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Old November 28 2012, 10:36 AM   #436
Gov Kodos
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Re: Ancient Aliens

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Old November 30 2012, 08:08 AM   #437
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Re: Ancient Aliens

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Ancient Rome wouldn't be all that different from a modern superpower if they had mastered electricity or figured out how to make concrete, and they missed out on those innovations only for lack of development time.
Actually, the Romans invented concrete - they even built harbours and large domes out of it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_concrete

The Parthians (contemporaries of the Romans) may also have known about DC electricity, viz. the Baghdad battery, which might have been used to electroplate gold and silver:

http://riversfromeden.wordpress.com/...ancient-world/

Perhaps this technology was the origin of Alchemy if the knowledge became corrupted through secrecy and mysticism?

Human ingenuity 2, ancient aliens 0.
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Old November 30 2012, 08:28 AM   #438
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Re: Ancient Aliens

Evidently the Romans also invented time machines, which would explain why Asbo Zaprudder's post is almost six months late.
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Old November 30 2012, 09:16 AM   #439
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Re: Ancient Aliens

Edit_XYZ wrote: View Post
You have an unaccurately high opinion of the Roman Empire.
they couldn't have done that bad they lasted over 1500 years
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Old November 30 2012, 02:40 PM   #440
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Re: Ancient Aliens

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Evidently the Romans also invented time machines, which would explain why Asbo Zaprudder's post is almost six months late.
Contrary to rumour, I am not ubiquitous, although I do move in a mysterious way.
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Old December 2 2012, 07:32 PM   #441
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Re: Ancient Aliens

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
RAMA wrote: View Post
But we are now entering a new phase, of what Hawking calls "self designed evolution," in which we will be able to change and improve our DNA.
I missed the part where Hawking explains how the entire human species will have unrestricted access to this technology, how natural selection will be universally and permanently mitigated, or how humanity manages to make this technical innovation permanent even in the event of natural disasters, wars or other unpredictable upheavals.
I will start by saying that I think RAMA's notion that technological singularity will happen in 50 years is all but excluded - indeed, the notion that the technological singularity is possible at all, given the psysical laws of the universe is in serious doubt (and is closer to being disproven that proven).

These being said, the argument you just presented, newtype_alpha, is also highly unconvincing:
-so, only a fraction of humanity will have access to changing themselves to be smarter and stronger.
And?
Evolution was NEVER an equal possibility process.
This fraction of humanity will outcompete the rest - as in they/ their descendants will survive and the rest will dissappear, going the way of the dinosaurs -, as has happened many, many times in the history of life on Earth.
-even today, very few natural disasters can endanger a race of humanity as a whole - these are the type of disasters that endanger all of humanity (a gigantic asteroid, few others).
The regional disasters you mentioned don't even come close.

You seem to think that all competitors surviving and having a share of the future is a requirement of evolution. Very 'happy ending', but the opposite of correct, newtype_alpha.
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Old December 3 2012, 04:09 AM   #442
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Re: Ancient Aliens

Edit_XYZ wrote: View Post
-so, only a fraction of humanity will have access to changing themselves to be smarter and stronger.
And?
Evolution was NEVER an equal possibility process.
This fraction of humanity will outcompete the rest - as in they/ their descendants will survive and the rest will dissappear, going the way of the dinosaurs -, as has happened many, many times in the history of life on Earth.
-even today, very few natural disasters can endanger a race of humanity as a whole - these are the type of disasters that endanger all of humanity (a gigantic asteroid, few others).
The regional disasters you mentioned don't even come close.
And that's just plain old "survival of the fittest" evolution like we've already had for millions of years. Significantly, we don't actually control which genetic modifications become the prevalent ones, or which populations in a competing genetic arms race actually win the battle for supremacy. Just because intelligent agency is involved doesn't change the underlying mechanism.

