RSS iconTwitter iconFacebook icon

The Trek BBS title image

The Trek BBS statistics

Threads: 139,610
Posts: 5,405,188
Members: 24,869
Currently online: 644
Newest member: Engelbert

TrekToday headlines

Star Trek: Gold Key Archives Vol. 2 Comic
By: T'Bonz on Oct 1

Cumberbatch In War Of Roses Miniseries
By: T'Bonz on Oct 1

Trek 3 Filming Location Revealed
By: T'Bonz on Oct 1

October-November 2014 Trek Conventions And Appearances
By: T'Bonz on Sep 30

Cho Selfie TV Alert
By: T'Bonz on Sep 30

TPTB To Shatner: Shhh!
By: T'Bonz on Sep 30

Mystery Mini Vinyl Figure Display Box
By: T'Bonz on Sep 29

The Red Shirt Diaries Episode Five
By: T'Bonz on Sep 29

Shatner In Trek 3? Well Maybe
By: T'Bonz on Sep 28

Retro Review: Shadows and Symbols
By: Michelle on Sep 27


Welcome! The Trek BBS is the number one place to chat about Star Trek with like-minded fans. Please login to see our full range of forums as well as the ability to send and receive private messages, track your favourite topics and of course join in the discussions.

If you are a new visitor, join us for free. If you are an existing member please login below. Note: for members who joined under our old messageboard system, please login with your display name not your login name.


Go Back   The Trek BBS > Entertainment & Interests > Science Fiction & Fantasy

Science Fiction & Fantasy Farscape, Babylon 5, Star Wars, Firefly, vampires, genre books and film.

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old December 14 2011, 02:00 AM   #91
Christopher
Writer
 
Christopher's Avatar
 
Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

^Again, I don't deny that it's possible to improve the performance of the brain in certain ways. But the study mentioned in that article I linked to suggested that such improvements would come with a cost, that there would be tradeoffs for any gain, and that eventually you'd reach a point of diminishing returns. It's just wishful thinking to assume the brain can be augmented without limit, or that any system can be scaled upward without limit. That's Kurzweil's fundamental mistake, that failure to recognize that not everything can be extrapolated forward indefinitely.

Moore's Law is not an inviolable law of nature, just a description of a process Moore observed in his time. Moore himself never expected it to apply indefinitely into the future; in fact, the cutoff point at which he assumed it would cease applying is already in our past. So you can't automatically assume that computer capacity will continue to scale up indefinitely just because it did so in the past, and you sure as hell can't assume that there are no obstacles to bringing that same unlimited amplification to the human brain, because there are countless other variables you'd need to factor into that equation.

I think Singularity advocates sometimes forget that the Singularity is supposed to be a point beyond which our ability to extrapolate the future fails because we don't have enough information to make any intelligent conjectures. So to claim certainty about what the Singularity will mean is oxymoronic.
__________________
Christopher L. Bennett Homepage -- Site update 4/8/14 including annotations for Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel

Written Worlds -- My blog
Christopher is online now   Reply With Quote
Old December 14 2011, 03:13 AM   #92
RAMA
Vice Admiral
 
RAMA's Avatar
 
Location: NJ, USA
Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

Cloning:

Cloning in biotechnology is a complex discipline where several different processes are used to create copies of DNA, cells, or organisms. It was possibly first accomplished in 1952 on tadpoles and the first published work was from a procedure performed on carp, 1963. Mammals were cloned in 1986 and 1997, with the first ape cloned in 2000. Today cloning stem cells is seen as a major area of research. In 2006 the FDA approved mass consumption of cloned meat in USA. In 2009 the first extinct animal(Ibex) was cloned but only lived for 7 minutes. On the 7th of December 2011 its was announced that a team from the Siberian mammoth museum and Japan's Kinki University plan to clone a woolly mammoth from a well preserved sample of bone marrow found in August 2011.

