American Papist has a timely post -- Religious Delusion Hampers Nanotechnology
And they were shocked at the results? American Papist concludesThe catch for Americans with strong religious convictions, Scheufele believes, is that nanotechnology, biotechnology and stem cell research are lumped together as means to enhance human qualities. In short, researchers are viewed as "playing God" when they create materials that do not occur in nature, especially where nanotechnology and biotechnology intertwine, says Scheufele.Wow. "Nanotechnology, biotechnology and stem cell research are lumped together."
Let's be clear for a moment. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with nanotechnology, properly termed. And certainly putting it in the same category as "stem cell research" is wrong. The only thing these two things share in common is being microscopic.
So, what should we take from this survey, and its subsequent reporting?To which I commented
* Many Americans are uneasy about nanotechnology for "religious" reasons
* Those reasons are either not understood or not well presented by the survey takers
* People continually looking for an excuse to blame things on "fundamentalists", have found one
* Two tasks must be taken up: a) educating those who try to take "mental short cuts" about the distinction between technology and the uses of technology b) educating those who charicature "religious reasoning" about the essential role of prudence in scientific discovery and research.
A few days ago I made a post about the Samsung SilverCare line of washers. It is receiving much scorn from environmentalists willing to apply the "precautionary principle" to it -- The precautionary principle seems to me to be the secular equivalent of Pascals wager except applied to the environment. The idea is that in the absence of actual scientific data a really good idea something is happening is sufficient enough for action.
Back to the SilverCare washer. The washer uses a process to create what Samsung calls "nanosilver" and which Samsung foolishly advertised killed bacteria instead of just sticking with the seemingly very green "92% energy savings over hot washes" marketing angle. Killing bacteria = bad for the environment. From what I can tell it simply uses a nanotech process to create silver ions (Ag+). The outcome is not much different than processes used in drinking water treatment and pool water disinfection. There are already regulations in place for that. Still, the FDA insists on treating the washer as a pesticide until Samsung can demonstrate that it is not harmful to the environment. Some environmentalists are up in arms because they didn't go so far as to ban the machines. Of course if Samsung had not made the "kills bacteria" claim, they could have gone on for decades spilling silver ions into wastewater and environmentalists would have been none the wiser.
Now, to be consistent, I wonder when they are going to subject all those water treatment plants to the same thing ....
Same problem, different religion.