3 added 4202 characters in body
source | link

I'm arguing that technology has undeniably degraded humans in some respects, particularly our biological well-beingfitness, but it has also helped us in other respects. In fact, philosophy is one area where humans have made enormous progress...but is philosophy joined at the hip with technology? Can it keep up with technology?

How would we answer Mr. Noob's question now? Would we say that technology made people better and better...until they suddenly destroyed themselves?

P.S. If I'm covering too much territory, then it would be helpful if Mr. Noob could edit his question to be more specific; is he referring to humanity's physical fitness, mental fitness, quality of life, etc.?

I'm arguing that technology has undeniably degraded humans in some respects, particularly our biological well-being, but it has also helped us in other respects. In fact, philosophy is one area where humans have made enormous progress...but is philosophy joined at the hip with technology? Can it keep up with technology?

How would we answer Mr. Noob's question now? Would we say that technology made people better and better...until they suddenly destroyed themselves?

I'm arguing that technology has undeniably degraded humans in some respects, particularly our biological fitness, but it has also helped us in other respects. In fact, philosophy is one area where humans have made enormous progress...but is philosophy joined at the hip with technology? Can it keep up with technology?

How would we answer Mr. Noob's question now? Would we say that technology made people better and better...until they suddenly destroyed themselves?

P.S. If I'm covering too much territory, then it would be helpful if Mr. Noob could edit his question to be more specific; is he referring to humanity's physical fitness, mental fitness, quality of life, etc.?

2 added 4202 characters in body
source | link

EDIT

I've been asked to back up some of my statements with references. Specifically...

The mere opinion without further support lies between the lines: That natural selection of not technologically supported humans is "better" or "less degraded" than natural selection of humans as they currently are.

I think someone misread or misinterpreted my answer.

Natural selection can't be better or worse, because natural selection hasn't changed. What has changed is the fact that modern humans have, in a sense, divorced themselves from natural selection (with the help of technology).

Imagine if we could transport the late Stephen Hawking (while he was still alive) back in time 10,000 years. How long could he survive without the technology that kept him alive?

That isn't to say that natural selection isn't at work on humans today. But the sheer magnitude of global population growth speaks volumes.

You implicitly suggest that the least degraded state of humans was before industrialisation. You need some support for that.

Actually, this is what I wrote:

Not only is it possible, it [technology] has degraded humanity. But it has also provided benefits.

In other words, it's a two-edged sword.

I then pointed out some of the obvious benefits of technology (e.g. longer lifespans, electricity and ice cream). I also pointed out some of bad things, such as overpopulation, environmental degradation and people who are biologically less fit than our distant ancestors in many respects.

If World War III shut down medical services, millions of people who suddenly found themselves deprived of critical medicines and aids would die.

In summary, it's hard to argue that humanity has been biologically enhanced by technology.

Especially considering the last 100 years of philosophical work on what human "nature" actually could be. Hint: Essentialism doesn't work (See e.g. Plessner, Arendt, or more recently: Grant Ramsey).

Good point; what about our MENTAL and CULTURAL development?

Since the mind is dependent on the brain (a physical organ), it's reasonable to assume that we're dealing with another two-edged swords.

People's brains (and minds) do suffer from a wide range of problems, from brain cancer to psychological maladies. Mind control takes a terrible toll; the almost incomprehensible stupidity of the people I encounter right here in "progressive" Seattle frankly stuns me.

On the other hand, people who are fortunate enough to grow up in stable homes and receive a good education can blossom into mental giants that would have utterly amazed our prehistoric ancestors. In this spirit, Stephen Hawking is a good symbol of physical/biological degradation and mental "progress" at the same time.

Many would argue that science and philosophy didn't even exist until just a few thousand years ago, a good sign that our species is being upgraded, rather than degraded. But how closely are philosophy and science linked to "technological progress."

One could argue that neither would exist without agriculture and writing. But is philosophy really joined at the hip with technology? Yes or no, philosophy itself has been degraded to some extent by propaganda.

When you put it all together, you have a rather confusing situation, as evidenced by philosophers who view Nature as something noble and virtuous versus those who view technology as a refuge from Nature, which they view as abhorrent.

I'm arguing that technology has undeniably degraded humans in some respects, particularly our biological well-being, but it has also helped us in other respects. In fact, philosophy is one area where humans have made enormous progress...but is philosophy joined at the hip with technology? Can it keep up with technology?

Imagine if global civilization suddenly broke down - via WWIII, a massive terrorist attack, or an environmental disaster - and one or two billion people died, with the others reduced to survival, living lives more wretched than our prehistoric ancestors.

How would we answer Mr. Noob's question now? Would we say that technology made people better and better...until they suddenly destroyed themselves?


EDIT

I've been asked to back up some of my statements with references. Specifically...

The mere opinion without further support lies between the lines: That natural selection of not technologically supported humans is "better" or "less degraded" than natural selection of humans as they currently are.