In SF human cloning is a popular topic and as highly controversial as real life. The first large scale use of clones in a novel appeared in A. E. Van Vogt's 1945 novel The World of Null-A. Aldous Huxley's Brave New World made significant use of clones. C. J. Cherryh won the Hugo in 1988 for her novel Cyteen., which is considered a milestone novel of the subject. In visual fiction, cloning is extremely common. Human Duplicators was an early shlock effort. Woody Allen's Sleeper gained more critical notice. As did The Stepford Wives. Most popular of all was Michael Crichton's "Jurassic Park" dealing with the resurrection of extinct dinosaurs. Other efforts include Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, The 6th Day, a surprisingly serious action movie exploration of the subject, and "The Island" of a similar vein. On Star Trek, clones were treated as abominations.
RAMA
__________________
It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. Carl Sagan
RAMA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 14 2011, 03:50 AM   #93
RAMA
Vice Admiral
 
RAMA's Avatar
 
Location: NJ, USA
Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

Christopher wrote: View Post
^Again, I don't deny that it's possible to improve the performance of the brain in certain ways. But the study mentioned in that article I linked to suggested that such improvements would come with a cost, that there would be tradeoffs for any gain, and that eventually you'd reach a point of diminishing returns. It's just wishful thinking to assume the brain can be augmented without limit, or that any system can be scaled upward without limit. That's Kurzweil's fundamental mistake, that failure to recognize that not everything can be extrapolated forward indefinitely.

Moore's Law is not an inviolable law of nature, just a description of a process Moore observed in his time. Moore himself never expected it to apply indefinitely into the future; in fact, the cutoff point at which he assumed it would cease applying is already in our past. So you can't automatically assume that computer capacity will continue to scale up indefinitely just because it did so in the past, and you sure as hell can't assume that there are no obstacles to bringing that same unlimited amplification to the human brain, because there are countless other variables you'd need to factor into that equation.

I think Singularity advocates sometimes forget that the Singularity is supposed to be a point beyond which our ability to extrapolate the future fails because we don't have enough information to make any intelligent conjectures. So to claim certainty about what the Singularity will mean is oxymoronic.

I think just about all these qualms have been countered at one time or another in the last 10 years...the last one first: It's absolutely true and Kurzweil himself makes this statement in his last book(far from being oblivious)...however, it still doesn't mean that we as curious, intelligent beings won't try to, as with Charles Stross' Accelerando. There area few logical extrapolations which seem to make sense but are by no means definitive as part of the 6 epochs idea:

I believe I answered the exponential limit claim already...exponentials reach limits only until surpassed by a new paradigm. My example was processor technology. Something claimed by critics for many years...that there would eventually be a materials limit in Moore's Law, but which has again been surpassed: http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=153184

Kurzweil's response to Allen on exponentials not being a law of nature:

