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The ethics of colonizing other planets. Some think it’s wrong.

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The other day, we noted that NASA has been spending money on the question of how world religions would view the discovery of life on other planets.

(Meanwhile, Stephen Hawking insists that we must colonize other planets to avoid extinction (he gives us 1000 years) and that world government is needed to stop technology destroying us, which will sound to most people like a choice of methods of execution. 😉 )

From Siobhan Lyons at MercatorNet:

Numerous writers and film-makers have turned their attention to the question of what it means for humanity to be annihilated. In Nevil Shute’s critically acclaimed On the Beach (1957), a hallmark Nuclear Age sci-fi work alongside Pat Frank’s Alas, Babylon (1959), a cloud of radiation slowly drifts from the Northern Hemisphere down to Melbourne after a nuclear war. The survivors, meanwhile, try to enjoy themselves before the inevitable end arrives.

An artist's drawing of one of NASA's Mars rover on the surface of Mars

Observes one character:

It’s not the end of the world at all. It’s only the end for us. The world will go on just the same, only we shan’t be in it. I dare say it will get along all right without us.

JG Ballard’s The Drowned World (1962) similarly demystifies the longevity of the human race, with the central character gradually welcoming the destruction of civilisation as the world reverts to its wild, primitive state. The novel ends with him disappearing into the wild:

He left the lagoon and entered the jungle again, within a few days was completely lost, following the lagoons southward through the increasing rain and heat, attacked by alligators and giant bats, a second Adam searching for the forgotten paradises of the reborn sun.

As theorist Gary Westfahl points out, in comparison to other sci-fi works, The Drowned World “rapturously embrace[s] human extinction”. More.

There is, in fact, a human extinction movement, VHEMT (“vehement”),  an expected outgrowth of population bomb-ism.

Lyons thinks colonizing other planets is unethical if it disrupts a “natural” environment. Not clear if that includes a natural environment like Mars or Europa.

See also: Suzan Mazur: NASA, tax dollars, space aliens, and religion… Of course, it’s yet to be determined that most religious people have much invested in the matter one way or the other, relative to their irreligious neighbours.

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