Re: "Raping the planets" and other PR disasters

From: Michael S. Lorrey (
Date: Fri Jun 23 2000 - 17:27:39 MDT

Anders Sandberg wrote:
> writes:
> > I don't think these comments are necessarily being made in jest.
> > Some people do believe that planets are an inefficient use of mass.
> > Most of the mass is on the interior and doesn't do anyone any good, aside
> > from providing some gravity. And if you need that, you can probably
> > get it more efficiently by centrifugal force or stellar gravity.
> >
> > It may be that these ideas are difficult for people to accept and do
> > bring to mind the environmental catastrophes in the past. But I don't
> > think we should necessarily tone down our views as a result.
> Are our views "Let's destroy planets!" or are they "Let's create new
> biospheres!"? You might mean the later, but in most communities you
> will be misunderstood as the former if you express yourself badly. It
> is not that the idea is hard to accept that is the problem, it is that
> the idea itself tends to get overshadowed by how it is expressed.

This is true, but we might as well develop strategies on how to deal
with all possible attitudes. Typically your opposition is going to say
mean things about you no matter how well meaning you are. We may say
'create new biospheres' but the opposition will say we mean 'kill off
alien life forms and impose terran ecology as a form of ecological
colonialism/imperialism' or they will use images of the Death Star from
Star Wars blowing up a planet to illustrate how they want the public to
look at us.

> > Nobody is going to be taking Mercury apart in the next decade. But 50
> > or 100 years from now, it may be possible and desirable. At that point,
> > society's social views will probably have changed at least as much as our
> > own views have changed from those 50 or 100 years ago. There is no way
> > to predict whether future society will be radical environmentalists or
> > "pave the universe" developers by our own standards. I don't think we
> > have to be that careful to couch our views in a manner which is acceptable
> > to this month's mores.
> We are vectors of cultural change. But if we refuse to notice that
> people misunderstand us, form prejudiced and erroneous opionons about
> our ethics, values and ideas and then act on them, then we are not
> going to be very relevant vectors. Those movements that actually
> manage to convey what they mean to significant groups will win.

Well, to a point. No matter how rosy you are, if someone in power sees
you as a threat, they will hire all the PR goons they can to demonize

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