• Unseen
    121
    I was paraphrasing what you seemed to be implying.
    — Unseen

    No, that wasn’t me, wasn’t my comment.
    Brett

    I apologize.
  • TogetherTurtle
    344
    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.Unseen

    I think you are putting a limit on the potential animal life has to adapt. When humans build habitats on other planets, that isn't an adaptation to an environment made possible through genetic mutations, but when a monkey uses a rock to smash open a nut, that is?

    Interestingly, the domes that you typically see in Sci-Fi as space colonies are really just an advanced form of the nests made by the squirrels or robins. Human beings build nests too. In our prehistory, they were campfires and caves, now they are houses and apartments, and in the future, they may very well be domed habitats on other planets.

    Essentially, a nest is a fortified location close to resources used to protect young and rest. If you were to be abandoned on a desert island, you would certainly end up building a nest, or end up dying of exposure. It is very much in our nature to build nests.

    It also seems in our nature to want to explore where we haven't been and exploit useful resources.

    So, if I may ask you at the risk of getting a little more off topic, where is the line between biological changes and technology picking up the slack in everyday life? An animal driven by instinct will know exactly what time to sleep and what time to hunt, but a human needs a watch to know if they are on time to work. Is it unethical for us to make people be on time if we have to make them use a watch?

    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.Unseen

    I thought your point was that it's unethical to send people to a new planet that they "don't belong on". If you can't define where a human belongs, that argument falls apart.
  • Brett
    768
    It’s true, this is an Antinatalism Post.

    Sending a generation out into space who will bear and raise children as they fly to their destination is the same as having children here on Earth and sending them out into the future.

    Women don’t have children because they want to give a child a life, they have children because they want a child, then they try to make a life for it. The desire to have the child comes before the child’s interests.

    The only way to address the ethical decision is to refuse to have children because it’s likely that child’s life will be difficult and possibly unwanted. Having a child is a selfish act, mixed with love for the child no doubt, but still for the Mother’s satisfaction.

    So, the trip into outer space is unethical. There’s no way the birth and life of the children can be justified.
  • Unseen
    121
    I thought your point was that it's unethical to send people to a new planet that they "don't belong on". If you can't define where a human belongs, that argument falls apart.TogetherTurtle

    Well, you totally missed the point, then. It was about how ethical is it to take human on a space mission they didn't consent to go on and to use their labor to complete a mission they probably will never see completed and quite possibly without even being told what the mission is.
  • TogetherTurtle
    344
    Well, you totally missed the point, then. It was about how ethical is it to take human on a space mission they didn't consent to go on and to use their labor to complete a mission they probably will never see completed and quite possibly without even being told what the mission is.Unseen

    I suppose this is just an antinatalism thread then. Every human being since before the dawn of time has lived so that our species continues, which is a mission we don't consent to go on using our labor to complete a mission we will never see completed. If that is your issue, then I would say it's a non-issue.

    Humans are eusocial animals. We make sacrifices in the name of our tribes and the species as a whole. Doing that is in our DNA. If you really have a problem with sacrificing your life working, then you don't deserve the benefits of living in civilization. If the people aboard colony ships refuse to simply live and die in paradise so that the human race can propagate, they don't deserve paradise. These people certainly aren't going to live bleak, horrible lives on colony ships, and the work they have to do to maintain their luxuries will be relatively low compared to even us. All most of them have to do is sit back and relax so that their ancestors can do the slightly less automated task of colonization.

    At the end of the day, the only reason we have nice homes and live happier lives than our ancestors is that we have made this decision already. I live a wonderful life thanks to the genius who invented video games, and that guy lived a wonderful life thanks to whoever invented air conditioning, etc. I plan to give my ancestors a better life by creating something that makes it nicer. If you don't want to do that, most countries won't outright kick you out, but you won't get access to the same amenities as others.

