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9:20-9:40     Joeseph Gottlieb     Psychological Impediments to Collective Space Colonization


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Chat log

09:28:05 From Robert.Kennedy to Everyone : it's called the "social time preference rate"


09:28:27 From Lucas Mix to Everyone : Might there be a long-term selective pressure for people who understand time and statistics?


09:28:51 From Kelly Smith to Everyone : For sure - since math ability is so deeply sexy…


09:29:26 From Carlos Santana to Everyone : It's the opposite Lucas, since people who understand time and stats tend to also understand how to use birth control.


09:29:42 From Neil Manson to Everyone : Well-done presentation, Joseph!


09:30:12 From Lucas Mix to Everyone : @ Carlos, True enough, but I was thinking of people living in small groups in the asteroid belt. 


09:31:19 From Robert.Kennedy to Everyone : STPR reflects that "a dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow" 


09:31:19 From Kelly Smith to Everyone : FYI everyone, Caleb is a 

Clemson undergraduate.


09:34:28 From Kelly Smith to Everyone : A response to this “we have no duty to preserve humans” eco-nihilism stuff:



09:34:32 From John Traphagan to Everyone : I very much agree with Eric on this.  I also do not understand why ensuring the future of humanity is a moral imperative.  It's a conceit.


09:34:46 From Kathryn Denning to Everyone : Ditto Eric and JT. Clear and interesting argument, Joseph, and I like your point about collective vs private/'visionary' efforts.  I think benefits only make sense when there is a sense of their distribution: to whom do they really accrue? “The species” is certainly biologically real, but in sociopolitical terms it is an analytical fiction. Steps taken to mitigate climate change on Earth will benefit multitudes more, and *different*, people than a Mars colony would – not to mention other species too. If someone can do a Mars colony without any taxpayers’ money (and that’s hard to argue, really, when you look at where plutocrats’ money really comes from) then that might negate that argument to some extent. But there remains the potential for a Mars colony or other space expansionism to *compound* existential risk for those on Earth. This isn’t acknowledged or explored often enough. And there is the question of quality of life for those in a colony (as Jim raises in his presentation). 


09:36:15 From Kelly Smith to Everyone : If you took a poll and asked people whether it was worth spending some serious money to ensure the survival of humanity, what do you think the results would be?  How should that impact your moralizing?


09:36:19 From Lucas Mix to Everyone : I think Asimov's third law, not allowing unnecessary harm to come to self, is a clear moral good. I think we overvalue self-preservation, but I do think it's important. 


09:36:29 From Nick Nielsen to Everyone : In so far as SC is ExRisk mitigation for a group. there will be a "founder effect" for this population, with highly selective traits being preserved by the rump of the species that is preserved by such efforts.


09:36:33 From Carlos Santana to Everyone : It would be weird if we thought we had a moral imperative to preserve other species, as most of do, but didn't think we had some reason to preserve our own extremely distinctive and interesting species. 


09:36:53 From Linda Billings to Everyone : @ Eric, I agree. I haven’t yet heard a persuasive argument for why humankind must last forever….  (Key word: persuasive.)


09:36:55 From Kelly Smith to Everyone : Good point, Carlos


09:37:01 From John Traphagan to Everyone : "I think of the course of human history as a long, swelling, increasingly polyphonic poem - a poem that leads up to nothing save itself. When the species is extinct, "human nature's total message" will not be a set of propositions, but a set of vocabularies - the more, and the more various, the better."  --Richard Rorty


09:37:48 From Kathryn Denning to Everyone : Every prior episode of human migration has involved a planet where people can breathe the air. Huge disanalogy.


09:38:16 From Nick Nielsen to Everyone : It need not be a planet


09:38:40 From Kelly Smith to Everyone : That paper I cited about econihilism was my response to some similar elements in a discussion from the 2018 SSoCIA meeting, BTW.


09:39:17 From William Alba to Everyone : Sarah is making the point -- more clearly -- that I wanted to. NYC grew from a few thousand to a million in one century. Likewise, Phoenix and (contemporary times) several Chinese cities. If we want SC, then we need to find ways to motivate individuals -- which Joe argues needs to happen on a shortterm basis.


09:39:17 From Lucas Mix to Everyone : Could exponential population expansion balance discounting? I don't think so, but I've heard the argument.


09:39:39 From Andrew Kennedy to Everyone : Robert graves father was sick on a ship in the Mediterranean when. storm blew up . the crew in fear started launching the lifeboat. Graves rose from his bed and threw a cannonball through the bottom of the boat. the crew came to 

their senses and saved the ship came


09:39:41 From Kelly Smith to Everyone : Sure, to a utilitarian the math seems plausible


09:40:17 From Lucas Mix to Everyone : I suspect Joe overestimates the idealism/piety of medieval Christians and underestimates the idealism/ piety of those with a Star Trek Imaginary.


09:40:41 From Kathryn Denning to Everyone : I’m surprised by how often problems like those outlined by Caleb Scharf (who knows his stuff) are disregarded by Mars settlement / “backup plan” / multiplanetary mandate advocates:  I’m also surprised by how often space expansion advocates assume that human reproduction off Earth will work just fine. (Certainly matters for the "self-sustaining" requirement.) Current biological research indicators are not encouraging. Sure, one can invoke all sorts of extraordinary reproductive interventions that would “fix” that problem, but those have their own, sometimes extreme, implications. Mostly, of course, for females. 


09:42:05 From Kelly Smith to Everyone : As I am always pointing out, we need to be explicit about the timescale we have in mind when debating these ethical issues. 

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