Ethicists are Scientists Who Don't Like Change

Researcher Attila Chordash has some comments to make on a rather dismissive review of Ending Aging in Nature by a "neuroethics expert."

Unfortunately Illes completely mixes transhumanism with the belief that robust life extension is possible and desirable due to handling the 2 books together and I think this is not a fair angle on life extension. Consequently she can say on the whole that those beliefs are "going well beyond what might be imaginable, or ethical today."

While reading Chordash's comments, and some of the excerpts, it struck me that a scientist-turned-ethicist is a scientist who doesn't like change. This is to say a scientist who has cast aside the core, essential function of the practice of the scientific method, which is to bring positive change to the state of human knowledge, and thus positive change to the world through the application of that knowledge. The ethicist gives up that noble first cause in favor of dropping caltrops onto the path to tomorrow, and structuring a life in which success is measured by how greatly progress is impeded.

The ethics movement in science is fear of change writ large, so large that those scientists who follow that path forget the roots of their calling.

Comments

There's no problem with science having an ethic. The problem is that the "ethicists" are bad. They start out with an anti-morality that values harm as harm, because it is harm. Consequently their ethical suggestions halt improvement, coerce uniformity, and turn away from power towards helplessness.

This SHOULD be made personal. The problem is human.

Posted by: Julian Morrison at December 7th, 2007 2:51 AM

The "ethicists" are evil. Ethics and morality is about empowering individuals to improve their lives and to have more freedom and opportunity. Any definition of "dignity" that is not based on self-empowerment is evil and should be publically stated as such.

These "ethicists" are people obsessed with having power over other peoples' lives and freedoms, pure and simple. There is no higher principle involved here.

Posted by: kurt9 at December 7th, 2007 11:12 AM

Um, my transhumanist colleagues ARE (some of them, at least) ethicists by profession. Ethicists have diverse views.

Posted by: Neil at December 8th, 2007 1:08 AM

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