Author Topic: Episode #700  (Read 22375 times)

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Offline Steven Novella

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Episode #700
« on: December 08, 2018, 11:15:48 AM »
Interview with Nick Pyenson; Living in the era of fake news; News Items: Back to the Moon, Gene Editing Babies; Who’s That Noisy; Science or Fiction
Steven Novella
Host, The Skeptics Guide
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Offline God Bomb

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2018, 01:44:39 AM »
2 questions:

Question the first:  Who do you think sent the fake news email?

2nd question:  Why would having a permanent lunar orbital base/ lunar base make missions to mars and other places cheaper.  Yes it's easier to escape lunar gravity, but anything we get into lunar orbit (or surface) has to come from the earth first.  Putting materials into outer space via the moon just means those materials have to escape 2 orbits.  I guess you could make the case that materials could be mined from the Moon and the bulk of the craft assemble in situ, but the amount of equipment, fuel and personnel you would need to ship to the moon to begin a manufacturing process would outweigh the actual craft multiple times over.  Making this scenario only economical if they intend to produce a large quantity of craft.
Then the issue is that the only raw material on the moon is rock of quality so low it would be considered "not worth mining" on earth, and water, which could be used to make fuel, but may also be fairly difficult to extract.  Given these limitations of the moon's resources it doesn't seem economical to set up a mass production facility.   Given that the moon offers no actual dollar value in terms of resources, this facility would be a constant drain on the economies of Earth, unlike  missions such as fly-bys and rovers which don't need much maintenance.

Is there some part of this I'm missing? 
« Last Edit: December 09, 2018, 02:33:58 AM by God Bomb »
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Offline 2397

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2018, 02:36:08 AM »
With a permanent Moon base, you would do the manufacturing several times over indefinitely into the future. So it depends on your perspective.

Having a Moon base is a potential first step in setting up manufacturing that's independent of Earth's gravity well, with the advantage of always being a few days away instead of more than a month once every other year (or much further out on some asteroid/Galilean moon). We either build an extraterrestrial base, or have to always lift everything out from the Earth, and we won't ever be able to build something as large as a Moon base if that's not worth doing even once.

Offline bachfiend

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2018, 05:33:10 AM »
‘Science or fiction’:

(click to show/hide)
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2018, 12:40:42 PM »
There are seven and a half billion people alive on Earth today. Why do we need to make it possible for otherwise infertile couples to make more babies? Why the fuck can’t infertile couples adopt some of the many unwanted children? Personally, I’ve never understood the maniacal urge to produce more and more babies. Once upon a time if you wanted to fuck you had to accept the risk of pregnancy, but that’s no longer the case. Once upon a time, the survival of your tribe or village depended on making lots of babies because so few survived. But that’s no longer the case.

We need to prohibit measures that increase fertility and make it easier to adopt instead.

As for experimentation on humans, which most of us, including myself, regard as unconscionable except where there’s no alternative and the subjects have given fully-informed consent, I’ve never understood how we can apply a different standard to animals without believing in a magical man in the sky who is somehow the font of morality and gets to make arbitrary rules. (The same applies to eating them.)

It’s a case of willful ethical blindness. We want to use animals for food and experimentation so badly that we create a moral distinction out of thin air. In politics the myth of exceptionality allows us to pretend that our country is morally superior to all others so we have the right to drop bombs on them if they don’t behave as we dictate. Here’s another myth of exceptionality: that humans are “morally superior” to all other animals so we have the right to murder them for food or in the course of experimentation. Animals cannot give consent, so we decide it’s not necessary because they are “inferior” to us.

Because I don’t believe in a God, I cannot find any moral distinction between experimenting on people or on animals; or any moral distinction between eating people or eating animals.

Considering how cruel and heartless and bloodthirsty humans are,  figuring out ways for more people to have more babies seems like a really bad idea.
Daniel
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Offline stands2reason

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2018, 01:52:39 PM »
More like "peen-hacking", amirite?

Also, I am not quite sure what Steve meant by comparing the new cancer test against a "gold standard" (unless that was a pun). Is there any test like this that is more reliable, for any kind of cancer?

Offline Tassie Dave

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2018, 02:12:05 PM »
We need to prohibit measures that increase fertility and make it easier to adopt instead.

We can have both. IVF is never going to add significantly to population growth. Why deny couples a chance at having their own kids?

I do agree adoption should be made easier and open to more couples.

I realise you understand you are an outlier on the rest of your rant  ;)

Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2018, 06:10:49 PM »
I realise you understand you are an outlier on the rest of your rant  ;)

Yep, I do. What a crazy idea: that we are just animals like any other animals and are not something special, except to ourselves.

In an over-populated world, I do not see everybody having an inalienable right to make more people. They want to have “a baby of their own”? Fuck them. That’s just selfish. (For the record, I don’t have kids and have never wanted to bring more of the cancer that is the human race to this unfortunate planet. If I did have a wife and she wanted kids, I’d have insisted on adoption.)
Daniel
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Offline 2397

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2018, 10:55:16 PM »
I agree with Daniel as far as I don't think we should do anything to promote reproduction, there are enough people around already. I'm okay with IVF, because trying to interfere with it means we're targeting a particular group of people based on their medical situation. One thing I'm not sure about is whether the government should pay for it in a public healthcare system. I could argue for not prioritizing it over other treatments that the budget has to cover.

