Particles found to break speed of light

redneF
atheistRational VIP!
redneF's picture
Posts: 1971
Joined: 2011-01-04
User is offlineOffline
Particles found to break speed of light

An international group of scientists have reported that numerous experiments over the last 3 years have shown neutrinos travelling faster than light.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/22/science-light-idUSL5E7KM4CW20110922

 

 

 

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


Ktulu
atheist
Posts: 1830
Joined: 2010-12-21
User is offlineOffline
HumanVuvuzela wrote:The

HumanVuvuzela wrote:

The bartender said "We don't like your type in here." A neutrino walked into a bar.

LOL, that's funny.

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


Answers in Gene...
High Level Donor
Answers in Gene Simmons's picture
Posts: 4214
Joined: 2008-11-11
User is offlineOffline
p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }

p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }

OK, the latest study of star numbers is now up to half a trillion in our galaxy. That is a mighty big number. Now getting from there to just how common life really is is doable but right now, we don't have anywhere near enough data. Kepler has found several possible hits and other observatories have found a few. Apparently at least 5% of stars may have goldilocks planets and the number could be a good deal higher. Some of them are around fairly old stars.

 

Granted that as Vastet observes, there could be a good many of them that will not develop technology if if they have the brains but still the distance we would have to travel to meet up with someone is looking to be closer than we had prievously hoped.

 

Now on anthropic ground, it is of course true that the first two generations of stars lacked sufficient metalicity, although when astronomers refer to metalicity, they don't mean in the sense of viable technology but rather elements heavier than helium.

 

Still, there are a great many stars from generation three which are older than the Sun. Most of them actually as we are a relative newcomer in astronomical terms. So if life is common and we say that at best 0.1% of it ever gets into space, that puts us right back at wondering where they all are. Even if we really are right at the beginning of space exploration for the galaxy in general, which I tend to doubt, our expanding sphere will end up in other skies fairly quickly but so too would other expanding spheres from other races. If like is common around older stars, they should still be here already.

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:
Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."

=


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
HumanVuvuzela wrote:The

HumanVuvuzela wrote:

The bartender said "We don't like your type in here." A neutrino walked into a bar.

That's fucking awesome! Lol

I love science jokes. That's a keeper.

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10688
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
I dunno. Never been to a bar

I dunno. Never been to a bar that gave me service within a second or three of entry.
Sticking out tongue

Back to the fascinating discussion, I think there is a possibility that the conditions for life in the first place are rare. Most of the planets we have discovered are either hot Jupiters or super Earths that are extra-solar (ejected planets). If the ratio of habitable planets to stars is 5%, as AIG proposes, but the conditions for life to arise and evolve over billions of years are only found on 0.000000000000000000000000000001% of them, then there will likely never be aliens visiting us. The closest aliens could be in Andromeda, which we would be very hard pressed to detect.
We definitely need more data, because too much of the probability is based on what we know, which is effectively nothing. We can't even make a good educated guess on how many planets there are, and have repeatedly been forced back to the drawing board on star system formation.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10688
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
Hell, for all we know, there

Hell, for all we know, there could have been a change in the local or total universe 5 billion years ago that made life more likely, or even possible. We know that if we had evolved 5 or 10 billion years from now that a lot of our current understanding would be impossible to arrive at, as the evidence would have faded away, including the CMB. How much knowledge is already beyond our grasp?

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


EXC
atheist
EXC's picture
Posts: 3140
Joined: 2008-01-17
User is offlineOffline
HumanVuvuzela wrote:The

HumanVuvuzela wrote:

The bartender said "We don't like your type in here." A neutrino walked into a bar.

A graviton walks into a bar, orders a light beer, takes a sip and promptly passes out.

A gluon looks on in disgust, puts down her drink and mutters, "Fucking hell, that's weak..."

A neutrino walks into a bar.

"Youse wanna drink?" the bartender asks.

"No thanks," the neutrino answers. "I'm just passing through."

 

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
Answers in Gene Simmons

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

Now on anthropic ground, it is of course true that the first two generations of stars lacked sufficient metalicity, although when astronomers refer to metalicity, they don't mean in the sense of viable technology but rather elements heavier than helium.

 

Still, there are a great many stars from generation three which are older than the Sun. Most of them actually as we are a relative newcomer in astronomical terms. So if life is common and we say that at best 0.1% of it ever gets into space, that puts us right back at wondering where they all are. Even if we really are right at the beginning of space exploration for the galaxy in general, which I tend to doubt, our expanding sphere will end up in other skies fairly quickly but so too would other expanding spheres from other races. If like is common around older stars, they should still be here already.

 

A few days ago, I tried to reply to Watcher's latest on this thread , but accidentally tapped Ctrl-F4 twice when I was closing a browser tab right next to my reply , so I lost the whole reply.   Then ADHD kicked in and I lost motivation.  But AIGS dangled a shiny distraction , and I'm back!  lol

Okay, AIGS. Follow me on this one just for a bit. Technically, the Anthropic principle is a probabilistic one, but pretend for a moment that we could formulate it as a logical one. (At some point I want to formulate it as a Bayesian probability calculation, but for now let's stick to Boolean logic.)

Anthropic Principle as Modus Tollens (Contrapositive form)
P1: ~X => ~AA depends on X; without X "~X ...", you cannot have A "... => ~A"
P2: AA is true
:. 
C: XX must also be true: by Modus Tollens on P1, P2

Formally, this argument is very simple, and hard to get wrong. It's simply a specific example of the general Modus Tollens pattern (i.e. a syllogism), in a contrapositive form, which goes something like this, in English: If the luggage isn't X-rayed, then it won't be Allowed on the plane. The luggage was Allowed on the plane. Therefore, the luggage must have been X-rayed.

Now, granted, P1 cannot be described as 'logically' true in reality, only probably true. I'll get to that when I put it in Bayesian form. But for now just consider P1 as very probable for the sake of argument, so that we accept it as 'true' just for this formal argument (i.e., as a formal premise).

Now, translating this into the Anthropic Principle, in English, it reads like this:

P1: If our existence (A for 'anthro') depends on some condition X (which could be basically anything); or, in other words, if without X we could not exist: "~X => ~A"

P2: and yet, we do exist (obviously): "A"

C: then we must conclude that condition X is actually true: "X"

Now, for my specific use of it in this thread, I would simply fill in the blanks of X and A.

A equals "We have managed to survive to develop space travel, without our world being previously colonized by an interstellar species, and have not detected any evidence of interstellar colonization of the galaxy."

X equals "No other species (within the Milky Way) has had the opportunity to develop interstellar space travel technology, prior to humans on Earth."

Now, A is about as true as we can figure anything to be true. X is the proposition in question, which we would like to test.

If we restrict it to logic, and accept P1 as true (as a premise), then the conclusion X follows logically. The argument is formally valid. It only depends on the truth of its premises. So, let's look at the major premise, P1.

P1 would read: "If [another species (within the Milky Way) has had the opportunity to develop interstellar space travel technology, prior to humans on Earth], then [we would not have managed to survive to develop space travel, without our world being previously colonized by an interstellar species, and/or we would have detected some evidence of interstellar colonization of the galaxy]."

I'm arguing that P1 is true, based on what we know about the nature of life: It replicates exponentially, filling any niche available. And also the scale of the galaxy: It is small enough to traverse in a time span on the order of 1 million years, given conservative estimates of the top speed of interstellar travel (0.01c, 1% of the speed of light); and 1 million years is comparably a very very short time-span relative to the age of the universe, the sun and other stars, the Earth, life on Earth, multi-cellular life on Earth, terrestrial life, quadrupeds, mammals, social organisms, big brains (i.e. advanced/intelligent cortex), etc. And also the nature of technology: Exponential improvement, extremely rapid evolution compared to biological life, no known/obvious limits to interstellar travel except for the speed of light, etc.

If these are true, then any species to gain the ability of space travel (specifically, the ability to survive and reproduce in an artificial environment in free space) will

a) fill their local star system at an exponential rate (basically in no time),

b) develop the technology for interstellar travel at an exponential rate (basically in no time),

c) colonize nearby star systems at an exponential rate (limited by the speed of light, or, more conservatively, 1% of the speed of light),

d) continue to colonize essentially the entire Milky Way, and

e) be able to do all this in about 1 million years (or possibly/probably less).

