10:00-10:20     James Schwartz     Against Human Enhancement as a

                                                        Default for Space Societies

Presentation

Live Discussion

Chat log

10:01:18 From Robert.Kennedy to Everyone : that sounds like Mauna Kea! 

 

10:01:41 From Kelly Smith to Everyone : If you like this debate, y’all should check out the exchange between me & Caleb, Jim and Sherri in the recent volume Konrad Szocik did - I will give the ref to Carlos

 

10:03:37 From Lucas Mix to Everyone : There is a biological concept of disability: maladaptive mutation. It is "mere adaptation"; it does no more moral work than that and looks nothing like the common language use of "disability." Still I'm uncomfortable saying there is no biological concept; there is some overlap, which is what makes it analytically difficult. I think we need to make it clear >in order to< state that it does not support our social norms.

 

10:04:27 From Dr Sheri Wells-Jensen to Everyone : It has occurred to me that eventually, with life spans expanding, abled people will just flat refuse to go to space for fear that they will become permanently disabled.

 

10:06:18 From Kelly Smith to Everyone : Since I will probably not have a chance to comment, here is a quick version of my response to Sherri and Jim:  it is true that “disability” is relative and many things we traditionally think of as disabilities will not be disabilities in space.  And it’s true that we should strive to be as inclusive as we can.  But “as inclusive as we can” must include some basic pragmatic limits.  The bottom line is that some (many) disabilities will impose pretty serious costs on an offworld settlement - perhaps to the point of making them practically (if not logically) impossible.  I hate to see off world settlements help to idealistic standards that have no particular connection to such projects. 

 

10:06:59 From Dr Sheri Wells-Jensen to Everyone : I'm way better at using a fire extinguisher in the dark than just about anybody else... just FWIW.

 

10:07:52 From Kelly Smith to Everyone : Yes, the advantage of blindness is a brilliant example, but I wonder how representative it is.  I would feel more comfortable if we talked about specific disabilities than just using the blanket term with no limits

 

10:08:25 From John Traphagan to Everyone : There is a community in Maryland that is primarily deaf and some people move there so that they can be living within a deaf community and Deaf culture.  I can imagine a similar type of community being set up on Mars.

 

10:08:43 From Kelly Smith to Everyone : Sure, why not?

 

10:09:10 From Nick Nielsen to Everyone : That's the great thing about having plenty of space available--people can create whatever kind of society that they like

 

10:09:25 From Carlos Mariscal to Everyone : I mean, there’s biological aspects, but those are just variants. Disability is normative, which I think biology only vindicates statistically. There’s a really cool chapter from Lisa Lloyd’s book, “Normality & Variation” where she argues that disability might involve any number of aspects from 1. gene to 2. expression to 3. development to 4. psychology to 5. culture. And the normatively we think about is really only provided by the latter two.

 

10:09:26 From Kelly Smith to Everyone : Assuming they have the cash...:)

 

10:09:43 From Nick Nielsen to Everyone : And when these societies can hide themselves from others, they may choose social arrangements are that unthinkable on Earth.

 

10:09:46 From Dr Sheri Wells-Jensen to Everyone : The thing is: Kelly: whether you include disabled people from the beginning or not, there will be disabled people in space because space is always trying to kill you and sometimes fails but you still end up disabled. So, you might as well just go with it and start with disabled people from the get-go. Either that, or you have to toss people out the airlock after accidents which ... nobody wants to do... I think. 

 

10:10:09 From Eric Hughes to Everyone : @Kelly .. or if voluntary indentured servitude is allowed. 

 

10:10:38 From Kelly Smith to Everyone : @ Sherri - perfectly fair point for any community which can’t ship people back to Earth.

 

10:10:45 From Lucas Mix to Everyone : @ Carlos, I think we're back to a utility function question. There is serious equivocation about the word "disability" here.

 

10:11:03 From Kelly Smith to Everyone : @ Lucas - yes, exactly.

 

10:11:28 From Kathryn Denning to Everyone : Excellent question, Andrew. Related: what is done for space, won't stay in space. 

