[extropy-chat] Two Errors: Intelligent Design and "Progress"

Damien Broderick thespike at satx.rr.com
Sun Jan 22 17:56:33 UTC 2006

At 11:27 AM 1/22/2006 -0600, Brian Atkins wrote:

>I think he brought that up somewhere and proposed the idea that greater 
>intelligence also may create additional risks for the species that did not 
>exist prior to that point. In other words, global catastrophic risks, 
>which the upcoming book is exactly about. Some of those risks might wipe 
>out humans, but leave bacteria - so which species had better survivability 
>in the _long run_?


   Maverick Hunter's 'Human Beings As Prey' Plan Not As Challenging As

   January 17, 2006 | Issue 42?03

PERIL ISLAND?Big-game hunter Baron Hugo von Urwitz conceded Tuesday
that his theory that human beings are the most cunning and challenging
of quarry is seriously flawed.

"Perhaps I gave my fellow man too much credit," said von Urwitz,
looking on as his servants carried three lifeless human beings bound to
poles by their hands and ankles. "Admittedly, there are fewer kills
today than yesterday, but only because the herd is thinning."

   Bored with netting such elusive and dangerous prey as Bengal tigers,
white rhinos, and Cape buffalo, the 51-year-old adventurer said he had
thought it would be "capital sport" to hunt humans on his uncharted,
densely forested private island.

   "My huntsman's heart thrilled at the prospect of bringing down a live
human, who alone in the animal kingdom has the capacity to outwit and
even best his enemies through sheer intellect," von Urwitz said. "What
I neglected to consider is that man is also alone in the capacity to
tumble straight into quicksand while fleeing from a swarm of yellow
jackets after trying to steal honey from their nest."

Von Urwitz chanced upon his stock of prey Saturday, after a chartered
luxury yacht ran aground in the shoals surrounding his island. The
yacht's 29 passengers and five crew members were promptly invited to
lodge in the baron's imposing fortress.

   At dawn Sunday, von Urwitz roused his guests to announce his shocking
intent to hunt them. Allowing them only small knives and the clothes on
their backs, he anticipated that his human prey would elude him in
inventive and clever ways?and perhaps even make their hunter the hunted

   Yet in the first night alone, eight tourists died of exposure.

"I'm not sure I even need to be here, really," von Urwitz added.

   "At the very least, I assumed they would take to the trees and hills
in desperate flight," he said. "Instead, many of them just milled about
like peahens within the confines of my estate, periodically rattling
the backdoor knob to ensure that it hadn't been unlocked since they
last checked."

The baron theorized that the grave danger simply didn't register with
most of the humans. "Look at this one," von Urwitz said, as a cellar
meat locker revealed an overweight, middle-aged male bearing a single
gunshot wound to the forehead. "I bagged him in the courtyard as he
sipped vitamin water, after I had given him a four-hour running start.
Where's the sport in this?"

Von Urwitz said three vacationers brazenly approached him with strange

   "They asked about grand prizes and something they called an 'immunity
challenge,'" von Urwitz said. "I had my men slit their throats."

Those who had the wherewithal to hide did so in obvious places, such as
in the toolshed, under the car, or behind bushes. Von Urwitz said his
hounds "made short work of them."

   A few did flee to the jungle, including one man who raced in the
direction of a pit trap dug by von Urwitz's men. From a hunting blind
close to the trap, von Urwitz said he watched with "immense

   "Would [the man's] eyes catch the carpet of dead, flattened leaves in
the clearing, noticing their rather unnatural distribution, and quickly
surmise, through reason and intuition alike, that something was
dreadfully amiss?" von Urwitz said. "Or would he blindly stumble into
the pit and be finished off by our arrows?"

Ultimately, the man did neither. Before coming within 20 yards of the
pit, he was knocked cold by a low-hanging tree limb.

With 22 kills by nightfall Tuesday, the baron recognized the need to
amend his strategy. "I had snared a couple of tourists, but they were
so obviously feebleminded that I threw them back into the brush," von
Urwitz said. "If I leave them alone, perhaps in a few weeks one or two
of them will have developed survival tactics besides uncontrolled
weeping and involuntary defecation."

Hinting that his ruthlessness was quickly turning to pity for the
pathetic, fragile creatures, von Urwitz also mused about rounding them
up in an island game preserve. "I am reminded of Theodore Roosevelt,
with his hunter's love of nature," von Urwitz said. "Perhaps future
generations of von Urwitzes can enjoy the humans' comical antics, and
if their numbers increase sufficiently, perhaps hunt some of the?one
would hope?increasingly fit adults from time to time."

"On the other hand, I could always put out some large glue traps," von
Urwitz added.

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