I keep mentioning Hubris. So, in a comment on a recent piece I wrote:
worse. airborne rabies. about 2 years ago a guy I know at work showed me an article from some “professional” magazine..something like “bioresearch quarterly”…it came from where his wife works..where there was a russian lab doing “gain of function” research and they made an airborne strain of rabies.
Now, in this age of massive noise to signal issues on the net, this is a claim absent citations, not a certainty (sorry Allen!). But for the nonce let’s assume it’s true. What crazy, demented idiot would do this?
Why not try to engineer an airborne Ebola-Smallpox-Coronavirus combo? Just to see if you can???? 2015, we were warned: Engineered bat virus stirs debate over risky research.
And while Gaddafi’s not high on my list of good people, he, too, warned… in 2009. We have lunatics messing with the very stuff of life willy-nilly, and they think bad things can’t happen from that? And they did it knowingly; NEW DETAILS EMERGE ABOUT CORONAVIRUS RESEARCH AT CHINESE LAB (more here and here).
Consider, also, a claim in the GG comments – sorry, I didn’t save the link and should have – that Pakistan and Afghanistan are potential reservoirs of Smallpox. Since the late 1970’s we’ve believed Smallpox has been eradicated, and thus have not been vaccinating against it leaving anyone 40-and-under totally unprotected against a disease whose commonest variant has a 30% fatality rate.
Shudder that in 2014 vials of live virus were found in an unapproved storage locker. So, assuming that the claim is true… from where are we importing lots of people just now?
Leaving aside people who deliberately make bad things as future weapons. Including the potential for race-specific bioweapons (italics and link in original):
Second, China’s military is working on the next generation of pathogens. Its National Defense University, in the 2017 edition of the authoritative Science of Military Strategy, mentioned a new kind of biological warfare of “specific ethnic genetic attacks.”
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was not just a horror novel. It was – and I keep saying this because this classical bit of wisdom applies – the Hubris-Nemesis cycle writ into a piece of literature. “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall,” says Proverbs 16:18.
We would do well to remember that wisdom coming from multiple cultures across wide spans of time often speaks to a fundamental truth of the human condition. We, in the modern world, are not made of finer clay. (One of my favorites with my addition, Tell me who your friends are [and who you admire] and I know who you are.)
And at least Shelley’s scientist was mad on a small scale. Witness this guy, from a conference in 2015. Not just what he says… not just the matter-of-fact way he says it… but notice the IMHO non-reaction of the crowd.
(Full 7 hour+ video here. I’ve skimmed it only – but what I’ve seen is shudder-inducing.)
Now, imagine that you’re in a lecture and you hear a person talk about the need to murder 90%+ of people alive today. Discussing, coldly, the “peace of the grave” of billions starved to death. Starved to death. And you sit there and still listen? You don’t scream out at that?
As Surak is wont to say:
They really do want you to die.