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 Post subject: Dangerous Ideas
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 5:20 pm 
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WHAT IS YOUR DANGEROUS IDEA?

The history of science is replete with discoveries that were considered socially, morally, or emotionally dangerous in their time; the Copernican and Darwinian revolutions are the most obvious. What is your dangerous idea? An idea you think about (not necessarily one you originated) that is dangerous not because it is assumed to be false, but because it might be true?

It does not necessarily have to pertain to science, but can be a social idea, philosophical, economic or what have you.

I'll start with a simple one, which I call:

"The Gradual Extinction Of The Human Race As We Know It.

In the 21st century, science will move forward in many areas, one of which is bio-genetic engineering.
As of this writing, there are many genetic screen tests that can be performed on fetal humans to determine a probability percentage for certain diseases. In fact, science can now preselect the sex of a child depending on the desires of the parents:
http://www.fertility-docs.com/fertility_gender.phtml

Soon, certain diseases or deficiencies will be not only detected, but removed before birth or even before conception. As well, there will come the ability to pre-select dominant traits such as eye and hair color, and following that, the ability to select much more, including attributes such as appearance, build, and perhaps even intelligence and natural propensity for certain abilities.
Essentially, society will, within a few decades at the very least, have the ability to create a designer human.
This is an idea which is described fairly well in layman's terms with the movie; "Gattaca".
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119177/

As technology in this area advances, it will be preferable to produce designer offspring, if for the very least to enhance the child's ability to succeed in what will surely be the most highly competitive global marketplace ever seen by mankind.
Genetic modification will become normalized and common place, and one fateful day, there will be a human produced with more that 1% differences in their DNA structure than in normal "unaltered" humans, which will render them incapable of reproducing with normal humans in a natural way. This child, will no longer be human. This child can not longer be classified as "Homo-Sapien" but rather they will be an in fact an brand new type of organism, which we can, for the purposes of this thread, call "Super-Humans", or "Sumans" for short.
Inevitably, "Sumans", being superior in intelligence, knowledge, ability and physique, will supplant normal humans by method of reproductive attrition.
Thereby, the Human species, Homo-Sapiens, as we know them, will fall to the new order of organisms, which we could also all: "Homo-Superior".

There you have it.

...So what's Your dangerous idea?
:?: :idea:

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 6:10 pm 
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I agree about the bio-engineering, and I'm pretty enthusiastic about it. I also think that men will ultimately become obsolete and that there's a small to moderate chance they will gradually decrease in number until there aren't any more. This prospect is neither worrisome nor exciting, I think it's a fairly neutral proposition. And before anyone accuses me of misandry, I would be pretty neutral on the prospect of women becaming obsolete over time as well.

What are some dangerous ideas of mine?

I think that we'll get to the point where it is unneccesary for anyone to perform physical work of any kind, and we'd have the ability to work no more than 1-2 hours per week. However we won't actually use this to allow everyone to focus on intellectual or artistic pursuits, we'll just develop a thousand new ways to waste time pushing paper around so that everybody can live a pointless worker-drone lifestyle. :P But that's not really a dangerous idea, more of a typical Brave New World prediction.

The problem is identifying which ideas are dangerous and to who?

My most unpopular idea is that it's better to buy no christmas presents at all than to contribute to the consumerist orgy of shallow and wasteful materialism. While the religious aspect holds no appeal to me, I think there's something to be said for having your biggest holiday be something other than a celebration of the joy of assorted plastic objects.

Also I think Wierd Al is a talented musician despite the fact that he's marginalized himself as a comedy gimic act.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 7:05 pm 
The thing I wonder about is the collapse of a modern society

I think a real large scale disastor could push many first world nations over the edge .

Not because of the destruction , but because of the thin veil of civilisation in some societys , and the reaction of the average folk .

I`d like to think folks would pull together but i dont beleive it`s realistic in some cultures .

Rioting looting , and lawlessness on a scale never seen before .

Mad Max syndrome perhaps :lol:


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 7:49 pm 
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Valkenar wrote:
I agree about the bio-engineering, and I'm pretty enthusiastic about it. I also think that men will ultimately become obsolete and that there's a small to moderate chance they will gradually decrease in number until there aren't any more. This prospect is neither worrisome nor exciting, I think it's a fairly neutral proposition. And before anyone accuses me of misandry, I would be pretty neutral on the prospect of women becaming obsolete over time as well.


Meta: It's a very interesting idea, the elimination of the sexes.
Since so much of "what makes us human" is related to the feelings, thoughts, behaviors and emotions which being of a certain gender can produce, that indeed, is a most dangerous idea.

Valkenar wrote:
What are some dangerous ideas of mine?

