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Religion and Spirituality, Science and Philosophy Use this forum to discuss what you believe in. This is a place where everyone may share their views freely.

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Science Funding vs charity - March 6th 2012, 09:29 PM

Recently i've found this an interesting topic to think about.

We all know this planet is overpopulated by... probably half our current population. This leads to a lot of problems, both economy-wise and how we live. There will be more people in poverty, and less people in the middle class because of this overpopulation.

This means the community pushes itself to help the less fortunate out.

Recently I looked at the science funding cut, namely an expedition to mars which is now delayed until around 2013-2014. and I wonder: Why do scientists who may lead to finding ways to terraform a planet get a budget cut yet people who are insignificant for our future survivability as a race get money? why do people insist on donating their money to the minor problem when the real problem is all of the budget cuts on the people doing the research to help our race?

Same thing goes for quantum computing. I guarantee if people were donating much sooner than as of recent we'd already have practical quantum computers in our households. We would also have, thanks to quantum computers, found ways to cure diseases which are beyond thought of curing right now.

Perhaps some of you can shed some light on my thoughts and voice your opinion on Science funding vs charity donation.

Edit: To clarify, I don't mean science charity donations. I mean donating to places that have suffered earthquakes, famines, etc. Africa, places like that. Choosing to help others (donating, charity, etc) instead of our future(Science).
   
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Re: Science Funding vs charity - March 6th 2012, 10:00 PM

Well, there's a few issues about this. One, going to Mars does not mean we could ever really populate it. Let's say we can. Why do we just want to populate another planet, screw up its resources, and do the same thing we did to our first planet? Rather, we should fix what we have here, starting with more education about planning pregnancy (either with abstinence or birth control methods) and helping the people currently in poverty.

Clarification though, I'm not AGAINST science funding. In my opinion, those who have money and not in college (as myself) barely able to get by should donate to both. I plan on donating to both if I ever get the funds, I currently can't afford to donate to any charity, I just volunteer when I can. But the thing while science does have the potential to open up new ideas of where to "move next" and ways to increase our quality of life and cure diseases, for changes in population control to later save our planet, change in our current action helps with that. Rather than finding new ways to recycle things, why don't we use less? Stuff like that. I think science is very important, but for significant immediate change to our current planet status, we need to start with actual human change.


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Re: Science Funding vs charity - March 6th 2012, 10:06 PM

I feel it is a bit simplistic to suggest that scientific progress has suffered because of human empathy - fields such as quantum physics in particular have been pretty well funded in recent years (example: the construction of the LHC & wider CERN complex, which ran well into the billions) and if progress has been slow it is for the simple reason that these things are inherently very complex. Similarly, landing a probe on Mars is not the work of a moment - the last few attempts have failed, and other countries who have funded sizeable space programmes have encountered the same problems. The inherent issue is that when you're operating on the cutting edge of knowledge, as these fields are, your investment return rate is pretty woeful most of the time until you make the breakthrough, and as Sir Paul Nurse said in the recent Richard Dimbleby Lecture that can take up to 10 years in many cases. Even if you diverted all charitable giving into science instead, it would still take a long time and certainly wouldn't result in instantaneous progress - and any scientist who suggests otherwise is either a habitual liar or a moron. A better and more enduring solution would be to muster up industry to better support the sciences, as that provides more of a proving ground for new innovations and may prove more effective than simply throwing more money at the problem.

For the record, I am also of the view that if we abrogate our duty towards the most vulnerable in our society, then frankly we do not deserve to survive long enough to colonise other worlds.


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If you're referring to dr2005's response, it's not complex, however, he has a way with words .
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Re: Science Funding vs charity - March 6th 2012, 11:08 PM

In the end it's essentially trying to cover the deeper issue.

Let's say everyone has basic education and vaccination etc. Suddenly everywhere is forced to take care of their own hazardous waste and such. Now there is a strong demand for more efficient systems, which bears down the weight on the people who should be getting paid to do those things.

Same thing for science. Now that everyone has expectations on their lifestyle, which isn't burning computer boards in china, they want real jobs with retirement plans.

Well guess what? Suddenly you're getting paid HALF of what you currently are because there is such strong competition for your job. I guarantee within days the economy would collapse from trying to support everyone in the world with basic rights.

