Re: LIST: the Gooies

Lyle Burkhead (
Thu, 15 Apr 1999 07:57:20 -0700

Mitchell Porter wrote,

> Just a few corrections:
> 1.that's ""
>'s a discussion list, not an advocacy list (i.e. we
> don't *want* Grey Goo, we just don't yet see how to *avoid* it)

The Grey Goo is an absurd fantasy, and I treated it with the levity it deserves.

Nevertheless, life as we know it is coming to an end. It's not a question of what anybody wants or doesn't want. Once you let the genome out of the bottle, there is no putting it back. You just have to deal with it.

What's happening is that a new life form is emerging. It isn't going to be goo, it's just going to be something different. When oxygen-breathing cells replaced anaerobic cells as the dominant life form on this planet, the result wasn't goo. The result was just the world we live in.

We do have a choice about what kind of life form we turn into -- that's the whole point. Evolution is no longer a matter of chance. We are entering the era of self-directed evolution.

John Grigg writes,

> Well, keep up the good work Lyle! You should have
> a regular "column" here for the comedic talents. Give it time
> and you will get a Hasty Pudding award!

Does that mean somebody is going to throw a pie in my face?