In Praise of Liberation Biology

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Steve Martinovich of Enter Stage Right has posted a review of Reason Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey's Liberation Biology. The punchline:

Ultimately what is so attractive about Bailey's arguments is that they allow us to imagine a positive future with biotech, not the standard doom and gloom that his critics predict. Given the polarized nature of the debate, however, Liberation Biology will probably end up preaching to the choir. That would be unfortunate because what Bailey has done is persuasively answer biotech's critics. He has met them on their ground and in most cases come away with the victory. Liberation Biology shouldn't merely be noted as yet another entry into the debate, but rather a challenge to biotech's opponents to build a stronger case if they wish to ultimately prevail.

To read the full review, go here.

For more info and to buy Bailey's book, go here.

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  1. Nice how we can put the term “libertarian” in front of anything…
    Libertarian Biology– is that different than Biology? Do your microbes behave differently without government nannies pushing them around.

    And then there’s this …Libertarian Paternalism?
    http://news.com.com/2061-11128_3-6048784.html

    Colorless Libertarian Biologies sleep furiously.

  2. Read the title again.

  3. Bet Steve Martinovich owns a bunch of biotech stock he hasn’t told us about.

    SHILL! CORPORATE SHILL!

  4. Libertarian Biology– is that different than Biology?

    You need to take off your partisan colored glasses.

  5. “And then there’s this …Libertarian Paternalism?”

    looking at the article…

    a “somewhat ominous-sounding concept coined by another academic.” is a reference to the work of Richard Thaler in a compelling piece called “Libertarian Paternalism Is Not An Oxymoron”

    http://www.aei-brookings.org/admin/authorpdfs/page.php?id=260

  6. PREEMPTIVE STRIKE

    If you’re going to talk about how the book obviously must be invalid because the DNA helix on the cover spirals the wrong way, be aware that the author was in no way responsible for the cover art.

    END OF PREEMPTIVE STRIKE

    There. Now I can read the thread without dreading the obligatory complaint/response pair we get every single time this book is even tangentially mentioned.

  7. Jake, I doubt it. Herrick, and his Balls, will probably show up to point that out.

    He must think it’s uproariously funny, or that we all have very short-term memories and must be constantly reminded.

    Also, before the catcalls of “so-and-so’s a corporate shill” start, I’d just like to point out that no, I’m not a corporate shill. However, if anyone knows where I can apply for a job shilling for this-or-that megacorp, I’d appreciate it, as it evidently is quite lucrative work.

  8. We speak of “convection ovens” since the microwave variety is common. And “analog watches” since the rise of digital.

    Given the rise of “intelligent design biology” on the Christian side and “gaia biology” on the Luddite side, “libertarian biology” sounds appropriate for the Roddenberryian nerds.

  9. Best review of Ron’s fascinating volume that I’ve read.

    From Liberation Biology

    “The smartest commission ever assembled simply doesn’t have the creativity of millions of human beings trying to live the best lives that that they can by trying out and developing new technologies.”

    Ron makes this case for biotech and it has universal application.

    From Steve Martinovich’s review:

    ..ultimately Liberation Biology is about defining morality. Bioconservatives — both conservative and liberal — demand that government be in charge of deciding what technologies are appropriate to pursue and which should be banned. Bailey counters that it is the individual that should empowered with that choice.

    Bailey eviscerates many of the moral objections that bioconservatives bring up. Enforcing a “precautionary principle” on biotechnology because of their ethical qualms is denying humanity potent new tools which could improve people’s lives, he argues.

    This is why a wider dissemination of Ron’s volume will likely be beneficial for humankind, especially if it motivates government to get the Hell outa the way.

    Martinovich: observes the type of pernicious nonsense that Ron’s book demolishes:

    Critics argue that it is immoral to radically increase life spans and that society’s institutions aren’t equipped to deal with 200 year old citizens.

    Liberation Biology will probably end up preaching to the choir. That would be unfortunate because what Bailey has done is persuasively answer biotech’s critics.

    We should spread the word about Liberation Biology. Post links to it and this review on other blogs-Publisize it on talk radio and letters to the editor…stuff like that. I’m gonna linl to it today on some other blog where the opportunity presents itself.

  10. MainStreamMan:

    Libertarian Biology– is that different than Biology? Do your microbes behave differently without government nannies pushing them around.

    MainStreamMan misses the point. The answer is yes! With the government out of the way, thus allowing the biotech revolution to proceed, both our microorganisms and the way our physiology reacts to them, (as well as interloping microorganisms) are indeed modified.

  11. > Bet Steve Martinovich owns a bunch of biotech stock he hasn’t told us about.

    Haha, I wish. God that would be nice 🙂

  12. what do librarians have to do with biology?

  13. If you’re going to talk about how the book obviously must be invalid because the DNA helix on the cover spirals the wrong way, be aware that the author was in no way responsible for the cover art.

    but a chiral version of DNA would have to be engineered in order to exist…it is a feature and not a bug…Nick when do i get my no-prize?

  14. Buy the book? You mean Reason didn’t mail it free to everyone? Just me? Now I feel special…

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