On BioScience and Life and Such

Archive for May, 2009|Monthly archive page

Quote-fest 0509

In Uncategorized on May 17, 2009 at 7:54 pm
Dumbledore as portrayed by the late Richard Ha...
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1. From this post on Gene Expression (found via this excellent post):

the study of human genetic variation is in its infancy, and once it hits adolescence it’s going to start becoming a real pain in the ass.

2. From a comment on this post on Anna’s Bones:

My argument, however, was very simple: If you don’t believe in evolution, don’t get the flu shot. It’s hypocritical.

3. From this post on Blind Scientist on scientists as communicators:

We are horrible communicators, most of our websites are dreadful and do no contain any useful information and when we are confronted with a dumb Playboy bombshell we lose the argument. We lose because usually the argument is so ludicrous that we have no patience to explain. We lose because we are unable to communicate in lay terms. We lose because we’re not entertainers or crowd manipulators. We lose because we make our arguments difficult to understand. We lose because we get angry.

4. From “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling:

After all, to the well organized mind, death is but the next great adventure. – Professor Dumbledore on p. 215, line 31

5. …………and…..:

…the trouble is, humans do have a knack of choosing precisely those things which are worst for them. – Professor Dumbledore on wanting Money and life extension, p. 215, line 35.

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The slippery slope, maybe not so slippery after all

In Uncategorized on May 9, 2009 at 6:47 pm

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Newlywed male same-sex couple at Gaypride 2006...
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I read this (via AnnaBones):

Yesterday, when Gov. John Baldacci (D) signed a marriage equality law, Maine became the fifth state to allow legal same-sex marriage. On the Christian Broadcasting Network today, Pat Robertson responded by claiming that the “ultimate conclusion” of legalizing same-sex marriage would be the legalization of polygamy, bestiality, child molestation and pedophilia. “You mark my words, this is just the beginning in a long downward slide in relation to all the things that we consider to be abhorrent,” said Robertson.

And it occurred to me that the “Slippery slope” argument used when discussing genetic testing (I have used this argument myself) may have this same hysteric dimension…………based on unfounded anxiety (and prejudice ?).

No doubt, there is a definite possibility that our anticipation of discriminative genetic sorting and the incoherent slippery slope argument above share some of the same f(e)ar-fetched elements………..at least as long as democracy and free will/expression prevails.

Could it be the genetic testing slope isn’t slippery at all ? Just a plain good old slope. And maybe it’s not ending in the “brave new world pits of hell”, but rather, going upwards ending in this  city of happy people. Then again maybe neither. What we should expect post the genetic revolution is most probably today’s world with a little less suffering (from disease that is).

Either way, when I see reflections (however twisted) of my own anxiety in crazy, homophobic, christian conservative, right wing nut-heads, it is time to do some serious reconsiderations.

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Ten things we didn’t communicate that well

In Uncategorized on May 5, 2009 at 5:34 pm

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Title page of the first edition of On the Orig...

As life scientists, we failed in our communication with the rest of the world when our messages became:

1.Survival of the strongest (which was supposed to be survival of the fittest)
2. Abortion is ending human life (when what it really means is not starting one)
3. Our DNA-sequence determines our future (when all it does is give the starting point for our individual continuously changing phenotype).
4. Race is not determined by genes (when it fact it most certainly is).

Update – additions:

5. Science has all of the answers (from FredCoBio).

6. Genetic modification is something only done in the lab (from MrGunn).

7. Most published research findings turn out to be false, and this is the cost of innovation (from MrGunn).

8. “We will cure X in Y years.” Seems a lot of the public has become disillusioned because we still haven’t cured cancer or AIDS, or “made good” on stem cell research (from Shirley Wu, more here).

9. Any exercise will help you lose weight. When the truth is that the exercise needs to be extensive and the right type.

10. Carbohydrates and fat are bad for you. When the truth is that we need a balanced diet containing both fat and carbohydrates (as well as all the other things).

More comments and suggestions most welcome.

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