 

10:11:57 From Kelly Smith to Everyone : Caleb and I talk about this a bit in our paper in Konrad’s volume - there are things which are traditionally thought about as disabilities but shouldn’t be in the context of space and things which truly are disabilities both on Earth and in space.  The legal doctrine of BFOQ is invoked…

 

10:14:27 From Kathryn Denning to Everyone : Huge differences between temporary/reversible enhancements, gear, and genetic enhancements 

 

10:15:04 From Robert.Kennedy to Everyone : yes, and also a huge difference between entertainment/extreme sports and mandatory work

 

10:15:31 From Kelly Smith to Everyone : “We can build accommodations”.  Fine, but the  

“can” here is a logical can, not necessarily a practical one…

 

10:15:50 From Carlos Mariscal to Everyone : @Lucas – oh, yeah. Maybe you get the normatively from utility, but what utility? If survival and reproduction aren’t impacted, I don’t know how much appeals to biology help. (And note that psychology & culture can counteract also augment/detract from survival/reproduction.)

 

10:16:09 From Robert.Kennedy to Everyone : for the latter, think about workers in the deep gold mines under Joburg.  extreme working environment!

 

10:16:11 From Dan Capper to Everyone : I think that Jim has to answer his extra credit question before we let him go. 

 

10:16:46 From Ted Peters to Everyone : Jim...Ask Morris to say "goodbye" to us.

 

10:17:15 From Lucas Mix to Everyone : @ Carlos, that's my point. I disagree with Jim's assertion that there are no biological disabilities. There are. They share surprisingly little overlap with social disabilities. The common belief that they are the same means we need to label both.

 

10:17:48 From Carlos Mariscal to Everyone : @Lucas – cool, agreed. Fair enough

 

09:09:25 From David DeGraff (he/him) to Everyone : “magnificent desolation”

 

09:10:15 From Kathryn Denning to Everyone : [Thanks Dan for the mention. It's a bit outdated now but free at the link below with lots of other material in the book, and hopefully some of the principles hold. I have some more recent stuff on Academia.edu and ResearchGate https://www.nasa.gov/connect/ebooks/hist_culture_cosmos_detail.html] 

 

09:13:16 From Linda Billings to Everyone : Abhik, I love your poetry!

 

09:13:27 From Erik Persson to Everyone : @Kathryn I followed the link, it says "404 The cosmic object you are looking for has disappeared beyond the event horizon." :(

 

09:14:00 From Kathryn Denning to Everyone : try this Erik? https:// www.nasa.gov/pdf/607104main_CosmosCulture-ebook.pdf  . 09:14:05 From Nick Nielsen to Everyone : Rather, we should think of environmental psychology as selective.

 

09:14:06 From Robert.Kennedy to Everyone : darn auto-correct!

 

09:14:21 From Kathryn Denning to Everyone : I really like Abhik's paper. I get comfort from house plants : ) 

 

09:14:26 From E H to Everyone : Nature exposure as dosage. What's the proper amount?

 

09:14:30 From Erik Persson to Everyone : @Kathryn It works! Thanks!

 

09:15:00 From David DeGraff (he/him) to Everyone : I spent two months at South Pole Station in the 80s It took me a month to not be surprised by the sun at midnight. When I got back to New Zealand I searched all over the city for a good view of a sunset. In the taxi from the airport I could close my eyes and smell when we passed under trees.

 

09:15:04 From Lucas Mix to Everyone : I think we interact with countless species in our microbiome + pests. I'm interested in how that "ecosystem" would develop in the popular imagination as well as ecologically.

 

09:15:19 From Linda Billings to Everyone : Abhik’s discussion of the emotional aspects of long-term stays in space reminded me of a memoir written by Russian cosmonaut Valentin Lebedev. Diary of a Cosmonaut: 211 Days in Space. He wrote very movingly of how sad he felt to be away from his family for so long, feelings of isolation, loneliness.

 

09:15:27 From Neil Manson to Everyone : Fascinating, David!

 

09:15:40 From Kathryn Denning to Everyone : When I was in a Mars simulation (MDRS), we were all really excited when our sprouts grew.

 

09:16:12 From E H to Everyone : Houseplant care as astronaut qualification

 

09:16:19 From Alex Penn to Everyone : I think the key is something we can interact with and get feedback from-enough complexity for that. 09:16:34 From Alex Penn to Everyone : That is what makes something absorbing

 

09:16:42 From John Traphagan to Everyone : We have some sort of houseplant that my wife got 30 years ago and has been cut and replanted ever since.  IT's all over the house now. 

 

09:17:05 From Neil Manson to Everyone : How would developing children be affected by the lack of a natural environment? My mom used to say constantly when I was a kid "Just go outside and *do* something." What would be the equivalent of that in a space colony? 

