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Author Topic: Could we be supreme beings ?  (Read 13104 times)

Offline neilep

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Re: Could we be supreme beings ?
« Reply #25 on: 07/12/2005 22:07:02 »
good site about dinosaurs HERE

Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: Could we be supreme beings ?
« Reply #26 on: 07/12/2005 22:39:45 »
[:(!]
 

another_someone

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Re: Could we be supreme beings ?
« Reply #27 on: 08/12/2005 14:29:45 »
quote:
Originally posted by DoctorBeaver

Good site about evolution

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-intro-to-biology.html

From that site:-

 
quote:
The process of evolution can be summarized in three sentences: Genes mutate. [gene: a hereditary unit] Individuals are selected. Populations evolve.




Interesting, although I have a few question marks regarding it (not that I doubt that it knows what it is talking about, only that some details may be open to debate).

One point of interest is that it defines a gene (as you highlighted) as a hereditary unit.  It seems to deliberately not define it as a particular biochemical mechanism (e.g. a segment of DNA or RNA), but allows for any mechanism of inheritance to be genetic in nature.  There are arguments that might be proposed in favour of such a broad definition of a gene, but puts into question why Richard Dawkins felt he had to discriminate between genes and memes.

It mentions in its history of evolutionary theory that all of Lamark's theories are now considered erroneous.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamark#Legacy
quote:

Nowadays, the idea of passing on to offspring characteristics that were acquired during an organism's lifetime is called Lamarckian. This view was, until very recently, thought to be completely inconsistent with modern genetics, but recent discoveries, as discussed in the article on epigenetic inheritance, show that this is not quite the case. So Lamarckian ideas continue to be important even when his theories on the general mechanics of evolution were wrong.. Another contemporary view is that memetic ideas of cultural evolution could be considered a form of Lamarckian inheritance of non-genetic traits.



One issue that is totally overlooked in most comments on evolution is the role of viruses, particularly retro viruses.  I am not saying that anyone knows what their impact is, on the contrary, it seems no-one has even begun to look at what their impact might be, although it is clear that viruses are captured in the core DNA and can persist there through the generations, and thus have the possibility to cause mutation and drive evolution within a species (even if they are not a dominant force).  More interestingly, they can carry genetic information across species boundaries.

It also repeats the old mantra that
quote:

Evolution is not progress. The popular notion that evolution can be represented as a series of improvements from simple cells, through more complex life forms, to humans (the pinnacle of evolution), can be traced to the concept of the scale of nature. This view is incorrect.



While I would be the last person to argue that humans are in any way special, but in one sense one might say that evolution does progress (although this is not the same as saying that humans are the end-point of that progression, or that the progression in any way reflects 'improvement' or superiority).  Evolution is a cumulative process, thus one might expect that species that evolve later might be more complex than those that evolved earlier, simply because of the accumulation of complexity.  Whether that complexity improves function, or even whether it may at times reduce efficiency, is I suspect an open question; only that the accumulation of complexity would seem to be a natural consequence of accumulated change that is the mechanism for evolution, and thus there must be a notion of progression (i.e. progress but not necessarily improvement).

It also states:

quote:

The primary line of evidence for this is the similarities between young apes and adult humans. Louis Bolk compiled a list of 25 features shared between adult humans and juvenile apes, including facial morphology, high relative brain weight, absence of brow ridges and cranial crests.



Whereas http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoteny#Neoteny_in_humans
quote:

Neoteny in humans

There is a controversial debate which argues that humans are neotenous and retain certain juvenile characteristics into adulthood that are not seen in other great ape species. Many scientists discredit this argument since there is no delay of sexual maturity in humans.
While neoteny is not a physical state that humans experience, it is widely acknowledged that paedomorphic characteristics in women are desired by men.



The reference to T.mirus and T.miscellus was particularly interesting since I was not aware that polyploidism was quite so common in plants (or even that it was a successful strategy).

Also, I had not realised that plants arrived so much later than animals.

