How religious are you regarding the future of humanity?

DamnDirtyApe
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How religious are you regarding the future of humanity?

Hey everybody. 

I was reading through the "Right to Breed" thread over in Freethinking Anonymous, which if you didn't follow it, turned into a friendly debate about the future of the human race, referencing space travel and terraforming among other things.  My good friend Hambydammit obliquely referenced me as one of his pessimistic scientist friends who echoed his own findings regarding the likelihood of solutions from science fiction (wormholes and moonbases and such).  His physics are "skrate" as my students say.  That is to say, things like atmospheres and magnetic fields and energy are big sticking points when it comes to giving the human race a viable lifeboat somewhere else in the solar system or the surrounding galaxy.  But lots of people wouldn't agree, citing the immense technological progress of the human race in the past couple of centuries.  I only hope they are right and we are wrong.  But the fact of the matter is that the people who ultimately devised those technologies were disinterested in the final results of each experiment.  When you succumb to "well, if I interpret {X,Y} to mean X, then we could be feeding twice as many people" you get a Stalin and Lysenko situation.  And trying to breed people with apes naturally follows.

What I'm getting at is that when we consider the future we all have the responsibility to consider the future in the most realistic terms possible.  And that means that warp drives and Dyson spheres and realistic hologram sex are not just many, many generations away... they are not even remotely in the pipeline.  They are as imaginary as virgins giving birth, if that drives the point home.  What we do have to prepare for is (hopefully) limited thermonuclear exchanges, crop failures, antibiotic resistant bacteria, low survivorship flu epidemics and lots and lots of extinction.  That is not to say human extinction, however.  I personally believe we'll last out anything short of a massive asteroid strike, based upon our surviving whatever long ago population bottleneck event it turns out to have been that reduced us to 10,000 or fewer breeding pairs.  Before I digress further, I'll state my position (though I'd like answers to my initial question, primarily).  The anthropologist John Hartung (who I don't agree with on science) once stated that the extent to which we leave the future in God's hands is the extent to which we don't take responsibility for it.  I'd say that it's equally true that leaving the future to technologies that only exist in potentia is the same goddamned thing,

 

 

 

"The whole conception of God is a conception derived from ancient Oriental despotisms. It is a conception quite unworthy of free men."
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I'm not at all. I'm feeling

I'm not at all. I'm feeling pretty hopeless about the whole thing lately. Lots of people have claimed we don't need to worry because technology will save us. But I'm not counting on that. I said in another post, it's too little too late:

"So, I was watching a show about the car of the future and they were talking about all the different alternative-energy cars people are trying to develop such as hydrogen, ethanol, lithium battery, etc.When I first started watching the show I was feeling hopeful. But after the show I was feeling somewhat depressed. it's looking pretty grim, frankly. Nothing's going to happen soon and, even when it does happen, it won't be enough. They're saying by the year 2050 there will be 2.5 times as many cars on the road as there are now. And, while progress is being made towards finding alternative-energy cars, it's slow and none of the options so far is particulary ideal."

And there are many other problems to besides energy that are looming on the horizon. Overpopulation is another issue that no one seems to want to talk about and probably won't until it's too late.

I was also recently watching another show on the politics of global warming. That was also rather depressing. (I gotta stop watching TV). Even if the technology becomes available to solve our problems it won't help because politics are more influential than science. Politics have squashed science many times throughout history and will continue to do so as long as humans continue to worship the Almighty Dollar. I'd like to be optimistic but history does not give me a whole lot of reason to.

 

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Humans are survivors. Just

Humans are survivors. Just look at the variety of conditions we were living in prior to any real technology.

As far as the technological future, I don't know what can and can't be done... but humans are very inventive, I think if it is at all possible to do something, we will do it eventually.

I actually have a bit more faith in politics at the moment. Our new PM has realized that the public that he depends upon want something done about the environment. the government actually wants to help and it seems like more than just rhetoric.

But then... We don't seem to have large portions of the population counting on revelation to save them from the next flood...

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Jesus said, "Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division." - Luke 12:51


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DamnDirtyApe wrote:Hey

DamnDirtyApe wrote:

Hey everybody. 

I was reading through the "Right to Breed" thread over in Freethinking Anonymous, which if you didn't follow it, turned into a friendly debate about the future of the human race, referencing space travel and terraforming among other things.  My good friend Hambydammit obliquely referenced me as one of his pessimistic scientist friends who echoed his own findings regarding the likelihood of solutions from science fiction (wormholes and moonbases and such).  His physics are "skrate" as my students say.  That is to say, things like atmospheres and magnetic fields and energy are big sticking points when it comes to giving the human race a viable lifeboat somewhere else in the solar system or the surrounding galaxy.  But lots of people wouldn't agree, citing the immense technological progress of the human race in the past couple of centuries.  I only hope they are right and we are wrong.  But the fact of the matter is that the people who ultimately devised those technologies were disinterested in the final results of each experiment.  When you succumb to "well, if I interpret {X,Y} to mean X, then we could be feeding twice as many people" you get a Stalin and Lysenko situation.  And trying to breed people with apes naturally follows.

