By Michael Specter
During this provocative and headline- making e-book, Michael Specter confronts the frequent worry of technology and its poor toll on members and the planet. In Denialism, New Yorker employees author Michael Specter finds that americans have come to distrust associations and particularly the establishment of technology extra at the present time than ever ahead of. for hundreds of years, the final view have been that technological know-how is neither solid nor bad-that it basically provides info and that new details is often precious. Now, technological know-how is considered as a political constituency that won't regularly in our greatest curiosity. we are living in an international the place the leaders of African countries wish to allow their electorate starve to loss of life instead of import genetically transformed grains. adolescence vaccines have confirmed to be the simplest public future health degree in historical past, but humans march on Washington to protest their use. within the usa a starting to be sequence of stories exhibit that supplements and "natural" remedies have virtually no price, and infrequently reason damage. We nonetheless spend billions of bucks on them. In thousands of the simplest universities on the planet, laboratories are nameless, unmarked, and surrounded via platoons of defense guards-such is the competition to any study that comes with experiments with animals. And pharmaceutical businesses that simply 40 years in the past have been probably the main obvious image of our outstanding develop opposed to sickness have more and more been obvious as callous firms propelled completely by way of avarice and greed. As Michael Specter sees it, this quantities to a warfare opposed to growth. the problems will be advanced however the offerings will not be: Are we going to proceed to embody new applied sciences, in addition to acknowledging their barriers and threats, or are we able to slink again into an period of magical considering? In Denialism, Specter makes an issue for a brand new Enlightenment, the revival of an method of the actual international that was once stunningly powerful for centuries: What may be understood and reliably repeated by means of test is what nature considered as real. Now, on the time of mankind's maximum medical advances-and our best desire for them-that deal has to be renewed.
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Extra info for Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives
Organic evangelists argue that the best way to get more nitrogen into Africa is to use more manure. Clearly, these are people who have never been to Tanzania or Tamil Nadu. Africans and Indians have plenty of manure. In fact, human and animal waste are often the only farming resources available to villagers. They have no other choices. In effect, that means organics have been imposed on them. Cuba is an interesting illustration; the country has often been portrayed as an organic utopia because it had no genetically engineered crops or synthetic fertilizers.
Science changed all that, helping to feed the poorest people on earth; it brought farmers throughout Asia and Latin America a new kind of prosperity. Today the world, and particularly its poorest inhabitants, needs more science, not less. Much of the technology Africa requires has been available—to us—for decades. Without passable roads, products never make it to market. Modern irrigation systems are almost wholly absent from Africa, but they would permit farmers to grow larger crops with less water, as such systems have done nearly everywhere else in the world.
Insulin produced since 1982, for example, has been made from a synthetic gene that is a replica of one found in humans. Nobody seems to have problems with cancer or heart drugs based on biotechnology either. Yet altering the molecular genetics of the food supply remains a boundary that many people are unwilling to cross. The opposition is so uniform and reflexive that when in 2004 the FAO issued a carefully prepared and comprehensive report that dared to suggest that “agricultural biotechnology has real potential as a new tool in the war on hunger,” nongovernmental organizations throughout the world rose as one to object.
Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives by Michael Specter