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Dave Peterson

Has Humanity become God?

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Has Humanity become God?

A;right not in a literal or religious sense... but these days we have everything we have ever wanted (and more than we could ever need) to both live and survive. We have the answers for everything in scientific terms and mathematical numbers and we have been able to solve and nearly control so much and nearly all of what we once considered to be 'the mysteries of the universe' -or we soon will be.

This path l think is very dangerous because of not only how much power we have now over everything- we can clone people, genetically alter creatures, travel in space, build or destroy anything we want, possess weapons that could destroy the planet... -but also how fast we are acquiring it.

I beleive this is going to become the death of not only humanity but the destruction of the good values and morals that we try to hold onto now unless we can do something to change our entire base of society fast.

---So what are your thoughts on our 'progress'???

---What do you think will become of us and how do you think we will be able to, if we are able to, solve this problem???

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Short answer: No!

I don't know what part of Chicago you live in, but from where I sit, we as a race are most certainly nowhere near godhood.

I mean there are still too many things unfinished and problems that remain unsolved that we can claim that we're close to wherever we want to be.

And that's the beauty of being human. There are always challenges left to be tackled. What would be the point otherwise?

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We are not even close to having all the answers.

Our knowledge is now doubling every 5 years, but even that tells me that we know far too little to be making grandiose claims like you are.

We have much to learn, and much to do yet, if our religious fanatics of all stripes don't kill us all first.

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From my point of view, there seems to be an assumption within the question that may not be justified, that technological progress is inherently a problem, or that it changes the fundamental moral issues that we face, it doesn't. Let me give a few examples:

1. A guy finds a sturdy long stick in the woods. There are several things he can do with it, for example:

He can use it as a tent pole to provide shelter for himself and his family

He can chop it up for firewood and cook a meal

He can whack his unsuspecting neighbour over the head with it to steal his coat and wallet.

2. Someone buys a new laptop.

They can use it to keep track of and manage their household finances, to help them design a new labour-saving device, or co-ordinate relief work during a catastrophe.

Alternatively, they can use it to hack into banks or for identity theft, to create new computer viruses or spambots or co-ordinate a series of terrorist attacks.

3. Someone attends a chat forum

They can take part in good-natured and informative discussions or hurl insults at random people

They can incite other people to hatred or inspire them to improve themselves.

IMO, no amount of technological progress will make us 'God', we'll still be people involved in making the same sort of decisions we make now, only in different settings. Technology is an effort multiplier, it enables you to do more, faster, and more effectively, for good or bad- it doesn't make the moral choices for you. In some instances, technology can make some particular moral choices more or less relevant than others, for example "Who gets to eat first?" is mostly not a life-or-death issue in modern America, where there is almost always more than enough food to go round and no-one is in danger of going without, but the basic issues we have to decide remain the same:

What am I going to do with my abilities and opportunities? Am I going to be responsible or irresponsible? Am I going to be constructive or destructive?

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Just to clear stuff up, this is not about becoming a religious god or all powerful blow up the stars as we decide kind of thing, it is a more basic way that things seem to have become in our mind and how we have used, not just technology, but our claims on scienctific usage to start us down a bad path. Basically it is a general decline in morality, responsibility, and thought that is what is the problem ... im not talking about nuclear bombs (though that is definately a bad possibility as well)

Now...where to start?...From the top, right.

Stingray: You did...read the post right and not just the title? Obviously we are not near god at all, and when i said that I meant it in a not so good way...like we have taken too much power to ourselves and abused it bad. We definately have problems to face, but we tend to take the easy way around them, and we usually end up with a poor solution. Our problems are there to make us learn from them and be better people, not just fix them and forget about them -which in my mind, is not happening.

Jag: Its not about having all the answers, its about how we are using the knowledge we have. At the moment most of that is being fed into things to, in general, make us less human (please bare with me and I will explain). Think about what we try to do with technology today...a lot is good, for instance, cures for disease..but others are not so good -such as abortions.

This is not about abortions so I will be short but in general, i think that this is an excellent example of what I am trying to say. Abortions are nothing new (worse a long time ago), but their modern use definately is much more frequent and disturbing (shows how far weve come). At first clinical abortion was meant for just those who needed it, women who would have died otherwise or raped victims..all that. that was a long time ago from our standpoint. What is it now...an escape for carelessness and not thinking (and the very small % of the previous people mentioned). We have an "accidental child" because of poor planning and a lot of times false affection, and then what do we do -a great solution that we love to use -kill it. Destroy our problems and forget about them -and its gotten to a point where people are even more careless because they know, if neccessary, they have options when in trouble because of how available abortions have become. THAT is the recklessness with technology I am talking about. One of many examples.

