OH SAY NATION: A Political Commentary 7th Edition
Parallelism: A Synergism for Governing in This Age of Science
                       By Marilynn Stark
As science creates a new understanding of the physical world, the power of man to manipulate, create, preserve and destroy in our modern civilized society increases ever more drastically by the decade.  At the same time that we know more in an abstract intellectual sense, there arrives a concomitant and greater duty towards being aware of how that increased knowledge must be further processed for the sake of balance.  This balance might be an ecological balance or a security concern for the spread of nuclear capability throughout the many nations, for instance; in any case, where science intersects with the question of the preservation of humankind, perhaps the species itself even, that science has melded into political science. 
In the nascent stages of biology, the going precept of evolution as a conceptual rudder in approaching the study of life was to be joined by the progression of an understanding of the cell, and that understanding came from the genetic studies of such as the first cell biologist, Edmund Beecher Wilson in the late 1800's and early 1900's at Columbia University.  It is vital to our understanding of the direction of science as concerns ethics and mores responsible to human rights and the progression of enlightenment that we draw from the example of its founders, its forebears.  Consider in this vein, therefore, the guiding inspiration of Wilson as he learned from his mentor as a graduate student.  Certainly Wilson was interested in pure science and greatly motivated to learn how to delve deeply into the questions of his time.  However, what nurtured him as he saw the possibilities of direction and results in scientific discovery was the driving lesson of his mentor who made him see that biology is intricately fused with philosophical questions and insights; science is not only the seeking after and the ultimate seeing of experimentally proven facts and discoveries.  Indeed, it was through the pioneering work of Wilson and his contemporaries that the question of development as the most fruit-bearing field of experimental endeavor became refined further into the working unit of heredity, the cell; herein it was discovered was housed the nucleus and a certain trait-bearing substance Wilson had called, "nuclein."  This very founder of a greater understanding of biology for its unit, the cell, as was derived through genetic discoveries was further driven by a philosophical excellence.  Wilson's philosophically endowed intellect merged in his scientific mind with a fundamentalist approach which was not unilateral in the quest for bare facts; rather, he was concerned for the refined questions of life and its features in a context redeemed unto a reverence for living beings.  To probe life's mysteries was at once qualified and value-based since in Wilson's way of thinking scientific endeavor was qualified by a higher vision for the virtue of life; for him values were not strictly analytically derived.  Values instead were for the vital establishment of certain basic principles possibly to be used in a more elaborate understanding of how to mediate past human suffering through medical knowledge.  Indeed, if one views at a cursory glance the effect of Goethe on the general philosophical muse of Wilson's time, it is noteworthy that Goethe had a century earlier affected the great thinkers with the concept of development as none less than a vital perspective through which mankind could best be regarded and also guided.  As development was to become an important biological cradle of thinking and that from which Wilson would reconnoiter as he ultimately was to reduce all of biology to the fulcrum of the cell, the effect of philosophy upon the scientific era of his time must be seen as unmistakable.  
In understanding the juncture of our present day  in science, we must again look for our philosophical roots when confronted with the power of certain areas of scientific knowledge; we must seek a way to mold and thus preserve our cultural sanctity, our values.  Perhaps foremost among the scientific disciplines which are looming before us to threaten the social context in which we live is the vulnerability of human rights to the advancing understanding of genomic science.  If we are to be inundated with the sensationalist ideas of creating human clones and molding people by genetic engineering, then such genetic manipulation has gone counter to the humanizing rudder which had guided the growth of biological science itself.  

Another threat from science is abroad: bioterrorism.  Bioterrorism is now a political element which inspires the need for consideration of treaties which amount to internationally sanctioned restraints upon nations suspected of harboring  biological weaponry.  

