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A one thousand-year-old history lesson awaits those who would deem the cutting edge wicked

Damascus steel was forged using a process of carbon doping iron in a smelting and quenching process.  This steel became famous almost a thousand years ago; it was said a Damascus sword would cut through falling silk, a rock, and then another piece of silk while still keeping its razor sharp edge. 

The ability to make the Damascus steel was lost with the ages.   Blademasters would often take the secret of the forging process to the grave rather than reveal its mysteries. Many were persecuted as heretics, others heralded as deities.

A study by a University of Wisconsin-Madison revealed that more than 70% of 1,015 surveyed Americans deem nanotechnology morally repulsive.  Professor Dietram Scheufele attributes this repugnance for technology to American reliance on religion. 

It's easy to say that perhaps the 1,000 Americans surveyed are just not that bright.  Scheufele disagrees, stating, "They are rejecting it based on religious beliefs. The issue isn't about informing these people. They are informed."

Scheufele believes that Americans who disprove of nanotechnology do not want humans "playing God."  That is, man manipulating structures of one nanometer, one billionth of a meter, is akin to God manipulating the forces of the universe.

In 2006 German researcher Peter Paufler discovered (with the aid of a sub-nanotechnology, the electron microscope) that a four hundred-year-old Damascus steel sword gained its incredible properties from carbon nanotube structures within the blade's edge.  Fifteen years earlier NEC created the world's first synthetic nanotube. One year later it was awarded the patent for one of the sharpest materials on earth, a plasma polished carbon nanotube blade.

Science has always bordered on the fence of terrifying and mysterious.  Civilization lost the secrets of Damascus steel making when then modern thinkers deemed it a practice of deus ex hominis.

Attempting to describe the morality of natural phenomena leads to an exercise in natural fallacy. Not once, in the history of mankind, has science ever been proven immoral -- and conversely -- nor has it ever been proven moral either. 

Will society deitize nano-researchers as modern day Damascus blademasters, or will it learn to look beyond the meta-ethics of natural phenomena for a change?

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RE: Blaming Religion?
By MatthewAC on 2/23/2008 11:09:31 AM , Rating: 2
I'm a Christian, and the only reason I'm not offended.
A. I wasn't in the survey.
B. No scientist will care what I think anyways
C. If you believe your God in someway created the heavens and the Earth, I don't know how you can be surprised after 6k years(Laugh at me, here) we got this far.

RE: Blaming Religion?
By Flunk on 2/26/2008 12:23:23 PM , Rating: 2
If you disagree with science, why are you using devices created with knowledge gained through science? (Like a computer). Doesn't that make you a hypocrite?

I don't think the survey has anything to do with religion, just mass ignorance of what biotechnology is. People are afraid of things they don't understand.

RE: Blaming Religion?
By Ramon on 3/4/2008 3:45:57 PM , Rating: 2
Nothing in the Bible compels you to believe in a 6K year old world. That idea is a strawman used to discredit Christian thought. There are plenty of Christians who believe that the universe is billions of years old. Without going into odious detail, I would refer you to the works of Gleason A. Archer for the views of one of the greatest authorities on biblical Hebrew on new versus old Earth. He certainly didn't believe that the English translations of the Septuagint conveyed the proper sense of the text - that the Earth was created over a long period of time. I could go into a lot of other detail, but I won't bore anyone further.

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