I think someone misread or misinterpreted my answer.

Natural selection can't be better or worse, because natural selection hasn't changed. What has changed is the fact that modern humans have, in a sense, divorced themselves from natural selection (with the help of technology).

Imagine if we could transport the late Stephen Hawking (while he was still alive) back in time 10,000 years. How long could he survive without the technology that kept him alive?

That isn't to say that natural selection isn't at work on humans today. But the sheer magnitude of global population growth speaks volumes.

You implicitly suggest that the least degraded state of humans was before industrialisation. You need some support for that.

Actually, this is what I wrote:

Not only is it possible, it [technology] has degraded humanity. But it has also provided benefits.

In other words, it's a two-edged sword.

I then pointed out some of the obvious benefits of technology (e.g. longer lifespans, electricity and ice cream). I also pointed out some of bad things, such as overpopulation, environmental degradation and people who are biologically less fit than our distant ancestors in many respects.

If World War III shut down medical services, millions of people who suddenly found themselves deprived of critical medicines and aids would die.

In summary, it's hard to argue that humanity has been biologically enhanced by technology.

Especially considering the last 100 years of philosophical work on what human "nature" actually could be. Hint: Essentialism doesn't work (See e.g. Plessner, Arendt, or more recently: Grant Ramsey).

Good point; what about our MENTAL and CULTURAL development?

Since the mind is dependent on the brain (a physical organ), it's reasonable to assume that we're dealing with another two-edged swords.

People's brains (and minds) do suffer from a wide range of problems, from brain cancer to psychological maladies. Mind control takes a terrible toll; the almost incomprehensible stupidity of the people I encounter right here in "progressive" Seattle frankly stuns me.

On the other hand, people who are fortunate enough to grow up in stable homes and receive a good education can blossom into mental giants that would have utterly amazed our prehistoric ancestors. In this spirit, Stephen Hawking is a good symbol of physical/biological degradation and mental "progress" at the same time.

Many would argue that science and philosophy didn't even exist until just a few thousand years ago, a good sign that our species is being upgraded, rather than degraded. But how closely are philosophy and science linked to "technological progress."

One could argue that neither would exist without agriculture and writing. But is philosophy really joined at the hip with technology? Yes or no, philosophy itself has been degraded to some extent by propaganda.

When you put it all together, you have a rather confusing situation, as evidenced by philosophers who view Nature as something noble and virtuous versus those who view technology as a refuge from Nature, which they view as abhorrent.

I'm arguing that technology has undeniably degraded humans in some respects, particularly our biological well-being, but it has also helped us in other respects. In fact, philosophy is one area where humans have made enormous progress...but is philosophy joined at the hip with technology? Can it keep up with technology?

Imagine if global civilization suddenly broke down - via WWIII, a massive terrorist attack, or an environmental disaster - and one or two billion people died, with the others reduced to survival, living lives more wretched than our prehistoric ancestors.

How would we answer Mr. Noob's question now? Would we say that technology made people better and better...until they suddenly destroyed themselves?

    Notice added Citation needed by Philip Klöcking
1
source | link

Not only is it possible, it has degraded humanity. But it has also provided benefits.

First, the bad news: People live relatively long lives today, thanks to modern technology and plentiful food. But if you took away all that technology, people would start falling over dead by the thousands.

Thousands of years ago, people with various illnesses or "conditions" would have been weeded out by natural selection. Today, there are countless people who are kept alive by medication, therapy, emergency surgery, etc.

The war against the environment is another byproduct of "progress." People didn't live in their own sewage 10,000 years ago.

On the other hand, technology has given us electricity and ice cream.

I hear all the time that human only use ~10% of their brain, what if its because we dont need to use more?

That's an interesting line of inquiry. We certainly use our brains in different ways than our ancestors did. The fact that we can spend half our lives in school suggests we get a lot of use out of our brains. On the other hand, mind control (e.g. propaganda) is a terrible reality today - and it takes an enormous toll on people's minds.

There are examples of people who manage to get superhuman strength in moment of danger etc.

There's nothing new about adrenaline rushes. Nor are they confined to humans.

So is it possible that all the inventions prevented human to reach their full potential?

Sure, it's possible, but there are limitations. Levitating people sounds a little far-fetched, for example.

There were a couple philosophers named Hobbes and Rousseau who had very different ideas about Nature and "progress." Hobbes thought man's natural state was brutish, while Rousseau was more of a romanticist who thought progress degraded people.

I believe another philosopher named Locke was somewhere in the middle.

My natural inclination is to side with Rousseau. Unfortunately, I couldn't survive without electricity and ice cream.

In the end, it's a balancing act. There's no question that technology has affected us in both positive and negative ways. But some would argue "What's so bad about a physically disabled person (who would have been eaten by predators thousands of years ago) who's a guru of astro-physics?"