February 18, 2012

"It turns out that 'the party of science' really is just the old-fashioned 'party of equality,' science be damned..."

"... Left-wing biocons seem to believe that protecting human dignity requires the rich and poor to remain equally diseased, disabled, and dead."

56 comments:

Don't Tread 2012 said...

"“national government must step in and discriminate…not on behalf of liberty and the special individual, but on behalf of equality and the common man.” Never mind that regimes based on egalitarian ideology are precisely the ones that suppress the free inquiry required for scientific investigation."

Choices.

If you go down the road of statist control, you severely retard the potential of individuals.

Ultimately, people are less happy and the misery factor is front and center.

The insecurity of the statist is his greatest character flaw. He is overly-concerned with the 'common' man; he eschews introspection and turns it outward.

The modern democrat party is particularly infected with this mutation, and those that refuse to acknowledge this shackle not only themselves but future generations of thinkers and achievers as well.

Progressivism is modern retardation manifest in slavery to the state.

rhhardin said...

The stork plays a role too.

Ross said...

Ah eugenics, the brainchild of Progressives. While it could be argued that people already engage in it (seeking a spouse that is smart, beautiful, etc.), there is a big difference between government mandates and private actions.

People make good choices and bad choices all the time. There are currently no laws against making dumb choices and it needs to stay that way.

Tim said...

No doubt there is an underlying truth to Bailey's assessment of Moreno's point that "[l]eft-wing biocons seem to believe that protecting human dignity requires the rich and poor to remain equally diseased, disabled, and dead,", but Bailey seems to discount any risk whatsoever to unfettered biotechnology.

I'm guessing that while the activists on both sides of the question will drive the debate, they will not be controlling. The natural human aspiration for progress will drive demand; I'm less certain there will be any organic social consensus as to what will be within acceptable limits.

We shouldn't be surprised if/when parents abort children for suspected homosexuality, or other parents attempt to breed children with attributes for sports or performance arts. I don't see people as livestock or show-dogs, so I would oppose such efforts; others will disagree.

Jose_K said...

I don't see people as livestock or show-dogs. First, it has been that way since the beginning of time. The stronger, richer and smartest has always had the upper hand.Every person in the west is descendant of Charlemagne. It is possible but unprobable that Mahoma is in the ascendency of The Queen of England.
Second. there are already Nobel Prizes sperm bank and abortion of babies with down sindrome( Try to find one in Europe, they aborted all at risk).
Third: the same gene that makes people smart makes then neurotic and unable to handle normal life. In the wrong enviroment they wont bossom.There are too many variables to keep control with 60 k genes in the genome.

Tim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tim said...

"There are too many variables to keep control with 60 k genes in the genome."

Right.

Yet hubris will fuel the perception they are controllable, and breeding programs built upon genetic manipulations will likely proliferate, and then what?

What happens when the parents who spent $100K+ (just a SWAG) discover their desired southpaw starting pitcher turns out to be kid who'd rather toss TVs over the gate for UPS?

But I guess that's why we have trial lawyers.

Saint Croix said...

“Neoconservative worries that alienation and commodification are caused by technology stem from a worldview that mixes Marxism with the philosophy of Martin Heidegger,” Moreno argues.

Well, Moreno is an idiot then.

Indeed, neoconservative bioethical musings are filled with despairing references to commodified embryos and wombs yielding children to alienated parents.

Yes, but it's hardly "Marxist" to complain about defining human beings as commodoties.

Is opposition to slavery "Marxist"?

Is opposition to the Holocaust "Marxist"?

Indeed, the denying of humanity is the first step in any socialist program, from Nazism to Communism.

In our own country, unelected dictators classified babies as commodities--on the grounds that they did not migrate, vote, or run for office--and then found a right to rip them into pieces.

Abortion doctors invented the D&X abortion procedure--partial-birth abortion to you and me--because doctors were ripping off the baby's head and losing it in the uterus.

They lost the fucking head!

Oops.

So that is the scary thing about cloning and putting human genes in sheep and whatnot. Some damn fool says "oops" and suddenly we have a new, manmade nightmare.