Ben: Im glad to see a well stated opinion here, and for the most part, i completely agree with you. It most definately is NOT the fault of what we have and "advancements" that we are having problems... I probably didnt make that clear enough before. Technology is great, its fun and amazing and helpful to a major extent...it is how it is used that is the issue. It is our intentions and use behind technology that is the important thing. I liked the stick example, because it is perfectly true--- it is what you make of it and not what it is itself. And thats true with everything.

The only problem is, we have the technology now to do a hell of a lot -even blow up the world (as Mr Kim over there in NK is attempting to prove) but it is how we use that power, how we are making use of it that matters. If we could get to a point where everyone is perfect, and everyone thinks before they act, and uses technological and superiority power wisely...then fine, we have no problem...BUt the straight fact is that will never happen, and unless we do something about it, there will be repercussions..some of which we are already feeling. We have the power to clone people, and though we restrain ourselves now from mass production of people...how long until that barrier is broken?

Heres a little bit of an example:

Increased urbanization and claiming of land has forced many forest dwelling animals to be secluded in forests and such, we initially end up swiinging the entire system out of alignment. We claim that then there begins to have "overpopulation" of a specific species because they have been forced away from predators or there are too many confined in one area (how ironic isnt it)...lets just say the deer in this case... maybe because they have eaten too many flowers from people's gardens. What is always our solution? Kill them, or more politically correct to say "balance out the population". Most of the job goes to commercial or sport hunters, many of which could care less about the food part of it -which turns the whole thing into a slaughter all for the good of the community... This is the way we deal with most of our problems nowadays...using some quick cheap repair job for our problems. Kill it, tear it down, destroy it.

Whether this the population leveling is justified or not, it paints a pretty clear picture of what we are...the game controllers of the world. We cause a problem and instead of facing it -whether for monetary or laziness reasons, we take the short way out. In general it shows a disregard for life and for anything that we do. Thats why we have abortions, thats why we have so many "quick do it for you" sort of things...We cant handle the very problems we create.

Also consider that: Everyday...

-Upwards of 50,000 people per day are needlessly dying on Earth. These deaths are dictated by the greed of a very few, and the rest of us are not changing it...

-578 species of the web of life to go extinct. This extinction rate equals one species of life going extinct every 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Millions of people are at work legally day and night, quickly destroying the richest place there is for life on Earth, the Rainforests.

-We are destroying a land area which is equivalent to the size of the city of Tokyo Japan ( 240 square miles ) every day.

These were from: [http://www.starvation.net/]

I dont want to go too deeply into abortion but...

-Aprox 944,935,000 worldwide so far (mostly in the last twenty years) ... Thats about a Billion Abortions...1/8 of the total population of the planet now. More than half of that is made of +8-12 weeks past conception.

Numbers a little high? You tell me.

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That old problem of human evil.

There have always been people who regarded themselves as gods, and those who behave as if they did, believing they can get away with (almost) anything to achieve their goals, though apparently this belief has become more widespread lately, especially in Western countries.

This is a philosophical issue rather than a technological one.

As far as I can see the current decline in morality has several roots (this is not intended as a complete list):

1. The loss of accountability. With the loss of belief in an afterlife, individualism replacing community spirit and the weakening of family ties, there is a feeling that we will not be ultimately held accountable for our actions and don't have to explain our motives to anyone, so whatever we can get away with is OK.

2. The loss of responsibility. With determinism coming to the fore, you have no free will of your own, you're not to blame for the decisions you make, they're all a result of your situation, conditions are the fault of society, society is the fault of conditions and round and round the circle of blame we go. A great example of this is the following extract from one of my favourite websites:

quote:


Consider the old cartoon of the 5th grader, who has just presented a school report card of all F's to his dad, who is sitting in the favorite easy chair. The father has looked sternly at the kid, and the kid has asked the important causal question: "Well, Dad, what do you think? Was it ENVIRONMENT, or HEREDITY?"

The kid has won the day...if the dad says "ENVIRONMENT", then the parents are to blame...if the dad says "HEREDITY", then the parents are to blame likewise...UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES is the kid a 'fault-center'.


taken from here

In this system, you can always find an excuse after the fact and elude justice even when you do get caught, so anything goes, as long as you can find a good lawyer if the worst happens.

3. The loss of human dignity. People are no longer noble and valuable creations, they are just another animal that happened to win the evolutionary lottery, and have no inherent special value. When the vast majority of our relationships are purely economical, we start to only value people for what they can do for us, we don't take their point of view into consideration and have very little idea (or care) how our decisions impact others. I'm sure that none of us has any idea how much good or harm we have done in our lives through unintentional (and intentional) words or acts, especially when everything is so multiplied in our technological age.