You seem to think that all competitors surviving and having a share of the future is a requirement of evolution.
It's a requirement of the type of evolution Stephen Hawking has in mind, where humans evolve based solely on what they NEED, not on the determinate and ruthless (and considerably slower) process of natural selection.
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Old December 3 2012, 07:01 AM   #443
Edit_XYZ
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Re: Ancient Aliens

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Edit_XYZ wrote: View Post
-so, only a fraction of humanity will have access to changing themselves to be smarter and stronger.
And?
Evolution was NEVER an equal possibility process.
This fraction of humanity will outcompete the rest - as in they/ their descendants will survive and the rest will dissappear, going the way of the dinosaurs -, as has happened many, many times in the history of life on Earth.
-even today, very few natural disasters can endanger a race of humanity as a whole - these are the type of disasters that endanger all of humanity (a gigantic asteroid, few others).
The regional disasters you mentioned don't even come close.
And that's just plain old "survival of the fittest" evolution like we've already had for millions of years. Significantly, we don't actually control which genetic modifications become the prevalent ones, or which populations in a competing genetic arms race actually win the battle for supremacy. Just because intelligent agency is involved doesn't change the underlying mechanism.
Of course the underlying mechanism doesn't change.
What does change is the fact that slow random genetic mutations are replaced with fast intelligent modifications, genetic OR otherwise, which WILL give desirable traits (intelligence, for one).

You seem to think that all competitors surviving and having a share of the future is a requirement of evolution.
It's a requirement of the type of evolution Stephen Hawking has in mind, where humans evolve based solely on what they NEED, not on the determinate and ruthless (and considerably slower) process of natural selection.
It remains ruthless. But it's no longer slow.
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Old December 3 2012, 08:35 AM   #444
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Re: Ancient Aliens

Immolatus wrote: View Post
Edit_XYZ wrote: View Post
You have an unaccurately high opinion of the Roman Empire.
they couldn't have done that bad they lasted over 1500 years
Duration doesn't necessarily reflect quality. The fact the Ancient Aliens show is still on the air tells us that.
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Old December 3 2012, 10:27 PM   #445
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Re: Ancient Aliens

Edit_XYZ wrote: View Post
newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Edit_XYZ wrote: View Post
-so, only a fraction of humanity will have access to changing themselves to be smarter and stronger.
And?
Evolution was NEVER an equal possibility process.
This fraction of humanity will outcompete the rest - as in they/ their descendants will survive and the rest will dissappear, going the way of the dinosaurs -, as has happened many, many times in the history of life on Earth.
-even today, very few natural disasters can endanger a race of humanity as a whole - these are the type of disasters that endanger all of humanity (a gigantic asteroid, few others).
The regional disasters you mentioned don't even come close.
And that's just plain old "survival of the fittest" evolution like we've already had for millions of years. Significantly, we don't actually control which genetic modifications become the prevalent ones, or which populations in a competing genetic arms race actually win the battle for supremacy. Just because intelligent agency is involved doesn't change the underlying mechanism.
Of course the underlying mechanism doesn't change.
What does change is the fact that slow random genetic mutations are replaced with fast intelligent modifications, genetic OR otherwise, which WILL give desirable traits (intelligence, for one).
But humans still cannot directly control which traits proliferate and which ones die out, especially on the timescales on which evolution actually occurs. Measurable speciation can take hundreds or thousands of generations to produce consistent phenotypical differences, and then even longer for those emerging (and otherwise superficial) racial differences to actually produce a separate species.

You might as well suggest that the sudden prevalence of diabetes and autism are major turning points in human evolution. The fact is, evolution occurs with gradual trends over a ridiculously long period of time; even things that buck the trend -- a genetically modified race of superhumans, for instance -- wouldn't even register on nature's evolutionary radar, UNLESS we were able to maintain the genetic purity of that modified race for something like half a million years and prevent them from ever cross-breeding with ordinary non-modified humans. I don't really see that happening unless the superhumans either colonize another planet and then glass the Earth on their way out, or the entire human species bombs itself back into the stoneage and starts over with the isolated pockets of survivors from around the globe.

It remains ruthless. But it's no longer slow.
No, it's still quite slow. The thing a lot of people don't understand is that the genetic makeup of a species ALREADY has a lot of variation built into it, so even genetic modification only takes place within the standard margins of allowable variations (e.g. locating and activating genes that correlate with higher intelligence or athletic ability). That's really just artificially raising the frequency of specific traits already inherent in the human genome.