Our scientists gain knowledge, yes, but wisdom? Not so fucking much.

chickenlittle said...

In biopolitical terms, progressives tend to style themselves as the 'party of science,' whereas conservatives style themselves as 'the party of morality.'

In energy poliicsl terms, progressives tend to style themselves as the 'party of silence,' whereas conservatives style themselves as 'the party of freedom.'

Progressive still have no clue how much damage they did to themselves and science with AGW.

Michael said...

What Dont Tread wrote and wrote well. No progressive will trouble to write a coherent paragraphy in rebuttal. Nicely done DT.

Fen said...

protecting human dignity requires the rich and poor to remain equally diseased, disabled, and dead,

And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet, axe and saw

John Smith said...

Leftists are for equal results not equal opportunity. They are so adamantly for equality of results that Leftists support policies which cause more pain, suffering, hunger, early deaths, etc to make everyone "equal".

bagoh20 said...

Some of the most populous and successful organisms on the earth are the shortest lived. Who is really worried about the tortoises getting an upper hand. Think about it; "Planet of the Turtles" just doesn't scare anyone. A small army of children with pancake turners could defeat them quickly.

I come from a long line of genetic mutations, and as you can see, I'm quite advanced.

DrSquid said...

Who is going to pay for this brave new population? We are hurdling head long into debt just to keep the old standard issue crowd supllied with new heart valves, knee joints, etc. It's a fascinating discussion with little relevance to the future of the US society.

traditionalguy said...

To deluded Marxists equal poverty, equal depression, and equal death to all are the stated goals of the absolute ruler Commi-tsars that replaced the absolute ruler Tsars.

The Red Menace has changed its clothes but not its goals.

edutcher said...

There's a documentary on the rise of (Godwin alert) where a social worker says she was willing to look the other way IRT his dictatorial practices if it advanced "social justice".

And, in other news, we have have the death panel Miss Sarah predicted.

WV "tylenae" What ancient Romans took 2 of for a headache.

traditionalguy said...

This is a time to repeat that Harvard Medical School is now turning out Doctors that treat age groups and gender groups according to statistics on their charts. They do not actually interact with their patients or treat their patient'scomplaints.

This is the mentality that administers Death Panels and talks biopolitics.

Bender said...

in biopolitical terms . . .
__________________

As I said the other day, the conflict of interest in bioethics is between transcedent moral/ethical truths and ideology, where politics drives and determines outcomes, with the use of "bioethicists" being only to provide a fraudulent cover to do what only yesterday was universally understood to be unspeakable evil.

But that progressivism of "three generations of idiots are enough" and "we must purify the racial blood" and "we must purge the social body of vermin who would poison that body" only progresses society to the grave.

Crimso said...

Isn't branding yourself "the party of science" politicizing science? Not that it won't get politicized on its own, but why encourage it? And the scientists that don't agree with you? I'll bet they're branded as "not real scientists."

SGT Ted said...

Sounds like they want to create Harrison Bergeron in the flesh.

Progressivism isn't progressive. It is a return to the aristocracy controlling the rest of us.

Jay said...

the party of science

Who ever believed they were the "party of science" anyway?

William said...

Good things happen first and with more frequency to rich people. But unless they happen to rich people, they will not happen at all.

Bender said...

And who presents the greatest obstacle and danger to our Brave New World of utilitarian and relativistic "progressive" biopolitics?

That's right -- the Catholic Church.

Hence you will understand one of the major "whys" of imposing the contraceptive mandate.

The Church is the enemy, not because she is against science because she is not against science (from the Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge"). In fact, she is and has been throughout history a great patron and promoter of science. Rather, the Church is the enemy because she is also the guardian and defender of the inherent dignity of the human person, and she knows that science per se has its limits and cannot answer all the questions about man and his existence. Indeed the human person, his place and purpose in the universe, cannot be contained within the confines of science.