Everyone should be encouraged to adopt rather than reproduce, regardless of how fertile they are. Primarily for the sake of the children who need homes. Not that it has to be one or other, but there's a limit to how many children a family can take care of.

Other than that, maximizing choice seems to be the way to go to reduce fertility rates. Give everyone the ability to have sex without producing children, and to delay reproduction for as long as possible, and they'll be less likely to reproduce. Build a society where people have as much freedom as possible, and they'll have to weigh having children up against what else they want to do with their lives. It should be a big deal to choose to have a child, and it should be a choice, not something that just happens.

Which is a point in favor of IVF/fertility treatment. At least we know they made a deliberate choice.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2018, 10:58:29 PM by 2397 »

Offline Tassie Dave

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2018, 01:23:59 AM »
In an over-populated world, I do not see everybody having an inalienable right to make more people. They want to have “a baby of their own”? Fuck them. That’s just selfish.

Selfish is too strong, and judgmental a term for something that can cause many couples years of emotional grief and depression.

Yes it would be nice if all non-fertile couples would adopt and that all couples (married, defacto, LGBTI etc) who can provide a safe and loving environment for a child, could adopt, but life is more complicated than that. If having a baby through IVF or any other scientific procedure can give a couple happiness, then why deny them that.



Offline God Bomb

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2018, 03:00:54 AM »
I'm usually that guy complaining about too many people and not enough planet, but this CRISPR thing really didn't hit that nerve with me. i don't think allowing people who have HIV to have kids who don't have HIV is going to be a net negative, nor do I think this specific treatment would be a significant needle mover in terms of overall population trends.  The only realistic solutions to the problem seem to be a top down approach like China of legislation.  Or having a society wealthy and apathetic (and secular) enough to not want to breed as much, e.g. Japan.   I don't think withholding fertility treatments is going to make a dent, so topics like this don't even trigger my over-population alarm.
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2018, 10:12:20 AM »
In an over-populated world, I do not see everybody having an inalienable right to make more people. They want to have “a baby of their own”? Fuck them. That’s just selfish.

Selfish is too strong, and judgmental a term for something that can cause many couples years of emotional grief and depression.

Yes it would be nice if all non-fertile couples would adopt and that all couples (married, defacto, LGBTI etc) who can provide a safe and loving environment for a child, could adopt, but life is more complicated than that. If having a baby through IVF or any other scientific procedure can give a couple happiness, then why deny them that.

Because when every couple’s “happiness” depends on having a passel of babies, the planet cannot support the resulting mountain of babies. Note, and this is hugely important, that it’s not just a question of how many humans can the Earth feed; it’s a matter of maintaining an ecological balance while feeding them. We are already causing the worst mass extinction in the history of the world. Yes, the green revolution has enabled us to feed 7.53 billion people, but the cost has been such environmental destruction that we are exterminating the life of other creatures at breakneck speed. Morality aside, this is not sustainable.
Daniel
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Offline stands2reason

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2018, 10:26:31 AM »
Reproducing should not be considered a right under any circumstances. People should not be allowed to reproduce above replacement rate. The government should limit subsidizing things related to children: rather, making up for it by charging an impact fee. If you make something (children) expensive, then parents will respond accordingly. If someone reproduces when they are already on welfare, the government should not give them more money, but rather encourage them to have an abortion, or take their offspring otherwise.

Abortions, birth control, and sterilization procedures (vasectomy and tubal ligation) should be included for free in universal Medicaid (or whatever you would call it, when we have it).
« Last Edit: December 10, 2018, 12:12:08 PM by stands2reason »

Offline gebobs

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2018, 11:12:53 AM »
Yeah, I'm not getting on board with the push for six months or a year of family leave. We don't need to encourage people to have more children. Fine if your company wants to do it, but I don't think the government should be in that business.


Offline 2397

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2018, 12:24:24 PM »
I'm all for parental leave, because I don't consider it a tool to encourage people to have children, it's more about the children being well cared for. I don't think you can do much after the fact about making it more difficult to have children, without negatively impacting the children.

And I don't think companies should be involved in healthcare or non-job personal matters at all, it's not their concern. People shouldn't have the additional burden of worrying about their health if their job is at risk one way or the other. They should be able to change and choose jobs based on what the job itself involves, and an uncomplicated wage.

Reproducing should not be considered a right under any circumstances. People should not be allowed to reproduce above replacement rate.

Societies shouldn't, but it can get very nasty if we try to actively stop individuals from reproducing, with poor people and minorities being at much greater risk of being interfered with by the government.

There are plenty of countries with below replacement fertility, with examples of how to reduce fertility rates without use of force. The Nordic countries all have at least 6 months of total leave (to be split between the parents), and fertility rates are below replacement.

 

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