4. The lack of an absolute moral reference point and bad examples all around us. 'Everybody does it, why should I be any different?' is a very difficult argument to counter if you have nothing higher to aim for.

All of the above roots have the same philosophical source, that I don't think I need to spell out.

These are not the source of evil, they are factors that counteract it and their absence leads to the general decline in standards and expectation of behaviour that we see today, though this process is reversible both individually and at the community level.

This the kind of discussion you were after?

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I find it interesting that the discussion has mostly just questioned our ability to become morally like God but has not questioned our ability to become God technically that much. I don't even buy that we even have a long way to go. As far as I am concerned, we are not even on the path to get there.

The trend in the present day is that the more we advanced technologically, the stupider the average individual person becomes. Collective progress is progressing. But generation Y is a joke. They spend huge amounts of time learning the computer, but fall very short in core subjects like writing analytical papers, and reading comprehension. In other words, they spend so much time mesmorized in front of the computer, they don't work very hard on real school subjects. I have seen examples of book store workers not knowing alphabetical order when you ask for help finding a book.

We are spending so much time learning computers rather than real subjects, that we have come to see them as the only thing we need to know. We think that since we must know how to operate complicated computers in our weapons and at work, that we must be smarter to operate in this society. Not the case. Computer skills are just a primitive trial and error skill that anyone can acquire if they use them enough.

If you ask me, the computers that we worship so much are not even very advanced. We still use silicon chips rather than crystals. Computer speed is pegged at 3.6 Gigahertz because we won't switch to a better circuit board material. All we can do is stack them for speed.

We are so primitive that we can't even build a computer fast enough to calculate a cure, providing we even know what calculations to do. Once computers are fast enough, we can only begin to do real drugs. The drugs we are making today are junk. Pharmaceutical companies put profit before passion. How else would you explain the mass marketing for new drugs that doctors say are not much better than the old drugs. We don't even spend the money on new antiobiotics because they are not as profitable as junk drugs.

You hear on the news that a snake venom is a better cure than drugs developed by our vast pharmaceutical industry. The pharmaceutical industry has a lot to learn about biology, yet they don't even bother to learn it much.

And don't even get me started on our primitive energy technology. We are still using fossil fuels, a depletable energy resource humans did not create. What a joke.

Can we say we know everything so we can call ourselves God. Not even close. Alteast not hear on Earth. Maybe some other planet is better technologically than Earth. This is why we need space travel. Make those warp engines. Bring us to 3000ad. Let us make trade relationships with other planets, build alliances and expand our fleet.

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Ben: Yes that was more along the lines of where I was going, although there is a great amount of technological and social advancement that goes along with it. All and more of what you listed are very real factors in our dilemna, which on the outside doesnt look quite as bad as it really is.

Rapilot: I was having a hard time following some of what you said. The problem here is not just technology in general, but how fast we use and progress with it -and also the fact that we cannot find any limit to it, which goes to show a lot of what Ben Zwecky said above. We have to sort out our more fundamental issues before we dive into the next big era...

"Can we say we know everything so we can call ourselves God. Not even close. Alteast not hear on Earth. Maybe some other planet is better technologically than Earth. This is why we need space travel. Make those warp engines. Bring us to 3000ad. Let us make trade relationships with other planets, build alliances and expand our fleet."

Aye aye Captain Kirk

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I believe we do have limits on progress, no matter whether the limits are on humans or any other intelligent alien life on another planet. We really need to reverse engineer the universe to even have a fraction of the knowledge God has. If we could somehow recreate the big bang and have it create both matter and life, that would be an accomplishment of God-like proportions. Life is the most difficult thing to reverse engineer. I think it would take dozens of thousands of years to create a big bang that could create life.

You miss most of the essence of the knowledge of something, however, when you reverse engineer something as opposed to invent it. If we invented the computer and then placed it in some country or time period that did not have the scientific knowledge to create one yet, that would be a good test. They might be able to reverse engineer it and create their own computers. They also might be able to make refinements to it and make it better. However, you would not say they are as scientifically advanced as we are. It took alot of science to come up with the idea and invent it. They were also many intermediate inventions along the way to create the full featured computer. If we take this comparison to the universe, we would have to say the universe is a much more complicated invention by leaps and bounds. We can tinker with it and make parts of the universe better- and thus invent all kinds of sophisticated things.

But to say our knowledge of it is or will ever become God-like is a bit antiscience. To say that our knowledge is God-like will make us stop looking into our limits of our knowledge. The more limits we can find, the more technogically advanced we will become. The greatest advancement in our knowledge often comes from knowing what we do not know.