As explained in the Church document Donum Vitae --
Science and technology are valuable resources for man when placed at his service and when they promote his integral development for the benefit of all; but they cannot of themselves show the meaning of existence and of human progress. Being ordered to man, who initiates and develops them, they draw from the person and his moral values the indication of their purpose and the awareness of their limits. It would on the one hand be illusory to claim that scientific research and its applications are morally neutral; on the other hand one cannot derive criteria for guidance from mere technical efficiency, from research's possible usefulness to some at the expense of others, or, worse still, from prevailing ideologies. Thus science and technology require, for their own intrinsic meaning, an unconditional respect for the fundamental criteria of the moral law: that is to say, they must be at the service of the human person, of his inalienable rights and his true and integral good . . . The rapid development of technological discoveries gives greater urgency to this need to respect the criteria just mentioned: science without conscience can only lead to man's ruin. "Our era needs such wisdom more than bygone ages if the discoveries made by man are to be further humanized. For the future of the world stands in peril unless wiser people are forthcoming".
--Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Donum Vitae (Instruction on respect for human life in its origin and on the dignity of procreation)

Saint Croix said...


Scary clip
of George Bernard Shaw.

From wikipedia:

An ardent socialist, Shaw wrote many brochures and speeches for the Fabian Society. He became an accomplished orator in the furtherance of its causes, which included gaining equal rights for men and women, alleviating abuses of the working class, rescinding private ownership of productive land, and promoting healthy lifestyles.

Progress! Or die.

Or you can read Justice Breyer's Carhart opinion, which is rather like reading the diary of Dr. Mengele. It's vicious barbarism masquerading as smart science.

Or read Ginsburg's dissent in Carhart II. It's one long feminist rant, but in a footnote she proudly tells us how 95% of "anomalies" have been removed from American society.

All of these assholes are in the social darwinist tradition.

Michael McNeil said...

… she is not against science (from the Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge").

Meanings from ancient Latin do not define what a word means today. “Science” is very far from being a mere catalog of information, as its etymology would imply.

Much could be written — and has — about just what science fundamentally is, but British mathematician, biologist, and historian of science Jacob Bronowski put it this way: “science is the acceptance of what works and the rejection of what does not. That needs more courage than we might think.”

Saint Croix said...

Ginsburg confides in the New York Times.

What's worse? Unelected dictator who wants to get rid of certain types of people? Or a frickin' journalist who hears her admit to it and doesn't realize the significance? It's like the New York Times giving a thumbs up to Stalin.

Synova said...

"Indeed, neoconservative bioethical musings are filled with despairing references to commodified embryos and wombs yielding children to alienated parents."


I *understand* why someone would be concerned about the commodification of human beings (cloning) or wombs (paying for the service) or whatever...
... but I can't help but think that the way to avoid this is not to legally demand that the laboratory be limited to commodities.

Why not allow people to sell a kidney the way they sell blood or to rent out their womb? Why not? Because the women who want to support themselves and their families by womb rental are going to be poor people, and it's better that they stay poor than do something for money that a rich lady wouldn't do. The person who sells his kidney is going to be a poor person who needs the money, and not a rich person who doesn't, even if the rich person can do equally well without two kidneys. The problem with a clone or genetically engineered human created in a lab is that if those lab materials are clearly human it raises the question of why similar materials can be created to simply be destroyed.

Synova said...

"Right.

Yet hubris will fuel the perception they are controllable, and breeding programs built upon genetic manipulations will likely proliferate, and then what?
"

Then we find out what works and what didn't.

"What happens when the parents who spent $100K+ (just a SWAG) discover their desired southpaw starting pitcher turns out to be kid who'd rather toss TVs over the gate for UPS?"

Ha! Something that screws over rich people instead of the poor.

In reality? The same thing happens then, as happens when some parents push their naturally conceived child into a particular field and it doesn't work.

"But I guess that's why we have trial lawyers."

Yes, perhaps, but it might be that on the way we find out how to correct Downs or various genetic conditions instead of aborting them.

Or, my best childhood friend's youngest boy is severely disabled because of a birth injury, perhaps there could have been an immediate treatment to mitigate the degree of damage while his brain was still making attachments.

Paul said...

Strange... Dead is dead,, rich are poor, so am I missing something here?