This leads to the real problem: No matter how efficient we make our technology, it won't matter because we're essentially double the population cap that is set on this planet. When I say cap, i mean how many people can live on this planet before it starts heavily ruining the earth's natural resources.

That's quite an interesting view though. Thinking us as humans have a 'duty' towards our own kind. When in reality it has always been survival of the fittest and businesses make money based on that (look at where everything is made: china. Businesses are abusing the overpopulation and using it to their advantage to make more money.)

While yes, we could essentially distribute things out evenly it still doesn't fix the big problem we're facing. and in the end greed will always outweigh compassion because even in basic animal instinct there is seflishness. Which i've described in detail in another thread, and every day it's proven again and again that we're selfish creatures.

So why try to combat the fact we're selfish by being 'charitable' and just help everyone by doing the right thing which is in our nature, which is to help ourselves by helping our future.
   
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Re: Science Funding vs charity - March 7th 2012, 09:07 AM

Charity isn't a very realistic way to provide a permanent fix to mass poverty at all.


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Re: Science Funding vs charity - March 7th 2012, 03:57 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dervisher View Post
We all know this planet is overpopulated by... probably half our current population. This leads to a lot of problems, both economy-wise and how we live. There will be more people in poverty, and less people in the middle class because of this overpopulation.
Overpopulation is a problem, no doubt! However, reproduction is how a specie survive and evolve. In fact, go take a look at the Sex and Puberty forum on TeenHelp and see for yourself; it's not possible to stop this. This is inevitable. Stop helping people or letting people die in the name of "population control" is not a solution. It is inhumane; it is wrong on so many levels!

A better solution? Slam a law that limits each family to have only two children--no more than two children--and we can slow this down. Limiting each family to have only one child is ridiculous; so limiting them to two is just right. Our advancement in birth-control methods makes this a fairly simple task nowadays. Granted, of course, some "accidents" would happen, but hey, throw out some incentives and probably over 85% of the general populace would comply, especially the new generation.

Just make all birth control methods--from the basic methods like condom, contraceptive pills, morning-after pills, to the complex methods like the nuvarings, birth control shots, vasectomy, etc.--available for the general public for free or reduced price. Who gives a rat's ass about the "extreme" pro-lifers (only the extreme ones, not all pro-lifers are extreme) who treat birth controls as abortion? Stop supporting them, stop listening to them, just stop paying attention to them and and they would be forgotten. Heck, I think most of the new generations (who are on their way to become the new voters or have already registered as new voters) would love this change.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dervisher View Post
This means the community pushes itself to help the less fortunate out.

Thinking us as humans have a 'duty' towards our own kind. When in reality it has always been survival of the fittest and businesses make money based on that (look at where everything is made: china. Businesses are abusing the overpopulation and using it to their advantage to make more money.)
Helping each other in needs and establishing peace and order is the whole reason why we have civilization, no? We help each other out!

My family isn't rich; I'm definitely isn't rich. But I'm going through higher education without paying anything--well, okay, I still do have to pay for books and pens, but you get the idea. How? Because the community helps me out, with scholarships and government pell grants.

Look at Canada, Sweden, or even a small country like Finland's health care systems. Everyone pays a little more taxes so that those who are in need would have access to health care for free. Here in the USA, nobody wants to lend a hand to help paying for another person's hospital bill. The result? We spend more money on health care than any other country out there, yet we have one of the worst health care system.


We should never turn our society into a survival-for-the-fittest environment. Never ever!

One of my IT instructors is on a wheelchair. He's a nice person and he's competent in his field; he's a great instructor! But he's certainly not the fittest and he probably could not have reach where he is today without some accommodation throughout his life. Would you dare say that we should have just throw him aside in the first place? I sure hope not!


Look at it this way: When we help a person, we're also giving that person a chance to help another person later on. For example:
  • You managed to save Bob's life.
  • Bob doesn't have the chance or ability to pay you back for the deed, but instead, he/she helped Nancy later on.
  • Then down the road, Nancy helps a homeless person.
  • Then somehow down the road, a miracle happen and that homeless person's children end up helping your children.

