Re: An extropian ethic (was Ecology)

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Tue, 4 Feb 1997 18:13:46 -0800 (PST)

> I'm not convinced that extropian ethics can really lead to results
> that are at all compatible with modern-day environmentalism.

Agreed! I'm talking about rational respect for biodiversity and the
cleanliness of one's environment. I see "modern environmentalism"
as a cult of self-loathing luddites with arbitrary values. I'll
have to think of a word to fight the e-word with, but I don't see
any at the moment. Perhaps "conservationist" is better, but that
has anti-futurist overtones too.

> First there is the issue I raised earlier, that the diversity produced
> by nature may pale in comparison to what we will have in a few decades.

That may be true. I'm not ready to count on that just yet.

> I am also unconvinced by the argument that studying nature will shed
> light on our competitors and teach us more about our own evolution so
> that we can survive better. The only significant competitors we will
> have are other people.

A species doesn't have to be a competitor or ancestor to teach us about
ourselves. Surveys of other species are the primary data that support
and refute competing theories of evolution to which we are subject, so
every species plays a part in those theories. My sexual drives were
formed by the same process as those that formed monogamous gorillas,
promisquous bonobos, polygamous sage grouse, stepchild-murdering lions,
and even social ants and bees. Without all of them to study, I would
not have had as much data with which to test my theories. We evolve at
the glacial pace of one generation every 12-20 years or so. Insects
and bacteria outpace us by orders of magnitude, so studying them is
quite valuable.

I don't think we are anywhere near enough to understanding the workings
of our minds that we can afford to endanger the richest source of data
available for that study. Perhaps when the first computer wakes up and
argues with me, I'll change that opinion, but you'll have to show me
pretty convincingly.