“Pleased to Meet You.”By BBennettJ • Jun 17th, 2010 • Category: Lead Story
“Pleased to Meet You.”
I really feel for Michael Specter and his unlimited faith in science. At least the standing ovation at the TED conference for his talk about “The Danger of Science Denial” must have made him feel a little better.
He is really struggling with why so many people are reluctant to take the present “given” of scientific knowledge as being the do-all and end-all of mankind’s need for a savior.
Michael sites the research done on the connection between autism and vaccines for children as a prime example of people’s reluctance to “buy in” to the idea that scientists are so proficient at what they do in bringing about a better world. He questions how in the world anyone could possibly be influenced by the “myth” that there is any connection whatsoever between child vaccinations and autism – and he chides us about fleeing from “big pharma” into the arms of “big placebo” (to the expected applause of his TED audience.)
Maybe if Michael had to sit in a room next to a 6-month old child who had just received the full course of vaccines – which are the only injections that I know of that are routinely given to anyone that still contain thimerosal – a mercury based preservative that is known to have adverse effects on whoever is injected with it; to sit in the next room and hear this child scream uncontrollably for 36 hours on his terrifying journey into autism, maybe he would be given pause in his opinion.
Michael might even want to ask the question about who is in charge of the investigations – and where do they get their money? Back in Iowa where I am from you don’t put the fox in charge of the hen house.
I think this is one of the most disturbing things about TED. It is easy enough to pat yourselves on the back about all the “tremendous progress” you are bringing about through your scientific research and development, but when the human cost of this exciting research is fully faced science is left weighed in the balances, and wanting.
Today science is routinely using the patient as the guinea pig. The ethics of such practices have been removed to the courts or to legislators – and the average person is ill-equipped to avoid his or her participation. Drug companies make spectacular payoffs to the FDA for the privilege of a “fast track” approval of a new drug – with a mere six weeks of testing before it hits the shelves – and drugs found to then have adverse effects on the test populations of the developed world are just as routinely dumped in the underdeveloped nations to ensure the continued profits of “big pharma” with little or no regard to the suffering that the needy people of those nations will be subjected to. And as far as the wonders of these drugs in eradicating disease, has Michael ever heard of MRSA?
In talk after talk at TED you hear individuals, brilliant individuals, lay claim to the exponential improvements that science has brought to life on the planet – but if you listen closely you will also hear them appeal for urgent action to address the multitude of disastrous consequences that they have unleashed upon us all.
A good deal of Michael’s talk is just that – why doesn’t everyone wise up and let scientists move forward at an even faster pace so that they can solve all the world’s problems.
“We’ve never needed progress in science more than we need it right now, never, and we’ve also never been in a position to deploy it properly in the way that we can today. We’re on the verge of amazing, amazing events in many fields.”
Sure, they may have made a few mistakes, BP Horizon ring any bells? – but they were sincere mistakes, and after all – science is on the verge of making such profound advances that what we are looking at – if we dare, is a coming silicon based immortality. Who wouldn’t want that?
Perhaps this is where the real problem lies, and that is science trying to take on many and varied roles in areas where they just don’t belong, like immortality. Maybe if the scientific community would avoid sticking their nose into so many subjective spheres of the human experience that they just don’t understand and have little or no reverence for they would find more acceptance of their truly scientific discoveries – but this is clearly not the case.
From Sam Harris’ diatribe on the “domain of expertise” being given the authority in establishing humanity’s moral code to the present euphoria over genetic manipulation of any part of the genetic code of living things – (pigs whose cells are 15% human DNA) – and the constant religious affirmations of Darwinism as the guiding truth behind it all; we are witnessing an ever increasing attitude of entitlement from the scientific community. Don’t forget, these are the guys who sinned in giving us the atomic bomb.
Did I just say “sinned?” Sorry, I failed to quote J. Robert Oppenheimer, “Despite the vision and farseeing wisdom of our wartime heads of state, the physicists have felt the peculiarly intimate responsibility for suggesting, for supporting, and in the end, in large measure, for achieving the realization of atomic weapons. Nor can we forget that these weapons as they were in fact used dramatized so mercilessly the inhumanity and evil of modern war. In some sort of crude sense which no vulgarity, no humor, no overstatement can quite extinguish, the physicists have known sin; and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose.”
Nevertheless, with the blood of tens of thousands on his hands, Robert was adamant about the unalienable right of scientists to peruse any knowledge that they deemed worthy of their superior intellect. “There must be no barriers to freedom of inquiry … There is no place for dogma in science. The scientist is free, and must be free to ask any question, to doubt any assertion, to seek for any evidence, to correct any errors. Our political life is also predicated on openness. We know that the only way to avoid error is to detect it and that the only way to detect it is to be free to inquire. And we know that as long as men are free to ask what they must, free to say what they think, free to think what they will, freedom can never be lost, and science can never regress.”
Too bad what this “freedom of inquiry” did for the non-combatant citizens of Nagasaki and Hiroshima – old men, women, and children.
Those in the scientific community can live with this kind of collateral damage – because after all is said and done, that is the core of Darwinism – the present religion of science; the right to pursue any exploration or manipulation of the natural world that they desire, and for whatever purpose they deem necessary in their pursuit of knowledge.
If you doubt that Darwinism is a religion, you might want to read Phillip Johnson’s excellent book “Darwin on Trial”.
At this point it might be prudent to listen to the scientists who are claiming this right to exercise their domain over the rest of us. In Michael’s talk he is clear about his views on this, “And, listen, everyone’s entitled to their opinion; they’re even entitled to their opinion about progress, but you know what you’re not entitled to? You’re not entitled to your own facts. Sorry, you’re not.” Of course, we need to be ready to forgive them when they get their “facts” wrong – like they did with Agent Orange.
Now listen once again, listen to what they are really saying, listen to the holy cow of science, Richard Dawkins himself. “The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.” – Richard Dawkins
Do you want to hand over your present life and liberty to people who believe such things? – because if there is indeed “nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.” – then unlike Michael’s lament that we are fearing science leading us into some future darkness – we should expect that it is just a matter of time before science makes some critical miscalculation that unleashes some unexpected and irreversible consequence on us all, or upon the weakest and most vulnerable among us – or worse yet, that we are subjected to what was dramatized so “mercilessly” in the dropping of the atomic bombs where scientists and politicians employed the creation of their intellect, “the inhumanity and evil of modern war.( in which) In some sort of crude sense which no vulgarity, no humor, no overstatement can quite extinguish, the physicists have known sin;”
“When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.” - J. Robert Oppenheimer
It reminds me of the famous song by The Rolling Stones, “Sympathy for the Devil”
“Please allow me to introduce myself
I’m a man of wealth and taste
I’ve been around for a long, long year
Stole many a man’s soul and faith
Just as every cop is a criminal
And all the sinners saints
As heads is tails
Just call me Lucifer
‘Cause I’m in need of some restraint”
Whether they like it or not, scientists are in need of some restraint.