Fen said...

rescinding private ownership of productive land

They should edit that to be more precise: "rescinding productivity of private land"

Just ask the Soviet farmers. 90% of their food was produced by the 10% who were allowed to manage their own farms.

Synova said...

"Good things happen first and with more frequency to rich people. But unless they happen to rich people, they will not happen at all."

Yes.

Synova said...

"Indeed, the denying of humanity is the first step in any socialist program, from Nazism to Communism.

In our own country, unelected dictators classified babies as commodities--on the grounds that they did not migrate, vote, or run for office--and then found a right to rip them into pieces.
"

Yes, see?

We don't save humans from being classified as commodities by... classifying them as commodities.

We save humans from being classified as commodities by saying, these are human!

It's not, oh you can't conceive a human in a dish, or oh you can't conceive a human in a dish and then attempt to fix a genetic problem and then transfer that human to a rented womb... because why not? Sounds good to me.

It's saying THIS is not human because it was conceived in a dish.

And yet no one seems to question too much that we defend human dignity by doing exactly that.

Synova said...

"But that progressivism of "three generations of idiots are enough"..."

And they can be identified with the simple test that they think that the point of the movie "Idiocity" is that dumb people shouldn't breed.

Bender said...

Why not allow people to sell a kidney the way they sell blood or to rent out their womb?
_______________

There are certain rights and liberties pertaining to the human person that are INALIENABLE.

I know that we all enjoy the redefinition of words (I'm looking at you Michael), but "inalienable" means "cannot be alienated," i.e. cannot be given away.

We cannot give away, by contract or sale, fundamental rights, such as the fundamental nature of the human body.

The human body is not reducible to mere chattel property. Now, I know that the Democrat Party used to formally advocate for the ownership of humans as property, and we even had a Civil War over it, but ever since the 13th Amendment, the human body is not an article of commerce.

Synova said...

That's silly Bender.

I can sell my labor. Why can't I sell my *labor*?

I can donate my kidney. Why can't I sell my kidney?

I'm out a kidney either way.

Also, I don't think any of this is about some fundamental right to my own body that stops me from having fundamental rights over my own body, but I'll include that anyhow...

I gave up fundamental rights when I enlisted. Obviously it *can* be done.

Synova said...

Including enlistment does illustrate the "equality" objection the article talks about, though.

The progressive do-gooders don't want certain choices available to poor people. Those poor people have to be protected from making those unsavory choices.

The choice to enlist is most often an economic one. Keep your nose clean, graduate from school, and you, too, can remove yourself from your socioeconomic origins and aspire to something higher, but at a risk if there is a war.

Keep your nose clean, stay away from drugs, and live a disciplined life and you, too, can remove yourself from your socioeconomic origins and aspire to something higher, but at a slight risk as you carry someone else's child.

How is it good to try to "save" poor young people from freely making either of those choices? Particularly as both choices offer a reward for clean living in a world where that is difficult. Both offer opportunities for additional education and a recognition of native ability.

(The womb environment includes the influence of the mother's genetics in addition to healthy living, so having good grades would most likely serve as the same gate-way measure as it does with military entrance.)

Why should people *not* have those choices? A wealthy, well educated person can volunteer to be blown up in the space shuttle. Can't we treat others like adults as well?

Saint Croix said...

The human body is not reducible to mere chattel property.

Bender, do you think it should be illegal to sell blood, semen, or eggs?

What about a contract selling all your organs when you die?

It seems to me there is some merit to Synova's point. If you can donate x, why can't you sell x?

For instance, we don't allow people to donate their heart. Because that would require the surgeon to kill a patient to save another patient. But other organs you can donate.

Of course we make this distinction in regard to sex. You can donate, but you can't sell. But that's precisely because sex leads to babies, and if you turn it into a commercial transaction, infanticide goes up.

Selling organs, on the other hand, would probably save lives, yes? Since the greed factor would result in more organs being available for transplant.

I grant you that selling an organ seems creepy to me. But maybe that's just prejudice?

Saint Croix said...

Trailer park morons put a swastika tattoo on their body. But the really dangerous Nazis are in the Ivy League, teaching our children.

