I always try to schedule my (and family and pets') operations or procedures on the first business days of the week: if something goes wrong I want the availability of every specialist around, and not having to wait until Monday in some hospital bed because the needed doctor/laboratory/operator doesn't work on weekends (at least in Italy, if you are not in life-threatening conditions, they make you wait).
The barrier of entry to biology is artificially high due to all sorts of reasons, mostly regulatory. Biohacking is often frowned upon on the federal level and the equipment is expensive. Even with stuff like OpenTrons, we are talking about several magnitudes higher costs than e.g. Arduino and a breadboard kit. What exists of open biology is often tied up with drug culture, both the legal and illegal variety. The latter needs no explanation and the former is stuff like Four Thieves Vinegar that tries to break the FDA-endorsed establishment. It is an embarrassment to the field that what exists of amateur biology mostly stands in the shadow of illegitimacy.
The pioneer of Crispr application in humans has just been thrown into jail and vilified in the press. Most of the scientific community, while not publicly praising, are silently in agreement with the decision. The few condemnations comes from bioengineers, your classic biologists are more than happy to play the "wait and see" game. Nobody is willing to actually engage with society at large with regards to the issue. There is no Space X, there is no Google in biology. Your established pharmaceutical companies are more than happy to play gatekeeper and rent-seek instead of shattering regulatory capture. They are not interested in pushing back the state, they would rather play the revolving door game. How many "prominent" biologists have you heard of whom built a single company that achieved unicorn status? Look at the biology "entrepreneurs". Classic academia-private partnerships. There is no fresh blood, no vision, no Tesla. More public relations effort is being put into "immortality tech" companies like Ambrosia and Calico than existing state of the art technologies. Apparently it is more "publicly acceptable" to inject young people's blood into your veins to live longer than to perform an experimental procedure on infants to potentially cure HIV.
Your average university graduate with a degree in the sciences can finish their biology component through memorization. This is the way the current system is structured and it is not likely to change soon. The talent in biology that does not go to medical school is being lost to software engineering. It is easier to make money in ad-tech than trying to cure cancer. Why bother working in the field when "shipping" can take decades because of red tape and experiments on non-human mamallian animals are tightly-regulated till almost the point of uselessness? Agriculture gets more leeway with animals on an unimaginably large scale and magnitude than your average university lab. Lab-on-chips and organoids are great for press releases and glossy magazine covers, but they are far from production-quality. Even lab-grown meat is not production-quality yet. The mush you get isn't even worth putting into meatballs, forget lab-grown filet mignons. The current tech is essentially the same old rehash on plant protein, bean curd/tofu has been used to make vegetarian meat substitutes in places like Asia for centuries. Impossible food made it "hip". To translate it into HN-speak: Impossible Foods to vegetarian meat is what Docker is to BSD jails. The tech community is able to reason through the costs and benefits of backdoors in encryption, but when it comes to animal rights there is nothing but emotional-fueled hysteria about perceived abuse and mistreatment. The next time a family member suffers in hospital from an incurable disease, just remember the donation you made to the local animal rights campaign helped hinder biological research and development by decades. Let's hope the animals' "thoughts and prayers" are with you. After all, they certainly are conscious enough to benefit from legal protections and funding.
You lament about the state of public biological understanding? Talk to the powers that be. How many people believe in free energy and try to put it into practice? Perpetual motion machines are easily debunked. You don't see rampant exploitation of the ignorant and vulnerable by free energy believers on the same scale as the anti-vaccination movement. The same can't be said for biology. How many craft beer brewers actually understand what goes on inside? The next time you go to your local bar, ask around. That will give a pretty clear idea of what is the current level of biology education.
Edit: why the downvotes? If biology makes you uncomfortable, then take time to learn it. After all, isn't this the infamous HN response to a lot of problems? "Learn to code"?
As for animal experiments, they are not nearly as difficult to get going as people think, SOPs for mice take a month on average to get approved in my experience. The vast majority of my dislike towards animal testing lies in the realm of cosmetics, not animals, and I'm sure most people would agree. Even so, the trend in research now is to move away from traditional animal models to organ-on-chips, simulations, and other human substitute models.
Finally, Biology is SLOW. You haven't seen a "unicorn" because an MVP for a biotech company in therapeutics is 10 years away from when it starts needing funding, in a lot of cases. There are very few options for series A-B funds to fill the gap between seed and revenue stages for biotech startups, which is why licensing and partnerships between researchers and industry are the predominant options seen today, alongside the traditional NIH/DARPA/NSF funds.
Maybe I'm biased because of my location (huge Biotech hub) and affiliations, but anytime I read complaints about biotech and medicine from software devs it reads like ignorance from people who are used to "moving fast and breaking things".
What has biotech given us? Cheap portable HIV testing for developing countries, non-invasive targeted treatment of various cancers, (Magnitude level). If you don't see gains in the bioengineering space you aren't looking hard enough, and you also aren't taking into account the FDA scrutinizing new technologies and treatments before they are released into the wild.
The assumption is you don't have a bio background because you have no idea why progress is slow. I'm wondering what kind of bio background you do have where time isn't an issue. Sure I can spin up a bunch of GPUs on demand to train my image classifier, but what I'm training it on is months of experiments run non-stop, and that's with a relatively quick animal model.
