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Old 02-02-2008, 12:51 PM   #1
Sabretooth
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My theories on Nature, Man and Evolution

I don't know how, but these theories just got into my head out of nowhere. I needed some opposition, so here goes.

NOTE: Content below may be unsuitable for Creationists - seriously, entire argument relies on Evolution.

Man is Nature
I've heard plenty of statements that say that man is defiling, betraying, raping, playing with and killing nature. But look at it this way:
Man came when nature accidentally(?) implanted a larger brain in an ape (or at least something along that line). Opposing thumb comes into the picture, as does a suitable body structure. Man becomes intelligent enough to modify his environment to suit his needs. He advances, inspired by his environment, himself and driven by his intelligence and creativity. Man makes cities, vehicles and all that you see around you that is "ruining nature".

We divide the world into two parts: natural and artificial. Natural is stuff that has been existing in nature - artificial the stuff man modified out of natural substances and elements to suit his wants and needs. The computer you see right now was made by man, who wanted a powerful calculator. Nature didn't give it to you - you have it because man chose to make it, and because you chose to buy and use it.

Everything that is artificial exists because man chose it, as opposed to it having occurred due to natural forces of adaptation, evolution etc. But, who chose man's intelligence? Nature is neither a conscious, nor a singular entity (although it is referred to as one) and cannot choose man's intelligence. Therefore, it can only have happened as a result of natural processes of adaptation, mutation and evolution.

Therefore, isn't man a part of nature? And if he is, isn't everything he makes a part of nature, too? When a dung beetle makes a ball of dung, is that considered unnatural? Or when a bird builds a nest, is that against nature? It is considered to be a part of nature, then why is man discriminated for his intelligence (which he did not choose either)?

Natural Selection
Darwin says that only the fittest survive. Weak species die and strong species live. The law is brutally simple. Man has proven himself to be the strongest animal species, with his large brain. Man has proven his ability to master every animal on the planet, and is the only animal to have the potential to destroy every other animal on the planet.

If Natural Selection is applied here, that indicates that Mankind is the most dominant species and hence, triumphs over all others. Therefore, all other species must die. Even if you try to save them, the ultimate reality is that they will all be wiped out, because man has conquered them all - it is nature's way.

Man's Evolution
They say that cloning, bio-modification etc. are bad because you are playing with our body - something we don't fully understand. Truth is, man's advancement is a race for survival. You can argue that man already has the necessities for survival, but man will continue to trudge to the way where survival is the most convenient, easy and luxurious (a stage that will never come). Therefore, man's advancement in science is inevitable.

Man modifies himself consciously, thereby proceeding in this advancement. This says that man's ultimate "messing" with genes is entirely natural, and in fact, necessary. It is a part of evolution, and the next step in evolution cannot come from adaptation, since according to my previous conclusion, other flora and fauna should technically not exist now.

And we can take into account cyborgs, and ultimately robots and what we call "AI". Inadvertently, man transforms into metal machines - something that man would find ghastly and horrid right now - about as much as any species before its eventual evolution. These robots may come from man, but according to Conclusion I, they are entirely natural. They are the next logical step in evolution.

This is because there is no force on Earth that can completely destroy man. Evolution requires a species that is more powerful than man - such a species can either be extraterrestrial (currently unlikely) or made by man itself. Therefore, "robot-rule", the tyrannical representation in Terminator be end up real, but not as apocalyptic or sudden. It will be a gradual change.

Already, you can take a look at your local supermarket. Cosmetic products to enhance your attractiveness, health products to make you healthy - the obsession with maintaining weight and exercising, the constant gadgets and objects man uses to make his life easier. Things will become less implicit later, with biomodification as described in Deus Ex not very far off.

This will continue to the point that humans will no longer be the sort of humans you and I are - they will be far more superior, advanced and powerful. They will be what Homo sapiens evolves into.


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Old 02-02-2008, 02:26 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabretooth
Man is Nature
Perhaps it is sufficent to say that it is natural for many species to create artificial things. I don't know that we benefit by getting hung up on what is natural vs. artifical. All of your examples are apt.

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Originally Posted by Sabretooth
Natural Selection
I don't share your conclusion that natural selection = all other species must die. Generally speaking we only talk about natural selection when organisms compete for resources. Since human don't compete for dung, there is nothing inherently requiring us to wipe out dung beetles, to borrow from your earlier example.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabretooth
Man's Evolution
What about viruses? They seem to kick our asses pretty regularly. They evolve too. I think it might be safe to say that we aren't quite the top of the food chain yet.

On a side note, you might find Ray Kurzweil's book The Singularity is Near a fascinating read. Enjoy!
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Old 02-02-2008, 07:43 PM   #3
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People are already working on robotic limbs and a simpler form of bio modification. So I agree with you saying it may not be that far off


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Old 02-02-2008, 07:58 PM   #4
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I don't really understand the idea of calling it bio-mechanics. It essence, we are nothing more than bio-machines ourselves, any living creature is. We contain many elements such as metals, our bodies run on electronic impulses, etc. We're fleshy-bots, robots are simply us but with superior skin.

That is once "AI" is perfected. However once we reach what we classify as true "AI" it's no longer artificial, is it? Eventually these things will be capable of self-replication. This is what I think scares people, is the concept that we're creating life slowing destroying the idea of God as some super-being.


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Old 02-02-2008, 09:07 PM   #5
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That perhaps, and just the usual fear of the unknown. Afterall, no matter how far man seems to progress, I doubt people will ever completely abandon the idea that there is something still more powerful out there.


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Old 02-02-2008, 09:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
I don't share your conclusion that natural selection = all other species must die. Generally speaking we only talk about natural selection when organisms compete for resources. Since human don't compete for dung, there is nothing inherently requiring us to wipe out dung beetles, to borrow from your earlier example.
Space is the most important resource of all, and looking at the way of things, it won't be long before the dung beetles have to die to make living space for the ever-growing human population. Already you can hear the WWF crying out for species getting extinct dur to habitat destruction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
What about viruses? They seem to kick our asses pretty regularly. They evolve too. I think it might be safe to say that we aren't quite the top of the food chain yet.
They may now, but we will find a way around them, sooner or later - I have faith in that. Many diseases that are almost non-existent today were terrifyingly uncurable in the Middle Ages, or even only 300 years ago - this goes to say a lot about scientific progress (whose rate is also increasing). Remember, that I talk about humans in an eventual state of scientific temparament, and not bound down by incompetence or religion - I'm talking about the ultimate human.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
On a side note, you might find Ray Kurzweil's book The Singularity is Near a fascinating read. Enjoy!
Thanks, I'll definitely look into it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sith
I don't really understand the idea of calling it bio-mechanics. It essence, we are nothing more than bio-machines ourselves, any living creature is. We contain many elements such as metals, our bodies run on electronic impulses, etc. We're fleshy-bots, robots are simply us but with superior skin.
True, but bio-mechanics holds with it the general meaning that man's technology and gadgets, used for entirely external and augmentation purposes are invading the body - a natural part of us that we don't fully understand (or think we don't). As I said before, they are afraid that we are messing with something that a "God" or "Nature" gave us, however unreligious they are.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sith
That is once "AI" is perfected. However once we reach what we classify as true "AI" it's no longer artificial, is it? Eventually these things will be capable of self-replication. This is what I think scares people, is the concept that we're creating life slowing destroying the idea of God as some super-being.
True, but nothing goes to say that the term "Artificial Intelligence" becomes invalid when the level of intelligence reaches parallel or superior to man. It was made by man, and is hence artificial - and in our words it will remain that (at least for now, to distinguish). But this "AI" is the very future of humanity, because it will be superior and take over humanity, the latter getting extinct. End result is, that humans have evolved into robots.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf
That perhaps, and just the usual fear of the unknown. Afterall, no matter how far man seems to progress, I doubt people will ever completely abandon the idea that there is something still more powerful out there.
Yep, but then people will also always be taking risks and doing wierd **** forever.


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Old 02-02-2008, 10:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabretooth
Space is the most important resource of all, and looking at the way of things, it won't be long before the dung beetles have to die to make living space for the ever-growing human population. Already you can hear the WWF crying out for species getting extinct dur to habitat destruction.
Regardless, what you are describing is not "natural selection".

Also, humans kill off all sources of food and then? Seems that we'd "natural selection" ourselves to death in your scenario.
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Old 02-02-2008, 10:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
Also, humans kill off all sources of food and then? Seems that we'd "natural selection" ourselves to death in your scenario.
Not an expert on the topic, but with atomic and sub-atomic chemistry within our grasp, we can in the future, synthesize our own food, or find an alternative to nutrition. Turning into cyborgs, for example, all we will need is electricity to survive, as opposed to energy from food.


