Principles of Panbiotic Ethics
Directed panspermia must rest on ethical motivation. The morality applied here can have far-reaching consequences for future of the universe. Insights from both biology and cosmology can be synthesized into a biotic ethics that must value and respect our family of organic Life and encompasses all present and future Life-forms. The ethical logic rests on the following points:
- Life is a process of the active self-propagation of organized molecular patterns.
- The patterns of organic terrestrial Life are embodied in biomolecular structures that actively reproduce through cycles of genetic code and protein action.
- But action that leads to a selected outcome is functionally equivalent to the pursuit of a purpose.
- Where there is Life there is therefore purpose. The purpose of Life is self-propagation.
- Humans share the complex DNA/protein biophysics of self-propagation with all cellular organisms, and therefore share with the family of organic Life a common purpose.
- Assuming free will, the human purpose must be self-defined. It is best derived from the core human identity as part of Life. Therefore the human purpose is to forever safeguard and propagate Life and to establish the living pattern as a governing force throughout nature.
- The human purpose defines the axioms of ethics. Moral good is that which promotes Life, and evil is that which destroys Life.
- Life, in the complexity of its structures and processes, is unique amongst the hierarchy of structures in Nature. This unites the family of Life and raises it above the inanimate universe.
- Biology is possible only by a precise coincidence of the laws of physics. Thus the physical universe itself is also at a special conjunction in the living process.
- New life-forms who are most fit survive and reproduce best. This tautology - the judgment of fitness to survive by the act of survival itself - is the logic of Life. Whereas the mechanisms of Life may change, the logic of Life is permanent.
- Survival is best secured by expansion, and biological progress is best assured by diversification, in space. Adaptation to space will drive human/machine coexistence, but control must always remain with organic intelligences with vested self-interest to continue the organic life-form. With conscious intelligence in control, Life will continue only if the will to do so is itself always propagated.
- The human purpose and the destiny of Life are intertwined. The results can light up the galaxy with life, and affect the future patterns of the universe. When the living pattern pervades all Nature, human existence will have attained a cosmic purpose.
- The complex mechanism of replication and transcription must be present even in the simplest cell. This creates a large probability barrier to the origin of life. If we are alone, we must safeguard and propagate this unique creation of nature.
- Eukaryotic and multicellular life emerged on Earth only after 3E9 yr. This shows a large probability barrier to higher evolution. Eukaryotes and simple multicellular species should be included in directed panspermia to induce higher evolution and maybe to new intelligent species who will promote Life further in the galaxy.
- There is no evidence now for extraterrestrial intelligent life. Should such civilisations exist, panspermia can serve as interstellar communication. The nature of our life-form is best communicated by samples. Competition for survival is intrinsic to Life, and directed panspermia may extend this to space. Our first duty is to our family of organic life.
Directed panspermia requires a permanent ethical foundation. The principles of panbiotic ethics derive from the scientific world-view and are consistent with the respect for life innate in human emotions, civilisations and religions. The Life-centered panbiotic purpose to propagate Life can therefore serve as a lasting basis for human ethics.
The panbiotic enterprise will extend Life to new solar systems through the galaxy. It will secure Life, allow diversification and lead to higher biological forms. Eventually, all the material in Nature will become living substance and its sustaining resources. Self-propagating Life will encompass all matter and the universe will become an interconnected living being. In fulfilling the ultimate purpose of Life, our human existence will have assumed a cosmic meaning.