Synova said...

"I grant you that selling an organ seems creepy to me. But maybe that's just prejudice?"

I don't think I would want to carry someone else's child and no one wants my kidney (unless she's a medical researcher, since I have odd kidneys). I think that being weirded out by either is legitimate.

The question is, is it enough of a reason to take that choice (and potential source of income) from someone else?

In the case of organ donation, the financial incentive would likely mean no waiting lists whatsoever for any organ that doesn't *have* to be taken from a dead person (such as the heart).

It would save lives.

But we would rather people die, than someone in an economic pinch feel they had no choice but to sell a kidney.

Synova said...

Interesting link.

Makes me remember why I have developed a distaste for philosophy.

It depends on defining Truth as making a internally sound argument without recourse to external reality.

Saint Croix said...

Peter Singer and Richard Dawkins discuss killing the unfit.

Synova said...

As my Chem professor stated at the beginning of this semester...

"They won the argument, but they didn't win the truth."

Synova said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Saint Croix said...

What's remarkable, and scary, is how other, silent people in authority give their stamp of institutional approval. Somebody at Princeton--perhaps many people--think Singer is provocative, sure, but they also think he is right. "He's an important voice we need to hear."

Carnifex said...

This argument is pure twaddle. In every society there are winners and losers. In a capitalist society, we just acknowledge that fact and let the most creative be rewarded more. In a more statist society the people with the power of the government are the winners, not the creative people so their advancement is slower.

Does anyone think that the Soviet Commissars worried that the workers had access to health care, toilet paper, food? That the dachas that line the lakes of the Soviet Union sprang up for just anyone's use?

Economies of scale, and advances in science will lift everyone's boat eventually. Leaving it to a bureaucrat just means bureaucratic boats get lifted.

If you think I don't know what I'm talking about, how many laws does Congress exempt themselves from? Including EEO laws.

Saint Croix said...

Singer: "The so-called sanctity of human life."

It would be nice, as they discuss the "slippery slope" of what they are saying, what they are actually afraid of sliding into.

Singer: "We can carve out some exceptions."

I think he means, "Handicapped babies, yes, but not Jews."

Michael McNeil said...

I know that we all enjoy the redefinition of words (I'm looking at you Michael)…

Bender, science hasn't meant mere “knowledge” for centuries. Here are the first three definitions from dictionary.com:

“1. a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws: the mathematical sciences.
“2. systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.
“3. any of the branches of natural or physical science.”

Even when it does get to a meaning which is more or less simply “knowledge,” it modifies it in the same direction:

“5. knowledge, as of facts or principles; knowledge gained by systematic study.”

Synova said...

Singer is supposedly "the most moral person alive" but he seems most interested in who isn't human.

And I think that this seems valuable or intriguing or what-not, because the assumption is that this opens us up for advancement. But how can it? What good, or what advancement, comes from first having to determine who is a legitimate human being and who is not?

Did eugenics actually *give* us anything? Did it give us any brighter, stronger, better humans? I don't think that it did. Does it's ugly step-child spawned by Margaret Sanger, give us fewer poor or "unfit" or a smaller lower-class? Not for a moment.

People have children at all because they want something better. The problem with eugenics was that the supposed desirable people weren't interested enough in reproduction (or privileged lifestyles left them sterile) and the undesirable people kept on wanting something better and couldn't be gently encouraged not to have babies, and the ungentle methods were horrific.

So what is the idea? If people are not a good thing, babies aren't a good thing, and it's necessary to uninvite one category and then another to the human party, how can that logically or *emotionally* support advancement in human biological sciences?

It's like giving ones self permission to do something only by removing the reason to do it.

And it freaks out (rightly!) those who are worried about human dignity and worth.

How compatible is a disgust of marginal humanity and trying to make us live longer? And if your heart of hearts is appalled by "breeders" how can you view a clone as anything more than another parasite?

Better medicine means more people. Living longer means more people. A better standard of living, more and cheap energy, building and growing... who could face that without a shudder?

Better a smaller human footprint and fewer human feet.