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Old 02-03-2008, 12:08 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabretooth
Turning into cyborgs, for example, all we will need is electricity to survive, as opposed to energy from food.
I can almost hear the chanting right outside my door. "...Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated...."
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Old 02-03-2008, 12:27 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobQel-Droma
I can almost hear the chanting right outside my door. "...Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated...."
The difference being that you will be voluntarily becoming one of them.


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Old 02-03-2008, 12:41 AM   #11
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Maybe in the beginning.......


Now, I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country.---Patton

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Old 02-03-2008, 11:13 AM   #12
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Good post!

An interesting argument, particularly your questioning of our thinking on what is natural and artificial. Since everything we have is an adaptation of the 'natural', how can it be 'artificial', in the sense of removed from nature? This strikes me as a very interesting question which I shall have to give some thought to.



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Old 02-14-2008, 05:07 AM   #13
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Yes, I agree with DI. It is a very interesting question.
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Old 02-25-2008, 12:55 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabretooth
Space is the most important resource of all, and looking at the way of things, it won't be long before the dung beetles have to die to make living space for the ever-growing human population. Already you can hear the WWF crying out for species getting extinct dur to habitat destruction.
You've made a couple of errors in your assumptions. Most biologists would say that survival of the fittest is true, but would qualify that much more to say "Survival of the fittest for a given environment."

If you start inserting genetic traits or making cybernetic adaptations to people to address some of these envoronmental issues to make the whole world colonizable and all resources usable, you run into another problem. You create new species of humans who do not have the benefit of being all interbreedable Homo sapiens. We already can't get along with one another, when we're all one species of human. Do you really think that will improve if we have a water breathing variety of human, a type of human that can digest and absorb cellulose so as to not need meat, a type of human capable of thriving in artic and antartic conditions, as well as a variety of human that thrives in low water conditions? It's quite possible that the added genes would make each of these varieties totally unable to copulate with one another, and thus different species. Add cyborgs and fully autonomous A.I. and you run into another human fear.

The fear of obsolescence, and of being replaced.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabretooth
They may now, but we will find a way around them, sooner or later - I have faith in that. Many diseases that are almost non-existent today were terrifyingly uncurable in the Middle Ages, or even only 300 years ago - this goes to say a lot about scientific progress (whose rate is also increasing). Remember, that I talk about humans in an eventual state of scientific temparament, and not bound down by incompetence or religion - I'm talking about the ultimate human.
We have been successful in the last century to such a degree that our greatest threats in fatal communicable diseases take around 10 years to kill you (HIV and Hepatitis B & C). Supposing that you're correct, that mankind does eliminate all bacteria and viruses that are capable of causing a fatal infection there's still a matter of double recessive genetic diseases that in the heterozygous state give a genetic advantage. Sickle cell is eventually fatal in those who get both recessive genes for it, but the heterozygous condition protects against malaria. Tay Sachs is another genetic disease that in the heterozygous condition gives a profound benefit to resistances against infectious diseases.

How do we know that there's not some other benefit to another heterozygous effect that doesn't relate to protection against communicable diseases, but the survival benefit is so strong that it might be better to leave the gene as part of the human genome, even when we were to wipe out all communicable diseases like you're predicting? I could see this being especially relevant in regards to brain chemistry with traits such as creativity or intelligence. There have been links found between high intelligence and depression. What if in eliminating the gene for depression, we permanently limit humanity from further intellectual development and set ourselves back before square one?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabretooth
True, but bio-mechanics holds with it the general meaning that man's technology and gadgets, used for entirely external and augmentation purposes are invading the body - a natural part of us that we don't fully understand (or think we don't). As I said before, they are afraid that we are messing with something that a "God" or "Nature" gave us, however unreligious they are.
True, but I really think that's only a part of it. I really think that there's a huge resevour of fear of people growing obsolete. Why haven't we introduced more robots into our factories and manufacturing plants than we currently have?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabretooth
True, but nothing goes to say that the term "Artificial Intelligence" becomes invalid when the level of intelligence reaches parallel or superior to man. It was made by man, and is hence artificial - and in our words it will remain that (at least for now, to distinguish). But this "AI" is the very future of humanity, because it will be superior and take over humanity, the latter getting extinct. End result is, that humans have evolved into robots.

The future of humankind or our competitors. You assume that everyone jumps in the same direction at the same time, or is willing to jump at all. And among those not willing to jump, you just assume that there won't be a violent backlash. That's an equally possible outcome if people see thier future survival at stake or way of life in danger.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabretooth
Yep, but then people will also always be taking risks and doing wierd **** forever.
I have no doubts of this either, but there has always been, and will probably always be an anti science anti knowledge counter movement that you have to take into consideration.
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Old 02-25-2008, 11:20 AM   #15
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Yesterday I saw an excerpt of an interview with Jean-Baptiste de Panafieu, a biologist and author, about his and Patrick Gries' book "Evolution".

Being asked where he thinks human evolution will go, he came up with this interesting thought about human evolution, or some kind of lack thereof. The main point was that the principle of natural selection, which is pretty much *the* driving factor in "evolution of animals" became less/least important to "human evolution".
To summarise - while the short sighted lion has less chances than the average lion and will be a less successful hunter, probably failing to create offspring eventually, the short sighted human, although unable to be a successful hunter, has still abilities to invent something clever for instance, thus making him a successful, contributing, reproducing member of the community.

He also stated that evolution itself has no path and is not predictable or has trends. Evolution is merely tinkering around with what's there, and what fits best, is used most, until it becomes useless and vanishes. He said that there were species with horns that used to grow without ever stopping, they would grew until they came back to the skull, breaking though it, killing the animal eventually and in pain. Evolution does not "care" about such things because as long as that creature is able to reproduce, everything is fine, and at the end of the day it would die anyway.


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Old 02-25-2008, 12:34 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Jones
He also stated that evolution itself has no path and is not predictable or has trends. Evolution is merely tinkering around with what's there, and what fits best, is used most, until it becomes useless and vanishes. He said that there were species with horns that used to grow without ever stopping, they would grew until they came back to the skull, breaking though it, killing the animal eventually and in pain. Evolution does not "care" about such things because as long as that creature is able to reproduce, everything is fine, and at the end of the day it would die anyway.
A lot of biologists and sociologists have argued just this for most of the last century. Of course genetic engineering has the potential to throw a monkey wrench into the whole intelligence as a natural check on humans evolving, as well as cybernetics.

In the case of genetic engineering, people simply delete or replace bad genes with ones they find better. Insert it either accidentially or intentionally in germ lines and it becomes a hereditary trait. Right now there are no reputable scientists that say that it should be used for anything other than getting rid of genetic diseases. But what happens when you use it over the long term. What if you have almost all humanity physiologically incapable of being physically weak? Do you raise your simply redefine what abnormally weak is? Do you mandate it into law, like they did in the movie Gattica?

And what about genes that affect multiple things, like I'd said before, about depression and intelligence or other mental illnesses? Biologists no longer say one gene one enzyme. Project genome did away with that axiom of biology. Get rid of the mental illnesses, and you will risk destroying much of humankind's creative capacity. Or what if a regime of government wants to make sure that their citizens are happy in whatever role of society they're in, no matter how hopeless their future looks? Would it not be simpler for them to engineer much of their citizenry to be incapable of being dissatisfied with their lot in life?

Cybernetics also changes this equation, because at least for a while, people won't get cybernetic enhancements except as a last resort. When they do, they most likely find (like with everything else) that some people have an inherant disadvantage to using these devices than other people. It's not unreasonable that this would make some cyborgs more fit in the darwinian sense than others so that when cybernetic implants actually reach a point of being at least as efficient as their human counterpart organ or limb, that there will be a strong selection pressure on those that get them, or that people with who pass on a birth defect to their heart or limb might simply have their children follow in their footsteps if the solution worked well for them.
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Old 02-25-2008, 01:10 PM   #17
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On the distinction between natural and artificial, I found an interesting quote from - who else? - Wittgenstein!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wittgenstein, Culture and Value, p. 50e
"It is very remarkable that we should be inclined to think of civilization - houses, trees, cars, etc. - as separating man from his origins, from what is lofty and eternal, etc. Our civilized environment, along with its trees and plants, strikes us then as if it were cheaply wrapped in cellophane and isolated from everything great, from God, as it were. That is a remarkable picture that intrudes on us."
Good for perspective.


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Old 02-27-2008, 12:17 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabretooth
They may now, but we will find a way around them, sooner or later - I have faith in that. Many diseases that are almost non-existent today were terrifyingly uncurable in the Middle Ages, or even only 300 years ago - this goes to say a lot about scientific progress (whose rate is also increasing). Remember, that I talk about humans in an eventual state of scientific temparament, and not bound down by incompetence or religion - I'm talking about the ultimate human.
That may be true that we have found cures to diseases that were fatal then such as smallpox and polio. Funny thing is our laboratories have frozen, active forms of diseases such as these in the fridge and use them in their lab experiments.

