Philosophy & Ethics

Though vitriol and outrage are common in western culture in 2018, when it comes to claims that a researcher in China used CRISPR technology to edit a human embryo, bloggers, journalists and scientists on social media have taken it to another level.

Without even reading the paper. Because there isn't one. Nor is there any data.

It's just some guy claiming he did it, not once but twice. And based on that people are going on tirades about how it violates ethics - well, their subjective notion of ethics, none of which have anything to do with the culture of China. 

Because its spirit seeks truth objectively rather than by imposition, science must enjoy academic freedom to be useful. The spirit of science is dialectic, in perpetual open discussion and debate about the nature of things. It is the opposite of religion, the opposite of fundamentalist positions and dogma, the opposite of politics or diplomacy.

George Washington may be the only popularly elected ruler in History who, when his supporters offered to crown him King, relinquished his power, instead. Politically speaking, that was a very unnatural thing to do. Historically, federal agencies have not surrendered their power, even after their congressional mandates were accomplished. Instead, they have invented new problems to solve, thereby justifying their continued existence.

Should we be afraid of artificial intelligence? For me, this is a simple question with an even simpler, two letter answer: no. But not everyone agrees – many people, including the late physicist Stephen Hawking, have raised concerns that the rise of powerful AI systems could spell the end for humanity.

Clearly, your view on whether AI will take over the world will depend on whether you think it can develop intelligent behavior surpassing that of humans – something referred to as “super intelligence”. So let’s take a look at how likely this is, and why there is much concern about the future of AI.

Center for Food Safety, a controversial litigation group that has been shown on numerous occasions to be conspiring to manipulate the public about American agriculture, is in the news again. This time for paying former Democratic Congressman, former race-baiting Cleveland mayor, and current Ohio gubernatorial candidate Dennis Kucinich to promote organic food and products by undermining the competitors of CFS clients.
Many people are addicted to a stimulant. Lawyer-driven groups like Center for Science in the Public Interest have long wanted to sue coffee companies over caffeine but haven't gained much traction despite their efforts to claim it causes things like breast cancer.
Any justification is fundamentally deception because there is no link from fundamental meaninglessness to why I should go on living. My a priori finding myself embodied in a world and the necessary physical causal creation myth involving emergence by algorithmic evolution necessitates my finding myself evolved to keep on living as one main irrational basis underlying all my rationalizations (for any evolved observer in any possible world).
With tax cuts in 2018, the federal government is going to either increase the deficit or cut spending. And conservatives argue spending should be cut.

Will that impact science? It certainly will, but science was also not helped by the Obama administration, which focused on solar panels and healthcare but not science. After the heady days of the George W. Bush era, when NIH funding practically doubled, academics likely felt that increased on top of that could be realized, but it was not the case.

Life is a gamble, every day, all day, in a most greedy casino with unwritten rules and players rewriting the rules, re-interpreting them if you accidentally won too much without having the right friends, putting you back in your place. How do people of different smarts gamble?


Meleah Geertsma, a senior attorney in the midwestern US for Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) - yes, they have so many attorneys they have titles like "Senior" and for geographical regions - says they are suing the federal government...again. This time over natural gas.

Their complaint is that the government rolled back the previous administration's increases, basically some expanded parking space, near national monuments and is allowing development again. And development may mean clean-burning natural gas, which NRDC now claims causes cancer.