Those kinds of changes aren't evolutionary changes. If the entire human race became four times smarter and with across-the-board natural immunity HIV and cancer, we would still be human beings, albeit a distinct RACE of humans that has never existed before (a certain passionate statesman once referred to such a strain of enhanced humans as "the Master Race"). Evolution, though, doesn't work with the goal of improving species, but merely adapting them to their environment. So over, say, two million years you end up with a race of extremely athletic humans with no body hair, extremely pale skin, and on average are thirty percent smaller, with vastly reduced color perception in favor of greater acuity of fine detail.

In other words, whatever we INTEND to create with the Master Race, the fickle and slow acting forces of evolution may inevitably transform us into a race of albino colorblind dwarfs. Not because anyone PLANNED it that way, but because from the aggregate of highly successful offspring producers over the millions of years humanity existed, the ones who produced the most offspring just happened to carry a slightly larger proportion of the "short/pale/hairless" genes than the "tall/bronzed/fuzzy" genes.
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Old December 3 2012, 11:26 PM   #446
Edit_XYZ
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Re: Ancient Aliens

newtype_alpha

Natural evolution works by selecting from many random mutations the VERY few that are actually beneficial.
'Artificial' evolution would work by selecting from highly beneficial mutations the ones that are the most advantageous.
Meaning, it will be blindingly fast by comparison to natural evolution.

And yes, evolution works by selecting the ones best adapted to an environment.
But we know certain abilities are advantageous in any environment which contains resources above a certain, relatively low level (intelligence) and certain abilities are advantageous in today's environment (carisma, beauty, etc) - and such will be the traits most likely artificially encouraged to manifest or even inserted from the ground up, changing the make-up of the genetic pool of the future ruling class of humanity. One can be quite sure that such traits will proliferate once released into the human society 'wild' (direct control - perhaps not; indirect control by such predictive means - almost certainly).
Again, the conclusion is that evolution will be lightning fast.

And during evolution, the 'fickle and slow' in the environment, the ones less adapted - in the future, perhaps, the ones too poor to make themselves thrice as smart, beautiful and resistant to disease, etc by merely undergoing a treatment - are the ones disappearing. They have no say in the future evolution of the species - they never did in the past: the "short/pale/hairless" genes survived because, in that given environment, they were better than the "tall/bronzed/fuzzy" genes.
I told you before, newtype_alpha - your 'happy ending', politically correct version of evolution has little in common with the actual thing - whether natural or artificial.

As for a 'super-race', genetically pure, etc - that's non-sense. A species, race that doesn't evolve, changing, adapting continuously (gaining traits that are better in its environment) cannot be called 'super' by any relevant criterion; it was - and is - just the wet dream of many demonstrably failed/contradictory to reality ideologies throughout history.
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Old December 4 2012, 01:41 AM   #447
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Re: Ancient Aliens

Could disease also play a part in evolution? A pandemic of some highly virulent form of the flu, lead to accelerated evolution? I'm thinking of a pandemic with a survival rate of ~1%? Or would that be too much for any species to overcome? Or would pockets of humans start clustering together again and start evolving differently in different areas?

Or is Kirk Cameron right? And the cultivated banana is a sign of God's work? Sorry I gotta make fun of Kirk Cameron whenever I hear or am in a discussion on evolution. And besides a crockaduck would be so cool to have.
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Old December 4 2012, 02:40 AM   #448
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Ancient Aliens

Edit_XYZ wrote: View Post
newtype_alpha

Natural evolution works by selecting from many random mutations the VERY few that are actually beneficial.
Half right. The mutations don't actually need to be beneficial, they only need to correlate more strongly with survivors (who produce a lot of offspring) than early dyers (who produce less). TRAITS can be beneficent, of course, but it takes a long time for any combination of mutated genes to produce consistently identifiable traits.

Blue eyes is a relatively clear example: they're no actual benefit to HAVING blue eyes, but that particular trait correlates more strongly with people who overall have lower skin and hair pigmentation, which itself is a trait that has become beneficent over time. Significantly: there is no one mutation that causes a person to become blond white and blue-eyed. That is the result of TENS OF THOUSANDS of discrete mutations all layered on top of each other. And even then, there's still enough variation in the genotypes of Europeans that if their climate were to suddenly change, in another ten thousand generations they would probably turn black again.

