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A study recently taken shows that, once again, we hate something to do with science.  I was dubious about this. Perhaps they had to have interviewed some of my family members, because we as a nation really, we can't be this stupid.  Why, please someone explain to me why, we have to be the Cletus Spuckler of the world?

America, what has become of you?  We used to be known for some sort of scientific achievement.  Back in the day, it was wonderment of what science will bring. The marvels of the space race, new gadgets being born from the drawing boards from Detroit to Silicon Valley But today, it is wonderment on what new stupid superstitious nonsense we are willing to believe in.  They need to do a sequel to "Whats Wrong With Kansas" with a new more apropos title, "America, what the hell is wrong with you people?!?"  

A week ago I was reading how this troglodyte from Kentucky was making an ass of himself (and indirectly us) by spreading this Creationism nonsense.  This upset me to no end.  It shouldn't and perhaps I need new blood pressure medicine.  But can one not be tired of America made to look like some backwards revivalist "gotta live in the past" country dominated by a conservative ideological quality akin to a sleazy flea market?!  

Now I read that the American Association for the Advancement of Science showed off a studythat basically said that that Kentucky fried Creationist may not be alone!  The study focused on the general attitudes of Americans to science.  On one particular field, Nanotechnology, it said that we found  it to be "morally unacceptable."  


Religion Colors Americans' Views Of Nanotechnology

ScienceDaily (Feb. 17, 2008) — Is nanotechnology morally acceptable? For a significant percentage of Americans, the answer is no, according to a recent survey of Americans' attitudes about the science of the very small.

Addressing scientists Feb. 15, 2008 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Dietram Scheufele, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of life sciences communication, presented new survey results that show religion exerts far more influence on public views of technology in the United States than in Europe.

"Our data show a much lower percentage of people who agree that nanotechnology is morally acceptable in the U.S. than in Europe," says Scheufele, an expert on public opinion and science and technology.

Personally, I believe in a God, but don't know who or what God is. I'm more of a spiritualist, but that's me and I don't believe in imposing this on anyone.  Who the hell am I to even consider that? Many don't believe, but that's fine with me.  Who are we to dictate someone's belief or disbelief. Also, someone's beliefs should not endanger the rest of us!  This is what gets me the most about religion.  You believe in X, therefore you must make sure that I must comply with this.  If X means a loss in the quality of life for the rest of the commons, so be it in these theocrats' minds!  But the rest of us, should not be made to suffer.  There has to be a wall between religious beliefs and the good of the public at large.

Nanotechnology isn't evil.  It isn't dangerous (well not yet at least)to humankind.  Want to know what's dangerous?  Snake handling, I've personally seen some Christian religious acts involving snakes.  Now you tell me, which is more dangerous?  Utilizing microscopes and precision equipment to make micro machines or touching venomous cobras?

The answer, Scheufele believes, is religion: "The United States is a country where religion plays an important role in peoples' lives. The importance of religion in these different countries that shows up in data set after data set parallels exactly the differences we're seeing in terms of moral views. European countries have a much more secular perspective."

- excerpt from Religion Colors Americans' Views Of Nanotechnology

Secularism is more American, I dare say, than anything idiots like Pat Robertson would spew. Thomas Jefferson was skeptical of the madness that can eminate from the religious pulpit. And it is these superstitious tenets that has held back the developments of science in regards to medicine.  Humanity has been held back for far too long because of the delusions of grandeur by so-called authorities of God!

Now I'm going to  bring up an idea here that may anger those in the pro-choice crowd because I'm adopting a piece of their vernacular, but I hope they do not.  Intellectual abortion, that's what I call it when school boards or other governing bodies over education, infested with these religious bigots, cut back on funding or mandate some sort of religious-based curriculum.  

We've heard the arguments before.  "We think there should be equal chance for both sides to be heard" they often say. Intelligent Design needs to be on the same level with Evolution, or else neither can be taught.  Well, eventually, as I have seen, it also starts to come down to simply degrading the teaching of science on a grammer school level.  Intellectual abortion, because we lose kids at a point where science could enlighten them, and we as a nation could seem them blossom into new doctors or scientists.  And don't think it isn't just science, intellectual abortion has also found its way into the arts.

I'm a disabled person, suffering from scoliosis.  No doubt, nanotechnology  could find its way towards malicious purposes.  There could also be an accident (gray goo), a nano version of Chernobyl.  But I personally think that nanotechnology could also provide many medical benefits.  The blind could see again, as micro machines repair damaged ocular nerves.  The reconstruction of nerves or other tissues on a microscopic level could allow many to walk again, use their arms, or what have you.  And personally, perhaps they could fix my medical problems.  

