In discussing the attempted brain hacking of monkeys, I made a comment about refraining from playing God. This sparked a sharp reaction, then led to an onward exchange. This puts on the table the captioned issue . . . which it seems to me is properly part of our ongoing logic and first principles reflections. Here, the other big piece of axiology (the study of the valuable) ethics, with side-orders of limitations in epistemology. So, kindly allow me to headline:
KF, 10: >>It is interesting what sparked the sharpness of exchange above:
KF: Playing God without his knowledge base, wisdom and benevolence is asking for trouble.
A78 is right:
all I’m saying is proceed with caution we shouldn’t play God because we don’t know how.
Some humility, some prudence, some caution — thus, a least regrets decision principle — is therefore well advised.
A song on Poker as a metaphor for life, once put this . . . I cite as heard on scratchy AM radio decades ago:
know when to hold
know when to fold
know when to walk away
know when to run
you never count your money
sitting at the table
there’ll be time enough
when the dealing’s
[See: https://www.lyricsfreak.com/k/kenny+rogers/the+gambler_20077886.html ]
I add a vid:
Let us again cite his cautions:
A78: I find this comment to be in poor taste “Should we tell the people that you’re going to die because we shouldn’t play God” It really doesn’t justify or prove the point of using or doing this type of research.
It’s more of a manipulative comment trying to force somebody into a moral dilemma (obviously most people are not going to deny someone life saving medication) but it certainly doesn’t prove any point. As an opposite and equal extreme, one can same the same for the opposite prescriptive. IE “We shouldn’t play God with other living creatures genomes because we could accidental create a fatal mutation in the Species which caused its extinction”
Simple slip ups in this field can cause the deaths of millions of people if not billions with a virus that was genetically engineered or something that came naturally that sprouted off of our genetic tampering.
The other scenario could happen after 100 years of genetic manipulations of the human species, a new virus or other new microbes now sharing the new genes that we created, come into existence some of which we might not be able to fight off. The other possibility is permanent genetic defects that show up way later in a generation because of our meddling.
In a way, when we mess with the genome, It is similar to introducing a new species to an ecosystem that is not ready to support it. We do not know the impact or the effects that could happen down the line but they can be devastating, and often with proceeded these was good intentions, Hence “the road to hell is paved in good intentions”
Wisdom requires due humility to recognise the potential for unintended havoc.
We may turn our further thoughts on a premise, that BB intends to persuade us towards the truth and the right as he perceives it. That is, he implies a thesis I have often highlighted here at UD in recent times: our thought-volitional inner life is morally governed. So governed, by KNOWN — repeat, KNOWN (and undeniable) — duties to truth, right reason, prudence, fairness and justice, etc. This, on pain of patent absurdity on the attempted denial (we do not operate on the global premise of who is the most effective manipulative liar). Where, such is attested by the witness-voice of conscience. Which cannot be its grounds, its authentic roots.
So, what is?
We here find ourselves facing the IS-OUGHT gap, and post Hume there is only one place it can be bridged on pain of ungrounded ought: the root of reality. We need an inherently good, sound, sufficient root for reality in order for our whole inner life to make sense, an inner life we cannot set aside as inconvenient. Where, it is easy to see that for such a root, there is but one serious candidate. (As this is a philosophical exercise [and not an undue imposition], if you dispute this, simply provide and justify a serious alternative: _________ , addressing comparative difficulties: _________ )
The candidate is: the inherently good and utterly wise creator God, a necessary and maximally great being, worthy of our loyalty and of the responsible, reasonable service of doing the good that accords with our manifest nature.
And, it will be readily apparent that when one deals with powerful, potentially destructive ill-understood domains fraught with moral hazards, a due recognition that we are not omnipotent, we are not omniscient, we are not omnibenevolent, would be appropriate. As Cicero summed up, conscience is a law, prudence is a law.
So, for one, instead of playing heedlessly with gene engineering fire, we should learn from the history of damaging industrial development, spewing all sorts of chemicals into the environment (and into our foods), importing invasive species and the challenges of nuclear technology and should proceed with humility, prudence, soundness. How many times have we been promised sci-tech, technocratic utopias that failed? Failed, with awful consequences and costs?
It is not for nothing that Hippocrates and others taught us to ponder the duties of the learned professional in society (and environment).
First, do no harm.
art is long,
life is short,
[experience treacherous,][Thanks SM]
The professional must therefore act with due humility and prudence, understanding the doctrine of unintended consequences in a deeply interconnected world. Where, a properly cultivated conscience is a part of the picture. Where, part of that education is and should be, the lessons of our civilisation’s tradition of ethical theism. For, we need to recognise that we are not God.
Something, that rage at our creator, the source of reality, wisdom and sound moral government, is liable to forget.
Anger, is a blinding emotion.>>
Food for thought. END