TitaniumDragon's Posts

Sorted by New

TitaniumDragon's Comments

Fake Justification

Art is part of everything, so yes.

Photoshop allows artists to practice and produce works vastly more rapidly, correct errors quite easily, and otherwise do a ton of things they couldn't do before. Other such programs can do many of the same things.

More artists, plus better tools, plus faster production of art, plus better understanding of the technology of art, probably means that the best piece of art ever made was made in the last few decades.

Indeed, it is possible that more art will be produced in the first few decades of this century than were produced by all of humankind for the first several thousand years of our existence.

One Argument Against An Army

The real flaw here is that counting arguments is a poor way to make decisions.

"They don't have the ability to make said meteor strikes" is enough on its own to falsify the hypothesis unless you have evidence to the contrary.

As Einstein said about "100 Authors Against Einstein", if he was wrong, they would have only needed one.

Fake Justification

It isn't a problem to judge things from different time periods; the Model-T might have been a decent car in 1910, but it is a lemon today.

New things are better than old things. I'd wager that the best EVERYTHING has been produced within the last few decades.

If you're judging "Which is better, X or Y," and X is much older than Y, it is very likely Y is better.

An Alien God

The idea of natural selection is remarkably awesome and has applications even outside of biology, which is part of what makes it such a great idea.

An Alien God

It isn't literally that for every single person, but assuming you don't have a mutation in your chronobiological genes it is pretty close to that.

People with mutations in various regulatory genes end up with significantly different sleep-wake cycles. The reason that our bodies reset ourselves under sunlight is probably to help correct for our clocks being "off" by a bit; indeed, it is probably very difficult to hit exactly 24 hours via evolution. But 24:11 plus correction lets it be off by a bit without causing a problem.

Good enough is probably better than perfect in this case, both because it means that mutations to the clock are less deleterious (thus those who have mutated clock genes are more likely to survive if they have said adjustment capability, meaning that the adjustment gene is even more strongly selected for) and because it means that we can travel and adjust to new time zones. For most creatures, this doesn't matter, but for creatures which travel long distances, this is a real advantage for staying on the proper day/night cycle.

Exterminating life is rational

The more conflict avoidant the agents in an area, the more there is to gain from being an agent that seeks conflict.

This is only true if the conflict avoidance is innate and is not instead a form of reciprocal altruism.

Reciprocal altruism is an ESS where pure altruism is not because you cannot take advantage of it in this way; if you become belligerent, then everyone else turns on you and you lose. Thus, it is never to your advantage to become belligerent.

Exterminating life is rational

Opportunistic seizure of capital is to be expected in a war fought for any purpose.

Exterminating life is rational

The problem is that asymmetric warfare, which is the best way to win a war, is the worst way to acquire capital. Cruise missiles and drones are excellent for winning without any risk at all, but they're not good for actually keeping the capital you are trying to take intact.

Spying, subversion, and purchasing are far cheaper, safer, and more effective means of capturing capital than violence.

As far as "never" goes - the last time any two "Western" countries were at war was World War II, which was more or less when the "West" came to be in the first place. It isn't the longest of time spans, but over time armed conflict in Europe has greatly diminished and been pushed further and further east.

Exterminating life is rational

You are starting from the premise that gray goo scenarios are likely, and trying to rationalize your belief.

Yes, we can be clever and think of humans as green goo - the ultimate in green goo, really. That isn't what we're talking about and you know it - yes, intelligent life can spread out everywhere, that isn't what we're worried about. We're worried about unintelligent things wiping out intelligent things.

The great oxygenation event is not actually an example of a green goo type scenario, though it is an interesting thing to consider - I'm not sure if there even is a generalized term for that kind of scenario, as it was essentially slow atmospheric poisoning. It would be more of a generalized biocide type scenario - the cyanobacteria which caused the great oxygenation event created something which was incidentally toxic to other things, but it was purely incidental, had nothing to do with their own action, probably didn't even benefit most of them directly (that is to say, the toxicity of the oxygen they produced probably didn't help them personally), and what actually took over afterwards were things which were rather different from what came before, many of which were not descended from said cyanobacteria.