Please forgive my rant, you folks deserved to read something better.  It's just, well, I get passionate when I see things like logic and reason and science being casted aside as if it were nothing.  So much can be done to make this a better world, and science is a tool for all of us to make that possibility.  Ignorance of the science of things, be it the wasteful use of resources, to education, to me is a true crime.

Growing up disabled, I've seen children suffer through some sort of similar circumstances.  Its always in the back of my mind, that had we just pumped  resources into educating one more researcher, these children wouldn't have to suffer.  So it just galls me, that these people would, essentially, indirectly condone torture because they are afraid of upsetting some sort of written book or deity.

Originally posted to Johnny Venom on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 07:18 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  tips jar (29+ / 0-)

    As always, I'm looking for ways to improve my writing.  Feel free to leave any tips (and if you want, a recommendation  ;)  ).  Anyways, I'm always here for you readers.  We're all in this together!

    •  A counter-question if I may? (0+ / 0-)

      Was developing the atomic bomb morally acceptable?

      "You were so busy worrying about whether something could be done, you never stopped to ask if it should be done"
      -Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park

      (Disclaimer: I have been called a neo-luddite before.)

      Bring the WAR home

      Starve the corporate beast, buy local!

      by EthrDemon on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 07:36:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Borg (0+ / 0-)

    Aren't you afraid of the Borg?

  •  Another AAAS Seminar (8+ / 0-)

    I've been procrastinating on doing a diary about a fascinating AAAS Symposium on how to communicate science to the general public. It illustrated how really badly we do at talking and teaching about science.

    (After all, if we did anything right at all, could more than half of Americans deny the validity of evolution, Fred and Barney?)

    A couple examples: A representative from the CDC talked about the urban mythology about immunizations and autism. (For those who want to hijack the thread, note that thymoseral has been out of the vaccine system for almost a decade and the new rate of autism is up, not down in kindergartens.)

    A second example: Former Science Liaison for Congress talked about how scientists who testify before Congress often confuse and even insult the legislators who are questioning them.

  •  I'm not one for plugging web sites (6+ / 0-)

    but I can't resist bragging on my husband's group.  Here is a good nanotechnology site, also from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It's intended for educators.

  •  More people are turning to (7+ / 0-)

    fundamentalist versions of the three Abrahamic monotheisms because they give a narrative to life, and also sense meaning and purpose, in a world that is increasingly ephemeral and chaotic, a world of social dislocation and economic insecurity in which value seems to have melted into the air.  

    It is a symptom of something else.

    Take Iowa.  Huck supporters were essentially JRE supporters who didn't recognize themselves as such.

    "Capital consists of living labor serving dead labor for the maintenance and expansion of the latter." --Karl Marx

    by Kab ibn al Ashraf on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 07:35:15 AM PST

  •  I Find It Hard to Believe (5+ / 0-)

    That this is a random survey and that this is true:

    The moral qualms people of faith express about nanotechnology is not a question of ignorance of the technology, says Scheufele, explaining that survey respondents are well-informed about nanotechnology and its potential benefits.

    The average American knows what they know about nano-tech from films like I Robot.

    I'll bet a lot of them had it confused with modifying genes and cloning.

    This is CLASS WAR, and the other side is winning.

    by Mr X on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 07:36:24 AM PST

    •  you are probably right (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mr X, pwrmac5

      I mean, perhaps when they were questioned, as you inferred, immediately they thought of some sort of science fiction story.  Good grief!

      •  Nope. (0+ / 0-)
        The moral qualms people of faith express about nanotechnology is not a question of ignorance of the technology, says Scheufele, explaining that survey respondents are well-informed about nanotechnology and its potential benefits.
        "They still oppose it," he says. "They are rejecting it based on religious beliefs. The issue isn't informing these people. They are informed."
  •  This survey puzzled me (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Love, BentLiberal, BYw

    I did some searching and all I could find on the web were various copies of the same report of the speech at the conference.

    I'm left with some questions: The context of the nanotechnology/morality (the context of a polling question has a massive effect on the response).

    I'm also curious about the statement that the religious beliefs of the respondant being the reason for the low percentage.  With a statement like that I would have expected a statement such as x% of those people who characterized themselves as religious said it was, y% of those who did not.

    Has anyone found more details?

    •  No lie. Without knowing (0+ / 0-)

      the methodology or the results, we can't take someone's word for what the study measures or any of the conclusions derived therefrom.