Now, if all of that is true, then I believe that the first premise P1 of the anthropic argument can be defended as very probably true. That is, it is very probably true that "if any other species has had the opportunity to develop interstellar travel, then very probably they would have colonized the entire Milky Way already, and we either would not exist or we would currently have overwhelming evidence of this prior colonization".

And if P1 is true (or very probably true, to the extent that it is a safe bet that P1 is true), and P2 is true (surely, we exist, and neither you nor I nor anyone we know have any evidence of a prior interstellar colonization), then logically the conclusion C must also be true: No prior species has had the opportunity to develop interstellar travel.

Thus, we truly are alone at this level of development. We are the first. The 'missing' advanced aliens are right here on planet Earth. They are us.

So, could you give me a more specific handle on what you disagree with in this argument?

To give you an idea of what I'm hoping for, I can imagine a few different objections to my argument as formulated so far (I think I have good responses to these objections, but I haven't laid out all of my reasoning for them, in the interests of avoiding a wall o text).

Possible objections:

  • Why 0.01c (1% of speed of light)? Maybe the practical limit is much lower!
  • Maybe there are unknown barriers to interstellar travel
  • Why do you think travel time is the limiting factor? What if making a new colony in a new star system takes hundreds or thousands of years?
  • How can life survive in free space, let alone reproduce successfully? Wouldn't radiation kill everything?
  • How can life survive the super-long journey if the top speed is only 0.01c?
  • What would be the point of colonizing the galaxy?
  • Why should we expect other life to be like us in any way? How can you predict that they will even want to colonize anything?
  • What if there's a reason why all technological species happen to be entering the interstellar space race all basically at the 'same time' in the life-span of the universe?
  • How could any species afford the enormous energy costs of interstellar travel?
  • What's the evolutionary/life advantage of even bothering to colonize a local star system (rather than just staying on home planet)?
  • Technically, P1 is not likely to be 100% true, so how can you make a logical argument based on a probability?
  • Even if P1 is highly probable (say 99%), there's still so many planets and stars that the sheer number of them overwhelm the probability of P1. For example, maybe the probability of intelligent life, multiplied by the number of viable star systems, is like 99.99999999999%, which renders the 99% probability of P1 relatively 'unlikely' in comparison. (Answering this would require me breaking out the Bayesian calculation, but I'm fairly confident I could do it.)
  • Etc.

Probably, you can think of some I haven't even mentioned yet. I'm just wondering what your line of thinking is. What are your strongest objections to it?

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
Vastet wrote:Most of the

Vastet wrote:
Most of the planets we have discovered are either hot Jupiters or super Earths that are extra-solar (ejected planets).

This is simply a sampling bias, because huge planets are the easiest to detect, and so nearly all of the early discoveries were huge ones. But smaller, more reasonable planets are being found all the time, now.

Quote:
If the ratio of habitable planets to stars is 5%, as AIG proposes, but the conditions for life to arise and evolve over billions of years are only found on 0.000000000000000000000000000001% of them, then there will likely never be aliens visiting us.

One of the neat twists of my anthropic argument for us being alone is that--in the probabilistic form, which I haven't presented yet--the argument gets stronger the less probable life is. If life is extremely improbable, then it is conversely extremely probable that we are truly alone.

Quote:
We definitely need more data, because too much of the probability is based on what we know, which is effectively nothing.

Well, it's more than nothing. For example, it's extremely unlikely that alien life can somehow escape the laws of thermodynamics. It's extremely unlikely they are not made of atoms. It's also unlikely that they are exempt from evolution by natural selection (or else, why would we call them 'life'?)

Quote:
We can't even make a good educated guess on how many planets there are, and have repeatedly been forced back to the drawing board on star system formation.

Strongly disagree. The estimate of other planets is becoming more refined on a daily basis. More information increases our knowledge, and the accuracy of our theories. We are getting a steady supply of new information from our current investigations, and new instruments and methods are being invented all the time. We are finding our extra-solar eyes, so to speak, and the picture is becoming clearer. There are billions of planets, and likely many of them are goldilocks-ish. (Although my argument doesn't depend on goldilocks zones (or even planets!) at all.)

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10688
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
1: agreed, but the fact

1: agreed, but the fact remains that noone can truly estimate how many planets are in the milky way, or what percentage of them are terrestrial & have water, or how many are in the HZ of their star. All of these factors have a huge bearing on the existence of life in the milky way.

2: While I agree to an extent, I don't believe we can be truly alone. Alone in the milky way, maybe, but not in the universe. That life can arise and harness energy once makes the probability it happened twice or more times statistically likely.

3: That really isn't much to go on. I'm sure gravity and magnetic fields are also impactors, but that doesn't tell us anything as to the probability of life harnessing energy. It really just says that at the most basic level, life has about as much chance elsewhere as it had here. But that's it.

4: All that is for the future. It doesn't tell us anything today. Which was my point. All the tech we're developing WILL allow us to refine our estimates, but that refinement is necessary.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10688
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
Without it, we're not going

Without it, we're not going to be estimating the probabilities accurately. We'll be guessing. And when one guesses without information, it becomes much more likely that bias will creep in to the estimate.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
Vastet wrote:2: While I

Vastet wrote:
2: While I agree to an extent, I don't believe we can be truly alone. Alone in the milky way, maybe, but not in the universe. That life can arise and harness energy once makes the probability it happened twice or more times statistically likely.

Sometimes I forget to add the phrase 'in the Milky Way', but my argument is strictly restricted to arguing about the Milky Way, and also intelligent, technological life. I think life itself is going to be found to be fairly common, IMO. Also, the further from the Milky Way you get, the weaker my argument becomes, because it depends on the short time-span required to fill the Milky Way (1 million-ish years). The further the distance, the longer it takes, and so the greater the time-span in comparison to the ages of life, the universe, and everything. And hence, the greater the probability that technological life exists, distant enough from us that they haven't yet reached the Milky Way.

Quote:
3: That really isn't much to go on. I'm sure gravity and magnetic fields are also impactors, but that doesn't tell us anything as to the probability of life harnessing energy. It really just says that at the most basic level, life has about as much chance elsewhere as it had here. But that's it.

Well, I think it does put some significant restraints on what life will look like, in comparison to all the scifi nonsense out there. (BTW I distinguish between 'scifi' and science fiction, aka SF.)

If we know (and I think it's reasonable to say we do) that life elsewhere must also have evolved by natural selection, then we should expect that it will have similar characteristics to things we already know evolve, such as vestigial features (like the human tail-bone), a drive for survival, a need to consume energy to maintain itself, etc. It won't be like Star Trek where ancient energy blobs are just floating around waiting to take over a star ship or whatever. Real alien life will get its energy primarily from its own sun star, will be robust and resilient (none of the typical TV/movie tropes like "Just pour water on them and they die instantly! Who woulda known?!" ), will be massively varied in many species, will have ongoing conflict within its own organization/organisms (e.g. war, predation, parasitism, cancer-like things, virus-like things, etc.), and so on.

The way I usually try to imagine it is, "What if we simply re-ran the whole evolution program from the beginning with a different random seed?" There's still gravity to contend with, acidity and alkalinity, basic chemistry, long time spans required, etc. There's no magic or gods poofing stuff into existence. It all has to work within the framework of the real universe that we study with physics, chemistry, biology, math, etc.

Quote:
4: All that is for the future. It doesn't tell us anything today. Which was my point. All the tech we're developing WILL allow us to refine our estimates, but that refinement is necessary.

True. And it doesn't affect my argument much, if at all,  so I guess I was nit-picking.

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
Vastet wrote:Without it,

Vastet wrote:
Without it, we're not going to be estimating the probabilities accurately. We'll be guessing. And when one guesses without information, it becomes much more likely that bias will creep in to the estimate.

Damn!

Of course, you are correct. The only thing I can do at this point is shift to the Bayesian version of the argument, where any such bias must at least be explicitly stated in the calculations (and hence, made transparently obvious to any critics).