'Artificial' evolution would work by selecting from highly beneficial mutations the ones that are the most advantageous...
That's not evolution. That's medical therapy you only have to take once.

Really, you've sort of got you terms muddled up here. Even if it were possible to genetically engineer an entirely species from scratch, that still wouldn't be evolution, since that species didn't actually evolve. On a much longer timescale producing small but useful variations in a single race, still isn't evolution. That's called "breeding" and we've been doing that with animals already for thousands of years (we've also been doing that with royalty, but I repeat myself).

You're describing a process that works over two or fewer generations, doesn't involve natural selection, doesn't produce a new species and doesn't produce a distinct genotype as an end result. That's "artificial evolution" inasmuch as a basketball is an "artificial moon."

I told you before, newtype_alpha - your 'happy ending', politically correct version of evolution
... is a a strawman and a figment of your imagination that is also totally unrelated to anything I have ever written in this thread.

in the future, perhaps, the ones too poor to make themselves thrice as smart, beautiful and resistant to disease, etc by merely undergoing a treatment - are the ones disappearing. They have no say in the future evolution of the species - they never did in the past...
Unless, of course, they all pick up machineguns and massacre the modified humans in a holocaust of irony, achieving global victory only because of their superior numbers and greater willingness to resort to violence. This is the thing that you -- and many geneticists -- don't understand about evolution: what WE consider beneficent and what NATURE considers beneficent are two completely different things. Ultimately, it's just as likely that a ruthless man with a tendency for subversion (and an inborn knack for hitting moving targets with a rifle) could be better adapted to survive than a super-intelligent pacifist with a photographic memory and a high respect for authority figures.

Indeed, it's impossible to assume that the "loser" traits that currently exist among humans actually ARE non-beneficial in evolutionary terms. It's not hard to envision environmental conditions in which laziness becomes a valid survival technique, where snap-judgement prejudice is usually the safer position, where the survival of the species could actually depend on the willingness of males to rape their female counterparts. Intelligence and strength are things that HUMANS value, but it is not necessarily something that has evolutionary value.

As for a 'super-race', genetically pure, etc - that's non-sense. A species, race that doesn't evolve, changing, adapting continuously (gaining traits that are better in its environment) cannot be called 'super' by any relevant criterion
Which is why "artificial evolution" is so much bullshit. Even the best geneticists in the world cannot control -- let alone predict -- how those genetic modifications will affect the human species except in a very limited scope and in a very limited timeframe. To assume otherwise is to assume that the technological paradigm that allows for genetic modification in the first place would become a permanent fixture in human society, relatively unchanging for thousands of years.

And yet in the whole of human history, virtually nothing we have EVER created -- no government, no institution, no technology, no culture -- has ever endured long enough to affect evolutionary change in humans, even if they HAD the technology to do so. Ironically, the few human societies that DID make any concerted effort to pursue a genetic upgrade -- either by breeding up or by eliminating undesirables -- either collapsed much faster or gave up those policies after they became untenable. Apparently the drive not to be expunged from the human gene pool is ALSO a beneficial survival trait.
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Last edited by Crazy Eddie; December 4 2012 at 03:04 AM.
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Old December 11 2012, 07:49 AM   #449
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Re: Ancient Aliens

So, what if... the alien is human being from another planet, and they have visiting our planet numerous time with their FTL ships? And because they are human being, no body know about their where about.
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Old December 11 2012, 08:33 AM   #450
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Re: Ancient Aliens

Vanyel wrote: View Post
Could disease also play a part in evolution? A pandemic of some highly virulent form of the flu, lead to accelerated evolution? I'm thinking of a pandemic with a survival rate of ~1%?
There exist deleterious traits in the human population that were likely maintained because of heterozygote variations that conferred disease resistance. But what you're talking about: a fast spreading superdisease that probably uses multiple vectors and kills off 99% of a population is science fiction. That it would be conductive to human genetic variation? The opposite would be true in a prehistoric era with low populations.

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