Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Stoopid Footure, Burning Bright

"Dinelle" wrote (and then thought better of it while I was responding, it seems) in the Moot to this post:
The Health Extension Salon is mostly made up of geneticists, entrepreneurs, molecular biologists and people who support their work. The group is simply trying to cure diseases (thus live longer and healthier lives) by better understanding our DNA and how to stop mutations that cause deadly ailments. Jason Xu (who is a proclaimed transhumanist) is one of the supporters. Most of us are not transhumanists and we do not preach about immortality. We are actual scientists who work in labs to try and cure cancer, heart disease, alzheimers, etc... This is one of our partners: We can't help it if fringe sites like H+ write about us. By critiquing this kind of work/our community with such a sharp tongue you are actually contributing to the blockages in society that prevent breakthrough medical research from getting significant funding and support. The truth is that genetic research is saving lives and there may very well be therapies emerging in our lifetimes that make it possible to be youthful at age 100. Certainly concerns emerge with that possibility, but hey... people only used to live to be 40. It's responses like this blog post that necessitate Branding and Influence brainstorming. We find ourselves often wondering "Why do people hate us even though we are working to cure the diseases that kill them and the people they love?" I respectfully ask that you take this post down. You are perpetuating negative and false myths that make it harder for us to do the work we need to do to cure diseases. Seriously. Thanks.
You respectfully ask that I take this post down? Not a chance! And I reserve my respect for the respectable. I do not "hate" you, you utterly silly person, I simply deny your hyperbole and disapprove of the line you are peddling the rubes (possibly including yourself, but I doubt it).

Conrtrary to your accusation, I have not perpetuated a single myth or falsehood in my post (anybody can follow the link to the piece I was critiquing, I provided it right there in the critique after all) -- but the same cannot be said of you, even in your sad little apologia here. The life expectancy of people who survived the diseases of infancy and childhood was not considerably less than our own even in medieval Europe, and the percentage of extremely long-lived humans is no greater now than it ever was nor has the upward bound of life expectancy risen at all. Possibly you do not know this (which is hardly a recommendation of your so-called seriousness and professionalism) but it is more likely that you do know this commonplace, but you are willing to pretend an average increase in life expectancy mostly resulting from prenatal care and pediatric medicine portends a longer life-expectancy for the middle-aged and elderly death-denialists you are separating from their money.

I am a supporter of actual medical research (and of democratic developmental politics ensuring the costs, risks, and benefits of research are distributed equitably to the diversity of stakeholders of that research and its outcomes) but there is nothing the least bit scientific or progressive about California greedheads or techno-New Age mid-life crisis plastic surgery addicts indulging in loose talk about "genetics" delivering them fabulous youthful bodies any day now. Actual doctors are in no danger of association with robot cultists, and I am playing the world's smallest violin for you as you pout about the difficulties of sanewashing your facile fantasies and flim-flam. I do wish your "entrepreneurs" and futurological "supporters" and "branding" experts and "influence brainstormers" (can you even hear yourself?) the best of luck. You'll need it.

1 comment:

jimf said...

Perhaps the members of the "Health Extension Salon" might be persuaded
read Susan Jacoby's _Never Say Die: The Myth and Marketing of the New Old Age_

(Or perhaps "Dinelle" might wish to "respectfully ask" Jacoby -- or her
publisher -- to withdraw that book from the market.)

Jacoby is also the author of _The Age of American Unreason_