When my 1999 book, The Age of Spiritual Machines, was published, and augmented a couple of years later by the 2001 essay, it generated several lines of criticism, such as Moore’s law will come to an end, hardware capability may be expanding exponentially but software is stuck in the mud, the brain is too complicated, there are capabilities in the brain that inherently cannot be replicated in software, and several others. I specifically wrote The Singularity Is Near to respond to those critiques.
I cannot say that Allen would necessarily be convinced by the arguments I make in the book, but at least he could have responded to what I actually wrote. Instead, he offers de novo arguments as if nothing has ever been written to respond to these issues. Allen’s descriptions of my own positions appear to be drawn from my 10-year-old essay. While I continue to stand by that essay, Allen does not summarize my positions correctly even from that essay.
Allen writes that “the Law of Accelerating Returns (LOAR). . . is not a physical law.” I would point out that most scientific laws are not physical laws, but result from the emergent properties of a large number of events at a finer level. A classical example is the laws of thermodynamics (LOT). If you look at the mathematics underlying the LOT, they model each particle as following a random walk. So by definition, we cannot predict where any particular particle will be at any future time. Yet the overall properties of the gas are highly predictable to a high degree of precision according to the laws of thermodynamics. So it is with the law of accelerating returns. Each technology project and contributor is unpredictable, yet the overall trajectory as quantified by basic measures of price-performance and capacity nonetheless follow remarkably predictable paths.
If computer technology were being pursued by only a handful of researchers, it would indeed be unpredictable. But it’s being pursued by a sufficiently dynamic system of competitive projects that a basic measure such as instructions per second per constant dollar follows a very smooth exponential path going back to the 1890 American census. I discuss the theoretical basis for the LOAR extensively in my book, but the strongest case is made by the extensive empirical evidence that I and others present.
Allen writes that “these ‘laws’ work until they don’t.” Here, Allen is confusing paradigms with the ongoing trajectory of a basic area of information technology. If we were examining the trend of creating ever-smaller vacuum tubes, the paradigm for improving computation in the 1950s, it’s true that this specific trend continued until it didn’t. But as the end of this particular paradigm became clear, research pressure grew for the next paradigm. The technology of transistors kept the underlying trend of the exponential growth of price-performance going, and that led to the fifth paradigm (Moore’s law) and the continual compression of features on integrated circuits. There have been regular predictions that Moore’s law will come to an end. The semiconductor industry’s roadmap titled projects seven-nanometer features by the early 2020s. At that point, key features will be the width of 35 carbon atoms, and it will be difficult to continue shrinking them. However, Intel and other chip makers are already taking the first steps toward the sixth paradigm, which is computing in three dimensions to continue exponential improvement in price performance. Intel projects that three-dimensional chips will be mainstream by the teen years. Already three-dimensional transistors and three-dimensional memory chips have been introduced.
This sixth paradigm will keep the LOAR going with regard to computer price performance to the point, later in this century, where a thousand dollars of computation will be trillions of times more powerful than the human brain1. And it appears that Allen and I are at least in agreement on what level of computation is required to functionally simulate the human brain2.
Allen then goes on to give the standard argument that software is not progressing in the same exponential manner of hardware. In The Singularity Is Near, I address this issue at length, citing different methods of measuring complexity and capability in software that demonstrate a similar exponential growth
No one claimed there was no limit to computer/AI processing capacity, but as I already said, this limit is immense, and we can quantifiably predict there will be a time when we can reach it.
__________________
It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. Carl Sagan

Last edited by RAMA; December 14 2011 at 04:31 AM.
RAMA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 14 2011, 04:18 AM   #94
xortex
Commodore
 
Location: Staten Island, NY
Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

Just out of curiosity, can the singularuty be equated with religion's rapture (a white hole) or a black hole (alternate ultimate reality?) Once again as is usual when talking science with Christopher, I don't know what I'm talking about.
xortex is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 14 2011, 04:34 AM   #95
RAMA
Vice Admiral
 
RAMA's Avatar
 
Location: NJ, USA
Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

xortex wrote: View Post
Just out of curiosity, can the singularuty be equated with religion's rapture (a white hole) or a black hole (alternate ultimate reality?) Once again as is usual when talking science with Christopher, I don't know what I'm talking about.
There are a lot of metaphors within the singularity that one could claim are self-servingly spiritual, if people want to claim that then so be it, but that's not what my interest in it is about. This is similar to what has happened with spiritualists and new age latching on to quantum theory. Generally speaking most of the claims originate from a lack of current language to quantify or explain the changes that may happen.

RAMA
__________________
It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. Carl Sagan
RAMA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 14 2011, 04:58 AM   #96
xortex
Commodore
 
Location: Staten Island, NY
Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

My thinking, which is quite limited on this subject, is that we won't know what happened until it is too late. In fact, a black hole could have already occured and the Earth might have been destroyed many times over and that we can't know what it will be like but I don't see it having positive connotations and I see alot of people suffering so that a few can change in the twinkling of an eye into trans Humans or whatever.
xortex is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 14 2011, 05:44 AM   #97
Christopher
Writer
 
Christopher's Avatar
 
Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

RAMA wrote: View Post
Cloning:

