Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tendrils from the Fever Swamp

PBCliberal stopped by this blog recently to weigh in on the fairness doctrine, which I suppose is only fair.

A follow up visit to PBC's homepage ("PBCliberal," aptly enough), seems to show him mired rather firmly in the dreaded Fever Swamp. Or maybe he just takes seriously the subtitle of his blog, which refers to "ravings & musings from a media junky (sic), programmer and media producer."

Ravings seems to cover the latest post, which deals with the wide-open vistas for Science that have opened with the Dawn of the Obama Administration. Pardon the excessive use of caps. I'm trying to convey the feeling. Here's a representative paragraph from PBC:
The election of President Obama has restored science and reason to public policy. It no longer must hold equal footing with the assertion that Adam & Eve rode dinosaurs. We are not afraid of stem cells. We’re not afraid to hope.
Time will judge whether the Obama adminstration will return science and reason to public policy. Given the economic and energy policy mumbo-jumbo coming from the president last night, I predict a harsh judgment in terms of its science if not in terms of the political history.

Afraid of stem cells? Is PBC unaware that President Bush was the first president to allow federal funds to go toward embryonic stem cell research? Clinton had the opportunity and passed. And the objection was not fear of stem cells but ethical caution. Privately funded stem cell research--even embryonic stem cell research--wasn't a focus of the Bush White House. And science has a poor history of serving as its own ethical watchdog (Nazi Germany, the Tuskegee experiment, and many others). Boy, I sure hope we're not afraid to use science to test the effects of mind-control drugs placed in a city's water supply ...
We can leverage technology to escape our predicaments. We can develop energy industries that can save us from paying oil rich countries while simultaneously giving us a valuable export.
Apparently we're afraid to hope that the private sector can leverage technology to escape our predicaments. We'll sell our freedoms for the, er, security of letting the government manage our technological future.

And apparently we have learned little from history.

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