Saturday, August 13, 2022

Decolonize by Accepting Equality with Bacteria

Scientific American has an essay on decolonizing the search for alien intelligence:
Cultural Bias Distorts the Search for Alien Life

“Decolonizing” the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) could boost its chances of success, says science historian Rebecca Charbonneau ...

As for “intelligence,” that’s certainly a dangerous word, and it has been used in very harmful ways. Eugenics, for example, used the limited concept of “intelligence” to justify genocide. I’m therefore sometimes troubled by the word intelligence in SETI. For one thing, we might not even be able to identify what intelligence is. And because of this, maybe we [will] someday make contact and [won’t] even recognize that we’ve done so. But it’s also important to think very critically about why we search for intelligence. Is there something special about intelligence? Does intelligence deserve more respect than whatever we might perceive to be nonintelligence? We might perceive microbes as nonintelligent life, for example. Does that life have a right to exist without us bothering it? Or is it just germs—just bugs that we are going to just bring back and study and pick apart?

A Quanta magazine video on Exploring the Deep Mystery of Life's Origins starts by saying that there could be life on other planets that is just bacteria, but we are wrong to think that we are any more evolved than bacteria.

It used to be conventional wisdom that White people were more evolved than Blacks. Nobody says that anymore. But do we have to accept equality with bacteria?

SciAm has an article about the controversial new Democrat spending bill, What Scientists Say about the Historic Climate Bill.

Robert Bullard, an environmental policy and justice expert and director of the Bullard Center for Environmental & Climate Justice at Texas Southern University

The IRA has some good things in it that are greatly needed by low-income people, people of color and environmental justice communities ...

He is not really a scientist, but calls himself the Father of environmental justice. No opinions against the bill were quoted.

Here is an example of the concept of intelligence being dangerous:

“In 2022, how can you possibly think that another human being comes out of the womb with less cognitive ability? It’s just impossible to believe that that can be true,” Jenkins said. “It’s unspeakable.”
They come out of the womb with a lot of other differences also.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I take it Robert Bullard has never encountered someone with Downs Syndrome? Or a severely retarded child? Birth defects are not a figment of the imagination. How can someone who shows such an absolute disregard for observable reality be taken seriously?

I would also ask, has Mr. Bullard ever noticed that people are not identical in any particular capacity that can be observed or measured? Equal before the law does not mean equal in all characteristics or capabilities.

Just because someone has a higher or lower IQ is not grounds for dehumanizing them or mistreatment, but it can have a tremendous impact on what they do in life.