Cloning in biotechnology is a complex discipline where several different processes are used to create copies of DNA, cells, or organisms. It was possibly first accomplished in 1952 on tadpoles and the first published work was from a procedure performed on carp, 1963. Mammals were cloned in 1986 and 1997, with the first ape cloned in 2000. Today cloning stem cells is seen as a major area of research. In 2006 the FDA approved mass consumption of cloned meat in USA. In 2009 the first extinct animal(Ibex) was cloned but only lived for 7 minutes. On the 7th of December 2011 its was announced that a team from the Siberian mammoth museum and Japan's Kinki University plan to clone a woolly mammoth from a well preserved sample of bone marrow found in August 2011.
And since we've never gotten an extinct animal to live for more than a few minutes -- and that was the best result out of multiple attempts -- there's no guarantee we'll have any better luck with the mammoth. Not to mention all the practical difficulties even if we could successfully pull it off -- what would its habitat be? How could it be raised when it has no parents of its own species and nobody has any idea what its behavior is supposed to be? If mammoths were anything like elephants, they were probably highly social, and we've seen how much damage it does to elephants when they're cut off from healthy social interaction with their own kind.

http://io9.com/5865590/no-we-wont-be...ext-five-years
So, let's recap. First, these bone marrow cells need to be absolutely pristine for cloning to work...and there's no guarantee of that. Next, we need to transplant those cells into African elephant eggs...and many of those will fail. Then, the embryos need to survive the pregnancy...and if 1 in 100 do that, it'd be a massive success. After that, the mammoth needs to be born and survive infancy...again, the odds are stacked against it. Finally, the mammoth clone needs to thrive in a world in which it is completely, absolutely alone...which is hardly a guarantee. And that's not even worrying about the question of this clone giving birth to more mammoths down the line.

Taken all together, the odds that any of us will ever see an adult woolly mammoth with our current levels of cloning technology is probably somewhere between 1 in 10,000 and 1 in a million. And whatever, I'd say the five-year estimate is hugely optimistic - I'd be pleasantly surprised if a live birth of a mammoth happens in the next twenty years, even if it dies almost immediately.

Yes, with this new discovery, we're closer to cloning a mammoth than ever before. The problem is, we're still a long, long, long way away, and in the absence of some major breakthrough in cloning technology, that's likely to remain the case for the foreseeable future.

On Star Trek, clones were treated as abominations.
That's not accurate. If you're referring to "Up the Long Ladder," the Mariposans' cloning was portrayed as flawed because it was their only form of reproduction, but the only thing that was portrayed as immoral was stealing someone's genetic material and replicating them without their consent. It was the lack of consent, the violation, that was condemned, not the cloning per se. There's also "A Man Alone," where Odo stated rather bluntly that killing your own clone was still murder, suggesting it's taken for granted that clones have equal rights. Then of course there are the first clones in Trek history, the giant Keniclius and Spock clones of TAS: "The Infinite Vulcan." Neither of them is treated as an abomination; Keniclius is wrong to abduct and clone Spock without his consent, but the clone itself is accepted as a sapient being with a right to live. The Vorta were all clones, but they weren't discriminated against or vilified on that basis; it was their policies and practices that the protagonists objected to, not their nature. Then of course there's Shinzon, another clone created without the donor's consent, but again, Picard was willing to accept him as a being with a right to exist and tried to bring out the best in him.

So I can't find a single instance where a clone in ST was treated as an abomination simply on the basis of being a clone.
__________________
Christopher L. Bennett Homepage -- Site update 4/8/14 including annotations for Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel

Written Worlds -- My blog
Christopher is online now   Reply With Quote
Old December 14 2011, 07:43 AM   #98
Stevil2001
Rear Admiral
 
Stevil2001's Avatar
 
Location: 2010
Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

Doesn't Riker kill some clones without a thought?
__________________
"I don't like adventure. I'm a stay-at-home-and-read kind of guy."
Science's Less Accurate Grandmother
Stevil2001 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 14 2011, 12:34 PM   #99
Edit_XYZ
Fleet Captain
 
Edit_XYZ's Avatar
 
Location: At star's end.
Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

RAMA wrote: View Post
I believe I answered the exponential limit claim already...exponentials reach limits only until surpassed by a new paradigm. My example was processor technology. Something claimed by critics for many years...that there would eventually be a materials limit in Moore's Law, but which has again been surpassed: http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=153184
RAMA, you make the mistake of assuming that new paradigms will keep appearing, based on the recent past, on the scientific/technological revolution.
In other words, you make the mistake of assuming you can extrapolate forward indefinitely - a mistake Christopher already pointed out to you.


