• Brett
    550
    Well, I'm not in control of the mission, but I think keeping them in the dark is going to be necessary to stem rebellion.Unseen

    The problem is that the first generation experienced the past, they know.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.8k
    I don't know who you're quoting, but it isn't me. By being kept in the dark, they aren't even free to give an informed whine.Unseen

    Sorry; I didn't contextualise my comment enough.

    There have been quite a few anti-natalist threads over time, some straight forward, some more devious, that always boil down to people being the victim of existence without their consent. The passengers on the L O N G journey to another star, even the nearest, would be composed of generations of people who hadn't signed up for the trip. Even if earth was dead 15 minutes after they left, it is doubtful that they would be grateful to find themselves the remnant of a species -- of the entire planet.

    Fortunately we are not at any risk of putting people in this position, and almost certainly never will be. We are already in outer space, we already occupy a perfectly adequate planet, and even if we could get to another nice cozy planet, we would not be any smarter and soon we would have screwed over that celestial ball as badly as we have screwed over our present celestial abode.

    No, I think it would be unethical to journey to another star system. We have a home; if we fuck it up, we do not deserve another.
  • Brett
    550


    But why should the second generation pay the price for what their parents did? The context of the ship, the nature of living like that, generation to generation, time, new lessons, could change who they are.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.8k
    I don't think they should pay the price. But if they are born on board a starbound spaceship, they have no choice but to pay the price. As would each following generation.

    Sort of like life itself, no?

    Yes, life aboard ship would change them. Life on earth will change them. Change is the only constant (cliche) and as Ecclesiastes puts it, "time and chance happen to all". We are ever changing. You can never step in the same river twice, etc.
  • Brett
    550


    I was thinking the trip might change them for the better.
  • Brett
    550
    If the people on the spaceship can't change from what the first generation were, human nature still operating as it always has, then it's unlikely the ship will reach its destination: discontent, tribalism, revolution, murder, patricide, mass murder.

    If the ship does reach its destination then it's because these things didn't happen and the nature of men and women had changed for the better.

    If they reach the planet the journey was worth it.
  • I like sushi
    1.1k
    This is something like forcing children to learn math or recite from the bible ... obviously a more extreme level though. I think at the end of the day the choice lies with the parents of the children.

    More simply put would you be willing to slaughter your children for the sake of humanity? This isn’t ‘slaughter’ per se, yet we’re edging toward such problems by asking these questions. My position here is a matter of ‘moral’ direction rather than led by ‘ethics’ ... when it comes to making the decision the choice is mine, yet I am under the influence of humanity at large as I am considering the entire human race not merely my moral stance separated from societal norms - which perhaps would cease to exist if we’re to expand to other worlds beyond our solar system.

    In a more immediate respect we could talk about something that may happen within our life times! The birth of children in the atmosphere of Venus or on Mars. They would essentially be the proverbial ‘canary down the mineshaft’, yet would we be willing to stop couples from having children simply because they are not in Earth?

    Over all I would say it is okay. People are born everyday into harsh situations and/or end up, by no direct fault of their own, with terrible burdens to bear. So I don’t see it as being ‘unethical’ and I would think every parent would do their best to equip their children for the life laid out before them - and this is mostly guesswork anyway!
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.3k
    Is there some way to do such an enterprise in a fully ethical manner?Unseen

    On-topic, but thinking laterally, I wonder if travelling to the stars is ethical from the point of view of the resources it would take to mount such an expedition? It looks almost certain that we will have to give up a lot of luxuries, quite soon, to salvage what we can of our ecosystem. In the context of this topic, perhaps air travel is the best example: it is entirely unnecessary, and it takes resources, causes pollution and global warming, etc, etc. Can we really contemplate interstellar travel under these circumstances?
  • TheMadFool
    3.3k
    n a lot of countries, teaching/education fails very little. A colony ship would likely have the very best both in method and technology, so I don't see too many kids flunking out. Not that everyone needs to pass anyway since a majority of the people there would probably be there just to colonize, not necessarily maintain the ship. Also, I wouldn't attribute the world's problems to people not paying attention in school. Not even people with doctorates know how to make unlimited energy or stop natural disasters. I would say all of our problems are caused by the current limit of what we can teach, not necessarily people not learning.

