Social Question

philosopher's avatar

Do you comprehend the need for research?

Asked by philosopher (9152points) January 29th, 2010

I heard yesterday on the news; that Scientist say we may have a cure for Cancer in the next ten years.
I have an Autistic Son and I have been hearing about research that could cure him his whole life. He is nineteen.
I think we have made much progress over the last decade. The potential for cures for many incurable diseases is there.
Do you agree that not helping suffering Humans is immoral ?

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59 Answers

janbb's avatar

Of course.

john65pennington's avatar

I am for any type of research that will save man from suffering or death. i do not understand why it is taking so long to find a cure for cancer. look at the money and time spent on cancer research, so far. medicenes for aids was discovered practically overnight compared to the situation with cancer. is cancer research really all about the money? i have often wondered about this. stop and think how many jobs would be lost if a cure for cancer were discovered overnight. please do not get me wrong here, i am for anything that will save man from suffering or death. i am willing to do my part and have so for many years with donations. i am thrilled at the news concerning your son and i truly hope a cure for Austic people is on the horizon. good question. john

philosopher's avatar

@john65pennington
I hear you. I think about what you do.
CBS had some interesting information on Tuesday evening in this regard.
You may want to check out. americansforcures.org.
I am familiar with some research cites. I log on to find out about research on Autism.
Thank you both. I am so happy to know intelligent people like you both.

philosopher's avatar

This is an interesting study I recently heard about. See link

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=122857719&sc=emaf

john65pennington's avatar

Philosopher….never give up hope for your child. in his heart he has nothing but love to give and you know this. one day, all of this will change for the both of you. never give up hope.

Judi's avatar

I just get sad when most of the research is funded by pharmaceutical companies. They have no stake in finding cures. If they find a cure they loose a customer. Their best money is i finding “treatments” that people need to use their entire life. Maybe I’m to cynical, but I have a hard time trusting that these corporations will do the altruistic thing if it means a loss in profits.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

To answer your bald-faced question, asked with no qualifiers whatsoever (and probably play Devil’s Advocate in this thread):
Do you agree that not helping suffering Humans is immoral ?
No. Not for a minute.

Perhaps I will need to explain this more than once, so this may be the first of several attempts.

Humans have suffered since before they gained self-awareness, and will continue to suffer for as long as they exist. Every human suffers in varying ways, degrees and times. As the song puts it, “No one gets out alive.” So we’re all going to suffer our own death (if nothing else) and most of us who form attachments to others, whether human, animal, plant or even inanimate objects, will eventually lose the people and things that we’re attached to.

So aside from variations in health, accident and other misfortune, we’re all going to die, and the people and things we love are going to die, change or become broken or lost.

Do you have the energy to help everyone? I sure don’t. Even if I had more energy, I just don’t have the time to help everyone—not even “most” of the valid claimants on my time and resources. As much as the suffering of others does grieve me, there’s a point short of complete overload at which I have to deliberately detach and admit that I’ve reached a limit of caring, empathizing or actively trying to help. We all do it. To profess otherwise is, I think, naive at best.

mattbrowne's avatar

Predictions are predictions. Research results might lead to a cure (not will lead to a cure). There’s always a degree of uncertainty. Media sometimes misquote researchers on purpose. Sensational news are easier to sell.

Yes, I agree that not helping suffering humans is immoral. But sadly something our offer to help has limitations about the results.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I support scientific research, of course but will not pretend that the scientific community doesn’t have its political agendas.

philosopher's avatar

Simonfoundation.org does Scientific research and so does autismspeak.org they are not funded by drug companies .
Sadly I know that many who oppose research will not learn unless they learn by experience. Like Nancy Regan did.

philosopher's avatar

@mattbrowne
I do not trust the media. I check things out as much as possible. The cites I mentioned have information and there are more cites .

wundayatta's avatar

I can’t figure out what is motivating this question. Who does not believe in trying to advance human knowledge—especially in the area of medicine? Is this a rhetorical question?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@wundayatta you’d be surprised. think stem cell research debates.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@wundayatta what do you mean by here? you mean on fluther? i’m sure there are people on fluther that don’t agree with stem cell research

Nullo's avatar

@Judi
Ever ask yourself why the drug companies finance research, and not, say, governments?
I’d just bet that they care more than you’d like to give them credit for.

philosopher's avatar

americanforcures.org,simonfoundation.org and autismspeak.org are not Pharmaceutical companies.
These organizations wish to help suffering Human Beings. I wish to make people aware of the potential to help Humans.
Check the study I gave the link to above. This research will continue all over the world. No one will stop it.
The Earth is not flat some narrow mined people were once willing to kill those who dared to speaks those words. Scientist of today dare to do research for cures for things that are presently incurable. Some will accuse them of things based on ignorance. They are trying to say liefs. They are not harming any Human Beings.

