Why We Believe in Experts Nonsense

Experts’ talking nonsense is inevitable, and they may even abuse the credit the society and the public have placed on them, using the mass media to spread a lot of nonsense to mislead the public and the society. Here,if we have no independent thinking ability,trust everything to experts,it will be very dangerous, and will ruin our great prospects.

Today,again, we have heard many experts’ nonsense uttered either lightly or seriously. Especially because of the participation by the mass media that exaggerate deliberately so as to create a sensation, the introduction and analysis of many latest research results have been distorted completely.

The senior specialists showing face frequently in news media tend to make the most terrible supposition about the consequences of high and new science and technology, and then criticize them severely. Take gene for example: we ought to jump for joy because of the birth of the first gene map of mankind and fancy endlessly from the great blessing this scientific progress has brought to mankind, but on the contrary, in introducing gene technology, our mass media are ceaselessly exaggerating the all sorts of terrible consequences such as gene weapons, gene pollution and so on. Some experts even said: “Wipe out science, and kill all scientists! For they have done bad things.” It seems that gene technology will certainly become the most horrible demon of mankind. Maybe it is a result of some media’s willful clipping,but anyhow I feel such experts do not have the minimum brain or minimum wisdom.

“Within 500 years, mankind’s average lifetime will not reach 100 years”,and this conclusion was made by two scientists from Chicago, Olshanski and Bruce Kanis. The two scientists’ reason is like this:The improvement in life expectancy of mankind in the last century resulted largely from the lowering of the infant mortality rate and the lowering of the lethality rate of infectious diseases (such as tuberculosis) which reduced the rate of premature death of young people. They declared in a very positive tone: “In these aspects, we have already exhausted our longevity resources, and you can never save a young life twice. Even if nobody dies before the age of 51, human average lifetime can only re-increase by 3.5 years.”

Those words seem to be reasonable at first, and especially the scientist title often makes you believe them without doubt. If it is hard to comment only after hearing the conclusion, but when you hear the reason, you might laugh out loudly. Their reason is, the life-time dilation in the last century was because of the conquest of some pertinacious diseases such as tuberculosis and so on. Everyone knows,tuberculosis of that time was an incurable disease just like the cancer now, but it was conquered by medical science at last. Then, in the new century,why does mankind stand no chance of conquering such incurable diseases as cancer, AIDS and so on? If mankind has conquered cancer, AIDS and so on,can’t our average lifetime increase much more again? Mankind’s average lifetime has been growing all the time, and at present, not only there is no trend of stagnation, but quite the contrary, the trend is growing faster and faster, especially in the developing countries that account for the majority of world population. “Can only increase by 3.5 years” does not agree with the actual condition clearly. The statement “we have already exhausted the longevity resources” is laughable beyond description. What facts can prove “longevity resources have already been exhausted”? None. The truth is just the opposite: life science and technology have brought about unprecedented and limitless longevity resources. Gene engineering technology, stem cell technology and so on can not only overcome “incurable diseases” such as cancer, AIDS, etc., but they have also brought about an unimaginably and limitlessly fine perspective for mankind’s longevity and eternal life. Just the discovery and full use of the “ageless living” gene alone may lead to wonders that were impossible in the past. How can you say “longevity resources have already been exhausted”?

What is most worth thinking is not experts’ nonsense itself, but that we still have such a blind faith in what experts say, without the least judging ability of our own. Just take this statement “Mankind’s life time cannot reach 100 years within 500 years” for example, it is nonsense in the field of life sciences in fact. And, in the domain of life sciences,practice has shown that many contemporary experts have uttered similar pessimistic nonsense.

Just about 20 years ago,in the book Who Should Play the Role of God written by Jeremy Rivkin and Howard, it talked about the good things the genetic engineering might bring to mankind and some related problems. After publication of the book, most of the molecular biology scientists, policy makers, media workers and science fiction writers in America regarded it as alarmism and pure imagination, thinking the science described in the book would appear at least 100 years later, or perhaps several hundred years later. Even most scientists engaged in the research on genetic engineering also thought what was described was only a “fictitious” future. However, in the 20 years after the publishing, species from transgenosis, clone, surrogacy, human organ making, human gene operation … each of the breakthroughs of science and technology predicted in the book has been realized. But according to the experts’ assertion then, they should be things 100 years or several hundreds years later.

