Re: Extropian Principles

From: Emlyn \(hotmail\) (
Date: Fri Jun 09 2000 - 20:05:53 MDT

The yardstick when comparing technology through the ages, and across
cultures, is food production technology; something like kilojoules/hectare,
or number of people supported/hectare. Thus we have hunter-gatherer, simple
& intensive horticulturalists, agrarian societies, all defined in terms of
their food technology. Food production is arguably the number one area of
technology (or has been to date); as people adopt "higher" technologies for
food production (which have traditionally required each person to work
harder than before), you get order of magnitude changes in population, and
societies nearby these technology adopters either follow suit or are crushed
by the advancing wave (in relative terms) of humanity. In fact, there is
strong argument that population has driven technology (you only adopt these
'orrible new food production technologies when you ave no alternative) which
in turn drives population up further, and so on.

This is why I recently suggested to Damien that maybe Extropians should be
having more children, and urging others to have more children likewise;
population pressure will ultimately push us to technological "progress",
just to cope. And it will be all about living space, and food. For instance,
the only way to cope with more mouths might involve nanotechnology
solutions, and so they will be found. A good thing.

Emlyn, breeder

> 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
> 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
> to a recent post by Robert-Coyote which implies that the means used to
> food crops should not be considered technology. Here's the definition:
> technology: the totality of the means employed to provide objects
> 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
> production used these days requires an input of several calories of fossil
> fuel for each calorie of food obtained (including the manufacture,
> and operation of farm equipment & the manufacture, shipping, and handling
> fertilisers and pesticides, the figure's between 3 and 5 calories input
> 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
> of most of the molecular-genetic technology being marketed, some of it
> help some, but it's not gonna change an overall lousy technology into a
> one.
> 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
> 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
> I suspect this is what you believe. I think you're wrong about this and
> the research I'm doing will likely be more valuable as a means of
> human (or early trans-human) life than much of what's touted as "high
> Bonnie

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