Judi's avatar

@Nullo, I think they do it to create drugs that you have to take for the rest of your life to stay well while they make profits.

mattbrowne's avatar

@philosopher – In general we should trust the media and learn to compare different sources. Not all journalists and media professionals behave unethically. There are black sheep and sometimes even ethical journalists get desperate when sales are down. The same goes for pharmaceutical companies. A lot of researchers really want to help people who are suffering. A problem arises if shareholder value turns into an obsession and short-term profits are glorified. We should believe in the good of people and keep a watchful mind on those who are trying to deceive us. But I think they are a minority.

philosopher's avatar

@mattbrowne
I trust Scientific fact which can be proven in a many different settings. Opinions are often subjective but Science can be documented. Despite all those who choose not to believe it.
To be an accepted theory a hypnotize must work for more than one group of Scientist.
I really do not care at all about the judgment of fascist who will ridicule me. I know you are not one of them. I remind them that some day they may find out the way Nancy Regan did.

mattbrowne's avatar

@philosopher – Yes, but scientific findings do fall into different categories. Scientific method offers a solid time-tested tool. As we proceed we’ll see

1. Speculation
2. Preliminary evidence
3. Formal hypotheses
4. Scientific theories

When the media reports new findings we always have to worry about the category. It’s take a lot of time to make it all the way to number 4. Examples are general relativity, quantum mechanics, big bang cosmology or evolutionary biology.

Even theories can be refuted over time. Einstein refute Newton’s theory of gravitation for example.

Same happens in medicine, like neurogenesis is not possible in adults. Turned out to be wrong.

Nullo's avatar

@Judi
So you’re saying that they could make better drugs? Or that no drugs would be better?

philosopher's avatar

Yes Matt I know this.
LOL I suffered through many Science classes in college. I learned a lot; but when your taking classes like Bio/Genetics and have no Doctors to ask for help it is not easy.
That is why when some people refuse to accept Scientific theories which are proven. I simply laugh at their ignorance.
Some things are facts. The Earth is not flat. Humans are a made of many many Cells.

Judi's avatar

@Nullo, I just don’t know.

Nullo's avatar

@Judi
Well, while you ponder, keep in mind that those drugs that people take to stay alive have drastically reduced the mortality rate in this country.

Judi's avatar

@Nullo ; I realize that. I just wonder it in a capitalist society, a corporation would even be honoring their fiduciary responsibility to their share holders if they developed a medicine that would make their products obsolete.

Nullo's avatar

I don’t think that they worry about it; there is so much that can go wrong with the body that developing a panacea is unlikely, at best.
A monopoly might not be able to cope with the end of disease, but a strong company will find ways to do other things instead.
Have you noticed that, once people started living longer, they started dying of other things? Heart disease comes to mind; it existed before, certainly, but the average joe was much more likely to die of pneumonia, so it was relatively rare.

philosopher's avatar

Here is another example of worthwhile research. See link below.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100128165848.htm

philosopher's avatar

Here is another link. This is study talks about using fusion as an alternative energy source.
Check this out Matt.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100124162153.htm

mattbrowne's avatar

@philosopher – Very interesting, indeed. But we should focus on quick wins, reliable short-term solution and long-term opportunities. Fusion belongs to the latter.

philosopher's avatar

@mattbrowne
I simply wish to make people aware of the possibilities. Too many people especially in America think fossil fuel is all we have.
Inventors usually think outside the so called norm.
LOL my educated Brother In Law can not see this. He is stuck on Political bias.
We do not know what can be achieved unless we try. We must try now.
You should up date us all about on going research you know of.

Nullo's avatar

@philosopher
It would help a lot if the greenies would ease up on nuclear power.

mattbrowne's avatar

The greenies do support nuclear power, but they rather use the most powerful nuclear power station in the solar system. Time-tested safety records and nuclear waste turns out to be helium. Cool, isn’t it? Impressive economic life-time too. We are talking billions of years. How will uranium power 9 billion people in 2050?

Nullo's avatar

@mattbrowne
Yes, but it’s only supplying your house with power on clear days. Until we can work out a way to properly harvest solar energy, I say bring on the reactors.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Nullo – I recommend you learn more about solar technology. Wind exists because of the sun. Solar thermal systems work with superheated oil capable of powering steam turbines during the night and on cloudy days. Fission power is a dead end. We should use the existing plants, but not invest in new ones. Too expensive anyway. Waste disposal is unclear.