It would be especially bad for a fleet commander with a large group of warships to think their civilization is God-like. If they wander too far into uncharted territory that is 1000s of years more advanced than we are without thinking to launch a probe first, they could get all of galatic command killed. The last thing galatic command needs is people who think like the borg and try to assimilate the whole galaxy all at once.

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I did say that it wasn't meant as a complete list. Yes, technology contributes to certain problems, the more and more hectic pace of life as people demand more and more instant service tends to dehumanise us. Communicating with others via chat rooms and forums gives us a feeling of anonymity and invulnerability - we can invent a whole new identity for ourselves and feel no-one can do anything to us for what we say, hence the anarchy that reigns over most forums. When we meet people in the course of our day, we are often under pressure, in a hurry and tired, hardly conducive to warm human contact. We are increasingly more and more isolated from nature, catching idealised glimpses via adverts and movies.

The healthier and more advanced our economy becomes, the more specialised our workplaces and knowledge bases become, the less informed we become of the overall picture and more lost in the sea of human knowledge, though in some cases this is leading to more iniatives involving cross-cooperation between different fields. In practice, this leads to people having to be selective in areas they study, learning only the skills they need to perform in their given field, lacking general skills that were common knowledge in previous generations, being more and more dependant on technology and on others to do things that almost everyone did themselves 30-40 years ago, and still do in less-developed countries.

As technology becomes more widespread, it gets into the hands of those further down the intellectual and social ladder who would never have had a chance of being near the leading edge of society 20 years ago. While it may appear in some instances that the latest generation is spoiled or less intelligent than the previous one, it may be because there are some sections of society that are just a lot more visible than they used to be. I know a lot of highly intelligent teenagers, it just depends on where you look to get your 'representative sample'.

Another major problem that is not new, though is maybe more visible now, is that of double standards, both intellectually and morally.

Intellectually it goes something like this, if I can throw the tiniest doubt on your position through a wild conspiracy theory, by making insanely large demands for evidential support or by finding an alternative explanation for a very minor point, then your position is untenable and you're a fool for believing it, though my position is based on an amateur website or book I read that I liked the sound of and suits my lifestyle, so I never bothered to look any further. An alternative version is 'I only ever read books or articles by people I agree with, all the rest must be wrong'

Morally, it means being outraged by an evil act when committed by one individual or group, but excusing the same sort of act (or worse) when committed by another. The mass news media seems to be guilty of this on a whole range of topics. On a more personal level, this is also being a lot more troubled by the evil in the world than by the evil in your own heart. After all, that's the problem you can do most about .

Yes, we have to sort out our more fundamental issues, but this is irrelevant to our era, or to what the next era will be. There are always those who say we are playing God by advancing in some technological area, but you can't stop science from progressing, you can't stop new discoveries from being made (if you stop, then someone else will overtake you). All we can do is attempt to ensure that the most powerful of these new technologies do not get into the hands of those who would be irresponsible with them, punish those who abuse them, and attempt to make sure that our own use of them is as constructive as possible.

A difficult task, but if we don't do it, who will?

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"Morally, it means being outraged by an evil act when committed by one individual or group, but excusing the same sort of act (or worse) when committed by another. The mass news media seems to be guilty of this on a whole range of topics. On a more personal level, this is also being a lot more troubled by the evil in the world than by the evil in your own heart. After all, that's the problem you can do most about"

Hypocrisy, one of the largest silent threats we have now. In general we might say something is bad or inhumane,etc... but inside we are doing the same thing and following the same lines of that which we condemn. If you are against and fighting one thing, you must carry that argument to anything else even slightly related and with no bias or else someone will be able to easily come and say the same as you. That is how most wars are started, and it is usually with hypocritical misunderstanding (took me a while to fully figure that one out).

Here in America, where we have the best example of personal freedom with technology and society, this entire thing can be seen pretty clearly (since I live in America it is most relevant too to me. We are something of a "modern society of the future", the complete opposite of old cultures where we seem to have come from absolute monarchy to unlimited democracy, a statement of freedom which sadly in modern terms has come to "I can do whatever I want and there is no limit to it." That is the first step in ignorance, and ignorance leads to all the rest and is the root of most problems.

"Communicating with others via chat rooms and forums gives us a feeling of anonymity and invulnerability - we can invent a whole new identity for ourselves and feel no-one can do anything to us for what we say, hence the anarchy that reigns over most forums. When we meet people in the course of our day, we are often under pressure, in a hurry and tired, hardly conducive to warm human contact. We are increasingly more and more isolated from nature, catching idealised glimpses via adverts and movies."

So true. I am guilty here, although I was always better at explaining things in written words than through speaking.