    OK, skip the practical solutions then. How is all these people spending their lives on a ship less ethical than imprisoning them on a planet? It's the environment they're born in, one good enough to live out a life. What's wrong with that? I don't see myself being issued a world cruise as apparently is my right, and certainly not a spaceship ride.
    — noAxioms

    You're not imprisoned on Earth. Earth is your species' natural home. And no third party decided you or I were going to spend our meager existences on Earth. Except for those who are there at the end of the journey and, one hopes, find suitable digs, the generations of crews are born for one purpose only: to get that last bunch to the new Earth-like home. Their lives are being used, ;pure and simple. In order to keep the peace, they may not even be told that they are basically slaves. They may never be told about the home planet they left or even that their ship is on a mission. They may simply be led to think that being born and living on the ship is, well, natural. Just the way things have always been.
    Unseen

    Honestly, I think "humans don't belong there" is a better argument than "what if they don't want to be there?" When you can gain as much land and resources that an entire solar system has, I don't really think that the feelings of a few generations of colonists even matters, even ethically. What about the billions of children back home that need resources from the new system to have schools and homes and clothes? If we're colonizing another system, one would assume we're running short on those.
  • Unseen
    121
    I suppose this is just an antinatalism thread then. Every human being since before the dawn of time has lived so that our species continues, which is a mission we don't consent to go on using our labor to complete a mission we will never see completed. If that is your issue, then I would say it's a non-issue.TogetherTurtle

    So that our species continues was never a part of the OP. It might well be just a pure science probe or even religion-driven. You're introducing your own complications not referred to in the OP. Just stick with what's there, please...or what isn't.

    Honestly, I think "humans don't belong there" is a better argument than "what if they don't want to be there?TogetherTurtle

    I'm not talking about the ones who reach the destination, though there are arguments to be made on their behalf as well. What about the ones in the middle, used as virtual slave labor who both had no choice about being on the ship and who will never see the Promised Land?
  • TogetherTurtle
    344
    So that our species continues was never a part of the OP. It might well be just a pure science probe or even religion-driven. You're introducing your own complications not referred to in the OP. Just stick with what's there, please...or what isn't.Unseen

    But the problem was the same between our species continuing and sending off colonists (which is really much in the same, actually). They both present the same moral issue, that people are giving up freedom for the happiness of others, and I give the same solution to both, that we are eusocial animals and it is absolutely in our nature to do such things. Can it be unethical if it is both universal to do and accepted in every society that has ever existed?

    I'm not talking about the ones who reach the destination, though there are arguments to be made on their behalf as well. What about the ones in the middle, used as virtual slave labor who both had no choice about being on the ship and who will never see the Promised Land?Unseen

    I'm pretty sure you said that they wouldn't belong on the ship, not the colony, so I was also referring to the ship. As for if it's technically "slave labor", I would argue that slaves don't usually get high-class accommodations, free high tech healthcare, and access to the entire wealth of human knowledge and art that would likely have been given to the colonists before they left. Unless you're a communist and would argue that they are "wage slaves", I don't think you can say that is anything close to slavery.
  • Unseen
    121
    But the problem was the same between our species continuing and sending off colonists (which is really much in the same, actually).TogetherTurtle

    But a colonist basically understands that he's colonizing and can, at least theoretically, return to whence he came.
    I'm pretty sure you said that they wouldn't belong on the ship, not the colony, so I was also referring to the ship. As for if it's technically "slave labor", I would argue that slaves don't usually get high-class accommodations, free high tech healthcare, and access to the entire wealth of human knowledge and art that would likely have been given to the colonists before they left.TogetherTurtle

    If you're keeping the crew ignorant of the mission and making them think that the ship is the only "world" there is, you're not going to be regaling them with images of balmy beaches and Netflix videos to watch.
  • TogetherTurtle
    344
    But a colonist basically understands that he's colonizing and can, at least theoretically, return to whence he came.Unseen

    A very fortunate colonist can. Realistically, a majority of colonists ever haven't actually had that option. Colonists are always the poor of a nation wishing to find riches in a new land. The already rich have no reason to leave, especially when they can just send the poor to get riches for them. The funny thing about poor people is that even if they can ride a boat back, they can't afford it. There have been exceptions, but I would say 95 percent of long-distance colonists have never been able to go back. I don't see how bumping that number up to 100 makes it all of a sudden unethical.

    If you're keeping the crew ignorant of the mission and making them think that the ship is the only "world" there is, you're not going to be regaling them with images of balmy beaches and Netflix videos to watch.Unseen

    That was never the intention. The second generation colonists knowing their mission is important because it gives them a common goal. The idea behind sending them thousands of years worth of culture is to remind them who they are doing all of this for, and also entertainment. And to be fair, they're getting a hell of a lot more than pictures and videos. All of the greatest works from every corner of the globe all compiled into the storage of the colony ship is plenty, especially for just one lifetime. Not to mention computer simulations of wonders from Earth both man-made and natural. They have would have every experience there is to have on Earth and then some. Not to mention the culture they create themselves up there. They certainly don't need to be distracted, but if it comes to that, we have more than enough to distract them with.