(But still, in the logical form, it's such a tight little argument!   That's why I've had it in my signature for literally the entire time I've been on RRS. If I manage to get the Bayesian version going, I think I might revamp my old sig.)

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


George Leroy Ti...
Posts: 1
Joined: 2010-11-25
User is offlineOffline
neutrinos and faster than light humans

 (Alot of discussion about space travels has entered this neutrino thread, so I hope this is relevant.)

 

Human beings talking about doing anything in terms of millions or even hundreds of thousands of years is ridiculous. Our civilizations have been around for what, 10,000 years? It’s only in the last 200 years that we’ve discovered oil and extended our life spans. Which is leading to an overpopulated, poisoned planet which is about to strike back. So let’s say we have another 300 good years before we’re extinct or back in the stone age. And still we devote enormous resources to building spaceships that can travel at a minute fraction of the speed of light. But much faster than we’ve traveled in space before. So we set out on journeys that’ll take thousands, tens of thousands of years. Each ship has a couple hundred thousand humans. Do they survive the trip to a habitable planet? I doubt it. 

 

I’m sure that countless civilizations and species bloom all over the universe. The ones that happen to do so at the exact period of time can never contact one another because they are going to be separated by too many light years for one message to be received before one or both species have run their course. Traveling TO another intelligent specie’s plant? Only if the two species planets are just a few light years apart. If both species developed independently, then forget it. One WILL be gone before the other arrives. 4 to 10,000 years to develop self awareness is a blink of an eye in solar systems that are billions of years old. 

 

Any inter stellar space travel will be for one reason: to save a dying specie’s ass. And does anyone think the same mindset that caused a species to ruin an entire fucking planet, a real good one at that, will not self-destruct on a journey of thousands of years? 

 

If we ever hear a signal from another species, there’s one thing we can be sure of: they’re extinct. Just like we’ll be when someone hears us. The universe is teeming with life, and probably has had countless intelligent species. It’ll have even more. As long as they’re made of atoms, they’re isolated by time and space.

 

 

 


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
George Leroy Tirebiter

George Leroy Tirebiter wrote:

 (Alot of discussion about space travels has entered this neutrino thread, so I hope this is relevant.)

Human beings talking about doing anything in terms of millions or even hundreds of thousands of years is ridiculous. Our civilizations have been around for what, 10,000 years? It’s only in the last 200 years that we’ve discovered oil and extended our life spans. Which is leading to an overpopulated, poisoned planet which is about to strike back. So let’s say we have another 300 good years before we’re extinct or back in the stone age. And still we devote enormous resources to building spaceships that can travel at a minute fraction of the speed of light. But much faster than we’ve traveled in space before. So we set out on journeys that’ll take thousands, tens of thousands of years. Each ship has a couple hundred thousand humans. Do they survive the trip to a habitable planet? I doubt it.

It's relevant, but a bit behind on the background of this topic, which we've discussed a couple of other times here in the past few years. It always seems to come up now and again.

(The point of talking about all of this interstellar travel is to answer the question that has puzzled so many of us over the years, as we learn about the universe. There seems to be no insurmountable barrier between life on a planet and intelligent, technological life moving on up into space, and theoretically travelling all around the galaxy. So, if that's true, the question looms: Well then, where are they?)

1) When I get to the level of discussion where I'm talking about colonizing the galaxy, there are a lot of problems that I've assumed 'have been solved' to allow us to get to that point. That doesn't mean I'm unaware of those problems, or think they are easy to solve, or any of that. It just means that, in order to reason about such a future possibility, we have to first assume that whatever barriers there are to make it possible have already been overcome. I usually phrase this as, "..., assuming we don't blow ourselves up first."

2) There are, in fact, good responses to each of the issues you've raised. I'll briefly state them here, and you can pick on any particular one you want to hash out.

Okay, here are the issues you brought up:

Overpopulation: Definitely an immediate problem that needs to be addressed ASAP. Agreed. My proposed solution: Massive efforts towards mass, public education in all countries, as well as mass political reform toward secular, social democracies, driven from the inside out (citizen movements, rather like the Arab Spring happening now; hopefully that turns out well and doesn't just replace one authoritarian regime with another). Educated societies have been shown to dramatically reduce reproduction rates, and many such societies are currently reducing in population, e.g. in Europe.

Oil dependence: Major problem. Hopefully (I'm cautiously optimistic) there will be a rapid improvement in alternative energy sources such as nuclear and solar. Ultimately, in the long run, solar is our best bet. It's in the short run where things will get hairy.

Environmental collapse: Huge problem. Requires political reform, cultural reform. I'm working on the part of that reform which has to do with educating people to make better, more realistic decisions, i.e. rational thinking.

Civilizational collapse (a new Dark Age): That is, I think, the number one thing I'm focused on preventing, in my own limited way, if at all possible. Again requires education, cultural reform, people waking up to reality.

Those are the problems you mention which are immediate, terrestrial concerns. I agree with all of them.

Now, here is where my argument differs from the scenario you proposed:

The key step for interstellar travel is not to get directly from Earth to some other planet around another star. The key step is to get from Earth up into free space in our own solar system. To make it to the stars, we first have to make it into space itself. That requires new technology and better environmental science (to be able to survive sustainably in an enclosed biosphere), which are themselves technical challenges, but they are not outside the realm of possibility, or even probability.

Contrary to what most people believe--even many physicists and biologists who haven't really examined the problem very deeply--our local solar system is an eminently livable environment. That's assuming, crucially, that we can solve the technical problems of sustainable ecosystems on a small scale. Protecting ourselves from radiation from the Sun is not as difficult as the average astrophysics enthusiast might think. We are so used to thinking about space travel as people trying to survive for short durations in what is essentially a tin can (which is almost no protection from radiation), that we sometimes find it hard to think outside that box and imagine what it would actually take to protect life from solar radiation over long durations. Essentially, all it takes is a big rock. And our solar system is fucking littered with millions and millions of big rocks, just floating around aimlessly.

Another common objection to living in free space is low/zero gravity, which is known to cause health problems. However, this is easily solved by mimicking gravity with centrifugal rotation. Just spin that rock around and you've got instant g. Not perfect, but it will solve the health issues.

Another common objection is "How do you supply material and energy supplies?" First, we need to develop sustainable ecosystems, capable of recycling nearly all waste. That will take care of most of the material requirements. Second, free space is full of raw materials. It's just a matter of collecting it. Third, the Earth absorbs more energy from the Sun in a couple hours than our entire civilization spends in a year. In space, there's no atmosphere to get in the way of solar energy. Plus you're not stuck in darkness half the time. In short, finding energy in space is about as easy as sticking your hand out the car window as you're driving along. Local space is suffused with energy from the enormous fusion-powered reactor that is our Sun.

The first step is to move on up into free space, where we're not trapped down here in the gravity ghetto. Once we manage to do that, and colonize our own solar system, then we'll worry about how to make it to the next one.

So, paraphrasing some lyrics from The Jeffersons:

Well we're movin' on up (Movin' on up!)
To the Space Side
To a deluxe apartment in the sky

 

Quote:
Any inter stellar space travel will be for one reason: to save a dying specie’s ass.

We don't need interstellar travel to save our ass. All we need for that is to move on up to Space Side.

Quote:
And does anyone think the same mindset that caused a species to ruin an entire fucking planet, a real good one at that, will not self-destruct on a journey of thousands of years?

I'm with you on the mindset thing. That's why I'm all about education and reason. Even getting up to Space Side won't be much of an accomplishment if we drag along all our cave-man baggage with us. Nor will it mean much if we (meaning: some people. Probably neither you or I) get there only to watch as the billions left on Earth permanently fuck it up and make it into a wasteland.

I agree we have to solve our problems down here before any of the above will seem like it's realistic. You seem passionate about talking sense into people. That's what we're all about here. Let's work together on it.

