[extropy-chat] Fwd: Extinctions

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Sat Jun 10 18:06:35 UTC 2006

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Rafal Smigrodzki <rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com>
Date: Jun 10, 2006 1:45 PM
Subject: Re: [extropy-chat] Extinctions
To: Anders Sandberg <asa at nada.kth.se>

On 6/10/06, Anders Sandberg <asa at nada.kth.se> wrote:
> Rafal Smigrodzki wrote:
> >> So, how do we fix it?
> >
> > ### So why bother fixing it?
> As I see it in my personal value system, diversity of complex, contingent
> systems have an aesthetic (if not moral) value. Even if a species of bug
> isn't useful in any human sense it is still valuable. It is contingent:
> re-run evolution and you will not get it again, so removing it will mean
> an irreversible loss of information. Sure, we could make our own
> replacement species, but that would merely make it contingent upon our
> human culture - it would be like another piece of music, not a composer.

### As those Romans used to say, De gustibus non disputandum est, so I
accept that your taste in beauty includes creatures that for me have
no value whatsoever.

Still, I am curious, why would you see an irreversible loss of
information, in the sense of losing a bug that won't happen again, as
a loss of value. Does all complex information have value for you per

If I want to resurrect the T.Rex from a rotten bone, it's not because
T.Rex is somehow important in and of itself, but rather because I find
the notion of making one a stimulating exercise, the kind of genetic
feat that I would like to fool around with once the important issues
(i.e. curing aging and disease) are taken care of. The T.Rex would be
a plaything for me, to be made or unmade as I see fit, and not my ward
I would be morally bound to take care of.

BTW, I am sure we will be able to resurrect the T.Rex. I read that
their bones actually still stink like rotten meat, after all these 65
million years. There is no way that all of the DNA could be gone,
given that DNA is known to bind to apatite, one of the main
constituents of bone. Even if it takes dissection with an ATM rather
than simple PCR, there must be enough fragments longer than 14 - 15 bp
to piece together the full length of the genome. Late pre-Singularity
technology might be just good enough to make him roar again, to the
amusement of spectators.

And there is no need to keep a sharp line between them if
> we ask ourselves what particular goals we (and other systems) are aiming
> for rather than take an all-or-nothing approach saying human goals OK,
> nonhuman goals not OK.

### Do bugs have goals? Do ecosystems have goals?

I would ascribe goals only to sentient creatures, and as a libertarian
I may not transgress against their property rights but this seems to
be far removed from the question of preservation of non-sentient


Rafal Smigrodzki, MD-PhD
Chief Clinical Officer,
Gencia Corporation
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