      I seriously doubt that a significant fraction of Americans know much if anything about nanotechnology. And what would the religious bias be, anyway? That very tiny things are ungodly?

      Here's a chilling poem by Robert Frost.

      Design

      I found a dimpled spider, fat and white,
      On a white heal-all, holding up a moth
      Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth—
      Assorted characters of death and blight

      Mixed ready to begin the morning right,
      Like the ingredients of a witches' broth—
      A snow-drop spider, a flower like a froth,
      And dead wings carried like a paper kite.

      What had that flower to do with being white,
      The wayside blue and innocent heal-all?
      What brought the kindred spider to that height,
      Then steered the white moth thither in the night?

      What but design of darkness to appall?—
      If design govern in a thing so small.

      "Force shites upon Reason's back." - Benjamin Franklin

      by Bob Love on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 08:27:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  And you see, this is only one of the many reasons (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ice Blue, BYw, RevenantX, Johnny Venom

    why I recently gave up on Christianity, specifically Catholicism.  There's some good ideas there, but FAR too much of a requirement to be a meek little sheep and do as Father says.  Too much of it just goes completely against my own worldview.  We need more people to be advocates for good science, free from religious and moral (not ethical) influences.

    Science should be free.  Knowledge should be free.  It should not be governed by a religion of any sort.

    Carry the battle to them. Don't let them bring it to you. Put them on the defensive and don't ever apologize for anything. -Harry S. Truman

    by Shadowmage36 on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 07:52:09 AM PST

  •  My only problem with nanotechnology is (0+ / 0-)

    that I've read reports that certain nanoparticles can unintentionally cross the blood brain barrier.    

    As someone who's chemically sensitive, I'm afraid that it hasn't been sufficiantly tested for marketing to the unsuspecting masses.  Remember DDT?  I'm afraid that, say, nanoparticles embedded in clothing fabric could be responsible for causing my disability in even more people.  And once you're fucked up like that, there's no cure.

    I only hope that manufacturers are very careful.    

    Quinctilius Varus, give me back my legions.

    by Ice Blue on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 08:06:02 AM PST

    •  ummm....nanoparticles and nanotechnology are two (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BYw

      different things. nanoparticles are simply entities(molecules/polymers etc) which are very small (as a rule of thumb at the nanometer level). Nanotechnology encompasses a whole gamut of disciplines from MEMS to Optoelectronics to spintronics. fabrics may/may not contain nanoparticles. Of course, before any new objects are released into the market, they should be thoroughly tested.

  •  there are risks (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mariachi mama

    Just like genetic engineering, the promises are vast. But when you try to engineer a more hardy crop and you fail to control the test area, you can't ever put it back into the bottle if the seeds disperse. But does that mean we should forbid any work in that field? No!

    I am far more worried about cloning, something that I can see has no benefits whatsoever to society overall.

    It's fascinating to follow the effects on religion in America. Easily the most 'religious' industrialized country. Yet, the only civilized country to still have the death penalty. The most violent country, too. Can't show boobies on TV, but nothing but sexually suggestive programs on the tube every day at prime time. Yes, it's wacko.

  •  Ok i really don't understand (0+ / 0-)

    How could nanotechnology be morally unacceptable? I understand there are/ will be risks but given that their sole purpose isn't for hurting people I don't really see how people could possibly think this. Am I missing something?

    (to be fair, I'm cool with snakes)

    It took them 30 years- don't give up hope after 3

    by js noble on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 08:36:26 PM PST

    •  I don't think (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BYw, RevenantX

      many people really understand nanotechnology. When people have a hard time with geography, how can we survey anyone on anything more complicated than locating a country on a map?

      •  "What is the stars" from "Juno and the Paycock" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RevenantX

        Two drunks look up into the night sky and one says ot the other, "What is the stars?"   This is a famous quote from Sean O'Casey's play "Juno and the Paycock"

        Everyone wonders, everyone comes up with an answer that satifies them.

        http://www.iol.ie/...

        "Not all acience is equal.  All minds have questions.  Not all minds can come up with the correct answer."  ITJ said.

        That's why Richard Feynman is my favorite scientist. He is the father of nano, explainer of the Challenger accident [I bid on the position that McAuliffe the schoolteacher got on that fatal mission] and all around funnyman-Feynman.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/...