 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: Could we be supreme beings ?
« Reply #28 on: 08/12/2005 14:47:27 »
I haven't fully absorbed the info on that site yet. I'll go back and have a proper read through it.

 
quote:
but in one sense one might say that evolution does progress


Sort of. I noted the bit about earlier generations being re-introduced & taking over from later ones. That means that although it may seem as if evolution is advancing, it is only advancing with regard the immediately predeeding generation; the evolutionary chain as a whole is not.

I haven't read Dawkin for a while. Maybe I should refresh
 

another_someone

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Re: Could we be supreme beings ?
« Reply #29 on: 08/12/2005 15:32:57 »
quote:
Originally posted by DoctorBeaver

Sort of. I noted the bit about earlier generations being re-introduced & taking over from later ones. That means that although it may seem as if evolution is advancing, it is only advancing with regard the immediately predeeding generation; the evolutionary chain as a whole is not.



In that case, you would be correct.

The point I was making is that subsequent generations, some of which will not be replaced by preceding generations, have the possibility of being more complex than their ancestors.  That they have the possibility does not mean they inevitably will be, but it would indicate that on average there would be a progressive increase in complexity.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: Could we be supreme beings ?
« Reply #30 on: 08/12/2005 16:09:08 »
quote:
The point I was making is that subsequent generations, some of which will not be replaced by preceding generations, have the possibility of being more complex than their ancestors. That they have the possibility does not mean they inevitably will be, but it would indicate that on average there would be a progressive increase in complexity.


I think, in general, that is probably correct. However, I can think of a few questionable examples. Take the slow worm. That has evolved from a lizard with legs. Seals' flippers are also residual limbs. Are those creatures more, or less, complex than their ancestors?
 

another_someone

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Re: Could we be supreme beings ?
« Reply #31 on: 08/12/2005 16:58:54 »
quote:
Originally posted by DoctorBeaver

I think, in general, that is probably correct. However, I can think of a few questionable examples. Take the slow worm. That has evolved from a lizard with legs. Seals' flippers are also residual limbs. Are those creatures more, or less, complex than their ancestors?



As I said, it does not follow that every descendent will be more complex than its ancestor, only that the average complexity would rise.

More specifically, the complexity I refer to is the complexity of the genome.  Without mapping the DNA, there would not be any proper answer to that question.  Would a more complex genome always result in a more complex body design?

You question is even narrower than that, because you are concentrating upon a single aspect of body design, that of limb design.  It is like comparing the complexity of a human to a millipede because humans only have two legs, or comparing a human to a mouse because humans lack a tail, or a human to a fly because humans lack wings.  Human ancestors very probably did once have tails, so in that respect our design is simpler to that of our ancestors.  It is even possible that our ancestors had more chromosomes than we have (it is speculated that the common human/ape ancestor had 48 chromosomes, as do chimpanzees and gorillas, whereas modern humans have 46).  Maybe this is a case of humans being simpler than our ancestor, or it could be simply a rearrangement of the genome package into a smaller number of units, but retaining at least as much complexity.
 

sharkeyandgeorge

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Re: Could we be supreme beings ?
« Reply #32 on: 10/12/2005 16:21:26 »
my understanding is that you dont ever lose chromosomes but that they depend on the evolutions of the dna thats why the fern has so many well over a hundred because it has exsisted so long and evolved so much i suspect that apes have more than humans because they had too evolve twice since the splitting of species to take advantage of envioromentle niches where as humans with our supreme adaptability were able to fill similar niches with one body type

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another_someone

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Re: Could we be supreme beings ?
« Reply #33 on: 10/12/2005 22:22:19 »
quote:
Originally posted by sharkeyandgeorge

my understanding is that you dont ever lose chromosomes but that they depend on the evolutions of the dna thats why the fern has so many well over a hundred because it has exsisted so long and evolved so much i suspect that apes have more than humans because they had too evolve twice since the splitting of species to take advantage of envioromentle niches where as humans with our supreme adaptability were able to fill similar niches with one body type

Giggidy Giggidy Goo
The philosopher Q man



http://www.corante.com/loom/archives/2005/08/29/the_chromosome_shuffle.php
quote:

The scientists reported that the banding pattern surrounding the centromere on human chromosome 2 bore a striking resemblance to the telomeres at the ends of two separate chromosomes in chimpanzees and gorillas. They proposed that in the hominid lineage, the ancestral forms of those two chromosomes had fused together to produce one chromosome. The chromosomes weren't lost, just combined.
Other researchers followed up on this hypothesis with experiments of their own. In 1991, a team of scientists managed to sequence the genetic material in a small portion of the centromere region of chromosome 2. They found a distinctive stretches of DNA that is common in telomeres, supporting the fusion hypothesis. Since then, scientists have been able to study the chromosome in far more detail, and everything they've found supports the idea that the chromosomes fused. In this 2002 paper, for example, scientists at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center reported discovering duplicates of DNA from around the fusion site in other chromosomes. Millions of years before chromosome 2 was born, portions of the ancestral chromosomes were accidentally duplicated and then relocated to other places in the genome of our ancestors. And this past April, scientists published the entire sequence of chromosome 2 and were able to pinpoint the vestiges of the centromeres of the ancestral chromosomes--which are similar, as predicted, to the centromeres of the corresponding chromosomes in chimpanzees.



http://www.riverapes.com/Me/Work/HumanHybridisationTheory.htm
quote:

All the great apes, that is both major taxa of Pan, P. paniscus (bonobo) and P. troglodytes (‘common’ chimpanzee) as well as the subspecies of Gorilla and the subspecies of Pongo (orang-utan) have 48 chromosomes whereas we have 46.
Applying the simplest principles of parsimony to this observation it would seem fairly obvious that the last common ancestor of the Hominoidae (that is the great apes and the hominids) had 48 chromosomes too. A simple cladogram of this indicates that 48 (often written 2n = 48) chromosomes is the primitive condition and that descended from that ancestor only humans have the derived condition of 46.

 

Offline VAlibrarian

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Re: Could we be supreme beings ?
« Reply #34 on: 11/12/2005 01:40:54 »
Another someone alluded briefly to the concept that furnishes my response to this topic. If you wish some perspective on the moral issues surrounding humans creating life, think as a parent. Any of you people have kids? If you look at it objectively, human reproduction assumes a godlike power of creating a sentient being. Moreover, the parent bears responsibility for much of the outcome. Few of the denizens of our jails had parents worthy of the name. If you wish to make a judgement on human fitness to assume this role of "God", think for a moment on how well we are currently performing in that role. Not a pretty picture, in my view.

chris wiegard
 

Offline m.levert

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Could we be supreme beings ?
« Reply #35 on: 17/09/2007 03:30:03 »
aren`t humans nearly at the upper limit of brain size as related to efficiency? much bigger or more convoluted and impulses would start taking longer to arrive at their target neurone, so there`s a certain maximum size for optimal efficiency.

does not our ``evolutionary future`` lie in electronic enhancement and the co-mingling of our organic bodies with artificial computational elements?

``cyborg`` is a nasty word. i prefer ``post human``
 

another_someone

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Could we be supreme beings ?
« Reply #36 on: 17/09/2007 04:27:49 »
aren`t humans nearly at the upper limit of brain size as related to efficiency? much bigger or more convoluted and impulses would start taking longer to arrive at their target neurone, so there`s a certain maximum size for optimal efficiency.

I cannot see that this is a major issue.

Already the human brain is slower than the brain of a fly (a fly has much quicker reaction times than humans), but this is not a particular problem for most human activity, where millisecond response times are ever less the issue and high level processing is more the issue.  For high level processing, the brain is massively parallel, so even though any single calculation may be slow, it can do so many at once that it can produce a final result in a reasonable time.

The bigger problems with increased brain size are the amount of energy required to run the brain, and the size of the head of a baby with regard to the size of the pelvis of a woman (if the head gets any bigger, unless women start getting wider in the hips, all births will have to be by caesarian).


does not our ``evolutionary future`` lie in electronic enhancement and the co-mingling of our organic bodies with artificial computational elements?