As to finding a way around it sooner or later, that is unlikely. Like any other living organism, viruses mutate, a form of evolution. Viruses are bits of coded DNA encased in a coated shell that latch onto a host and inject the DNA in it. Key word is DNA. Basic building block of all living organisms. It can mutate in two ways: deletion of a nucleotide or a wrong coding that produces an extra nucleotide. Viruses and bacteria have been around longer than we have so I think they know a thing or two about survival.

As to human evolution, big brains didn't distinguish us, it was bipedalism. Big brains developed over time. Good ole Lucy was 3ft tall and her brain cavity help about a cup and a half of liquid brain. Look at A. Afarensis, brain cavities are even smaller and more ape like but the distinguishing feature is that they walked upright. Our big brains may have enabled us to survive the longest but what allowed us to develop that was our bipedalism.

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Old 02-27-2008, 08:23 PM   #19
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Actually, what distinguishes us is the way we learn compared to apes and monkeys is more the way we learn, and not the way we travel. Apes and monkeys lack something humans do in intellgence- Triangular learning instincts, and the instinct of understanding what it means when a human points to something with a finger is also something apes and monkeys lack. Bipedalism may play a good part, but apparently the problem with apes and monkeys is that they are held back by the trinagular learning instincts they lack. They learn by imitation, wereas humans can learn from things that are not imitation. What's even weirder, is that dogs have the triangular learning instinct and know what it means when a human points to something, but dogs aren't as smart as apes. Apes may make spears to hunt, and do/have done other various amazing things, alone and by the teaching of humans, but they are held back mentally by lacking certain inborn instincts humans have. Also, they are held back by the instinct of greed, and the inability to control their emotions fully, as they often have trouble controlling their insitnctive emotions, which makes coordinated teamwork almost impossible for them. (I saw all this on an episode of that Nova science show)

Edit: Lol, I'm a creationist, but as you see I'm open to a lot of things...


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Old 02-28-2008, 11:08 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JediMaster12
As to human evolution, big brains didn't distinguish us, it was bipedalism.
Bipedalism is not a human invention and it was there long before us.

Quote:
Our big brains may have enabled us to survive the longest but what allowed us to develop that was our Bipedalism.
What allowed us to develop the way we did was our ability to adapt to environmental changes better than other pre-humans. The fact that we are what we are is 60% due to being at the right spot at the right time and 30% due to outstanding adaptivity (including brain/erected walking) and 10% diet.
If we haven't been forced to change our diet, and had not changed it to being omnivorous and protein rich, we surely would share fortune with some of our bipedal ancestors, who went extinct because they took the wrong turn and stayed herbivore, for instance.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Arcesious
Actually, what distinguishes us is the way we learn compared to apes and monkeys is more the way we learn, and not the way we travel.
Learning always happens the same way - by imitation or by experimentation.

Quote:
Apes and monkeys lack something humans do in intellgence- Triangular learning instincts, and the instinct of understanding what it means when a human points to something with a finger is also something apes and monkeys lack.
Untrue. Many primates communicate this way.

Quote:
They learn by imitation, wereas humans can learn from things that are not imitation.
Yes, that would be experimentation, and I doubt primates do not experiment.

Quote:
What's even weirder, is that dogs have the triangular learning instinct and know what it means when a human points to something, but dogs aren't as smart as apes.
I think you need to be clearer on what you mean by "triangular learning".

Quote:
Apes may make spears to hunt, and do/have done other various amazing things, alone and by the teaching of humans, but they are held back mentally by lacking certain inborn instincts humans have.
Please specify what instincts we have that primates don't? Pointing fingers is hardly an instinct.

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Also, they are held back by the instinct of greed, and the inability to control their emotions fully, as they often have trouble controlling their insitnctive emotions
Aaah, all attributes not in any form common to the human species. I wonder why there is murder, rape and pillage among the human race then?

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which makes coordinated teamwork almost impossible for them. (I saw all this on an episode of that Nova science show)
I then insinuate the nova science show is misinformed. Primates *do* have in fact complex social behaviour, and have very good teamwork skills. They hunt, for instance, with precise tactical manoeuvres.


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Originally Posted by Jvstice
In the case of genetic engineering, people simply delete or replace bad genes with ones they find better.
There is no such thing as good gene/bad gene.

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Insert it either accidentially or intentionally in germ lines and it becomes a hereditary trait. Right now there are no reputable scientists that say that it should be used for anything other than getting rid of genetic diseases. But what happens when you use it over the long term.
Don't know for sure, but I'd say the same thing as if nature removed/changed that gene for whatever reasons? The point is, long term issues are a problem not solely connected to genetics.

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What if you have almost all humanity physiologically incapable of being physically weak?
Weak compared to what? I doubt lifting a ton will become normality. All your scenario means is basically just that all human are given the same strength, health, brains, sexual endurance. So what? Taken the fact that like everybody is whining about someone he knows is ill or unable to do this and that or whatever, the whining at least cannot get worse.

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Do you raise your simply redefine what abnormally weak is? Do you mandate it into law, like they did in the movie Gattica?
Oh, you mean we could like treat "weak" humans bad, second class and inhumane?

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And what about genes that affect multiple things, like I'd said before, about depression and intelligence or other mental illnesses? Biologists no longer say one gene one enzyme. Project genome did away with that axiom of biology. Get rid of the mental illnesses, and you will risk destroying much of humankind's creative capacity.
And you remove that group of creativity and mental illness genes for all mankind in one move how?

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Or what if a regime of government wants to make sure that their citizens are happy in whatever role of society they're in, no matter how hopeless their future looks? Would it not be simpler for them to engineer much of their citizenry to be incapable of being dissatisfied with their lot in life?
Oh those bad bad governments. Of course, everybody is dissatisfied with their lot in life anyway.

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It's not unreasonable that this would make some cyborgs more fit in the darwinian sense than others so that when cybernetic implants actually reach a point of being at least as efficient as their human counterpart organ or limb, that there will be a strong selection pressure on those that get them, or that people with who pass on a birth defect to their heart or limb might simply have their children follow in their footsteps if the solution worked well for them.
And this means?



Last edited by Ray Jones; 02-28-2008 at 02:27 PM. Reason: OMG Can't believe I forgot text!! XDDDD
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Old 02-28-2008, 12:11 PM   #21
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Ray Jones: Big brains aren't a human invention either. They are part of the evolutionary sequence that leads to modern humans. Evolution is a process that takes many years. I am sure you are aware of micro and macro evolution. What we know still has big gaps because if you think about it, organic evidence that old...not really existing.

Actually illnesses do have genetic component in that they have their own DNA and such. Bacteria can reproduce and mutate faster than it is for a human to change say its nose or something.

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Old 02-28-2008, 01:27 PM   #22
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Regarding your discussion with JM12, that's true. Some pre Homo sapien ancestors of our genus had larger average brain size than we did but not as specialized as us. Why else would it take our ancestors (or indirect ancestors over 100,000 - 200,000 years to move beyond the technology for hand axes or not start varying the design, yet they kept a level of skill in making them that perhaps 6 people alive today could reproduce their level of skill in making them.

Evolutionary psychologist Steven Mithen, and ethnologist Dean Falk each argue that it was the facility for symbolic language, and as a direct result the ability to combine concepts in new ways rather than using a musical protolanguage like our ancestors that made the success of Homo sapiens possible.

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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
Weak compared to what? I doubt lifting a ton will become normality. All your scenario means is basically just that all human are given the same strength, health, brains, sexual endurance. So what? Taken the fact that like everybody is whining about someone he knows is ill or unable to do this and that or whatever, the whining at least cannot get worse.

Oh, you mean we could like treat "weak" humans bad, second class and inhumane?
That's my exact point. We already discriminate based on race, gender, and genetic disease. Who decides what society's ideal is? There area already people who were born blind, and militant about not wanting a cure, or a preventative inserted into their genes. There have been people who have already talked about "curing" homosexuality with gene therapy. The pentagon even researched the possibility of using a "gay bomb" on enemy troops in the late 70s and early 80s.

What usually happens when a new technology is introduced into a society if it is a practical one to make cheaply if mass produced: First a technology (usually with labor saving devices, but this could apply to things that might make you a social pariah if you don't use them) is introduced as a luxury for the rich and well off. Then there's a clamor to make it more cheaply so that people can stay competitive with their neighbors. Within a generation or two, its' assumed that everyone will have the new technology, and in labor saving devices that much more is expected of people's time, thus giving them less free time than when they started.

There have already been people who argue for cloning humans so that we have servants who are legally not human. Also cloning whole humans for medical spare parts. Would an altered clone have the same rights as the original their genetic template is taken from? There are no laws to this effect now in any country around the world that I've ever heard of.