    This ship will be these people's home for a good while, most likely their entire lives. Even if they wish to seek vengeance on the people who sent them, they will always have an interest in maintaining the ship, because they need it to survive.

    I think it very unlikely that the people would want to seek vengeance or even feel trapped at all. Realistic computer simulations and the biosphere required to maintain the life support systems should give an authentic Earth experience. Really, the only thing these people would be missing out on is potential poverty, natural disasters, and mundane sphere-bound existence
    TogetherTurtle

    Peace is hard to maintain. Don't you think? Even on a place as big as Earth we have wars. What horrors could unfold in the confines of a spaceship?

    I'm not saying a space mission like in the OP is impossible but I am saying it'll be very very difficult.
  • TogetherTurtle
    280
    Peace is hard to maintain. Don't you think? Even on a place as big as Earth we have wars. What horrors could unfold in the confines of a spaceship?TheMadFool

    I think peace for at most 200 years is manageable. Especially when war means everyone dies. Sort of a mutually assured destruction sort of thing. Even so, rules and regulations will most likely be enforced by some sort of AI or less sentient computer system. That brings up some privacy issues, but we already have plenty of those at home. It almost completes the whole "Earth Experience" for them.

    I'm not saying a space mission like in the OP is impossible but I am saying it'll be very very difficult.TheMadFool

    Anything worth doing is difficult. It will probably also get easier as we gain more experience in it and develop more tech to help us. All I'm saying is that space has a lot of raw resources, and if one bad enough thing happens on Earth, our entire species dies. I think it is generally a good idea to eventually colonize elsewhere even if one or two missions go wrong in the learning process.
  • Unseen
    121
    ↪Unseen

    You’re probably right, though sailing to the New World (I was actually thinking of the settlers who left the East Coast for the mid west) might have seemed like that back then.
    Brett

    Your statement, like many, overlooks the fact that the space slaves don't have even a prayer of going back.
  • Unseen
    121
    There have been quite a few anti-natalist threads over time, some straight forward, some more devious, that always boil down to people being the victim of existence without their consent. The passengers on the L O N G journey to another star, even the nearest, would be composed of generations of people who hadn't signed up for the trip. Even if earth was dead 15 minutes after they left, it is doubtful that they would be grateful to find themselves the remnant of a species -- of the entire planet.Bitter Crank


    As I've pointed out elsewhere, the children and descendants of early expansionist settlers on Earth always have the OPTION, however remote, of turning/going back.
  • Unseen
    121
    Slavery changes people for the better. Whether they like it or not, I guess.
  • Unseen
    121
    Is there some way to do such an enterprise in a fully ethical manner?
    — Unseen

    On-topic, but thinking laterally, I wonder if travelling to the stars is ethical from the point of view of the resources it would take to mount such an expedition? It looks almost certain that we will have to give up a lot of luxuries, quite soon, to salvage what we can of our ecosystem. In the context of this topic, perhaps air travel is the best example: it is entirely unnecessary, and it takes resources, causes pollution and global warming, etc, etc. Can we really contemplate interstellar travel under these circumstances?
    Pattern-chaser

    You left a lot out. During our (meaning the European) exploratory period, we introduced those we encountered with a mix of new resources (steel working, horsemanship, etc.) and new challenges, mainly in the form of our taking their and mostly unconsciously bringing our diseases with us, to which they had no immunity whatsoever.

    We could be doing the same with any new planet we were to try to colonize.

    OR they could see us as vermin fit only for target practice or to be used as beasts of burden.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.8k
    What would it be about living on board a space ship that would change the passengers so that they would not be subject to discontent, tribalism, revolution, murder, patricide, mass murder, AND MORE!?

    These tendencies would have to be suppressed before the space ship is built, before the destination is discovered. Life abroad the starship Enterprise under Picard was peaceful and purposeful because the tendency to discontent, tribalism, revolution, murder, patricide, mass murder (and more) had been trained out of human society. (somehow -- not explained in any of the episodes). And only trained out -- not bred out.