    Do you wish for them to be able to experience Earth because you think it is special? Someone who didn't grow up here might disagree. Honestly, it might be for their own good that they can't come back. Imagine a "born in the wrong generation" kind of person who longs for Earth, and when they get there, it bores them. They have seen the grand canyon and the Eiffel tower as real as possible already through virtual reality, and now that they are finally on Earth to see the real thing, it doesn't really matter. Sure, the first time they see a real monument they will love it, but that excitement will wear off. Every time they go to see a new monument, it won't be any different from the models and simulations they've seen. Eventually, Earth will just be another place for them, similar if not inferior to their real home, which would be either the colony ship or the destination planet.
  • Unseen
    121
    A very fortunate colonist can. Realistically, a majority of colonists ever haven't actually had that option.TogetherTurtle

    I did say "theoretical." Wherever there's a slim hope, there's hope. Where there's no hope, that's it: there's no hope.
    That was never the intention. The second generation colonists knowing their mission is important because it gives them a common goal. The idea behind sending them thousands of years worth of culture is to remind them who they are doing all of this for, and also entertainment. And to be fair, they're getting a hell of a lot more than pictures and videos. All of the greatest works from every corner of the globe all compiled into the storage of the colony ship is plenty, especially for just one lifetime. Not to mention computer simulations of wonders from Earth both man-made and natural. They have would have every experience there is to have on Earth and then some. Not to mention the culture they create themselves up there. They certainly don't need to be distracted, but if it comes to that, we have more than enough to distract them with.

    Do you wish for them to be able to experience Earth because you think it is special? Someone who didn't grow up here might disagree. Honestly, it might be for their own good that they can't come back. Imagine a "born in the wrong generation" kind of person who longs for Earth, and when they get there, it bores them. They have seen the grand canyon and the Eiffel tower as real as possible already through virtual reality, and now that they are finally on Earth to see the real thing, it doesn't really matter. Sure, the first time they see a real monument they will love it, but that excitement will wear off. Every time they go to see a new monument, it won't be any different from the models and simulations they've seen. Eventually, Earth will just be another place for them, similar if not inferior to their real home, which would be either the colony ship or the destination planet.
    TogetherTurtle

    I see no way around keeping them ignorant of Earth, unless perhaps to depict it as a horrible place their people were lucky to escape from. So, I don't know what would be safe to give them. In fact, the more I think about such a venture, the more untenable it seems, beyond the ethical question, but that's a topic for another forum.
  • TogetherTurtle
    344
    I did say "theoretical." Wherever there's a slim hope, there's hope. Where there's no hope, that's it: there's no hope.Unseen

    But the vast majority never had that hope. Putting indentured servants and actual slaves aside, the average person could never have gone home. It was impossible because they couldn't have ever afforded it. They might as well have had no method to travel back, to begin with. To me at least, there's no difference in the amount of hope you have when there is a ship but you can't use it, and when there is no ship.

    I see no way around keeping them ignorant of Earth, unless perhaps to depict it as a horrible place their people were lucky to escape from. So, I don't know what would be safe to give them. In fact, the more I think about such a venture, the more untenable it seems, beyond the ethical question, but that's a topic for another forum.Unseen

    Maybe I should present the question like this: If there are no negatives to returning to Earth, but also no positives, why would someone go back? Say that you are relocated from one house in the woods to another. The trees are the same species, all of the animals are the same, even your house is a complete mirror of the one you used to have. Sure, the landscape might be a little different, but there are still ponds to fish in and birds wake you up in the morning.

    You, retaining your memories of the old forest, might want to return because of the good times you had there. However, any children you have wouldn't have those memories. In the time it takes you to become homesick, these children will have made memories of their own in the new forest. If after you die, someone offered to take them back to the old forest to stay, do you think they would take that offer?
  • Unseen
    121
    It was impossible because they couldn't have ever afforded it.TogetherTurtle

    BS. "Take me back. I'll be your indentured slave for five years in exchange."

    Maybe I should present the question like this: If there are no negatives to returning to Earth, but also no positives, why would someone go back? Say that you are relocated from one house in the woods to another. The trees are the same species, all of the animals are the same, even your house is a complete mirror of the one you used to have. Sure, the landscape might be a little different, but there are still ponds to fish in and birds wake you up in the morning.

