Taken, therefore, as a blameless tool, any beneficial or harmful effect is said to ariseout of the motives of the people applying a particular piece of technology and the end towhich it is used. It means, then, that where a particular application, chosen for its beneficialresults, produces harmful side-effects, these are blamed either on inadequate social policies or on lack of sophistication in the control of the effects of technology. Whichever is chosen as awhipping boy, concludes Joan Lipscombe and Bill Williams (1979:19), technology itself is‘neutral’.But the most challenging question is, “to what extent is science and technologyneutral?” The question of the neutrality of science and technology is essentially the questionof the rationality of science and technology. This is perhaps where the essential link betweenscience and technology very clearly bears on man in his integral whole, in both his materialand spiritual life, but more so in the spiritual towards which the material must serve. Sufficeto say here that the argument in support of “an unrelenting independence [of science andtechnology] in the search for truth that pays no attention to received opinion or expediency or political advantage” is an exercise in the promotion of ignorance and scepticism. To quoteAndrew Efemini:
Anyone with scientific consciousness, understands the place of sciencein man’s struggle to improve his living… (science is not) something that should be pursued for its own sake but something that should be pursued for man’s benefit (Efemini, 1982:18).
It thus means that, traditionally, practical knowledge i.e.
which is concernedwith making (recta ratio factibilium) directed to the perfection of the object of knowledge,combines with theoretical knowledge i.e. scientia or episteme comprising also contemplationof nature, which goal is the perfection of the subject (the knower) to bring about the ultimateend in the perfection of the whole man. Such an endeavour is a conscious and goal orientedone, which not only reflects the value systems of the society at that time, but are value ladenin themselves.Granted that science is a move towards the unknown according to which “it isimpossible to foresee the practical results of any research in pure science”, it is neither a blindmove nor a goalless move. Matthew Nwoko aptly suggests here that:
At least a scientific research worthy of the name must be a planned venture. Even if the scientist does not foresee the remote consequences of hisventure, but the planned structure of his work carries or must carry anultimate intention of discovery for the good of man (Nwoko, 1992:143).
It is, thus, the inherent vocation of the scientist to lay bare the richness of nature,which practical use the technologist will bring to bear for the good of man. This is therationality of scientific inquiry, and such is the rationality of technological practice.Understood as such, both the scientist and the technologist are said to be humanists who“must not only reach out to the world’s wealth of knowledge and practice, but must also pursue the solution of our problems (of industrial, manufacture, environmental pollution,economic progress etc) with dedication, conviction and patriotism (Newswatch Feb. 12,1990:14).Furthermore, to argue that science is unaffected by extraneous factors, which pontification justifies scientific neutrality, is an overstatement to say the least. The dialecticsof science is intertwined with theological, ethical, ideological and other non-scientificarguments, which at some points become impossible to separate them, and stand-points onreality were determined by considering all these aspects. R. M. Young (1971:31) thus, arguesthat, “what people were prepared to accept as the ‘truth’ was not determined by sciencealone” but also by subtle and often un-acknowledged influence of social factors.