We actually need to focus on teaching trust in scientists and the scientific method. You can't reasonably expect people to understand all these complex modern innovations and concepts to the level where they can easily identify hoaxes. You can expect people to realize who the experts in each field are and find the consensus among their opinions.
I've thought about this a lot, but there's really no way to get around the fact that you'll draw insane conclusions if you start from insane priors. And you're kinda forced into having insane priors if your parents believe insane things. Either we force people to make the right decisions (as decided by [insert favourite entity here]), or we live with some people doing batshit insane things. Those are the extremes of a spectrum that includes many only slightly forceful interventions, but in a nutshell, that's the choice we have.
That’s fine. It’s a free country. Their kids just don’t have a birthright to putting the public at risk. If they mostly stay at home, the damage is done; but it’s limited.
The other option, having the government override parents’ wishes around medical treatment, is rife with risk.
It’s a really common issue. The better a system
works the faster people forget about it’s upsides while the downsides are more obvious.
Marin County, which is not a hot bed of any religion other than yoga pants, EV, soylent drinks etc, is the largest population of anti-vaxxers in California.
Also seeing right through some unscientific nonsense does not protect you from all of it.
There are people who laugh at Creationism and then turn around and deny Anthropogenic Global Warming. Others laugh at both creationists and AGW denialists, and then tout Health At Every Size. And there are people who reject vaccines despite being perfectly able to accept scientific evidence in the other mentioned areas.
This article targets educated children trying to escape the damage of their parents’ decisions.
Nobody is forcing anyone to do anything to their bodies. It is the parents who are going against not only their childrens’ interests but also their preferences.
But that's entirely besides the point. The point I'm making is I believe people are feeling "squeezed," that our public sense-makers have been revealed to be nonsense. Look at what's been going on. We're in the longest war in our history. The state tortured people and nothing happened. We are spied on and nothing happens. Government bails out Wall Street in the Great Recession but not Main Street. We elected a reality TV show host to be the President. We were told for years that our reality TV host president was a literal Manchurian candidate and our government had been essentially overthrown by a foreign dictator. Every time I turn around someone's shooting up a crowd of people. There's cracks in the walls. Not vaccinating is a symptom. The core problem is that the "system" lacks credibility. Squeezing people a little harder and forcing them to vaccinate exacerbates the core problem. It would be great if everyone were robots and could just look at cold hard facts and make totally rational decisions, but that's not how it works. Squeezing people in one place causes them to lash out in another place. I don't think it's a good idea.
One argument in favor that I hear is 'herd immunity'; getting vaccinated to protect those who can't get vaccinated and are otherwise at great risk to their health.
In my view, every vaccine is choice with a risk, cost, and reward.
Depending on how prevalent a disease is society can either force everyone to take the vaccine risk for herd immunity, or allow people to make their own choices.
If people are allowed to choose, generally speaking parents decide for their children. It would be fairly sad to allow a child to to self vaccinate, then have them die from developing a complication when we know that children make poor long term risk/reward decisions.
I'm in New Zealand we have an outbreak at present, largely due to fear around vacinations in middle to upper class families. It's crazy.
Here are WHO statistics which show immunization rates in New Zealand (which are higher than they have ever been before)...
Here are WHO statistics which show incidences of vaccine-preventable diseases in New Zealand (there is no notable increase)...
The loony anti-vax middle class need to be watched to prevent a future outbreak, but given the numbers it is hard to argue they are responsible for this one.
As a Christian I don't think that's always true, and as an atheist I would have rejected it too. Do the majority of people actually think it's always true?
It is especially not required to be honest to people who are actively working against your own health and safety. You are not required to let your captors know you are planning an escape.
That's like a basic survival instinct. It transcends morality. I'd tell people that Jesus really was the son of a god if it meant living to see another day. I'd tell people other lies in order to guarantee I receive life saving drugs.
I feel like the weighting of your statement is off (wrt being controversial); not sacrificing yourself is the norm, and not immoral, while taking the option to sacrifice yourself is noble. As opposed to "Yeah, that guy ran back into the building to try to save the last kid from the fire. It's a shame he died, but he was just doing what was morally required so doesn't deserve any adulation".
Avoiding harm is a moral principle I'm sure many share and there are cases where this conflicts with being honest. If you go down this “you should never lie” you are effectively choosing to do the harm because you prioritise honesty. Maybe that's right in that situation, but you are doing a compromise between ethical principles in either case.
Personally I used to be never-ever-lie dogmatic, but as I've lived my thinking as evolved and I definitely think there exists cases where lying is the more ethical option. However, it's important to me that it's strongly ethically justified and not just something you do because it's the most easy or whatever.
The framing of morality as between prioritizing certain morals over others is only a particular way of viewing it - the consequentialist way. For deontological metaethics, you have something like a categorical imperative.
If you are 16 years old or older you can consent to get medical treatment, and your parents are not involved.
You visit your GP. If you are 15 years old or younger your GP will test your capacity to make this decision. This is called "Gillick Competency". If you are competent to make the decision you will get the vaccinations you need. Your GP will want to involve your parent, but will not tell them without your permission. There are some safe-guarding duties, so your GP may, in rare situations, have to make a referral for your safety.
 It's a bit confusing for people who are 17 years old or younger. They can consent to get treatment, but cannot decline to get life-saving treatment. That decision will be made for them, by the courts if needed. Their views will be taken into account.
Menawhile we still don't let kids decide to e.g. have tattoos.
I wonder if that would really work.