        Who made the law...

        by Aidos on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 10:08:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Among the groups concerned (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jakbeau

    about nanotechnology is Consumer Reports:

    No confirmed cases of harm to humans from manufactured nanoparticles have been reported, though government and industry monitoring has been minimal. But there is cause for concern about the adequacy of regulation as well as several worrisome findings from the limited laboratory and animal research so far:

    - Benign materials can become toxic when nanosized because microscopic particles tend to react more readily with human tissues and other substances. One test-tube study, for example, suggested that nanoparticles might help transform proteins into substances linked with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other diseases, though the clinical significance, if any, of that finding is not known.

    - Nanoparticles can enter the body and its vital organs, including the brain, much more easily than can larger particles. And they’re now used in food additives, cosmetics, and other products that are ingested or applied to the skin. It’s likely that “humankind has never been exposed to such a wide variety of substances that can penetrate the human body apparently unhindered,” concluded a report on nanotechnology from insurance-industry giant Swiss Re, whose fortunes depend on adequate risk assessment. It recommended protective steps, even if the risks haven’t been proved.

    - Some nanomaterials seem to linger in the environment--especially in the water supply, where studies suggest they can damage the ecosystem.

    - Traditional safety-assessment methods are not adequate for nanomaterials, which might pose very different risks from those of the same materials at conventional size. Yet of the more than $1 billion the U.S. government spent last year on nanotech research, estimates indicate that only 1 percent to 4 percent went to risk assessment.

    Consumers have been left in the dark. More than 80 percent of Americans have heard little or nothing about nanotechnology, according to a March 2007 study led by Yale University researchers. One likely reason: Manufacturers aren’t required to disclose nanotechnology information or the presence of nanomaterials in their labeling.

    Their report on nanoparticles in sunscreens:

    Lab studies indicate that both of those nano-ingredients create free radicals that damage the DNA of cells and possibly cause other harm as well. And even low exposure to nanoparticles of titanium dioxide can damage the lungs of animals if inhaled.

    But whether those particles in sunscreens pose direct health risks to humans depends mainly on whether they penetrate the protective outer layers of dead skin. Studies suggest they don’t reach live tissue under normal circumstances. But it’s not known whether skin damaged by acne, eczema, sunburn, or nicks from shaving is more vulnerable to penetration, says Kristen Kulinowski, director of the International Council on Nanotechnology, which promotes responsible development of nanotech. And studies of other nanoparticles show they can penetrate the outer skin layers through the hair follicles or when the skin is repeatedly stretched.

    When I read this, I went cold... because just that day my daughter and I had worn sunscreen while playing in the river - a river that is a major water supply for California and also is used to irrigate crops exported all over the world. You could see the sunscreen coming off our bodies into the river - which was exactly why I had picked up the report, to find a more waterproof sunscreen. I'm now really careful about choosing sunscreens that do not appear to have nanoingredients.

    So maybe me putting the sunscreen on my body wouldn't be harmful to me... but imagine this water being aerosolized into a fountain where kids play at one of the parks, or drunk, or embedded in fish, or...

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 09:06:42 PM PST

    •  thats true but nanotechnology is a very generic (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BYw

      label and it encompasses a lot more stuff than simply nanoparticles. eg. carbon nanotubes and organic polymer displays are also examples of nanotechnology, both with no obvious health hazards.

      •  Definitely (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jakbeau, RevenantX

        but I think CU's stance is that the risks from some of these technologies are going to look very different, and we need to adjust our protocols before we unleash them everywhere.

        On the carbon nanotubes, they wrote of their great potential, but also that there might be a risk to workers:

        Carbon nanotubes. These tube-shaped structures are typically sealed in composites for auto-body parts, electronic equipment, and sports gear. So they’re unlikely to become airborne during normal use, though that might happen when nanotechnology products are thrown away or incinerated. Currently, lab and factory workers probably face the most exposure.

        Nanotubes and asbestos have similar fibrous shapes. Preliminary findings from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) have suggested that one type of nanotube, called multiwalled, did not act like asbestos in the body.

        But several animal studies of single-walled nanotubes, the other common type, indicate that they can inflame the lungs. One study found rapid lung damage in mice exposed to the equivalent of the workplace limit for another form of carbon. An accompanying commentary on that study warned that nanotube workers might therefore be at risk for pulmonary fibrosis, or potentially fatal scarring of the lungs.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 11:48:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I am a nanotech engineer (5+ / 0-)

    I guess I'll have to start writing more about technology and engineering sometime.  Unfortunately, I barely even have the time to post comments on a web site such as dailykos.

    I think it will be a long time before any "grey goo" or any of the other ideas envisioned in Neal Stephenson's book "The Diamond Age" are realized.  

