[extropy-chat] # What the #$?! are rights anyway?

The Avantguardian avantguardian2020 at yahoo.com
Fri Jun 16 22:38:51 UTC 2006

--- Robert Bradbury <robert.bradbury at gmail.com> wrote:

> One possible way to argue "rights" from an extropic
> perspective is simply to
> look at the information content (from a fetus to a
> species).  

So you would say that rights derive from information
content? This is an interesting perspective since it
would apply to a lesser and greater degree to all
things, living or not. For example, it would mean that
texts, artifacts, or buildings may have some rights.
More so if there is much information content in them.
The surprisal for a cookie-cutter tract-housing home
would be considerably less than let's say for example,
the pyramids of egypt. So by your rationale the
pyramids would have more of a right to preservation
than the suburban house. It does have a certain
intuitive appeal.

There was a
> recent paper that I don't happen to have a reference
> handy for which I think
> cited the cost of the creation of a new species (of
> microorganism) at ~10^23
> J.  The only problem is that "speciation" may or may
> not depend upon a real
> net gain of information.

Actually speciation can often times lead to a decrease
in information content. For example free-living
earthworms and parasitic tapeworms most likely came
from a common segmented worm ancestor. The earthworm,
however, most likely gained information relative to
that ancestor, whereas the streamlining allowed by
parasitism allowed the tapeworm to lose information
relative to that ancestor. So evolution is not always
toward higher complexity. Gould actually thought that
it was *seldomly* toward greater complexity, although
I don't agree with Gould on that point.

Stuart LaForge
alt email: stuart"AT"ucla.edu

"What I am going to tell you about is what we teach our physics students in the third or fourth year of graduate school... It is my task to convince you not to turn away because you don't understand it. You see my physics students don't understand it... That is because I don't understand it. Nobody does." - Richard Feynman on QM

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