Will Parrish 
Member since May 16, 2012


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Recent Comments

Re: “California Natives Oppose Canonization of Junipero Serra

Bellas, The idea you seem to be promoting here is that Europeans' lack of a secular understanding of disease justifies a 65-year-long land grab that wiped out an estimated 90 percent of the indigenous inhabitants across a roughly 550-mile-long stretch of coastal California. Regardless of what else one might say about that perspective, it does little to enhance our understanding of what Serra's canonization means to historically impacted populations of California Indians, which is the purpose of this article.

Tom, the mission system was a disaster for the indigenous people in general. I'm not aware of any serious contemporary scholarship that argues the point you're trying to make. The 100,000 figure referred to in this article is based on the best available scholarly evidence regarding the Spanish mission period itself. The United States' depopulation of indigenous California is a separate subject.

Posted by Will Parrish on 09/17/2015 at 3:20 PM

Re: “Unclean Hands at the Gill Tract?

Walt Lewis: If I understand correctly, your position is that nobody is morally culpable for the application of their research so long as they are not earning extra money from it, even if they know in advance roughly what the application will be, and even if said application causes great harm to people or the earth.

That's an enormous cop-out, and it's revealing of the banal attitude that apparently led these researchers -- Lisch, Hake, etc. -- to make the misleading and hypocritical public statements this article rightly calls them on.

Your gun powder analogy doesn't come close to applying to this situation. If you want to relate what these researchers are doing to gun development, a more apt comparison would be to someone who works for an institution that markets many or most of its research products to gun developers, and whose research for said institution is geared to new innovations in existing gun technology.

These people know full well their research is going to lead to advances in GMO agriculture. You can try to argue that GMO crops are socially beneficial. Many people do, the Monsanto spokesperson quoted in this article being one. But to say the researchers aren't responsible for their discoveries becoming GMO products marketed by corporations in this context is absurd. People are responsible for the predictable consequences of their actions, including that class of people who conduct "basic research."

8 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Will Parrish on 05/17/2012 at 2:29 PM

Re: “Unclean Hands at the Gill Tract?

With all due respect, of course the people who research genetic engineering are responsible for the real-world application of that research. They know full well their research findings will be sold to corporate agribusiness. After all, they work for an institution, the University of California, that regards tech transfer to industry as one of its primary goals. The UC has technology transfer offices at nine of its campuses and a centralized tech transfer division at its Oakland headquarters, with biotech comprising a large portion of what these units focus on (see, for example, http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news…)

13 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by Will Parrish on 05/16/2012 at 11:13 AM

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