The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ah may be wrong, but I is consistent

Mike Ralls commented:

"For what it's worth, my guess is that at least 90% of US President probably felt that interracial sex was wrong to some degree at some point in their life. Numerous states passed numerous laws against it throughout US history, reflecting that this was not an uncommon belief. This is sad, but morals change over time."

Morals have to do with actions. FEELINGS are different, and change much more slowly, as people become convinced that they are not in danger. Unless those "90%" went through a period of matching power and length when they actually APPROVED of interracial relationships (as opposed to merely tolerate them) then the net sum is disapproval, mitigation against. And if you are against interracial relationships, then you will grasp that integration leads inevitably to them. In which case you will look for every opportunity to slow down racial progress. Because you have to operate (to a degree) publicly, you have to hide your true intent, so you will always cloak your obstructionism in other terms.

Because it is hard to hurt others without opening the door to the same things being done to you (I'm against torture at least partially because I'm afraid it will be done to me) human beings have a wonderful capacity to have even fear, greed, and naked self-interest actually lead to decisions those motivated by love and charity might make. So these same human beings who, in a perfect world, would have no black men ever touch a white woman (while, of course, keeping black women sexually available to white men), will pass civil rights legislation because they have run out of legal, publicly-admittable reasons to oppose it. At which point they can say: Huzzah! See! Progress. Smiles all around. Ain't we Progressive?

I believe in humanity, but some of the things that have kept us alive through the centuries lead to real destruction. If men can be bigoted toward women despite every man having been given the gift of life by one, despite almost every man having aunts, sisters, and grammas that they love...that same tendency to want to control would run rampant when faced by an Other that is relatively unknown...who actually competes with you for reproductive space, and who might want to kill you in revenge for past wrongs. And whom you outnumber almost ten to one. And whom you can actually eradicate with minimal impact in your own life.

Frankly, the only President I believe doesn't object to interracial relationships is Obama--because he is the product of one. (And if he'd been "pure" black he'd probably have the exact same problem, in reverse) Every one of the others? The best of them wrestle with their instincts and conditioning, and come down on the side of the angels. But the twitch is still there.

This nearly universal "twitch" is why I don't believe that blacks will ever catch up. Too many disadvantages, no real advantages. Too many decisions about jobs, incarceration, health care that can be "explained away" as reasonable public policy, rule of law, when it is really an expression of a forbidden inner need. Too many decisions in the dark. That's just the way it is. But does that cause me despair?

Nope. Why not? Because I didn't say anything about how far behind they'll be. Could be no more than a fraction of a percent, and in the larger scheme of things, that ain't bad. And that means that anyone willing to put out 105% effort can get 100% of the results. Again, not bad considering the scope and sweep of human history. And let's not even get into the natural world: I would rather have been a black man in Selma in 1950 than a rabbit in the woods. Human beings are downright benevolent compared to the natural world. I don't see dogs and cats mourning road-kill.

Anyone who is angry and fearful for their community can do what I've done: mentor, sponsor, donate to their community. And most importantly, live by example. SHOW people how it's done. And while I won't tolerate whites pretending all is well and the playing field is level, I am also (regrettably, perhaps) inflexible toward black people: if you aren't working honestly, aren't physically healthy and fit, and don't corral your sexuality in the safety of relationship and/or family responsibility, you have no right to complain about poverty, health statistics, or boys and/or girls running wild in the streets. You know NOTHING about what it takes to make a healthy community, because your own dysfunction blinds you to the very causes that create social disaster. The Macro is in the Micro. Clean up your own back yard before you complain about your neighbor's.

It's o.k. not to care, but don't be hypocritical about it. It's all right to point the finger, if you can honestly hold yourself an an example of your own supposed values. Be the change you want to see in the world.

White folks are doing the best they can, just like you. Get real: children are dying out there. I don't ask you to get in the water with drowning swimmers, but get your damned feet on the dock and throw a life preserver, or shut the fuck up.

##

Is there anything ugly we do to each other that doesn't boil down to sex or survival? Power, maybe...but since power gives men access to sex, we come back to the same thing. Family? Genetic or memetic survival. That may be stretching a point, but I'm sincerely interested in the question.