What I'm getting at is that when we consider the future we all have the responsibility to consider the future in the most realistic terms possible.  And that means that warp drives and Dyson spheres and realistic hologram sex are not just many, many generations away... they are not even remotely in the pipeline.  They are as imaginary as virgins giving birth, if that drives the point home.  What we do have to prepare for is (hopefully) limited thermonuclear exchanges, crop failures, antibiotic resistant bacteria, low survivorship flu epidemics and lots and lots of extinction.  That is not to say human extinction, however.  I personally believe we'll last out anything short of a massive asteroid strike, based upon our surviving whatever long ago population bottleneck event it turns out to have been that reduced us to 10,000 or fewer breeding pairs.  Before I digress further, I'll state my position (though I'd like answers to my initial question, primarily).  The anthropologist John Hartung (who I don't agree with on science) once stated that the extent to which we leave the future in God's hands is the extent to which we don't take responsibility for it.  I'd say that it's equally true that leaving the future to technologies that only exist in potentia is the same goddamned thing,

Space colonies (that is, non-terrestrial bound living spaces) are not some kind of science fiction fantasy. They're entirely plausible. We're doing it on a small-scale right now.

Wormholes are also not science fiction fantasy. See Stephen Hawking's work on black holes and string theory (and, well, just read a Brief History of Time. It's quite good, and surprisingly funny). Whether or not they have practical applications might be questionable at the moment, but merely dismissing them as 'religion' is bullshit.

Building on the human genome until we can manipulate future generations to be birthed with hardier adaptations, again, is not science fiction fantasy. We're already at the stage where we know how to turn dormant traits on or off. In fact, dogma is one of the few obstacles still in the way for this line of important research.

Contact with extraterrestrial life who might be able to lend a hand at some point in the reasonably reachable future is not science fiction fantasy, presuming Drake's Equation holds any water at all and there are some civilizations who've survived self-destruction. Funding and a sincere approach to the field is the major obstacle here.

 

I'm an optimist. I don't see the point in being a pessimist. If we're all doomed, hey - we're all doomed. May as well just call her quits and euthanize the planet then, eh?

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"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


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Saved ? That is an

Saved ? That is an interesting word, and concept ?        


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Kevin R Brown wrote:Space

Kevin R Brown wrote:

Space colonies (that is, non-terrestrial bound living spaces) are not some kind of science fiction fantasy. They're entirely plausible. We're doing it on a small-scale right now.

Yeah colonies are plausible, but long distance space travel for humanity has not made substantial progress in decades and space colonisation we're talking a massive impossible payload in just fuel and life support many times over. Without radical innovation in propulsion and environmental systems, it just won't happen.

Kevin wrote:

Wormholes are also not science fiction fantasy. See Stephen Hawking's work on black holes and string theory (and, well, just read a Brief History of Time. It's quite good, and surprisingly funny). Whether or not they have practical applications might be questionable at the moment, but merely dismissing them as 'religion' is bullshit.

It's really really really unlikely that wormholes will have practical applications for us.

Kevin wrote:

Building on the human genome until we can manipulate future generations to be birthed with hardier adaptations, again, is not science fiction fantasy. We're already at the stage where we know how to turn dormant traits on or off. In fact, dogma is one of the few obstacles still in the way for this line of important research.

It might not be fantasy but it has ick factor written all over it.

Kevin wrote:

Contact with extraterrestrial life who might be able to lend a hand at some point in the reasonably reachable future is not science fiction fantasy, presuming Drake's Equation holds any water at all and there are some civilizations who've survived self-destruction. Funding and a sincere approach to the field is the major obstacle here.

Drakes equation is statistical speculation not based on anything but the fact that one humanoid presence exists in the universe. Calculations of the bare chances of extraterrestrial life in this era of the universe are interesting, but they are not as thoroughly grounded in the physical conditions required for life as they should be.

That said, Extra Terrestrial life is still an exciting possibility.

Kevin wrote:

I'm an optimist. I don't see the point in being a pessimist. If we're all doomed, hey - we're all doomed. May as well just call her quits and euthanize the planet then, eh?

I am a bit Theistic regarding the future of humanity, I think we should return to philosophy for the answers we seek. I'm not a technophobe, but I think we would do well to look outside technology for the first time in a long time. Creating technology to solve our perceived problems has possessed us for millennia now, it has us very deeply entrenched, so much so that we equate relinquishing any of it with failure and doom, which is ironic since it is with technology it would seem that we failed and doomed ourselves to begin with. 

Still I don't think we need to relinquish technology, just the irrational, and obviously backward, fear that we can't without dooming ourselves, will do.

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Kevin R Brown

Kevin R Brown wrote:

DamnDirtyApe wrote:

Hey everybody. 

I was reading through the "Right to Breed" thread over in Freethinking Anonymous, which if you didn't follow it, turned into a friendly debate about the future of the human race, referencing space travel and terraforming among other things.  My good friend Hambydammit obliquely referenced me as one of his pessimistic scientist friends who echoed his own findings regarding the likelihood of solutions from science fiction (wormholes and moonbases and such).  His physics are "skrate" as my students say.  That is to say, things like atmospheres and magnetic fields and energy are big sticking points when it comes to giving the human race a viable lifeboat somewhere else in the solar system or the surrounding galaxy.  But lots of people wouldn't agree, citing the immense technological progress of the human race in the past couple of centuries.  I only hope they are right and we are wrong.  But the fact of the matter is that the people who ultimately devised those technologies were disinterested in the final results of each experiment.  When you succumb to "well, if I interpret {X,Y} to mean X, then we could be feeding twice as many people" you get a Stalin and Lysenko situation.  And trying to breed people with apes naturally follows.