    We (humans) do quite well when the stresses of life are well within tolerable limits. Our best traits can come forward and we can behave like Enterprise crew members: rational, reasonably patient, reserved, polite, caring, attending to our duties, etc. It's when stresses are beyond tolerable limits for extended periods of time that we begin to display our very unpleasant potentials.

    IF the starship was provisioned with enough space to avoid the chronic stress of over exposure to each other, satisfying amusements, shared strong beliefs in the mission, secure and adequate resources to sustain life, etc. -- sure, I can see it all working out well.

    But... the scenario explored in many fictional long space flights is that equipment breaks down, accidents degrade the quality of life, untimely (and natural) deaths of key people, and so forth can bring the whole happy scene to a screeching halt -- just as it has a million times here on this big round starship Earth. (We don't need bizarre viruses, ghastly aliens, or psychopaths to screw things up. All it takes is too many things going wrong.

    If there is anything we know for sure, it is that machinery will break down inconveniently, and that the best laid plans of mice and men will eventually go awry.

    Adrien Tchaikovsky (Children of Time and its sequel, Children of Ruin) explores some of these problems. A terraforming experiment prepared a raw planet to receive the seeds of earth-ecology. That part worked out well. It's a splendid place. Chimpanzees were to be the most intellectually advanced of species on the planet (no humans). The chimps were to be infected with a virus that would direct the apes to evolve toward much higher intelligence. By chance, the capsule carrying the monkeys crashed and burned, and the virus was released into the pristine environment. Jumping spiders and ants became infected with the virus, and over time (like... 10,000 years) the arthropods evolved into a space faring species--overcoming their natural predatory natures with considerable difficulty.

    SCI Fi, of course. Fiction. But it demonstrates my point that one SHOULD know that things can, and probably will, go wrong.

    Humans are what we are: primates with all sorts of emotional vulnerabilities capped by remarkable intellect. Both our strengths and weaknesses are deeply established. We are always doomed to a conflict between our equally vital limbic and pre-frontal cortex tendencies.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.8k
    settlers on Earth always have the OPTION, however remote, of turning/going back.Unseen

    The chances of Homo sapiens sapiens (like Columbus) seeing a new and unexpected land and then sensitively turning back before first contact is made is vanishingly remote. It's just not like Homo sapiens to see an apple tree bearing ripe fruit and not taste it. If the apples taste good, we'll pick every last one of them and haul them home. We might even cut the tree down for fire wood.
  • Unseen
    121
    settlers on Earth always have the OPTION, however remote, of turning/going back.
    — Unseen

    The chances of Homo sapiens sapiens (like Columbus) seeing a new and unexpected land and then sensitively turning back before first contact is made is vanishingly remote. It's just not like Homo sapiens to see an apple tree bearing ripe fruit and not taste it. If the apples taste good, we'll pick every last one of them and haul them home. We might even cut the tree down for fire wood.
    Bitter Crank

    Wow! A great and successful attempt to miss my point. While the vast majority of settlers stayed, I think you'll find some soured on the idea and sought, some successfully and some not, to return to the civility of England or Europe.
  • TogetherTurtle
    280
    You're not imprisoned on Earth. Earth is your species' natural home.Unseen

    Is a child born into slavery actually free because his parents were slaves? What seems more likely is that freedom is hierarchical and we can only be free or enslaved relative to others.
  • Unseen
    121
    You're not imprisoned on Earth. Earth is your species' natural home.
    — Unseen

    Is a child born into slavery actually free because his parents were slaves? What seems more likely is that freedom is hierarchical and we can only be free or enslaved relative to others.
    TogetherTurtle

    Earth is where humans can survive (assuming we don't continue to eff it up). No other place is as suited because this is where we evolved.
  • TogetherTurtle
    280
    Earth is where humans can survive (assuming we don't continue to eff it up). No other place is as suited because this is where we evolved.Unseen

    Does evolution end when we learn about it? I see no reason why through natural or engineered means we can't go places in the future that we can't go now.
  • Brett
    550
    ↪Brett Slavery changes people for the better. Whether they like it or not, I guess.Unseen

    I don’t understand this.
  • Brett
    550
    These tendencies would have to be suppressed before the space ship is built, before the destination is discovered. Life abroad the starship Enterprise under Picard was peaceful and purposeful because the tendency to discontent, tribalism, revolution, murder, patricide, mass murder (and more) had been trained out of human society. (somehow -- not explained in any of the episodes).Bitter Crank

    This is a very long trip, plenty of time for a bit of bio genetic manipulation. Of course by the time they reach their destination they would no longer be human.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.8k
    Thank you. I always try to maintain my reputation. BTW, I don't think I missed your point.

