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GRE issue---Government support or restrict scientific research

yx200986 /  
Sep 1, 2009   #1
Please help me to revise this issue.

69"Government should place few, if any, restrictions on scientific research and development"

The progress of our society relies much on the scientific research and development. Whether government should restrict or support the scientific research have aroused many disputes since the past few years. Addmitedly, some of scientific research achievements can be directly used by society, and some accomplishments made by the scientists could aid human being to explore the law of universe and the origin of our ancestors. To these researches, government should not place much restriction and, conversely, should support their development. However, to some controversial research fields, especially those that may threaten our moral baseline and endanger our existence, government should, and must place some regulations on them.

To begin with, the progress of the society actually require the technical support from scientific research. Government wishes those fruits could be immediately applied in social production and make fortune for our society. For this purpose, the government, of course, should not constrain scientific research and development. The applied science, "born" are to create more convenient life facilities for people and to improve the productivity of society. After World war 2, the boom of civil engineering, enables governments to construct more infrastructure such as bridges, roads and buildings, with higher reliability and better comfort. Besides, with the rapid development of mechanical engineering and electronical engieering in last century, the assembly line has replaced the manual work which has greatly increased the productivity. The prosperity of the electrical engineering has provided us with more convenient equipments---fridge, micro-wave oven, etc. which helped to save us much time to do other work.

In addition, governments should not narrow their sight only in applied science which can bring immediate effects. However, they should pay much attention to the experimental science which not only supply the theoretical foundation for applied science, but also possesses more far-reaching implications for the development of mankind. As a result, government should greatly support and fund these researches. For example, biologists do research on stem cells which makes it possible for us to use artifical organs to replace dying ones, and this research is beneficial to prolong our life; research on chemical and nuclear medicine can prevent diseases such as cancers in their tracks from happening; the exploration on the outer space can impress us with the understanding of the origin of univers and life.

However, the purpose of introducing nature enemies into a species is to obtain better growth for the species. But, if we do not control the growth of the predators, the species may risk the possibility of extinction. The development of science also conform the law of nature. Any development of science without restriction may bring a disastrous outcome to the society. Therefore, government must place some regulations on them. The research of biochmeical and nuclear wepons, once used, may bring a catastrophic results to human; the research on stem cells aims to develop human cloning tremendously challenges our moral baseline. For those researhes, government must block them to develop.

When government decide whether to support or restrict science research, they should hold this pivotal principle: government should give full support to those researches that are beneficial to society and mankind, and strictly restrict those researches that may bring disasters to human and touch our moral baseline.

In sum, government should support science research and development with principle.
EF_Simone 2 / 1,986  
Sep 1, 2009   #2
Whether government should restrict or support the scientific research have aroused many disputes since the past few years.

Is that true? If so, give an example. (I can think of stem cell research and cloning.) Also, "since the past few years" is awkward. Say "in the past few years" or "in recent years."

Overall, I find this essay to be incoherent and internally inconsistent. You seem to argue both for and against nuclear and stem cell research. Perhaps you are taking a nuanced position where some forms of such research are to be fostered while others are to be banned, but this is not at all clear from your phrasing. Your examples of introducing "nature enemies" (natural enemies?) "into species" (into the species? or into their habitats?) is mystifying, coming as it does with no transition or explanation to anyone unfamiliar with the projects you are discussing. Here, too, you ought to show an understanding that introducing any element into the wild (as opposed to playing in the laboratory) carries the risk of unexpected impacts on ecosystems, as when the pollen of genetically engineered plants turned out to be harmful to monarch butterflies or when genetically modified salmon began mating with wild salmon although it had been believed this would be impossible. It might be a good idea to discuss what some scientists call "the precautionary principle."
EF_Sean 6 / 3,491  
Sep 1, 2009   #3
Simone's pretty much covered it. I'll add this, though:

government should give full support to those researches that are beneficial to society and mankind, and strictly restrict those researches that may bring disasters to human and touch our moral baseline.

The real question is how the government decides which research is beneficial and which is potentially hazardous. Consider the precautionary principle mentioned by Simone. Many very intelligent people believe that this really should be the guideline for determining what research is allowed, even though the precautionary principle is logically untenable (it asks that people prove a negative, which is impossible. The principle is in fact merely Ludditism dressed up science speak, much as intelligent design is creationism hiding under a scientific vocabulary). In these debates, the facts are often in dispute. For instance, the notion that monarch butterflies are adversely affected by GM pollen to an extent that should cause concern has been challenged. Even where the facts aren't in dispute, the interpretation of them is. Some people would argue, for instance, that even if GM pollen would wipe out the monarch butterfly, ensuring crop yields keep increasing to keep pace with population growth is worth it. Likewise, believing that, say, reduced eagle populations due to DDT use is a worthwhile price to pay for millions fewer human deaths each year is a valid position. So, it rarely boils down to a question of "is this technology good or harmful," as the precautionary principle would have people believe, and more often comes down to "are the advantages we'd enjoy from using it worth the drawbacks that will accompany it." This is almost never as easy a question as ideological proponents on either side would like people to believe.

And these are debates that rage over what are at least in part questions of fact. The moral aspect is even more subjective, and incurs even more controversy as a result.
OP yx200986 /  
Sep 4, 2009   #4
Thanks, EF_Sean! I have learned a lot from your comment. I will be cautious to the problems appeared in my essay in my following writings.

Thanks very much!

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