I think that we'll get to the point where it is unnecessary for anyone to perform physical work of any kind, and we'd have the ability to work no more than 1-2 hours per week. However we won't actually use this to allow everyone to focus on intellectual or artistic pursuits, we'll just develop a thousand new ways to waste time pushing paper around so that everybody can live a pointless worker-drone lifestyle. :P But that's not really a dangerous idea, more of a typical Brave New World prediction.


Meta: I have always believed that the purpose of technology was to free mankind from the mundane, that he/she may look to other pursuits of being.
For example, humans could not have stared up at the stars and measured the movement of the planets if we were constantly looking for food; a benefit of agriculture.
I feel that while some may become lazy, to be set free from manual labor and other mundane tasks will allow humans to pursue other pursuits for pleasure, including learning and advancement. If I am not mistaken, Gene Rodenberry handled this issue by making the Star Trek citizens live in a world where money is no longer used, as the pursuit of material wealth gave way to the pursuit of the advancement of the self and society. Truly, there is much in the Universe yet to discover.


Valkenar wrote:
My most unpopular idea is that it's better to buy no Christmas presents at all than to contribute to the consumerist orgy of shallow and wasteful materialism. While the religious aspect holds no appeal to me, I think there's something to be said for having your biggest holiday be something other than a celebration of the joy of assorted plastic objects.


Meta: This year, my family tried something similar.
We only purchased one special present for each other.
The end result I think was this:
Each present was more meaningful, as more thought went into it, and as well, I have at this time ZERO Christmas debt.
It turned out to be a positive experience all around.

Valkenar wrote:
Also I think Weird Al is a talented musician despite the fact that he's marginalized himself as a comedy gimmick act.


Meta: I agree with you.
I started listening him before he was "mainstream" on the Dr.Demento show in 1981.
I've always felt he was very talented, and should have tried to do "serious" musical work.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 8:07 pm 
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Stryke wrote:
The thing I wonder about is the collapse of a modern society
I think a real large scale disaster could push many first world nations over the edge .
Not because of the destruction , but because of the thin veil of civilization in some society's , and the reaction of the average folk .
I`d like to think folks would pull together but i don't believe it`s realistic in some cultures .
Rioting looting , and lawlessness on a scale never seen before .

Mad Max syndrome perhaps :lol:


Meta: I suspect this is the stuff that many people's nightmares (or dreams) are made of.
During the Northridge earthquake of 1994, many people were running pell-mell for weeks.
I remember working as an internal security supervisor for an upscale gated community here in L.A..
Power and water were down in many areas for almost 3 weeks, and almost all supermarkets, restaurants and other civic facilities were closed, and most people's homes were red-tagged, which means uninhabitable.
As an act of kindness, one of the residents who owned a bottled water company got together with a resident who owned a pizza company and organized a water and pizza giveaway at the community clubhouse.
I was asked to oversee the distribution.
At first it went well, with three pizzas and one 5 gallon bottle per two person household.
Then, as word spread, things got ugly. Too many people showed up, and mind you, these are CEOs, celebrities, and Fortune 500 company people here.
I and my staff were soon mobbed, and these "civilized" people who I had come to know and respect turned into animals, pushing one another, grabbing and running with Pizzas and bottled water.

I have one image which will stick in my head forever; In the fray, a middle aged man pushed a little girl down quite hard, and actually stole the pizzas she was carrying, and all around me, people were grabbing two or three bottles of 5 gallon water, trying so hard to carry more that they could and they would drop them to the ground as they ran and break the containers.
People began to gobble pizzas right from the boxes, and as the table which the pizza where on toppled and fell to the ground, people would pick them indivdual slices which had splattered on the ground, and run away with them, only to stash them in the bushes or somewhere and return for more.
Hours later, everyone acted as if nothing had happened, and even made light of it as if it were a joke and they had been just "playing" around.
It disgusted and continues to disgust me to see just how quick people can revert to a primal state.
:(

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 8:57 pm 
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It disgusted and continues to disgust me to see just how quick people can revert to a primal state.



Man what a terrible story , but totally agree


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 10:53 pm 
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Meta

Still have to account for "nuture" half of the equation.

No telling how many "Einsteins" there have been that simply did not have the good fortune to live in a time were his/her genius could be put to use.

Mother nature has been combining and re-combining the genes for so long its hard to imagine that we could do much better in short run.

Its not that we are not yet close to making a "designer" human--its that we know so little about the various interaction of the genes that even if we could pinpoint specific things (which we can't right now) we know next to nothing about the INTERACTION of such gene causes.

Finding the gene to say a "genius" is only the tip of the iceberg---we have to understand what cliking that gene on is going to do.