See the chain? You helped only Bob, but that gave Bob a chance to help Nancy. Nancy then is going to help another person, and their children would keep helping other people. In the end, by saving one person, you've activated a chain reaction and ended up saving 3 people--and the number keep increasing infinitely.


When we help a person, we aren't only helping that person. We're adjusting the entire chain of fate of that person and his descendants, as well as everyone connected and come into contact with him or her. We are giving that person a chance to continue that circle of kindness. (Think of the scientific concept of how energy transfer from one thing to another and never lost.)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dervisher View Post
Why do scientists who may lead to finding ways to terraform a planet get a budget cut yet people who are insignificant for our future survivability as a race get money? why do people insist on donating their money to the minor problem when the real problem is all of the budget cuts on the people doing the research to help our race?

In the end it's essentially trying to cover the deeper issue.

So why try to combat the fact we're selfish by being 'charitable' and just help everyone by doing the right thing which is in our nature, which is to help ourselves by helping our future.
You're absolutely right that science would determine how long we would survive as the human race. One day the human race would be extinct; that is inevitable. We might be able to prolong our survival if our science and technology advance fast enough.

However, keep in mind that we cannot research anything if our own home fall into chaos.


Do you play MMORPG, chess, or maybe practice some kind of martial art? If you do, then surely you would understand the concept of distributing resources. It's not always about 100% to offense or 100% to defense; a lot of time it's about 70% to one and 30% to another or sometimes 50% to 50%.

It takes a long time to invent or figure out something new; even then, they would have to repeat the procedures many times to make it officially recognized. We need to keep our home stable in order to research into the outer space or the distant future.


In fact, a picture speaks a thousand words, a fun game speaks a billion words, you should give this game a go: Rebuild 2. It has everything you wanted to discuss: helping those in need, overpopulation, lack of resources, finding more lands, and science researching. You better distribute your resources well in that game--throw them all into researching for new science would spell instant death.

That game should explain everything to you much better than I could ever have.




   
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Re: Science Funding vs charity - March 8th 2012, 06:42 AM

Here's the way I look at it:

Science is the future of the human race. It's through science that we have advanced as much as we have, and it will continue to be so in the future.

I think funding for scientific research and institutes is important. I would like to see it not get cut.

But you have to be practical, too. The current world we live in has a ton of problems, ones that are becoming increasingly difficult to solve.

If we were to just focus on dedicating resources to the future, there would be no future to dedicate them to.

We are still living here and now, and for now, we have to inhabit this planet and to sustain as much of it as we can. That includes the people as well as the resources. For if we focus only on the future, all that is existing will fall into decay. The very thing we are trying to preserve would no longer be preservable.

The point is that we are still HUMAN. We still have human values about the importance of life and community. We still hurt when fellow human beings are injured or destroyed, especially through nature or violence and oppression. Can we solve every problem? No. But we can help where we can. Because along with actually simply preserving the human race, we are also trying to preserve the humanity of the human race as well. Without our humanity, without our free will, who would we really be? No better than animals.

A better solution? Slam a law that limits each family to have only two children--no more than two children--and we can slow this down. Limiting each family to have only one child is ridiculous; so limiting them to two is just right. Our advancement in birth-control methods makes this a fairly simple task nowadays. Granted, of course, some "accidents" would happen, but hey, throw out some incentives and probably over 85% of the general populace would comply, especially the new generation.


And why exactly is limiting each family to one child ridiculous? How's that any more absurd than mandating a family have no more than two children? How are you going to enforce this? What about accidental pregnancies? Are you just going to mandate women get their tubes tied and men get vasectomies after two babies? Or what about if a woman already has one child and then gets pregnant with twins? Or what if she gets pregnant with even more multiples? Are you going to kill the extra babies? Make someone get an abortion? What about invitro fertilization? Are you just going to deny it to couples that can't have children? What if a woman divorces and remarries, and her new husband wants children? What then?

Just make all birth control methods--from the basic methods like condom, contraceptive pills, morning-after pills, to the complex methods like the nuvarings, birth control shots, vasectomy, etc.--available for the general public for free or reduced price. Who gives a rat's ass about the "extreme" pro-lifers (only the extreme ones, not all pro-lifers are extreme) who treat birth controls as abortion? Stop supporting them, stop listening to them, just stop paying attention to them and and they would be forgotten. Heck, I think most of the new generations (who are on their way to become the new voters or have already registered as new voters) would love this change.

