Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Remembered what the 'knowledge belongs to everyone so you shouldn't profit

from what you do' idiocy reminded me of: Jurassic Park. Actually, when Prof. Malcolm (in the movie) was having hysterics at them having actually recreated dinosaurs. At one point gibbering something along the lines of "You haven't actually created anything! You're just standing on the shoulders of what others have done!" Which struck me then, and still does, as one of the dumbest things a scientist could possibly say.

EVERY STEP MADE BY EVERY SCIENTIST STARTS ON THE SHOULDERS OF THOSE WHO WENT BEFORE. Nobody starts from actual square one; they all begin with the knowledge base of what worked, what did not, and lots of "That's an interesting idea, but we have no way of trying/testing it. Yet." For a scientist to denounce someone for 'standing on the shoulders' of previous researchers is a flatly moronic statement.

Kind of like someone saying "Knowledge belongs to everyone, so you doing something with it and making a profit is bad."

2 comments:

AmericanMercenary said...

Someone DID say "knowledge belongs to everyone, so you doing something with it and making a profit is bad."

And his name is Lew Daly, and he said it here: http://www.dissentmagazine.org/online.php?id=177

Chris said...

This is a bastardized version of what the point of the book was, that scientific advances are coming faster and faster, and nobody is considering whether just because something can be done, it should be done.

The standing on the shoulders thing was meant to convey the idea that the scientists in Jurassic Park had cleverly manipulated others' breakthroughs without considering the ramifications of their application.

Basically, you have short-sighted engineers building things that were theorized by greater minds without any thought of accountability.

Seriously, the movie was good in its own right, but it had very little to do with the book except for "Hey, look, dinosaurs!"