The more contained forum of scientific research whereupon the tradition of careful, qualifying input of humanely guided and guarded research endeavor remains inherent to the scientific progress; this socio-political forum had been grossly affected with the event of the Manhattan Project during World War II since therein science and war combined so drastically.  The work of Albert Einstein in recruiting the Manhattan Project was where the power to destroy against the ongoing threat of a totalitarian dictator in the theater of world war was equaled by the scientific acumen to create a defense.  This defense, the development of the atomic bomb scientifically, was followed by its implementation. Indeed, with such implementation of the awesome atomic bomb, the cloister of the love and wonderment with which science had been invested from its origins in antiquity when natural science had seen its supremacy was to be at once modified, drastically so.  Now atomic physics had helped perform a feat of war by dint of perceived need in the political mind of man. To reverse the reasoning which had necessitated the horrific unleashing of power through atomic science, the world had crashed instead into the hallowed halls of its earliest science masterminds, claiming their shield of honor, turning the works of their elevated character into some useless folly of their own hubris, ultimately, unto humankind.  But is this so?  

Concepts which go counter to the peace, love and tranquility which form a solid basis for the actuation of a vibrant, leading democratic republic such as the United States of America actually may transgress civil liberties if not human rights.  Such transgressions of basic human rights derived from an abstract platform tangential to that which embraces the norms and working context of living in the pursuit of happiness may be originally inculcated upon the people in a method of indoctrination.  Indoctrination is a form of mental warfare, and the way to counter it is to reason past it by firm principles and on faith that it can be defeated.  The enlightenment of science is part of its own heritage; the assault upon that enlightened scientific tradition and mind by those indoctrinating few who wish to abuse its righteous underpinnings philosophically must be met with counterforce in order to preserve the very sense inherent in sound scientific exploration.  Therefore, if the people are inundated with twisted ideas as to what science can or might do next to alter the social milieu in some inhumane way, there must be a leadership in the political forums of this democracy to guard the nation against social injustice being accomplished in the name of the furtherance of science, its progress.  If the founding researchers in biology, the science of the study of life and living beings, had pursued knowledge in faith by guiding principles of philosophical excellence derived from a perspective perfected unto humanistic interests, that is why they succeeded; in truth, these pioneers in biological thought had to gain a certain trust and credibility before being ultimately heralded for their salient perfection of mind and intent.  Thereafter, the knowledge which was to be educed from such founding principles as those founders had established was to be elaborated across time and with further research discoveries; those founding principles were to establish the discovery of the primacy of cell biology in understanding evolution, inheritance and development together.  Biology from the cell forth would come to be for many scientists the central, unifying dogma thought to hold the destiny for the way of understanding life's mysteries.  The way to the acceptance of biological science for its pioneering edge had carved out not only its own destiny; this acceptance was to mold the tendencies in most to have a high regard for the utility in general of science.  The hope of the many was kindled now by the ideas that to probe after the inner secrets of life through cell biology might just allow advances in medical science pertinent to fighting disease. 

Now we are at a point in our understanding of science and particularly in this post-genomic era where such as that knowledge can be turned into action; verily, this genetic boon constitutes a knowledge profound in its depth.  Let us once again briefly be reminded of the roots of biology -- it had been a distant recognition of action made feasible by further discovery and progress in understanding the cell  which had motivated the founders in cell biology, yet their actions as pioneers in scientific research were pure and above reproach if only because so little was known of cell science.  Indeed, right at the time the department of  zoology was established at Columbia University in 1891, a department which was led by Wilson, a new section of academics was being formed at Columbia.  In 1892 there was established the School of Pure Science, whose name reminds us in fancy at least that the application of scientific discoveries must ethically and by righteous mind match the root of the inspiration to even become scientific in the beginning instance.  Action in all sectors of human work must be sanctioned by its purity of intent, its righteousness, its own duty.  Knowledge once unleashed and converted into action should serve in the best interests of all or not at all.  It is not for us to place the dignified history of all of biology upon the chopping block of some few murderous sensationalists whose plan is to socially subjugate the people through the loss of the freedom to be born free and equal; in fact, such subjugation would constitute assassination of the purity of our family genesis with a movement to induce human clones into the socio-political forum, and it is blasphemous.  The family is the unit of all of culture and society, and the thrust behind pure science research is to extend for individuals knowledge in the defense of the quality of living .  If science is used ultimately to attack the sanctity of the family unit, then the failure of science towards mankind will be of dire consequence.

