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Old Monday 12th March 2018, 10:27   #633
Purple Heron
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Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 412
@ Jos Miniature poodles are very scary.

@ Citrinella/Mike It is easy to sneer at "more research is needed" but it's a cheap shot. The fact is that a lot of the money for research comes from those with an interest in promoting whatever is being researched (a drug, a technology) but the same safety standards are not applied to both. So if you think a technology that is being rolled out might have harmful effects, where are you going to get the funding to test your theories? So a lot of the research--especially the earlier research--on harmful effects tends to get done with limited funds and limited resources. Also, early research into a subject may not have refined ways of testing a subject, or may have not worked out how to deal with confounders.

Balmori's work, for instance, is quite early work with respect to effects of EMR on nature. And people can, and have, leveled all sorts of criticisms at his work. A case in point is the criticism in the paper regarding the meter Balmori used to measure the radiation levels. Apparently there are better and more accurate meters. We can't know whether he knew this, or if this one was the best he could get locally at the time, or whether this was the best one he could afford. The thing is, it's very easy to be wise after the fact and say he could have thought of this or that, he could have done this or that better.

The point of doing more work on a subject is that next time, you can do better because you have spotted the flaws in someone else's work and you think you can fix them. But good research needs money, and if industry isn't going to supply that money without strings attached, that money has to come from somewhere else. A great many of the people researching harmful effects of EMR have done so with very limited budgets and other constraints, and meanwhile there has been a lot of pressure from industry and government to promote wireless technologies. Hardly a level playing field.

The thing is, scientists aren't God, much as society reveres them. History is littered with scientific errors, and notions that seem obviously stupid to us today held sway for centuries before other scientists came along and said the early scientists had it all wrong. People spent centuries trying to transmute base matter into gold. Doctors believed in humours and bleeding the patient. Physicists believed in ether. Etc.

The twentieth century saw a great deal of scientific progress, and not all of it was good. Inventing vaccines was really good, as were antibiotics. Refrigeration--brilliant. And let's hear it for the washing machine. But have a look at a brief list of not-so-smart scientific work to put our achievements into perspective:
1. Splitting the atom. This gave us the atomic bomb as inflicted on Hiroshima and Nagasaki (who are still suffering from it), the eternal spectre of atomic warfare, Chernobyl, Fukishima (which may yet end up irradiating the world's oceans). Then there's all that nuclear waste and depleted-uranium weapons.
2. Cyclon B
3. chemical weapons including mustard gas, chlorine gas, napalm, agent orange, sarin, etc.
4. Scientific "proof" of the inferiority of non-Aryan races
5. germ warwafe
6. biological weapons
7. microwave weapons
8. lethal pesticides and herbicides

Science is capable of doing immense harm as well as good. Being able to do something does not mean we should do it. World leaders are not necessarily wise; they're the ones who start the wars and promote the technologies that are supposed to give one country the edge over another. So we definitely need the scientists who swim against the current, who question the wisdom of the scientific discoveries and technologies we have invented and want to deploy. And they need funding and above all, time to do their work properly.

Personally I think that all scientists should be required to swear an oath modeled on the Hippocratic oath that doctors make: "And above all, do no harm." Does it take an Einstein to recognize when "our technology surpasses our humanity"?

Last edited by Purple Heron : Monday 12th March 2018 at 10:32.
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