##

Mike asked:

"Quick question on this, say America adopts a socialized health system; in that event, to what degree if any, do you think the following will be reduced;

% of Americans who smoke.
% of Americans who drink to excess
% of Americans who consume an excess of sugary foods or drinks, fried foods, fast foods, or too many processed foods.
% of Americans who eat large amounts of fresh fruits and vegetable
% of Americans who exercise 3 times a week, or more*"

Yes, I do. The reasons include the fact that when we're all in the pot together, there would be less social approval for self-destructive behavior, more programs to help people safely reduce or quit. Much more motivation for everyone to encourage everyone to behave in a healthy fashion--we have an actual stake in the health of our neighbors. A greater number of exercise opportunity in parks and public places, because tax dollars spent in prevention save money on the other end.

Preventive medicine is vastly less expensive than waiting for people to go to the emergency room. The actual amount of time necessary to achieve fitness is under an hour a week, and if people could actually consult experts who can customize programs, a little real information can go a long way.

Under NO circumstances can I see how such a system would make things worse, and since nothing has an absolutely zero effect, there you go.

##

I wondered about medical research, and how we might get some stats on different countries. I took a different tact, and decided to look for Nobel Winners in Medicine by country. Couldn't find a specific list, but Wikipedia has a list of all winners, and I'll list the top 5 or so:

United States: 309

U.K.--113

Germany--102

France--57

Switzerland--28

oh...and...

Canada 17

85 of the United States awards were for medicine. I'll leave it to someone else to sort through this to see how many of the others were. How this graphs in terms of comparable GNP, population, and so forth. I don't know. But it would be dishonest not to publish what I found. What it means? What might the difference be if medicine was socialized? I don't know. I suspect that that will require analysis by better heads than mine...but there are the results to discuss rationally and politely: lives are at stake.

##

Part of the reason I'm not totally worried about the quality of research falling off if the personal profit potential is reduced is that people are more afraid of dying than they are of not getting rich. This is why people who suggest that doctors are deliberately holding back valid, cheap cancer cures make me shake my head. They think those doctors aren't afraid of getting cancer? That their mothers and fathers and children don't die of cancer? Remove pure profit from the equation, and you still have fear, love, and sheer intellectual curiosity remaining. And you'll remember that I consider fear of death to trump everything else (on average). So if power (and money) is chakra 3, survival is #1, compassion #4, and intellectual curiosity is #6--a pretty fair through-line. I'll take it.

Again, ah may be wrong, but I is consistent.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

"... people are more afraid of dying than they are of not getting rich."

You're unfortunately correct: they are more afraid of immediate risk than of the long-term likelihood that, if innovation is choked off, they will die of things which might have been curable if innovation had continued.

That's why Obamacare deeply worries me: it's the sort of thing that looks great if you think that what we have now represents the absolute zenith of what's possible for biomedicine.

I don't think we're anywhere near that zenith, and having had several friends go from academic to for-profit biomedical research, I'm vividly aware of just how easy it would be to throttle the flow of new technologies and medicines. All you need to do is assume that "pure" motives are all that matters.

It's my impression that real achievement in biology and medical research depends on a mixture of motives, at least some of which are anything but pure: the desire to show the world something big, the desire to be a breakout success not merely in the lab but in the "real world", the desire to win a competition, the desire to matter. It's also my very strong impression that the productivity of biology in America is due to the syngergism of having both a strong pure-academic science sector and a strong for-profit technology sector.

Moreover, the real breakthroughs are likely to be things that well-meaning leftish policy managers don't want: for instance, a pill that lets normal human beings have extended healthy lifespans would be a huge benefit to most people, but I very much doubt that it'd be tolerated by top-down Obamacare. It's just too ... individualistic and unlike the past. Not the sort of thing the Democratic Party's going to want to see developed and mass-marketed (for the common people, at any rate -- selling it privately to Important People like Nancy Pelosi might be OK).

I really dread the results of well-meaning people trying to make things work with all the profit driven out. I would have hoped that past efforts at economic collectivism had been disastrous enough that we wouldn't need to do the same silly thing here in the U.S. But, maybe, we as a nation just need to go sticking our national male member into that particular garbage disposal, and then flicking the "on" switch. Sigh.


--Erich Schwarz

Anonymous said...

"Under NO circumstances can I see how such a system would make things worse..."

Talk to (or read) Mark Steyn, who comes from Canada. He may be unfairly negative, but he'd have plenty of things to tell you about "what could go wrong?"