What I'm getting at is that when we consider the future we all have the responsibility to consider the future in the most realistic terms possible.  And that means that warp drives and Dyson spheres and realistic hologram sex are not just many, many generations away... they are not even remotely in the pipeline.  They are as imaginary as virgins giving birth, if that drives the point home.  What we do have to prepare for is (hopefully) limited thermonuclear exchanges, crop failures, antibiotic resistant bacteria, low survivorship flu epidemics and lots and lots of extinction.  That is not to say human extinction, however.  I personally believe we'll last out anything short of a massive asteroid strike, based upon our surviving whatever long ago population bottleneck event it turns out to have been that reduced us to 10,000 or fewer breeding pairs.  Before I digress further, I'll state my position (though I'd like answers to my initial question, primarily).  The anthropologist John Hartung (who I don't agree with on science) once stated that the extent to which we leave the future in God's hands is the extent to which we don't take responsibility for it.  I'd say that it's equally true that leaving the future to technologies that only exist in potentia is the same goddamned thing,

Space colonies (that is, non-terrestrial bound living spaces) are not some kind of science fiction fantasy. They're entirely plausible. We're doing it on a small-scale right now.

Wormholes are also not science fiction fantasy. See Stephen Hawking's work on black holes and string theory (and, well, just read a Brief History of Time. It's quite good, and surprisingly funny). Whether or not they have practical applications might be questionable at the moment, but merely dismissing them as 'religion' is bullshit.

Building on the human genome until we can manipulate future generations to be birthed with hardier adaptations, again, is not science fiction fantasy. We're already at the stage where we know how to turn dormant traits on or off. In fact, dogma is one of the few obstacles still in the way for this line of important research.

Contact with extraterrestrial life who might be able to lend a hand at some point in the reasonably reachable future is not science fiction fantasy, presuming Drake's Equation holds any water at all and there are some civilizations who've survived self-destruction. Funding and a sincere approach to the field is the major obstacle here.

 

I'm an optimist. I don't see the point in being a pessimist. If we're all doomed, hey - we're all doomed. May as well just call her quits and euthanize the planet then, eh?

 

I don't think he meant that they were scientific fantasy, rather that they're so far down the line they may as well be. If humanity keeps up at the rate it has been going at, it'll reach those or similar advances, but There's little chance we'll be around to see it. In fact, the word fantasy wasn't used once, and wasn't even implied.

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ronin-dog wrote:I actually

ronin-dog wrote:

I actually have a bit more faith in politics at the moment. Our new PM has realized that the public that he depends upon want something done about the environment. the government actually wants to help and it seems like more than just rhetoric.

 

Hiya ronin-dog Smiling

Now about Kevin Rudd, I don't like him much because so far all I've seen him do is a magic show. We were already on target with the Kyoto Protocol due to the agreements we have already signed with other Asia-Pacific nations and the United States. So him signing the Protocol has made absolutely no difference, it was just an attempt to please the people. Because frankly most people are not aware that even though China, India and other developing countries are signatories of the Kyoto Protocol, they are exempt from following it because they are developing countries.

 

I believe currently China is building a new coal power plant every week and intends to do so for many years.

 

The US, Australia and other countries protested about the exemptions to no avail. So we are now on a piece of paper that condones the exemptions.

 

Nothing has changed.

 

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: Liberty is about protecting the right of others to disagree with you.

 


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DamnDirtyApe wrote: That is

DamnDirtyApe wrote:

 That is to say, things like atmospheres and magnetic fields and energy are big sticking points when it comes to giving the human race a viable lifeboat somewhere else in the solar system or the surrounding galaxy.

 

I agree.  Finding habitable planets will be a pain in the ass.  So simply don't try to at the moment.  Problems solved.

We can build huge space stations.  Put it in a spin and gravity is solved.  We already have space stations that people manage to breath in so we don't have to worry about atmospheres.  If we line the outside edges of the station with the supply of water the same solar radiation that the sun throws at us will be stopped just as easy as the Earth's magnetic field does.

Ok, we got all of those hurdles overcome.  *rubs hands*

Energy?  Well not to mention solar power (Which after all is the energy that feeds our planet) but guess what Jupiter is mostly composed of?  Hmmm...

That's a lot of fucking hydrogen to burn through.

The only thing that's missing here is a little imagination and can do attitude.  Don't belittle human ingenuity and cleverness.  The human race has faced bigger problems than this in the past.  I'm betting we can pull this shit off.  The only thing we have to fear is self-defeat mindset and dying without a fight.

I'm not going out like that.  Damn it, get your ass in line with me to leave this planet or I'll leave you here with all the Fundys.

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Kevin R Brown wrote: Space

Kevin R Brown wrote:

 

Space colonies (that is, non-terrestrial bound living spaces) are not some kind of science fiction fantasy. They're entirely plausible. We're doing it on a small-scale right now.

Historically, colonization implies a self-sustaining population and industry.  The International Space Station is (at its best) a laboratory for observing the effects of long term inhabitance of a zero-g, high rad environment on a small percentage of the organisms we would need to sustain ourselves.  The money would be better spent on asteroid observation in my opinion.

Quote:

Wormholes are also not science fiction fantasy. See Stephen Hawking's work on black holes and string theory (and, well, just read a Brief History of Time. It's quite good, and surprisingly funny). Whether or not they have practical applications might be questionable at the moment, but merely dismissing them as 'religion' is bullshit.

Have you read Brief History?  Hawking is correct in being very cautious about the possibility of wormhole transport.  He clearly states that the degree to which space-time may have to warped may be such that nothing other than very tiny particles may be sent through.  Wormholes were predicted by Einstein and Rosen and they have neither been witnessed in real space or created in a laboratory.  It's not something to stake the future on.

