Due regard

Anthony Horvath did make a comment which I think deserves a post unto itself.

He quotes me as saying:

Now, he continues to focus on my emphasis on the ethical indiscretions of scientists. There is a reason for it, and namely it is this: people are giving undue regard to scientists.

To which he replies,

Nonsense. That’s like citing a few examples of spectacular plane crashes and then saying that people are putting “undue confidence” in the safety of air travel.

By this he shows that he is simply out of touch with reality.

He fails to document what it is about reality that I’m out of touch with, so let’s just take a quick survey of the relevant points, shall we?

Scientists have given us the computers we are using to conduct this conversation. They’ve also given us the Internet across which this conversation is taking place. Scientists have given us the radar that lets air traffic controllers keep airplanes from colliding, as well as the airplanes themselves. Scientists have put seat belts and air bags in our cars to protect us during accidents, and have given us the cars that we drive to work in every day. They’ve given us the microwave, the air conditioner, indoor plumbing, canned and frozen food, and the freezers to freeze them. They’ve given us comfortable and durable fabrics in our clothes, and the machinery that processes natural fibers like wool and cotton into usable fabrics.

Scientists have given us artificial hearts, artificial limbs and artificial hip replacements which keep senior citizens mobile and productive for decades longer than they used to be. Scientists have given us advanced obstetrics and neonatal care, greatly reducing the infant mortality rate, and have given us vaccines that prevent crippling and/or fatal epidemics like polio and tuberculosis. They’ve given us cures for many diseases that used to be fatal, and treatments that increase the lifespan and comfort of those whose diseases are unfortunately still incurable. They’ve given us more productive farms, healthier pets and livestock, and new forms of entertainment. They’ve unlocked mysteries about things as big as the universe and as small as subatomic particles. They’ve given us longer life, greater productivity, greater safety, greater knowledge, and better quality of life, in so many ways it would take an encyclopedia to list them all.

Pro football players have given us something to watch while we drink beer on the weekend. Tell me who puts down a seven-figure salary on his income tax, and then let’s talk about who’s getting “undue regard.”

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