以科技类话题为例:Space exploration like looking for life or resources on other planets is a waste of money, because there are many problems on the earth to solve. Do you agree?




  关于太空探索与科技发展的讨论是所有争论中最古老、最核心的一个。(The oldest and purest argument for space exploration is the advancement of science and technology.)那二者的关系如何,太空探索是科技发展的因还是果?其实,两者是相互促进的。

  要想论述好这一问题,首先我们要意识到:航空航天科技是一项综合性高技术,它依赖于一系列相关高技术的发展。(Astronautical technology is a comprehensive high technology that widely depends on a series of modern techniques: electronic technology, computer science, remote sensing technology, new materials science and engineering, etc.)其次,许多我们日常生活的一些功能服务,如:天气预报、GDS导航、卫星电视等,都离不开太空基础设施。(Many common everyday services such as weather forecasting, GPS systems, satellite television, and so on critically rely on space infrastructure.)

  综合以上两点,航空航天科学技术的重要性可见一斑,事实上,它常被看作是现代化国家综合国力的一个标志。(Advanced space technology is a symbol that stands for the power of a country.)也正因为如此,太空探索能够刺激和带动一系列相关科技产业的发展,因此应当被鼓励。(Developing space technology in turn helps fuel the development of correlated industries.)


  我想将太空探索定义为是人类对于未来的一项投资(Space exploration is an investment in the future),解决现存于地球上的迫切的现实问题是人们对太空探索寄予的最大期望之一。开发太空有希望解决两大现实问题,一个是地球上资源与能源的匮乏。(With finite resource and exhaustible energy on the earth, there is a growing demand to exploit the outer space for human benefits.)另一是人口不断膨胀所导致的粮食、耕地、生存空间、环境承载力紧张的问题,探索太空即是寻找人类的第二家园。(As overpopulation is becoming a serious worldwide crisis, we are in desperate need to search for a new planet for crops planting or even making it our home.)

  与此同时,对于宇宙的探索也有助于人类更好地了解地球自己,随着人类知识的增长和眼界的开阔,现在困扰我们的一些现实问题也许在将来就迎刃而解了呢!太空探索有可能为人类解决现实问题提供意想不到的新途径。(Meanwhile, in the wake of ever-increasing knowledge about the universe as well as the earth, human beings may somehow be able to solve those long-standing problems that seem to have no solution for now.)



  (Our wonder and imagination about the outside world have never stopped since we were early hominids. Actually, it is the very human instinct -- curiosity -- that impels people to constantly explore and expand, pushing new frontiers from lands to seas, venturing out from Earth to the universe. The strong need to take risks and expand into new territory is rooted in our genetic make up and essential to our species’ success. Therefore, exploring into the solar system and other worlds of the space is an imperative rather than a luxury, as we’ve already occupied the surface of our planet.)


  关于“What is science?(什么是科学?)”这一问题,我们中国人的认识也许不太准确。Science一词源自于拉丁文scientia,即为“knowledge about the world(关于世界的知识)”之含义;科学的诞生是希腊文化的结晶,其目的在于理解世界的本质、探寻永恒不变的真理。它本身是不带有任何实用主义色彩的。古希腊的先民们热衷于探讨地球是方的还是圆的、地心说和日心说哪个正确……这些问题无一有关于实用主义,而仅出于人天性中对“我们是谁?”、“我们来自何方?”、“我们在宇宙中处于怎样的位置?”等未知问题的困惑。为了弄清楚这些问题,诸如苏格拉底、亚里士多德等哲学家们发展了一套逻辑的和实验的方法,由此诞生了西方的自然科学。而我们东方人对于这种“无用的知识”很不理解,并发明了“杞人忧天”一词去讥笑这种行为;试想一下,“天究竟会不会塌下来?如果会,我们又该怎么办?”若放在古希腊文化里会是多么重要的一个课题!再加之,西方科学的传入正值近代中国落后挨打之时,很自然地,中国人就形成了“科学是第一生产力”的观念偏误。


  (Who we are, where we come from, these are the questions we have been asking ourselves. In understanding the world where we live, came the birth of modern natural science; in looking for a place where we belong, started a new field of astronomy. Science is never meant to be anything practical or functional, and not every scientific research would seem relevant to our life right at this minute. But it has to go on, because after all, the challenge and conquest of the unknown are the highest ideal of human beings and the eternal drive of all human progress.)