people. Well the scientists Institute for Public information that you mentioned before is very much concerned with the third point is that of pollution trying to communicate information to the public about pollution and in general this information comes out as
anti science that is strongly attacking it technology and its results. No but we're not suggesting that we go back you know and walk around in the desert with no clothes on. We expect that these problems can be solved but they can only be sought if we have a new attitude that you do not as the president of. But she's president of the Triple A S levels as Bill House says don't put put anything together and do anything with a T you know how to take it apart as if you have this kind of a rule you don't make DDT and spray have the world with it before you discover that it gets into very good poor parts of the food chain you expect to make something work with it very responsibly first and this was what was not done. But it wasn't. Scientists were not paying attention and technologist were just racing ahead having a field day. Is is there then still this quote this kind of war between a
scientists and the technologists. Well it isn't isn't war. It's saying we should work together. You know this.
Please note: This content is only available at GBH and the Library of Congress, either due to copyright restrictions or because this content has not yet been reviewed for copyright or privacy issues. For information about on location research, click here.
Advances in science
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-sq8qhb3b).
No description available
Media type
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 72-19-SAMPLE (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:30:00?
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Advances in science; Sample,” 1972-00-00, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed October 4, 2023,
MLA: “Advances in science; Sample.” 1972-00-00. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. October 4, 2023. <>.
APA: Advances in science; Sample. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from