Its kinda a "cascade" little changes can have MAJOR results.

I think the "idiot savants" point to both the potential of the human brain and what can go south.

Another problem is that unless the "super" humans can control the reproduction of the "norms" they wil lose to sheer weight of numbers.

Gene work is so expensive and so difficult that the "Supers" would be in such a tiny minority that there would be little way for them to breed enough of them for them to overcome the "normals."

Also kinda hard to predict exactly what traits are going to important in the long run.

It could well be that the abilty to breed quickly is going to be of greater advantage then say physical strength.

Or as we know, all to often the "A" students end up working for the "C" students.
What if a persons "emotional" IQ is actually more important than raw brains or physical ability?

Another thing to consider is that "smarter" is often as much a product of enviroment than it is a measure of raw brainpower.
Take brilliant guy and drop him in the middle of desert and suddenly he is not nearly as "smart" as the smallest child that actully lives there.

As the world becomes more and more tech advanced--then more we DEPEND on the technology in order to function--and if something happens to that technology--then the smartest computer person in the world could well be SOL.


Good Question!!!!!!!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 11:47 pm 
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cxt wrote:
Mother nature has been combining and re-combining the genes for so long its hard to imagine that we could do much better in short run.


Meta: Here's a dangerous thought.
If nature designed humans to explore, create, and tinker with nature, then it is perfectly "natural" to do so, and thereby it is "mother nature" itself which is at work here.
By the same vein, it can be said that since all there exists is nature and that which is natural, then by extension (also an illusion) there can be no item in the Universe or action within which can be considered "unnatural".
Hence nothing unnatural exists.

cxt wrote:
Its not that we are not yet close to making a "designer" human--its that we know so little about the various interaction of the genes that even if we could pinpoint specific things (which we can't right now) we know next to nothing about the INTERACTION of such gene causes.


Meta: But we will, given time.

cxt wrote:
Finding the gene to say a "genius" is only the tip of the iceberg---we have to understand what cliking that gene on is going to do.


Meta: No one likes to even ponder the even remote possibility that there superior degrees of intelligence capability within human beings. Not even me.
It smacks of many things; The bogus notion of Eugenics being the worst.


cxt wrote:
Another problem is that unless the "super" humans can control the reproduction of the "norms" they wil lose to sheer weight of numbers.


Meta: My position is that they won't have to. Super-Humans will be created out of sheer desire by parents wanting to have their children to be competitive.
A physical example is to simply look at the number of how plastic surgery and dental correction patients have not only increased, but become younger in recent years.
A mental example would be the growth of commerically advertised "learning centers" such a Sylvan to provide children a competitive edge in scholastic development.

cxt wrote:
Gene work is so expensive and so difficult that the "Supers" would be in such a tiny minority that there would be little way for them to breed enough of them for them to overcome the "normals."


Meta: I submit to you that as with any technology, as it becomes pervasive, so does cost become lower.

cxt wrote:
Or as we know, all to often the "A" students end up working for the "C" students.


Meta: Generally, the opposite is true in a Capitalistic societies, so I wonder why would it be different in the future?

cxt wrote:
What if a persons "emotional" IQ is actually more important than raw brains or physical ability?


Meta: Is there such a thing as "emotional IQ?" Or even IQ as a concept?

cxt wrote:
Another thing to consider is that "smarter" is often as much a product of enviroment than it is a measure of raw brainpower.
Take brilliant guy and drop him in the middle of desert and suddenly he is not nearly as "smart" as the smallest child that actully lives there.


Meta: An excellent point. Wisdom often trumps "booksmarts."

cxt wrote:
As the world becomes more and more tech advanced--then more we DEPEND on the technology in order to function--and if something happens to that technology--then the smartest computer person in the world could well be SOL.


Meta: Did you ever see the film, "Escape from L.A.?"
I LOVED the ending to that movie.
But I think in reality, Pandora's box has been irrevocably blasted open.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 12:03 am 
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I don't buy it. Our energy is running out, and unless we suddenly find ourselves able to use solar, nuclear, wind, water to a much greater extent, we're going to see less suitable fuels, biomass fuels, and more hard labor. And poverty. So I don't see 1) people working 1-2 hours a week OR 2) people with all that much money to tinker with genes.

Certainly they won't outrace sex. Remember sex? Still fun. People are getting HIV and all sorts of things, or ruining their financial futures and their kids lives by having a dozen kids, for sex, when they could avoid these things a still have it! Until we run out of sex, we will still need men, women, and genetic engineering won't keep up with the urges.