Or just consider that Quebec's Supreme Court was recently forced to rule that banning people from being able to pay for their own healthcare (as is currently Canadian law) was a violation of their human rights. This came after prolonged discontent with the limitations of Canadian Medicare.

Nationalizing medicine could have a lot of things get worse. You're within your rights to think that they're unlikely, or that they don't matter to you personally -- but if you can't think of any reason why a sane person might want to see less, not more, top-down government control of medicine ... then you're very likely to be associating with a skewed population of people, politically.


--Erich Schwarz

Marty S said...

Steve: If you are nothing if not consistent, but when you question the value of medical research I think you are really off base. Have you heard of the disease called polio? It meant a horrible life for many back when I was growing up. Now we have wiped it of the map. It affected and has been wiped out for those of every race. Doing so has affected the life expectancy of every race to the degree the disease resulted in early death. This is just one example. Measles is another example of a disease wiped out although it didn't have the effect of crippling people while they lived. If you look at the statistics for Blacks I'm sure you will find improved life expectancy, less infant mortality etc, compared to fifty years ago. Of course it would be hard to separate how much is due to medical progress versus social progress, but I'm sure there is some of both.

Bradipo said...

No doubt medical researchers do the things they do for many different reasons: money, fame, to advance science, to improve their own understanding of the world, to save lives (both in general and the lives of loved ones in particular).... Just look around and it's easy to find cases of people highly motivated to cure a disease that has already killed a loved one, even though it's now too late to save that person.

Some worry that drug companies are incentivized by the current system to come up with treatments (rather than cures), because they can turn a treatment into a continuing revenue stream. Personally, I doubt if that's a big effect, except around the edges. (In particular, I think research into a treatment probably produces a cure about as often as research into a cure produces a treatment--and no drug firm is going to throw away a cure just because they'd rather have had a treatment.

The only place I think I see a big effect is that pressures to supply life-saving treatments to everyone (regardless of whether they can pay) has the perverse effect of incentivizing drug firms to put extra resources into researching non-life-saving treatments (for herpes, baldness, erectile disfunction, etc.). There's much less pressure on drug companies to give these away to poor folks, so more opportunity to make outsized profits.

BC Monkey said...

"Quick question on this, say America adopts a socialized health system; in that event, to what degree if any, do you think the following will be reduced;

% of Americans who smoke.
% of Americans who drink to excess
% of Americans who consume an excess of sugary foods or drinks, fried foods, fast foods, or too many processed foods.
% of Americans who eat large amounts of fresh fruits and vegetable
% of Americans who exercise 3 times a week, or more*"



Yes, I do.


Steve, that question is testable by checking US vs Canada and the EU couintries where no private care options are available.

As for the Canadian experience, well, I can comment on that. Where you cannot ration services by price, you ration some other way. medical care is a good which the demand for is effectively unlimited (who doesn't want to be healthier? Have the slightest cold looked after?) Given that demand, the rationing in socilized systems takes place primarily by time.

For example, I currently have an enlarged lymph node on my neck. I bought this to my family doctor in early March. He referred me to a specialist. The specialist appt was April 28th- 1 month and a half later. The specialist referred me to an ultrasound, which was scheduled for May 11th. After the ultrasound, the results were forwarded to the Doctor and the doctor called me in to review the results- June 11th. I now need to go in for a fine needle aspiration of the node to check what's in there, which will be July 14th. If I'm lucky he'll take care of the issue at that appointment. If not, I can expect surgery in September or later.

I live in Toronto, the financial and medical capital of Canada. This is as good as it gets here.

I've had to take my daughter or myself to Emergency twice in the last year. Each time has taken 7-8 hours. (To be fair, neither of us were spurting blood)

In addition, offering medical services in a socialized system is no longer a source of profit- service is a cost to the system. Yes- the gov't does try to cut costs. New medical treatments are not offered here for years after they become available in the US because they cost so much. We have far fewer MRI machines per capita than the US and the wait times here are far longer than the US. (although the elite always seem to get theirs promptly. Yes, the rich still get better care, even under socialized health care)

A prime example of the stupidity that socialized health care introduces into the system took place in Ontario in the mid-90s. We had a socialist government (NDP) which decided that health-care costs were rising too quickly. Doctor billings were a major source of that growth, so they decided that controlling the # of dotors was a priority. So, they cut the funding for the medical schools, which led to fewer slots available and fewer graduates. Guess what, here we are ten+ years later and we have a shortage of doctors in Ontario.