One of the things we can do (or at least, I think is worthwhile) is to keep things realistic. While we shouldn't be overly optimistic, I don't think it does any good to be overly pessimistic either. So, when someone tells me that aliens have probably already been here, or that we'll never survive the next 300 years, "So why bother?" then I like to try to put things in perspective. Yes, we'll have enormous challenges shifting our course. No, it's not impossible. Nor is it even hopeless. Yes, we are alone in the galaxy. No, that doesn't mean we're super-special. No, it doesn't mean interstellar travel is impossible or hopeless. Yes, it sucks we'll probably never meet intelligent aliens. On the other hand, maybe, just maybe, our distant distant descendants will! Heck, it's worth a shot! Better than moping around with nothing better to do, or living in some fantasy dreamland of religion. Let's clean up our act and make a go of it!

 

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


Ktulu
atheist
Posts: 1830
Joined: 2010-12-21
User is offlineOffline
natural wrote:One of the

natural wrote:

One of the things we can do (or at least, I think is worthwhile) is to keep things realistic. While we shouldn't be overly optimistic, I don't think it does any good to be overly pessimistic either. So, when someone tells me that aliens have probably already been here, or that we'll never survive the next 300 years, "So why bother?" then I like to try to put things in perspective. Yes, we'll have enormous challenges shifting our course. No, it's not impossible. Nor is it even hopeless. Yes, we are alone in the galaxy. No, that doesn't mean we're super-special. No, it doesn't mean interstellar travel is impossible or hopeless. Yes, it sucks we'll probably never meet intelligent aliens. On the other hand, maybe, just maybe, our distant distant descendants will! Heck, it's worth a shot! Better than moping around with nothing better to do, or living in some fantasy dreamland of religion. Let's clean up our act and make a go of it!

This should have ended with "now go out there and Sell Sell Sell!" Smiling perfect motivational speech. Smiling

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10688
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
In order to continue to

In order to continue to exist, a species capable of space flight MUST utilise it to explore and colonise their home system. Whatever resources they have will run out, and space is the only place to replace stock. It doesn't necessarily have anything to do with emergent dangers to the species, so it is inevitable that a species capable of harnessing energy will achieve and practice space flight, or become stranded when their resources run out, or die before becoming capable of space flight.
Once achieved, the greatest danger to a species is itself. As we have steadily distanced ourselves from self immolation for the past 30 or so years, it is less likely we will destroy ourselves now than it has been for decades. Before which it was beyond our capacity to accomplish. Logically, any species which survives to our point will be less likely to self destruct than a species entering the nuclear age. None of the problems of today are remotely as dangerous to our species as many seem to think.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10688
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
Overpopulation is not a

Overpopulation is not a concern. Whether through starvation, war, disease, or self control, it will be sorted out long before it constitutes a threat to the entire species.
Climate change is an inconvenience, and certainly no threat to the species. More likely that it will help with the overpopulation problem than that it will destroy us.
There is not a conceivable way for our species to be knocked into the stone age without destroying us outright, so I reject the possibility as unlikely to an extreme.
Any interstellar travel is likely to be pressured by resource requirements to travel through space. It is a necessary continuation of a space capable society.
Any species that gets to where we are will likely face similar pressures to escape their homeworld, and are equally likely to travel through space, provided they make it through their version of the cold war.
All it really will take to ensure we travel to the stars is one permanent and self sufficient colony in the solar system.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


redneF
atheistRational VIP!
redneF's picture
Posts: 1971
Joined: 2011-01-04
User is offlineOffline
Vastet wrote: As we have

Vastet wrote:
As we have steadily distanced ourselves from self immolation for the past 30 or so years, it is less likely we will destroy ourselves now than it has been for decades.

No.

The more people, the more potential for conflict. 

Vastet wrote:
Logically, any species which survives to our point will be less likely to self destruct than a species entering the nuclear age.

That's merely an opinion. Not a logical proof. 

Vastet wrote:
None of the problems of today are remotely as dangerous to our species as many seem to think.

That's not even logical.

Tell that to the victims of 9/11.

How would 19 Jihadists been able to kill nearly 3000 people and cause so much collateral damage in such little time 2000 yrs ago?

 

 

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10688
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
"No.The more people, the

"No.The more people, the more potential for conflict."

No. The more familiar and proliferate nuclear technology is, the less likely that we will use it on ourselves. The number of conflicts and their frequency is irrelevant.

"That's merely an opinion. Not a logical proof. "

If you want to dispute it then your opinion is insufficient to do so.

"That's not even logical. Tell that to the victims of 9/11"

Ridiculous, wrong, and irrelevant.

"How would 19 Jihadists been able to kill nearly 3000 people and cause so much collateral damage in such little time 2000 yrs ago?"

Where are the nukes that would actually allow jihadists to cause a threat to humanity entire?

What a ridiculous response you gave. Barely worth acknowledging.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
Vastet wrote:Overpopulation

Vastet wrote:
Overpopulation is not a concern. Whether through starvation, war, disease, or self control, it will be sorted out long before it constitutes a threat to the entire species. Climate change is an inconvenience, and certainly no threat to the species.

This represents a common, but unfortunately very naive understanding of the real underlying concerns about overpopulation and climate change. It is not the direct threat to our species that we need to worry about. It is the indirect--and potentially far more catastrophic--effects that we have on all the other life on the planet, on which we depend. See We are the asteroid, for example.

If we trigger a large scale ecological collapse, which is not as far-fetched as it might sound (considering the Earth has a long history of rapid-onset mass extinctions), then even if we manage to barely escape extinction, the end-state will still involve multiple gigadeaths. That is not something our civilization could survive. It most definitely would lead to an extensive Dark Age.

It would be like surviving a massive fever, only to end up on the other side of it with permanent brain damage as your body cooked your brain.

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
Vastet wrote:"No.The more

Vastet wrote:
"No.The more people, the more potential for conflict." No. The more familiar and proliferate nuclear technology is, the less likely that we will use it on ourselves.

You're assuming that people are rational. Think about it. The more nukes, the greater the availability. The greater the availability, the greater the probability that some nutjobs get their hands on some. You know, the kinds of nutjobs that would gladly send us (and possibly themselves) into an imagined afterlife? Yeah. Those nutjobs. If you haven't read The End of Faith yet, now would be a good time to do so.

 

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


redneF
atheistRational VIP!
redneF's picture
Posts: 1971
Joined: 2011-01-04
User is offlineOffline
Vastet wrote:redneF wrote:

Vastet wrote:

redneF wrote:
No. The more people, the more potential for conflict.

No.

Sez you.

It's funny, but, when I'm alone, there's never a conflict between me, myself and I. But when I go to a family reunion, there's multiple conflicts.

I hear it's the same with most people...

Vastet wrote:
The more familiar and proliferate nuclear technology is, the less likely that we will use it on ourselves.

Sez you.

Where did you learn how to debate or have dialog? Continually asserting things, without anything to back it up is not debating. It's 'broadcasting'. Stop wasting bandwidth.

You're completely ass backwards with your reasoning.

The conflicting and incompatible 'bronze age' delusions never went away in 2000 yrs. The more percentage of people= the more percentage of homicidal/kamikazes on the planet.

It's simple math. 7 billion people= Lots and lots of homicidal nutjobs.

That increases the likelihood of an attack, and the level of technology that can cause mass devastation is on the order of magnitudes greater than 2000 yrs ago.

2000 yr old madness + State Of The Art technology + Opportunity for a single person or small group to unleash Hell.

Proof?

9/11

Vastet wrote:
The number of conflicts and their frequency is irrelevant.

Sez you.

Vastet wrote:

redneF wrote:
That's merely an opinion. Not a logical proof. 

If you want to dispute it then your opinion is insufficient to do so.

You missed the point. You prefaced your 'opinion' with "Logically', and then you simply asserted something without anything to back it up. More of your 'broadcasting'.

Vastet wrote:
None of the problems of today are remotely as dangerous to our species as many seem to think.

redneF wrote:
That's not even logical. Tell that to the victims of 9/11

 Ridiculous, wrong, and irrelevant.

Sez you, sez you, sez you.

The potential for any 1 nutjob to unleash immense destruction due to modern technology and opportunities to be 'stealth' make it exponentially more dangerous 'today'.

 

Vastet wrote:

redneF wrote:
How would 19 Jihadists been able to kill nearly 3000 people and cause so much collateral damage in such little time 2000 yrs ago?

Where are the nukes that would actually allow jihadists to cause a threat to humanity entire?