If we do alter our genes, the likely thing is we'd select the best in the pool. These would be like eliminating "errors," and picking genes with survival or business advantages--intelligence, strength, what have you. These are all HUMAN genes... and they're distributed in all races now... so I doubt lumping a few together will create a higher barrier to intermingling than would the current differences between the races. Besides, whole different species can breed, albeit imperfectly ("it's a liger... it's probably like my favorite animal). Making a new species among us when the world is getting smaller and sex is always happening will be really really hard.

Here's mine: we're going to run out of energy and see a worldwide recession and poverty like never before in the modern era. We might just screw up biodiversity and the environment before this forces the inevitable decline in our exponentially expanding population, which would be a shame.

And we seem to be doing everything possible to keep every less genetically fit person alive that we can (that's my line of work--struggling against nature to keep the sick alive) and a la Bell Curve (big can of worms, don't endorse their conclusion at all) the most socially successful are often the least biologically successful, and vice versa. Where might that eventually lead?

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 12:27 am 
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IJ wrote:
I don't buy it.


That's the beauty of ideas.
One doesn't have to.
:)


If we do alter our genes, the likely thing is we'd select the best in the pool. These would be like eliminating "errors," and picking genes with survival or business advantages--intelligence, strength, what have you. These are all HUMAN genes... and they're distributed in all races now... so I doubt lumping a few together will create a higher barrier to intermingling than would the current differences between the races.

IJ wrote:
Besides, whole different species can breed, albeit imperfectly


Meta: Say what? Oh..you went to THAT school.
(differences of thought with respect to the term "species")

But for the purposes of this thread, let's just say that "Humans" are "species", and cannot mate with other "species" such as mice, octopi and small barnyard fowl or shrubberies.

Otherwise, We'll have to deal with Cat/Dogs, Chimp/presidents and unicorns.
:lol:


IJ wrote:
Here's mine: we're going to run out of energy and see a worldwide recession and poverty like never before in the modern era. We might just screw up biodiversity and the environment before this forces the inevitable decline in our exponentially expanding population, which would be a shame.

And we seem to be doing everything possible to keep every less genetically fit person alive that we can (that's my line of work--struggling against nature to keep the sick alive) and a la Bell Curve (big can of worms, don't endorse their conclusion at all) the most socially successful are often the least biologically successful, and vice versa. Where might that eventually lead?


Meta: Hmmm...
Something like this?

Image

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 Post subject: Reminds me of..
PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 4:54 pm 
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[url=http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119177/]Gattaca Plot Summary for
Gattaca (1997)
Gattaca Corp. is an aerospace firm in the future. During this time society analyzes your DNA and determines where you belong in life. Ethan Hawke's character was born with a congenital heart condition which would cast him out of getting a chance to travel in space. So in turn he assumes the identity of an athlete who has genes that would allow him to achieve his dream of space travel.

Summary written by {AVision200@aol.com}

Vincent is one of the last "natural" babies born into a sterile, genetically-enhanced world, where life expectancy and disease likelihood are ascertained at birth. Myopic and due to die at 30, he has no chance of a career in a society that now discriminates against your genes, instead of your gender, race or religion. Going underground, he assumes the identity of Jerome, crippled in an accident, and achieves prominence in the Gattaca Corporation, where he is selected for his lifelong desire: a manned mission to Saturn. Constantly passing gene tests by diligently using samples of Jerome's hair, skin, blood and urine, his now-perfect world is thrown into increasing desperation, his dream within reach, when the mission director is killed - and he carelessly loses an eyelash at the scene! Certain that they know the murderer's ID, but unable to track down the former Vincent, the police start to close in, with extra searches, and new gene tests. With the once-in-a-lifetime launch only days away, Vincent must avoid arousing suspicion, while passing the tests, evading the police, and not knowing whom he can trust...

[/url]



Image


Last edited by benzocaine on Sun Jan 22, 2006 12:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 7:55 pm 
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"Meta: Say what? Oh..you went to THAT school. (differences of thought with respect to the term "species")"

I'm not making this up am I? Ligers, Donkeys? What about chihuahua's and great danes? They're one species and I think it'd take us a good while to genetically engineer enough unions to dilute the effect of 80 quadrillion natural coupling every week :)

I dunno if struggling to keep the very sick alive can change our gene pool, but I know it can sap our strength. Case in point: gentleman who is now so confused after years of heavy drinking that he can only ask for liquor, and who's received open heart surgery, several amputations and so on, and is being hand fed, about to have another major vascular surgery, and is severely malnourished and is covered with infected wounds. He'll never "contribute" to society again, and will consum millions of dollars of resources. I'm not discounting our moral mission here--jettisoning irreparably ill people to the whims of nature might save us a lot of $ and cost us more important things, and my task is just to make this guy as well as he can be. But these are lives that didn't last a fraction as long as they persist in 2006.

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