Question Not Asked by Science-We Can, But Should We?

Our politicians are incapable of making informed and rational decisions regarding what the human race should be pursuing I terms of medical and technical advancements.  Scientists and medical researchers often pursue advancements because they can.  Who makes the practical or moral decisions regarding advancements that

“We Can Develop It, But, Should We develop It?”

You may be wondering what I am referring to.  The Manhattan Project gave us the atomic then the nuclear bomb; It also gave us nuclear energy;  The Internet has drastically reduced high-speed world-wide communication; It also allows for terrorists to recruit, train and deploy their hatred.   

Below are just a few examples of some advancements that we have made and advancements that are being pursued.  You be the moralist for the world and decide whether we should proceed with one or more of these or whether the human race would be better off not pursuing them. 

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Genome Mapping:

This project was completed and published in 2003 then additional refinements added by 2007.  This project identified and mapped our entire DNA and the 23,000 genes we have actually do.  In short, every attribute you have, every disease you may be susceptible to, and a whole host of other attributes have been identified and individuals can be mapped and assessed.  The director of the US National Institute of Health commented, “I think when people look back in 100 years, and look at what was the most significant advance in medicine and all of scientific research in this decade it will be the human genome.”

The good:  Cancer cures are definitely going to be at the forefront in the successful application of this technology.  Specific Cancer DNA can be targeted based on the patient’s own DNA. 

Your own mapping can also tell your doctor whether you are susceptible to Breast Cancer or another form of cancer.  It is a great preventative indicator.

This one is also a Bad:  Scientists are already working on “Tweaking” specific DMA markers to improve on the human makeup.  This is pretty scary as I think, in spite of many in the political class, one human being messing around with the building blocks of human life is probably over the line.  But, no one is limiting this research nor its outcomes.  Should we?

The Bad:  If the government takes over healthcare in a country, like it did with Obamacare, your DNA could be used to allow or deny treatment.  This pits your physical body against your mental/spiritual makeup.  Many people have overcome illnesses in spite of the medical odds. 

This technology can be used to assess living prenatal babies in terms of a whole host of attributes.  If the parent does not like the assessment, they could abort the baby because it will have brown hair and brown eyes rather than blue eyes and blonde hair.  If a government is looking for specific attributes, those without those attributes could be forced to be aborted.  (Remember China)

This is also a Bad:  Scientists are already working on “Tweaking” specific DMA markers to improve on the human makeup.  This is pretty scary as I think, in spite of many in the political class, one human being messing around with the building blocks of human life is probably over the line.  But, no one is limiting this research nor its outcomes.  Should we?

Should we place limits on the use of the Assessment of your Personnel DNA?

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Rapid Expansion in Applying Information Technology to Medicine

Medical records are being digitized rapidly and Obamacare actually has $20B budgeted to help healthcare professionals digitize their records.  This allows doctors and those who are seeing for the first time to potentially have access to your complete medical history.

The Good:  If you are traveling, and you become ill, eventually the local doctors would be able to access your medical records and more effectively diagnose your problems.

In these days of medical specialists, many people have prescriptions from more than one doctor.  This makes it difficult to manage medications that may be at cross purpose or even harmful to the patient.  The automation of all of your medical records and medications should make the management of your prescriptions more efficient and healthier for you.

The Bad:  Centralized government controlled healthcare would have access to your medical records.  Your own records could be used to deny you the care your doctor may want to pursue.  Without funding, you doctor will not be able to treat you.

Hackers are always looking to invade our privacy.  Once all of your medical records are online, including your mapped DNA, it would be susceptible to hacking and disclosure to the world. 

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Those are two examples of things we are doing but no one has engaged the public sufficiently to determine if we should be doing it or if there are any reservations by the public at large.  Here are a few more that are advancing:

  • Medical:  Robotic Surgeries of all Kinds:  Eliminates much of the tedium for the doctor and machines do not get tired.
  • Manufacturing:  Robotic Assembly Lines:  Many auto plants and certainly tech plants utilize robots to a high degree.  Should we?  What about the jobs that were lost?  If these people are going on public assistance, the robots won’t end up paying taxes to offset the cost.
  • Cloning:  This technology has received quite a bit of press.  It is basically the duplication of a living organism.  Should we even be “playing” with this.  What controls need to be put in place.
  • Cross Species DNA Transfer:  This is the taking of the DNA from one species and using in another Species, creating a third species.  I can think of a whole host of reasons not to even think, much less do, this.  So what if it worked in a lab.  What happens when the new species reproduce naturally.
  • Bionic Body Parts:  Much success has been made in fabricating bionic body part including the creation of a human eye replacement.  I cannot think of too many objections for this technology and there are a whole host of benefits to the recipients.

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I think the biggest challenge we face politically and spiritually is allowing technology to continue to replace human beings in the workforce.  What are these people going to do.  Where are they going to go.  The government and the politicians say we will create new training programs.  To do what?  They look to the tech sector.  The tech sector is probably the lowest head count to $ profit of any enterprise man has ever engaged in.  Tech uses Tech, not people, to solve its problems and come up with the next tech innovation.  If people do not have anything to do and are basically “kept” by their government, we have seen the outcome for this model in all of the previous major civilizations who have vanished.

So, Do you think that we should ask ourselves going forward:

“We Can Develop It, But, Should We develop It?”

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Question Not Asked by Science-We Can, But Should We?”

  1. A troubling set of questions, indeed. My own approach is this: no government funding for ANY research, or any other human activity. What makes people think the government owes them complete medical care for any ailment they may come down with?
    And government program will necessarily have to limit its activities. Congress, or Inflation, will only award certain, limited amounts of money to a program. But, there is no market pricing mechanism available to a govt agency so the agency can allocate its scarce dollars “fairly.”
    Example: here in Oregon we have govt funded medical care for poor people. A board was set up to determine what kind of medical care would be offered to clients/patients.
    A young woman in the Oregon town where I used to live had cystic fibrosis. A newspaper took up her cause, when her doctors said she needed a heart and lung transplant – a risky, little-used, highly expensive operation that would take place in California. The Oregon agency denied her request for the agency to pay for the transplant. The newspaper was outrage. This beautiful, loving, caring young girl…. You get the picture.
    Then a businessman stepped up and offered her use of his airplane to fly to Calif. to get the operation. He was a right-wing political person, by the way, much hated by Portland OR liberals. Just sayin’
    In the end, she died anyway, without getting the operation. But no one ever asked how many patients would have been denied coverage for THEIR ailments if the agency had spent some $750,000 on her operation. How much medicine and care would have been denied for the sake of the one patient? No one ever asks what the social cost of an expensive program will be; the only thing we hear is what the benefit to the recipients will be.
    So, back to your question about whether “we” should “allow” research take place that could wind up replacing workers – let the free market decide. Willing buyers, willing sellers paying for and receiving services. If they can’t afford it – too bad. If only rich people, or corporations can have it – too bad. If the new technology is good enough, it will soon be available to all.
    And every new development I can think of has both good and bad consequences. What human being, or group of human beings, has the wisdom to make a “fair” decision. Only free choice can made that decision without creating more armies of “czars.”
    Sorry this post is so long.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to pen your “thoughtful” thoughts. It is a complicated matter when talking about replacement of human labor as we are never dealing with a level playing Field. Hence the current primary backlash. Obviously the :should we” should include discussions on immigration etc. But, my fingers would not last that long.
      Thank you

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