Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by weswelker#83, Apr 30, 2008.
Lost it or had it removed?
It didn't just disappear. Science had been denigrated by religious freaks in our culture as being too "secular".
It has also been bastardized by corporate interests who are interested only in short-term gains rather than long-term benefits. We spend much more research on communication technology and increasing the speed of data transfer than we do on finding cures for diseases, many of which, are being exacerbated by our (humans worldwide) demolition of the natural environment...especially in the urban areas. Medical research has focussed on erectile dysfunction, cosmetic aging remedies and weight loss while labs interested in finding cures to cruel and disabling illnesses find themselves grovelling for funding to continue their work.
We are no longer interested in anything that doesn't generate profits. The corporate government wastes our resources on war machines, corporate subsidies, and poor planning for future expenses like debt, trade deficits and social security.
In the last 20 years we have definetly fallen behind. I read an article a few years ago.(so it would be hard to find) that one of the main reasons is what you have alluded to. That at one time the best minds came to the U.S. because they had the freedom to pursue their ideas,not any longer. So they gravitate to places like Western Europe, Japan, India or stay in Russia. Who needs science when everything one needs can be found in the Bible.
In 1992 when I was a senior in HS, my economics teacher, Mr Caruso, told us that there was probably a cure for cancer somewhere. Most of us kids shrugged our shoulders, and laughed. Afterall, if there was a cure, we'd know about it wouldn't we? His explanation was that it's more profitable to treat something over an elongated period, than it is to cure it once. That's a class I've always remembered.
I wish Mr Caruso was right. Cancer is incredibly complicated and tricky to diagnose early and treat effectively. Cancer treatments are improving though due to huge amounts of new research focusing on a better understanding of what drive cancer cell growth at a molecular level. Don't forget that its not just big pharma studying cancer, but many small companies, pretty much every hospital, and academic labs. They all want to find a cure, not something to be taken for the rest of your life.
The impact of ethics in US policy will have essentially zero effect on science as they're talking about in this article. Stem cell research is still in its infancy, nothing has really been accomplished yet, and more and more labs are finding ways to harvest stem cells that do not use embryos. At any rate there's no law against using embryos, just a freeze on public funding for work on creating new cell lines from them. Stem cell research represents such a small fraction of science (biology, chemistry, physics, geology, climatology, etc, etc) that any hinderance will have no effect on science as a whole in the US.
I'd disagree that we're going to be falling behind anytime soon, its only natural that other countries catch up, but the US will continue to be a world leader in the sciences for the foreseeable future.
Interesting that the funding problem outlined seems to have been dealt with already, though the funds haven't come in yet.
"Lauded by its congressional sponsors, the report was followed up quickly with a White House summit on competitiveness and a budget initiative from President George W. Bush that called for hefty increases at three science agencies--the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy Office of Science, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Last summer, legislation that incorporates many of those recommendations became law (Science, 10 August 2007, p. 736). But funding for most of the initiatives has yet to materialize."
I'm not nearly as cynical as some - I don't believe for a second there's a legitimite cure for cancer.
On the thread, some people here need to remember this when they complain about the cost of prescription drugs and other things as they relate to national health care. The reason they're so expensive here is we are subsidizing the world who get our drugs at low prices. When we talk about buying the same drugs cheaper from Canada all we are doing is joining in making drugs "not for profit" and drying up research on new drugs. We don't need to think in terms of drugs being too expensive or taking the profit motive away - we need to make the socialized medicine countries pay more so they can help subsidize the development of new drugs.
Do you remember Harry the savant posting the same thing? Its more profitable to treat cancer then to cure it. I agree.
Theres a problem with this. We've been subsidizing other countries with dregs for many, many years. I know you know what in-elastic and totally- elastic mean and all the ELASTICS in between. The prices of meds have gone up about 500% in the last 12-15 years. I believe that the drug companies realized that people will pay just about anything if they NEED a drug, pay a lot if they want a drug, and not pay very much if they percieve that they can get along without a drug,if theres a reasonable substitute. Of course the cost of in-elastic drugs i.e. chemo, hiv drugs which are very expensive ($30,000) dollars for the latest (chemo) drug is passed on to the insurance companies which is passed on to us in ever increasing insurance premiums. When I was younger no one even thought about medical insurance. Now its one of the first benies people look for when they apply for a job.
I partially believe this, but otoh cannot imagine the pharmaceutical industry holding back if they had the answer.. the medical industry is really big business though.
Working in the medical industry for 20 years,and studying to be an Anesthetist for 4 years ( needed 6)I never could have believed that if a cure was found that the pharm,co. and the researcher(s) that discovered the cure would not come forward. I mean they'd become immortalized, the Noble prize would be theirs. One of the reasons I got out of the medical field is thats its changed. It use to be about helping people,now its all about MONEY. But I have to admit that after writing what I did yeah it would be hard for the person(s) that discovered a cure to stay silent.
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