Author Topic: Space dogs  (Read 2646 times)

Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Space dogs
« on: November 25, 2016, 09:38:25 pm »
If human beings do manage to develop practical interstellar travel, it occurred to me that the ethical considerations of colonizing other planets are not completely dissimilar to those of colonizing other continents. I think that most of us will probably agree that invading and colonizing a planet already inhabited by intelligent life would be unethical. However, I don't see a ton of conversation space generally given to the ethics of colonizing a planet where there is life, but none that we recognize as "intelligent". This raises multiple questions, including how we define "intelligence", where we draw the line for ownership purposes, and also, even in the definite absence of intelligent life, is it ethical to colonize a pristine, unexploited ecosystem?

Further, why do we seem to assume that we have some sort of natural RIGHT to colonize other planets?
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


LuciferX

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Re: Space dogs
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2016, 11:08:14 pm »
I dunno, on that last point, I'd assume the notion of a right is what happened to our even more misplaced sense of duty:  our particular brand of intelligence clearly being the light of reason, ethically bound to disseminate itself into any and all "hearts of darkness".

This does not mean that I am absolutely opposed to space exploration, because it may inadvertently make the world a better place.  There must also be some more direct ways of going about it.  For example, would it be possible to focus those resources, now, to postpose ever having to dispose of this planet in the future?  I do not like projecting my own finitude on Mother Earth, actually, it feels like designing a "baby-sized" kitchen-sink drain & disposal unit.
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Re: Space dogs
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2016, 11:14:17 pm »
Both of these things seem like the sort of thing that would only be issues depending on the range of our spaceships and possibly our intent for the planet. If we could reach a wide range of systems I can't see us ever having a legitimate reason to choose a planet with life over one an uninhabited one; that goes double if the goal is some kind of mining or resource extraction, because whereas I could see a possibility of the only planet in a system that supports life also being the only one that would be comfortable to settle down on, I can't see it being the only one with mineral wealth, so excuses would be limited for that purpose even if it was the only system we could reach.
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Junkenstein

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Re: Space dogs
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2016, 12:15:32 am »
If human beings do manage to develop practical interstellar travel, it occurred to me that the ethical considerations of colonizing other planets are not completely dissimilar to those of colonizing other continents. I think that most of us will probably agree that invading and colonizing a planet already inhabited by intelligent life would be unethical. However, I don't see a ton of conversation space generally given to the ethics of colonizing a planet where there is life, but none that we recognize as "intelligent". This raises multiple questions, including how we define "intelligence", where we draw the line for ownership purposes, and also, even in the definite absence of intelligent life, is it ethical to colonize a pristine, unexploited ecosystem?

Further, why do we seem to assume that we have some sort of natural RIGHT to colonize other planets?

It's kind of a global version of the American "manifest destiny" shit. Until we find something that can push back, we own everything we can touch.

This does suggest that xenophobia will only really be stopped when dealing with actual hostile aliens. At this point, that's not one of the worst outcomes or unlikely things for 2017. The main downside is things go all starship troopers but we're heading for that anyway.
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The Wizard Joseph

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Re: Space dogs
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2016, 03:10:38 am »
I think that the biological problem will be a fairly effective counter force to any expansionist ambitions.

I have this problem handled in my "Wizard" character's backstory because they use symbiotic biology much like the engineered concept of the "Space Marines" in Warhammer 40K. There's an engineered microbial symbiot that they call the "liminal phage" loosely translated into English. It's able to sense "what should be" in its host and eliminate most toxic and microbial deviation. In addition it makes all excretion sterile, even blood will "cook" immediately upon exposure to the external environment, cauterizing the open blood vessels as a side benefit.

An aside, but it illustrates a very REAL issue with any colonization... or even benign exploration.
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The Wizard Joseph

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Re: Space dogs
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2016, 03:14:14 am »
Also worth mentioning:  If there's a breathable atmosphere, there are plants at the very least.  And if there's no breathable atmosphere, there's no point in going.

It will probably be cheaper and easier to change humans to something that can survive in exotic environments than it will be to go from star to star. 
The Alcubierre drive is potato1, and barring some other loophole, we aren't going anywhere.  Even in our own system, more than likely.  Don't think of Earth as a bubble of air in a vacuum, think of it (due to radiation) as a bubble of air in a sea of hydrofluoric acid.



1  Something about gravity being common to all universes.  I don't have the math to understand it, but I am assured by fairly reputable sources that this is somehow a thing.

Yup. All the yup. Especially the bolded. Hate to say it, but homo sapiens can't get off world in a meaningful way as is, if ever.
You can't get out backward.  You have to go forward to go back.. better press on! - Willie Wonka, PBUH

Life can be seen as a game with no reset button, no extra lives, and if the power goes out there is no restarting.  If that's all you see life as you are not long for this world, and never will get it.

