Saturday, February 23, 2008

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.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Anonymoustache said...

"...it takes time for one to collect one's thought"....Very nice!

Sadly, these polls don't surprise me anymore. I kinda expect such crap. I am constantly reminded of the movie Bull Durham, of the "Fear and arrogance" and "Fear and ignorance" exchange ....not because of any situational similarity but because, well, thats kinda how the people live their lives now. Some live with fear and arrogance and most live in fear and ignorance. Not surprising, as "fear and ignorance" is the cornerstone message of virtually all organized religion. Throw in the weapons of mass distraction of mainstream TV and radio and voila! You have what you have!

10:14 AM  
Blogger Ashutosh said...

They don't surprise me too I guess, just sadden me. It feels as if people are actually running away from reason and rational debate.

12:49 PM  

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