Do you know how much weapons-grade uranium and plutonium is unaccounted for in the world?? Do a Google search.

Bin Laden was recorded asserting that he was attempting to get his hands on weapons grade material, and either finding some way to deliver it with a missile, or fashion a 'dirty bomb' and detonate it on US soil.

The Nazis were manufacturing weapons grade uranium during WW II with the intent on attacking their enemies. Hitler wanted to launch a nuclear attack on the US but they did not have the long range missile cabability back then. So they were in a rush to develop a high speed stealth bomber (The Flying Wing) that could get them closer to American shores before being detected by radar, and having enough speed that they could get inland, drop their nuclear weapons on Manhattan, and get gone before the US military could respond.

Learn some more facts.

Vastet wrote:
What a ridiculous response you gave.

Sez you.

The problem for you is that you can't do much more than allege things...

Vastet wrote:
Barely worth acknowledging.

Actually, responding your broadcasts is a waste of my time, so feel free to spare me your naked assertions void of any reasoning.

 

 

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10688
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
@ Natural 1: I disagree.

@ Natural
1: I disagree. There are indications that life is already adapting to climate change. Species are changing their habitats as temperatures change. While we are contributing to a mass extinction, the only credible threat to our species as a whole is the bee die-off, for which the causes are yet to be confirmed beyond argument.
We are also capable, right now, of creating artificial environments to support life to support ourselves.
I haven't seen anything that factually concludes we are truly at risk of extinction. Nor is it necessarily true that a massive die off would result in the death of technology. More likely that technology would be hoarded by groups and communities.
2: You are ignoring the rational, and the people who aren't rational yet have had access to nukes for years, and haven't used them. Also ignoring non-proliferation, and its enforcement by world powers.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10688
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
@redneff "Sez you." Sez

@redneff
"Sez you."

Sez you, making a fool of yourself AGAIN.

Everything you said contributed to proof of your stupidity, and an excellent example of projecting that stupidity on others. Quit wasting energy, bandwidth, and oxygen, and go back to kindergarten where you can converse with your intellectual equals.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


redneF
atheistRational VIP!
redneF's picture
Posts: 1971
Joined: 2011-01-04
User is offlineOffline
Vastet wrote:@redneff "Sez

Vastet wrote:
@redneff "Sez you." Sez you, making a fool of yourself AGAIN. Everything you said contributed to proof of your stupidity, and an excellent example of projecting that stupidity on others. Quit wasting energy, bandwidth, and oxygen, and go back to kindergarten where you can converse with your intellectual equals.

"This rant void of any intelligent rebuttal was brought to you by Vastet" 

 

 

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
Vastet wrote:@ Natural 1: I

Vastet wrote:
@ Natural 1: I disagree. There are indications that life is already adapting to climate change.

Of course life will adapt. That's evolution. The question is whether it can adapt fast enough to avoid extinction. The other, related, and actually more important question is whether the various ecosystems around the world can avoid ecological collapse caused by too many extinctions of crucial species.

Knock out a key species, and it doesn't matter if the other species in the local environment can deal with the climate. If they can't get enough of the required nutrients supplied by the key species (e.g. plankton such as krill or algae in the ocean), or if the key species happens to make up a major part of their niche habitat (e.g. trees making up a rain-forest, corrals making a corral reef), then they, too will follow the key species into extinction.

And if the secondary species happens to be a key species for some other niche/ecology, then they will in turn cause a cascading environmental collapse where species who have no problem with climate still cannot survive due to the massive changes occurring in their biological environmental niche.

I'm going on information from biologists, ecologists, paleontologists, etc., who actually study these phenomena. What are you going by? Where do you derive the idea that climate change is not a major threat of mass extinction and ecological collapse?

Fact: The current rate of extinction on Earth is about 10,000 times faster than normal, due to human activity, including climate change. Fact: This rate of extinction is increasing not decreasing or remaining stable. Fact: Such a high rate of extinction is unsustainable and will inevitably lead to ecological collapses all over the planet. Several of these have already occurred or begun, and many others are on the verge of happening.

We ARE the asteroid that is leading to a new mass extinction: The Holocene extinction. Not we 'may eventually be'. We already are.

Quote:
Species are changing their habitats as temperatures change.

Correction: Some species are changing their habitats. Others, who aren't as adaptable, are going extinct.

Also, the mere fact of foreign species entering a new environment is another common source of subsequent extinctions caused by the invading species.

Quote:
While we are contributing to a mass extinction, the only credible threat to our species as a whole is the bee die-off,

This is simply naive and misinformed. The bee die-off is only one among many credible threats to our species. And do note that I'm not arguing about the entire extinction of humans. I'm talking about the collapse of our civilization, which is far more precarious, and nearly as devastating.

Quote:
We are also capable, right now, of creating artificial environments to support life to support ourselves.

No, we really don't. What success we have made has been for a very reduced technological life-style. We don't need merely to support a handful of scientists for a couple of years. We need to support the equivalent of a city and its surrounding agriculture, with the things like factories, farms, hospitals, transportation systems, repair facilities, etc. And crucially, this closed ecosystem needs to be able to replicate itself. It must be entirely self-sufficient, with the ability to make a more-or-less exact copy of itself, just as biological cells do.

Quote:
we do not have the capability of I haven't seen anything that factually concludes we are truly at risk of extinction.

Again, not talking about complete extinction, just civilizational collapse and the inevitable multiple gigadeaths that will go along with that event.

Quote:
2: You are ignoring the rational,

No, I'm not, I'm just observing that as yet they are not the dominant influence, nor are they even close to becoming it. We're beginning to move in that direction, and we've made some progress. But we've still got a long long way to go. Again, the question is about getting there fast enough to minimize the damage as much as possible.

Quote:
and the people who aren't rational yet have had access to nukes for years, and haven't used them. Also ignoring non-proliferation, and its enforcement by world powers.

Thank FSM they haven't. Actually, thank MAD they haven't. It's the people who are immune to the reasoning of MAD I'm worried about.

Also, enforcement of non-proliferation by world powers won't mean much when the world powers have collapsed into militarism, or anarchy, or war, whether due to ecological collapse and food shortage, or whatever local reasons of instability. When the climate shit hits the civilizational fan, all bets are off for things we take for granted, such as 'world powers', 'rational leaders', and whatnot.

All it took was hubris, corruption, complacency, and a few crazy ideas from a random cult, for Rome to fall. We're certainly more advanced than they were, but they weren't facing global ecological collapse, and they didn't have as big weapons as we do.

We've already got plenty of hubris, corruption, and complacency. Plenty of crazy ideas, too. These are the things we need to curtail, so people can wake the fuck up to reality, and start thinking about real sustainability.

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10688
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
redneF wrote:blah blah

redneF wrote:
blah blah blah

Yeah that's the limit of your intellect all right. You really should take my recommendation. You won't seem so stupid, and your arguments won't be transparent to 3 year olds. You might even start making sense to theists, coming one step closer to having a capacity to communicate with your betters! Laughing out loud

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10688
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
1: I don't disagree with

1: I don't disagree with your points, but we have had worse extinctions and life bounced back without having the most advanced species ever to exist attempting to undo the damage done, while it was being done. There is no indication other than the bees that we hit the tipping point, or are even close to it.
And even if we do cross that mark it still isn't an automatic death sentence to humanity. We are capable of creating a life supporting environment in some of the harshest conditions (there's probably 20 species in orbit right now). We have seeds for practically every agricultural plant on Earth specifically to undo an environmental catastrophe. We have sequenced genomes for a vast number of key species and are not far from being able to replicate them and manipulate them on demand. There is no guarantee that ecological collapse due to our activities would lead to our extinction.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10688
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
All that is guaranteed is

All that is guaranteed is that a lot of people will die. Most, in fact. But not necessarily ALL. Not necessarily ENOUGH to prevent us from continuing to advance.

2: While your point is valid, invading species rarely if ever affect the bottom of the food chain, which is the true concern regarding global extinctions.

3: Then name some please. Because I've kept my eye on the progress of extinctions and so far the only species critical to society that is dying in excess of sustainability is the bees.
Complete and irrevocable collapse of civilisation is unlikely due to our species tendency to hoard resources and technology. If humanity can survive, then so will technology and knowledge. It isn't like it's going to happen overnight, and coincide with a massive EMP to wipe out our technology. We will see it coming, and prepare as best we can.