Quote:

Building on the human genome until we can manipulate future generations to be birthed with hardier adaptations, again, is not science fiction fantasy. We're already at the stage where we know how to turn dormant traits on or off. In fact, dogma is one of the few obstacles still in the way for this line of important research.

Well, I'm very much in favor of limited soft eugenics myself, but as a molecular biologist, I'm well aware that you can't just add whole suites of genes to even single-celled organisms and expect them to behave in the same way they do in their native organism.  We can expect big breakthroughs certainly, but those will all be for suiting us to the changing conditions of this planet.

Quote:

Contact with extraterrestrial life who might be able to lend a hand at some point in the reasonably reachable future is not science fiction fantasy, presuming Drake's Equation holds any water at all and there are some civilizations who've survived self-destruction. Funding and a sincere approach to the field is the major obstacle here.

Predictions regarding the amount of life in the universe and whether it will be intelligent, whether it will choose to contact us and whether it will choose to help us is knocking on faith's door.  Our astronomy's not sophisticated enough to learn anything real about the structure of planets within the liquid water zone of properly sized stars.  I'm all in favor of SETI's work, but the fact of the matter is that any signal sent by means of electromagnetic radiation (radio waves up to gamma) will spread and dissipate with time, making it very unlikely that you'd get anything but noise unless some possible culture was using something like the Death Star's superlaser as their radio tower.  Doing Morse Code by having a gigantic ceramic sheet orbit your sun would be cheaper, and we're not looking for that.

Quote:

I'm an optimist. I don't see the point in being a pessimist. If we're all doomed, hey - we're all doomed. May as well just call her quits and euthanize the planet then, eh?

I'm an optimist along certain lines myself.  But I don't do well with the idea that we just start looking elsewhere.  This planet is the only one we know anything about surviving on.  We've almost gone extinct on it and come raring back and I figure we can keep doing that until we see a real change in the amount of heating we get from the sun or we get hit by a huge fucking asteroid.  And while there eventually may be reason to hope for even more than that, right now we can only survive until some future generation possibly happens upon that reason.  My suggestion is ultimately that we move from faith to calculated risk.

"The whole conception of God is a conception derived from ancient Oriental despotisms. It is a conception quite unworthy of free men."
--Bertrand Russell


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Quote: I'd say that it's

Quote:
I'd say that it's equally true that leaving the future to technologies that only exist in potentia is the same goddamned thing,

This is the crux of the matter.

I'm not going to say with certainty that wormholes and colonization of other planets, or space in general, is completely impossible.  However, if any of it is possible, there are still massive -- and when I say massive, I actually mean brobdingnagian... super-duper-oh-my-fucking-god-colossal -- technological hurdles.  If there's a solution to these incredible technological hurdles, there's the problem of human nature.  Humans simply do not do things on a mass scale that will not come to fruition for centuries or even millenia.  We're too busy trying to feed ourselves and get to work on time.

I agree with DamnDirtyApe that some humans will survive almost anything.  I'm not sure how long they'll stay humans after, say, a massive extinction event where most of our food sources die, but that's not the point, exactly.  We're not going to stay humans forever anyway.  Evolution will eventually turn us into something else for archaeologists a hundred million years from now to puzzle over.

The bottom line is that making books or movies about space colonization is fun, but the only rational approach to human survival is the assumption that we're stuck here and have to make the best of it.  If we destroy the earth while thinking that technology is going to save us, we're no different than Christians who think God's going to take them to heaven once the earth is destroyed.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Hambydammit wrote:Humans

Hambydammit wrote:

Humans simply do not do things on a mass scale that will not come to fruition for centuries or even millenia.  We're too busy trying to feed ourselves and get to work on time.

 

All in favor of creating a race of hive mind androids to do the work for us, say aye!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh shit...

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Hambydammit wrote:Quote: I'd

Hambydammit wrote:

Quote:
I'd say that it's equally true that leaving the future to technologies that only exist in potentia is the same goddamned thing,

I agree with DamnDirtyApe that some humans will survive almost anything.  I'm not sure how long they'll stay humans after, say, a massive extinction event where most of our food sources die, but that's not the point, exactly.  We're not going to stay humans forever anyway.  Evolution will eventually turn us into something else for archaeologists a hundred million years from now to puzzle over.

 

I would have mentioned this, but I've criticized the biological species concept a little too roundly (and drunkenly) in your presence to think you'd let me get away with it.  But then I keep a pretty low threshold for what a human is.  I figure that if we consider someone to be human despite having a sexually incompatible set of chromosomes and an IQ below 70, we can call Homo ergaster, H. erectus and H. neandertalensis humans too.  Unless our post-apocalyptic descendants drop bipedalism and tool use, they're still human in my book.

"The whole conception of God is a conception derived from ancient Oriental despotisms. It is a conception quite unworthy of free men."
--Bertrand Russell


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The Doomed Soul

The Doomed Soul wrote:

Hambydammit wrote:

Humans simply do not do things on a mass scale that will not come to fruition for centuries or even millenia.  We're too busy trying to feed ourselves and get to work on time.

 

All in favor of creating a race of hive mind androids to do the work for us, say aye!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh shit...

Greetings Doomed Soul.  We are DamnDirtyApe.  How may we be of service?  We have already assumed that you would prefer your pets as a nutritional slurry and have accordingly blended them and strained out the bones.  

