FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
“Science” Vs. Science In The Fight For The Diamond Age.
Promoted from the diaries. – mgmt
“In diamond, then, a dense network of strong bonds creates a strong, light, and stiff material. Indeed, just as we named the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and the Steel Age after the materials that humans could make, we might call the new technological epoch we are entering the Diamond Age”.
– Ralph Merkle (HT: Wikipedia)
Author and Environmentalist Neil Stephenson wrote perhaps the greatest Science Fiction novel I’ve ever been lucky enough to read. His masterwork, The Diamond Age brilliantly laid out everything magnificently right and malignantly wrong with how science is being practiced in the modern age. He juxtaposes the brilliance of nanotechnology against the frustrating failure of artificial intelligence, which he posits will never pass a Turing Test. This juxtaposition of success and failure is analogous to what is happening in science today. It shows the difference between science that seeks new and undiscovered knowledge and “science” which seeks greater power and influence over the society without reference to physical law.
In the recent revolutions of biotechnology we see the affirmative power of honorable and legitimate scientific inquiry. Researchers such as John Gearhart, at Pennsylvania University, have developed the mechanisms to perform a bio-medical transubstantiation. They can make one type of mature human cell transform into another type that performs a different necessary function. They no longer have to rely upon embryonic stem cells to make this happen.
Like the nanotechnological matter converters in Stephenson’s fictional novel, the doctors are making cells almost to order. They haven’t completely mastered the process, but they are reaching the level of competence that increasingly allows the growing and replication of human organs without the use of embryonic stem cells.
Scientists, through diligence and hard work, have solved a major ethical problem that is holding back beneficial medical procedures. It has proven that life and science can triumph in tandem. Details of this stupendous accomplishment follow below.
The first step beyond that came in 2007, when researchers reversed the process. They got skin cells to revert to a state resembling embryonic stem cells. That opened the door to a two-part strategy: turn skin cells from a person into stem cells in the lab, and then run the clock forward to get whatever specialized cell you want for transplant. The new direct-conversion approach avoids embryonic stem cells and the whole notion of returning to an early state. …Even short of researchers’ dreams of fixing internal organs from within, Gearhart says direct conversion may offer some other advantages over more established ways of producing specialized cells. Using embryonic stem cells is proving to be inefficient and more difficult than expected, scientists say. For example, the heart muscle cells developed from them aren’t fully mature, Gearhart noted.
Then, in direct apposition to the diligent brilliance of the biomedical researchers, “science” reared its ugly head in Cancun. Here the power-mad environmentalists continued to flog their discredited secular doomsday theories of Global Warming.
In one paper Professor Kevin Anderson, Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, said the only way to reduce global emissions enough, while allowing the poor nations to continue to grow, is to halt economic growth in the rich world over the next twenty years. He said politicians should consider a rationing system similar to the one introduced during the last “time of crisis” in the 1930s and 40s. This could mean a limit on electricity so people are forced to turn the heating down, turn off the lights and replace old electrical goods like huge fridges with more efficient models.
The scientists at University of Pennsylvania seek to give people longer and healthier lives. The “Scientists” at Cancun meet to discuss how to take all the great things that science has given us away from the people. Like Priests in The Temples of Syrinx, from Rush’s album 2112, they seek to suppress freedom. The priests of Syrinx suppressed religious and cultural freedom, the “scientists” seek to suppress technological freedom. They use their “Science” to establish political tyranny.
This hijacking of a necessary scientific concern by totalistic scare-mongers such as James Hanson and Al Gore, I find personally tragic. I believe our natural environment is beset with the negative externalities resulting from our misunderstood technological advances. When the Cuyahoga River caught fire on June 22, 1969, this demonstrated our nation’s unacceptable failure in managing both our growth and our natural resources. We owe it to our children to solve our national environmental problems.
Yet we cannot solve these problems with the charlatan “environmental scientists” our nation’s universities produce. We cannot hope to intelligently explain the long-term history of Earth’s climate via algorithms that take random gibberish data and map it to hockey-stick curves in pursuit of politically-rewarded, preconceived “scientific” conclusions. We cannot clean up a mess our experts deliberately lie about in order to scare us into senescent incomprehension so that they can assume extra-constitutional power.
Only science; not “science” can help us make the necessarily complex and difficult choices that will face our nation when we really do exhaust valuable natural resources such as oil and water. We need solutions that get us past ethical and religious conflicts such as the ones over embryonic stem cell harvesting. We’ve proven that we can, when we see those conflicts as legitimate problems instead of political fulcrum points to expand the domain of government.
We may well have to tell our people to suffer one day. We should do it based on honorable and factually correct science – not in the service of tyranny foisted on the commons by a Oligarichical Collectivist Caste System that “knows what’s good for us.” True and honorable pursuit of knowledge will see our great nation through to a well-deserved and prosperous Diamond Age.
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