Indeed, one can prove logically that there are not an infinte number of paradigm shifts in our future:

There are a finite number of laws of nature AKA there are a finite number of combinations one can make using them.
Almost all these combinations are useless - they have no useful result, are not technology.
The few combinations that are useful are finite AKA they will not appear ad infinitum.


One erroneous assumption of singularity proponents is forward extrapolation ad infinitum - that there is an infinite number of paradigm shifts/advances posible.

Another one, made by some of them, is the assumption that the frequency of appearance of these infinite paradigm shifts/advances will increase exponentially (which is how Kurzweil came up with 2050 as the date for singularity).
In many fields, this assumption was already proven wrong.

Last edited by Edit_XYZ; December 14 2011 at 12:53 PM.
Edit_XYZ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 14 2011, 03:24 PM   #100
Christopher
Writer
 
Christopher's Avatar
 
Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

Steve Mollmann wrote: View Post
Doesn't Riker kill some clones without a thought?
Gestating clones that were far from being complete and conscious -- basically still embryonic. And like I already said, it wasn't because they were clones per se, but because they were taken from his and Pulaski's genetic material without permission, because he and Pulaski had been violated by essentially being forced to reproduce without their consent. It was an allegory for reproductive choice and abortion rights.
__________________
Christopher L. Bennett Homepage -- Site update 4/8/14 including annotations for Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel

Written Worlds -- My blog
Christopher is online now   Reply With Quote
Old December 15 2011, 04:39 PM   #101
RAMA
Vice Admiral
 
RAMA's Avatar
 
Location: NJ, USA
Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

Christopher wrote: View Post
RAMA wrote: View Post
Cloning:

Cloning in biotechnology is a complex discipline where several different processes are used to create copies of DNA, cells, or organisms. It was possibly first accomplished in 1952 on tadpoles and the first published work was from a procedure performed on carp, 1963. Mammals were cloned in 1986 and 1997, with the first ape cloned in 2000. Today cloning stem cells is seen as a major area of research. In 2006 the FDA approved mass consumption of cloned meat in USA. In 2009 the first extinct animal(Ibex) was cloned but only lived for 7 minutes. On the 7th of December 2011 its was announced that a team from the Siberian mammoth museum and Japan's Kinki University plan to clone a woolly mammoth from a well preserved sample of bone marrow found in August 2011.
And since we've never gotten an extinct animal to live for more than a few minutes -- and that was the best result out of multiple attempts -- there's no guarantee we'll have any better luck with the mammoth. Not to mention all the practical difficulties even if we could successfully pull it off -- what would its habitat be? How could it be raised when it has no parents of its own species and nobody has any idea what its behavior is supposed to be? If mammoths were anything like elephants, they were probably highly social, and we've seen how much damage it does to elephants when they're cut off from healthy social interaction with their own kind.

http://io9.com/5865590/no-we-wont-be...ext-five-years
So, let's recap. First, these bone marrow cells need to be absolutely pristine for cloning to work...and there's no guarantee of that. Next, we need to transplant those cells into African elephant eggs...and many of those will fail. Then, the embryos need to survive the pregnancy...and if 1 in 100 do that, it'd be a massive success. After that, the mammoth needs to be born and survive infancy...again, the odds are stacked against it. Finally, the mammoth clone needs to thrive in a world in which it is completely, absolutely alone...which is hardly a guarantee. And that's not even worrying about the question of this clone giving birth to more mammoths down the line.

Taken all together, the odds that any of us will ever see an adult woolly mammoth with our current levels of cloning technology is probably somewhere between 1 in 10,000 and 1 in a million. And whatever, I'd say the five-year estimate is hugely optimistic - I'd be pleasantly surprised if a live birth of a mammoth happens in the next twenty years, even if it dies almost immediately.

