Human Exceptionalism

More Brilliance From the EDGE

I have done a little more reading from the Edge, the self-described meeting place of the “most interesting minds” in the world. As some of you will recall from an earlier posting, the Edge is asking the brilliantly interesting among us to describe what they are scientifically optimistic about:

In one essay, which I hope is true, Roger Highfield, science editor at the Daily Telegraph, writes, “I am quietly optimistic that in the wake of years of hype over the practical significance of gene discoveries, fusion power, magic bullets, superconductivity, gene therapy, cures for ageing, and embryonic stem cells, the public will become more pessimistic about the practical benefits of discoveries made in the lab and more appreciative of what science is really about–basic curiosity, rationality and the never-ending dialogue between ideas and experiments.” Don’t count on it. The Science-Industrial Complex is spending tens of millions in propaganda annually to ensure that never happens because it would mean the end of blank checks, of both the financial and ethical kinds.

And get this one! Rudy Rucker, a mathematician, promotes the Gaia theory of the earth and all things existing as conscious beings. Science will discover “subdimensions,” he predicts, allowing telepathy among all (Creation? Evolved?)things: “This universal telepathy will not be limited to humans; it will extend to animals, plants, and even ordinary objects. Via the subdimensions you’ll be able to see every object in the world. Conversely, every object in the world will be in some limited sense conscious, in that it will be aware of all the other objects in the world.” Okaaay. If that happens I assume there will be a vegetarian PETA because carrots will be deemed sentient.

But in a blow to the transhumanists who need computers to upload into: “Machines will fade away and, in particular, digital computers will be no more. The emerging interactions of Earth’s telepathically communicating beings will become a real and knowable Gaian mind. And then we will become aware of the other higher minds in our cosmos.” Sounds like an episode of Star Trek.

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