"The whole conception of God is a conception derived from ancient Oriental despotisms. It is a conception quite unworthy of free men."
--Bertrand Russell


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Quote:I would have mentioned

Quote:
I would have mentioned this, but I've criticized the biological species concept a little too roundly (and drunkenly) in your presence to think you'd let me get away with it.  But then I keep a pretty low threshold for what a human is.  I figure that if we consider someone to be human despite having a sexually incompatible set of chromosomes and an IQ below 70, we can call Homo ergaster, H. erectus and H. neandertalensis humans too.  Unless our post-apocalyptic descendants drop bipedalism and tool use, they're still human in my book.

Well, yeah.  Some things, like spines, for instance, are just so far inculcated into a species to ever be selected out.  I suspect that bipedalism is the same, since the use of hands is so incredibly um... useful.  There are some interesting implications in the scenario I mentioned, though.  (That is, mass extinction of our food sources.)  Since it's very likely that we became "human" because of eating meat, it seems reasonable to suggest that we could experience some kind of large scale change in our genome if we were suddenly forced into a limited, significantly different diet for a few hundred thousand years.  Of course, it's just crazy speculation.  Who knows what will happen if we fish the ocean until only jellyfish are left?  There will be a lot of niches to fill, and if nobody's fishing because there are no fish... well... like I said, who knows?

I definitely hesitated before mentioning humans evolving into something else, but damn... fifty million years is a long time, and according to recent research, our genome is changing faster than it used to, not slower.

Oh, well.  I should be filling out forms and writing checks.

 

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Quote:Yeah colonies are

Quote:
Yeah colonies are plausible, but long distance space travel for humanity has not made substantial progress in decades and space colonisation we're talking a massive impossible payload in just fuel and life support many times over. Without radical innovation in propulsion and environmental systems, it just won't happen.

Who says we need one, single, massive colony? Why not do it piecemeal - creating essentially a giant network of colonies? Hell, that even eliminates the problem of having to think at a macroscopic level or do some kind of mega-project. We just gradually send-up people, perhaps a few thousand at a time, and make a slow transition from Earth to space.

I really don't see the problem. Humans tend to make better ecosystems than what nature alone provides anyway.

Quote:
I am a bit Theistic regarding the future of humanity, I think we should return to philosophy for the answers we seek.

I think that's fucked-up.

We've been leaning on technology because, well, it works. Which is a lot more than can be said about sitting cross-legged on your floor and mumbling incantations.

Quote:
Creating technology to solve our perceived problems has possessed us for millennia now, it has us very deeply entrenched, so much so that we equate relinquishing any of it with failure and doom, which is ironic since it is with technology it would seem that we failed and doomed ourselves to begin with.

What are you even talking about? We've been messing-up the planet (alongside a number of other organisms) to fill our basic needs long before we kicked-off the industrial age. Hell, we did a lot more damage in our primitive days than we're doing now.

'Going green' is an extremely recent trend.

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


The Doomed Soul
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DamnDirtyApe wrote:Greetings

DamnDirtyApe wrote:

Greetings Doomed Soul.  We are DamnDirtyApe.  How may we be of service?  We have already assumed that you would prefer your pets as a nutritional slurry and have accordingly blended them and strained out the bones.  

 

*blink blink*

I dont have pets o_O

 

but thanks for straining the bones, i hate getting those chunks in my teeth

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Quote:I'm an optimist along

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I'm an optimist along certain lines myself.  But I don't do well with the idea that we just start looking elsewhere.  This planet is the only one we know anything about surviving on.  We've almost gone extinct on it and come raring back and I figure we can keep doing that until we see a real change in the amount of heating we get from the sun or we get hit by a huge fucking asteroid.  And while there eventually may be reason to hope for even more than that, right now we can only survive until some future generation possibly happens upon that reason.  My suggestion is ultimately that we move from faith to calculated risk.

Well, we're going to have to leave it sooner or later. Eventually, all of the Earth's water is going to have dried-up - not to mention that, at some point, the sun is going to enter the next stage of it's lifecycle. And long before either of those things, we'll probably be largely out of natural resources (...and even before that, we might have impacted the global temperature enough that there's nothing to curb insects from out-competing us, and nearly everything else, on the planet. Or the honey bee might well go extinct, and the lack of large-scale pollination might fuck us right up).

I view the Earth as a temporary, we'll-make-do-with-it-for-now, ecosystem. Always have. It's been a great home, but we can make better ones, and it's starting to become a pretty tight-quarters living space.

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"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


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Quote:I really don't see

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I really don't see the problem. Humans tend to make better ecosystems than what nature alone provides anyway.

Huh?  That is so bizarre that I really don't know how to respond to it.  What, exactly, do you mean?

Quote:

I think that's fucked-up.

We've been leaning on technology because, well, it works. Which is a lot more than can be said about sitting cross-legged on your floor and mumbling incantations.

I don't often defend Eloise when it comes to stuff like this because, frankly, I think her philosophy is incoherent, but to be fair, she said philosophy, not meditation. 

Before we can talk about "relenquishing technology," we need to know what we're giving up and why.  I, for one, think there's a more ecologically friendly version of an industrialized world that's possible, but it would be next to impossible to achieve, so I don't really make much of a fuss about it.  It's also really important to note that in order to have lots of time to think about philosophy, you need lots of spare time, which you don't have if you're living in a primitive state.  Technology, in a very concrete way, facilitates philosophy.  It certainly facilitates information exchange, which, if you're going to get your philosophy correct, is pretty much  completely necessary.

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What are you even talking about? We've been messing-up the planet (alongside a number of other organisms) to fill our basic needs long before we kicked-off the industrial age. Hell, we did a lot more damage in our primitive days than we're doing now.