"Ayn Rand never swung a hammer in her life and had serious dominance issues" - The Fountainhead

"World domination is such an ugly phrase. I prefer to call it world optimisation."
 - Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality :lulz:

Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Re: Space dogs
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2016, 03:36:22 am »
So, I take it that nobody is interested in discussing the ethics of space colonization?
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Re: Space dogs
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2016, 03:37:34 am »
Prime Directive?
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


The Wizard Joseph

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Re: Space dogs
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2016, 03:52:34 am »
So, I take it that nobody is interested in discussing the ethics of space colonization?

I'm happy to in the abstract, but it's on par with talking about the ethics of using magic for personal ambition at this time. That is to say a topic strictly about maybe and outright make believe given ethical gravity..

 :oops: Bad pun unintended.

That said if the current folks informing the culture continue to run things long enough to actually be at that point it would be like the  :sad: same thing all over again. Our biodiversity is the wealth of this world and it's true inheritance. We've decided to squander it for petty gain. Pretty sure that trend will continue. There would need to be a serious revolution or tabula rasa event to have any other ambition driving the expansion effort at this point.

The idea of what qualifies as sentient will be sorely tested if we find complex exo-life. The willingness to "love your neighbor" is hard enough to find with people that are familiar and clearly human. I suspect that the idea of wiping out a non-human would appeal to folks in a disturbingly visceral and popular way, even without cultural propaganda reinforcing it.
You can't get out backward.  You have to go forward to go back.. better press on! - Willie Wonka, PBUH

Life can be seen as a game with no reset button, no extra lives, and if the power goes out there is no restarting.  If that's all you see life as you are not long for this world, and never will get it.

"Ayn Rand never swung a hammer in her life and had serious dominance issues" - The Fountainhead

"World domination is such an ugly phrase. I prefer to call it world optimisation."
 - Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality :lulz:

Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Re: Space dogs
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2016, 04:03:13 am »
No, but seriously... does anyone here understand what ethics is? Like IRB, IUCUC type stuff that's actually required before doing stuff? The kind of actual considerations that need to be hashed out?
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Re: Space dogs
« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2016, 04:04:43 am »
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethics

Quote
Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct.[1] The term ethics derives from the Ancient Greek word ἠθικός ethikos, which is derived from the word ἦθος ethos (habit, "custom"). The branch of philosophy axiology comprises the sub-branches of ethics and aesthetics, each concerned with values.[2]

As a branch of philosophy, ethics investigates the questions "What is the best way for people to live?" and "What actions are right or wrong in particular circumstances?" In practice, ethics seeks to resolve questions of human morality, by defining concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime. As a field of intellectual enquiry, moral philosophy also is related to the fields of moral psychology, descriptive ethics, and value theory.

Three major areas of study within ethics recognised today are:[1]

Meta-ethics, concerning the theoretical meaning and reference of moral propositions, and how their truth values (if any) can be determined
Normative ethics, concerning the practical means of determining a moral course of action
Applied ethics, concerning what a person is obligated (or permitted) to do in a specific situation or a particular domain of action[1]

?
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Re: Space dogs
« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2016, 04:08:58 am »
I mean, I'm generally pretty reserved about things like interstellar travel, but the EM drive does at least open possibilities of heretofore-unknown propulsion physics, and I think it's worth seriously considering what the ethics of space colonization could look like.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


Pope Pelvis Flirtini

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Re: Space dogs
« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2016, 05:12:45 am »
I think it will probably look something like this.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2016, 05:14:24 am by chinagreenelvis »
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The Wizard Joseph

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Re: Space dogs
« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2016, 05:23:06 am »
No, but seriously... does anyone here understand what ethics is? Like IRB, IUCUC type stuff that's actually required before doing stuff? The kind of actual considerations that need to be hashed out?

 :nope:
You can't get out backward.  You have to go forward to go back.. better press on! - Willie Wonka, PBUH

Life can be seen as a game with no reset button, no extra lives, and if the power goes out there is no restarting.  If that's all you see life as you are not long for this world, and never will get it.

"Ayn Rand never swung a hammer in her life and had serious dominance issues" - The Fountainhead

"World domination is such an ugly phrase. I prefer to call it world optimisation."
 - Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality :lulz:

LuciferX

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Re: Space dogs
« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2016, 07:29:47 am »
My condition on discussing the ethics of space exploration is that we take care of this planet, in the first place, in order to ensure that any subsequent venture be autonomous.  It should be a matter of choice that may result in obligation, instead of a last ditch effort to save the human race.
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