And wouldn't prejudice against either altered humans or people who didn't want the treatment simply increase once all genes become options? That is consistent with human behavior and talk all over the globe. What makes this a unique case that people would suddenly not find new divisionsto hate and exploit each other over?

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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
And you remove that group of creativity and mental illness genes for all mankind in one move how?
I didn't say that we were at the technological point where we could know how, or even know that we were doing it at the time. Just that a correlation has been discovered between a certain minimum level of intelligence and depression, also that depression does tend a) run in families, and b) have certain proteinomic markers. It's not unreasonable to think that a company might step forward with something advertised as a cure for depression, or a political movement with the public health in mind (desiring the common good and more productive workers could pass a law mandating it use) and make such a thing nearly universal. Of course there would be the odd ones at the margins of any society who would resist this change like any other

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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
Oh those bad bad governments. Of course, everybody is dissatisfied with their lot in life anyway.
I never said people as a whole don't get the governments they deserve, but if you're not vigilant against your government then you deserve what happens to you and your family. And of course they're bad. They're made up of 1) people and 2) people in large groups. Never underestimate the stupidity of people in large groups.

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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
And this means?
Simply that among certain subsets of of the human population, it's entirely possible and probable that selective pressure is going to be operating whether there's genetic manipulation of human germ lines or not. If cybernetic implant interface with the brain, the ones who are made more fit and not less will reproduce more, so both the genetic deficiencies that led to the need for the implant, and the superior ability of using the implant will be inherited within certain families. Considering that the average person doesn't need or want to replace perfectly fine natural arms and legs with artificial legs and arms that can crack a brick without too much strain or outrun an automobile in 2nd gear, that could very easily lead to human speciation.


"If force is the game, the murderer wins over the pickpocket." Ayn Rand

"Justice is the midpoint between being treated unjustly, and treating others unjustly." Aristotle
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Old 02-28-2008, 04:44 PM   #23
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Ray jones, what you mentioned that i was not specific about the Nova show here can explain quite well, and it's not misinformed, I think i just didn't explain the learning problems Apes have well enough, but I believe the show itself will:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/apegenius/


Please feed the trolls. XD
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Old 02-28-2008, 05:00 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JediMaster12
Ray Jones: Big brains aren't a human invention either. They are part of the evolutionary sequence that leads to modern humans. Evolution is a process that takes many years. I am sure you are aware of micro and macro evolution. What we know still has big gaps because if you think about it, organic evidence that old...not really existing.
The point is neither brain development, nor bipedalism, nor bodily attributes were the driving factor for our development.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
Evolutionary psychologist Steven Mith en, and ethnologist Dean Falk each argue that it was the facility for symbolic language, and as a direct result the ability to combine concepts in new ways rather than using a musical protolanguage like our ancestors that made the success of Homo sapiens possible.
I think at the end of the day it is the sum of all given factors that made our development possible. However, our ancestors also had those prerequisites within them already. And they gave these to all their successors. What kicked us off eventually was a significant change in out diet.

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That's my exact point. We already discriminate based on race, gender, and genetic disease. Who decides what society's ideal is? There area already people who were born blind, and militant about not wanting a cure, or a preventative inserted into their genes. There have been people who have already talked about "curing" homosexuality with gene therapy.
But these are not problems of gene technology, nor are they caused by it.

Quote:
What usually happens when a new technology is introduced into a society if it is a practical one to make cheaply if mass produced: First a technology (usually with labor saving devices, but this could apply to things that might make you a social pariah if you don't use them) is introduced as a luxury for the rich and well off. Then there's a clamor to make it more cheaply so that people can stay competitive with their neighbors.
You know, things become cheaper, usually because their production becomes cheaper. The more developed and stable a technology becomes the less it costs. Not because people demand it because they need to keep up with their neighbours.

Quote:
Within a generation or two, its' assumed that everyone will have the new technology, and in labor saving devices that much more is expected of people's time, thus giving them less free time than when they started.
I am sorry, but I think I am not able to abstract what you intent to say here.

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There have already been people who argue for cloning humans so that we have servants who are legally not human. Also cloning whole humans for medical spare parts.
Maybe one day that can be fixed with some kind of gene therapy. :P

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Would an altered clone have the same rights as the original their genetic template is taken from?
Considering the fact that children ususally get the rights as their parents (and thus genetic templates) I don't know why they should not.

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There are no laws to this effect now in any country around the world that I've ever heard of.
There are no laws about sub-lightspeed space travel either, and yet no one complains.

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And wouldn't prejudice against either altered humans or people who didn't want the treatment simply increase once all genes become options?
I don't know. Ask the oracle! On the other hand, there has been prejudice against all kind of stuff throughout human history.

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That is consistent with human behavior and talk all over the globe. What makes this a unique case that people would suddenly not find new divisionsto hate and exploit each other over?
Nothing. However that didn't stop Viagra, silicon boobs, face lifting, body builders, etc.

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It's not unreasonable to think that a company might step forward with something advertised as a cure for depression, or a political movement with the public health in mind (desiring the common good and more productive workers could pass a law mandating it use) and make such a thing nearly universal.
At the same time these "people in charge" could "supply" us with the cartoon gene, making us perceive everything in classic b/w Mickey and Donald style. A giant coup against the colour tv industry!!

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Considering that the average person doesn't need or want to replace perfectly fine natural arms and legs with artificial legs and arms that can crack a brick without too much strain or outrun an automobile in 2nd gear, that could very easily lead to human speciation.
A normal evolutionary process. I am not concerned about things like that. I mean we are but *one* human species left out of several who existed next to each other and with us.


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Old 02-28-2008, 10:32 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Jones
I think at the end of the day it is the sum of all given factors that made our development possible. However, our ancestors also had those prerequisites within them already. And they gave these to all their successors. What kicked us off eventually was a significant change in out diet.
I've never denied that, but it was the capacity for symbolic thought and communication and the options in problem solving that allowed us to become prolific to a degree unattainable to any other primate now or in history.


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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
But these are not problems of gene technology, nor are they caused by it.
No, but they will have to be addressed if we are to gain in our use and proficiency of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Jones
You know, things become cheaper, usually because their production becomes cheaper. The more developed and stable a technology becomes the less it costs. Not because people demand it because they need to keep up with their neighbours.
People don't look to invent something that they don't percieve either a demand for or a need for. You're suppositioning that people waste their time just for the heck of it when they invent things.

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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
I am sorry, but I think I am not able to abstract what you intent to say here.
Some specific examples then? Ok. The washing machine and dryer, the dish washer, the automobile, the fax machine, the internet, the kitchen stove, the electric iron, the telephone were all devices that were originally largely billed as machines that would give their owners a lot more free time, and that making each of these things saved hours in tasks that normally took a large portion of the day. I'd hardly say that the pace of life been slowed down by all the extra time we've saved by the invention of these devices.

New expectations of what to do with the freed up time always get thrown in so that in the long run a technology may work for increasing the freedoms of people, but as it comes into common usage, in many ways it restricts people's freedom.

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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
Maybe one day that can be fixed with some kind of gene therapy. :P
Actually that is my hope but most scientists I'd heard speak on the subject seemed to think that cloning whole people was an unavoidable step in developing the technology to cloning individual parts. That could have changed in the last few years, but it seemed to be the consensus as of the late 90s.

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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
Considering the fact that children ususally get the rights as their parents (and thus genetic templates) I don't know why they should not.
Should, in the right and wrong sense of things can be very different than what actually develops when people don't plan for the worst case scenario and take steps to prevent it from coming to fruition. Governments exist to preserve the rights of their citizens to exist, and have what they need to survive. A lot of attrocities have been done in human history because various groups of people weren't recognized as being people in the eyes of the law.

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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
There are no laws about sub-lightspeed space travel either, and yet no one complains.
Actually there are laws stating that human clones have to be destroyed / killedin various countries and can't be brought to term, so it's not so irrelevant as your comparitive example seems to indicate you think it is. There are no laws anywhere recognizing their right to to exist if they actually should be brought to term as thinking human beings. If the politicians of various countries had time to deal with one issue regarding cloning humans, then they should take the time to include a clause stating that if they are brought into existence than they are people in the eyes of the law. It's a very basic thing that should be done before someone somewhere does develop the technology and a small population of them already exists.

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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
I don't know. Ask the oracle! On the other hand, there has been prejudice against all kind of stuff throughout human history.
Well it's something that would need to be addressed for your vision of humanity's future to come to fruition.