    You, retaining your memories of the old forest, might want to return because of the good times you had there. However, any children you have wouldn't have those memories. In the time it takes you to become homesick, these children will have made memories of their own in the new forest. If after you die, someone offered to take them back to the old forest to stay, do you think they would take that offer?
    TogetherTurtle

    I think the only viable way to let the mid-trip crew know about Earth is to tell them it is gone, even if that's a bald-faced lie.
  • TogetherTurtle
    344
    BS. "Take me back. I'll be your indentured slave for five years in exchange."Unseen

    Right, because there was definitely a shortage of people to use in the homeland. I'm sure the massive cost of shipping people back was definitely worth it when labor was more abundant and cheaper in the old world. Not to mention that the plantations in the new world did need those people who so desperately wanted back.

    I think the only viable way to let the mid-trip crew know about Earth is to tell them it is gone, even if that's a bald-faced lie.Unseen

    You've presented a solution to a problem you haven't proved we even have. You didn't even really respond to the forest hypothetical.
  • Stephen Cook
    8
    ....You didn't exist yet, so you couldn't ask. Or refuse, either. That's life. Get used to it....Bitter Crank

    This argument could be equally used by someone who raised slaves from birth here on earth. Would that also just "be life" and something that they should just "get used to"?
  • Sculptor
    41
    I've read 100s of sci-fi books since my teens; eagerly watched men landing on the moon; reveled over 2001 A Space Odyssey; couldn't get enough of Star Trek; and always hoped that space was going to be routinely explored and eventually colonized.
    Reason and evidence has demonstrated to me what I suspected when the Moon Landings ceased; that humans shall never create a self sustaining colony outside earth's orbit, except in the most extreme and desperate attempt to save the last dregs of humanity in the far future.
    Space is hostile, and the simple act of leaving earth's gravity takes a huge and environmentally damaging amount of fuel.
    Would you be able to cope with low/zero gravity; space radiation, and stay healthy? Can you deal with boredom, aging and maybe dying on the shit before you even got near your destination?
    To get a colony established would take more effort than it ever could be worth taking. Image the most simple everyday item necessary to your life or health. and consider the massive range of support industries necessary to make the object economically. All these support industries would have to follow you in a massive fleet of ships. Take a toothbrush, a cup, a pair of shoes.
    A trip to another planet is going to be a one way trip to a potentially hostile environment
    . You'll not be able to send for a new toothbrush, bandages, antibiotics, food, water, shelter. You'd have to make it all when you get there. You would have to be plunged into the ancient world.
    Could you eat anything that is there? Is there any life there at all? Would the bacteria and viruses for which we had no immunity kill the entire colony strait away? WOuld the gravity cripple you, or would it be too low to maintain your health?

    The fact is that space is hostile. We evolved here on earth, and it has everything we need right here.
  • TogetherTurtle
    344
    Would you be able to cope with low/zero gravity; space radiation, and stay healthy? Can you deal with boredom, aging and maybe dying on the shit before you even got near your destination?Sculptor

    Genetic augmentation at the level we've already mastered solves this. Making super-humans might make you uncomfortable, but it certainly solves the problem.

    To get a colony established would take more effort than it ever could be worth taking. Image the most simple everyday item necessary to your life or health. and consider the massive range of support industries necessary to make the object economically. All these support industries would have to follow you in a massive fleet of ships. Take a toothbrush, a cup, a pair of shoes.Sculptor

    3D printing and basic manufacturing solve this. You don't need a machine to make a toothbrush or every other basic item you need. What you need is the blueprints for those machines and the basics required to make those.

    To get a colony established would take more effort than it ever could be worth taking.Sculptor

    Do you know how many resources you can extract from a planet when you don't care about keeping it intact? The main draw to colonizing other systems is that you don't have to disassemble planets that you have a history with like Mars or Venus. It's easier to justify completely strip-mining some unknown world in some other system than it is to strip-mine Venus and completely erase it from the night sky.
  • Hanover
    4.9k
    Can cats go? If they can, then that should solve a lot of the problems inherent in human dissatisfaction while traveling interstellarly.
  • Sculptor
    41

    All the elements that we use are present on earth in quantities easy enough to extract. Antarctica has as yet completely untapped mineral resources. But there is a very good reason we've not done that yet - it's too bloody cold. But it would be a picnic compared to ANYWHERE outside earth's orbit.
    3D printing might help, but only of you want plastic shite. The body of a tooth brush would be easy enough but the bristles would be difficult. Printing is limited to plastic items which require a massive backup series of industries from oil extraction, processing, chemical industries, and energy generation.
    Can you tell me where you are going to get the plastics to keep your printer fed? And what are you going to do about metal objects?
  • TogetherTurtle
    344
    All the elements that we use are present on earth in quantities easy enough to extract. Antarctica has as yet completely untapped mineral resources. But there is a very good reason we've not done that yet - it's too bloody cold. But it would be a picnic compared to ANYWHERE outside earth's orbit.Sculptor

    You forgot about the single most infuriating force when it comes to building, gravity. The temperature being so hostile is nothing compared to how easy building is under lower gravity. Besides, it being a little too hot or cold has never stopped our species from expanding before. People cannot survive in a desert without water they take with them in man-made containers. I don't see why it being so cold is a deterrent especially when we can get better insulated space suits or even use drones for stuff outside.

