Friday, May 9, 2008


last friday, the therapist mumbled about how switzerland was able to--very nearly--mimic a human brain.

he, sarcastically, it seemed to me, ended his post by saying, "i hope it has good parents."

but perhaps he wasn't being sarcastic. isn't it true, though, that a good upbringing makes a world of difference?

it makes all the difference in individual people, and therefore in one-on-one relationships, partnerships, communities . . . countries . . .

i, for one, do worry about major technological advances. and no, i'm not some backward-thinking christian conservative who eschews all science. i embrace responsible, ethical science. i do think, for example, that stem cell research is important and worthwhile. but i still wonder . . .

recently, i was at a district meeting with representatives from the other five high schools in my area discussing new textbooks and supplemental materials. we decided to adopt mcdougal littell's package for ninth and tenth graders.

and what a package it is . . . the new books combined with the new software were so amazing that i leaned over to my department chair and said, "where are the robots that are replacing us? these new materials teach themselves!"

well, almost. (thank god.)

there is an example of great technology that is going to make learning accessible, comprehensible, and fun. i'm all for it.

but what about a synthetic brain?

i am sure that some will ask, "why not?"

umm, i don't know, but if you've ever read "1984", then you might have some doubts. i mean, it looks like the next logical step, no? total mind control . . .

or not.

let's go back to "good parenting" because i think that's the key. i don't fear technology and science when it's in the hands of ethical, moral people. and i know that appears to be contradiction . . . like, "what's morality and ethics got to do with science?" i know it seems like a slippery slope, indeed, but i do believe there is a place for ethics and morality in the scientific world. i believe that scientists should be guided, if not by "morals" and "ethics", then by a sense to do "right" for mankind.

the thing is, though, of course . . . defining "right" . . .

i'm just saying that we should not forget our history here.

i am reminded of dr. j. robert oppenheimer. remember him? he's the scientist who directed the manhattan project and was responsible for creating the atom bomb . . . and who, upon seeing the awesome power of his creation said, "we knew the world would not be the same. i remembered the line from the hindu scripture, the bhagavad-gita, 'now i am become death, the destroyer of worlds.'"

oppenheimer, together with einstein and others, spent the rest of his life trying to educate the public about responsible scientific inquiry and exploration . . .

how, though, you ask, will we know if something is bad for us UNTIL it is discovered? well, friends, i didn't say i had all the answers . . . i'll just reiterate: proper parenting . . .

i see it like this . . . barring ecological concerns . . . in my last post, i was going to say that it was irresponsible for the duggars to have so many kids. i felt that, hey, you know, there are already a lot of people on the planet. we're not trying to populate a new country here, ok?

then, however, i thought . . . you know, they seem like good people. and doesn't my real concern have more to do with "unsavory" people procreating, rather than good people procreating?

i'd rather the duggars have 18 kids, than, say, charles manson have even one. why? parenting, that's why.

if i knew, for a fact, that all of the world's scientists came from "good homes", then i'd sleep better at night.

how 'bout you?

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