Yes, with this new discovery, we're closer to cloning a mammoth than ever before. The problem is, we're still a long, long, long way away, and in the absence of some major breakthrough in cloning technology, that's likely to remain the case for the foreseeable future.
On Star Trek, clones were treated as abominations.
That's not accurate. If you're referring to "Up the Long Ladder," the Mariposans' cloning was portrayed as flawed because it was their only form of reproduction, but the only thing that was portrayed as immoral was stealing someone's genetic material and replicating them without their consent. It was the lack of consent, the violation, that was condemned, not the cloning per se. There's also "A Man Alone," where Odo stated rather bluntly that killing your own clone was still murder, suggesting it's taken for granted that clones have equal rights. Then of course there are the first clones in Trek history, the giant Keniclius and Spock clones of TAS: "The Infinite Vulcan." Neither of them is treated as an abomination; Keniclius is wrong to abduct and clone Spock without his consent, but the clone itself is accepted as a sapient being with a right to live. The Vorta were all clones, but they weren't discriminated against or vilified on that basis; it was their policies and practices that the protagonists objected to, not their nature. Then of course there's Shinzon, another clone created without the donor's consent, but again, Picard was willing to accept him as a being with a right to exist and tried to bring out the best in him.

So I can't find a single instance where a clone in ST was treated as an abomination simply on the basis of being a clone.
I think Roddenberry was generally conservative with tampering with human biology itself (genetics/cloning)...and while Riker did have a right to control the use of his cells, the look of disgust on his face over the existence of a clone was enough to demonstrate ST's stance.

I never claimed cloning extinct species for any length of time was possible only that it is being tried...and I would rather watch for the results rather than claiming it's not possible before empirical evidence to the contrary. Advances in science are not made by distinguished scientists who claim something is impossible, to paraphrase Arthur C. Clarke.

RAMA
__________________
It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. Carl Sagan
RAMA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 15 2011, 04:44 PM   #102
RAMA
Vice Admiral
 
RAMA's Avatar
 
Location: NJ, USA
Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

Edit_XYZ wrote: View Post
RAMA wrote: View Post
I believe I answered the exponential limit claim already...exponentials reach limits only until surpassed by a new paradigm. My example was processor technology. Something claimed by critics for many years...that there would eventually be a materials limit in Moore's Law, but which has again been surpassed: http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=153184
RAMA, you make the mistake of assuming that new paradigms will keep appearing, based on the recent past, on the scientific/technological revolution.
In other words, you make the mistake of assuming you can extrapolate forward indefinitely - a mistake Christopher already pointed out to you.


Indeed, one can prove logically that there are not an infinte number of paradigm shifts in our future:

There are a finite number of laws of nature AKA there are a finite number of combinations one can make using them.
Almost all these combinations are useless - they have no useful result, are not technology.
The few combinations that are useful are finite AKA they will not appear ad infinitum.


One erroneous assumption of singularity proponents is forward extrapolation ad infinitum - that there is an infinite number of paradigm shifts/advances posible.

Another one, made by some of them, is the assumption that the frequency of appearance of these infinite paradigm shifts/advances will increase exponentially (which is how Kurzweil came up with 2050 as the date for singularity).
In many fields, this assumption was already proven wrong.

It's not a mistake, there are 3-4 different technologies already being explored that can make faster processing speeds possible, the first one was predicted and has already occurred. The mistake is in expecting that we won't come up with new technologies, which is contrary to prior historical and current demonstrable evidence...as long as there is a theoretical limit to processing speed(in fact no one has claimed this was infinite), but it is much higher than we can reach now, there will likely be away these new technologies can reach it.
__________________
It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. Carl Sagan
RAMA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 15 2011, 04:54 PM   #103
Christopher
Writer
 
Christopher's Avatar
 
Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

RAMA wrote: View Post
I think Roddenberry was generally conservative with tampering with human biology itself (genetics/cloning)...and while Riker did have a right to control the use of his cells, the look of disgust on his face over the existence of a clone was enough to demonstrate ST's stance.
No, it wasn't, because again, I'd argue that his disgust wasn't at cloning per se, but at the fact that he was cloned WITHOUT HIS CONSENT. Remember, the episode was an allegory on reproductive rights. It wasn't actually about the ethics of cloning, since that was a very distant possibility at the time it was written. The cloning issue was just a disguise for a statement about abortion rights, an issue that was far more current at the time the episode was written and produced. If a female character showed disgust at the prospect of being impregnated by rape, and expressed a willingness to get an abortion in those circumstances, that wouldn't mean she was disgusted at the idea of pregnancy itself, but at the idea of having it forced on her against her will. And the same goes for Riker's reaction here.