History has proved repeatedly “Experts often talk nonsense”. Yet, we still believe them blindly. In many aspects and in most time,we just follow experts’ lead. We just believe whatever experts say, and lack our own thinking ability and judging ability. It is a lesson we should learn.

The megatrend of development of the times has greatly reduced the number of experts thinking “Within 500 years, mankind’s average lifetime won’t reach 100 years”, and most experts are very optimistic about the future life expectancy of mankind. Haris, member of British Committee of Human Gene, pointed out,if we keep on studying, theoretically speaking, it is not a hard matter to let mankind’s average lifetime reach 1200 years. Shouldn’t we make special efforts to develop such exhilarating high and new life technologies greatly? Some assertions made by experts in this respect are not necessarily correct, and moreover, it is unavoidable to have some nonsense uttered in the guise of “expert”.

US famous moralist Daniel Karakhan wrote a book Setting the Limit, in which he opposes using modern medical technology to prolong life at “a high cost”. According to his opinion, when a person lives to a certain age, we should not use complicated organ transplantation, heart surgical operation or other technical means to prolong his life unnaturally. The reason is nothing else than this: When our investment in health care is limited to a certain amount, the more we spend in “prolonging life by technology”, the less the expenditures used for the majority of members of the society will become. Thus, it will lead to such a state: Only a handful of people benefit, but the majority will suffer a great loss. It is clearly an unreasonable allocation of resources. Many experts have such a worry: “prolonging life by technology” and “designing more excellent and perfect people” can only widen the gap between the poor and the rich and aggravate the problem of polarization.

Nevertheless,we know to our cost, we should never use a still eye to look at a problem. Technology is most innovative and dynamic, and no one can do better than it in controlling cost reduction. In the past,few people could afford to buy a computer, but now computers are becoming cheaper and cheaper day by day, and its high speed in updating and depreciation is astounding. A few years ago, the mobile telephone was something only the rich could afford, but now even farmers carry it with them, and we often hear the ringing of mobiles ceaselessly on a bus. Now it seems that the cost of transplantation of the heart is quite high, but after the stem cell technology and clone technology have become mature, the price will certainly be reduced greatly and continually. If we increase our efforts in research and speed up our steps, it will surely become something that everyone can afford. If we give up our research efforts from now on because of the high cost, then, only by doing so can the terrible price frighten poor people back, and only the rich can afford it. Moreover,the disproportionation of resources allocation is never a fault of development of high technology,but is a social problem. Owing to social and historical reasons, disproportionation of resources between poor countries and rich countries, and between poor people and rich people, is a quite common phenomenon. Today,some poor people can only eat wotou (steamed bread of corn, considered as the worst food in China) whereas the rich spend thousands of dollars just for beautifying a nail, or spend tens of thousands of dollars just for a bottle of imported wine. Such an inequality can be adjusted only through social reform and social policies. But in prolonging life by technology, we should never stop our research efforts just because of such inequality, on the contrary, we should go all out to speed up our research so as to reduce the cost at a fast rate. We are familiar with the “Rule of Moore”,that is, the price of the integrated package of semiconductors will drop by one time every 18 months. The more progress there is in technology, the greater the price reduction will be. The same is true of high and new life technology: the more deep-going the research is, the greater the price cutting for life prolonging will be.

What is more important,regarding “prolonging life by technology” as a costly matter is a mistake in concept of value. Life is absolutely essential and absolutely precious,prolonging life is absolutely necessary,being the most fundamental interest of all the people in the world. Moreover, along with continual progress of technology, it will not bring a “burden” to the society, but will prolong each person’s contribution period greatly,bringing a faster development of the whole society and a faster progress of the whole mankind.

Thus it can be seen that specialists’ viewpoints are not necessarily correct. After hearing specialists’ assertion,we still need to think independently. Today, “old-typed foolish citizens are still many, but new-typed ‘foolish citizens’ have also reached a certain scale.” Old-typed foolish citizens are those illiterate people, but new-typed foolish citizens are those who follow authorities like sheep and believe experts’ nonsense blindly.

In short,we should know,experts’ talking nonsense is inevitable, and they may even abuse the credit the society and the public have placed on them, using the mass media to spread a lot of nonsense to mislead the public and the society. Here,if we have no independent thinking ability,trust everything to experts,it will be very dangerous, and will ruin our great prospects.

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