In recent years there have been many people
against both technology and science, arguing that they have caused more harm
than good. Do you agree? Why or why not? Use evidence from the course to make
your argument. Please try and avoid popular clichés (i.e. “Guns don’t kill
people. People kill people”) unless you want to challenge or support the
simplistic and unsupported assumptions of the cliché. Clichés simplify the real
world and often distort the realities of the situation. The cliché by itself is
not an argument.

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  1. Reading comprehension (40%) Demonstrates an accurate and sophisticated understanding of the reading material.
  2. Evidence and Cogent Argument (40%) you support your answer with the most relevant evidence from the assigned readings and/or documentaries. And you must cite your evidence (author’s last name and page number, or title of documentary) even when it’s not a quote. You have to tell your readers where you got the information!
  3. Writing (20%)
  • Clear and comprehensible.
  • Grammatical and spelling mistakes should be minimal.
  • Material from the textbook is quoted and properly cited.

Examples IR: (forum # 4, Note that these were written using a different book)

Example # 1:

It is my belief that technology is neither good or bad, if using the definition Headrick provides us with. Headrick defines technology as the tools and skills used to be able to control nature. Within this definition, I believe technology cannot be seen as inherently good or bad. Technology just is. As is science. It would be akin, in my opinion, to asking whether math is inherently good or bad. Why can’t it be neither? Almost all forms of life find one way or another to control nature. This then brings up a deeper philosophical question whether existence, in itself, is good or not – but I will try avoiding such nihilistic chasms. With this being said, however, there is a question as to whether technology, especially since the European Renaissance, has left an overall impact on the world that is for the better or for the worse. Even this question is a difficult one to answer – some argue technology has caused more harm than good, while others assert that it has helped the world in more ways than hurt. I have to agree with the latter, in that technology and science have helped the world far more than it has hurt. From the very earliest days of humankind, humans were able to devise ways to produce more food in order to reach the status of having a food surplus. By doing this, it finally allowed individuals to do other things besides hunting and searching for food all day. This was technology, allowing for humans to do more with their life. It is important to note that if all you wanted to do with your life was indeed hunt, then technology, in this instance, does not prohibit you to – it only gives you more options. It is technology that has made it so parents must not have a dozen children in order to have at least a couple survive past infancy.

There is also the downside, where it was technology that allowed Europeans to massacre indigenous populations in the Americas. But one might then argue back and say that the Aztecs were beheading people in city squares long before the Spanish arrived with their boats, but I do not wish to enter into the “technology doesn’t kill people, people kill people” discussion. Rather I will say that is was technology that also allowed for Native Americans to later adapt and defend themselves against the Europeans, using cavalry and guns against them. Technology can be used for defense. Furthermore, as we learned in the entirety of Headrick’s thesis, it was disease that killed the most Americans, not technology. So perhaps disease is the real problem. But as we have seen, technology, and the skills required to use it, spreads. Technology, if it is very important and thus used a lot, cannot be kept secret. Whether this is Americans using horses or Abyssinians using firearms. But it is not just weapons, but medicine, transportation, and knowledge of all kinds. This, I believe, is even more the case today with the internet. The internet, in itself, is proof to me that technology is a blessing rather than a curse. With all of humankind’s knowledge and the ability to share it, let alone communicate with others, the internet has opened the world up to much more possibilities. And with it, technology will spread even faster, making the world more interdependent and cooperative than it ever has before. As Headrick concluded, technology alone cannot solve humankind’s problems, but rest assured, it has done more good than harm, and it will continue to widen that gap in the future. (student, spring 2015)

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