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For or against? (given no side effects)

  1. For

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  1. Auger
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    Auger Senior Member

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    Straight Pill Ethics

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Auger, Jun 4, 2016.

    I'm currently developing a science-fiction universe for exploring the ethics and cultural implications of speculative technologies such as cloning, artificial intelligence, human augmentation, etc. The 'straight pill' is supposed to help connect and transition contemporary drama to the ethics of transhumanism and genetic control.

    I just want some opinions on the idea of a straight pill because I can't seem to approach this from any viewpoint other than that of a transhumanist. Is it ethical if there are negative side effects? Positive side effects? No side effects?
     
  2. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    If there are also gay, ace, bi, pan... pills, then no, no problem here
     
  3. Auger
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    Auger Senior Member

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    I should mention that the 'straight pill' is not a literal pill; It's just more convenient to refer to it as that. The pill is a retrovirus injection and psychological re-conditioning that may take from 1-2 weeks. The subject's immune system must be temporarily disabled for it to take effect. Gay, ace, bi, etc. pills are feasible, but there's only enough demand in the straight and ace research to warrant development of such pills.

    Various militaries are attempting to weaponize these retroviruses by making them contagious regardless of whether or not a person's immune system is disabled.
     
  4. Lilly James Haro
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    Lilly James Haro The Grey Warden

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    I would understand if there was demand for an aro/ace pill to some extent, broken hearts and a need to focus on a job could lead to someone wanting one. However, a straight pill could open up a big can of worms as there isn't really a reason for one? Procreation can happen without a man and woman having sex, so it can't be that. The only reason I can think of for a straight pill is as a weapon by those who are homophobic or as a tool for someone who doesn't accept their sexuality. I mean, it could work, I don't know the rest of the story; but be prepared for some people to be offended if you go in that direction, as it plays into the self-loathing gay person stereotype which is considered really offensive and negative as it implies a gay person should feel bad about being gay.
     
  5. Auger
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    Auger Senior Member

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    The plot is about how politics tears apart friendships and unites enemies on a newly discovered exoplanet - a blank slate for political and cultural development; controversy is what I'm looking for. Characters have their individual viewpoints and are not a projection of my own. Certain religions and cultures may weaponize this technology for their personal agendas. Whether they're wrong or right is up the reader.

    As a transhumanist, I only see straight pill development as having more control of human genetics. How people choose to utilize it does not concern me unless it affects me. Ace pills free up valuable mental resources for more productive tasks when one does not want to reproduce.
     
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  6. Lilly James Haro
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    Lilly James Haro The Grey Warden

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    But why a straight pill? You say it is a blank slate but a straight pill screams of homophobia. It just doesn't make sense for there to be just a straight pill and not a gay/bi/pan/etc pill unless homophobia exists in this world. However, the existance of homophobia contradicts your idea of a blank slate as homophobia in our world has come as a result of societal influences and is not a natural response to homosexuality.
     
  7. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Well cloning is a gateway to cut out the middle man (gestation inside a body), so it could be both good and bad. Let alone the implications of say some douche wants to conquer whatever they want, and now they have a warehouse of a clone army. Far scary than some jack off making old fashioned nukes, how blah 20th century. Since clones will automatically be viewed as second class citizens by most, a billion manufactured people on the march would be a care free endeavor to the master as they are viewed as less than human. Also for the fun of it you could have wars that last for millenniums, or just use clones for all the crap jobs in general. :p

    Biotech and cybernetics, the old double edged sword. On the one hand it would augment people to new levels and abilities we can only dream of. But the down side is the cost to maintain such things when parts go bad and fail, also these augmentations could be hacked and the implications are pretty straight forward. So this one is less drastic in terms of how dangerous it is compared to cloning, as the costs would be so high and not to mention the demand for technicians (or what ever you call them) to mount said augmentations. Though this would be great in the beginnings. When does it occur that the enhanced don't simply see those without enhancement as beneath them, and therefor a conflict between the two for dominance? Economically it will be great, even with underground markets of illegal augmentations. Then the whole download your self into the internet (whatever equivalent) and you won't have to 'die'. Just a thought or two, though I doubt being in cyberspace until it no longer exists due to forces beyond the control of humanity wipes it out.

