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9:40-10:00     Sheri Wells-Jensen     Why Humans with Disabilities Will Colonize Space


Live Discussion

Chat log

09:45:41 From Linda Billings to Everyone : Sheri, your stats on unemployment for the disabled are appalling.


09:46:54 From Erik Persson to Everyone : @Joe, Thanks for the presentation. Regarding discounting: My experience from environmental ethics is that 'discounting the future' actually represents two different ideas. (1) "The value of future lives (or happiness) is less valuable" and (2) "this resource or change will have less impact on peoples' survival or happiness in the future" (presumably because they assume future people will have access to technology that can compensate for the change or loss of the resource). I am not advocating any of these ideas. I just wanted to point out that discounting can be about two different ideas and it might be useful to keep them apart, not least when arguing against them. :)


09:49:17 From Andrew Kennedy to Everyone : really great point


09:49:21 From Alan Johnson to Everyone : A third factor that can motivate discounting is uncertainty about the actual occurrence of benefits or cost farther in the future.


09:49:55 From Andrew Kennedy to Everyone : great ideas sherri


09:50:20 From Joe Gottlieb to Everyone : @ Alan: it can, but even if we hold the probabilities fixed, people still exhibit pure time preference. It is the *temporal nearness* of the benefit that is doing the work 

09:51:06 From Carlos Santana to Everyone : Everyone else is giving normative reasons for discounting, but Joe's just providing a description of a cognitive bias


09:51:30 From Joe Gottlieb to Everyone : @ Alan /part 2: the uncertainty stuff also shows up in the literature on political discounting, albeit in a slightly different way 


09:51:40 From Joe Gottlieb to Everyone : @ Carlos S.: yes, exactly 


09:52:30 From Joe Gottlieb to Everyone : Meghan Green and Preston Sullivan argue for *temporal neutrality* (at least in intra-personal cases), so the normative question is very wide open. It is also irrelevant though for my purposes. 


09:52:34 From Eric Hughes to Everyone : For a good take on people's reasons to engage in extra-terran migration, watch the short film _Mars One Way_, a collection of interviews with people who were looking to be part of Mars One.


09:55:12 From Kathryn Denning to Everyone : @EH, yes, super interesting example. Mars One is also an excellent illustration of what is really being sold by some Mars advocates. In that case, the business plan was literally inspired by reality TV.  


09:55:44 From Kathryn Denning to Everyone : I believe you, Sheri : ) 09:56:47 From Dan Capper to Everyone : Good talk, Sheri.


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!

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