Developments in Science-Technology and New Threats to Peace

Researched and written by the Special Committee on Developments in Science-Technology and New Threats to Peace of the Science Council of Japan

EXCERPTED TEXT/OVERVIEW: The 20th century has truly been an age of war, as symbolized by two enormously destructive world conflicts. While well aware of the conventional understanding of "war" as direct engagement in military violence, we are also convinced that the task of comprehending and resolving international strife increasingly calls for a broader vision of its nature and causes. The new threats to long-lasting peace are both global and multifaceted, arising from hunger and poverty, social discrimination, poor hygiene, ill-health, destruction of the environment, and various forms of dehumanization. The stark reality is that most of these evils cannot be separated from developments in the natural sciences. While they are not, of course, by themselves the primary cause, this report explores just how they have been con-tributing factors.

In the original Japanese, the report consists of five chapters. The first ("The Goals of the Committee") clarifies the mission of the committee in its examination of how scientific and technological developments and the new threats to peace are causally related. The second ("Views Old and New") examines how the peace problem has been defined, both as it has been traditionally understood and as it must now be seen in light of new perils in today’s world, and how the two perspectives are interrelated. The third ("Concrete Examples") offers what are becoming virtually universal concerns in the lives of the world’s citizenry, including problems related to such areas as: (1) global warming and energy consumption; (2) nuclear weapons and waste; (3) the global food supply; (4) water resources and pollution; (5) waste and recycling; (6) genetics; (7) endocrine disrupters; (8) the information society as the offspring of computer technology.

The fourth (“Social Responsibility of Science and Scientists Regarding New Threats to Peace”) examines what scientists can and should do to fulfill their social responsibility in facing the present dangers. (. . . Complete article available in the Journal Archives)


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