Extropianism: A Debate on its Validity.
*This debate is on the validity of Extropianism as a philosophy and if it should be a philosophy practiced.
*I take the position of Pro as I am for Extropianism and its validity.
The defininition of Extropianism is this:
"referred to as the philosophy of Extropy, is an evolving framework of values and standards for continuously improving the human condition. Extropianists believe that advances in science and technology will some day let people live indefinitely. An extropianist may wish to contribute to this goal, e.g. by doing research and development or volunteering to test new technology." (http://en.wikipedia.org...)
*Also, Extropianism is, what others call, the exact opposite of Nihilism.
This philosophy's views is based on humanity and the ever-so sought after feat of immortality. It, soon, will be possible to achieve that feat but there is still work being done on it. To further explain this philosophy is that it also is for new technology being invented and used to further humankind. For instance, space exploration and the warp drive is an invention that is probable but is becoming plausible. This invention will further humankind and will allow us to travel the cosmos in all of its glory and wonder.
The philosophy is based on extreme optimism. Hope and faith in the task at hand is essential in Extropianism. Even though the goal in which you are trying to accomplished won't be completed within your lifetime; you still feel optimistic & enthusiastic and continue to do so.
This the philosophy that applies to me as I have the same views.
ALSO, how does this compare to philosophies such as nihilism, pessimism, absurdism or etc..?
It would certainly eradicate religion, as all religions depend on some kind of reward after death for following its creeds. Whether you think that the general population can act morally without religion, you certainly cannot deny that it provides an impetus for many, many people around the world to treat each other with kindness and respect.
Additionally, as mortal beings, all of our decisions are made by weighing opportunity costs and picking the option that maximizes our expected marginal utility. This expected marginal utility is what gives value to our choices. If there is no opportunity cost, there is no reason to make one choice over another and thus no value in our choices.
Our free will is all that we are guaranteed in life (at least the illusion of free will). The value in free will is in the value of making choices that maximize our expected utility. If there is no expiration date, there is no limit to our expected utility and thus no reason why I should choose one option versus another. This lack of options, I believe, would lead to disillusionment and the sense that "Nothing I do matters." Because nonexistence is better than a depressed and disillusioned one with no chance of escaping, I conclude that the goal of living forever is a misguided one.
*Note how Con didn't respond to my question of, "ALSO, how does this compare to philosophies such as nihilism, pessimism, absurdism or etc..?". Also take note on how he ignored space exploration.
I would like to say that Extropianism isn't going to devalue opportunity costs. We would still weigh what would be valuable to humanity and what wouldn't. Also, being immortal won't impede on our decisions to make decisions. Instead, those decisions will and forever always will improve the human condition. As a collective race to ensure human progression, we must use science to achieve such things. In fact, immortality would improve the idea of opportunity costs. Opportunity costs would now only be the implication of human progression for success.
I will answer my own question about how Extropianism compares to Nihilism, pessimism and absurdism. Extropianism, unlike nihilism, pessimism, has EXTREME hope in life and the universe, unlike absurdism. Life and the universe have a meaning, unlike nihilism. Life and the universe do not take place in a chaotic and purposelessness state but has a purpose, unlike pessimism. That is how Extropianism compares.
I will now only extend my argument on space exploration.
If humans live forever, there is no motivation to work to move humanity "forward" (if this is even possible), today because there will be the same amount of time to enjoy the luxuries that this hard work will bring regardless of when humanity brings these luxuries about.
In regard to space exploration, what criteria are we using when we say it "furthers humankind?"
Extropianism, especially if followed with only the hope of helping future generations and not ones" own, restricts one"s course of actions and says what is just is that what "furthers" the lives of those who do not even exist yet. So, it says that humans today are supposed to sacrifice the freedom to further their own lives and instead further the lives of random atoms that have yet to even combine into a living, breathing form.
In terms of Extropianism giving life meaning, I suppose it does, but only in the sense that humans thrust that meaning on the universe and there is nothing in the universe that dictates that this is how humans should accord value to their lives. If one practices another philosophy that allows him to put his own meaning on the universe, he can choose any kind of meaning and it has just as much validity as extropianism because even according to the extropianist there is nothing in the universe that hints to humanity that this is the goal it should be aiming for.
Something that is valuable to humanity is the love we have for our loved ones. When they die, we feel depressed. That depression affects us greatly. An example as to how this will improve humanity is purely simple. That example is this; we will be happier if we had those loved ones who had died; we wouldn't be so depressed as a result to their death.
The motivation to move forward is simple as well. We would have more a motivation to further humanity in humanitarian idealism. We would be more like-minded in the strive for a good life. Death is not only a motivational factor but it also brings madness and death as a result. How? Look at history.
Those luxuries can still be enjoyed if we were still alive and not dead. If you think otherwise; I am sorry but you lack logic in that respect. Hard work would still be done.
Space exploration (like it did in the space race) would bring newer and better technology.
Also, space exploration would help us find another home if the earth produces a natural disaster such as a super-volcano erupting.
My opponent states that without death humanity will have "more motivation to further humanity in humanitarian idealism," but I"m afraid I would need clarification as to what he means by "humanitarian idealism" and why this leads to more motivation to move humanity forward. He then states that death is a motivational factor, which I, of course, agree with, but then says it "brings madness and death as a result." I do not agree that death brings death; rather, death is death. Perhaps he means that one human"s death brings about the death of other humans, but I would need to see evidence for this claim to make sure he is not confusing correlation (more people die in natural disasters than in normal, everyday living, but this does not imply that one"s death directly ""brings about" the death of another because, obviously, there are many confounding factors) and causation. As to whether death induces madness, perhaps this is true. I will leave it to Aristotle on this one; however, as he states: "There is no great genius without a mixture of madness." Additionally, living forever seems as it would bring the worst kind of madness, that of boredom. How terribly boring it would be to keep on living with no fear of death? Why are extreme sports such as skydiving so exciting? It is because of its seemingly close encounter with death.
Again, it"s not that the luxuries cannot be enjoyed when they are alive. It is that our enjoyment of them decreases as we repeatedly enjoy them (law of diminishing returns).
Sure, space exploration can bring technological advances. But does this mean we should all devote our lives to its advancement? The relatively few who actually have the capability to make real advancements in scientific exploration only need so many test subjects.
Just to reinforce, if a human devotes his life to furthering the lives of future humans, he must sacrifice his own ends. The old adage "You can"t have your cake and eat it too" applies perfectly to this. If I devote my life to something that I think I should be devoting it to, I limit pursuing that which I want to pursue if these two do not align, and thus I limit my freedom.