Article Link: http://www.sentientdevelopments.com/2013/01/should-we-eliminate-human-ability-to.html
Article Title: Should we eliminate the human ability to feel pain?
This article talks of cyborgs and genetically altered fetuses as if they were common, everyday things, and although these things might be considered customary in the not-so-distant future, they still come as a bit odd to me. Pain as we know it, as the article states, is not completely necessary, and can be modified in order to make our lives more bearable. However, how far would we be able to modify this, and what would be our limits? The article mentions a gene, SCN9A, which, among other genes, controls our pain receptors, and has multiple variations that might lead to a person feeling more/less pain than others. Up to that point, I feel that modifying this gene so that people feel less physical pain than today—just enough pain to warn us of anything that is hurting us—would be a wise move. However, the use of prosthetic limbs linked with our own selves that retreat when in contact with something harmful is not only slightly frightening—it makes me feel like we are losing some of what makes us human—but also a bit unnecessary. Human arms are just fine and, unless one loses an arm during an accident or any other similar circumstances, I see no need for robotic parts in humans simply to avoid pain. The risks far outweigh the benefits, at least in my opinion. Nonetheless, when the advances for such solutions for pain rise, I believe that one should be given a choice as to how much pain they desire to be able to feel—if any pain at all. Maybe the future ‘pro-choice’ movements will be regarding this issue, afterall.
Article:The 12 cognitive biases that prevent you from being rational
The article is a quirky examination of cognitive bias, or limitations in our thinking involving flaws of judgment. The first bias, "Confirmation Bias", isn't really what I would call a logical limitation but rather a natural preference. It states that we favor people who agree with us and do the opposite with people who don't. Firstly, I would say that it is not always like this because some people appreciate people who are different and who pose different perspectives. Furthermore, it is not really a flaw in judgment if you want people to confirm you, it is more of an arrogance or narcissism natural to humans. I found the Gambler's Fallacy specially fascinating for I have personally experienced it. We like to think that the universe works through karma and that our luck is bound to change when really there is no such thing. But still, we are chained to this illogical optimism. Post-purchase rationalization is also a common phenomenon. Once, I bought an expensive cologne which came with 3 other samples. I tried rationalizing by telling myself it was worth it because I was getting a lot of cologne. But in the end, I had to run back into the store and return it. The Observational Selection Bias is also very uncanny. I perceive it when I discover the meaning of a new word which I think I haven't seen before. For instance, "carte blanche" or "laissez-faire". After I learned their definitions I begun seeing them much more often, or at least I thought so. In summation, the article is a very fun read to explore the illogical realms of our subconscious which cloud our judgment sometimes. However, I would appreciate if the author used examples to substantiate his claims for every phenomenon, because some fail to make sense.
Would It Be Boring If We Could Live Forever?
Reading this article made me think about many things about living forever. I also agree with the researchers of the question, about that at certain point it would be tedious to live forever as knowing that the life cycle has an end is what make us human to live and try to have new experiences everyday. Knowing the uncertainty of life is the magic flavor that makes us live everyday. Taking into consideration that the author mentioned that if we lived forever, we would have the need to block memories to re-do actions to feel them as the first time would only shudder our mental health what I think we should not try to change. The article made me think that also living forever would take away the purpose of live we would have no purpose in live would only be slaves of life without having our final rest, which what it is said about death. Also if we could live forever another point would need to be review if as immortals we still have to see other people dying. If so wouldn’t that just eventually makes us being indifferent to death? Just as the Nazi officers and prisoners that became indifferent to death after witnessed it so many times. Together with this thought wouldn’t humans just get tired of humans that we would not care about other humans? As it is seen with the souls in the book “Our town” this souls after their death seen to lose their feelings one to another and their preoccupation for the living human beings after so many time. Re-arguing what Jean Calment said “I never get bored “when he was 122 years old can be seen from another perspective reaffirming that human satisfaction increase with age because humans are aware that they are closer to death, if we were immortal this wouldn’t happen because we would only seek for more and more until the point there wouldn’t be any way to satisfy ourselves with anything. I’m impressed by how the people how deal with this question is still open to try and give an opportunity to immortality, maybe its not what we think and it is the next step for human evolution. But another new question is formed about immortality; if death would exist new life would also as life and death form a yin-yang for humanity. So we as immortals could voluntarily die to give the opportunity to a couple do have a baby? Also, Wouldn’t it be tedious to be with the same people forever? , Wouldn’t immortality be a human version of heaven and hell?
I fully agree with Nigel Cameron's worry on whether the longevity of life is in fact worth it. Then word he chose which completely summarises the whole idea which he arguments would be "purpose". People would develop a lack of engagement and dissatisfaction with their existence. Developing an ageless society would lead suicide to be looked upon as a rational choice, opposed unethical and unmoral as the philosophy of suicide retreats it today. Life would lose the purpose of being fulfilled and death would in fact be a preferable solution to then boredom going through.
However, when arguing about the suicide of the depressed and bored, we have to keep in mind that humanity is infact evolving and developing. The survival of the fittest may be applied to this, leading the unhappiest to suicide, while the strongest minds would lead and develop into un boring themselves. With the technology developed to create ageless beings, who knows what else the humans could create? Humanity may reach a point in which they no longer know boredom. Just like there is a proposal to eradicate pain, they might as well develop the extinction of boredom making humanity to live in ecstasy. "Who wants to live forever?"
Article: Why People Act Out of Line With Their Beliefs
This article written by Tom Stafford truly was interesting. It defends that people can change their beliefs to suit their actions. As explained by Tom Stafford; "Changing your beliefs to be in line with how you acted may not be the most principled approach. But it is certainly easier than changing how you acted". It says something about human nature, doesn't it? Moral high ground an be turned to nothing.
The answer to the title of the article is that a great number of things can make people act out of line with their beliefs. Emotions, money, political reasons, peer pressure... the possiblities are innumerable. Humans can easily betray their beliefs. It is a talent however to change our morals as to not feel bad about ourselves. Humanity truly is beautiful at times.
I accidentally erased the rest of my response before posting this...
Going back to the topic, morals and beliefs are easily changed due to human selfishness. In order to make us have a "moral high ground" one must sometimes change one's morals. This can be seen in the experiment mentioned in the article. No one wants to be called mean or immoral. Most people envision themselves as the hero, or at least the good guy, in their own movie which is their life. It's depressing to find that you may not be the protagonist but rather the antagonist at times.
Does Your Language Shape How You Think?
If I had seen how long the article actually was before reading it, I wouldn’t have hesitated to close the window and choose another one instead. But, confident that it was only one page long, I began reading. And I was so caught up and interested in the subject that I just kept reading until the end. I was really impressed by the conclusions that make so much sense, and yet are so unnoticed. I do agree with most part of what was said, I believe, since it is slightly difficult to opine on a subject that involves so many different languages, none of which I know except for English. However, there was a hypothesis stated in the second page, I think, saying that languages that describe objects through gender, such as talking of a pencil as a “he” instead of “it”, or a bed as a “she”, unconsciously imprint gender traits on different objects. My mother language being one of those called “gendered languages” by the author of the article, I know there is no such thing. It does make sense, and it could have applied for many people, but it really has nothing to do with the language we speak, but with the purpose the object serves and the personality of the person who is defining it. In Portuguese, “book” is a “he” but I would describe it as something elegant and cultured, adjectives which the article said indicated a more feminine description, whereas robust and strong indicated a masculine description. I would seriously never say a book is robust. A television, in Portuguese is a “she”, but in this case I would go for a so-called more manly description, just because of the object's purpose and appearance which really are not elegant and slender whatsoever. So this I thought was just completely insane. The rest of the points made by the author, though, completely caught my attention and curiosity.
Article: The 12 cognitive biases that prevent you from being rational
This article started to get me thinking about if this affected the great leaders of the countries. I believe this is true. The confirmations bias and the in-group bias relate not only to the population, which follows a certain political ideas. The conversation bias however is not neglecting ideas, which are opposed to your own, but it is only recalling the ones, which you tend to be in favor of. Another one I found interesting was the illusion of control. People have the tendency to, if believed that they have the power over something, that they are safe. This comes hand in hand with the negativity bias and the neglecting bias. People must think that since they are in a car, which they themselves can control, so then it is less dangerous than being in a plane with someone else in command. Some people sometimes have this issue of trusting others when they have control over something. For example, my father. He does not trust anyone driving a car, not even his wife. Well, I don't believe however that these bias prevent the human race from being rational, there are much more factors which contribute to the retardation of human thoughts such as religion, economy (which I admit, a lot of the biases relate to), political and the natural human craving for power. These biases do in fact have a lot to do with economy, but we have to keep in mind that there are no actual rational people. Corporations, consumers, governments; none of these are in fact rations organizations. I noticed also that these bias fit into the capitalist, western way of thinking, with government interventions, which is another irrational human situation.
Would It Be Boring If We Could Live Forever?