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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
Nothing. However that didn't stop Viagra, silicon boobs, face lifting, body builders, etc.
True, but those decisions just affect the one who decides for the procedures. None of those products have repercussions that could affect all of a person's descendants in addition to just themselves. And since the only way to really know about some of the efficacy of these things is trial and error, and they will come into widespread use before we know all the plusses and minuses in some cases it does present some unique problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Jones
At the same time these "people in charge" could "supply" us with the cartoon gene, making us perceive everything in classic b/w Mickey and Donald style. A giant coup against the colour tv industry!!
Actually I was arguing based on something with both a tangible pro and a con with at least some evidence of at least a slight genetic connection. Greater mental health in the individual vs greater mental capacity in the individual. You reply with a non sequiter.

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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
A normal evolutionary process. I am not concerned about things like that. I mean we are but *one* human species left out of several who existed next to each other and with us.
Other human species coexisted that's true, but where are they now? Did we simply out evolve them? Even the apes go to war and commit genocide on their own, and perform have been seen to eat both their own species as well as those of various monkeys in which they may be in close contacts.

What makes humans different in this regard is scale. Also that a lot of people hold back knowing that we're all humans, that our genes will eventually mix back into the same gene pool and that there will come a day where who was descended from what side in a conflict will be lost in the mists of history. What modern Romans really know or care whether their ancestors were citizens or plebians back during the Romand Republic and Roman Empire? If you have actual speciation that changes things because "sides" of a conflict can't really be lost in the mists of history.


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"Justice is the midpoint between being treated unjustly, and treating others unjustly." Aristotle
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Old 02-29-2008, 08:05 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
I've never denied that, but it was the capacity for symbolic thought and communication and the options in problem solving that allowed us to become prolific to a degree unattainable to any other primate now or in history.
Other species got those capacities too, including the human species that went extinct. So the ability for symbolic thought and communication itself appears to be not sufficient.

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No, but they will have to be addressed if we are to gain in our use and proficiency of it.
Of course.

Quote:
People don't look to invent something that they don't percieve either a demand for or a need for. You're suppositioning that people waste their time just for the heck of it when they invent things.
Inventions are made for several reasons, but mainly to see what's possible. Of course, the main *intention* to invent things is a *purpose*. However, that doesn't change the fact that already invented things (if they ever make it into the field of common usability) become cheaper because their production costs decrease while produced quantities increase, and not just because everybody demands it. That usually makes things more expensive. I mean everybody wants a Ferrari, but you don't see them being anywhere near cheap. Actually Ferrari does not produce more cars although everybody demands it.

Quote:
Some specific examples then? Ok. The washing machine and dryer, the dish washer, the automobile, the fax machine, the internet, the kitchen stove, the electric iron, the telephone were all devices that were originally largely billed as machines that would give their owners a lot more free time, and that making each of these things saved hours in tasks that normally took a large portion of the day. I'd hardly say that the pace of life been slowed down by all the extra time we've saved by the invention of these devices.
But these devices weren't invented to slow down the pace of life. The opposite is the fact. The tasks these devices take over take hours and days to do without them, and they do infact speed up the pace of life, simply because washing clothes doesn't take up the whole day anymore. Work and task can be done faster and more time efficient.

Quote:
New expectations of what to do with the freed up time always get thrown in so that in the long run a technology may work for increasing the freedoms of people, but as it comes into common usage, in many ways it restricts people's freedom.
I don't get it. So you are saying the dish washer, washing machine, electric oven, computers, electric lights, heating and whatnot I use at home are restricting my freedoms? My freedom to do what? Go and take a 2 hour walk to the woods to get wood and walk 3 hours back so I can make fire, warm up water, cook and heat like for two days? Having to wait 2 hours until the oven is finally ready to use? Having smoke from the fire all over my place? Taking a 1 hour walk to the river so I can wash my clothes in 2,3,4 hours? Having to walk 1 hour for every bucket of water I need? Working 17 hours a day at the company just because it takes that long to calculate excel sheets manually? Seriously, that list goes on and on, and while I have no problem to work for my life, I don't need these "freedoms".

And I can't say I see any of the technologies I use restricting my life anyhow more then it would be without them.

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Actually that is my hope but most scientists I'd heard speak on the subject seemed to think that cloning whole people was an unavoidable step in developing the technology to cloning individual parts. That could have changed in the last few years, but it seemed to be the consensus as of the late 90s.
That's the whole point in cloning: you carbon copy DNA and not its "outcome". Whether or not there are possibilities to let just an arm grow is another question. Sure is, cloning means not *poof* there is a new leg, it doesn't work that way. It would take twenty years to clone an arm for someone aged twenty who would be forty by then. So unless you create a handful of clones for every unborn baby that road is a dead end anyway and works for fear stirring horror scenarios only. It seems (A) pretty risky to get DNA probes from early stage fetuses, and (B) that you multiply Earth's population at least by 2 where do you want to put all those people???

Quote:
Should, in the right and wrong sense of things can be very different than what actually develops when people don't plan for the worst case scenario and take steps to prevent it from coming to fruition. Governments exist to preserve the rights of their citizens to exist, and have what they need to survive. A lot of attrocities have been done in human history because various groups of people weren't recognized as being people in the eyes of the law.
That doesn't mean it will be like that for all time being. And it doesn't mean just because there's a law dealing with it or something, it ain't gonna happen.

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Actually there are laws stating that human clones have to be destroyed / killedin various countries and can't be brought to term, so it's not so irrelevant as your comparitive example seems to indicate you think it is. There are no laws anywhere recognizing their right to to exist if they actually should be brought to term as thinking human beings.
As far as I remember, these laws deal with cloned human stem cells, not a fully featured fetus. And actually the fact that human cells have been cloned and were able to live for some days doesn't mean these could be brought to term eventually.

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If the politicians of various countries had time to deal with one issue regarding cloning humans, then they should take the time to include a clause stating that if they are brought into existence than they are people in the eyes of the law.
First of all they should make clear if there is something that could be people in the eyes of the law. Then they must make sure that what could become people one day, will actually be what is commonly known as healthy and able to survive. Then, and only then we can go on and decide if we throw them into the discussion about abortion laws.

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It's a very basic thing that should be done before someone somewhere does develop the technology and a small population of them already exists.
No one is developing populations anywhere.

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Well it's something that would need to be addressed for your vision of humanity's future to come to fruition.
I think I need help with what I said my vision of humanity's future was.

Quote:
True, but those decisions just affect the one who decides for the procedures. None of those products have repercussions that could affect all of a person's descendants in addition to just themselves. And since the only way to really know about some of the efficacy of these things is trial and error, and they will come into widespread use before we know all the plusses and minuses in some cases it does present some unique problems
And you precisely know that when you use Viagra or get breast implants this won't affect any of your descendants? How? How do you know your son's daughter's son's daughter's son's daughter's son's daughter's son's daughter's son won't get erection problems or schizophrenia because the whole family had to work out 3 hours a day? Just because *you* deem it to be like this? You know very well that doesn't make it so.

Quote:
Actually I was arguing based on something with both a tangible pro and a con with at least some evidence of at least a slight genetic connection. Greater mental health in the individual vs greater mental capacity in the individual. You reply with a non sequiter.
(A) You cannot genetically cure depression for a person that actually has depressions. (B) You cannot mentally enhance a person using genetics. So unless you seriously want to argue that any profit driven company or any government has serious long term intentions to change the DNA of *every* zygote that might be brought to term eventually and that over a cycle of multiple generations just to possibly stop depressions, an illness which has many, many reasons beside a possible genetic defect, my argumentation is as non sequitur as yours when it comes to the topic at hand.

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Other human species coexisted that's true, but where are they now? Did we simply out evolve them? Even the apes go to war and commit genocide on their own, and perform have been seen to eat both their own species as well as those of various monkeys in which they may be in close contacts.
War is not "out-evolving". It's basically just one way to fight over territory and happens between individuals of the same species. When two species (try to) share the same territory they either "manage" to maintain a balance or not. Populace, habits and environment are big factors here. When one species fits "better" into the environment, that advantage along can be reason enough to "win" over the other species. Violent contacts between those species are usually not the ultimate reason for a whole species to go extinct.

So yes, we "out-evolved" the other human species.

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What makes humans different in this regard is scale.
What scale?

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Also that a lot of people hold back knowing that we're all humans, that our genes will eventually mix back into the same gene pool and that there will come a day where who was descended from what side in a conflict will be lost in the mists of history.
And I thought more and more people just decided they want to make love, not war.

Quote:
If you have actual speciation that changes things because "sides" of a conflict can't really be lost in the mists of history.
Usually different species can't and don't interbreed. I am not sure whether or not the different human species did so. Means, there is not really something like a "same gene pool" to mix back together. And I am not sure what speciations you address regarding the "different human kinds of today" being at war.


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Old 02-29-2008, 02:36 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Jones
Other species got those capacities too, including the human species that went extinct. So the ability for symbolic thought and communication itself appears to be not sufficient.
Actually Sue Savage Rumbaugh at the the Yerkes Primate center just outside of atlanta has done extensive work with both living chimps and bonobos. According to her they have come across one bonobo that is a prodigy (Kanzi) and may understand language in terms of symbolic terms and may be able to form discrete thoughts rather than think holistically and globally, but from looking at hundreds of the genus Pan, she seems to think that's very rare. And there are a number of Primatologists that dispute her conclusions about Kanzi.

