Why do we humans do the things we do?
Why are we always tinkering?
Why do we show no self-restraint?
Why do we play act at being God?
We may not have very good answers, but it is important to raise the questions in these days.
The small placard on the wooden man says “tinkering”. (All photos in this essay were taken at the Exploratorium in San Francisco this past Saturday, 20 September 2014.)
Here we see a model of the double helix strands of genetic instructions known more commonly as DNA (or Deoxyribonucleic acid).
The life lesson we see is that once humans gain the knowledge, and the means (or capability) to do something, they will do it – even if what they do is very dangerous on a global, or macro scale. Common sense, prudence, caution, and moral concerns are tossed out the window in many areas of research and practical application in these times.
Many lacks the wisdom and the self-control he so desperately needs in these times of rapid scientific and technological advancement.
Here is a listing of some of the more egregious actions of mankind in the past several decades. For some individuals, many items on this list are not troubling. This is hardly surprising given that we have largely lost our moral compass, and even our basic common sense during these same decades. Agree or disagree with me as you will. But, we are working at leaving a much more troubled world for our children and grandchildren.
Nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. We have the “know-how” to make these, but we ought not to. (Yes, the bad guys make these. So, the good guys must also make these as a deterrent. A sad commentary on humanity.)
The over prescribing of antibiotics, even for treating ailments where these are not needed. Today, as a result of this, there are many more resistant (to antibiotics) strains of harmful bacteria. It seems that the excessive use of these prescription antibiotics has actually spurred greater mutation rates in bacteria.
Weather modification and geo-engineering programs and schemes being pursued by various national governments. The weather system is one of the most complex systems we know of. We do not fully nor correctly understand the interrelationships of all the variables in the weather and in climate. Yet, we keep engaging in activities to modify the atmosphere by various means (by spraying chemical compounds, and with heating parts of the ionosphere via electromagnetic waves). Can this be sane?
The genetic engineering and modification of food crops (GMOs). This is not old fashioned (attempts at) cross breeding which is a more natural process (and has been done since the beginnings of horticulture thousands of years ago). Genetic engineering forces changes that would not occur naturally in the cross-breeding of species. These forced changes are mostly unnatural. What is next? Genetically engineered live stock? We do not know all the possible harmful effects that may come from these altered, manipulated grain crops. Yet, we push on to do more of this genetic engineering.
The cannibalizing of human life in medical research. What the doctors, and the researchers will not tell you is that most of the promising results have come from research that uses adult stem cells. But, the hype is on for using human embryonic stem cells. We were all human embryos at one time.
And, we can go further. Human cloning? So-called “trans-humanism”. The harvesting of fetal tissues for research and for medical treatments, and even for use in cosmetics shows a serious contempt for human life in these dark times. These fetal “tissues” are obtained from the bodies of aborted human babies. (Even abortifacient birth control devices and regimens show a disrespect for human life. Text books on embryology inform us that human life begins at conception (also known as fertilization) – not before and not after this point. For those unfamiliar with the term used – “abortifacient” means to prevent implantation in the womb (aka uterus). Conception occurs days earlier in the fallopian tubes.)
The pleasure of power is as seductive as the pleasures of the senses. As well, the lust for profits (greed) is a very strong motive in many of these “endeavors”. Fame is an incentive for many in the medical and scientific fields. To be the first to discover or develop something significant, to gain the elusive “breakthrough”, or to win a Nobel Prize (or other professional award) is the desire of some individuals. (In the rush for fame, consideration of side effects, and proper and more thorough testing for these are often minimized.) Ultimately, the human desire for power, for fame, and the greed are rooted in our egotism. In these times, we need some humility, some wisdom, and some self-control.
We feel dazed by the overwhelming nerve and recklessness of humans. (Not to mention humans’ current lack of ethics in many of these areas.)
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