4: Yes, we really do. We haven't, because we have no need to. That doesn't equate to inability. We don't need a city. All we'd need is a small town.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10688
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
A small town with 5k people

A small town with 5k people would be sufficient to preserve genetic diversity, the human species, and a significant proportion of our technology and aquired knowledge.
We can also take steps backwards without any large impact on us or our development. There is plenty of technology that exists only for convenience that we could do away with without having a significant impact on the population. The smaller the population, the more we can forget about.

5: Collapse of the current global community is insufficient to account for the collapse of civilisation as a whole. Billions of deaths alone do not erase history and science. It could, maybe, but it just as likely wouldn't.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10688
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
6: Granted. 7: To be

6: Granted.

7: To be completely honest, I think the gigadeath you worry about is a necessary component for our future survival. Yes, world powers will fall. And then, when we no longer can choose to ignore reality, we will change.

What I don't believe is that all human knowledge and technology will vanish in the process. There are too many ways to preserve it, or at least enough of it, to assume that the collapse of nations will necessarily result in the collapse of technology. When Rome died, it didn't just collapse. It was subsequently invaded and burned. Its equivalent today is all of Western society. The armies it would take to invade and burn the entire Western hemisphere can't even be assembled today. Only nukes could conceivably accomplish it, but whats the point in using a nuke on a collapsed state? Let alone nuking a sixth of the surface area (estimate) of the Earth.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
Vastet wrote:1: I don't

Vastet wrote:
1: I don't disagree with your points, but we have had worse extinctions and life bounced back without having the most advanced species ever to exist attempting to undo the damage done, while it was being done.

Life, yes. Human civilization, no. We have no reference point for surviving a global civilizational collapse except the less severe examples of individual civilizations such as Rome. And that knocked us back at least 1000 years, if not more.

I don't know about you, but I don't want to be a member of one of those species that, hundreds of millions of years from now, whatever interstellar life discovers our remains remarks, "Gee, looks like we've discovered the earliest species in this galaxy to ever have a chance at Elevation, but they fucked it up majorly because members of their species, like this 'Vastet' we've discovered remains of, couldn't wake up to what their scientists were saying about the reality of global ecological catastrophe. Looks like they entered an even Darker Age than their previous one. They never did manage to climb out of their Gravity Ghetto. Too bad."

Quote:
There is no indication other than the bees that we hit the tipping point, or are even close to it.

I'm guessing you haven't bothered to follow all the links I gave which point to a reality that is different than you imagine.

Quote:
And even if we do cross that mark it still isn't an automatic death sentence to humanity.

You keep saying that like that's what I'm arguing against. Except for the hypothetical aliens I proposed above, I'm actually only arguing against civilizational collapse. It doesn't require extinction for us to majorly fuck up. A couple of gigadeaths suffices.

Quote:
We are capable of creating a life supporting environment in some of the harshest conditions (there's probably 20 species in orbit right now).

Life support is not sustainability. Without regular visits from Earth, everyone up there would be dead in max 2 years.

Quote:
We have seeds for practically every agricultural plant on Earth specifically to undo an environmental catastrophe.

What are you going to plant those seeds in when your farm has become a desert?

Quote:
There is no guarantee that ecological collapse due to our activities would lead to our extinction.

Good thing that's not my argument, then, eh?

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
Vastet wrote:What I don't

Vastet wrote:
What I don't believe is that all human knowledge and technology will vanish in the process.

This is what it boils down to. You're arguing with my shadow. I'm over here, you're punching over there.

Your argument seems to me to be: The incredible global fuck up and resulting Dark Age won't lead to human extinction.

And I'm saying, and have always been saying: We should avoid the global fuck up in the first place, as best we can. We might be able to prevent any Dark Age at all. But going the way we're going now is heading straight for Fuck Up City, at accelerating speeds.

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
Vastet wrote: To be

Vastet wrote:
To be completely honest, I think the gigadeath you worry about is a necessary component for our future survival.

It is necessary, but it can be achieved peacefully, through attrition by natural death, aided by the natural tendency for educated societies to drastically reduce their birth rates below replacement levels.

What we should not advocate--what we should actively try to prevent--is gigadeaths by war, famine, and any other method that would risk global destabilization. It can be done. We just have to work real real hard to get there.

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


Answers in Gene...
High Level Donor
Answers in Gene Simmons's picture
Posts: 4214
Joined: 2008-11-11
User is offlineOffline
p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }

p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }

Wow, we are all over the place now!
 

Over population. Threats to the planet. Vastet vs. redneF having an epic rap battle of history.

 

 

Natural, I will agree that we are poitentially our own worst enemy. We have almost wiped ourselves out over and over. However, that also seems to be driving us toward the solutions to what we inflict on ourselves.

 

Really, the global population had more than doubled since I was a kid. I find that to be creepy but it is probably going to be the driving force that gets us to the breakout point for space travel.

 

I think that SpaceX and virgin galactic are the best known companies for commercial space flight. There are around a dozen others at various stages of strting up. I would assume that the deal is going to be similar to the beginning of other major industries. There will be winners and losers. Perhaps half of them will go big and half will fail. Even so, we are close to the breakout point.

 

As long as we are stuck on the one planet, we could kill ourselves off but we have several major space agencies to look at the long term projects and commercial interests that are lining up for expensive joy rides for obscenely rich people. If we can last another century, we can probably populate the whole solar system. After that, we are going to be everywhere in due time.

 

Now, while yout logic is sound, you seem to have missed the fact that sound logic does not make you correct. Great logic can take you into fully untenable points. Really, the ancient Greeks had that one down.

 

P1 A ham sandwich is better than nothing.

P2 Nothing is better than eternal happiness.

 

Let me offer a new scenario:

 

We break out and find that life is fairly common. Even intelligent life. Earlier, vastet suggested the idea of smart fish that can't get technology going. Their philosphers are going to spend time debating the icthylogical pricipal. Whatever.

 

We are still left with half a trillion stars. Even assuming a delicate balance needs to happen to force expansion without self immolation, shouln't the breakout have happened quite a few times already?

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:
Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."

=


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10688
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
1: You're speculating. No

1: You're speculating. No previous state of society is comparable to today, where a few batteries and one functional computer (or phone) could contain 100% of the required information that would allow for a return to the space age from the bronze age in less than 100 years.

I don't know about you, but I don't want to be a member of a species that COULD have survived its own stupidity, but didn't because people were so pessimistic they didn't even try.

2: I'm guessing you didn't read your own links because none of them provided what I asked for. I'm already well versed with all of that information, and none of it guarantees a collapse of civilisation or homo sapiens.

3: No, it doesn't. We are intriguingly at a time where our civilisation could survive even if humanity didn't. It would take some massively unlikely scenarios, but it is not impossible that we could wipe ourselves out without destroying all our knowledge, and another species could pick up where we left off in a few million years.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10688
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
4: And if the station was on

4: And if the station was on Earth it would be completely sustainable. I offered it as proof of our ability to create a habitat in an inhospitable environment. That we haven't built a permanent and sustainable habitat on Earth speaks to our lack of need to do so, NOT a lack of ability.

5: I'll plant them in my habitat which has plenty of water.

6: OR the end of the technology and knowledge we've aquired.

7: No, what it really boils down to is making an effort. If we try to survive, then we have a fair chance of succeeding. If we don't try, then we lose.

8: I'm not advocating war or famine, I simply recognise them as the most likely methods of reducing the population. The bar at which nature will stop us from multiplying further.

@AIGS, yes, from what we know, it should have somewhere.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
Vastet wrote:I'm already

Vastet wrote:
I'm already well versed with all of that information, and none of it guarantees a collapse of civilisation or homo sapiens.

The only person using words like 'guarantee' has been you. I'm talking about risk, not guarantee.

Quote:
3: No, it doesn't. We are intriguingly at a time where our civilisation could survive even if humanity didn't. It would take some massively unlikely scenarios, but it is not impossible that we could wipe ourselves out without destroying all our knowledge, and another species could pick up where we left off in a few million years.