BC Monkey said...

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1162552/Brown-apologises-unacceptable-failings-Stafford-Third-World-hospital.html

At the above, a recent scandal from the British National Health Service.

Excerpt....
It found Government waiting time targets and a bid to win foundation status were pursued at the expense of patient safety over a three-year period at Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust.
The commission's report - revealed in yesterday's Daily Mail - said at least 400 deaths could not be explained, although it is feared up to 1,200 patients may have died needlessly.


Watch for news coming out of the UK on the NHS. Over the years the number of horror stories continue to grow and get progressively worse. I take an interest because the UK got socialized care around 20 years before Canada did and I regard the current NHS as where Canada's system will be in 20 years.

"... people are more afraid of dying than they are of not getting rich."

Were the researchers and the patients consuming the reseach always one and the same, that would hold true. However most researchers do not have the perfect foreknowledge to work on the afflictions that they themselves will be afflicted with years and decades down the road. Or the afflictions make doing the research almost impossible. How will a blind scientist find a cure for blindness? Will all of his team be blind as well to be similarly motivated?

Sorry Steve, your point doesn't hold up to examination.

BC Monkey said...

In a proft medical system, as a patient, I am a profit centre.

In a socialized medical system, as a patient, I am an expense.

Here's another wonderful story from the NHS in the UK

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1169764/NHS-scandal-I-dentist--Now-aged-21-Ive-teeth-removed.html

NHS scandal: 'I couldn't find a dentist... Now, aged 21, I've had to have all my teeth removed'


Horrible example aside, I'd point out the logic behind it...

Last week, statistics obtained by the Liberal Democrats revealed that the number of people having teeth extracted in hospital has risen by one third in the past four years.

More than 175,000 Britons had their teeth removed under general anaesthetic in 2007/08, up 40,000 on the 2003/04 figure.
Normal, happy teenager: Amy with all her teeth aged 18
The number of children having teeth out has shot up, too. But more pertinent is the fact that the rate of these extractions gathered pace after a deeply controversial contract for NHS dentists was introduced in April 2006.
The year before, the number of extractions was fewer than 150,000. Two years later, it had risen to more than 175,000 - an increase of 16 per cent.
Could the contract - hailed by the Government as a revolution in the provision of state-subsidised dental care - be linked to this alarming new trend in tooth extraction?
Critics such as Norman Lamb, the Lib Dems' health spokesman, are in little doubt.

He says: 'I am hearing from people who still cannot see an NHS dentist and are therefore neglecting their teeth or waiting until it is an emergency.
'Other patients have to pay extortionate amounts for private treatment to save a tooth or else wait weeks, often in pain, to get a tooth extracted on the NHS.'
But it is not just a continued lack of access to NHS dentists that is causing concern.

There is also growing evidence that the new payment system introduced by the contract is discouraging dentists from undertaking more complex, time-consuming work.


Government introduces all sorts of different incentives into the system and the results are usually perverse.

Doctors and Dentists follow incentives, just like everyone else. The system that best aligns the good of the patient with the good of the doctor or dentist is the for-profit model.

suzanne said...

I've had to take my daughter or myself to Emergency twice in the last year. Each time has taken 7-8 hours. (To be fair, neither of us were spurting blood)

that's not so different from
ER's in large cities in the USA
or even on the weekends in medium sized cities

Marty S said...

Obama question on public television his grandmother's hip replacement because she was terminally ill. My father spent the last six years of his life wishing he would die because his infirmities made his life not worth living to him. My heart cried every time I visited to him. If Obama's idea of change is to reduce the pain on one group, the poor by inflicting pain on another group, the elderly then how is he different from anyone who discriminates between groups. My perception is that a lot of Obama's policies amount to a war against us retired folks.

Mike Ralls said...

>Wikipedia has a list of all winners, and I'll list the top 5 or so:

United States: 309
SNIP
Canada 17

85 of the United States awards were for medicine. I'll leave it to someone else to sort through this to see how many of the others were"

As a quick and dirty test, Canada provides a rather good illustration. It has roughly 1/10th the GDP and roughly 1/10th the population as America, and it has a very similar culture. Other things being equal, we should expect that Canada would produce 1/10th as much medical advances as we do, right? Looking at the list (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Nobel_Laureates_in_Physiology_or_Medicine), I see two Canadians to American's 85 (2% instead of the expected 10%). But you know what? Both of those were in 1923 which was decades before Canada socialized it's health care system. Since Canada socialized it's health care system? Not a single Canadian appears to have won. So since Canada socialized it's health care, we are literally doing infinitely better than them at winning Nobel laureates for medicine.