The references I gave you of Dean Falk and Steven Mithen though make a pretty good case based on fossil evidence that while previous Homo species
had the capacity for communication, it was not like speach as we understand it today in that 1) ideas were usually not discrete subject predicates, so one sound would convey an entire thought in and of itself 2) the protolanguage/protolanguages were more akin to music in what portions of the brain they were processed in than they are like speach and 3) it likely consisted of a lot of onomonotopeas and immitation of sounds from nature. Hence, to refer to a baby crying and telling it's mother that she needed to do something about it, they'd simply perfectly immitate the cry for example, or warning of tigers further up the trail, they'd make tiger noises and motions and maybe indicate a direction.

Otherwise, why would non human Homo genus species have spears that didn't change their basic design in many tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years? They show great prowess in working together in hunting, in crafting things with great skill, but no capacity for innovation, and very little cultural relics. So they must have had something that resembled language that could preserve traditions like methods of making weapons, clothing, hunting and gathering food, raising of young. On the other hand, they didn't varie the typs of spears based on the types of prey they hunted. It wasn't until Homo sapiens came on the scene that hunters used different spear sizes and types for different prey. Also they had little in the way of body decoration, though there's some evidence that they used obsidian black face paint as camoflage when they went in war parties or hunting. Again, it's not until humans came on the scene that there was a profusion of color in face paints, beads, carved and painted objects that existed only for decoration, clothing (both to keep out the cold, and with decorative touches) complex funerary practices, and the like.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Jones
Inventions are made for several reasons, but mainly to see what's possible. Of course, the main *intention* to invent things is a *purpose*. However, that doesn't change the fact that already invented things (if they ever make it into the field of common usability) become cheaper because their production costs decrease while produced quantities increase, and not just because everybody demands it. That usually makes things more expensive. I mean everybody wants a Ferrari, but you don't see them being anywhere near cheap. Actually Ferrari does not produce more cars although everybody demands it.
Well of course there are always luxury versions of any invention. And in terms of real world value of currency, automobiles in general have gotten drastically cheaper during our lifetimes, though more expensive in terms of actual dollars spent and more versatile in terms of added features for the amount of money.

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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
But these devices weren't invented to slow down the pace of life. The opposite is the fact. The tasks these devices take over take hours and days to do without them, and they do infact speed up the pace of life, simply because washing clothes doesn't take up the whole day anymore. Work and task can be done faster and more time efficient.
I've heard many claims that the automobile and the washing machine were both sold originally under the claim that it would give people more leisure to do what they wanted to with their time, and not spend time on chores. This leisure time never materialized as the list of chores simply grew as people grew more efficient at them.

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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
I don't get it. So you are saying the dish washer, washing machine, electric oven, computers, electric lights, heating and whatnot I use at home are restricting my freedoms? My freedom to do what? Go and take a 2 hour walk to the woods to get wood and walk 3 hours back so I can make fire, warm up water, cook and heat like for two days? Having to wait 2 hours until the oven is finally ready to use? Having smoke from the fire all over my place? Taking a 1 hour walk to the river so I can wash my clothes in 2,3,4 hours? Having to walk 1 hour for every bucket of water I need? Working 17 hours a day at the company just because it takes that long to calculate excel sheets manually? Seriously, that list goes on and on, and while I have no problem to work for my life, I don't need these "freedoms".
People work just as hard as they ever did, but now the incidents of mental instability are increasing due to the faster pace of life. For the last 200 years alone in the US, there have been both religious and secular groups calling for a getting rid of a lot of the technology and returning to a simpler life and focusing on the relationships with others and the world around us than just the things we can own. And these groups and those sympathetic to them who don't actually join pop up more and more frequently the faster that society seems to advance.

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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
And I can't say I see any of the technologies I use restricting my life anyhow more then it would be without them.
Not any one device, but the sum totality of all of them builds to a pattern I refered in answer to your last quote. A lot of people see it as a choice with toil, a lot of stress, and relative meaninglessness, and the choice of slowing down experiencing life, but doing without some of the conveniences. Not saying I fully agree. After all I am posting on here, aren't I?

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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
That's the whole point in cloning: you carbon copy DNA and not its "outcome". Whether or not there are possibilities to let just an arm grow is another question. Sure is, cloning means not *poof* there is a new leg, it doesn't work that way. It would take twenty years to clone an arm for someone aged twenty who would be forty by then. So unless you create a handful of clones for every unborn baby that road is a dead end anyway and works for fear stirring horror scenarios only. It seems (A) pretty risky to get DNA probes from early stage fetuses, and (B) that you multiply Earth's population at least by 2 where do you want to put all those people???
I don't, but if you're going to develop the science and technology to do something, you have to make preparations for it's use when it's inevitably used. That's just basic commmon sense and enlightened self interest. Failure to plan is planning to fail.

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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
That doesn't mean it will be like that for all time being. And it doesn't mean just because there's a law dealing with it or something, it ain't gonna happen.
Exactly. It will eventually happen. We've put everything in our power legislatively as a world to prevent it from happening, BUT taken no steps whatsoever for dealing with what happens when it inevitably happens anyway, and the stop gap measures to slow technological growth in this area eventually fail.

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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
As far as I remember, these laws deal with cloned human stem cells, not a fully featured fetus. And actually the fact that human cells have been cloned and were able to live for some days doesn't mean these could be brought to term eventually.
Not entirely true. These laws were intended to deal with cloned stem cells, but the wording of some of them were written vague enough that even if a clone were brought fully to term, then a literal word for word reading of the law would still say you have to take the already born clone out and blow their brains out. There were several nightly news programs that commented on that in passing at the time a lot of the legislation was being passed on a state by state basis, and even what other countries did.

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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
First of all they should make clear if there is something that could be people in the eyes of the law. Then they must make sure that what could become people one day, will actually be what is commonly known as healthy and able to survive. Then, and only then we can go on and decide if we throw them into the discussion about abortion laws.
Nothing I mentioned had anything to do with abortion at least in my mind, though I suppose it could and probably will complicate that whole issue as well. What I was refering to had to do with the vagueness of the laws regarding cloned cells so that the laws as written in many cases aren't just limited to stem cells once the technology of cloning human cells ever develops beyond the point of individual cells.

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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
No one is developing populations anywhere.
True to the extent that we know of for sure. You're probably right, but there was a group in the very early part of the decade in north Korea, and another in Italy claiming that they'd each brought a clone to term and were waiting to unveil them when they were grown to adulthood. Most of the biological sciences community were convinced that both claims were hoaxes. But refusing to acknowledge the issue until it's dropped into our laps isn't responsible either.

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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
I think I need help with what I said my vision of humanity's future was.
Out of all life on earth, only humans survive, and that we multiply in numbers and the standard of living for humans increases infinitely as time passes. Even though we'll have killed off all animals, plants, bacteria, and fungi that you'd use in food, drink, or medicines, but in spite of that, we're still just a part of nature. Even though you suggest that it's possible for man to live utterly alone in the universe, fully autotrophic other than the machines we create, and the alterations we do to our own genes to make ourselves fully non - dependent on any other life form. Does that sum up the thrust of this thread?

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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
And you precisely know that when you use Viagra or get breast implants this won't affect any of your descendants? How? How do you know your son's daughter's son's daughter's son's daughter's son's daughter's son's daughter's son won't get erection problems or schizophrenia because the whole family had to work out 3 hours a day? Just because *you* deem it to be like this? You know very well that doesn't make it so.
Possible, but those things aren't designed to do exactly that IF THEY ARE FULLFILLING THEIR FUNCTION. It's one thing to do something accidentially to your children and children's children due to a product you decide to try. It's something entirely different to buy a product to guarantee that your children will be different than any generation previous.

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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
(A) You cannot genetically cure depression for a person that actually has depressions. (B) You cannot mentally enhance a person using genetics. So unless you seriously want to argue that any profit driven company or any government has serious long term intentions to change the DNA of *every* zygote that might be brought to term eventually and that over a cycle of multiple generations just to possibly stop depressions, an illness which has many, many reasons beside a possible genetic defect, my argumentation is as non sequitur as yours when it comes to the topic at hand.
A. True, but you could prevent their children from having the genetic "wherewithall" to be susceptible to the same strengths and weaknesses as their parents, and tinkering with those balances before you've got a good idea of what you're doing is just stupid.

B. At currently levels of technology you couldn't alter the intelligence of any fully formed people, but you can change the dna of a fetus and develop what they grow into. Doctors have already actually inserted a gene into a few to cure them of the "bubble boy disease" that the little kid got in the news for so much during the 80s. Likewise they can do similar feats for spinal biffidas, though we're nowhere near being able to do the same for anencephaly.

