Look, we donâ€™t mean to sound ungrateful. Nature has been good to us. Evolution got us all sorts of neat stuff. Proprioception. The ability to see about seven million colours. Opposable thumbs. Before them thumb wars were just â€˜warsâ€™. But all sorts of junk came along with those marvelous innovations. Sickle cell anaemia. Ageing. Yeast infections.
But what if we can use science to take us to the next level, and bypass the millenia needed for natural selection? What if we can game the next level of humanity? I mean the mantis shrimp can see 4 times the number of colours we can. What are they even using it for? Insulting clams? What if we could use gene splicing technology to borrow that skill for a species that would truly appreciate it? What if science could increase our speed and agility, to match that of the mantis shrimp? What if it could make us impermeable to yeast infections, again, like the mantis shrimp? Or, okay, maybe science could just enable us to become mantis shrimp?
Surely science holds the answer to switching on genes, and switching off others. Liberating us from shortcomings and suffering. With science we can fix mistakes, both the ones we inherited, and the ones we’ve made. Surely science can achieve perfection.
But can we all agree on what perfection is? Several dictators have had a crack and weâ€™ve all more or less reached the conclusion that that is best not repeated. And through the processes of selection, do we invite even more aggressive rejection? What does that mean for the imperfect? What price are we willing to pay for the path towards perfection?
Come join us as we resolve this conundrum through the rigorous scientific method of emphatic lectern banging and deriding the oppositionâ€™s choice of tie. Hopefully we can settle this before the mantis shrimp start dominating the Olympics and stealing all the interior decorating jobs.
In partnership with Sci Fight
Thursday September 20 at 7pm