As another quick test, from 1959 to 2009, if I counted right there have been 122 individual winners in Physiology or Medicine and 68 of them have been Americans (for the record, 2 of those 68 were split nationality, according to Wikipedia.) If we expected winners to have rough parity with their percentage of global GDP, then the US could be expected to have around 20% to 25% of the winners, but it doesn't. It has around 55% of the winners! Using Nobel laureates as a model, we are advancing medicine and physiology somewhere between 2 and 3 times at the rate our % of world GDP would suggest (as a % of world population we are doing 1,200% better). WOW! I always suspected we were doing better than average, but I had no idea it was 2-3 times better. To me, this suggests that if nothing else, when it comes to medical advances the US is doing something _VERY_ right.

Furthermore, the US didn't have that lead earlier on. In the first half of the century, when most countries didn't have socialized health care, the winner are much more split all over the place and the US is just among many. But starting in the 50's the US just seems to zoom ahead and really starts to win a disproportionate share of the time.

Now correlation does not prove causation. It's possible that we could still produce a disproportionate terms if we had socialized medicine just because we ROCK so much. ;) But I definitly think this is a very important data point. Huge. Hang on while I go call my local chapter of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy and try and get this to be one one our newly assigned talking points. ;)

Steve Perry said...

I'm sorry, but did folks here somehow sleep through the previous eight years when science was chained upon the rock of religion and having its liver torn out by vultures?

Oh, you'll stunt medical research!

Where were you when stem cells were stuck into the dungeon?

Where were the Republican cries of outrage when Medicare was shoving old folks off the back of the sled and forcing them to dodge the wolves to go to Mexico or Canada for their meds?

Anything Obama does regarding health care and science cannot help but be an improvement.

Ah, but the Republican rallying cry -- No Taxes! -- aided by the libertarian -- No Government! -- is in full throat. We can't afford it! Socialized medicine will destroy us!

Wars, we can afford. Grandma's heart medicine, no. That way, we can kill off the young and the old at the same time!

What a wonderfully screwed sense of priorities we have in our fair land.

I have a friend who is suffering from ruptured disks in his low back who doesn't have health insurance. He needs surgery, all the doctors who have seen him agree, but the current system of "health insurance" won't let him have the operation until he suffers through months of injections and physical therapy, both of which have failed and will continue to do so, because that's how the conservative-treatment thinking goes. He can't work, he is in constant pain, and the chances are very good that a relatively-simple and relatively-cheap procedure could have fixed him six months ago. And will, once he crawls through the hoops and they finally allow it.

Something is wrong with that. Something is wrong with people who can't see something is wrong with that.

Dan Moran said...

It's possible that we could still produce a disproportionate terms if we had socialized medicine just because we ROCK so much. ;)

Certainly this would be my theory. ;)

Dan Moran said...

Steve Perry said:

various wise and clearly stated things

Have I mentioned lately how much you rock? Good job.

dwesley said...

"85 of the United States awards were for medicine. ... What might the difference be if medicine was socialized?"

I see medical research as something very distinct and relatively decoupled from the normal delivery of medical services. Interestingly enough, a very large portion of medical research is already subsidized by grants from the National Institutes of Health. But, the real key is turning that research into something that raises the standard of care. Just because someone performed research to build a useful MRI machine doesn't mean that it automatically gets produced and put in every hospital. It takes some collaboration between the makers, the financiers, the doctors and the patients to put it in use. In the US, we do a pretty good job of turning research into ehnanced care. I'm confident that expanding health care coverage to all Americans does not have to impede research or the delivery of benefits from that research, with the single exception that it all costs money. If we have the will to pay for it, then I'm hopeful that we can rally all parties involved to provide a uniquely American (and 21st century) way to deliver the care.

Mike Ralls said...

And I've called and canceled the right wing talking point program.

Looked up the UK's figures, and they won 19 out of the last 122 prizes in medicine. They are about 18% of our GDP but have won 35% of the prizes that we have, which means that on a GDP basis, the Brits with their socialized medicine are actually winning a higher proportion of Nobel lauderates in medicine than we are.

