Radically Inept
Monday, October 11, 2004
  How do we value: value?

I'm sort of trying to continue this theme, obsession, whatever. As I've repeatedly stated, I don't have a clue where it is going, but I do think I need to do some site maintenance here in the next few days. I need to group Rick Eddy's work, this particular trail and a few others. Point of fact is I need to do a little organization. for one thing, I think I need to group science posts, and environmental posts, and corporate posts. That alone may prove to be somewhat of a chore. Rick Eddy's posts will be easy because they are his posts, but the others have so much overlap, that, well, I don't want to double post, but I do want to make it easier for you to navigate this site. We'll see how it works out.

On a slightly different tact, I am not...No, actually, I'm making a point of not keeping up with election information. Everyone is posting on politics, I don't feel I have much to contribute, other that some wiseass comments. Of course, you might not think they are all that wise, and that I'm more of an ass, butt...Really, I don't find the current discourse rises above the "he said - he said level". And both sides seem to lack any real sense of 'standards'. I don't know how we can get the dialogue to meaningful point without real participation of the electorate, and I don't know how to get the electorate to truly participate until we see a meaningful dialogue. It's the whole chicken and egg thing, but somebody has gone ahead and fried both the chicken and the egg for dinner, and there's not even scraps on the table for the rest of us. Okay, maybe there's a few scraps left to fight over, but I don't feel like putting a whole lot of energy into fighting over the scraps. So, to a large extent, I'm bowing out of the 'sniping' contest, and for those of you who actually liked my 'snipes' I apologize. There are issues, like the recent corporate tax-giveaway, passed over a holiday weekend, that I do feel obligated to comment on, but I seem to lack the energy to really do the research it deserves. Sorry.

I spent yesterday afternoon/evening over at COL Spock's, eating and drinking good wine. I was also able to engage some brilliant people in conversation, and I was able to direct the conversation (most of the time...Well, some of the time - Lot's of time was spent on the small children [ages 3 months to 5 years]...but that's not a bad thing) to the subject of values. Pretty much most of the people were upper CDC or EPA, and that makes for a group who understand the policy implications of values, if not necessarily my reductionist look at the subject.

One of the things that came up was Dr Gerberdings 'futures' initiative. But, based on what I hear, I'm dissapointed on what it is and how it's being implemented. The subject of their efforts (and our tax dollars)appears to be missing the point. I would have thought the iniative would focus on the environmental, blah blah blah, impacts of new technologies coming down the pike, but apparently they are focusing on adolescent and adult health concerns. I'm sorry. I'm more concerned as to how these technologies will effect and have lasting affects on pre-natel and early childhood development. I would have thought that any health futures look would have primarily focused on that level of development, which can be most effected by treatments or prevention...[Sorry if I used 'affected and effected' incorrectly...fuck you..]

Regardless, the program that is being implemented does not seem to be as focused on prevention, as I at least would have liked.

But don't think the conversation was not stimulating. I got a lot out of it. I had no idea that CDC (the Centers for Disease Control and prevention - note the lack of capitlization of the 'p' in prevention) had a concept of 'Qualities', and that these qualities, were measured in arbitrary mathimatical terms. A good example is the idea, that CDC is working with these 'Qualities' and that they hve decided on a 0.70 value of degradation of the quality of life. Okay, alot of this comes from talking to COL Spock, and he's pretty much a futurist.

But I sort of got stuck on the idea of the 0.70 (and, yeah, it is Zero Point Seven Zero, officially). Me, and from what I gather, No one, has a real Idea of what that means. Redardation, a non-PC term, has a value of 0.70, but it does not take in to consideration whether the individual is actually cognizant that they are operating in a 'degraded' mode. If I know I'm not part of 'society' as a whole, is my life worth more or less than if I'm cognizant that the people around me have greater...I guess the point is, how much does cognition of your limitation - how much should cognition of limitation affect the value of an individuals life. Can there even be some way, other than arbitrary, to determine the value? Do any inroads down in this area carry by necessity implications on the value of intelligence? If the normal person is valued at 1.0, and a mentally handicapped persons quality of life is measured at 0.70, is a genious' quality of life a 1.20?

I sure as hell don't know, but it certainly is something I have to consider if I am ultimately trying to come up with a universal 'valuation system' for the quality of life- for what it's worth.

There was a lot more that came up in conversation, but I think I sort of owe it to you the reader to...I don't know what I owe you, but it is more than just reciting the info. But I...

Anyway, when it comes to trying to come up with a self-consistent system of 'value', it's an area that cannot be ignored.

I really don't know where this will go, but I do think establishing some sort of self consistent metric for the evaluation of information - well, I think it's important.

Edited 10/22/04. Am personally amazed at how poorly this was written originally, but I'll blame it on Old Thompson's whiskey and being in a hurry.  
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