You are using a different meaning of civilization than I am. The word I would use to describe what you're talking about would be 'culture'. I consider civilization to be an ongoing, functioning society at a certain level of sophistication/organization that it can stably support things like cities. If we go by your definition, then technically the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations are still around. I would instead say that their civilizations have died, but many elements of their culture survive.

Analogy: A civilization is like an organism. Its culture is like the organism's DNA. DNA can survive an individual organism, but that doesn't mean the organism itself cannot die. Likewise, if there was a global war, massive gigadeaths, destruction of cities (whether through war/looting or simply through disrepair due to de-population) and other infrastructure, collapsing of governments, etc., then this would qualify as a collapse of civilization according to my usage. Historians (either us or some other species) would look back and say, "There is another example of a fallen civilization."

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
Vastet wrote:4: And if the

Vastet wrote:
4: And if the station was on Earth it would be completely sustainable. I offered it as proof of our ability to create a habitat in an inhospitable environment. That we haven't built a permanent and sustainable habitat on Earth speaks to our lack of need to do so, NOT a lack of ability.

This is perhaps a matter of miscommunication. I agree we might have the ability right now. That is not what I meant to dispute. My point is simply that we haven't actually accomplished it yet. In other words, we don't have a 'proof of concept' yet. Not that we couldn't do it tomorrow, just that it hasn't been done, and until it's done, we can't really be sure we can do it. There may be unforeseen limitations that we do not yet have the tech/science to resolve. It's like in the 60s before anyone had gone to the Moon. In theory, it was possible. In fact, they had what they needed to do the job and just needed to put it together. But even on the day of the first Apollo launch, and trip there, things could still have gone awry (not knowing all we know now) and perhaps in some other parallel universe humans tried it and failed and haven't gotten to their Moon yet. It requires actually accomplishing the feat before one can say for certain that we can do it at our current level of tech.

Like you, I believe it won't be an insurmountable feat. I'm quite optimistic, actually. The reason I bring it up is simply because it is a required assumption of my argument. It's a premise upon which just about everything else depends. And so, when I state the limitations of my argument, I must make clear that I acknowledge that this premise is, as yet, unsupported by fact.

If WWIII started tomorrow and someone tried to get a viable sustainable habitat up into space before 'too late', we cannot be sure that it is even possible yet. We simply may be missing some crucial bit of knowledge of what it takes to make it truly sustainable.

Quote:
5: I'll plant them in my habitat which has plenty of water.

What will the other billions of people without water do? My point here is not that it's not possible. My point is that the conditions which lead to desertification will destabilize the global civilization, causing gigadeaths, wars, and worse, potentially a collapse of civilization overall. You have to put yourself in the mindset of the farmer whose once rich farmland is turning to desert, and who does not have access to a habitat with plenty of water. Where will that person plant their food crops? And when they can't plant it, what will they do next?

Quote:
7: No, what it really boils down to is making an effort. If we try to survive, then we have a fair chance of succeeding. If we don't try, then we lose.

My point in this whole thing is: Rather than find ourselves in a global crisis, and merely managing to 'survive', while everything around us collapses, instead we should work now to prevent that catastrophic risk of collapse from even happening in the first place.

Quote:
8: I'm not advocating war or famine,

Didn't mean to imply that you did. However, I have heard and seen others advocate exactly that. Even in this very thread.

Quote:
I simply recognise them as the most likely methods of reducing the population. The bar at which nature will stop us from multiplying further.

I've never disputed that. So if that's what you're arguing, then we have no dispute. My point has always been that we should work now to avoid that disastrous outcome, and not fool ourselves into thinking, "Oh, it won't be so bad. Humanity will survive, even if there's nuclear war, massive destruction of environments, another massive dark age, etc. We don't need to worry about any of that stuff."

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10688
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
Well we're at risk of a

Well we're at risk of a black hole irradiating the entire solar system and rendering it permanently uninhabitable. But I'm not going to lose sleep over the possibility.

I don't see such a collapse as necessarily being a risk to humanity or its future. It may well be a solution. Corruption and stagnant policy at the top of our civilisation has lead to a significant proportion of the problems we see today, and are seeming incapable of resolving.

Why is our civilisation necessary? That you bring up Rome is beneficial to my argument. Yes, it failed. But it succeeded too. Without Rome falling apart, we'd not have been able to resurrect it in a more stable and prosperous fashion. More than just the culture survived. Much of the history also survived. Enough that we know where they went wrong. We have improved upon what they established. Who is to say it isn't likely to happen again, when more than once in our history we've been knocked back in development only to surge forward thereafter?

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10688
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
Quote:What will the other

Quote:
What will the other billions of people without water do?

They will die. But we don't need billions of people for humanity to survive, we only need enough to keep us genetically viable. A few thousand. They need not be capable of fighting off billions of people for years until they starve, there likely wouldn't BE billions left. The planet won't turn into a desert overnight. It'll take decades. We went from being flightless to landing on the moon in a similar time scale. By the time more than 50% of Earth is a desert, more than 70% of humans will have died from dehydration and famine. It's simple logistics. If there isn't enough water for 7 billion people, then a lot of them will go without.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10688
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
"I've never disputed that.

"I've never disputed that. So if that's what you're arguing, then we have no dispute. My point has always been that we should work now to avoid that disastrous outcome, and not fool ourselves into thinking, "Oh, it won't be so bad. Humanity will survive, even if there's nuclear war, massive destruction of environments, another massive dark age, etc. We don't need to worry about any of that stuff.""

The popular trend right now is assuming they can't happen. I went the other way and assume they are inevitable. Rather than try and prevent it (for which I can only see one possibility (widespread revolution), and it isn't guaranteed to work), I try and think of how to survive it. There is absolutely no indication that humanity as a whole is making any real efforts to prevent its own self collapse. So depending on that happening is likely futile. Instead, plan for the probability that it is going to happen, like it has before.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10688
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
I would be more shocked if

I would be more shocked if our civilisation actually turned around now than over any other event in my brief existence, in my imagination even. It would be a very pleasant shock. But I don't see it happening.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
Vastet wrote:Well we're at

Vastet wrote:
Well we're at risk of a black hole irradiating the entire solar system and rendering it permanently uninhabitable. But I'm not going to lose sleep over the possibility.

a) The probability of that is much lower than what I'm talking about. b) There is no response to that risk. There would be nothing we could do. Not so with what I'm talking about. We can prevent and/or mitigate collapse of global civilization.

Quote:
I don't see such a collapse as necessarily being a risk to humanity or its future.

The phrase 'necessarily being a risk' is an example of not really understanding the nature of risk management. Risk is not about necessary/unnecessary, it's about possibility and probability.

If something is 'not necessarily a risk', then it is also 'possibly a risk', and so it is, by definition, 'a risk'. The only real question is the probability and severity of it.

Quote:
Why is our civilisation necessary?

I made no argument that it was necessary. I'm not speaking of necessities. I'm speaking of desirability, value, probability, prevention, mitigation, planning, preparation, etc.

Plan for the worst, hope for the best.

Quote:
That you bring up Rome is beneficial to my argument. Yes, it failed. But it succeeded too. Without Rome falling apart, we'd not have been able to resurrect it in a more stable and prosperous fashion.

This amounts to nothing more than: If things had been different in the past, then things would be different.

Quote:
More than just the culture survived. Much of the history also survived.

And yet the Roman civilization itself did not survive. That's the point.

Quote:
Enough that we know where they went wrong. We have improved upon what they established. Who is to say it isn't likely to happen again, when more than once in our history we've been knocked back in development only to surge forward thereafter?

Isn't this exactly what I'm saying? We look back, and see that many many civilizations have fallen. We look at ours and see that there are serious risk that we will repeat the same/similar mistakes of the past. We realize that we could change our current plans/actions to reduce/mitigate that risk.

What's the point of 'seeing where they went wrong' if we don't apply those lessons to our own civilization today?

If you agree that we should apply those lessons, then you are basically in agreement with me. That's all I've been arguing from the beginning.

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
Vastet wrote:Quote:What will

Vastet wrote:
Quote:
What will the other billions of people without water do?
They will die.

