Science in everyday life
In its broadest meaning of 'knowledge', science enters the life of even the most primitive human being, who knows the safe from the poisonous berry, who has stored up some rudimentary ideas about building a hut, sharpening a spear, and fishing in the river. this knowledge, or accumulation of experience, distinguishes man from the animal which has to rely on instinct.
Yet, for most people 'science' means a number of abstract subject such as physics, chemistry, biology and mechanics, to quote a few, which have to be learnt as part of 'education', yet which seem to have little bearing on everyday living. How wrong this is. Our way o life is completely dependent on science and its fruits surround us on all sides.
The Renaissance first taught man to realize the value of scientific progress, but it was not until the 18th century that the Industrial Revolution in the West really showed the impact science could have on living through developments in land-tillage, commercial production, transportation, and the beginning of the supply of mass-produced consumer goods. Until about 1920, progress was steady but in the last 45 years, the process of applying of science to the needs of living has accelerated enormously. This has been proportionate to the rate of scientific discovery itself.
Today, there is available an enormous range of consumer goods from the simple frying-pan to the jet plane, from the alarm-clock to the computer. All these things serve to make life easier and more pleasant, yet in themselves do not constitute civilization -- merely its comfortable adjuncts. Progress in real living is achieved less through 'things' than through education, the arts and the love of beauty. Science has nothing to say to us in these categories, merely providing aids and short-cuts. Without them, life would be no more than the struggle for survival; there would be no time or incentive to pursue higher things.
Science gives us safe food, free from harmful bacteria, in clean containers or hygienic tins. It also teaches us to eat properly, indicating a diet balanced in protein and carbohydrate and containing vitamins. The results is freedom from disease and prolonged life. In pre-scientific days, food was...