Amidst the controversy of green science, the progressive ideal was born. It found that the legitimacy of science-based policy has grown steadily stronger since the 1920s and 1930s. Symbolic literacy added to the progressive ideal.
In essence, it stated that perceived authority or credibility serves as a source of knowledge. However, such knowledge and growth also leads to further controversy as well as a paradox – the paradox of conservation.
This paradox states that the knowledge is always incomplete, but people demand action without delay regardless. This “absence of absolute certainty” is part of chemical pollution, food safety, climate change and loss of biodiversity.
As we all know, scientists have continuously warned us, even before these losses began to occur and continue to warn us about future losses and consequences as well.
This paradox concept can be applied to almost anything in the modern day, as with the growth of speed and efficiency of technology, people want all things right away or even faster.
However, the principles of the progressive ideal as well as symbolic literacy also hold true for other parts of science. as. This includes medicine.
As one who has taken different medications for a variety of allergies and other issues and knows others who have, the paradox principle heavily concerns me.
Medicine and medical knowledge in general has grown and advanced at a rate unprecedented in history. Every day, new conditions are being diagnosed and treated with new and “improved” medicines, but are they really improved?
As the number of medicines available for consumption has increased, so have the recalls, lawsuits and harmful and previously unknown side effects. This has happened with asthma, acne and even ADHD medicines.
My old asthma medicine, albuterol, contained steroids. As my rate of growth began to decline when I was younger, they suspected it was because of the steroids. Although they found out that was not the cause, it was later on found to have affected others, and doctors began to prescribe steroid-free inhalers.
One of my siblings took an acne medication when he was younger that, a few years ago, had a general public service advertisement stating that if you had experienced several severe side effects (most on the face or internally from the skin absorbing the medicine), you were entitled to at least a million dollar settlement. Luckily, my sibling was also unaffected.
Another very controversial medicine group is ADHD pills. A friend of mine takes them, but without them, she cannot really function. But when she takes them, she gets sleepy, loses her appetite, and can be a very different person than when she’s on them.
Other types of ADHD pills can completely rewire the brain’s synapses, and it is almost impossible to quit taking them. They are often overprescribed, as many parents do not realize that children will be children and being unable to concentrate and sit still for eight hours is just a normal human thing. More and more negative effects of these pills are still being discovered.
In today’s society, people are often the epitome of the paradox; medicine is an incomplete science, constantly growing and evolving, but people still want a new medicine right now, even before its full effects are discovered.
Every day, people consume or use these and other medicines and then are put back into our water, which we drink, cook and bathe with.
This causes harmful side effects to people not even taking the medicines, as well as marine wildlife that sometimes people also consume. As medicine and medical technology grows, so do the harmful side effects found later on.
At this rate, if people do not slow down their demand, which is much faster than the rate of concrete knowledge of medicinal effects, almost everyone (and perhaps every living thing) will be consuming some form of any given medicine, and the results may be more and more severe.