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Attitudes to life extension via genetic engineering

Philip Rhoades okx at extro
Wed Mar 1 20:31:06 EST 1995

Peter Merel (pete at extro.su.oz.au) wrote:
: Patrick O'Neil <patrick at corona> writes:

: Just about everywhere in your hemisphere has been cleared of forest and
: turned into farms and towns. The untouched forests in my hemisphere are
: being woodchipped as fast as the bulldozers can go. Humans are all over
: the place, cultivating, stripping and building.

: Imho, we have two ways to go from here. One way is down into a pit of
: constant resource scarcity, ignorance, war, famine and suffering; 

I agree with this alternative.

: the
: other way is up into a world of peace and riches, control of resources
: all over the solar system, boundless innovation and experience beyond
: our wildest imagination. Star Trek seems a dull and stagnant fantasy
: beside this prospect.

This is over-optimistic - it assumes that the form of human behaviour that
has come to dominate the earth (basically greed and fear) will not
continue. Even if what you say is correct wrt future technologies, what
gives you the idea that it will be shared amongst all the world's
population? If history is any indication (that's all we have) then there
will be a continuing amassing of resources, wealth and power by the few
and continuing impoverishment of the many. 

: There is no third path that I can see.  

The third path is: reduction of world population (in the developed world 
because it consumes most of the resources and produces the most pollution 
and in the developing world so it doesn't exacerbate the problem as it 
develops); minimise consumption of scarce, non-renewable resources; 
re-cycle everything. Admittedly, this is a fairly unlikely scenario as 
well (I am pessimistic about our ability to survive on the planet for to 
much longer). 

: If you can describe concrete
: objections to the technologies that have been proposed, then please
: explain them. Not "we shouldn't" or "it'll never" or "it's devil's
: work", but real engineering problems. Stop waving your hands and tell
: us what the problems are - then your skepticism will be healthy. 

They are not engineering problems but sociological/behavioural problems. 
New, spacey technology is not going to cure the fundamental problems of 
equity, distribution etc.

Great debate though . . .

Philip Rhoades
Pricom Pty Limited
E-mail:	okx at extro.ucc.su.OZ.AU  Phone: +61-2-963-2246  Fax: +61-2-569-5329
S-mail:	GPO Box 3411 Sydney NSW 2001 Australia
Names of known ancestors (mostly from the UK):

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