Re: A new topic to persue

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Thu, 3 Apr 1997 21:39:04 -0800 (PST)

> I am currently writing a paper for a sociology class about the ethics
> of Transhumanism. It deals with the ethics of defying evolution to
> raise ourselves. In essence its about Whether we can play god with
> technology.

Ethics /is/ a technology, just like language, society, education, and
the paper on which you write about them. And the very language of the
question is absurd: one can no more "defy evolution" than one can defy
gravity. Evolution isn't a purpose, it's an effect.

Evolution (or for that matter whatever other process you postulate
led to the development of species) led to a vast array of creatures
with different abilities and mechanisms for survival. Our species
has been equipped with a capable mind, and a natural desire to use
it. Beavers make dams; humans make fire, the wheel, hunting weapons,
clothing, agriculture, government, family structure.

These things are just as much a part of nature as birds' nests and
anthills. As we evolve further, each generation learns from the
last about its struggles, its mistakes, its crimes, and creates ways
to overcome them. The next generation learns from /those/ mistakes
and creates new marvels--and new mistakes. That continuous struggle
is what we are--what nature itself is. To choose some single point
in our history and say that the Earth as it existed then is "natural"
and everything since is "artificial" is arbitrary and meaningless.
Was Neanderthal man "natural", with his particular set of tools and
tribal structure? Were the American Indians "natural" with their
larger nations and religious rituals? Are the Amish "natural" with
their barn raisings and head cheese?

The obvious conclusion is that all of them were, as are we, and as
our cybernetic grandkids will be next century. We're not "playing
God", we're playing human, just as we always have.

Lee Daniel Crocker <>  <>
"All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past,
are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified
for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC