Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Napoleon’s Revenge: An Evolutionist is Suggesting We Make People Smaller and Give Them Pills to Fight Global Warming

A professor of philosophy and bioethics at New York University is now saying that since humans caused global warming, humans should fix the problem. But since market-based and geoengineering solutions are too risky and ineffective, we need to engineer humans to consume less, for example, by making them smaller.

for example a car uses more fuel per mile to carry a heavier person, more fabric is needed to clothe larger people, and heavier people wear out shoes, carpets and furniture at a quicker rate than lighter people

And how can people be made smaller?  By selection, of course:

You might try to do it through a technique called preimplantation genetic diagnosis, which is already used in IVF settings in fertility clinics today. In this scenario you'd be looking to select which embryos to implant based on height.

George Orwell could not have said it any better. But that’s not all. The professor also suggests using pills—oops, pharmacological enhancements—to heighten one’s positive attitudes toward the environment. This isn’t about manipulating people; rather, it’s about helping people. After all, the pharmas like it so it must be good:

I recently gave a talk about this paper at Yale and there was a man in the audience who worked for a pharmaceutical company; he seemed to think there might be a huge market for modifications like this.

Yes I'm sure he did. Religion drives science, and it matters.


  1. HA HA HA HA. I swear Cornelius you really must live in the Weird Zone of the internet.

    No doubt you will now be beating a drum that 'Evolutionists want to shrink your babies'.

    These are one man's odd ideas. Let's not make this out to be part of a Darwinist Conspiracy.

    Although, just as a final thought, you haven't actually shown him to be WRONG, have you? I mean, yes this does all sound a little eccentric, but it is at least logically sound. There's no reason why his ideas are factually incorrect, is there? Impractical, perhaps, undesirable, probably, but not actually wrong.

    1. "Evolutionist"? I thought the guys around here said artificial selection is not evolution.

    2. Yes, that is true. I am not suggesting the two are the same.

      'Evolutionists want to shrink you babies' is my summation of Cornelius' point. And that point is clearly flawed on several levels (not least the fact that the word 'evolutionist' is a rather silly term, but it is one the ID-ers on here keep using).

    3. Ritchie:

      Although, just as a final thought, you haven't actually shown him to be WRONG, have you? I mean, yes this does all sound a little eccentric, but it is at least logically sound. There's no reason why his ideas are factually incorrect, is there? Impractical, perhaps, undesirable, probably, but not actually wrong.

      Well yes, undue carpet wear and tear (and the subsequent need for replacement sooner rather than later) must be addressed.

    4. Funny ,reading the article that carpet wear didn't seem to be the big concern. But your ability to unmask the deceptions and dogma of the evolutionists is unmatched, in fact it is almost religious in its fervor.

  2. Not exactly a new tale. Such a solution would ignore the more rooted societal issues and have implications far beyond what has been mentioned.

  3. Which issues might those be, Smith?

    1. Issues that are rooted and societal.

      Did you have a question about a particular facet?

    2. Smith: Issues that are rooted and societal.

      Which is nothing more than what you said earlier.

  4. First, I suspect that Cornelius picked this article in particular since both Global Warming and designing human beings conflicts not only with his religious beliefs, but those of his target audience.

    Second, the article made it clear none of these things were to be compulsory, but optional. Just as many other environmentally friendly suggestions are optional today.

    Third, many of these suggestions are already being utilized in similar ways. For example, we have patches to help people quit smoking. Some couples already select which embryos to implant based on their sex or even screen then for known genetic markers for major illness or conditions. Hormone treatments are used in cases where children are extremely tall, etc.

    Fourth, as indicated in the article, these suggestions could have an significant impact on the environment.

    Liao: There is a widely cited U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization report that estimates that 18% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions and CO2 equivalents come from livestock farming, which is actually a much higher share than from transportation. More recently it's been suggested that livestock farming accounts for as much as 51% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. And then there are estimates that as much as 9% of human emissions occur as a result of deforestation for the expansion of pastures for livestock. And that doesn't even to take into account the emissions that arise from manure, or from the livestock directly. Since a large portion of these cows and other grazing animals are raised for consumption, it seems obvious that reducing the consumption of these meats could have considerable environmental benefits.

    Even a minor 21% to 24% reduction in the consumption of these kinds of meats could result in the same reduction in emissions as the total localization of food production, which would mean reducing "food miles" to zero. And, I think it's important to note that it wouldn't necessarily need to be a pill. We have also toyed around with the idea of a patch that might stimulate the immune system to reject common bovine proteins, which could lead to a similar kind of lasting aversion to meat products.

    Fifth, these suggestions could be beneficial beyond global warming. For example, while I've dramatically reduced my red-meat intake, I always fall short at eliminating it all together. I'd jump at the chance for some means to adjust my palette or make meat less desirable. The impact on the environment would be icing on the cake.

    But most importantly, I think the following illustrates a good point.

    The Atlantic: Some critics are likely to see these techniques as inappropriately interfering with human nature. What do you say to them?

    Liao: Well, first, I would say that the view that you shouldn't interfere with human nature at all is too strong. For instance, giving women epidurals when they're giving birth is in some sense interfering with human nature, but it's generally welcomed. Also, when people worry about interfering with human nature, they generally worry about interfering for the wrong reasons. But because we believe that mitigating climate change can help a great many people, we see human engineering in this context as an ethical endeavor, and so that objection may not apply.

    Obviously, we do not want to jump into this sort of thing blindly. However, if we want to survive as a species, it will be necessary to create the knowledge of how to improve human beings, safely and cheaply.

    In fact, we already do this though external means today, which allows us to make the world hospitable for life. As Einstein once said "my pencil and I are smarter than I am."

    Of course, if you think the knowledge of how to build human beings has always existed and / or comes from an infallible source, then this could appear absurd, counter productive or even morally wrong.

  5. Specific variants of Salamanders can regrow entire limbs, including bone, muscle and even nerves.

    Since this obviously isn't prohibited by the laws of physics, the only thing preventing us from doing this safely and cheaply in human beings is knowing *how*.

    Of course, when I once brought this up to a theists, she said that if God wanted us to be able to regrow limbs, we already would be able to regrow limbs. And since we cannot, he didn't.

    It's at this point I realized how harmful "moderate" religious beliefs can be, even if they do not result in Jihads, the hatred of homosexuals, etc.

  6. This would be a hibrid: intelligent evolution

  7. Gee, mere mortals trying to play GOD...can't see any problems with that!?!?

  8. Another way to save scarce resources would be to end tax breaks for religion, of course.

    Religion drives science from the classroom, and it matters

  9. Lazzarotto

    This is a funny thought indeed. With the starting of the "genetic engineering" we will be able to create any hybrids (chimeras). So in few centuries we will able to destroy the tree of the life that we observe now and the nested hierarchies. The next extant animal species and fossils will confound the future (alien) scientists that will not be able to detect more a sign of common ancestry. Full victory for ID.

  10. We can make a similar observation regarding the accelerating expansion of the universe.

    In the future, the rest of the universe will have traveled so far it will no longer be observable from our milky way galaxy. As such, It will appear *as if* our galaxy is alone in the universe. Any civilizations arising on other planets in other galaxies at this time would experience the same thing. As such, they may conclude the universe was created just for them, etc.

    In other words, it's because we exist at this time that we estimate there are 1 trillion galaxies in the universe.