A Brief Open Letter to Dr. Ben Carson

Dr. Ben Carson

(Originally published March 2013 in response to the fallout from his infamous National Prayer breakfast speech):

Dear Dr. Carson,

As a moderate progressive, I disagree with much of your social and political perspective, but your personal story and prodigious achievements in medicine are nonetheless inspiring. I agree that everyone would do well to foster productive discussion without venturing into disparaging and accusatory rhetoric. That said, I do believe your public comments on marriage, while not intentionally hurtful, probably lent themselves to an understandable perception of offense. While I see nothing particularly offensive about your fundamental point (marriage should not be redefined arbitrarily to suit every kind of relationship), the mere inclusion of NAMBLA and zoophiliacs in the same thought borders on the incendiary. Indeed, a popular view of the white racist opposed to interracial marriage is precisely that such marriage is tantamount to bestiality.

Moreover, I get the sense that much of your support among conservatives is predicated more so on your opposition to the President than anything else. Inasmuch as moderate black conservatives like General Powell and Condoleeza Rice are routinely shown disdain by others in their party for expressing the least bit of support for our President, my hunch is that your support within the conservative movement will continue to grow with every new idea or stance coming from you that could be reasonably interpreted as an explicit repudiation of the President. I am sure you are well-aware of this. In the interest of maintaining productive discussion, I sincerely hope you do not fall into the trap of an Allen West or Herman Cain where you feel you must insult blacks (i.e. referring to them as brainwashed, slaves on the Democrat plantation, etc.) and other groups in order to accord with the more regressive fringe wing of the conservative party. Radical views on both sides need to be confronted and denounced swiftly and severely. Indeed, I have had my share of tongue-lashings from liberals with whom I took no reservations in calling to account due to the nature of their rhetoric.

I trust that as you become more outspoken in the conservative movement, you will not allow yourself to be swayed either by the contingent support on your side, or irrational opposition on the other. I’d suspect that a man of your intellect and integrity would be just as willing to risk a loss of some of your support in the interest of confronting misinformation and negative rhetoric coming from some in your own party as you would be willing to continue enjoying increasing gains in support whenever your ideas happen to be in harmony with the party line.

In any case, differences in social and political perspectives notwithstanding, you continue to command my utmost respect and admiration as a man.

Thankful for Modernity. Hopeful About the Future.

This is quite possibly the coolest site I’ve managed to stumble across in a while. Hours and hours of fascinating reading for the curious futurist in all of us. Out of all the periods in human history to have been alive, to be a part of a generation witness to this stage of modernity and all of its developments strikes me as a privilege.

http://www.futuretimeline.net/index.htm

The predictions in this mammoth compilation are based on present trends in medicine, physics, technology, and geopolitics, backed by emerging research, and produced by some of the greatest minds in these fields and in the field of future studies. Most of them are quite feasible from a turn of the 22nd century standpoint: from extension of life expectancy through bioprosthetic enhancements, to genetic engineering of humans, to mass colonization on the moon (including humans born on the moon to emigrant parents), to the construction of a transatlantic tunnel system, the unfortunate extinction of polar bears and many lizard species, the decline of religion in much of Europe, major advances in cancer treatment at the nano level, the terraforming of Mars, the obsolescence of many of the world’s languages, dangerously-rising sea levels, massive droughts, Chinese megacities in excess of 50 million in population, widespread development in West Antarctica, hypersonic trains.

We may likely have special magnetic levitation-equipped highways and roads for compatible vehicles by the 2080’s. Free-flying is too dangerous and unmanageable. Most will hover only a few feet above ground level, but will be able to achieve very fast speeds (250 mph+). Also, certain makes will be amphibious, with inflatable rafts built into the undercarriage for travel over water. Optogenetics, mind-reading headphones, and digital tattoos will also be a thing.

And that’s just the beginning.

We’ve already made a commitment to mapping the brain. Just imagine the revolutionary impact a convergence of brain mapping research and technologies will have on diseases like Alzheimer’s, addiction, depression, etc. The therapeutic implications alone are enough to get excited about.

Evolution begins with what may appear to be trivial or inconsequential advancements. The medical implications for the monumental success of genome mapping, for instance, have yet to be realized. We are on the threshold of singularity; the integration of supercomputing and nanocomputing technology will accelerate our development as a species and will inevitably lead to evolutionary offshoots that will straddle and even blur the lines between homo sapiens, genetically-engineered humanoids, and entities with artificial intelligence.

While there are tremendous social and political issues that will inevitably spring forth as a result of the proliferation of these evolutionary offshoots, we will have probably already figured out how to perfect and adapt many of the present sociopolitical strategies to achieve balance, unity and stability. The medical discoveries and revolutions in everything from rehabilitative medicine to surgery to routine clinical practices and procedures will parallel a substantial reduction and even elimination of many of the common ailments and conditions that afflict us today.

Dream big. The future is upon us.