Just like that?

They'll sit down calmly, say, "Oh, I guess I'll just die now," and let themselves die?

Would YOU do that?

No. Survival instinct. They will struggle, one way or another, to be the survivors, rather than just peacefully and considerately giving up that privilege to you.

Quote:
But we don't need billions of people for humanity to survive, we only need enough to keep us genetically viable. A few thousand.

If we got down to a few thousand, that would entirely satisfy my criteria for 'collapse of civilization'. You are not actually arguing against my position. Again, you're punching at shadows.

It's not about "we don't need billions of people for humanity to survive", it's about "global civilization is not robust enough to risk WWIII, and would be at great risk of collapsing".

Humanity =/= civilization. They are two different things. Civilization depends on humanity, obviously, but it is not as stable as humanity. It doesn't really take much for a civilization to collapse.

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
Vastet wrote:"I've never

Vastet wrote:
"I've never disputed that. So if that's what you're arguing, then we have no dispute. My point has always been that we should work now to avoid that disastrous outcome, and not fool ourselves into thinking, "Oh, it won't be so bad. Humanity will survive, even if there's nuclear war, massive destruction of environments, another massive dark age, etc. We don't need to worry about any of that stuff."" The popular trend right now is assuming they can't happen. I went the other way and assume they are inevitable.

It's neither inevitable nor impossible. There is a vast space in between which can and should be explored. The risk of collapse is there, but it's not 100%. I don't know what it is exactly, and don't really have a good framework for judging. But it's not 0% either, of that I'm sure. Maybe it's 95%. Maybe it's 5%. Either way, the best course of action would be to reduce that risk, and plan for whatever might plausibly happen along the way. Give ourselves the best shot we can get.

Quote:
Rather than try and prevent it

But why go to that extreme? Why not try to prevent it? That's the whole point of what I'm arguing. We should try to prevent it. It is still preventable.

Quote:
(for which I can only see one possibility (widespread revolution), and it isn't guaranteed to work),

There are lots of possibilities. Revolution is among them. I would advocate non-violent political change. Some people call that 'revolution', though I don't, because it carries too much connotation of violence/war/chaos.

What we are seeing today is that change is possible. Ideas are powerful. They can spread from mind to mind, beyond the direct influence of any single person. One person alone has very little power. But one person with a really good idea can pass that idea on to others, and they can pass it to still more, and together large groups of people who cooperate to achieve that really good idea can make large, widespread, and lasting change, even non-violently. There are countless examples from history, and even from the last decades, years, months, and days. Things change, and we can change them.

But there's no guarantee that it will always be the really good ideas that win. In fact, history shows that usually the really bad ideas are in charge. But that too can change, as we see with the example of science, and to a lesser extent democracy (major problems there, but it's better than nothing). Another good example of good ideas winning out are Open Source software projects, and things like Wikipedia.

This is not some fantasy I'm talking about. Just like you believe we have the capability to achieve sustainable habitats, I believe we have the capability to achieve sustainable civilization itself. And we should positively fight for it!

Quote:
I try and think of how to survive it. There is absolutely no indication that humanity as a whole is making any real efforts to prevent its own self collapse.

"Absolutely no indication" is a very strong statement. And I can easily disprove it.

Hello, Vastet, I'm 'natural' aka 'wonderist', aka Thaumas Themelios, and I am one tiny indication that humanity is making real efforts to prevent its own self collapse, since I happen to be a member of 'humanity'.

I'm not alone. There are many people who have the same goals. We just need to start gathering our efforts, cooperate with each other, and push forward.

In 2001, Sept. 10, I was severely disappointed with our global society, esp. our neighbours to the South (but not limited to them), but I could see no way to change anything. On Sept. 11, I witnessed the same thing as everyone else, and I told myself something has to be done. I don't know all the details of what needs to be done, or how to do it, but I do know that I cannot be satisfied with myself if I'm not doing what I can do to accomplish some kind of better future for ourselves than the one we were/are currently headed for.

I can't do much on my own. But I can do some things, and I can also amplify my limited power of influence by following the strategy of championing good ideas that I can communicate to others. And they will hopefully communicate them to others, and they to still others, and so on.

One very satisfying result of this initial quest I've set for myself is that: I have seen it work, I have been able to make it work also, and I have been getting better and better at it.

So, I can't guarantee anything much about our ultimate fate. I can only point to possibilities, probabilities, consequences, risks, and potentials based on past history, based on our current science, etc.

But I do know that it's not as hopeless as so many people believe. In fact, one of our worst obstacles is not technology or science, but apathy and complacency.

That's why people need to wake the fuck up to reality.

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10688
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
a) Not necessarily b) Kind

a) Not necessarily Sticking out tongue
b) Kind of depends on a number of things. But if it happened today, yeah we'd just be fucked.

2: Well the severity is what I'm disputing, so my phrase is perfectly applicable in that context.

3: It was mostly a rhetorical question.

4/5/6: You're not looking at my statement properly. We incorporated Rome into our civilisation. If/when our civilisation dies, its replacement will do the same. As will its replacement. None of those civilisations will have truly died any more than you've died just because the last atom you were born with left your body. They evolved into new civilisations. There is no indication through history that a civilisation can overcome its problems enough to last, but each one overcomes some of the problems that the previous could not. Each subsequent civilisation is grander and more productive than the last, yet (must) incorporates the last to achieve that status.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10688
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
7: They will still die. Life

7: They will still die. Life has been starved to death time and again, regardless of its efforts to prevent it. They can fight as much as they want, as they do today in much of Africa. But the ones who have food also have better weapons, so the desperation never amounts to much. Else how has North America held off the billions of starving Africans? And how has Europe managed it without an ocean to protect the border?
Peacefully or desperately, they die regardless.

8: You might be punching at your own shadows, since my point from the beginning has been that the collapse of civilisation is not only not necessarily a risk to the species or its future, it could be a benefit. We have survived previous collapses, and come out stronger for it every single time. If our civilisation collapsed tomorrow, it could go either way, with the probability being that the subsequent civilisation would take care of the most significant problems of ours very quickly.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


Cpt_pineapple
atheist
Cpt_pineapple's picture
Posts: 5487
Joined: 2007-04-12
User is offlineOffline
HumanVuvuzela wrote:The

HumanVuvuzela wrote:

The bartender said "We don't like your type in here." A neutrino walked into a bar.

 


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
Vastet wrote: 4/5/6: You're

Vastet wrote:
4/5/6: You're not looking at my statement properly. We incorporated Rome into our civilisation. If/when our civilisation dies, its replacement will do the same.

No. After the fall of Rome was the Middle Ages, where the Catholic church took over Europe, and regions were broken down into King of the Heap medieval societies. Rome, as a civilization, died. Its culture remained, mostly buried, with some still functioning, but Rome, the 'organism', died, even if some of its 'DNA' survived.

If a parent dies, the child doesn't say, "But I incorporated the parent into my body." The child shares some DNA, but the parent organism died.

Our modern society picked up some of Rome's 'DNA'/culture, but Rome itself, the civilization, was long dead before the rebirth of the concept of the 'republic'. Modern civilization is a distinct civilization from ancient Roman civilization.

Culture =/= Civilization

DNA =/= Organism

Quote:
None of those civilisations will have truly died any more than you've died just because the last atom you were born with left your body.

So you believe in an afterlife? Since you probably contain several atoms that were once a part of Isaac Newton--indeed even share some of the same DNA that he shared in common with the rest of humanity--therefore you are Isaac Newton, who never 'really' died?

If nothing ever dies, then what use is the word 'death'? Please define this 'death' you are referring to.

Quote:
Each subsequent civilisation is grander and more productive than the last,

Not necessarily! Two words: Dark Age

There was a period of Islamic enlightenment. That disappeared and Muslim societies remained backwards for hundreds of years afterwards.

The European dark age cost us at least 1000 years. During that time, European 'civilization' such as it was could not be called 'grander' and 'more productive' than the last.

Mayan civilization collapsed suddenly and never recovered. The 'civilization' on Easter Island collapsed into extinction. Our planet is basically an island until we can sail into free space.

I'm probably forgetting some obvious example. This is just off the top of my head.

 

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!