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Last column I painted a grim picture of science’s dark side. A trend toward diabolical creativity began with the atom bomb in 1945 and has only accelerated since then. But it’s not just weapons of mechanized death that cause the problem. Science has long demanded that it be separate from ordinary morality. Medicine marches on unscathed after a drug like Thalidomide produces thousands of deformed babies. Pesticides march on after the serious ecological damage of DDT. Surgeries that have never been properly tested, like the radical mastectomy, thrive as standard practice for decades.
Is amoral science the same as good science?
By Deepak Chopra and Ken Robinson
It’s a sore temptation to hunt down Osama bin Laden - one of the most consistent campaign promises made by President Obama - and yet there are strong arguments against it. U.S. forces would have to penetrate deep into provincial Pakistan and perhaps even conduct house-to-house searches. Such incursions would destabilize Pakistan’s already shaky regime and inflame the extremist element. More troops would have to be committed to the Afghanistan war zone, with no positive outcome in sight. And making a martyr of bin Laden would probably incite a crop of new terrorists as deadly as he and his cohorts.
On the day that George W. Bush made one last attempt at a feel-good, don't-blame-me farewell, Eric Holder said that waterboarding is torture. The two events made a jarring juxtaposition. On the one hand a stubborn, reactionary president threw both of those qualities in our face. On the other hand, the incoming attorney general began the long process of undoing the worst effects of the Bush years.
In mid-February, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and the Bravewell Collaborative are convening a “Summit on Integrative Medicine and the Health of the Public.” This is a watershed in the evolution of integrative medicine, a holistic approach to health care that uses the best of conventional and alternative therapies such as meditation, yoga, acupuncture and herbal remedies. Many of these therapies are now scientifically documented to be not only medically effective but also cost effective.
Israel's massive assault on Gaza is the worst sort of déjà vu all over again. As news commentators wearily point out that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a never-ending story, there are shifts in that story. The most important one: George Bush's decision to studiously ignore the whole problem. For eight years the U.S. has abandoned its responsibility to broker peace. The result has been an ongoing catastrophe. No one needs reminding of that.
“For 2009, your first resolution should be, ‘ I will make relationships the first priority and consumption the last.’ That’s the most important thing you can do.”
In the spirit of President-elect Obama's call for unity, the present divide between opponents and supporters of the war in Iraq needs to be healed. On one side, as represented by President Bush in his exit interviews, the war is seen, post-surge, as a key success in the war on terror. On the other side, as voiced by peace advocates, the Iraq War has been a dismal, shameful failure that did nothing to lessen the threat of terror around the world.
Since God didn't vote for President, why should he get a seat on the inauguration platform? In the midst of controversy over picking Rick Warren to offer an invocation, it's been overlooked that reality is shifting in America. We are a largely secular society where the vast majority of people do not attend church. When religion enters the picture, we are a pluralistic society, not a Christian one. The right wing may posture as if Christianity deserves special privilege and pride of place. Their posturing has convinced a lot of people for the past twenty years, but it's high time we threw the whole charade out the window.