Friday, October 26, 2007

Universities and Colleges

I see that some conservative organization named Family Security Matters has named the Ten Most Dangerous Organizations in America. They list "Universities and Colleges" at #2.

OK, let's take them at their word. I'm sure, therefore, if they think Universities and Colleges are so dangerous, that they will be more than willing to forego the discoveries and benefits which have come from these institutions. Let's construct a partial list:

1) x-rays, discovered in 1895 by Wilhelm Rontgen at the University of Wurzburg. When they break a bone, Family Security Matters members can decline an x-ray and just let their doctors feel around for a bone break, guessing as to its extent.

2) nuclear fission, finally demonstrated by Enrico Fermi at the University of Chicago. Family Security Matters members will, I'm sure, be more than willing to do without the Gigawatt-hrs of electricity produced in this manner around the world.

3) Giant magnetoresistance, discovered at a university in Paris. Family Security Matters members can do without hard drives or anything of the sort which make a modern computer useful.

Do we really have to go on? You can fill in the rest as well as I can. FSM can decline to take many of today's pharmaceuticals. I'm sure they won't mind exiting themselves from anything having to do with gravity or astronomical research, discovered and perfected by Newton, Einstein, and others all at universities. Are they willing to live with polio? In 1950 William Hammon at the University of Pittsburgh isolated a serum from the blood of polio survivors.

Would FSM members like to benefit from solar energy? Fuel cells? Nanowires?

Do we really have to go on?

The fact is, the liberal traditions of free speech and open inquiry are exactly what have brought us these advances over the decades. FSM can put their conservative ideas out in the intellectual marketplace for approval and advancement -- the truth is, over the last several decades, these ideas have mostly been found to be wanting and deficient. It has almost always been open, liberal ideas that lead to advancements of our society, not closed, regressive, conservative ideas.

FSM can criticize these ideas if they want. If they do, they should be forced to live without them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I thought "FSM" stood for "Flying Spaghetti Monster"?