Latest blog post: An unforseen hiatus. (2023-01-02)
Dang, and here I was holding Zelenkov in high regard. But that's several kinds of fucked up. Even if you have an axiomatically "humans only" view of morality, it's a spectacularly bad idea to show that kind of moral disregard for beings that could surely reduce your planet to a faintly radioactive plane of molten glass.
Major Pronin +1 status. Professor Zelenkov -1 status.
Funny thing is, everything before the Major's objection could have been an ethical scientist just getting a little too deep in his work headspace. "Well yeah, it's horrible that our starting point is a bunch of corpses, but that's no reason not to be excited about how much we've learned!"
Reminds me of a scene in the Lost Fleet books. An alien delegation is visiting Earth, and suddenly starts demanding to visit one particular tiny town in the middle of nowhere. Turned out they had brought along the carefully preserved body of a human who had been left dead on their doorstep by a long-ago failed hyperdrive experiment, and wanted to return him to his home. The human characters note with embarassment that their own nations probably wouldn't have been nearly as respectful if the situations were reversed.
On that last paragraph, it may be more the case of treating it as a lost at/to the sea sort of death. Watery graves are generally speaking to be left undisturbed. And even in the case my mind jumps to of diving and lifting enemy wrecks from the seabed, the US did treat it's adversaries with respect and returned them to the sea. (Project Azorian.)
More like "we wouldn't have hesitated to run destructive analyses."
Funeral customs in that verse explicitly did not abandon bodies to the void btw, they were always to be collected and returned to either a life-bearing planet or a star if at all possible. Preserving the body for return to its specific planet of origin when you don't even know if you'll ever contact the civilization that owns it is definitely going above and beyond, though.
That's a fair point. I was basing it on my own experience as a science graduate, but after all there's no reason that my experiences would be relevant to him. Ethics aside, I'd have hoped someone who'd spent most of his life studying living beings would recognise the importance of intelligence, but I guess that's really not the part that he focuses on! Sounds like he got so caught up in the details that he forgot to see the bigger picture, and got too used to studying non-human animals.