``cyborg`` is a nasty word. i prefer ``post human``

Ultimately, if we go down that road, we will be looking at total electronic solutions (it may start with enhancements, but as the enhancement gets ever more competent, the biological functions will ever more atrophy, until they become totally redundant).

In fact, it may in any case be that robots will ever more undertake the functions of humans, so we do not actually need humans within human society at all.
 

Offline that mad man

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Could we be supreme beings ?
« Reply #37 on: 17/09/2007 20:24:02 »
Evening all, I'm back!  ;D

I think you are right and that man is now changing his own evolution and is in a sense now becoming "God"
Technology and medicine is now getting so advanced that at some time in the future I can see us going out into space and "seeding" a planet.

If that is possible then it may have already happened, in the distant past on our planet, and I do say "may" Perhaps that is where we get the idea of God and looking to the heavens from in the first place. ;)

We as humans may not live long enough to get to a viable planet but an android/robot could and take human DNA with it.
Find some native primitive life that is animal or ape like and then do some genetic work on them. Not a big stretch of the imagination, after all, that's what we are trying to do now, experimenting with hybrids.

I'm not sure though if our internal clocks (bio rhythms) would allow us to live comfortably on a planet with a different day/year to earth so genetic modification of a primitive would be better.

As far as brain size is concerned I thought that our adult brains were still evolving and increasing in size but slowly.

Bee







 

Offline neilep

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Could we be supreme beings ?
« Reply #38 on: 17/09/2007 21:29:24 »
What an excellent thread  ! *smug mode*
 

Offline Karen W.

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Could we be supreme beings ?
« Reply #39 on: 17/09/2007 21:32:32 »
LOL LOL yes! It brings back some funny memories! HEE HEE HEE!
 

Offline m.levert

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Could we be supreme beings ?
« Reply #40 on: 24/09/2007 21:17:29 »
why not just work towards downloading the entire intellect into a silicon based virtual existence?

if it were possible to guarantee a cohesive mental condition, i for one would be very keen on putting my whole awareness and existence into some form of mechanical body which would last forever.

if you could stay sane, you would see the far flung future of humanity, maybe live out billions of years as a virtual entity, evolving right along with the universe itself.

what`s not to like????
 

another_someone

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Could we be supreme beings ?
« Reply #41 on: 24/09/2007 23:04:26 »
why not just work towards downloading the entire intellect into a silicon based virtual existence?

if it were possible to guarantee a cohesive mental condition, i for one would be very keen on putting my whole awareness and existence into some form of mechanical body which would last forever.

if you could stay sane, you would see the far flung future of humanity, maybe live out billions of years as a virtual entity, evolving right along with the universe itself.

what`s not to like????

How would you know it would be billions of years - it could all be just a fraction of a second, but with billions of years worth of data uploaded as if you had lived through it all, and an instant later you are shut down.
 

Offline m.levert

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Could we be supreme beings ?
« Reply #42 on: 24/09/2007 23:57:12 »
another someone is correct- how would you know?

oh no, hang on - the whole idea is not to be shut down but to continue indefinitely.

supposedly, the human time sense would be altered by the upload and connection to vast computing potential. could a computer experience time?

but you would be more than just a computer, you would also be human. this implies continuing human perception,although contained in an imperishable vehicle.

obviously, it`s hard to imagine how one would be changed by direct mental connection to a multi billion teraflop device, i`ll get back to you on that one.

.....never mind, i`m still up for it.
 

Offline Michaelmoon

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Could we be supreme beings ?
« Reply #43 on: 26/09/2007 11:27:06 »
Hope Iam not changing the subject, but are there still people out there who can control their goosebumps. I can at will 'relese them' , concentrate them in a particular part of my body and continue to 'release them'. .....At any temperature. Of couse I can control them the other way when being cold I can hold them back. Can of course also just let them be. Cheers
 

Offline m.levert

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Could we be supreme beings ?
« Reply #44 on: 05/10/2007 15:55:13 »
ok that`s it i`m outta here.
 

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Could we be supreme beings ?
« Reply #44 on: 05/10/2007 15:55:13 »

 

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