'Going green' is an extremely recent trend.

Chickens and eggs everywhere.  Before we knew how small the planet actually is, we thought resources were unlimited.  In order to know how big the planet really is, we had to have the technology to find out.  To have that technology, we needed big, nasty cities producing lots of waste and fucking up the environment.

You are correct about our history of fucking up our environment.  We probably drove the mammoth extinct when all we had was stone spears.

The simple reality is that human nature will not allow us to go too far back technologically.  So long as it exists, some people will exploit it, no matter how bad it's messing up the environment.  Sure, we might figure out a way to make cars that don't produce carbon waste, but if there are five billion cars, there's still a ton of ecological destruction.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Quote:Well, we're going to

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Well, we're going to have to leave it sooner or later.

Well, to be precise, we're going to have to die eventually.  That's the only thing that's certain.  Whether it's the sun, or the earth, or Andromeda, or the universe's energy death, humanity will die.

We don't have to get off the planet.  It may well be impossible.  Even if it's possible, we don't have to do anything.  I think you're really overestimating the human animal's potential to accomplish such far sighted goals.  We can't even give up our Humvees.

 

 

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Quote:Huh?  That is so

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Huh?  That is so bizarre that I really don't know how to respond to it.  What, exactly, do you mean?

See: Zoolology, aquarium hobbyists, wildlife reserves, etc.

Note the ability of humans to create environments in these fields that extend the natural lifespans of animals typically more than two-fold, and to create safer breeding conditions.

Hell, on a macroscopic scale, modern cities are an even better example of this.

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


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Hambydammit

Hambydammit wrote:

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Well, we're going to have to leave it sooner or later.

Well, to be precise, we're going to have to die eventually.  That's the only thing that's certain.  Whether it's the sun, or the earth, or Andromeda, or the universe's energy death, humanity will die.

We don't have to get off the planet.  It may well be impossible.  Even if it's possible, we don't have to do anything.  I think you're really overestimating the human animal's potential to accomplish such far sighted goals.  We can't even give up our Humvees.

I disagree.

Well, at least, as far as human extinction being an inevitability is concerned. Yes, I realize that people - right now - are collectively far too dim-whitted and self-absorbed to even hope of pulling together and thinking big (my job currently involves talking to people on the phone, a majority of which have to make an obvious effort in order to push cohesive sentances out of their mouths. Ah, the joys of living amidst a demograph who has heedlessly embraced the use of cannabis)

But that's right now.

I hope that the future will yield far better social trends.

As far as the future dooms like andromeda's collision course with us or the universe's energy death, I would speculate that - if we get that far - quantum physics may yield some sort of solution (whether it be temporal travel, moving to a different dimension / alternate universe, or something else). Of course, I guess I'm not allowed to bring-up such high concept notions, because it's all laughable sci-fi nonsense, right?

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


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Watcher wrote:DamnDirtyApe

Watcher wrote:

DamnDirtyApe wrote:

 That is to say, things like atmospheres and magnetic fields and energy are big sticking points when it comes to giving the human race a viable lifeboat somewhere else in the solar system or the surrounding galaxy.

 

I agree.  Finding habitable planets will be a pain in the ass.  So simply don't try to at the moment.  Problems solved.

We can build huge space stations.  Put it in a spin and gravity is solved.  We already have space stations that people manage to breath in so we don't have to worry about atmospheres.  If we line the outside edges of the station with the supply of water the same solar radiation that the sun throws at us will be stopped just as easy as the Earth's magnetic field does.

Ok, we got all of those hurdles overcome.  *rubs hands*

Energy?  Well not to mention solar power (Which after all is the energy that feeds our planet) but guess what Jupiter is mostly composed of?  Hmmm...

That's a lot of fucking hydrogen to burn through.

The only thing that's missing here is a little imagination and can do attitude.  Don't belittle human ingenuity and cleverness.  The human race has faced bigger problems than this in the past.  I'm betting we can pull this shit off.  The only thing we have to fear is self-defeat mindset and dying without a fight.

I'm not going out like that.  Damn it, get your ass in line with me to leave this planet or I'll leave you here with all the Fundys.

Watcher, here's the plan:

You build the spaceship. I'll do the marketing to get everyone on board.

 

Then we light that fucker off and send 'em to their doom. Earth's probably big enough for just the two of us, eh?

Sticking out tongue

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


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Kevin R Brown wrote:Watcher,

Kevin R Brown wrote:

Watcher, here's the plan:

You build the spaceship. I'll do the marketing to get everyone on board.

 

Then we light that fucker off and send 'em to their doom. Earth's probably big enough for just the two of us, eh?

Sticking out tongue

I propose an amendment.  We keep the 10 thousand hottest women here with us.

hhmmm....we'll probably need as many sperm donations as we can though.  Just the two of us left to breed all the women will probably make the species too inbred.

But I can work with this idea.  I'll start designing the ship.  I'll name her Kevin's Ark since you came up with the idea.

"I am an atheist, thank God." -Oriana Fallaci


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Quote:I hope that the future

Quote:
I hope that the future will yield far better social trends.

Hoping is one thing, but realistically expecting?  What you're hoping for really does defy natural selection.  You're suggesting that natural selection will change us in a predictive way.  In order to become a species that collectively plans for events hundreds or thousands of years in the future, there would need to be a retroactive benefit to becoming that way.  This, of course, can't happen when the individuals are dying before any benefits are seen.  Nature doesn't know it's supposed to be selecting for something a few humans would like.