And even if you were right that Riker showed disgust at cloning, you'd be wrong to say it showed ST's overall stance, because as I've already shown, there are numerous other examples of clones in Trek being treated as equal beings with a perfectly valid right to exist. It would be the exception, not the rule. A single example doesn't prove a pattern, especially when it's contradicted by every other example.


I never claimed cloning extinct species for any length of time was possible only that it is being tried...and I would rather watch for the results rather than claiming it's not possible before empirical evidence to the contrary.
For one thing, I never claimed it's not possible, I merely pointed out that it's extremely difficult and far from a sure thing. I didn't want people reading your post to get the false impression that the mammoth project was likely to succeed, so I elaborated on the difficulties that still remain. Don't confuse "difficult" with "impossible."

For another, you're getting the burden of proof backwards. The empirical evidence to date shows consistently that, with current technology, clones of extinct species are very unlikely to survive. Therefore, the premise that cloning is feasible is the one that has to be proven, because so far there's no evidence to support it. "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" -- Carl Sagan.
__________________
Christopher L. Bennett Homepage -- Site update 4/8/14 including annotations for Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel

Written Worlds -- My blog
Christopher is online now   Reply With Quote
Old December 16 2011, 03:50 AM   #104
RAMA
Vice Admiral
 
RAMA's Avatar
 
Location: NJ, USA
Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

For one thing, I never claimed it's not possible, I merely pointed out that it's extremely difficult and far from a sure thing. I didn't want people reading your post to get the false impression that the mammoth project was likely to succeed, so I elaborated on the difficulties that still remain. Don't confuse "difficult" with "impossible."

For another, you're getting the burden of proof backwards. The empirical evidence to date shows consistently that, with current technology, clones of extinct species are very unlikely to survive. Therefore, the premise that cloning is feasible is the one that has to be proven, because so far there's no evidence to support it. "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" -- Carl Sagan.
There was never a judgement call on my part claiming that cloning of mammoths would succeed, only that it was going to be attempted....giving a progression of the technology over the years, from "Dolly" in 1997, to cloning an Ibex only 12 years later.

There is very little evidence to go on as of yet, and if you were to ask the question: "is it possible", the answer is a resounding "yes"....now as to whether the subject will last the next quarter hour...who knows.

It's true, it's up to those conducting the experiment(did I say otherwise??--I was referring to the article you posted as to those who claim it is not possible or unlikely...without seeing if it is first proven by those conducting the experiment)--those who say it is possible to prove it--and that's just what they are doing and I want to see..every time I see these elaborate articles claiming its impossible or unlikely, I would rather see them try...within reason of course.

Christopher wrote: View Post
RAMA wrote: View Post
I think Roddenberry was generally conservative with tampering with human biology itself (genetics/cloning)...and while Riker did have a right to control the use of his cells, the look of disgust on his face over the existence of a clone was enough to demonstrate ST's stance.
No, it wasn't, because again, I'd argue that his disgust wasn't at cloning per se, but at the fact that he was cloned WITHOUT HIS CONSENT. Remember, the episode was an allegory on reproductive rights. It wasn't actually about the ethics of cloning, since that was a very distant possibility at the time it was written. The cloning issue was just a disguise for a statement about abortion rights, an issue that was far more current at the time the episode was written and produced. If a female character showed disgust at the prospect of being impregnated by rape, and expressed a willingness to get an abortion in those circumstances, that wouldn't mean she was disgusted at the idea of pregnancy itself, but at the idea of having it forced on her against her will. And the same goes for Riker's reaction here.

And even if you were right that Riker showed disgust at cloning, you'd be wrong to say it showed ST's overall stance, because as I've already shown, there are numerous other examples of clones in Trek being treated as equal beings with a perfectly valid right to exist. It would be the exception, not the rule. A single example doesn't prove a pattern, especially when it's contradicted by every other example.