And what I was talking about was not an improvement of mental function to have someone be more intelligent, but the replacement of a less fit gene in terms of intelligence for a more fit one in an attempt to preclude depression.

C. No actually. I'm talking about looking ahead for where the technology might go, and taking sensible precautions, and not running pell mell blindly forward with human experimentation with people who then may or may not interbreed with the rest of humanity thus inserting more abberant genes into humanity. If you want to insert things into your DNA, you should have the right even to insert non human genes up to a point, but if you do it should be with the understanding that you and your offspring will be quarantined from the rest of humanity so that the rest of us don't have to live with the consequences your screw ups turning up in our descendants too.

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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
War is not "out-evolving". It's basically just one way to fight over territory and happens between individuals of the same species. When two species (try to) share the same territory they either "manage" to maintain a balance or not. Populace, habits and environment are big factors here. When one species fits "better" into the environment, that advantage along can be reason enough to "win" over the other species. Violent contacts between those species are usually not the ultimate reason for a whole species to go extinct.
True, in every war ever witnessed or participated in by Homo sapien humans on both sides that we're aware of.

We really don't know that our ancestors didn't simply kill off their competition. We only know that there isn't the evidence that this took place by violent means on any wide scale, and that the other Homo species were more than our match physically.

So something like our cold war over a longer period of time tied to systematic poisoning or other undercutting is just as probable as not though.

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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
So yes, we "out-evolved" the other human species.
If a species is the direct cause of the end of another one ending, and it's not the direct result of the competition, but a series of deliberate acts, I don't know you can say that's what happened. Nobody was there to witness, so nobody can say for sure.

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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
What scale?
Scale of the effectiveness of the tools and weapons we make. Scale of the amount of genocide for a given amount of effort we can do. Scale of how efficient at feeding our own we have become to get a population of over 6 billion.

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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
And I thought more and more people just decided they want to make love, not war.
Actually history shows that they usually go hand in hand. When the next generation forgets what war is like, everybody thinks it would be a good idea to have one. Then once the massive death tolls take place, there's always a population boom.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Jones
Usually different species can't and don't interbreed. I am not sure whether or not the different human species did so. Means, there is not really something like a "same gene pool" to mix back together. And I am not sure what speciations you address regarding the "different human kinds of today" being at war.
Exactly my point. Humans have basic reasons of biology to eventually settle their differences. If humans start speciating, you really can't appeal to any kind of "brotherhood of humanity" any more.


"If force is the game, the murderer wins over the pickpocket." Ayn Rand

"Justice is the midpoint between being treated unjustly, and treating others unjustly." Aristotle
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Old 02-29-2008, 06:43 PM   #28
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According to her they have come across one bonobo that is a prodigy (Kanzi) and may understand language in terms of symbolic terms and may be able to form discrete thoughts rather than think holistically and globally, but from looking at hundreds of the genus Pan, she seems to think that's very rare. And there are a number of Primatologists that dispute her conclusions about Kanzi.
Nowaday's primates are not pre-humans, nor do they live under the same conditions.

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Otherwise, why would non human Homo genus species have spears that didn't change their basic design in many tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years? They show great prowess in working together in hunting, in crafting things with great skill, but no capacity for innovation, and very little cultural relics. So they must have had something that resembled language that could preserve traditions like methods of making weapons, clothing, hunting and gathering food, raising of young. On the other hand, they didn't varie the typs of spears based on the types of prey they hunted. It wasn't until Homo sapiens came on the scene that hunters used different spear sizes and types for different prey. Also they had little in the way of body decoration, though there's some evidence that they used obsidian black face paint as camoflage when they went in war parties or hunting. Again, it's not until humans came on the scene that there was a profusion of color in face paints, beads, carved and painted objects that existed only for decoration, clothing (both to keep out the cold, and with decorative touches) complex funerary practices, and the like.
Obviously Homo sapiens developed his abilities faster and more efficient than other species did. Also, some human species were "older models" evolution-wise, thus possibly not "good enough".

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This leisure time never materialized as the list of chores simply grew as people grew more efficient at them.
You know how time consuming it would be instead without washing machines and cars while doing the same stuff?

Quote:
People work just as hard as they ever did, but now the incidents of mental instability are increasing due to the faster pace of life. For the last 200 years alone in the US, there have been both religious and secular groups calling for a getting rid of a lot of the technology and returning to a simpler life and focusing on the relationships with others and the world around us than just the things we can own. And these groups and those sympathetic to them who don't actually join pop up more and more frequently the faster that society seems to advance.
You know, that is not a problem of cars and washing machines. It's a problem of moms and dads being idiots.

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Not any one device, but the sum totality of all of them builds to a pattern I refered in answer to your last quote. A lot of people see it as a choice with toil, a lot of stress, and relative meaninglessness, and the choice of slowing down experiencing life, but doing without some of the conveniences. Not saying I fully agree. After all I am posting on here, aren't I?
See, I don't need my washing machine all day, and there's an off switch to all the things I have.

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I don't, but if you're going to develop the science and technology to do something, you have to make preparations for it's use when it's inevitably used. That's just basic commmon sense and enlightened self interest. Failure to plan is planning to fail.
Think first, move second. Yap.

Quote:
Nothing I mentioned had anything to do with abortion at least in my mind, though I suppose it could and probably will complicate that whole issue as well. What I was refering to had to do with the vagueness of the laws regarding cloned cells so that the laws as written in many cases aren't just limited to stem cells once the technology of cloning human cells ever develops beyond the point of individual cells.
Cloned human cells are human. I think there is no need to treat them different from "normal" human cells. I also think, cloned human embryos are human, and there is no need to treat them different from "normal" human embryos.

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True to the extent that we know of for sure. You're probably right, but there was a group in the very early part of the decade in north Korea, and another in Italy claiming that they'd each brought a clone to term and were waiting to unveil them when they were grown to adulthood. Most of the biological sciences community were convinced that both claims were hoaxes. But refusing to acknowledge the issue until it's dropped into our laps isn't responsible either.
Having no proof from either side, both scenarios are equally possible. So I think I go with the third option instead.

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Does that sum up the thrust of this thread?
Hey it's not my vision of human future. I've never said such thing. Without microorganisms, no higher species would be able to live. That won't change for a long while, even with genetics. We an tweak life, but not change it.

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Possible, but those things aren't designed to do exactly that IF THEY ARE FULLFILLING THEIR FUNCTION. It's one thing to do something accidentially to your children and children's children due to a product you decide to try. It's something entirely different to buy a product to guarantee that your children will be different than any generation previous.
Intention or not, it makes no difference.

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And what I was talking about was not an improvement of mental function to have someone be more intelligent, but the replacement of a less fit gene in terms of intelligence for a more fit one in an attempt to preclude depression.
Either way, it makes no sense without the right environment.

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C. No actually. I'm talking about looking ahead for where the technology might go, and taking sensible precautions, and not running pell mell blindly forward with human experimentation with people who then may or may not interbreed with the rest of humanity thus inserting more abberant genes into humanity. If you want to insert things into your DNA, you should have the right even to insert non human genes up to a point, but if you do it should be with the understanding that you and your offspring will be quarantined from the rest of humanity so that the rest of us don't have to live with the consequences your screw ups turning up in our descendants too.
Like I say, think first, move second.

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We really don't know that our ancestors didn't simply kill off their competition. We only know that there isn't the evidence that this took place by violent means on any wide scale, and that the other Homo species were more than our match physically.
Why should it be different to what we witness? Of course there were violent acts between human species. But the reason why the others went extinct is not that we killed them all. Many species came and went away, and so did they.

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If a species is the direct cause of the end of another one ending, and it's not the direct result of the competition, but a series of deliberate acts, I don't know you can say that's what happened. Nobody was there to witness, so nobody can say for sure.
But you cannot say for sure either. They certainly also fought about territory, and also they certainly all fought to win. I don't expect either side to not try their best and promising tactics and strategies.

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Scale of the effectiveness of the tools and weapons we make.
On would expect that, considering all that time due to technology like washing machines and cars, right? ;~~

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Scale of the amount of genocide for a given amount of effort we can do.
It is not uncommon for folks within colonies of ants to completely take over other folks. That can be like 20 million individuals going out of the window.

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Scale of how efficient at feeding our own we have become to get a population of over 6 billion.
10000 billion ants on this planet. Here for about 100 million years now. That's 50 times longer than us. The biggest colony so far is located at Hokkaido with 45000 folks living on 2,7sqrkm. That means like 306 million ants. Talk about efficiency.

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Exactly my point. Humans have basic reasons of biology to eventually settle their differences. If humans start speciating, you really can't appeal to any kind of "brotherhood of humanity" any more.
Living in peace with other species does work too.