 

09:17:07 From John Traphagan to Everyone : It increasingly reminds me of The Day of the Triffids.

 

09:17:09 From Linda Billings to Everyone : A few years ago I worked with a 3d grade class to help them develop designs for martian habitats. They wanted plants, animals, and private space in their habitats.

 

09:17:12 From William Alba to Everyone : I think the larger point that Sheri is making is that there is a great diversity of ways that individuals interact with and react to plants.

 

09:17:39 From E H to Everyone : @Neil: Going outside in VR

 

09:17:41 From daniela to Everyone : reminds me of Blade Runner, the novel, eventually nature and animals will become a very expensive commodity

 

09:17:41 From William Alba to Everyone : Related to the notion that there are city people, people who prefer warm climates' tc.

 

09:17:41 From Neil Manson to Everyone : Abhik, we're having a good discussion of your paper now! And it is being recorded so you can listen to it later! Technical problems happen, unfortunately.

 

09:17:56 From Kathryn Denning to Everyone : Linda, that's a useful observation

 

09:18:03 From William Alba to Everyone : But I also think individuals can be quite adaptive.

 

09:18:26 From Kelly Smith to Everyone : Smart 3rd graders, Linda 

 

09:18:47 From Kathryn Denning to Everyone : Reider's book Dreaming the Biosphere about the experiment is great https://unmpress.com/books/dreaming-biosphere/9780826346742 

 

09:19:12 From Dr Sheri Wells-Jensen to Everyone : I do kill the house plants but I insist on a live Christmas tree: this year, we actually have TWO because it feels like we need more nature in the house: still... ...

 

09:19:44 From Kelly Smith to Everyone : Yeah, but xmas trees are dying anyway, so nothing to preserve.  Enjoy its death!

 

09:20:23 From Jim Schwartz to Everyone : @Kelly now you just need to write the "society that lives under a dome in a christmas tree" SF novel.

 

09:20:36 From Andrew Kennedy to Everyone : too rigid categorizations is boring be it nature or the ISS. parts of life need to be nonprescription

 

09:20:39 From William Alba to Everyone : We have plenty of houseplants thanks to my spouse, who acquired them post-COVID. But they do little for me... I actually get more positive feelings from our two artificial Xmas trees.

 

09:21:05 From Kathryn Denning to Everyone : Abhik, thanks so much. Hope to talk more sometime.

 

09:21:21 From Neil Manson to Everyone : Thanks for a stimulating presentation, Abhik!

 

09:21:22 From E H to Everyone : There will be a difference on this between people with Terran experience and those born in extraterran environments

 

09:21:43 From William Alba to Everyone : Agreed, E H

 

09:21:51 From Sarah Reynolds to Everyone : I wonder if there would be a certain cognitive dissonance likely to occur when the environment seems Earth-like but is not inhabited.  That might be more disturbing than the artificial or very different environment.  Like the AI 

“uncanny valley”, but with an environment.

 

09:23:14 From Dan Capper to Everyone : I thought your presentation represents a great idea, Abhik.  Perhaps some Indian interactions with the Tulsi plant can serve as useful illustrations of your point from the field?

 

09:23:20 From Alan Johnson to Everyone : The character Ann Clayborne in Red Mars exemplifies a love of a lifeless Mars based on a geologist's appreciation of the geomorphic diversity of the environment.

 

09:23:53 From Kathryn Denning to Everyone : An update on the stats Joe's presentation mentioned: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/07/17/how-americans-see-the-future-of-space-exploration-50-years-after-the-first-moon-landing/

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/exploring-space-can-unitethe-us-not-in-the-way-you-might-think/   (current)  Updated info on US re: public spending on space exploration. 

Quoting:  “Most Americans are pro-NASA and pro-space. A 2018 Pew 

Research poll found that 80 percent think the space station has been a good investment, 72 percent think it is essential for the U.S. to remain a global leader in space, and 65 percent say that should happen through NASA, not primarily through private companies. But only 18 percent think it should be a top priority to send humans to Mars, and only 13 percent support sending humans to the moon.So what do Americans want NASA to do? The answer may come as a surprise: 63 percent say NASA should make monitoring global climate a top priority.  If we include those who think it ... 

