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thegoat commented on the list she-blinded-me-with-pseudoscience
ah well, it was fun (at least for me) while it lasted. guess I'll look at the rest of your lists...
July 13, 2007
Perhaps I was mistaken about the qualifications for this list. I thought it was for pseudosciences, but you are arguing for inclusion of anything "not-science".
Science is a rigorous process one follows to uncover truth. A method of study. Application of this knowledge is no longer science, but can be either scientifically based or not. Pseudoscience is something derived from a premise already proven to be false or by means unverifiable or irreproducible. No one said eugenics was science; it is a philosophy or could be an attempt at applied science. If this is a list of not-science include apple pie and poetry. Technically, medicine isn’t a science. It is based on a science, biology and its derivatives, and is scientific, but is applied knowledge and technology. Medicine has a stated objective of a subjective nature: preservation and improvement of human life. It is pretty self-evident what is good or healthy for someone and what isn’t… at least physically. Of course, evaluation of someone’s mental well being heads into sketchy territory. Medicine, surgery, etc. has had its brushes with pseudoscience – bodily humours, bloodletting, and possession by demons. Do these missteps cause all subsequent medical practices to be pseudoscientific?
Science may be a process of observation but its application is necessarily guided by the practitioner towards some goal. Good engineering doesn’t become unscientific merely because it ventures out of the realm of theory. Just because in its infancy eugenics was confused with a mistaken belief in the supremacy of some races, or even the very subjective decisions of what qualities are desirable, it would be odd to assume nothing can be labeled detrimental. I think most would agree cystic fibrosis is undesirable, and its eradication from the gene pool a boon, and few would tell a child with the disease that research into it, and its being done away with, is pointless because their suffering is too subjective.
If a meteor hurtles towards Earth, we could study its trajectory objectively towards the end of averting a disaster. Regardless of kooks and religious fanatics who may perceive the world’s destruction as a good thing, intelligently thinking people would still work towards realizing their judgment that we are better preserved than annihilated… and I would have to agree with that philosophical stance.
The lines between biochemistry and preventive medicine blur and eugenics becomes a possibility – eugenics uncolored by racism or any other trivial difference among us. Besides, a race of atomic supermen created to play basketball for normal people’s amusement sounds cool.
July 12, 2007
I liked the list and was sad that it was uncommented on in 5 months. Figured I would get it rolling again; what better way than to champion eugenics? What, no one on counterpoint? Then strike it!
July 11, 2007
I think you have misapplied the label pseudoscience to eugenics out of confusion stemming from the term's vagueness. It is a simple word and a simple idea, but because of past racist proponents it has many negative connotations associated with it. Yes, a eugenics plan could be implemented with genocide, mandatory abortions, mandatory birth control, forced breeding, segregation, etc. Must it be? No, of course not.
At its core eugenics stems from a normal wish to wipe out genetic diseases and have one's children be smarter, stronger, and more healthy with each generation. In the hands of people who understand the benefits of neither genetic variety nor cultural differences, it is easily made into a tool for robbing other human beings of their freedom. Many things scientific have been
appropriated for evil uses; this isn't a defect inherent in the technology but one in the person who sees fit to use it this way.
The real problem is illustrated by the questions "Where do we stop?" "What constitutes deformity or disease?" "What is to be voted undesirable?" Questions like these should be taken on a case-by-case basis and with the full informed consent of a society.
As to where we are to start, well, that Pandora's Box has already been opened in research into hemophilia and Huntington's disease and treatments such as gene therapy.
Regardless of which side of the fence you fall on as to whether this technology SHOULD be used, or whether or not we have yet attained sufficient knowledge to begin tinkering with a process that operates on the order of hundreds of thousands of years or more, the technology is advancing every day and doesn't show any sign of being something akin to astrology or reflexology. Perhaps if you are going to link to Wikipedia from your list, you should actually try reading the article.
Also surprising is antimatter's inclusion: I think there may be not only some theoretical physicists, but also some experimental particle physicists who would argue with you on that one... If you are going to include things with major support in the scientific community that don't pan out, then string/M-theory ought to be here. What the hell - I vote for Psychology as well; at least until they pare down the DSM-IV and oh, I don't know, develop
some CURES? I am talking about ones distinct from pharmacological ones, otherwise: why all the useless therapy chit-chat? Scrap the whole discipline and prescribe strictly for actual disorders like schizophrenia, severe depression, & bipolar disorder.
And somehow aromatherapy and Creationism under the guise of Intelligent Design dodged the list-bullet?!
July 10, 2007
thegoat commented on the list thegoat-s-words
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