Last edited by Ray Jones; 02-29-2008 at 07:05 PM.
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Old 03-01-2008, 01:57 AM   #29
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Nowaday's primates are not pre-humans, nor do they live under the same conditions.
That is very true, the great apes and the pre humans brains developed along very different lines. Panzi did some remarkable things in communicating in spite of his brain not being specialized for language. It was estimated that he spoke in sign language on a similar level as a 3 - 4 year old human child. Pretty amazing when you consider that neither a bonobo's brain nor their vocal anatomy are adapted for verbal communication or even language as we understand it.

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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
Obviously Homo sapiens developed his abilities faster and more efficient than other species did. Also, some human species were "older models" evolution-wise, thus possibly not "good enough".
I'd definitely agree with the more efficiently than other species of hominids. The archeological evidence points to their having larger and larger brains, larger and larger societies, and tools that increased in complexity and efficiency. Likewise they grew more adept at hunting and more proficient at knowing where to gather other foods as their brains got larger until you get to the last link in the chain. Then their brain still increases, but the size of their social groups shrink. Physically they would be more robust than us, not even needing clothing in much of northern Europe which was the far northern frontier of their range. As a matter of fact the endocasts of our most recent ancestors (Homo erectus or neandertalis? i forget tbh) skulls indicate that their brains were more massive than ours both in terms of absolute mass, and relative to their body, yet they're using specific variations of tools that were invented by species of "humans" at a couple of levels "down the evolutonary ladder" from them.

They definitely had some means of cultural transmission that allowed for a preservation of knowledge for generations. So metaphorically they didn't have to reinvent the wheel with every generation. Culturally though, their culture to a great degree lasted longer than their species itself, as well as that of their closest fossil relatives as well. They introduced some new tools, but largely just adopted the types of tools and weapons introduced to them by previous slightly smaller brained peoples within their genus.

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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
You know how time consuming it would be instead without washing machines and cars while doing the same stuff?
My point wasn't that life was easier in terms of the toil by doing chores without technology, but that the pace of life is speeding up with each new invention. I've heard it said (but I'm really too lazy to go looking right now) that there have been studies done showing a steady increase in the number of depressed people, as well as other mental illnesses at least since the 1980s. Some would probably argue that it's due to a destigmatizing of mental illness. A lot of others would argue the pace of life. Personally I'd argue some of both are true.

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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
You know, that is not a problem of cars and washing machines. It's a problem of moms and dads being idiots.
To a point true. But even more so, I'd argue a flaw in the way that many are mentally wired and in society to continually turn out people that feel they have little place in society and just want to opt out.

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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
See, I don't need my washing machine all day, and there's an off switch to all the things I have.
It's good that you make that distinction. Many don't.

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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
Think first, move second. Yap.
Thank you for the clarification.

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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
Cloned human cells are human. I think there is no need to treat them different from "normal" human cells. I also think, cloned human embryos are human, and there is no need to treat them different from "normal" human embryos.
Thank you for the clarification here too. IIRC, that wasn't what was passed into law in much of both the US and world in the wake of the stem cell controversy. Some of the same people that were saying aborting humans is wrong, were insisting that ALL clones had to be destroyed if they survived beyond point x or y, and passed that into various state laws within their borders. Nothing stated about whether they that no longer applied just because they were born or not, just a death penalty for all clones just for being cloned humans.

To me that reeks of a set up for a whole new group of people that are seen as subhuman in the eyes of various local governments. The 3/5 compromise didn't work so well from the revolutionary war to the civil war, and I'm not inclined to be passive about a new group of people labeled expendible in the eyes of the law.


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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
Having no proof from either side, both scenarios are equally possible. So I think I go with the third option instead.
I prefer a hope for the best, plan for the worst approach, but ok.

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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
Hey it's not my vision of human future. I've never said such thing. Without microorganisms, no higher species would be able to live. That won't change for a long while, even with genetics. We an tweak life, but not change it.
Oops. Sorry. I thought you were in agreement with many of Sabretooth's statements at the start of this thread.


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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
Intention or not, it makes no difference.
A small difference, but an important one. If a product is designed to have a long term effect opposed to a shorter one greater care should be taken. If a product is designed to affect more than just the customer/patient/individual it's being used on, greater care and monitoring should be done than one that just has a short term effect or one that only affects the individual it's intended for.

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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
Either way, it makes no sense without the right environment.
In and of itself it isn't a bad thing, but both governmentally and in terms of fads we tend to be a largely 1 size fits all society.

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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
Why should it be different to what we witness? Of course there were violent acts between human species. But the reason why the others went extinct is not that we killed them all. Many species came and went away, and so did they.
How can you say for sure that it's not because we killed them? They didn't gather in as large social groups as we, and it is thought by many that this was the cause. There's also the distinct possibilty that our intelligence is far more specialized for social interaction, language, and toolmaking even though our brains were actually smaller than our closest relatives.


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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
But you cannot say for sure either. They certainly also fought about territory, and also they certainly all fought to win. I don't expect either side to not try their best and promising tactics and strategies.
Definitely I'll concede this point.

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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
On would expect that, considering all that time due to technology like washing machines and cars, right? ;~~
Yup.

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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
It is not uncommon for folks within colonies of ants to completely take over other folks. That can be like 20 million individuals going out of the window.

10000 billion ants on this planet. Here for about 100 million years now. That's 50 times longer than us. The biggest colony so far is located at Hokkaido with 45000 folks living on 2,7sqrkm. That means like 306 million ants. Talk about efficiency.
Definitely that's an impressive achievement and we have a long way to go before getting that far. And yes, the insects have done better than us numerically and can be brutally efficient both in how they organize their society and in how they go to war too.


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Originally Posted by Ray Jones
Living in peace with other species does work too.
Definitely a good goal, and one worth pursuing, but considering our history unlikely to actually happen


"If force is the game, the murderer wins over the pickpocket." Ayn Rand

"Justice is the midpoint between being treated unjustly, and treating others unjustly." Aristotle
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Old 03-03-2008, 05:47 PM   #30
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As a matter of fact the endocasts of our most recent ancestors (Homo erectus or neandertalis? i forget tbh)
Homo erectus supposedly existed already 2 million years ago, and possibly even originated in Africa. The oldest known records of Homo neanderthalensis are dated 130.000 years old.

Quote:
I've heard it said (but I'm really too lazy to go looking right now) that there have been studies done showing a steady increase in the number of depressed people, as well as other mental illnesses at least since the 1980s. Some would probably argue that it's due to a destigmatizing of mental illness. A lot of others would argue the pace of life. Personally I'd argue some of both are true.
World population doubled from 1950 to 2000. I would argue that this at least could explain that the number of each, depressed people and mental illnesses may increase by the factor 2 too.

Quote:
I thought you were in agreement with many of Sabretooth's statements at the start of this thread.
Humans existing without Klingon slave girls??? O noez!


Quote:
A small difference, but an important one. If a product is designed to have a long term effect opposed to a shorter one greater care should be taken.
No difference for the outcome. Long term effect is long term effect, it doesn't matter if "designed" or not. And all things also have one.

Quote:
In and of itself it isn't a bad thing, but both governmentally and in terms of fads we tend to be a largely 1 size fits all society.
Maybe because we are just like that - individuals, but all the same.

Quote:
How can you say for sure that it's not because we killed them? They didn't gather in as large social groups as we, and it is thought by many that this was the cause. There's also the distinct possibilty that our intelligence is far more specialized for social interaction, language, and toolmaking even though our brains were actually smaller than our closest relatives.
Latest indications show that both had a similar level of cultural and lingual development. Not due to brain size, but after looking closer at the evidence at hand. For some time humans records of any kinds were mistakenly generally attributed to Homo sapiens.

But despite all similarities in their intellectual development Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis had differences in their habits and needs. Homo sapiens was a nomad, had a less massive body which needed less energy, lived longer and created more offspring. Attributes which seem to give more of an advance against a less reproductive species with massive bodies needing more food, and generally not "made for walking". Even more with the upcoming climatic/environmental change of an ice age. Sure is both species lived next to each other, and many reasons led to the extinction of one.

Also, something similar happened before with the pre-human species Australopithecus africanus and Australopithecus robustus, where the latter went (among other Australopithecus) extinct mostly because their body/diet was too specialised while the Australopithecus africanus (among others) took the "omnivore road", being the ultimate advance regarding upcoming climate/environmental change. Needless to mention that Australopithecus robustus specialised due to an earlier change of the climate causing withdraw of forest thus giving him an ultimate advance for those days, considering a hard to digest died, consisting mainly of hard roots, nuts and dry woods.

Quote:
Definitely a good goal, and one worth pursuing, but considering our history unlikely to actually happen
The point of unlikely things is that they happen mostly when you least expect it. X)



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