Florence Ambrose and Ethics

The webcomic “Freefall” is excellent, and centers around a character that I developed great admiration for. She became the archetype of the group I call the Noble Webcomic Females.

She is intelligent, thoughtful, resourceful, skilled, and a person of high integrity … working for a pickpocket conman. She is also not human. Specifically, she is a “Bowman’s Wolf” — a species that has been biologically uplifted. Her unusual ancestry — no one she’s met has ever encountered anything like her — is one of the core elements of the story line.

And the concept of biologically uplifting species to sapience is the core element of this paper. The paper deals primarily with ethical considerations:

Transgenic organisms are now created with ease, including goats that can secrete spider-silk and pigs that glow in the dark. It is conceivable that human DNA can be intertwined with those of other animals to create a number of novel and bizarre physical forms.

Animals may also be engineered to have specialized physical or cognitive characteristics while lacking certain neurological faculties. Theoretically, such creatures could be designed for specific tasks, such as manual labour, dangerous work, or as sex trade workers – and at the same time be oblivious to the demeaning or hazardous nature of their work. For all intents and purposes these would be happy slaves.

This is a repugnant possibility and an affront to humanitarian values.

It occurs to me that I would have some signifcant philosophical (and political) differences in other areas with this author, who slides in a complaint that all goods are not now distributed equally among people. The paper is still interesting. And writers of everything from science fiction webcomics like Freefall or Endtown or Schlock Mercenary (all excellent), or even works like my own humble efforts with the Octans’ world of future octopuses, could find useful bits in it.

More Noble Webcomic Females musing can be found here.

And speaking of uplifted intelligent animals — here is a cross-species arrangement where the participants have arranged for their own uplifting.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

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