    However, we are close to having new structural materials as strong as steel but made from carbon that can be derived from plant sources rather than mined. In the next few years there is also some major opportunity to develop super high capacity batteries and also major improvement in diagnostic medicine, and electronic display technologies.

    Nanotech has received much hype, but it really is a word that lumps in any kind of super small scale to atomic engineering.  If you use laptop computer batteries or catalytic converters in cars, then you're already benefiting from some of the initial progress in nanotechnology science and engineering.  

    I think that in the long run nanotech will need to be treated in much the same way that appropriate chemical and materials engineering is treated.  In general people don't worry about the gallium, arsenic, lead, cadmium, and many other various hazardous materials in some their electronics equipment, because the hazardous materials are pretty much isolated from the user.  Of course, we could still use better systems for recovery and recycling of these products, and removal of manmade products from the global ecosystem. But that is a problem in general for pretty much every type of trash.  

    "The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself." -FDR

    by jbro on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 09:07:01 PM PST

    •  bamboo (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Caoimhin Laochdha
      structural materials as strong as steel but made from carbon that can be derived from plant sources
    •  And therein lies my worry (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Caoimhin Laochdha

      I think that in the long run nanotech will need to be treated in much the same way that appropriate chemical and materials engineering is treated.

      From rocket fuel in breast milk to the EPA's "new" program to test chemical exposure on children to new efforts to determine the chemical body burden that all of us carry, we can see that chemical engineering has not only produced unforeseen consequences, but is literally posioning (see endocrin-disrupters) most animal life on the planet.  

      No conspiracy on the part of chemical companies is needed, for this may only be the law of unintended consequences at work.  And, some may say that it is the trade-off we must accept for the good that newly discovered chemicals have done, but I look at the human and animal health of the planet and issue a stern caution regarding bio-nanotechnology.

      In this, I join Friends of the Earth and their coalition of 44 environmental agencies across six continents and strongly urge the dkos community to read their join statement on guidelines for such exploration.

  •  Mat 21:12 and Mar 11:15 (0+ / 0-)

    "But can one not be tired of America made to look like some backwards revivalist "gotta live in the past" country dominated by a conservative ideological quality akin to a sleazy flea market?!"  

    I hear you, and I wouldn't be surprised if Jesus helped you overthrow these 21st-century backward tables the same way he overthrew them in his day.

  •  What you need.... (0+ / 0-)

    You need to have this talked about on a major network-otherwise, people don't know about it.
    Hubert's Peak Oil is on everyone's lips. That isn't the name of the report, nor is it the jist of the report. The report concerns switching our power supply from oil to nuclear. Well, what has been highlighted is the propaganda that its more American to pay more for gas.
    But we have digressed.
    Without a mainstream outlet explaining it people will think nano technology is about hooking an Ipod up to your braid.
    Consider where our education ranks worldwide and then consider your frustration. Your frustration is self induced. We believe we are smart, but the reality is citizens of Turkey grow up in a far better education system.

  •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

    It might be an artifact of how different groups think. For many religious folks many things have to have a moral value. Not what you do, but the tools. As an atheist, asking if nanotech is morally acceptable: Yes or No. Gets a yes, but that is only because it’s the only option. I don’t place any moral value on tools.

  •  I'd bet that most Americans surveyed (0+ / 0-)

    have no clue what nanotechnology means and therefore are against it.

    And there's also the fact that many religious people (Wiccans and pagans like me, and almost every Catholic I know with more than a third grade education)DO believe in evolution and regard these snake-handling science haters with as much disgust as the most hardcore atheist do. The judge who wrote the stingingly sarcastic rebuke in the Dover case was a conservative church-going-REPUBLICAN even!

    And most of those who favor intellectual abortion are against choice, an irony.

    I favor stem cell research--I have to Dad has Parkinson's and early stage Alzheimer's. My risk of Alzheimer's is a lot higher because of that.  I also have mild scoliosis, enough to make one leg a 1/2 inch shorter than the other--just enough to make me prone to back problems like facet joint syndrome and severe ankle problems (for a 4 year period, I lived with taped ankles).

    I trust science far better than I do religion. And scientists make their calls based on evidence and objective observation.   We need to get religion out of the schools and the curriculum. We really do. And we need to restore the excitement and mystery to science,s o that kids want to go into it.  Many of my generation who made science a career did so because Star Trek, the original series, gave them a dream of a world where anyone could succeed,w here race and ethnicity and gender didn't matter.  Where the universe was big and wonderful and fascinating. We need to go there again.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 11:41:10 AM PST

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