Again, correlation does not prove causation, but if we are doing something right then the Brits are doing something even better. This is certainly a strong point against the argument that socialized medicine can not produce advances as well as a more free market system, if we are accepting nobel lauderates as a good measure of those advances.

Mike Ralls said...

Specifically, what's up with Canada? Why are the Brits doing better than us, but the Canadians doing so much worse? Differences in the system? Economies of scale? Random flux due to the small sample size?

If it is a systematic problem, then it is absolutely critical that we avoid it if we go down that route.

Further side note; The English speaking people are absolutly dominating medcine.

Australians have gotten 5 over the last 50 years, and New Zealand 1 bringing the Anglosphere's total to 93 out of 122, 76% of the total winners from a people who make up around 6% of the Earth's population. Most impressive.

Mike Ralls said...

>but the current system of "health insurance" won't let him have the operation until he suffers through months of injections and physical therapy, both of which have failed and will continue to do so, because that's how the conservative-treatment thinking goes..<

While I am sorry for your friend and hope he recovers, I do not share your assumption that similar things would not happen in a socialized system. Any limited good will be rationed in one way or another and there are tons of stories out there of people going through exactly what you describe your friend going through, but doing it in a socialized system.

Anonymous said...

"... did folks here somehow sleep through the previous eight years when science was chained upon the rock of religion and having its liver torn out by vultures?"

I'm a Ph.D. biologist at Caltech. I don't just whine about science. I do science.

And, having done science right through those alleged 8 years of horror, I can attest that Bush had essentially zero negative effect on the following transformative technologies:

1. development of induced embryonic stem cells from adult cells (far more important and usable than embryonic stem cells, since the former can be actually used as a native graft into a patient, while the latter are foreign and in much shorter supply

2. next-generation sequencing technologies allowing us to do truly personal genomics for the first time in history -- i.e., sequencing an entire patient's genome for $1K

3. pharmaceuticals directed against genes which modulate lifespan in animals

So, I'm sorry, but I don't buy for one instant the argument that Bush was so evil and so anti-science that Obamacare just "has to be better".


--Erich Schwarz

Steve Perry said...

Just for the record, Eric, your political stance would seem, from your postings here, to be slightly to the right of Genghis Khan.

Which might, you know, make your comments on how wonderful science was during the recent Dark Age somewhat less than objective and certainly not at all convincing.

Goggle "science during the bush administration" and you get five million hits. A fast look at the first few pages are not so glowing in their praise of Recent Occupant and his views.

Science? He didn' need no steenkin' science!

Bush had a cadre of tame Ph.Ds on various boards and advisory committees -- always somebody willing to cozy up to power -- who swore global warming was a myth, Anna Nicole married for love, and that the jury was still out on whether the Earth was flat or not.

Sorry, but taking care of the sick and old seems a better way to spend our money than killing Middle Eastern folks hither and yon.

If I fell over from a stroke on the street, I do believe I'd much rather see Barnes or Moran walking up than you or some of the other folks who drop by here, because I believe you --and they -- would cruise by without a second glance. Whereas I believe Barnes or Moran would stop for me -- or you.

Mike Ralls said...

In a rather emotional topic, it's probably best if one refrains from making ad hominem attacks on one's opponents, such as saying that they would let an old man collapse in the street without a second glance. That's a rather vile insult and the opponent would be perfectly justified to respond in kind and then the conversation is over and we might as well just fling turds of shit at each other. There are plenty of places on the internet where that is common. I'd rather this not be one of them.

Steve Perry said...

But that's exactly what the R's are doing, Mike. Fighting tooth and nail to avoid taking care of people who fall over on the street. If you subscribe to the political belief, it's not much of a stretch to see how that works on a personal level.

Sorry if that makes you uncomfortable, but that's how I see it.

If the shoe fits, wear it. If it doesn't, then it doesn't.

Mike Ralls said...

No. They are fighting tooth and nail resist the institution of changes which the majority of people think will result in a decrease in their own personal level of health care.

If someone falls over in the street they are rushed to a hospital regardless of weather they have health care insurance or not. They may be bankrupted because of it, but they do receive treatment. There is a difference between letting someone suffer financially and letting them die in the street. And saying that the other side is willing to let strangers die in the streets without a glance is a vile slander.

Anonymous said...

"Just for the record, Eric, your political stance would seem, from your postings here, to be slightly to the right of Genghis Khan."