    And finally pharmaceuticals, ah the state sanctioned 'good' drugs. Way to feed the drug companies, multi-billion dollar industry. Non the less all medications come at a price to the user. Whether in reaction, addiction, and so on. Too much of a good thing is a bad thing, just look at Brave New World by Huxley. Sure unlocking the human mind to new levels is great, but how long before this effect needs more and more until it collapses in on itself? Essentially this is another double edge sword, as the implications can be both good and bad equally. To unlock more of the untapped crevices of the mind, it would be far superior to evolve instead of drugs. I doubt that we will remain the same as we are now in 500, 1000, 10,o00 years from now.

    In conclusion everything has its own risk and reward, and this is but a quick in dirty on it. But since it is fiction be as ethical or unethical as you like, and morals can be damned for all I care. So yeah have fun researching all the fun bits (quite daunting when you think about it), and Good luck. :p
     
  8. Auger
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    Auger Senior Member

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    By blank slate, I meant that the exoplanet was an opportunity for the common person to create new societies and lives for themselves. It's basically the American frontier in space. Of course, there's going to be influences from the old world, but it's more-or-less an influence and not a restriction. It's basically a way for me to explore the dynamics of the existing government systems as well as speculative systems such as technocracy and AI-driven governments.
     
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  9. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    Well, there is survival paranoia, disconnection from those who are different, and the desire to have everything be as you are. All of which are "naturally " (what a stupid word) occurring phenomena.
    But yes, there is a strong religious element to homophobia, regardless of how religious the person is. It's quite tradition based. Like all prejudice, it feeds heavily off confirmation bias.
    So it's really 50/50 on what's the normal response to homosexuality biologically. There are elements of our psychology that fuel both prejudice and acceptance, it depends on our social circumstances and experiences and base personality traits (selfishness tends to fuel prejudice) as to which is activated.
     
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  10. Lilly James Haro
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    Lilly James Haro The Grey Warden

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    @Auger But you're saying that the world is a blank slate for "cultural and political development"... But the society has the same prejudices, cultural expectations and social pressures as of ours? That, again, doesn't make sense. Why are you so determined to put homophobia in your story?
     
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  11. Auger
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    Auger Senior Member

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    Cloning is extremely prevalent during the Third World War, especially in China's army and workforce. Race relations that arise from cloning will be a major theme of the plot.

    I've spent over two years on pure worldbuilding, and I don't feel as though I'm halfway finished. Robots, racism, clones, cybernetic clones, genetically engineered cybernetic clones, genetically engineered cybernetic clones - it never seems to stop becoming exponentially complex. I feel like I've bitten off more than I can chew, but I'd rather choke if it means being able to finish my work.
     
  12. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    Overall, while the idea of a straight pill is not inherently immoral, it is immensely useless. It does not matter which gender/s you are attracted to except for the practical, literal carry-on effects of that. The only disadvantages to being gay that are innate to it itself and not discrimination from others are the sexual difficulties (anal sex requires more prep than vaginal, don't know whether lesbians have any more issues though) and the fact you are marketing to a much smaller population. Although in the future the population of openly LGBT people will increase as it is already is doing so it might be even up to 12-15% LGBT as opposed to a total of around 8-9%.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2016
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  13. Auger
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    Auger Senior Member

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    There's no singular society and culture. There's the pro-gay, anti-gay, pro-AI, anti-AI, pro-cloning, anti-cloning, pro-augmentation, anti-augmentation, indifferent, etc.

    As I have said before, "Characters have their individual viewpoints and are not a projection of my own. Certain religions and cultures may weaponize this technology for their personal agendas. Whether they're wrong or right is up the reader."
     
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  14. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    Complex stuff is cool. Just remember you don't need to cover every facet of the society in full detail in one book. Just do something on all the main areas, and get a little more intricate on the ones relevant to your story. Even old J.R.R didn't cover remotely everything.
     
