Extropian Principles

From: altamira (altamira@ecpi.com)
Date: Tue Jun 06 2000 - 21:14:44 MDT

The following sentences are from Extropian Principles Version 3.0:

"Transhumanists take humanism further by challenging human limits by means
of science and technology combined with critical and creative thinking."

"This document deliberately does not specify particular beliefs,
technologies, or conclusions."

The document doesn't offer a definition of technology; therefore, it seems
safe to assume that for the purpose of interpreting the document the word is
to be defined according to its generally accepted definition. The
dictionary I have sitting here on the shelf behind my desk (Webster's 9th
New Collegiate) offers a definition of technology which I think is relevant
to a recent post by Robert-Coyote which implies that the means used to grow
food crops should not be considered technology. Here's the definition:

technology: the totality of the means employed to provide objects necessary
for human sustenance and comfort.

So, Robert-Coyote, I'm wondering why you think that the means to grow food
in beach sand with no fossil fuel consumed and without adding shipped-in
fertilisers, does not qualify as technology. The predominate method of food
production used these days requires an input of several calories of fossil
fuel for each calorie of food obtained (including the manufacture, shipping,
and operation of farm equipment & the manufacture, shipping, and handling of
fertilisers and pesticides, the figure's between 3 and 5 calories input for
every 1 calorie obtained--and I apologize for not having references for
these figures handy. I'm looking through my stuff trying to find some).
This is not good economics. It's a lousy technology, and from what I've seen
of most of the molecular-genetic technology being marketed, some of it will
help some, but it's not gonna change an overall lousy technology into a good

Now you might argue that trans-humans won't need food. And maybe at some
point they won't. But I'll bet YOU do, and it's a safe bet that everyone on
this list needs food in order to stay alive.

You might also argue that the only "true" technology is that which is
developed in highly funded labs using all the latest high-dollar equipment.
I suspect this is what you believe. I think you're wrong about this and that
the research I'm doing will likely be more valuable as a means of sustaining
human (or early trans-human) life than much of what's touted as "high tech."


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