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starship-design: RE: Bugs again

> -----Original Message-----
> From:	L. Parker [SMTP:lparker@cacaphony.net]
> Sent:	Tuesday, October 13, 1998 11:35 PM
> To:	Timothy van der Linden
> Cc:	Starship Design
> Subject:	RE: starship-design: Re: Bugs again
>When we land upon an alien planet with a breathable atmosphere and we
>our very first breath, we have perhaps doomed thousands of that planets
>species to ultimate extinction. Who knows how predatory OUR bacteria and
>viruses will be to THEM?
>What right do we have to casually doom billions of creatures to death by
>mere act of breathing?

What about the rule of "survival of the fittest"? OK, fair enough, it's
hardly desirable (from a morla point of view) for us to land on a planet and
kill off it's indigenous population (assuming that would actually happen).
However, if us humans have proven ourselves to be a "fit" species by
managing to evolve to a sufficient level where we can realise interstellar
travel and colonise other planets, then surely it's fair play if we can
survive on these other worlds. If their bacteria & virii kill US off, fair
play again - we weren't fit enough to adapt.

This then brings up the point in my mind genetic engineering - ie. if we can
produce (through GE) a human sub-species that can safely live on a new
planet, then that also demonstrates our fitness to adapt and survive.

Before you start thinking that I'm a heartless anti-environment kind of guy,
I'd like to make the distinction between the deliberate murder of species
(eg. whale-hunting) as opposed to indirectly (and only possibly) killing off
other micro-organisms with the bacteria that we happen to carry in our
bodies. A fine line indeed, though. I appreciate that just becuase it's
small (eg. virii) doesn't mean it doen't have the right to live, but all
life is a constant struggle to survive and compete with other life. Some
win, some lose.

>No, the more I think about it, the more I like the idea of staying in

Perhaps a compromise solution would be to only land on dead planets where
our bacteria won't inadvertently kill off other life.

Chris Walker