Clones don't fare well in Roddenberry's universe, technology unchained is fine, but improving human beings...well that just dangerous!

The largest sample of clones in ST are the Jem Hadar and Vorta, both of whom do not share admirable traits, and are at the mercy of their flaws...the Jem Hadar must be on white, and Vorta are basically whimpering, servile drones to the only non-clones in the triad of the Dominion.

Picard/Shinzon: Shinzon comes into power but in generally ineffectual and again at the mercy of his genetic flaws.

The Riker example is not the only one from the Mariposans: they suffer bio-technological flaws, they are thought of as not being imaginative, and are stiff...only combining their DNA with a more viable non-clone people make them worthwhile to carry on as a civilization.

The Ibudan clones were the result of a murderer and criminal who only wanted to use the technology to survive.

Ultimately genetic creations in ST are humanity playing "God", with the UFP forced to stay out of it by law, and this is pretty much in tune with Roddenberry's views.

http://www.ex-astris-scientia.org/in...ngineering.htm
__________________
It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. Carl Sagan
RAMA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 16 2011, 04:20 AM   #105
Christopher
Writer
 
Christopher's Avatar
 
Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

RAMA wrote: View Post
Clones don't fare well in Roddenberry's universe, technology unchained is fine, but improving human beings...well that just dangerous!

The largest sample of clones in ST are the Jem Hadar and Vorta, both of whom do not share admirable traits, and are at the mercy of their flaws...the Jem Hadar must be on white, and Vorta are basically whimpering, servile drones to the only non-clones in the triad of the Dominion.
Which has nothing to do with the fact that they're clones, but only with the fact that the people who engineered them are tyrants. What you said was that Trek treats clones as "abominations," and that is completely wrong. If anything, the Jem'Hadar and Vorta were often portrayed as victims of the Founders, objects of sympathy rather than disgust. The idea that Star Trek would treat any entire category of beings as an "abomination" -- in other words, would treat that category with hatred and bigotry -- is anathema to how Star Trek approaches things.


The Riker example is not the only one from the Mariposans: they suffer bio-technological flaws, they are thought of as not being imaginative, and are stiff...only combining their DNA with a more viable non-clone people make them worthwhile to carry on as a civilization.
But that's because they'd been forced to rely exclusively on cloning a very small gene pool for hundreds of years, and had fallen prey to the technical limitations of the process. (In fact, the episode's concept of "replicative fading" was rather prophetic -- there are similar problems with cloning in reality.) Saying there's a problem with cloning is not the same as saying there's a problem with clones, or that they're "abominations" that don't deserve to exist.


The Ibudan clones were the result of a murderer and criminal who only wanted to use the technology to survive.
But Odo overtly stated that killing one's own clone was still murder -- which means, by definition, that clones are considered people and are equal to other beings in the eyes of the law. Again, that is not consistent with treating clones as "abominations."


Ultimately genetic creations in ST are humanity playing "God", with the UFP forced to stay out of it by law, and this is pretty much in tune with Roddenberry's views.
Actually it's something of a contradiction to Roddenberry's views, since he generally painted technological progress as a positive, beneficial thing. "Don't play God" is the way most mass-media sci-fi treats technology, but Star Trek has generally tended to be less cautionary and more optimistic about the power of technology. The main exception has been the franchise's resistance to transhumanism of one sort or another (AIs, cyborgs, genetic augments), but there are exceptions to that in characters like Data, the EMH, and Bashir. (TOS was a lot more prone to see AI as a negative than its sequel shows were; most androids and thinking computers in TOS were dangerous or evil, but in TNG etc. they were usually nobler and more sympathetic. Maybe the next generation of Trek shows will be more tolerant of transhumanism than the previous one.)

And again, while the process of cloning has often been shown in the wrong hands, that's a far cry from expressing hate toward the clones themselves.
__________________
Christopher L. Bennett Homepage -- Site update 4/8/14 including annotations for Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel

Written Worlds -- My blog
Christopher is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



All times are GMT +1. The time now is 06:04 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
FireFox 2+ or Internet Explorer 7+ highly recommended.