In the end, is run-away biological advancement scary because it dehumanizes people, or because it is occurring in a climate of dehumanization?

Saint Croix said...

is run-away biological advancement scary because it dehumanizes people, or because it is occurring in a climate of dehumanization?

That's a great question. To me what's scariest about biological (or technological) advancement is that we humans are still the violent hairless apes that we've always been.

Effective birth control was a huge technological leap forward. I've had birth control all my life. I've taken it for granted. But for thousands of years there was no birth control. All the seemingly harsh Judeo-Christian rules about sexuality were put in place because sex leads to babies and (in pagan culture) leads to infanticide. The Greek-Roman practice was known as exposure.

Flash forward a couple of thousand years. We have birth control, an amazing technological innovation. So the Judeo-Christian sex rules seem silly and archaic to us. We abandon them. And then, just a few short years after the unenumerated "right to birth control," the Supreme Court found it necessary to issue the "right to abortion."

Weirdly, effective birth control led to a rise in unwanted pregnancies. And since we don't want the baby, we terminate her. Which is identical to what the pagans did.

So advances in technology actually took us backwards. Christainity had wiped out infanticide. It was widely condemned for centuries. The practice disappeared. And now it's back. Because of our arrogance. "We control birth, we don't have to love, this is sport, it's fun, shut up."

So, yes, science advances, all the time. But our sex urges are the same and are capability of violence is the same.

Liberals think we're progressing because we know more stuff. I do not have any sense that we are morally superior to our ancestors.

We have better tools.

And that makes us more dangerous.

Saint Croix said...

Consider the Hippocratic Oath. It's thousands of years old. It's older than Christ. And yet today we ignore it all the time. We don't need it anymore. We've progressed.

Is abortion healing the sick? Forget that the Hippocratic Oath specifically forbids abortion and assisted suicide. Are you healing the sick? You made the pregnancy disappear. Was that an illness?

Are you actually practicing medicine? You've got a scalpel and you're cutting into people. But so did Jack the Ripper.

Why aren't you in a hospital, anyway?

Or plastic surgery, another type of "medicine" that is usually in a clinic. It's like we're building sexual freaks. Putting squishy implants in so you can breast feed the babies you're going to abort anyway.

This is progress?

Or the sex change surgery. Or carving up somebody's ears so they look like a Vulcan.

One time I heard an angry woman refer to abortion as removing a "tumor." She seemed so unhappy to me.

I see all these women who have had too much surgery. They actually look plastic and fake now. The Hollywood freaks.

I feel like we're scarring women, both physicially and emotionally, and for what?

And so much of this weirdness revolves around women and sex. Abortion and plastic surgery. Control, control, control. But we're not any happier, are we?

Synova said...

"Is abortion healing the sick? Forget that the Hippocratic Oath specifically forbids abortion and assisted suicide. Are you healing the sick? You made the pregnancy disappear. Was that an illness?"

One of the quests for evil clerics (the healing class) in EQ2 was to cure the people living in the catacombs who had a disease. So you go through each step of this quest and discover that what you go collect and process to eventually cure them is a poison to kill them all.

The canned conversations and directions from the cleric leadership was hysterical. But even at the time I thought... the writers of this computer game understand what evil is.

mtrobertsattorney said...

Synova doesn't like philosophy much. Nonetheless, she is comfortable using the term "external reality".

Yet exactly what this term means can only be answered by philosophy.

(I agree with her though that much of what passes as contemporary philosophy (a la Singer)is nonsense and a waste of time.)

Synova said...

I really appreciated your thoughtful comments Saint Croix.

Michael McNeil said...

Synova: ditto re St. Croix.

mtrobertsattorney: I agree that philosophy is fundamental. The problem (as you too allude to) is that, as Cicero said millennia ago:

“Nothing so absurd can be said, that some philosopher has not said it.”

Saint Croix said...

I really appreciated your thoughtful comments Saint Croix.

Thanks! What's interesting about the Althouse hillbillies--and I love that term--is the friction between the social conservatives and the libertarians. It throws off a lot of really cool sparks.

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