One can question BOREDOM, when regarding cheating death. However, I got to say that the question doesn’t lay in the fact of eternal life being boring, and yes if it is worth it. It is believed that in the future, scientists will be able to cheat death and even overcome monotony by “developing technological means to overcome psychological boredom”(Walker). Scientists are talking about living forever; nevertheless none of them said anything about not aging. I guess people are too stuck with the fantasy of vampires, and wander how it would be to live YOUNG forever. However, can scientists cheat time?
I guess not.
What is the point of cheating death, if you continue to age? What is the point of living forever, if you won’t be 100% capable of doing all of the things you did while you were young? And above all, what is the point of going back and reliving memories to become less bored, if some of them you may regret, or feel sad because they remind you how being young was? My point is that as much as humans may feel bored or not with eternal living, time cannot be stopped. Furthermore, a question of culture has to be considered. In some cultures people cherish death, due to the curiosity that lies after we die. What does happen after we die? What are we going to face? Hell for not believing in God? Reincarnation as we become one with Brahmin? Or the Underworld as we are led to decide our fate in the Plain of Judgment? Time has mysterious ways, and so does life.
I don’t believe people would be concerned with boredom, neither do I believe that people would be concerned about living forever working. We all know that there is something eternal inside us- our soul. I think that after living 1000 years, people would believe that maybe death would be another way to live, however not on that old raged body. Moreover, what happens after we die is still a mystery, since no one that has died has came back from the dead to tell wait awaits us. I believe that living forever would be neither boring nor exciting. I believe it would be very sad, as we would look at a population of 36 billion people in the year 3000, and notice that half of the population is 1500 year old vegetables. As well as, due to the increase in longevity, the world would suffer with the over population. Since no one would be dying, we would be left in a world so overly populated, that finally we would die maybe not of suicide, but yes of pollution and other subsequent factors.
Article: Why people act out of line with their belief
Reading Stafford analytical framework made me think in another way. It basically states that people can and will hereafter change their ideas/beliefs at some point of life. One of Stafford insights that caught my attention, at the beginning of the article was when he states: "If at first you don't succeed, lower your standards. And if you find yourself acting out of line with your beliefs, change them.". Being able to analyze, I couldn't disagree more with this quote. I believe that we don't need to change our beliefs for others, which in my view isn`t being out of the line. We should always defend our belief, but at the same time respecting others too. Although, there are tons of reasons on making people go out of line. Religion is the main one. Religions for some may be a delicate subject, although for others is just nothing. Although major part of society is strict about religion. People in now days can be radical speaking about their religion. Religion has been developing into a strong matter, and now they are reasons for death, such as 9/11. However, at some point of life, everyone will betray their beliefs. Life is short, people change and opinions also.
Religion has been developing into a strong matter, and now it is a reason for death, such as the 9/11. *
Article: What do we mean by the "rights" of the nonhuman person?
One doesn't have to love animals or even care for them at all in order to recognize that they should have certain rights. Even people who have never had a pet know that animals have cognitive and emotional capacities. Nowadays some people take better care of their pet animals than their own children so why shouldn't they have rights? They may not speak but they manifest their emotions in different ways. Nonhumans also feel pain and if someone deliberately inflicts pain on them there should be consequences. How can skinning animals alive or making dogs fight until death for entertainment go unpunished? More importantly why are humans taking away lives in order to have material things? Animals are guided by their instincts and do not have the mental capacity for reasoning. Humans are able to diminish their instinct and think before acting so there is no reason why nonhumans should be suffering in the hands of a specie that has a greater intellectual development.
ARTICLE: TAKE BACK THE LANGUAGE
I personally think that this article was made for me. I would like to start by pointing out how well written it was. The usage of the words the author used, persuade myself to think much more about the meaning of the message he was trying to pass. I am the kind of person that does not think before acting or saying something (and I know this is a HORRIBLE thing). Choosing “soft” words when you want to persuade someone by saying that a situation is not as bad as they think, and using really strong words to persuade someone the opposite way. Journalists today, persuade people to think in a total different way than it really is. The author of this article is basically asking for the journalists to present a valid information in a neutral way without trying to change people’s mind or to brainwash them. Which I personally think its impossible. Not to mention that many journalists write things for their own benefit and many of them have different perspectives about what they are writing. Many journalists want to persuade the others by presenting what they think is right in order for the reader to believe in the same thing. Journalists always are doing this type of thing, it seems to be a manipulation, but it it nothing more, nothing less then a word choice from the authors. Thats why we are used to read biased sources and etc. They are just presenting their own opinion in a way to persuade the others to believe in what they think its right, and they are not wrong by doing that.
