Saturday, April 07, 2007

Should We Use Science To Take Away Rights?

I ran across this little doozy of an article about teen brain development:

Neurological researchers around the country, spearheaded by Jay Giedd of the National Institute of Mental Health, have in recent years found that the brain is not fully developed until after 18. The brain system that regulates logic and reasoning develops before the area that regulates impulse and emotions, the researchers say.

The implication?

"Adolescents are at an age where they do not have full capacity to control themselves," he [Temple University psychologist Laurence Steinberg] says. "As adults, we need to do some of the controlling."

While I am certainly pro-science, something about this attitude makes me very queasy.

As a thought experiment, simply substitude "African-Americans" or "hourly workers" for "adolescents." Not quite so innocuous anymore, is it?

3 comments:

am said...

That is certainly the ultimate result of the materialist scientism that pervades the thinking of much of the valley.

We have evolved from matter, consciousness is merely an epiphenomenon of the activity of our brain, there is no free will (only the illusion of it), and, ultimately, there is no basis for truth, morality, or ethics.

Everything devolves to power - what is true and right is what is believed by those in power to be true and right. In the case of the west, that comes down to the tyranny of the majority who are influenced by an irrational and unscientific press, educational establishment, and leftist radicals (called moderates everywhere)

Frankly, most of what passes for the scientific world-view today is illogical, irrational, and mere blind faith. Most people have been dumbed down by our education system, however, so the misuse of langugage (e.g. calling something scientific when it really isn't) casts a spell over them.

Your queasiness is justified... the question is will you follow that to dig deeper?

Chris said...

AM--

Interested to hear more of your thoughts on "digging deeper."

While I am planning to write a more detailed post on this topic, I do believe that people miss the point of what constitutes science.

Science is all about seeking out evidence to help figure out ways to understand the world. Nowhere does true science claim to be proven--everything is simply a theory, to be evaluated based on its predictive power.

Alas, just as with religion, people use the term quite loosely, and for ends that true science and religion would abhor.

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