The improvement of society is the main driving force for science. Understanding science, our own bodies, and the way that the environment affects our lives is crucial to our survival. The way that science and society interacts can be reversed, however. In many ways, the proliferation of scientific knowledge is contingent upon the society’s capability to implement the knowledge. Infrastructure, or lack thereof, can make access to innovations like vaccines and treatments difficult. On other occasions, we let society hinder science through outdated beliefs rooted in superstition, tradition, religion, or sexism. The interactions between science and society are not one-way, and there is no doubt that they go hand in hand.
Rx for Survival provided countless examples of how science’s main impact is on society. The reason so many organizations exist to assist communities with little to no access to healthcare is because brilliant healthcare technology was meant to be utilized in the first place. Treatments and vaccines are not created “just for fun” or just to keep accumulating knowledge. What is the point of all the research and discoveries if they are not going to be used to benefit others? I was really moved by the Riders for Health initiative because they took action against the society’s lack of transportation and communication links in order to expand the reach of healthcare. It was disheartening to hear about the woman who passed away giving birth to her child because her complications could have been cared for had she had access to transportation. Part of the reason why I am combining my study of science with language learning is because I want to be able to provide care to people in countries who need it. I would like to work as a doctor abroad because I think it is absolutely vital that scientific knowledge is shared worldwide and not just kept within each country.
Science dealt a lot with society’s implications in the sex-driven communities of Thailand. Because of the sex business’s strong grip and contraception usage being at an all-time-low, birthrate and HIV/AIDS rates skyrocketed. I was also really taken with the unapologetic efforts of encouraging safe sex. It usually is a taboo topic, but the embarrassment that comes with talking about sex is the reason why so many people are uneducated about STIs and preventing pregnancies. I recently watched a video where several young adults were asked whether they had gotten tested for STIs, and many of them said no. Ultimately, this video was trying to prove the point that these tests should be as important as getting a check-up, and that there should not be a stigma surrounding the idea of simply getting tested for infection. Unfortunately, this is an example of how we let society hinder science.
Another way I realized that society can hinder science is when Alice Dreger talked about intersex. There are so many people out there who make a fuss about accepting that there are more than two genders, and they use biological sex as a counterargument. However, as Dreger says, even if your chromosomes say XY, you may not look like or act like a male. Intersex proves that there is even a spectrum with phenotypic expression of your biological sex, and it is important to accept that in order to properly provide healthcare to people who are intersex.
Science and society interact in ways where they negatively impact the other or can greatly correct the other. In all, I think that their interactions balance each other out, and that it is important to consider both when making decisions to improve the world.