2 min read
Below you’ll find 3 items about science and technology. Once you have responded to all items, click the button to see the results! And if you want to learn more about what these results mean, check out the article underneath the poll.
Will science and the technological advances that stem from it lead to our ultimate peril? Or is science destined to bring about a virtual utopia that is free of disease and meaningless suffering? Or is the answer somewhere in between?
For me, the more significant, underlying implication of this study is that belief in science and its ability to improve our lives can operate as a sort of faith, not too unlike religious and spiritual beliefs.
Whether or not you’ve given much thought to such questions, it turns out that your answers have important implications. In a recent study of beliefs about science across 72 countries, having a more positive outlook on scientific progress and technology was associated with greater satisfaction in life.
Other findings from this study revealed that belief in scientific and technological progress is largely unrelated to church attendance, belief in God, or one’s identification as a religious person. It would seem then that many people across the world see little or no conflict between their religious beliefs and their beliefs about scientific progress, which operate relatively independently of one another.
So, how do someone’s beliefs about science and technology affect their overall satisfaction in life?
The researchers involved in this study found that belief in scientific progress tended to bolster people’s sense of personal control in their lives, which largely accounted for the higher levels of life satisfaction that were observed.
For me, the more significant, underlying implication of this study is that belief in science and its ability to improve our lives can operate as a sort of faith, not too unlike religious and spiritual beliefs. And this belief in science has the potential to alter the lens of everyday experience such that people come to see themselves as more empowered in their lives.
The ultimate legacy of science and technology is anyone’s guess. But when I look around and consider its potential to both help us (e.g., medical breakthroughs, enhanced communication) and harm us (e.g., threat of nuclear war, dehumanization), I have faith that the hands that guide these forces, though perhaps misguided at times, are ultimately benevolent ones that will lead us to a better world.
But, I could be wrong.
So, let us know what you think. And, if you want to find out how strongly you believe in scientific and technological progress, take our poll at the top of the page and see how your responses stack up with others in the Lifespark community.
Stavrova, O., Ehlebracht, D., & Fetchenhauer, D. (2016). Belief in scientific–technological progress and life satisfaction: The role of personal control. Personality and Individual Differences, 96, 227-236.