Portrait of Moore, John A.

Moore, John A.

July 23, 1998

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John Moore, distinguished member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), discusses his passion to make science education more easily understood by establishing a national model to facilitate the teaching of math and science.
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Moore: I'm working on a book of evolution and creationism to try to present a balanced view of those contentious fields, of that contentious altercation.

Erickson: Um How will you do that, John? Will you take the science point of view?

Moore: No, no. What I have done in the first chapter is the evidential basis for creationism, then the evidential basis for evolution, pointing out that these are two patterns of thought, one based on belief and the other based on confirmable evidence.

Now one can believe whatever he wishes. But there are consequences of what thought pattern you use, depending upon what you are thinking about. Now most of us, most of the time, do not use rational thought to decide, you know, what sort of shirt I'm going to wear today, or things of that sort, or what sort of a necktie I'll have on, or where to go to the movies or anything like that.

But if you want to advance medicine, if you want to advance the treatment of diseases, things of that sort, it's generally been found that you don't slaughter a calf and burn it on an alter. That's not necessarily the way of curing the problem. And then it's an interesting thing I'm trying to do. Whether I can pull it off remains to be seen.

Erickson: You mentioned cloning earlier. What's your feeling about cloning and the ethics of it?

Moore: That's something that is inevitable. There are all sorts of things that human beings can use information for that is good or bad.

Erickson: Um hmm.

Moore: I think it's unlikely it will ever become widespread

Erickson: Oh, you do?

Moore: for the simple reason You see, we already know from animal breeding and things of that sort that if you select horses or cows or chickens or whatever, you can generally get desired characteristics. Well, you can certainly do that with human beings also. But that raises a horror in so many minds, I don't think there's the slightest chance that would happen.

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