"Yes, we have to sort out our more fundamental issues, but this is irrelevant to our era, or to what the next era will be. There are always those who say we are playing God by advancing in some technological area, but you can't stop science from progressing, you can't stop new discoveries from being made (if you stop, then someone else will overtake you). All we can do is attempt to ensure that the most powerful of these new technologies do not get into the hands of those who would be irresponsible with them, punish those who abuse them, and attempt to make sure that our own use of them is as constructive as possible.

A difficult task, but if we don't do it, who will?"

First, I wouldn't say that our elemental beleifs are irrelevant at all to our era, they were relevant to every era and especially so now. It is what is in your head that ultimately determines how you act and how events turn out to be. It also determines the kind of people such as you say next that WILL end up with the "Human power" in their hands. Of course there is no way we can stop advancement of technology, but we can still reform the advancement of how we think and act -that is what is most important and that is what will determine how the entire human race will turn out to be in the future: intelligent but responsible, or arrogant and thoughtless.

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Only religion and pseudo-science claim to have all the answers. That is their fatal weakness. The strength of science is that it can change its findings when new information becomes available, and good science always anticipates and seeks new information.

I think the question really is, "Has mankind's technological development exceeded our ability to manage." I think the answer is an obvious yes. The continued use of nuclear power plants and the deadly radioactive waste they produce is just one example.

If history is any indicator, then the only hope for the human race is the human race itself, not gods or alien saviors. In reality, isn't it only through the application of such ideals as expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and documents like the Humanist Manifesto III and the Council for Secular Humanism's A Secular Humanist Declaration that we will establish any real social justice and security as our accumulation of knowledge and the growth of technology take us to places we have yet to imagine?

Anyway, that's my two cents.

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quote:

Originally posted by Frozen Ghost:

The continued use of nuclear power plants and the deadly radioactive waste they produce is just one example.


Nonsense, complete and utter nonsense.

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quote:


Originally posted by The Black Ghost:

First, I wouldn't say that our elemental beleifs are irrelevant at all to our era, they were relevant to every era and especially so now. It is what is in your head that ultimately determines how you act and how events turn out to be. It also determines the kind of people such as you say next that WILL end up with the "Human power" in their hands. Of course there is no way we can stop advancement of technology, but we can still reform the advancement of how we think and act -that is what is most important and that is what will determine how the entire human race will turn out to be in the future: intelligent but responsible, or arrogant and thoughtless.


That's what I meant, they are always vitally important, no matter what era we are in. There will always be a mix of evil and good in society, of responsible and irresponsible, there will always be a battle between good and evil desires in each individual, we have to keep fighting to make sure that the arrogant and destructive ones among us do not drown out the responsible and constructive ones, since really bad things happen when good people do nothing (I forget who first said that.)

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quote:

Nonsense, complete and utter nonsense.

You are welcome to your opinion. However, isn't the disposal of radioactive waste a major problem that will never go away. Literally.

It doesn't make sense to me to produce material that is going to be deadly for tens of thousands years when you have no means to effectively 'get rid of it'.

Also, I had the occasion to have to visit a certain nuclear plant for a period of time on business. The day before the first day I got there they had out-gassed some radioactive steam. Of course they didn't mention that fact to me, I had to read about it later.

Once they were in the process of installing something in the reactor and the room I was working in had a couple of 'jumpers' pacing around in it. The job was described to me as 'jumping' into the reactor, turning a nut and then getting yanked out to avoid over exposure. These guys were ... edgy. Working next to the hot lab didn't seem so bad then. But I digress.

I used to get the rad report in the mail periodically telling me how much radiation I had been exposed to while there. So, while I am no expert, I'm not totally ignorant of the situation.

Like I said, you're welcome to your opinion on the subject.

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Let me put it to you this way.

It is called reprocessing, and then taking the heavier elements and creating heavy fuel reactors, then take that fuel and reprocess it again, and reuse it, take the lighter elements, use it in light reactors again, then take the heavy elements from light reactors and use them in heavy reactors and so on and so forth, by the time you are done, you have maybe a 2% waste product, which you take and put them into a 100 to 1 mix with some other nonradioactive element, then you put it on a rocket, and launch it into the sun.

Nuclear power is cheap, it is clean, and it is technologically the safest energy source there is.

To say that it is irresponsible to use such an energy source is stupid, ridiculous, and just plain naive.

Mining companies have made it impossible to reprocess nuclear fuel, which is why there is so much waste, but if it were reprocessed, the waste would be neglible, and eaily stored, or gotten rid of.

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" ...then you put it on a rocket, and launch it into the sun."

Sure you do. Launching radioactive waste into space is just as risky as storing it underneath the water table don't you think? Again, history as our guide, do we really want to risk scattering radioactive waste all over the landscape or have it vaporized into the atmosphere by an exploding rocket? I'm thinking ... no.

"...reprocessing..."

