1. davidnangle says

    He needs to stay goofy and funny, because otherwise, his reporting would be devastating to watch.

  2. petesh says

    Good for John Oliver! It’s always interesting to watch him, but usually he’s on a topic I don’t know much about. I laughed out loud at least twice, don’t have any major criticism, and unless I missed something he never identified George Church by name.

  3. says

    Nah, there was a label that flew by with Church’s name. I was just shocked that for once Church tried to be cautious in his claims.

  4. petesh says

    Thanks for the correction. Church definitely got less respect than from, say, Colbert; admittedly only in the editing and such.

  5. Mark Jacobson says

    I side with Lai Liangxue in that laughter is the proper response to any claim of “that is not for us to do, that is for a higher power.” That isn’t respecting the potential perils of a new technology or the caution we should practice when using it. It’s an authoritarian excuse that plays nicely into the hands of those in power, absolving them of the responsibility to be careful or accountable to the people.

    Maybe Liangxue isn’t taking the dangers of gene editing seriously enough, but it wasn’t in that clip.

  6. emergence says

    Mark Jacobson @7

    I was thinking that too. Arguments about “playing god” really are just another form of authoritarianism. It’s not about any of the uncertainties involved or our ability to prevent or fix potential problems. It’s just about people portraying their gods as tyrants who want to horde special privileges to themselves, even when it prevents us mere mortals from making our lives better.

  7. =8)-DX says

    @Mark Jacobson #7 & @emergence #8
    It was really affirming to see Lai Liangxue’s response to that obviously pretentious and silly quesiton. Right there with him.

  8. Gregory Greenwood says

    davidnangle @ 1;

    He needs to stay goofy and funny, because otherwise, his reporting would be devastating to watch.

    Exactly – John Oliver’s whole approach is that these are stories about which you either laugh or you will certainly cry. That said, he does set aside the comedy from time to time to deal with the more serious side of issues of moment, and he doesn’t sugar coat just what a mess humanity is in at the moment.

    It is comedy as coping mechanism, reformulated as a journalism/entertainment hybrid.