And we need massive energy savings programs. Germans enjoy the same standard of living using only half the energy per capita of the US. Just replacing inferior US windows with state of the art ones would result in huge savings, both heating and air conditioning. Same for other building insulation approaches.

I’ve said this before: Resisting green technology will hurt the US big time. Same for climate change denial. Here are some of the key messages

1) There is no 100% correct prediction about the climate in 2050 – climate is too complex
2) Human greenhouse gas emissions most likely contribute to global warming
3) It’s quite possible that natural cycles contribute as well
4) A few cold winters or cool summers are no proof against the continuing overall trend
5) The vast majority of reputable climatologists think that the potential harm is enormous
6) Humanity would be very stupid not to apply the precautionary principle
7) The growing middle class in Asia will significantly affect supply and demand equation for fossil fuels
8) To create welfare for all world citizens we simply have no other choice than to invest in green technology
9) The unfortunate climate change denial movement is most active in the US. This is bad news for the US, but good news for the rest of the world because innovation will happen elsewhere and the US will eventually have to import new green technology products. A nation of consumers instead of producers. Unless reason prevails. And there’s hope. Above all, there’s Barack Obama’s audacity of hope.

Nullo's avatar

@mattbrowne
Ah, so you were being even more vague than I had suspected.

I might invest more goodwill in climate change theory if we didn’t have things like profiteering (carbon credits, anyone?), the so-called Climategate scandal (which pretty much kills AGW for me), the looming threat of overbearing government (personal aversion to big government, which I see as a manifestation of a desire for too much power) loud-mouthed hypocrites like Al Gore, oodles of smug hippies, and legions of rabid supporters and their semi-religious devotion to a poorly-supported and often little-understood cause. And that’s just off the top of my head
.
In short, the price is too high and the returns too nebulous. It is a poor investment, and as long as Climate Science™ continues to hemorrhage credibility, I’ll be taking my business elsewhere.

mattbrowne's avatar

Elsewhere? What will you eat once our ecosystems have fundamentally changed and our food chains are disrupted? So many people simply can’t grasp what’s at stake here.

Loud-mouthed hypocrites? Polemics undermines credibility. Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize doesn’t.

Nullo's avatar

I was referring to the myriad other causes and ideologies asking for my support.
You believe that climate change is a threat. I do not, a belief that I base on events like the CRU e-mails.
No, awarding the Peace Prize to Al Gore does not undermine his credibility; it merely cheapens the tradition. The hypocrisy to which I was referring is his relatively extravagant lifestyle (climate-controlled mansion, cars, private jet, etc.), which he claims is offset by his environmental evangelism.

philosopher's avatar

@mattbrowne
I agree Matt and even some intelligent Republicans do.
There was a Physicist on Lou Dobbs; a well known person who’s name I can not recall. A Republican. He was trying to get people to comprehend the need for alternative energy.
I am an Independent.This should not be a Political issue. Unfortunately every is these days.
We need more solutions and less bias nonsense.

Nullo's avatar

@mattbrowne
@philosopher

See this, this, this, and this.

I honestly don’t think that the situation is anywhere near dire.

philosopher's avatar

@Nullo
You think you know as much as Physicist ?
Scientist can find answers. Most of us can only hope to understand the solutions.
It seems you do not want to know.
Live in your narrow mined box. I will not waste a moment speaking to you. If you mind is closed.
People who do not listen to reason are the problem. This issue should be resolved by science and not political bullshit.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@philosopher was the problem that you ‘couldn’t’ read any of the links @Nullo just posted, or you just figured you already knew that they’d be… what? ... made up?

Nullo's avatar

@philosopher
You are employing the dangerous Appeal to Authority fallacy.
I’d say that, fact for fact, I know as much as a physicist. If physicists knew everything as your statement implies, they wouldn’t need public relations people. Or medical people. Or agricultural people. Or psychological people. Or car people. Or logistics people. And so on.

My mind – like all good minds – is open but guarded. I’ll let you into my house, but if you start harassing my dog, you’ll find yourself in the street with a fat lip.
All that you know about me is that I (and unless I’m mistaken, there are some of your magical omniscient scientists in my camp) do not believe in catastrophic global warming. From this you think that you can extrapolate the entirety of my worldview. It is you who are closed-minded, moreso for thinking that only your preferred scientists can be right.

