Re: Amusing anti-cloning arguments

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Thu, 29 Oct 1998 10:12:48 -0600

Scott Badger wrote:
> Is it just wild-eyed idealism on my part? It seems to
> me that by the time we have the ability to make highly
> stategic genomic modifications, individuals will
> also have the ability to choose whatever body type
> they prefer. The Transhumanistic ideal would be that
> anyone who had been genetically modified would at any
> time have the liberty of choosing between any number
> of body types.

It's just wild-eyed idealism. Genomic modification and neural modification in infancy are a hell of a lot easier than reversing the modification in adulthood. We can't rely on the "we'll be able to reverse it by the time they're 18" to solve the moral issues. Plus, I don't think that argument is correct. Neuromod will be the real hot-spot issue, and neuromod is almost impossible to reverse.

> BTW, watched a Deep Space Nine episode tonight
> about a group of genetically enhanced mutants.
> Basically they've been ostracized and institutionalized
> despite their intellectual superiority. Thing is . . . they're
> a bit eccentric. Except for Dr. Bashir (sp?), the one that
> was able to fit in, hiding and protecting his transhumanistic
> identity. I've also noticed that the new version of "The
> Outer Limits" frequently has episodes with transhumistic
> themes.

The writers of Deep Space Nine are not real mutants and know nothing whatsoever about the cognitive science involved. Furthermore, their mutants' goals and personalities are based on normally-intelligent writers' fantasies of being a superior mutant, and bear no relation to an actual personality shaped by specialized genius. If we want to survive, we will need to react on the basis of fact rather than 50 years of bad TV.

--         Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

Disclaimer:  Unless otherwise specified, I'm not telling you
everything I think I know.