    3D printing might help, but only of you want plastic shite. The body of a tooth brush would be easy enough but the bristles would be difficult. Printing is limited to plastic items which require a massive backup series of industries from oil extraction, processing, chemical industries, and energy generation.Sculptor

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=da5IsmZZ-tw

    You can 3D print with metal, by the way.

    Regardless, essentially all you would do with a 3D printer is make parts you need for the more complex industry later. You print all the parts you need for whatever you are using to mine minerals from the ground, power that with solar, fission, or any other local power source,(the means to collect these sources of energy could also be built via printer) and then you process the minerals with a machine you made in the same way as the drill. After that, you continue the process until you can make something like a toothbrush. If we need anything REALLY special that we can't manufacture or mine on another planet, we also likely don't need much of it.

    Essentially, all you need to bring is the printer, the few odds and ends that you might not be able to get there (like nuclear fuel to get you through the first few months) and enough metal powder to make the basics, and then the basics produce everything else.

    It will definitely be hard. We might fail our first few times, but we can be 100% certain that even with just today's tech, it is achievable. It won't be the traditional romanticized kind of space colonization, but gathering more resources and lessening our impact on Earth's environment is plenty of motivation for us to do it.
  • TogetherTurtle
    344
    Can cats go? If they can, then that should solve a lot of the problems inherent in human dissatisfaction while traveling interstellarly.Hanover

    I don't see why not. We could even bring mice for them to chase.
  • theneworderbychancerashman
    1
    The moral issue here is in regard to the knowledge of outcome of the trip. Generations will be sent into space with inevitable death and no ability to avoid that fact. Somehow the advancement of the human race, an idea that they have never experienced or have any reason to wholly pursue, will fuel their lifelong hard work in order to see that the mission is complete? Why would a ship of already dead people want to contribute to the success of the trip if they could never see any positive outcome. Maybe a computer could control the ship and only give food when work is completed?

    The feasibility of the mission is not the question, only the ethicality, although the method the mission is carried out raises many ethical issues.

    A common idea in this thread is that there have always been people who make personal sacrifices to advance humankind. Though, this is for the possibility of individual gain. Would the New World have been colonized and humankind "advanced" if there weren't tremendous benefits to be had? I can't imagine a scenario where there isn't some positive to willfully giving up their life; weather it be for their families, money, nations, or stakes for a greater reward.

    Sending people to their unavoidable deaths is unethical because it robs people of the choice to risk their lives for any benefit, not to mention the pain of having children knowing they will die with the same lack of freedom.
  • Sculptor
    41

    I've not forgotten gravity at all. Zero gravity is totally hostile to the human body. And building in a space suit is not easy at all.
  • TogetherTurtle
    344
    I've not forgotten gravity at all. Zero gravity is totally hostile to the human body. And building in a space suit is not easy at all.Sculptor

    So the only slightly troubling thing is this? Something astronauts deal with daily and combat with regular exercise? Guess we should cancel everything then.
  • Sculptor
    41

    There is no prospect of a economically viable colony in Antartica, and that is a piece of cake far more than ANY where outside earth's orbit.
  • TogetherTurtle
    344
    There is no prospect of a economically viable colony in Antartica, and that is a piece of cake far more than ANY where outside earth's orbit.Sculptor

    That's an interesting assertion. Do you have any reasoning behind thinking this other than what I've already refuted? Keep in mind that I don't want the resources of Antarctica, but with the reserves of an entire planet. I think that when that much wealth is involved, such obstacles as the temperature (that can be negated via technology) should be ignored. I just can't help but think that a net-positive like that is worth exploiting.
  • Jacob-B
    46

    Definitely not on the purely ethical ground. But, it might be one of the rare instances where the end justified the means, say the survival of humankind depends on it. Fredric Pohl tackled the subject in his novel 'Man Plus'.
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