Ten Thousand Years of Speed Bumps

I’ve said many times that the cost of religion is something none of us can estimate. Even those of us willing to come out and say we don’t believe it, and perhaps even actively dislike it, usually don’t see it as very damaging.

But ask yourself, anytime a person gets in the news as opposing some aspect of medical science, who is it likely to be? And what source are they using for their opposition?

Right. Religious people, and the Bible.

So bear that in mind and think about this:

From a New York Times story, An Immune System Trained to Kill Cancer:

Doctors removed a billion of his T-cells — a type of white blood cell that fights viruses and tumors — and gave them new genes that would program the cells to attack his cancer. Then the altered cells were dripped back into Mr. Ludwig’s veins.

At first, nothing happened. But after 10 days, hell broke loose in his hospital room. He began shaking with chills. His temperature shot up. His blood pressure shot down. He became so ill that doctors moved him into intensive care and warned that he might die. His family gathered at the hospital, fearing the worst.

A few weeks later, the fevers were gone. And so was the leukemia.

There was no trace of it anywhere — no leukemic cells in his blood or bone marrow, no more bulging lymph nodes on his CT scan. His doctors calculated that the treatment had killed off two pounds of cancer cells.

The trial was conducted on only three people. TWO of them went into total remission. No trace of cancer. The third is in partial remission.

The researchers would never use these terms in a first-phase medical trial, but as far as Mr. Ludwig is concerned, they cured him. Of leukemia.

Before the study, he was weak, suffered repeated bouts of pneumonia and was wasting away. Now, he is full of energy. He has gained 40 pounds. He and his wife bought an R.V., in which they travel with their grandson and nephew. “I feel normal, like I did 10 years before I was diagnosed,” Mr. Ludwig said. “This clinical trial saved my life.”

Humans 10,000 years ago were equally as bright as humans today. They might have even been smarter, on average.  Start the science clock in 8,000 BC instead of just recently, and roll it forward to the point where leukemia was cured, say 300 years later. AND THEN GIVE IT ANOTHER 9,700 YEARS.

What would be possible today, just in the field of medical science? Stuff you can barely imagine.

Why hasn’t that stuff happened? Why aren’t we 10,000 years more advanced than we are?

Yeah, where ARE the flying cars? The immortality? The cities on the moon? The Mars colony? The bioengineered English-speaking dogs and book-writing chimpanzees? The intelligent robots? The sea-floor resorts? The Earth without war, or famine, or overpopulation or DISEASE?

That glorious future, which COULD have been our glorious present, I think we pissed it all away on religion. Superstition, churches, lies, evangelists, healers — eternal con men for this god and that — not content just to do their own thing, but taking it upon themselves to oppose all the OTHER good things — such as reason, freethought, astronomy, biology, geology … and especially medical research of all kinds.

"Best to you, Mr. Fox, and for your efforts."

Goodbye Patheos—Hank Fox Bows Out
"All the best, Hank! Your thoughts and words have always given me something to ponder."

Goodbye Patheos—Hank Fox Bows Out

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