On virus modeling: Marc Lipsitch argued that gain-of-function experiments can mislead, “resulting in worse not better decisions,” and that the entire gain-of-function debate as overseen by the NIH was heavily weighted in favor of scientific insiders and “distinctly unwelcoming of public participation.”
On virus modeling: We have enough problems simply keeping up with the current flu outbreaks — and now with Ebola — without scientists creating incredibly deadly new viruses that might accidentally escape their labs.” David Relman of Stanford Medical School said, “It is unethical to place so many members of the public at risk and then consult only scientists — or, even worse, just a small subset of scientists — and exclude others from the decision-making and oversight process.” Richard Ebright wrote that creating and evaluating new threats very seldom increases security: “Doing so in biology — where the number of potential threats is nearly infinite, and where the asymmetry between the ease of creating threats and the difficulty of addressing threats is nearly absolute — is especially counterproductive.”
Today’s models feature a great optimism and breadth of ideas when it comes to technical solutions [...] This breadth of ideas on the technical side is contrasted by the conviction on the socio-economical side that there are no alternatives. Neither to our form of wealth nor our consumption and production patterns [...]
This begs the question: Where does this blindness on one eye and very sharp eyesight on the other come from? [...] I would argue though that the main reason is the lack of imagination necessary to think about the end of growth as something else than an economic crisis, a dystopia. The equation “more growth = more wealth” is deeply ingrained in mainstream economic thinking [...]
Thus I appeal to energy and climate scientists to stop limiting the question of effectively saving the climate to the technical sphere. Instead, think about the problem of climate change in combination with other societal problems. Following this path, the first task will not be to strike the right balance between different technologies or to forecast the oil price, but to ask the question: what future do we want to live in?
That is to say, abolition has to be “green.” It has to take seriously the problem of environmental harm, environmental racism, and environmental degradation. To be “green” it has to be “red.” It has to figure out ways to generalize the resources needed for well-being for the most vulnerable people in our community, which then will extend to all people. And to do that, to be “green” and “red,” it has to be international. It has to stretch across borders so that we can consolidate our strength, our experience, and our vision for a better world. So that’s what I came to say to you about abolition today