Limits of Technology and the Limits of Science

In 1997, I managed to get a copy of the book "Limits to Growth", which was published in 1972. I knew the basic ideas contained in this book, by reading about it in previous years, but there was a very important idea, which I did not expect to find it there, the idea did not receive the attention it deserves. It a warning from the authors (mostly technical scientists), from putting hope that the technological advances that can come in the future, may resolve the serious problems threatening the world.

Perhaps the reasons behind the neglect of this very important idea,were two reasons. First, it is a terrifying idea, all the hopes of saving civilization, centered on the ability of new technology to do the job, and the second reason is that the Club of Rome (the group who issued a book),did not give strong evidence to confirming it.

This idea is one of the most difficult philosophical questions,and it is central to the issue of the collapse of modern civilization probably the Club of Rome based their expectations on some simple assumptions, such as, the probability of failure to achieve the saving technological developments, in time, given the expected imminence of the collapse, but if we wanted this idea to be established on strong theoretical bases, it is inevitable to go into the depths of philosophy.

I do not want to go, in this book, in the depth of this difficult subject, but I will try to simplify the idea, so that the interested reader, would find the basis for researches.

Technology is the application of the laws of the theory in science, and therefore, if we want to answer the question: "What are the limits of technology?" We must first answer the question: "What are the limits of science?"

Scientists in the field of theoretical physicists were trying,for many decades, to reach a theory they call, "theory of all forces" or "theory of everything", one of the famous scientists known for their dedication to this attempt, was Albert Einstein, these attempts means implicitly assume that there are limits to the theoretical knowledge, but theoretical physicists,did not often depend on philosophical basis to support this trend,and most of these attempts were established only on the personal perceptions of the possibility of achieving this ambitious goal. These attempts remain incomplete and the history of science gives us examples of the stages of previous science, where scientists thought they had already reached these final limits of science, maybe the most famous of these historical stages was the stage in the end of the nineteenth century. After the theory of Max well about the electromagnetic waves and before the explosion of the ideas of quantum and relativity, at the beginning of the twentieth century.

But philosophical thinking takes another course, the Dialectical materialism of the Marxism confirms that there are no limits to science, and in this trend it is followed by most modern philosophies.

It is very important to note that the introduction of the idea of infinite knowledge, in fact, does not solve the problem of an imminent collapse of civilization, but only puts it in a different form. The saving technological achievements, which are still needed very soon, if brought in tremendous intensity, the result will be that the question will change from "the collapse of civilization" to "the collapse of the image that we know, or that we can imagine for civilization", and this result does not differ. In fact, from the previous one, as it, in both cases, all things related to our current life, will end, the validity of this result,was approved by the American thinker Francis Fukuyama, in 1993, the credit for the courage,where the idea was incompatible with his famous idea of the "end of history", which was in the height of popularity at that time.