It should be clear from the foregoing discussion that there is a cognizable heritage to which the biological sciences are redeemed past the contemporary issues of assaulted human rights by some misbegotten prospectus such as would be held by a clonist.  Similarly, there is a heritage in this democracy to defend freedom and also to win freedom back from social injustice, from even a long record of social injustice among the African Americans, for example.  The goodness of many people was often masked over by the existence of policies and practices which had discriminated against Black Americans, and once the civil rights victories had molded a new day, a new opportunity for equality and freedom for this minority people, how great the support for them in their victory in the wider republic.  Many Caucasian people had suffered with Black Americans and for them in their straits of the tradition of social injustices which marked their lives; and those Caucasians were also freed from that oppression, that imperfection in our democracy which had fallen so far short of its own ideal in the question of racism.  Black Americans still suffered for decades upon decades past the Civil War; however, the point is that any blight on one race of people in the nation was to wear its face upon all of the people no matter their race.  It took time and massive efforts to allow the righteous to find the rule in favor of greater equality for our minorities, our Black Americans.
Let us not be impressed with the potential power of science to undo freedom and democratic ideals in the name of science.  Science should not resign to so-called "progress in science" as if its capability should by its own essence be allowed to express.  This is a teleological philosophical approach to the direction of science, and therefore it owes its answerability only to sheer expression and to action devoid of humanity and righteous virtue where relevant.  We are fortunate indeed that the heritage of the growth of science is clear and sound philosophically since we can lead further from that virtually sacrosanct platform in its defense.  There certainly are instances of malpractice among our scientific archives, but the essential direction of the growth of science has been carved out of good ideals and the love of knowledge in the light of wisdom.  We have built a fine civilization; it is one in which the ideal for freedom and self-actuation are enjoyed.  Furthermore, such ideal for freedom is based upon the power of the discriminating intellect.  Science has allowed the focus of man's intellectual side to come to the fore of his own individual sense of destiny.  We as a free people are not told what to do, what to become, how to think, where to live, whom we can see, and with whom we can associate.  These matters are subsumed under the protective canopy of a sound democratic philosophy, a philosophy which is the fiber of our Constitution.  Through the political science which correlated to that active Constitution, a brave and bold civil rights victory had been struck first through a war to free the slaves; and then through the sequelae of the Civil War across time was the Civil Rights Movement born.  This movement gave forth the sounding of the victory of that war to its posterity.  Thus have we proven that our system of government is equal to self-critical analysis, to response  to dire and even fiery issues, and to ultimate self-corrective actions to firm up our allegiance to those who redress their rightful grievances and demand freedom, freedom once again.  'Oh to be free', the cry of the living and loving American; how can any single one of you, of us, ever pale to the sense that anyone should ever bow to the end-stage argument that science will go on, and eventually freedom will succumb to its power and progress?  What sense is there in accepting this dictum?  Why should it ever be allowed to grow into dogma if it gains open action only so that effectively the genetic destiny of a people should be tampered with by willful ploy?  Is ploy proof of genius, of scientific know-how, in the guise of some natural progression of the growth of a body of knowledge known as science?  Never will such a skewed approach to the growth of science become a hallowed platform for civic destiny if it commiserates instead in the face of the sanctity of genetic destiny.  Indeed, the platform for the destiny of our nation was built  on the foundation of desire for self-actuation.  Must we live out the injustice of clonism and genetically engineered procreation to the point where it leads to the necessity of war, civil war, once it has been disproved as socially valid?  No, for we can best serve posterity by preserving posterity's natural womb in the collective sense.  
The science of man  will be buoyed up by an ever-increasing awareness of the necessity to form a vigilance from the governing sector of the direction of science.  As man progresses further in the awareness of how to keep safe our values for freedom and equality for all, then there is an inevitable lesson to be learned by vision, by prescience alone, and not through the grueling grips of experiments and scientific prospectus gone awry.  The science of governing, political science, must work in a fashion synergistic to the growing bodies of science, including technology.  These two fundamental sciences, those embraced by pure and applied science/technology and political science itself, should be coupled in a way which is well-defined and provided for by leadership from both sectors, the science sector and the governing sector.  