There is discussion and disagreements by philosophers of science through out the scientific world over whether scientific progress is continuous or if it is a “revolutionary process” resulting in something new and therefore making the old obsolete. There is supporting arguments on both sides, depending entirely where you stand.
From a practical standpoint, scientific discovery in early traditions was not a journey of specific scientific process, but rather a need to create something practical and functional to replace what seemed difficult and cumbersome. In this arena, the method had more to do with necessity, curiosity and reasoning.
Now, it seems, practicality and reason are often thrown out the window in the desire to create bigger and better. There was a time when progress was dependent on the small businessman who spent his life, using his own version of “scientific theory” to build a business his family could rely on; to be passed down to the next generation and possibly even the next.
With the formation of roads built for the public good, property has been claimed by the government through “eminent domain” leaving the businessman, if he happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time for those in the progressive movement, to lose all he worked his entire life for. The scientific discovery of ways to build huge hotels, malls and other historic complexes is causing the small business man to lose a foothold on his way of life. It no longer has anything to do with practicality or functionality, but more to do with progress for the wealthy who choose to obliterate the core of our country for their own good. Has scientific progress in this case, been worthwhile?
In an article in money magazine “Inc.” from Nov. 2013, Diana Ransom discusses this very thing in New York City where dozens of small businesses are facing such a dilemma. Is science, which gives way to progress responsible? Another article declares that science is not the enemy; and humanities and science can work together despite the disaster of all the post modernism advances. New research continues to change the dynamics of our daily lives, whether it is in our food preparation, housing, automobiles, even education.
I suggest while progress is unstoppable, I wonder if it is really all “good!” Small businesses are not the only parties facing difficulties. As a country which is buckling under the pressure of rampant obesity, "progress" here is also in question! Fast foods and processed foods (created under the guise of progress) which have years of shelf life, but horribly short on nutrition, coupled with less and less activity because of our man made machines, appliances and technological games, deny even children a reason to be active and naturally burn calories. I suggest in this area progress again, is not completely helpful!
Perhaps I’ve overstated or the reverse, maybe over simplified my perspective. I will admit I appreciate my microwave (although even this appliance causes one to wonder how safe it is), my washer and dryer for laundry (indispensible!), my sewing machine (it saves hours doing hand work), our autos (we do travel quite a bit), electricity (I like light), and any amount of other gadgets I really do appreciate, it might be a really good time to simplify. Perhaps we need not consider eliminating our “progressive” items, but educating ourselves in ways to live a life with a bit more activity and less dependency on “said” items! Surely we would all be more physically healthy, and I’d even go a step further and suggest we’d also be socially and environmentally stronger, as well.
Progress is good! But I challenge you to consider ways to evaluate those things in your life which demonstrate progress for good, as opposed to progress which isn’t necessarily progress at all, but just another invention for entertainment and ultimately harmful rather than helpful. Could you alter your life style even minimally and see “good” in “less progress?"