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Nobel Scientist: When Did We Start to Value Killing Over Living?

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Elizabeth Blackburn
Apr 13, 2017
IDEAS Dr. Blackburn, a winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology of Medicine, is president of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

"As human beings, we’re hardwired to stay alive. Neuroscientists explain that evolution has installed survival instincts into our brains, equipping us with a strong will to live. Thus, when pummeled by capricious catastrophes, stripped of possessions, metaphorically sent back to “GO,” we nevertheless emerge saying, “At least I’m alive.” And we forge on. Because above all else, we value life.

So when I review the proposed federal budget, I’m moved to wonder: When did we start to value killing over living? This budget, which increases defense spending by $54 billion, enabling us to fire more guns, drop bigger bombs and shoot deadlier missiles, at the same time decimates funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the organization actively helping us live longer and healthier lives. If approved, the proposed cuts of $5.8 billion — a roughly 20% decrease from 2017 spending — will drastically and illogically throttle the very accomplishments that are extending our lives. In recent years, NIH funding has led to medical breakthroughs that include cholesterol-lowering drugs, molecular targets for halting cancer’s spread and early diagnostics for neurological diseases. Every day, because of NIH’s monetary support, scientific researchers at America’s top institutions continue to announce new insights that are pointing the way to more effective medical treatments and longer lives..."

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We need to cut defense spending. We need to go fifty years with reductions. We need to stop the charade. We are killing innocents.

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