  15. Lilly James Haro
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    Lilly James Haro The Grey Warden

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    I get what you're saying but would survival paranoia exist in a world that contains both cloning and artificial insemination? Both of which don't require sex between a man and woman.

    I suppose it could exist, but homophobia seems like an unnecessary plot point that is only added to cause controversy or be 'edgy'
     
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  16. Auger
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    Auger Senior Member

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    What I'm essentially trying to do is create a universe as a medium to tell a multitude of stories that span different eras of technological development. Major events from one part of the chronology may influence subtle details in a future story, and I can't predict what details will be important in advance.
     
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  17. Auger
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    Auger Senior Member

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    Religion still exists 200 years later. Also, cloning requires a female egg cell.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2016
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  18. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    Oh yes. Yes it would. There's no way it wouldn't without intervention. It's universal to almost every organism to some degree of another. Survival paranoia is extremely useful. In most cases, survival paranoia produces very practical, sensible decisions to be cautious. Survival paranoia is the snapping twig response. It's safer to be cautious and maybe waste a few second checking, than to take a life risk for the sake of convenience. The issue is that like our receptiveness to positive feedback loops, it doesn't always turn out right. In the case of survival paranoia, it produces prejudice. Just like positive feedback loops that are too good produce addiction. (I subscribe to the not a disease theory of addiction that holds it as an accident of brain functioning)
    As for why you would put it; realism, conflict, interest, diversity (realism and interest), potential intellectual points. I dunno. I can't think of anything.
     
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  19. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    Why not? Don't you control your story? And besides, as I said, just cover the basic of everything major plus what's relevant here. And any additional information need for things you weren't very elaborate on can be introduced in the books it's relevant to. Detail is fun but there's a limit. Don't get carried away.
     
  20. Lilly James Haro
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    Lilly James Haro The Grey Warden

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    Yeah, we are just going around in circles now. I guess I'm just a bit sick of the idea that LGBT people like me need to be fixed which seems to be a tired theme not just in real-life but also literature. Imma take my leave now. Good luck.
     
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  21. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    I'm still not understanding why anyone would opt-in for the 'straight pill' - or any other similar procedure, but conversion therapy has been and is a real thing for gay/bi people in the real world, so you have to understand that people in the real world, where your story would be read, would be forced to draw similarities. I'd hope you treat the topic with the gravity it deserves, rather than just using it as a quirky technology for flavor in the setting. If people are opting to have their sexualities changed, why? If they're having it forced on them, realize that you're mirroring a real life issue that affects people and using it for a cheap sense of drama without putting in the research for how it affects people is lazy and potentially harmful (ie don't minimize the suffering of those who've been through conversion therapy by suggesting that it's no big deal / everyone's totally fine after having had it forced on them).

    Ultimately I don't see the point of it, but I don't know your story, so I'm not qualified to make an absolute judgment. I can only advise caution and thoughtfulness and always, always research.
     
  22. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    Oh, we don't need to be fixed. No. Of course not. But that doesn't mean it's not worth exploring as a concept.
     
  23. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    @Auger
    That is why I wish you good luck, cause it sounds very interesting (if not a tad Herculean) of a story. :p
     
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  24. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    Well, I wouldn't compare this to conversion therapy that much. This one works and is scientifically sound. :supergrin:
    Research is definitely cool. And yes, don't minimize suffering. But that doesn't equate to emphasis though. Not everything about gay people has to be a sob story. Even when suffering is involved.
     
  25. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    It's been explored in real life, though. That's the thing. It's not much of a big sci-fi "what if?" question if it's already happening and has been for years, regardless of the scientific trappings.

    I'd be interested in this idea if it was a gimmicky product in-universe that allowed people to alter their sexuality at will - like, I'm not straight, but sometimes I wonder what that's like, right? Take a pill, see what that's like emotionally for a week, or a day, or until you take the reversal pill. This'd only work in a setting where sexualities other than straight were %100 normalized and the entire thing was treated very lightly, of course, but off the top of my head that's a set-up that would be novel to me.
     

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