It was a major atmospheric change, and is (theoretically) a danger, though I'm not sure how much of an actual danger it is in the real world - we saw the atmosphere shift to an oxygen-dominated one, but I'm not sure how you'd do it again, as I'm not sure there's something else which can be freed en-mass which is toxic - better oxygenators than oxygen are hard to come by, and by their very nature are rather difficult to liberate from an energy balance standpoint. It seems likely that our atmosphere is oxygen-based and not, say, chlorine or fluorine based for a reason arising from the physics of liberating said chemicals from chemical compounds.

As far as repeated green goo scenarios prior to 600Mya - I think that's pretty unlikely, honestly. Looking at microbial diversity and microbial genomes, we see that the domains of life are ridiculously ancient, and that diversity goes back an enormously long distance in time. It seems very unlikely that repeated green goo type scenarios would spare the amount of diversity we actually see in the real world. Eukaryotic life arose 1.6-2.1Bya, and as far as multicellular life goes, we've evidence of cyanobacteria which showed signs of multicellularity 3Bya.

That's a long, long time, and it seems unlikely that repeated gray goo scenarios are what kept life simple. It seems more likely that what kept life simple was the fact that complexity is hard - indeed, I suspect the big advancement was actually major advancements in modularity of life. The more modular life becomes, the easier it is to evolve quickly and adapt to new circumstances, but modularity from non-modularity is something which is pretty tough to sort out. Once things did sort it out, though, we saw a massive explosion in diversity. Evolving to be better at evolving is a good strategy for continuing to exist, and I suspect that complex multicelluar life only came to exist when stuff got to the point where this could happen.

If we saw repeated green goo scenarios, we'd expect the various branches of life to be pretty shallow - even if some diversity survived, we'd expect each diverse group to show a major bottleneck back at whenever the last green goo occurred. But that's not what we actaully see. Fungi and animals diverged about 1.5 Bya, for instance, and other eukaryotic diversity occurred even prior to that. Animals have been diverging for 1.2 billion years.

It seems unlikely, then, that there have been any green goo scenarios in a very, very long time, if indeed they ever did occur. Indeed, it seems likely that life evolved to prevent said scenarios, and did so successfully, as none have occurred in a very, very, very long time.

Pestilence is not even close to green goo. Yes, introducing a new disease into a new species can be very nasty, but it almost never actually is, as most of the time, it just doesn't work at all. Even amongst the same species, Smallpox and other old-world diseases wiped out the Native Americans, but Native American diseases were not nearly so devastating to the old-worlders.

Most things which try to jump the species barrier have a great deal of difficulty in doing so, and even when they successfully do so, their virulence ends up dropping over time because being ridiculously fatal is actually bad for their own continued propagataion. And humans have become increasingly better at stopping this sort of thing. I did note engineered plagues as the most likely technological threat, but comparing them to gray goo scenarios is very silly - pathogens are enormously easier to control. The trouble with stuff like gray goo is that it just keeps spreading, but with a pathogen, it requires a host - there are all sorts of barriers in place to pathogens, and everything is evolved to be able to deal with pathogens because they sometimes have to deal with even new ones, and things which are more likely to survive exposure to novel pathogens are more likely to pass on their genes in the long term.

With regards to "intelligent viral networks" - this is just silly. Life on earth is NOT the result of intelligence. You can tell this from our genomes. There are no signs of engineering ANYWHERE in us; no signs of intelligent design.

Exterminating life is rational

That's a pretty weak argument due to the mediocrity principle and the sheer scale of the universe; while we certainly don't know the values for all parts of the Drake Equation, we have a pretty good idea, at this point, that Earth-like planets are probably pretty common, and given that abiogenesis occurred very rapidly on Earth, that is weak evidence that abiogenesis isn't hard in an absolute sense.

Most likely, the Great Filter lies somewhere in the latter half of the equation - complex, multicellular life, intelligent life, civilization, or the rapid destruction thereof. But even assuming that intelligent life only occurs in one galaxy out of every thousand, which is incredibly unlikely, that would still give us many opportunities to observe galactic destruction.

It is theoretically possible that we're the only life in the Universe, but that is incredibly unlikely; most Universes in which life exists will have life exist in more than one place.

Load More