In theory that might be nice, but in reality it is another matter. As you yourself said, "Mining companies have made it impossible to reprocess nuclear fuel, which is why there is so much waste, ..."

Nuclear energy in the present state of the art is too vulnerable to graft, incompetence, and fraud. That was my point. We aren't at a place socially (morally or ethically) were we can manage the technology without greed or incompetence rendering good science ineffective.

"Nuclear power is cheap, it is clean, and it is technologically the safest energy source there is.

"

That may very well be true if it is managed properly. Did you see that? I'm agreeing with you.

That is why I rephrased the question as "Has mankind's technological development exceeded our ability to manage." "Mining companies have made it impossible to reprocess nuclear fuel, which is why there is so much waste, ..."

See that? It looks like you agree with me.

"We have much to learn, and much to do yet, if our religious fanatics of all stripes don't kill us all first."

Do you think the government of Iran will make proper use of nuclear energy and material? Do you believe they will operate using the proper standards and practices? Will they be interested in the welfare of the public? Do you think as I do, that they may misuse it to make something destructive and don't have the sense to handle it?

I didn't say nuclear energy was "evil" now did I? If you want to fight find someone that disagrees with you.

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France reprocesses ALL of it's nuclear fuel, and gets over 50% of it's energy from nuclear energy. Guess what, they don't have a nuclear waste problem, because they do exactly what I stated above.

So it is not a dream, it is happening, IN FRANCE, and I for one am embarassed that France surpasses us in such technology.

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Frozghost: "I think the question really is, "Has mankind's technological development exceeded our ability to manage." I think the answer is an obvious yes."

That is correct. We will always -as far as we can say, from now on, have what we have, but our control and management and use over that which we have is still not accomplished fully, and yet we are already pushing on towards the next thing.

"About all that nuclear waste stuff... Probably goes along the same lines as any garbage usage -you can burn it or attempt to recycle some of it or decompose parts of it...whatever. The point is, nuclear power has become a crucial part of modern day living, and it is cleaner, if not safer. We are definately far too dependent on it, but at this point it is too late to avoid that because of our reliance on it.

Zwecky: "That's what I meant, they are always vitally important, no matter what era we are in. There will always be a mix of evil and good in society, of responsible and irresponsible, there will always be a battle between good and evil desires in each individual, we have to keep fighting to make sure that the arrogant and destructive ones among us do not drown out the responsible and constructive ones, since really bad things happen when good people do nothing."

Maybe just another bad case of interpretation on my part I apologize, I do agree with you here. We do need to keep those "destructive people" in check, and the only way to do that is to finish the race first, but part of the solution would also be to make sure there is less available at the disposal of those people that could do harm.

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Yeah, the Uranium Information Center of Australia says it was 78% in 2006 and I read elsewhere that we were at 20%! To paraphrase Dr. Strangelove, "There is a Nuclear Energy gap!"

One of our big problems is the NRC. Which is an example of what I was getting at with: "Has mankind's technological development exceeded our ability to manage?" If we're going to do it then we should have one design that is used across the whole country. That would reduce costs dramatically. They have not made any move to require that and now there is some controversy over that fact that: "design standards for the next generation of power plants do not include requirements for resisting an aerial assault." That is clearly a defense issue and therefore the responsibility of the government to provide, I would think, but who am I? We'll have to see how that comes out.

I may be a victim of Three Mile Island/Chernobyl phobia or perhaps I have just grown cynical but it seems that graft, incompetence, and fraud prevent the implementation of Nuclear Power in the USA. The technology may be there to do it safely and well, that doesn't mean we're going to find someone who can pull it off within the business and political landscape they would be dealing with. I say this because ... it isn't happening in this country, we can't getting anything done for reaching into each others pockets.

If we would have put the money we have poured into this war into alternative energy research we would most likely would have had a solution to our power problems. I mean, if they would have just used the 9 Billion dollars they can not account for we'd be well on our way. Its all about being able to handle it properly. It's the same principle behind not giving a gun to a monkey. You never do that. Is the gun in someway evil or bad? No it's just a tool. The monkey however, can't handle the responsibility of using such a tool. We are the monkeys and nuclear energy is the gun.

This all gets back to mankind being the commander of its own destiny, and maybe back to the topic. No unseen hand guides world events, the characters and wills of our fellow human beings as shown in their actions do. We need peace loving forward thinking people at the top of the chain of command who will fund and implement things properly in this country. But that's just my opinion.

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I just don't understand the view that technologic advancement is a bad thing. I also don't buy the argument that says technological advancement is going to allow us to do and control everything because knowledge grows every year. Our astonishment of how we have made much larger than expected advances in computers has made us blind to the lack of technological advancement in other things. Also fear of technology further contributes to the assumption that technological advancement will be infinite and fast. We cannot stop technological advancement, the argument says.