 

09:23:59 From Kathryn Denning to Everyone : ...should be an important (but not top) priority, the percentage increases to a whopping 88 percent. The second-highest priority is looking for asteroids or other objects that might hit our planet.“

 

09:25:21 From Robert.Kennedy to Everyone : from a geoengineer, that is fascinating thing to hear

 

09:27:10 From David DeGraff (he/him) to Everyone : The asteroid thing could help Arecibo arise from the dead.

 

09:27:18 From Linda Billings to Everyone : Important point, Kathryn. That survey showed that respondents priorities for space exploration were very different from NASA’s priorities - yes, humans to the Moon and Mars were at the bottom of the list. I set up a call with the people who conducted that survey to find out how they identified the priorities on their list. They did it by combing through large quantities of media content to draw out space exploration topics that got the most media attention.

 

09:27:23 From daniela to Everyone : @Kathryn, this is great to hear/ read

 

09:28:01 From Kathryn Denning to Everyone : Glad you followed up with them, Linda

10:33:01 From William Alba to Everyone : Twilight Zone "Eye of the Beholder"

 

10:34:21 From John Traphagan to Everyone : Check out the film The Sound and Fury, which deals with cochlear implants and children and the conflict in the Deaf community related to this.

 

10:34:37 From John Traphagan to Everyone : If that has already been raised, sorry.  I was off quizzing my daughter on Spanish for a final exam.

 

10:36:51 From Jim Schwartz to Everyone : @Dan: The crew quarters of the venerable mining ship Red Dwarf

10:44:19 From Kathryn Denning to Everyone : Again, this is if reproduction off Earth is really possible.... and if that's the case, it will require significant intervention. We're not talking about a natural selection / adaptation scenario at all anymore. It will all depend on what interventions etc are chosen. 

 

10:44:43 From John Traphagan to Everyone : Lucas, this is an excellent presentation and the point you are making is really important for astrobiology.  Thanks.

 

10:45:00 From Kelly Smith to Everyone : Right - it’s really cultural evolution not biological (assuming you want to think of it in evolutionary terms at all)

 

10:45:13 From Kelly Smith to Everyone : @Jim I was wondering about that...:)

 

10:45:26 From Carlos Mariscal to Everyone : Progressivism keeps trying to sneak in the back door of biology: debates over driven vs. diffusive increases in complexity, major transitions, perhaps even the names of prokaryotes/eukaryotes, etc. I wonder how much of this is 

justified and how much is cognitive bias

 

10:45:33 From Eric Hughes to Everyone : Intentional speciation is far more likely than speciation through nature drift in extraterran humanity.

 

10:45:50 From David DeGraff (he/him) to Everyone : All this is assuming there are no new people coming in.

 

10:45:59 From Kathryn Denning to Everyone : Founder effects would likely be mitigated with genetic interventions. "Natural" mate selection and reproduction is just not viable in most space scenarios. 

 

10:46:15 From Kelly Smith to Everyone : @ Carlos - me too.  However, I will add that assuming they are not justified is not a good idea, though you hear it a lot

 

10:47:01 From Eric Hughes to Everyone : There's also intentional speciation as an endpoint of rejectionist identity politics

 

10:47:04 From John Traphagan to Everyone : This idea of separating artificial and natural selection is based on a Western assumption that there is a distinction between nature and artifice.  This is neither necessarily accurate nor agreed upon across human cultures.

 

10:47:49 From Kelly Smith to Everyone : Well, yeah but there are rhetorical reasons to do natural versus artificial as well.  Chuckie D wanted to make sure people could see that it wasn’t design, but it was similar

 

10:48:39 From John Traphagan to Everyone : Right, but we have to be careful not to conflate the rhetorical aspect with representation of the physical world.

 

10:48:48 From Kelly Smith to Everyone : Fair point

 

10:48:57 From Eric Hughes to Everyone : Neil's talking about first anti-contact

 

10:49:20 From Kathryn Denning to Everyone : Cultural differences in science are certainly an age-old problem on Earth.

 

10:49:58 From Neil Manson to Everyone : Eric ..... LOL

 

10:50:20 From Carlos Mariscal to Everyone : @Kelly – right. I do think there’s trends and tendencies in evolution (although probably more McShea trends than Conway Morris ones). I mean… how could there not be?

 

10:50:48 From Kelly Smith to Everyone : @ Carlos - Good man.  You can be reasonable sometimes…:)

 

10:53:32 From Eric Hughes to Everyone : Complexity measures are far more human-analytical than ontological