One of those articles quotes the CRU’s top dog as saying that at this point the planet could be warming or cooling. Freaking cooling. Which means that my guess is as good as anybody else’s, making global warming a matter of belief, of faith.

From my own observations, the average scientist isn’t too good with faith.

Response moderated
mattbrowne's avatar

@philosopher – Well said!

@Nullo – Are you capable of grasping the notion of the precautionary principle? You don’t believe that climate change is a threat. Aha. What happens if you are wrong?

Allow me to tell you what happens if the majority of reputable climatologists are wrong and the consequences of climate change are not dramatic? It’s very simple: we have accomplished a conversion to green technologies and sustainable lifestyles required to accommodate 9 billion people in 2050 many of which will want to have middle class lifestyle we already enjoy. We are no longer dependent on a finite amount of fossil fuels many of which come from unstable regions like the Middle East. The no climate change problem attitude which is widespread in the US will only accomplish one thing:

Innovation will happen elsewhere and the US will eventually have to import new green technology products. It will become a nation of consumers instead of producers.

Nullo's avatar

@mattbrowne
And that way lies agoraphobia.
My plans for today involve driving to the next city to pick up some optical equipment. What if I get into an accident? Or if I run out of gas? Or the car breaks down? I could be injured! Killed! Mugged! The cops could pull me over for speeding! There could be an endless series of court cases as some disgruntled driver tries to wring every last cent out of me, or I could be sent to jail for consuming opiates because I happened to eat a poppyseed bagel before being pulled over for speeding, and then I might be killed in prison and my family would mourn and it would be tragic, tragic tragic.

Nevertheless, I’m going to the next city over to pick up some optical equipment.

I’m not against renewable energy, not at all. I realize that our fossil fuels will eventually run out, and that if I want to keep my ‘puter running, we’re going to have to find something else. And I would l my ao to see the OPEC nations knocked down a peg because nobody cares about their oil. I just really dislike hype (environmentalism is a religion in nearly every respect and I’m not too keen on practicing somebody else’s religion), scientific fraud, and being told what to do by parties that I have not accepted as rule-making authorities. I hope that you can sympathize.

The United States stopped producing a while ago. We have next to no industry, what with the outsourcing and all. We import just about everything. I’d like to see that change, certainly, but in the meantime, you can’t really use that as a stick.

Response moderated
Nullo's avatar

@philosopher
And yet you cannot bring yourself to address the points that I’ve raised, and instead resort to spamming with Massive Walls o’ Text.
And if memory serves, the initial dispute was over “climate change” and not alternative energy.

protip: a lot of people are inclined to skip over MWOTs, and it would be wiser to simply post a link.

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] Posts that are way too long tend to break Fluther, and have been removed. Posting a short summary and a link is the way to go. Thanks!

mattbrowne's avatar

@Nullo – Most of the scientific fraud is being committed by the climate change denial movement. I’m sure there are also a few black sheep among the majority of climatologists who warn that the consequences of climate change can be very dramatic. You put your trust in a minority of scientists. More research is needed (and this is what this question is all about) and it will either corroborate existing findings or refute them. But politicians have to act on the basis of what is known today: major changes to our ecosystems giving many species not enough time to adapt, more cases of extreme weather and melting of Greenland’s and the West Antarctic ice sheets.

I think you @Nullo should become part of the solution instead of being part of the problem which your grandkids will accuse you of. It would be very selfish to overuse our atmosphere which is also the atmosphere of our grandchildren. Republicans appreciate family values. It’s time they put their values into action. Caring about our grandchildren. Republicans are very concerned about unborn life. It’s time they get equally concerned about born life and the environment these young living beings will be exposed to in the future. 2050 is just 40 years away. The clock is ticking. We should not waste it on evolution denial or climate change denial. It’s time Republicans end their war against science.

philosopher's avatar

A brick wall can not comprehend facts. @mattbrowne They are so narrowed mined they distort every fact.
The original topic was do you comprehend the need for research? Research is key to human survival; a stagnant species will not survive.
Research has increased human life expectancy. Research proved the Earth was not flat.

mattbrowne's avatar

@philosopher – Exactly. People like McCain or Palin do not comprehend what science is really about.