Well, not really. For one, how would you medically regulate all the hormone and prescription based birth control? Who is going to be old enough to get what? Also, although birth control is just made more accessible to the public, you are actually still mandating they use it at some point, since they can only have two children. How does this make you any better than pro-lifers? Instead of mandating someone keep a baby, you are mandating someone limit their reproductive choices.

Also, where are the men in this? Why is it the women's problem? How about requiring men to get vasectomies? No one really ever suggests that, since you know, it's subconsciously the woman's problem of getting pregnant.

My point in asking these is to point out no solution is simple, and just how implausible some are to regulate, or to keep people feeling like they are still human.

As for disaster relief, it's easy to say you shouldn't offer any until you've been in a disaster. I had a friend who lost his home, his property, and ever single on of his possessions in the Texas wildfires last fall. He was only one of thousands that saw their homes burn to the ground. Not to mention the tornadoes that have just flattened a good chunk of the midwest recently. Or Hurricane Katrina back in 2005. Remember how horrific that was? There were displaced people from there attending my high school. New Orleans still isn't the same.

Unless of course you mean disasters in OTHER countries. You know, where it isn't "our problem." The earthquake in Haiti. The Hurricanes in the Dominican Republic. Famine in Africa. The fact one billion people don't have safe water to drink. That fact that AIDS is so prominent because HIV + men force themselves on young women. Or Genocide. Like in cambodia, which no one really hears about.

You would stop helping these people, the very fabric of humanity? Because what, you don't see them outside of pictures? You don't walk with them for miles every day to get water? You don't see the hunger in children's eyes, or the injuries, missing limbs and eyes and horrific deformities, forced upon men and women and children through forced slave labor? I'm sure it's easy to forget them, then. In the name of science, of course.

My point is, would you rather save your own humanity, in the name of living as we are? Or would you rather forsake all of that just to look to the future, to preserve something that may not be left if we don't look at the here and now?

The choice is yours. But I'd rather see the smile in a homeless man's face when I give him a few bucks than to go to mars today.



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Re: Science Funding vs charity - March 8th 2012, 08:21 AM

I just want to toss in, because it's late and it's 4:20 in more ways than one for me right now: limiting the number of children a family can have is never going to work. Freedom of religion and the ideal of "pursuit of happiness" will see to that. We are a nation based on allowing parameters for people to grow, not to limit them.


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Re: Science Funding vs charity - March 8th 2012, 08:58 AM

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I just want to toss in, because it's late and it's 4:20 in more ways than one for me right now: limiting the number of children a family can have is never going to work. Freedom of religion and the ideal of "pursuit of happiness" will see to that. We are a nation based on allowing parameters for people to grow, not to limit them.
It would work. Sure, there would be people dislike it, like you, but give enough incentives and it would work.

Even without any law limiting the number of children, the average number of children per family in the USA is 0.94 (according to the USA's 2010 Census, link here, look for Table AVG2: Average Number of People per Family Household). And the average family household size is only 3.24.


We have limited resources--be it land or energy, or whatever. However, stopping using all resources suddenly isn't an option; we would all die. Best solution? Slow down the rate at which we consume resources, which would give time for us to discover or invent new alternatives.

And since the average is at less than 1; we're already limiting ourselves. Why not put some incentives into it so that we could actually gain benefits from what we're already doing?



   
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Re: Science Funding vs charity - March 8th 2012, 04:48 PM

Don't cut the Science budget, cut the arts budget.
Cut the university courses which supply people with a degree that's only use is for them to become a lecturer in that topic. Hello endless useless cycle.
Give the money to the sciences who are going to do something to find a new cost effective, efficient fuel source.
However, I do think funding into unnecessary science projects which are essentially researching something for the sake of research should be cut. Unless its useful, cut it.
Slowing down resources can only do so much, people need to put their money where their mouth is and invest in research into new fuel sources, but of course, everyone with the money to do so has the attitude of 'oh it won't happen in my lifetime' so nothing ever gets done.
But its fine, the next ice age will wipe the majority of the planet out and the world can start over again, and if we're around next time, hopefully we won't fuck up as badly.


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Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumoured by many.
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But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it."

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