Technology is usually bad because it is applied before it is very good. Genetic modification of food is a good example. I don't think, however, that genetic engineering is a science that is bad for mankind. Biological science is probably the most important area we can advance in to achieve our ultimate goal of being able to control everything. We can make enormous advances in medicine with bioscience in making nutriceuticals and gene therapy products. The biggest advancement we could make is to understand how every species of life works at the component level. Plants are able to fight off many different diseases. Studying their mechanism of how they do this would give us major insight into making new drugs. Their chemicals can in rare instances even be used as drugs without much modification. To do this we need a species study program like the Apollo space program. The returns are too uncertain and far into the future for private industry to ever undertake such a task. If we don't recognize limits of progress in things such as drugs, then we won't reorganize our society to advance as far as we could. The more limits we can find like these the more corrections we will make so that technological advancement can be maximized.

I like the idea of nuclear power due to its abundance of fuel. It means we will basically never run out of fuel. Technology to reduce the harmfulness of nuclear waste to a fraction of its original levels should make getting rid of the waste possible. However, nuclear waste is only part of the problem with nuclear power. There are too many cases of nuclear power plant leaks into groundwater and farmland. Unless we have the strictest of environmental standards like in France, nuclear power seems like a bad idea. Instead, we should be using genetic engineering to improve biofuels like ethanol as Brazil did. I think we could do this in less time than it would take to design and build good nuclear power plants, because nuclear power has to be expanded many times to provide power to all of the country. However, we must take carbon dioxide emissions into account, which biofuels will not solve because they are still used for thermal energy. Thermal energy no matter what fuel it uses emits carbon dioxide. In the near future, the majority of energy consumption will be from new energy users, which means we need new energy technology.

To think we can solve our energy problems by just picking the best technology is arrogant and naive. Nuclear power may be our best option because it has negligible air emissions, and is compact and portable. Wind is nice in theory but adaquate wind to generate enough power is only available in a few areas of the country. We cannot have too much power generated in just one location because we can not transmit it far enough to reach all users. So energy transmission technology needs to improve. Solar technology has potential but its feasibility is unproven. Fuel cells would be the ultimate answer but they would take 50 years to invent to be good enough for mass energy production. But if carbon sequestration is feasible than biofueled power generation would be the answer. We are in the biotechnology age now. So we should apply this next generation technology to every place possible including power generation. We need studies before we decide on an energy technology. Therefore, if we leave knowledge accumulation for energy technology on its current path, our energy problems will not get solved. So technologic advancement is not being maximized in energy production either.

The most important thing we need to do to improve things is to do away with any arrogance we have about how great our technological ability is. We can not advance by simply restricting how technology is used. We need to make all new technologies high quality technologies so none of them harm us. If we can direct our awe away from our technologies and to how complex plant and animal life is, our drug industry would stop making crummy drugs where they are embarassed to list their side effects. The same is true with energy technology. We need technology to advance just as much as we need to restrict how it is used, because we can never assume a technology will advance infinitely. Technology will not advance to its maximum unless we find our limits. We need to stop believing our technology will ever have the ability to play god, whether for good or for evil. Knowledge accumulation needs to be allocated with maximum efficiency to get the maximum beneficial result. Every other resource is like that and so is knowledge. Unlimited time and manpower won't cover the shortfall because neither is unlimited.

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quote:

Originally posted by rapilot:

I just don't understand the view that technologic advancement is a bad thing. I also don't buy the argument that says technological advancement is going to allow us to do and control everything because knowledge grows every year. Our astonishment of how we have made much larger than expected advances in computers has made us blind to the lack of technological advancement in other things. Also fear of technology further contributes to the assumption that technological advancement will be infinite and fast. We cannot stop technological advancement, the argument says.

Technology is usually bad because it is applied before it is very good. Genetic modification of food is a good example. I don't think, however, that genetic engineering is a science that is bad for mankind. Biological science is probably the most important area we can advance in to achieve our ultimate goal of being able to control everything. We can make enormous advances in medicine with bioscience in making nutriceuticals and gene therapy products. The biggest advancement we could make is to understand how every species of life works at the component level. Plants are able to fight off many different diseases. Studying their mechanism of how they do this would give us major insight into making new drugs. Their chemicals can in rare instances even be used as drugs without much modification. To do this we need a species study program like the Apollo space program. The returns are too uncertain and far into the future for private industry to ever undertake such a task. If we don't recognize limits of progress in things such as drugs, then we won't reorganize our society to advance as far as we could. The more limits we can find like these the more corrections we will make so that technological advancement can be maximized.

