Nature Vs Science and Transhumanism

So I was talking to this guy the other day who was insisting that we should behave more ‘naturally’. Trying to claim that modern human behaviour is “not natural” in some way. Perhaps coz it can sometimes be so violent and selfish.

We as a species do plenty of killing, certainly, but do we do an unnatural amount of killing? Almost everyone that’s ever lived has been killed by ‘natural’ causes. Billions of souls lost with only just six billion actually surviving at the moment.

It makes me sad, and I’d happily throw the “natural” state of human mortality out.

Of course everything humans do is “natural”, there are no supernatural events, no magic, no ghosts. But if you define “natural” as “not man-made” then at least the idea makes some kinda coherent sense.

Even then it’s still not true of course.

Where there is understanding, empathy and morality in the world it’s a human thing, and not ‘natural’ in that sense at all. It’s man-made. Invented in himan brains.

I want more of that stuff, of kindness and empathy, not more violent uncaring red-in-tooth-and-claw “nature.”

Increasing consciousness is essential to properly ensure that the increases in power that come with science are used responsibly, sure, but I don’t know any way we can get that increased understanding other than, well, more science.

Study the world, understand it, make it better.

Which probably makes me some kinda hippie. One of those new-fangled geeky cyber-hippies.

There may be things which can’t be understood through science, I guess. Some clame there are. But I think I would contest that these are things which can’t be understood at all in that case. It seems to me that investigating, testing, trying to prove yourself wrong, constantly improving your model, is how understanding works at all. And this is what science is.

We are indeed, as a species, making some unwise choices and reducing biodiversity, causing mass extinctions. The enviornment is suffering. But guess how we know this? Guess how we’re coming to understand it and finally be in a position to do something about it?

Through investigation and data-collection and reason and the quest for knowledge. That’s how.

Through science.

If you were able to do as some wish and stop science, end that progress, I’m pretty convinced it would be a bad thing for the planet, for bio-diversity, for us personally. After all, the hunter-gatherers knew more than enough to drive the mega-fauna extinct without really understanding what they were doing.

Learning to grok it is the only way to learn to do something about it.

If you were to somehow stop science, stop that learning, that knowledge gathering, you would stop the development of the kinds of consciousness and awareness of our world that we need to prevent it’s descruction from happening at all.

If we are becoming aware of what we are doing, and I think that we are, it’s not through turning a blind eye to the world and waiting for it to spontaneously evolve. That’s not how Darwinism works. Evolution is blind and as likely to produce short-term solutions leading to global extinctions again as it ever was. If we’re increasing awareness, becoming more conscious of our effects on our world, we’re doing it through that thirst for knowledge. Through science. Stopping that growth of our own consciousness would be disaster. Deadly for the planet as thus for ourselves.

As far as we can tell, in the entire galaxy of a hundred billion stars, there’s only one species which has ever become sapient, become aware of themselves and come to understand their own understanding. Their own origin and the systems which brought them to being: Us. Homo-saps.

As far as we can tell we are the only “mind” in the universe.

Which I think is precious, deserves everything we can to do preserve and fill the galaxy with empathy and understanding and morality and, well, mind.

Is there room for us all, if we stop dying, if we stop decay, if we become imortal?

There is plenty of room, we just have to get off this rock.

Course, we need to do that anyway, or else nature’s more vicious weapons like space-rocks and super-volcanoes will kill us all at once rather than the more mundane ones of decay and ageing and disease doing it one at a time.

Exponential growth is lunacy, and especially as we live longer we’ll have to have to grow less quickly. But this isn’t a reason to condemn the 6 billion people alive today to all, every one of them, die over the next 100 years. Think of that. Six billion minds, gone forever. Six billion individuals with hopes and dreams and understanding all destroyed over a mere 100 years of horrendous slaughter. Over a hundred thousand people a day. Over five thousand people every hour, dead. Dead.

We should be doing all we possibly can to stop that.

Is our destiny as a species to sit on this planet, being careful not to use it up, preserving the status quo, until it and every one of us is destroyed by a space-rock or the exploding Earth itself? Or is it to use this planet’s resources to spread mind through the rest of the solar system, to terraform Mars, to inhabit the moons of Jupiter, to send consciousness into the stars?

I know which I’m routing for.

I love “Nature”, that part of the world which isn’t human, but it will kill us all, one by one until the day it decides to take whoever’s left all at once.

The only way to stop that is to use our understanding, our knowledge, our science.

And even that’s a long-shot.