Re: GENE/SOC: Playing Devil's Advocate

From: Ruthanna R Gordon (
Date: Sun Apr 30 2000 - 19:50:48 MDT

On Sat, 29 Apr 2000, Robert J. Bradbury wrote:

> So, the question I would pose for humanity is:
> Should we create a long term goal the neutering of all rapidly
> replicating biomass species, especially bacteria, and modify
> them so they cannot support rapidly mutating viruses, so as to
> reduce our long term risks of extinction?
> This implies to a large degree creating a completely artificial
> biomass environment. We would need to develop, grow, test for safety,
> neuter and release all supporting biomass elements. Only conscious
> programming of the bioenvironment, perhaps with extensive
> simulations for effects we cannot anticipate would allow
> us to engineer a world safe for long-term human habitation.
> Failing to do this would clearly be playing Russian roulette
> with our species.

Doing this would be the biological equivalent of the much-maligned
government interference in the free market. It would produce an
environment that was safe, but not particularly prodevelopment. In such a
problem-free environment, humans would have no incentive to develop and
refine the problem-solving abilities that make it so interesting to be a
human (and possible to be an extropian).

The obvious solution to the problem is to make sure, as quickly as
possible, that humans are participating in more than one such 'experiment'
--i.e. self-supporting colonies on other worlds. We can then be safe on a
species level without being bored.

Ruthanna Gordon

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