    They returned to Europe (if that was possible) because the place failed to meet their expectations. They didn't return to Europe because they suddenly recognised themselves as tools of imperialism imposing on the civility of the native people who had been doing just fine until they arrived. [Full disclosure: I wouldn't have expected anybody to think they were tools of colonial imperialist powers.]

    People always start out thinking they are doing "the Lord's good work", even when snatching somebody else's homeland. There are Biblical precedents for that, after all. And, we being the egotistical animals we are, usually persist in thinking we are doing good, even after the whole thing has blown up in our faces.

    People are just not that reliably nice, when you get right down to it.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.8k
    Of course by the time they reach their destination they would no longer be human.Brett

    Which, depending on one's perspective, is either a good or bad thing.
  • Unseen
    121
    Earth is where humans can survive (assuming we don't continue to eff it up). No other place is as suited because this is where we evolved.
    — Unseen

    Does evolution end when we learn about it? I see no reason why through natural or engineered means we can't go places in the future that we can't go now.
    TogetherTurtle

    I'm far from claiming we can't go, at least as a possibility, and assuming a LOT of problems are solved. But if we go there and live in a glass dome only going outside in space suits, we aren't really adapting to the planet in an evolutionary way.
  • TogetherTurtle
    280
    I'm far from claiming we can't go, at least as a possibility, and assuming a LOT of problems are solved. But if we go there and live in a glass dome only going outside in space suits, we aren't really adapting to the planet in an evolutionary way.Unseen

    Isn't the intelligence required to build big domes and space suits an evolutionary adaptation? Besides, if we can build big enough to terraform a planet, (something we can't do yet, one of those problems you mentioned) then we wouldn't need domes at all.

    The only real things in my eyes that separate humanity from the rest of the biosphere is a higher relative sense of awareness and the ability to learn quickly. That's something that we evolved to have, and if it allows us to walk among the stars, we should certainly do that if it's beneficial to our continued efforts in survival.
  • Unseen
    121
    ↪Brett Slavery changes people for the better. Whether they like it or not, I guess.
    — Unseen

    I don’t understand this.
    Brett

    You had said, "It's just not like Homo sapiens to see an apple tree bearing ripe fruit and not taste it. If the apples taste good, we'll pick every last one of them and haul them home. We might even cut the tree down for fire wood."

    I was paraphrasing what you seemed to be implying.
  • Unseen
    121
    People are just not that reliably nice, when you get right down to it.Bitter Crank

    And this is why for those on the crew in the middle of the trip who probably won't be told about the mission, who see the ship as a world they live in, probably must be kept in the dark. For psychological reasons and to forestall rebellion.
  • Brett
    550
    I was paraphrasing what you seemed to be implying.Unseen

    No, that wasn’t me, wasn’t my comment.
  • Unseen
    121
    Isn't the intelligence required to build big domes and space suits an evolutionary adaptation? Besides, if we can build big enough to terraform a planet, (something we can't do yet, one of those problems you mentioned) then we wouldn't need domes at all.

    The only real things in my eyes that separate humanity from the rest of the biosphere is a higher relative sense of awareness and the ability to learn quickly. That's something that we evolved to have, and if it allows us to walk among the stars, we should certainly do that if it's beneficial to our continued efforts in survival.
    TogetherTurtle

    The dome technology would be Earth technology brought with them, not an adaptation to Planet X. And it's not a technology we "evolved to have." We evolved to have intelligence and curiosity and to have hands with an opposable thumbs. They are an invention and didn't come to us the way nest building comes to squirrels or robins, as an instinct.

    You can disagree or agree, but I don't see it as in any way central to the ethical question here in the Ethics Forum.

    Evolution can still go on inside the dome because nothing can stop mutations from happening.
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