Thursday, July 13, 2006

Something Richer than Voluntary Extinction

The Space Review posted an essay about people who believe in the voluntary extinction of human beings. In TMP, Savage proposed the opposite. Instead of killing humans, we utilize technology to save our ecosystem, to bring cheap and plentiful food to everyone in the world, to provide high standards of living for everyone, and to expand life throughout the universe. Read the intro here.

5 comments:

  1. There’s no need for mass suicides, war, or disease to kill off humankind; only avoiding the difficult work of having and raising children. VHEMT is the lazy person’s extinction.
    I'd keep a closer eye on this sort of philosophy, if I were you. These particular people may advocate voluntary extinction, but every variation on the theme will probably desire something a little more proactive. The only path to extinction for any species conditioned by a few billion years of evolution to live and overcome is likely to be highly involuntary.

    Not to mention that it plays neatly into people's contempt of their neighbor, and the primitive envy/desire for lebensraum.

    As a rocket scientist in training, I'll take the space route any day.

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  2. Life will fail, fizzle, and gutter out, leaving the universe shrouded forever in impenetrable blankness, devoid of hope.


    On the other hand, I very much doubt this possibility has a great chance of happening. If our civilization is set back, then it is only an eyeblink on the scale of millenia before another will rise again. The one that fails will likely be quickly overshadowed by the one that doesn't make the same mistakes. A brief stint in the 17th century at worst, then back upwards from there. Even if mankind were somehow reduced to the stone-age, it is only another few thousand years before our great^10 grandchildren try again. Even if mankind were somehow wiped out wholesale (increasingly unlikely), then it would only be a matter of a few million years before another intelligent species arises. This is why life is so resilient, why it has endured the rough shocks of geological history. On every level and iteration, it advances forward from it's present position, rather than swooning in despair of a disaster no matter how significant it seems from a human perspective.

    So it's not such a stark desperate situation for life in general, or even human civilization. Still, I'd much rather it be us, our current generation that carries forward. :-P

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  3. Gaah! Forgive me if I have a foaming reaction to the VHEMT philosophy. The only thing that could possibly motivate it is a profound hatred of mankind, by definition.

    It is clear that human history will end; the only mystery is when. It is also clear that if the timing is left to nature (or, if you prefer, to God) and humans hang on until the bloody end, the race’s final exit will be ignoble.
    What about death is noble you twits?!!

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