The most important thing we need to do to improve things is to do away with any arrogance we have about how great our technological ability is. We can not advance by simply restricting how technology is used. We need to make all new technologies high quality technologies so none of them harm us. If we can direct our awe away from our technologies and to how complex plant and animal life is, our drug industry would stop making crummy drugs where they are embarassed to list their side effects. The same is true with energy technology. We need technology to advance just as much as we need to restrict how it is used, because we can never assume a technology will advance infinitely. Technology will not advance to its maximum unless we find our limits. We need to stop believing our technology will ever have the ability to play god, whether for good or for evil. Knowledge accumulation needs to be allocated with maximum efficiency to get the maximum beneficial result. Every other resource is like that and so is knowledge. Unlimited time and manpower won't cover the shortfall because neither is unlimited.

I never said anything about technology being bad. In itself, there is no object anywhere that is "bad", even a nuclear bomb, because it is just there. It is who has it, who makes it, how it is used that is the problem. Good technology in the hands of bad people is overall, bad. Also I would say, we are not anywhere near being able to control everything, but we can still manipulate most of it, and soon will be well on our way to more. Another point I have to bring up is, while we may not be able to control the world on every level, we dont have to in order to bring harm to ourselves.

A question though:What do you think it means for a certain "advancement" or technology to be harmful? Destructive capability perhaps like nuclear weapons? Arent there other factors? Lets take a look at a scenario that is more realistic and pressing, sort of depressing and maybe overdramatized but it is more likely than you might think.

These days we have an incredible amount of medical knowledge, not all, but an incredible amount still. Good, so we can save lives, that is good. But the realm of medical science has moved to a point where the focus is on money, and on self ease and not life saving as much. Where resources could have been put towards still uncurable diseases like HIV/AIDs, there are clinical abortins, a million pointless drugs and antidepressants that are not needed, and a knowledge that attempts to keep us alive as long as possible, which is the scenario.

Im not going to spend time finding the sites for this stuff, but you can find it easily. Average lifespan over the past hundred years has nearly gone up by 1/3 now at around 102 or something, or soon to be. It used to be 80. Predictions put it to soon be at around 110. Hopeful people will see it rise every year to be at about 130 in forty years, maybe. Alright, so longer life is better life right? For the people who can afford it...and for those who won't be killed because of this. We never really think about overpopulation as a threat to humanity, unless it is overpopulation of rabbits, therefore we kill them to even it out. No one really seems to understand that we have the same problem as the rabbits, and humans take up a hell of a lot more room. World population is approx 8 billion now, and rising, even thoguh some claim that birth rate is slowing down...but somehow (hmm) population is still rising exponentially. Soon, not only does space become an issue, but jobs, home services like water and electricity...and importantly, food. We are already past an equilibrium point between farmland and cityspace, and the more that balance is lost the more we will suffer. We are having problems with oil and fuel now, what will food shortage bring?

Longer lives mean more food consumption, more land space being used, more destruction on an enviromental level... it is an endless cycle... and it ends in a bad way too: Food prices will increase, living conditions decrease and then get worse because of economic pressure from the food prices (not to mention any other resources). More resources and land are needed, therefore we cut down more forest space, losing precious oxygen producing trees, animal ecosystems. Greenhouse gases will end up being ignored or patched up with a temporary solution that will fail ultimately. Soon we get an economic chaos, people without jobs, poverty. With more poverty comes more crime, less people to fight the crime, more people angry at the government. What are the solutions to the dilemna? Population laws or find space on the moon (not gunna happen). Population laws, or whatever just makes peopel hate the governments more, eventually there is not much more than anarchy. Local municipalities join together, wars start over everything from land to food. And even here the cycle is still getting worse until eventually, who knows, angry man in China decides America would look better as a crater and decides to nuke us all (although nuclear war at this point would be mercy killing for all but the highest class of people)...SO is this a possiblity...yes, though somewhat unlikely. Could never happen, but it could start in ten years for all we know as a result of what we are doing now...and that is the point. Repercussions.

You can't live forever, but with technology we can live a lot longer...So is it a good thing?

En Fin.

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I forgot to mention that our building materials technology is also deficient. The materials we use or too depletable. Trees may be the most plentiful building material there is. You can get the most volume of building materials from trees, I hypothesize, than from any other plant.

Not only is overpopulation a problem, but there will be more consumers of good sized houses. Genetic engineering is the solution here too. We need really good miracle grow to make the trees on tree farms grow as fast as possible. If we don't, the demand for wood will outstrip supply. If we take deforestation into account also, the situation we will face if we don't make our building materials technology better will be serious.

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Although I agree, that is the least of our worries, and genetic engineering is not going to be the ultimate solution to crop supply.

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