physical pain is bad (was Re: Dynamic ethics)

From: Phillip Huggan (
Date: Mon Jan 23 2006 - 12:29:57 MST

Gazelles are mammals. They experience physical pain and fear similiar to the way we humans do. If we can substitute fake gazelles with printed tissues and carbon composite skeletons for the hunting pleasure of lions, we should. You might have some basis if you were defending a spider's right to be eaten while mating or while giving birth, but we are talking mammals here.
  Why must we preserve eco-systems in which mammals suffer if a (cheap) solution can be found in which the same population of animals don't suffer? Why must we preserve economic systems where people suffer? The common-sense I speak of is the very simple fact that physical pain is bad. Are you seriously questioning this? It sounds to me like you are suggesting evolution-of-predator-species is a superior moral guide to follow than is utilitarianism.
  There are many resources we will have to artificially restrict post-singularity (so there won't be any "eco-systems" to speak of for these resources). We can't have people making UFAI, time-machines, anti-matter bombs, MNT, screwing with the vacuum state of the local universe, etc. If some energy resources of the future are deemed similarly untouchable because we may need them to harness even greater energy resources, we will retrict them too.

Philip Goetz <> wrote:
  The lion must continue to be allowed to hunt and kill gazelles. That
is the starting point.

> There are ways to artificially push an ecology's energy requirements to a
> system's max resources (make a trillion gazelles). I don't think we should
> do this until we can safely discover exactly how much energy we have to work
> with in the universe.

I don't think we "should", but we know that "we" will, because that is
how ecosystems work. SOMEBODY is going to use those resources.
Resources are never left lying around unused for long. I have been
trying to explain this to transhumanists for 15 years now. Why is
this so hard for transhumanists in particular to accept? I suppose
because they are infected with extropian memes that preach the joy of
expansion unsullied by any problems with conflicts or resource
"Common-sense" is different for humans than for lions. That is the problem.

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