70% OF AMERICANS MAY FIND NANO "MORALLY UNACCEPTABLE"
More inspired ignorance among people according to the WSJ, this time manifested in fear of the small
"Our first reaction was that 70% of people must not know what nanotechnology is – President Bush, who has openly relied on moral views to shape his scientific agenda, has made nanotechnology one of his scientific priorities, after all. And Dietram Scheufele, the University of Wisconsin professor who led the survey, agrees to a point. People’s understanding of what nanotechnology is hasn’t advanced much over the last few years, he tells the Business Technology Blog. “So people rely on mental shortcuts,” lumping nanotechnology in with other new technologies like stem cell research and genetically modified foods, he tells us. The same people who object to those fields – often on religious reasons – object to nanotechnology. (Incidentally, the heathen Europeans are just fine with nanotechnology.)"Mental shortcuts are naturally the best way to reach the greatest number of conclusions in the least amount of time. And finding GM foods or stem cells morally unacceptable is also equally ditzy. Of course, the WSJ should know that President Bush himself has made nano one of his scientific priorities without understanding what it is. But that's ok, one needs time to understand such things. After all, it takes time for one to collect one's thought.
Note: A reader mails me to ask if it's wrong for the majority to decide what is morally unacceptable or not. Sadly, whether we like it or not, that's often the way it works in a democracy.
But that's not the point here. The point here is about making such decisions because of misguided and/or gut reactions. It is about the process rather than the paradigm.