Sunday, February 17, 2008

For Example, Nanotechnology (Framing Cont'd)

Black Sun Journal highlights a report showing that nanotechnology is unpopular among the god-addled:

The moral qualms people of faith express about nanotechnology is not a question of ignorance of the technology, says Scheufele, explaining that survey respondents are well-informed about nanotechnology and its potential benefits.

"They still oppose it," he says. "They are rejecting it based on religious beliefs. The issue isn't about informing these people. They are informed."

The new study has critical implications for how experts explain the technology and its applications, Scheufele says. It means the scientific community needs to do a far better job of placing the technology in context and in understanding the attitudes of the American public.[emphasis mine]
But didn't the report just say that the people understand the potential? It's not clear what "context" can be found to make nanotechnology more attractive to religious believers since it is already touted as a source of life-saving cures.

Nothing in the founding texts of the popular monotheisms speaks favorably of tiny robots, and the idea of tiny life-saving robots smacks of the sort of "seductive" knowledge the Pope recently criticized. So a large number of them are reflexively opposed.

It seems to me science advocates have said all they can say on this, and they should continue saying it: nanotechnology holds great promise, including life-saving medical breakthroughs but extending far beyond that; nanotechnology is inherently amazing and interesting, and represents the kind of thing that can continue to spark interest in science.

Beyond continuing to stress the potential benefits and intrinsic allure of nanotechnology, I question how much time science advocates should spend hand-wringing over the opinions of faith-based dead-enders. Later on, if beneficial technologies emerge, they'll line up with the rest of us and choose life over death and solutions over problems. It's regrettable that they insist on standing in the way today, and to do so without good reasons, but that's how they roll.

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