At 09:17 AM 10/28/98 -0800, Robin wrote:
>Consider someone considering setting up a colony on the moon, where a legless
>colonist could barely afford passage back to Earth, or around Jupiter, where
>transportation is just too expensive for a legless colonist to afford passage
>back to Earth. Max's moral calculus would encourage them to set up the
>at Jupiter rather than the Moon, all else equal.
Maybe it's just too late, but I don't see how you get this result, Robin. A *pragmatic* calculus would give you this result. Setting aside the moral issue, you might go for the Jupiter mission because you know the legless astronauts will be stuck with it and can't screw up your mission by deciding to return to Earth. But, if they take the moral issue into account, they would do the opposite of what you suggest. If they cannot afford to get back from Jupiter, they are simply stuck and their options limited. If they are on the moon and can barely afford to return to Earth, their options are not great, but they are broader than the Jupiter people. They may get home poor (maybe they can sell their story to the media...) but at least they have that option, whereas the Jupiter folks do not. So, I get the opposite result from you. Or are we somehow talking at cross-purposes here?
>This seems perverse to me, and argues for Hal's position. Another example
>would be: it is all right to make a Morlock tuned for mining deep beneath
>the Earth, as long as you close off all the tunnels they could use to return
>to the surface? I don't like the idea that you can do things to people
>would be considered bad in our environment, but which are all right as
>you limit their options to move.
I agree, but I never suggested that. Whether it's okay to make a Morlock would depend on many things, adding up to what kind of life a Morlock would have. If above-surface humans were rapidly dying off due to apocalyptic environmental changes, children might be much better off as Morlocks.
In my scenario, the already-grown unaltered humans have decided to go into space. They have every right to do this. Given that they are going into space, I was suggesting that it might be morally unproblematic for them to then have children in space who were better adapted. I don't think that the children would have a justifiable complaint about being in space, since it was a decision made by the parents for themselves. Given that decision, they must then decide whether to have children. If the offspring will have lives worth living, this seems a reasonable choice. The parents in this situation are not limiting the children, the parents are making choices about their own lives then producing offspring in the resulting situation.
If someone left China and came to the USA, and then had a child here, that child would usually not have a defensible moral objection if they wish they had been born in China.
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