July 2007


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Jonathan Campbell <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 5 Jul 2007 21:26:27 -0400
text/plain (42 lines)
Thank you, Stuart. Wonderful commentary.

Reminds me of Lyndon LaRouche, one of whose recent treatises on the future 
of the world had a pretty picture of a nuclear complex in Harrisburg, PA.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Stuart Newman" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, July 05, 2007 8:50 PM
Subject: Re: Our Biotech Future by Freeman Dyson

> Freeman Dyson's piece seems like pure madness to me.  It is obviously 
> written
> by someone who has no concept of biology.  Plants based on silicon rather
> than chlorophyll?  Come on.
> Since Dyson is a physicist, he might more productively turn his efforts to
> weakening the charge of the proton so that we can produce electricity at
> lower cost, or re-engineering the gravitational constant so that we don't
> expend so much energy transporting cargo.  These proposals make about as
> much sense as his.
> And wouldn't be just a little cruel to have children and other free agents
> tinkering with the genomes of animals so as to produce dysmorphic and
> deranged living toys?
> Dyson has been at this for almost 20 years.  The British philosopher of 
> biology
> Mary Midgley raked him over the coals (along with some Left icons such as 
> Haldane and JD Bernal) in the excellent "Science as Salvation" (Routledge,
> 1992) for what she calls "quasi-scientific dreams and prophesies" 
> involving
> visions of escape from the constraints of biology, coupled with 
> "self-indulgent,
> uncontrolled power-fantasies."