You might argue that people will become wise enough to do such things, but you're just skirting around the real issue.  We are wise enough to know that we're fucking our planet up.  Scientists all over the world know it.  You know it.  I know it.  Even George Bush knows it.

Notice any huge conglomerates of nations actually doing anything productive (I mean really productive, not superficially productive) about it?  Sure, some European nations are reducing the growth of their carbon signature, but what you're not getting is that you cannot talk six billion people into sacrificing themselves for great great great grandchildren they'll never know.  It's not in our nature, and nature doesn't select for long term success.  It selects individuals that are well adapted now.

Remember my explanation of how human morality is relative but not arbitrary?  This is part of it.  We don't have an innate long term sense of ecological morality, and we don't have a sense of long term morality for people that aren't alive now.  Our cave man brains simply don't deal with the abstract notion of non-reciprocal altruism across generations.  There's no reason for it, and in fact, it defies Game Theory, which is what explains our moral notions in the first place.  Out of six billion people, what do you think is the number of people who actually work actively and with as much self sacrifice as possible towards the goal of really and truly changing human society into something with long term, self-sacrificing vision?  Maybe a hundred thousand?  Maybe?  Even the most rabid Greenpeace nutjobs have SUVs and boats because that's the only way to get their job done.  Existing in this generation with a huge population necessitates sacrificing long term good for immediate good.  It will always be so.

Quote:
As far as the future dooms like andromeda's collision course with us or the universe's energy death, I would speculate that - if we get that far - quantum physics may yield some sort of solution (whether it be temporal travel, moving to a different dimension / alternate universe, or something else). Of course, I guess I'm not allowed to bring-up such high concept notions, because it's all laughable sci-fi nonsense, right?

You can bring it up all you like.  But if you put non-contingent faith in it, or believe that it's anything other than very nearly impossible, you're going to catch a lot of hell for it, since those are basically irrational positions to hold, and we are, after all, the Rational Response Squad.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Watcher wrote:Kevin R Brown

Watcher wrote:

Kevin R Brown wrote:

Watcher, here's the plan:

You build the spaceship. I'll do the marketing to get everyone on board.

 

Then we light that fucker off and send 'em to their doom. Earth's probably big enough for just the two of us, eh?

Sticking out tongue

I propose an amendment.  We keep the 10 thousand hottest women here with us.

hhmmm....we'll probably need as many sperm donations as we can though.  Just the two of us left to breed all the women will probably make the species too inbred.

But I can work with this idea.  I'll start designing the ship.  I'll name her Kevin's Ark since you came up with the idea.

You humble me, sir.

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


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Kevin R Brown wrote:As far

Kevin R Brown wrote:

As far as the future dooms like andromeda's collision course with us or the universe's energy death, I would speculate that - if we get that far - quantum physics may yield some sort of solution (whether it be temporal travel, moving to a different dimension / alternate universe, or something else). Of course, I guess I'm not allowed to bring-up such high concept notions, because it's all laughable sci-fi nonsense, right?

Yeah.  You sound just like that quack Jules Verne.  He used to write a lot of fanciful things like us going to the moon and shit.  That crazy fucker.

"I am an atheist, thank God." -Oriana Fallaci


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As a little addendum, I want

As a little addendum, I want to make a disclaimer of sorts.  I've said before, and I'll repeat it many more times, that being atheist doesn't mean being completely rational.  That goes for everyone.  You show me a human being, and I'll show you someone who irrationally clings to some unfounded belief that is really important to his worldview.  Kevin, in reading your comments over a few threads about stuff like this, it seems like you feel a deep emotional attachment to the idea of humans "progressing" as a species and becoming "better."  I've pissed off others here by not accepting an ad hominem about me not having kids.  You know how it's easy for you to see that in the "raising atheist kids" thread, those objections were not valid arguments?  It's clearly not easy for the people who believe it to see it.  I'm not sure why it's difficult for you to accept the notion that the odds against us leaving earth are staggering.  Perhaps you haven't grasped the scope of the technological hurdles.  Perhaps you misunderstand humans' moral sense.  Maybe it's an insistence on some kind of immortality.  Maybe it's a little of lots of things.  Nevertheless, the evidence against the idea is pretty immense.

I'm sure that at some point, I will put forth an idea that is irrational, and everyone will gang up on me, and I won't see the truth of it.  It happens to everybody.

As irrational beliefs go, the belief that humans are even remotely destined to leave earth en masse is a pretty harmless one.  We're talking about things that will happen thousands of years in the future if they happen.  However, DamnDirtyApe makes a good point.  Taking the belief anywhere beyond science fiction imagination is equivalent to trusting in an invisible friend to bail out humanity.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Kevin R Brown wrote:I

Kevin R Brown wrote:

I disagree.

Well, at least, as far as human extinction being an inevitability is concerned. Yes, I realize that people - right now - are collectively far too dim-whitted and self-absorbed to even hope of pulling together and thinking big (my job currently involves talking to people on the phone, a majority of which have to make an obvious effort in order to push cohesive sentances out of their mouths. Ah, the joys of living amidst a demograph who has heedlessly embraced the use of cannabis)

But that's right now.

I hope that the future will yield far better social trends.

I think that was a bit of what the OP was talking about. Right now, it seems we're doomed to death by stupidity, which seems kind of ironic, considering it's our intelligence that gives us our edge. And while I'm also confident we are able to overcome the technical challenges of settling our solar system, I'm not sure we can overcome the human problems.

I think the idea from the OP is this: from the data we have now, and the way social and technical trends are going, we're fucked. Any hope that technological or social advances will save us is just as irrational as hoping that God will save us.