10 of the Weirdest Futurist Scenarios for the Evolution of Humanity
The future has always been a huge discussion topic due to the fact that there are millions of different outcomes that could occur, especially when talking about human evolution. I have always thought about minor changes like sight enhancement or an increased body size. However, this article deals with major modifications that would change human life completely, if they were to be applied. After reading all of the ten different scenarios, I believe that number nine is the best and most likely to happen. Throughout history, humans have acquired a special taste for exploration. Many of the ancient civilizations and empires felt the need for new lands, which led them to the New World. Now many experts believe that one day Earth`s resources will reach an end and humans will need a new place to keep the species alive. Space exploration is the last exploration stage, and if things don`t change, there will be an urge to “conquer” new planets. In my opinion, space life will be a reality hundreds of years from now, maybe even less. New technologies will make this possible and after many years, the human race will eventually evolve and adapt to special conditions. The article talks about using nanotechnology to modify our bodies for space. Eliminating our lungs and energizing our cells are only some of the modifications that could be viable. I support inner body alterations like the ones suggested above, but I don`t agree with other ideas discussed in the article that would change the human appearance, like adding more body parts. Humans should stick to their current appearance and only improve it, but not change it. Also, adding a processor or supercomputer to our brains or body is not a good idea due to the fact that they could be easily hacked or malfunction.
10 of the Weirdest Futurist Scenarios for the Evolution of Humanity
This was read definitely presented some weird scenarios as the title suggested it would. I was disgusted by 9 of the 10 of the scenarios with only the last being attractive in any way whatsoever. The last scenario suggested that in the future I could be possible that technology could allow for the development of a brain chip sort of thing where ones consciousness would be able to upload information to itself. Better yet the consciousness that is on the chip could transfer itself to other life forms to basically achieve everlasting life. This is all theory and I don’t actually believe it will happen in my life time but it definitely makes you think.
Should we eliminate the human ability to feel pain?
Pain is a feeling no one really appreciates. We do what we can in order to not get hurt, but does that mean pain is something we can live without? It is believable that, with the advances in technology, we will be able to accomplish such thing. As the article mentioned, parents would be able to choose to remove their children’s pain gene and relieve them from any type of suffering. I wonder if that would be a legitimate choice, since it’s a one in a life time choice… the article didn’t specify if we would be able to undo this, so wouldn’t it be better if each individual made that choice for themselves? We can’t control how people grow up, what personality they’ll have, so what if they wished to feel pain? Making such a radical decision for someone else, even if it’s your own child, would it be as if you took someone’s right?
The pain feeling is a system of defense to our body because it signals if something could damage it. Not feeling it would make us defenseless. The author mentions that that wouldn’t be a problem since we could opt for a system that “tells” us that something is wrong, and therefore prevent us from getting hurt. Although that system seems as a revolutionary idea it always makes me think of the same situation; that one were we push the “don’t push” button. Everyone knows that when that happens something bad occurs, but we do it anyways. Even if the system warns us and we know that it could hurt us many could probably ignore it because it doesn’t hurt us, or at least we don’t feel it. People only learn when it costs them something, and if that doesn’t happen, we will just doing the same things. I believe that the ability to feel pain is important to our lives and that to abolish it would do more bad than good.
Article:10 of the Weirdest Futurist Scenarios for the Evolution of Humanity
Wow! Very interesting article! Had never thought (and would probably never think) about these possible outcomes! The voluntary devolution one seems very unlikely, pessimist and not very logical; I think I missed its benefits. The voluntary human extinction one is very unusual and I don’t think its movement will ever succeed for one simple reason: we are too selfish! It would be sort of ideal to extinct one species in the planet so all the other and the planet itself could live, but that doesn’t seem a very realistic idea when that single species is humans. Also, the article stresses that the defenders of this cause are not misanthropic, and I would go further and say that they are actually very … not philanthropic because they don’t view the welfare of humans, but …. maybe… altruistic. However, again, I think very few people would be willing to do that, even among the environmentalists, regardless of the fact that we will all eventually die if we continue to destroy our planet. The third outcome also places the environment before the humans, and again, I think very few people would voluntarily modify themselves in favor of the planet. The fourth Transgenic humans scenario is very bizarre and unimaginable. It would be very weird! Even more weird would be the only brain one, but about that I only have to reaffirm that “brain size is not correlated with intelligence, and […] we're progressively offloading our thinking to external devices.” As to regards the other couple of scenarios, well… I could debate how unlikely and even more weird they also are, but I guess that that is why the title is “10 of the Weirdest Futurist Scenarios for the Evolution of Humanity”! Hahaha Afterall, I can only recognize the creativity of the minds that created them and say one last thing: what weird futures! Hope none of them become reality!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.