Currently there is an intersection of the two disciplines at the level of the distribution of money for research, and there are also some scientific advisory roles to the leaders in our federal government.  Legislators also seek and study scientific material in the ways that they cultivate conscientiously the deeper facts and promises pertinent  to their constituents and to the betterment of all in the republic.  Careful studies are assigned and conducted so as to study various topics and questions of a scientific genre, such as the Alaskan pipeline, the questions of deforestation in various places, and ways to clean up or prevent various types of pollution.  However, these point-specific and scientific issues and topics should be amassed together as a body of existing political science measures to be called for, each with varying degrees of likely or possible success and vital worth, and they should be studied.  The question remains: are we doing enough to prepare for the proper direction of science in the socio-political sector to which it owes also its worth and its potential worth?  
The Cold War set the stage for the nuclear problem to  become a leading consideration for the United States and the Soviet Union.  From this long, smoldering context was science, nuclear science in this instance, matched to the political science acumen of this great nation.  Fortunately for our opponent, our sane governing ways and our inbred freedom from dictatorship's clutches led in the long struggle of the Cold War, so that the Soviet regime was ultimately chastened into agreements which became binding; we talked down the proliferation of nuclear arms in a manner decisive, leading to the dicta of treaties that became binding to both sides.  If we had been on the contrary two cold-warring totalitarian regimes each under firm dictators, there could have been irretrievable disasters for both sides militarily.  The American political scientific genius won freedom for both sides as Russia emerged into free states, and our own freedom was saved and spared the ravage of nuclear detonation on either side--no strike was made.  
Similarly, in the overall question of the direction of scientific man, we must establish a parallelism between science and political governing.  These two components of increasingly intermixing intelligent enterprise must necessarily reconnoiter and advise one another as through given office-holders and agents, so that constant and perspicacious reciprocation between the potential of pure and applied science and the guardianship of the common good, the political science, will consistently accomplish to effect change unitarily.  In so doing, a synergism can be built which will assure the physical security and destiny of our citizenry as above biological or genetically based attack, as one leading example.  With science and politics working in parallel with one another and forming various points of intersection for conference upon matters which should concern both sides more enlightened work will result from that parallelism, and certainly more good work will result with parallelism in force than if one channel were to work alone.  This more concerted and effective synergism of parallelism between science and government would place an intelligent awareness at the forefront of mankind's agenda for the sensible direction of our nation both scientifically and, of course, also militarily.  Just forming a well-defined structure essential to such a parallel couplet of action between science and politics would be the equivalent of matching man's ability to formulate research direction and action in the scientific arena to his intelligence towards a secure socio-political growth and evolution in this age of science; parallelism could be implemental in safeguarding the people and our form of government in an ultimate sense.  Action must be molded as according to humanity's heart no matter how cerebral the scientific hand has become. 
If the cell has proven historically to be hypostatic to all three leading avenues of inquiry in biology, the science of life: evolution, development and inheritance; and if there are those who correlate a laissez faire policy of genetic science with the future of the sanctity of the individual in the name of the evolution also of science, then political science must become responsive to the issues arising out of this philosophical debt to posterity.  To find direction in biology, we must proceed as according to what we have learned in biology and project into the future for direction accordingly.  It would therefore prove more balanced to study in greater depth the cell for its nature since it operates as a unit to serve and preserve higher-order structures and entities.  To concentrate on a species, the human being, and go after the genetic line with manipulation is a misapplication of science.  To keep progressing in our knowledge of biology we have only to seek a continuation which is founded upon its early beginnings before the arrival of sensationalistic impulse.  However, those who are attracted to power for the sake of power even despite their higher authority as acutely gifted scientists unfortunately may have the tendency to haunt others who are more sensible and of sound reasoning abilities.  This struggle for righteous victory presents a basic challenge which must be met  with the same love for scientific truth which had guided the first cell biologist, E. B. Wilson.   

Copyright  2003 by Marilynn Lea Stark.  All rights reserved.


Copyright   1989-2010 by Marilynn Lea Stark.  All Rights Reserved.

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