Sarah Palin ridiculed funding for fruit fly research and John McCain supported her. How incredibly ignorant people can be! Both don’t seem to understand that fruit flies and humans are based on the same building blocks of DNA and that fruit flies can help save children who would otherwise die from cancer. These politicians think that “creation science” should get equal time whenever evolution is taught. They also think like many that one cold winter proves that climate change is a fraud. They actually think they are smarter than all of the world’s leading climatologists with all their sophisticated research. It’s this delusion what makes the whole thing so scary. But there are smart conservatives who are willing to learn. I really hope we can convince some. Here’s a great book written by a conservative who clearly understands and conveys the urgency of the energy crisis and the climate crisis:

http://www.amazon.com/Hot-Flat-Crowded-Revolution-America/dp/B002BWQ504/

This description should wake up and inspire @Nullo and all the other climate change deniers out there:

“Thomas Friedman’s bestseller The World Is Flat has helped millions of readers to see the world in a new way. In his brilliant, essential new book, Friedman takes a fresh and provocative look at two of the biggest challenges we face today: America’s surprising loss of focus and national purpose since 9/11; and the global environmental crisis, which is affecting everything from food to fuel to forests. In this groundbreaking account of where we stand now, he shows us how the solutions to these two big problems are linked—how we can restore the world and revive America at the same time.

Friedman explains how global warming, rapidly growing populations, and the astonishing expansion of the world’s middle class through globalization have produced a planet that is “hot, flat, and crowded.” Already the earth is being affected in ways that threaten to make it dangerously unstable. In just a few years, it will be too late to fix things—unless the United States steps up now and takes the lead in a worldwide effort to replace our wasteful, inefficient energy practices with a strategy for clean energy, energy efficiency, and conservation that Friedman calls Code Green.

This is a great challenge, Friedman explains, but also a great opportunity, and one that America cannot afford to miss. Not only is American leadership the key to the healing of the earth; it is also our best strategy for the renewal of America.

In vivid, entertaining chapters, Friedman makes it clear that the green revolution we need is like no revolution the world has seen. It will be the biggest innovation project in American history; it will be hard, not easy; and it will change everything from what you put into your car to what you see on your electric bill. But the payoff for America will be more than just cleaner air. It will inspire Americans to something we haven’t seen in a long time, nation-building in America, by summoning the intelligence, creativity, boldness, and concern for the common good that are our nation’s greatest natural resources.”

Nullo's avatar

@mattbrowne
@philosopher
... Have you two been reading anything that I posted? Anything at all? Because the most charitable description that I can summon for your behavior is “getting ahead of yourselves.”

@philosopher, condescension earns you nothing but contempt.

And for the record, I’m Independent, not Republican.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Nullo – I read about your optical equipment trip and I don’t see the relation to the urgency of the energy crisis and the climate crisis. Life is risky, yes. We know this when we boarding a plane or driving a car. Yet, air safety measures aim at the prevention of flight failures. Toyota is busy recalling cars right now because of sticking accelerator pedals. Why? To protect the lives of people.

I can’t understand why Independents or Republicans adopt this “do nothing – drill more” attitude when a lot more is at stake than crashing planes and sticking accelerator pedals. All they offer is: “Climate change? So what. Life is risky. I know this when I’m shopping for optical equipment.” Sorry, I can’t accept this. We share the atmosphere and we share the responsibility for it.

Nullo's avatar

No, Toyota is recalling its cars because it’s a good PR move. Their future sales hinge on it, and they know it.

That’s because it’s not related to the urgency of the energy crisis and the climate crisis; it’s my response to your precautionary principle. I see the urgency for more research, not the sudden removal of an otherwise perfectly good setup by a bunch of power-hungry Big Government types (because that’s who wants to run the show over here; can’t really speak for anybody else on the matter), whom I believe would manufacture a crisis for their own benefit, if they could.

We’ve got some time left with the fossil fuels gig, stretched out with nuclear power; let’s make the transition smoothly, and without having to lose any of our standards of living. And while you’re at it, keep Big G at bay.
Your mindset is collectivist. Mine is closer to individualist.

mattbrowne's avatar

Manufacture a crisis? This debate is futile. I’ve got nothing more to add.

Nullo's avatar

@mattbrowne
I’m not saying that they did; I’m saying that I wouldn’t put it past them. I don’t think that they fabricated Climate Change™, but I do think that they’re trying to take advantage of the hype that it’s generated to seize more power.

I suppose that it’s a tad unreasonable to expect you to keep up with American politics :D Last year, we had Congress trying to pass (or maybe it did pass and they can’t actually enforce it – I forget) a bill that would institute and enforce a carbon-credit exchange system for our industries. And right around the Copenhagen summit, the Environmental Protection Agency declared carbon dioxide to be harmful to human health in an attempt to get more teeth in… guess what – our industries.
I don’t have much faith in the goodwill of these guys.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@Nullo I don’t have much faith in the goodwill of these guys

And that’s far more faith and credit than I extend to them.

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