Monday, December 29, 2008

Just when things couldn't get scarier

I'm a great fan of Science Fiction movies. The women in my life don't understand my fascination with the genre. The biggest reason, other than witnessing some special effects, is the concepts of just because we can do something, doesn't necessarily mean we should. The genre makes me think. Something too many of us, especially liberals who only feel, have forgotten how to do. The question was the main question given to us by Einstein when we were developing the Atomic bomb. Eventually he would relent because of the threat Nazism posed should they get the bomb first, but a legitimate question to ask.

Often the themes in such show are technology that backfire in our faces against us. Plagues, runaway robots, aliens who use advanced technology against us. Often the one that intrigues me the most is we become so dependent on our technology that we lose our humanity in the process. Just take a look at what goes on in a classroom today and you have to wonder. Can kids today, for example, be able to function if their cell phones, ipods, psp's, whatever, suddenly stopped working. I remember an episode of the series War of the Worlds when the martians were planning to destroy our communication devices to plunge us in to kaos. That plan would had worked. However, what is it about people doing genetics at home that scares me? The oldest story in Science fiction after discovery: controlling the uncontrollable.

Remember in Jurassic Park how the billionaire thought about how once they have control the genetic power he'll be able to put it up for display. Only to realized it's just a flea circus. An illusion. It took only one greedy traitor to unravel that power and unleashed it. This was a power with a danger that was clear and present. What we're unleashing now isn't so clear or present in its danger. We got every Tom, Dick and Harry (Tabitha, Denise, and Helda for you ladies out there) now throwing their sticks in the wind. My God, haven't we learned anything yet. Genetics is one of the biggest powers in our known universe. At least at the biological level and we're going to let just anyone play with it. I rather give a loaded gun to my kids 2 year-old half sister. At least the only people in danger is anyone at the other end of that gun. According to Genesis, it took God 7 days to create life on this planet. Look out, here comes Genesis, we'll do it in 7 minutes. Oh, I'm quoting from Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. But that power done by well trained, disciplined, and ethical (well, one wasn't and his unethical behavior came to bite him in the butt in The Search for Spock) scientist and in the wrong hands was going to be perverted into a horrible weapon.

That's the problem putting such a power into ordinary people's hands. In our arrogance, we may create something we didn't intend, have unintended consequences, or heaven help us, by evil people for evil consequences. These people using the discovery of Apple and Google from a garage. Ok, one, I think Apple is a crappy company run by a egotistical maniac. If he had a brain, Apple would had crushed Microsoft, but Job was too stupid and too greedy, but I digress. You're not playing with electronics or computer software, which I may remind there's a billion dollar industry to protect against malevolent people out there who create bad software from their garages on purpose, but creating life. Different life form that we don't have no clue will function or behave once created. That green glow may become something else. Or if a terrorist should attempt to use this to do harm. Too much of this article based that people only want to do good. I even question that. Most people have no ethics, just narcissist desire to become put on a pedestal for discovering something. I want to be an engineer and if I make a discovery, great, but I just want to be apart of making our lives better and finding cleaner solutions. I'm wise enough to know that a good man knows his limitations. I'm not going to venture into something I know little about and throw it in my yogurt.

It takes a great deal of time, education, and research before ethically performing experiments on living matter and tissues. I find having well educated, trained, and experienced scientist doing this kind of research. Even they get it wrong or find unexpected or intended consequences and those are scary enough. Do we really want anybody opening up their own labs and performing their own experiments with no safety protocols, procedures, or ethics. What meths manufacturers do and the damage they do, and not just with the drugs, the chemicals, contamination, chemical leaks, accidents, well, that's bad enough. With a virus like Ebola which, should it ever become airborne, could kill at least 80% of the human race. That's just what ONE super virus, a super bug can do. Now what if we have half a dozen hobby scientist accidentally create one, each unique? I think I'll look for that plot in the next science fiction movie and hope it's not the news reel.


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