Which would be relevant to my credentials as a practicing biologist ... how, exactly?

You don't have to like me. Heck, you don't even have to agree with me. But if somebody who isn't a working biologist expects me to take their opinions about The Destruction of Biology By Evil Bush as unquestioned gospel ..... well!


"Which might, you know, make your comments on how wonderful science was during the recent Dark Age somewhat less than objective and certainly not at all convincing."

Dude, just read the real literature; don't argue with me! We've had an explosion of work on things that were science fiction eight years ago:

reprogramming of adult body cells into embryo-stem-cell-like cells;

ultra-rapid, ultra-inexpensive DNA sequencing that is making a personal, $1K full genome sequence for every person in America a practical possibility;

and pharmaceutical research into drugs that could retard aging.

That's not my opinion, that's just the reality-based facts out in the real world. Don't take my word for it. Read the articles I've linked, then argue that I can't possibly know my own freaking profession because I'm more right-wing than you. If you absolutely insist.


"I believe you --and they -- would cruise by [a man lying in the street] without a second glance."

To the best of my knowledge, that isn't true: but then, I would think that, wouldn't I?


--Erich Schwarz

Steven Barnes said...

Mike, thank you for posting information that would seem in opposition to your stated position. You are a gentleman and a scholar.
##
And the rhetoric is heating up from both sides, isn't it? That's because we're talking life and death and the innate worth of human beings. Let's try to rein it back a tick, please.

Steve Perry said...

Mike and Eric:

Well. "Slander" is generally spoken aloud, as opposed to "libel," which is written, and in any case, I offered neither.

I said I didn't think some of the posters here would stop to help me if I were lying stroked-out on the street, which case is easily made: Ever walk past a homeless person leaning against a building or on a sidewalk without stopping to see if they were okay?

No, never? If so, then I apologize.

As for whether a political and/or personal value system influences one's job, I think that one should be self-evident. Science has rules, but the people who do it don't always arrive there without axes to grind, and the record of the Bush administration putting boulders into the science highway is well-known. No, they couldn't stop it, but it wasn't from lack of trying.

If, as a scientist, you believe that George Bush was a science booster and a benefit for society, then we are far enough apart on that that I question your objectivity -- and your ability to see data and form a reasonable conclusion. I didn't drink that particular Kool-aid, and not many scientists did.

I appreciate that people can have different opinions about a lot of things, but lack of national health care in a country that spends more on it already than anywhere else is an embarrassment that is long overdue for repair.

The Republic isn't going to fall if granny can afford her blood pressure medication. If people don't have to make the choice between eating or treatment. People are dying because they can't afford medical care. If that's okay with you, then we're done talking here -- you have no way of justifying that to me.

Trillions for a foreign war we ought not to have started, but no money for a national health insurance pool? Bullshit.

That people will go to such lengths to find any way to avoid it strikes me as an inability to see just how wrong this is.

Anonymous said...

"If, as a scientist, you believe that George Bush was a science booster and a benefit for society, then we are far enough apart on that that I question your objectivity..."

And I question your ability to read my writing. I didn't claim that Bush was particularly a "science booster". I did demonstrate, through subtantiated references to the primary scientific literature, that three different radical improvements in biology had occurred during Bush's term in office, and that this was inconsistent with the claim that science under Bush had been in (your words) a "Dark Age".

You don't have to like me; you don't have to have a high opinion of my moral character; you don't even have to agree with me; but, if you want to argue with me, you need to argue with me, in the words and literature citations that I've supplied here. If you argue with your own fantasy-land image of me, that's not exactly the best personal advertisement for your political philosophy that you could be making; and I doubt it's what Steve has in mind with his repeated quotations of Musashi Miyamoto's "do not think dishonestly".


--Erich Schwarz

Anonymous said...

[url=http://firgonbares.net/][img]http://firgonbares.net/img-add/euro2.jpg[/img][/url]
[b]buy website design software, [url=http://firgonbares.net/]carlo gabriel nero[/url]
[url=http://firgonbares.net/][/url] 650 oem software buy windows software online
buy softwares online [url=http://firgonbares.net/]buy ms software[/url] discount oem software net
[url=http://firgonbares.net/]Collection Retail Price[/url] macromedia software llc
[url=http://firgonbares.net/]shop 7 software[/url] kaspersky activation code
cheap software world [url=http://firgonbares.net/]buy the photoshop[/b]