Now, I disagree to a certain extent. Placing hope in humanity or in technology is at least placing hope in something we know exists. Also, there's some interesting work in self-organizing systems that indicates our society will transform itself in response to the new realities, such as global warming, high population, the power of an individual to create a super-disease with their home DNA construction kit, and that sort of thing. But, like evolution, there's no way to predict what the outcome will be.

Quote:

As far as the future dooms like andromeda's collision course with us or the universe's energy death, I would speculate that - if we get that far - quantum physics may yield some sort of solution (whether it be temporal travel, moving to a different dimension / alternate universe, or something else). Of course, I guess I'm not allowed to bring-up such high concept notions, because it's all laughable sci-fi nonsense, right?

Meh. As far as Andromeda colliding with us, that's science fiction, too. Yes, it may happen, it seems. But that's so far in the future, it's incomprehensible to suspect humanity will be left in any significant form. We'll have transformed ourselves into massive solar sails so we can all float freely throughout the galaxy as intelligent and immortal space-flowers.

Or is that a little too far-fetched?

Anyway, we still have to get through the next hundred years, let alone the next two billion. And we're not going to do that on hope, whether it''s hope in technology, hope in society, or hope in divine intervention. If we don't start seriously working for hundred-year survival, we ain't gonna do it.

And maybe that's one of the best reasons to get out into space and onto other planets (Mars, for instance). Survival of the species. That is, if anyone thinks our species is worth maintaining.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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Hambydammit wrote:I'm not

Hambydammit wrote:

I'm not sure why it's difficult for you to accept the notion that the odds against us leaving earth are staggering.   

Hamby, there is one thing I'd like to add.  When I promote the idea of us leaving Earth I'm not underestimating the difficulties.  What I am promoting is the fact that it is not impossible.  And to simply dismiss the attempt to do so is equivalent to laying down and dieing without a fight.

That's all I'm saying.

"I am an atheist, thank God." -Oriana Fallaci


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Quote:Hoping is one thing,

Quote:
Hoping is one thing, but realistically expecting?  What you're hoping for really does defy natural selection.  You're suggesting that natural selection will change us in a predictive way.  In order to become a species that collectively plans for events hundreds or thousands of years in the future, there would need to be a retroactive benefit to becoming that way.  This, of course, can't happen when the individuals are dying before any benefits are seen.  Nature doesn't know it's supposed to be selecting for something a few humans would like.

Except that we aren't really talking natural selection or biology at this point, are we? We talking about intelligence-driven (real intelligence driven) choices and ensuing consequences. If we teach future generations about valuing long-term benefit over short-term gain, and really push the limits of our capacity of abstract thinking and conceptualization, I fail to see how we'll be 'bound' strictly to biological evolutionary changes.

Quote:
You might argue that people will become wise enough to do such things, but you're just skirting around the real issue.  We are wise enough to know that we're fucking our planet up.  Scientists all over the world know it.  You know it.  I know it.  Even George Bush knows it.

Again, I disagree. A very small percentage of people know what damage is being done. Anyone outside the industrialized world hasn't got a clue, religiously indoctrinated people remain in a state of denial, people too busy toking on reefers and 'having a good time, not being here for a long time' aren't well informed... fuck, about the only people who actuall know about and take these issues seriously are atheistic academics, and last I checked, they weren't in a majority position.

Quote:
Notice any huge conglomerates of nations actually doing anything productive (I mean really productive, not superficially productive) about it?  Sure, some European nations are reducing the growth of their carbon signature, but what you're not getting is that you cannot talk six billion people into sacrificing themselves for great great great grandchildren they'll never know.  It's not in our nature, and nature doesn't select for long term success.  It selects individuals that are well adapted now.

This has more to do with politics, manipulation and the spread of disinformation (and the promotion of democracy to people too stupid to elect competent leaders, in my opinion) than it does the idea that we simply 'can't' get around to fixing our situation. Bums know how to fix their circumstances, and have the means to do so - they just choose not to. If they wisen-up, they get the enjoy the benefits of a more priveleged existence.

Again, we're also not married strictly to 'our nature' (as if there's only one such universal thing). But I already said that.

Quote:
Remember my explanation of how human morality is relative but not arbitrary?  This is part of it.  We don't have an innate long term sense of ecological morality, and we don't have a sense of long term morality for people that aren't alive now.  Our cave man brains simply don't deal with the abstract notion of non-reciprocal altruism across generations.  There's no reason for it, and in fact, it defies Game Theory, which is what explains our moral notions in the first place.  Out of six billion people, what do you think is the number of people who actually work actively and with as much self sacrifice as possible towards the goal of really and truly changing human society into something with long term, self-sacrificing vision?  Maybe a hundred thousand?  Maybe?  Even the most rabid Greenpeace nutjobs have SUVs and boats because that's the only way to get their job done.  Existing in this generation with a huge population necessitates sacrificing long term good for immediate good.  It will always be so.

I don't get the notion of 'self sacrifice' you're dragging into this discourse. There's nothing 'sacrificial' about not bringing offspring into the world to curb global population problems (you can still procreate without it being reproductive), or to lower the cost of your own living with green alternatives to 'standard' practice. Given that there are going to be a number of real breaking points down the road, it's also logical to assume there will be a need for adaptive, right now fixes to problems that humans will have to make in order to survive.

Quote:
You can bring it up all you like.  But if you put non-contingent faith in it, or believe that it's anything other than very nearly impossible, you're going to catch a lot of hell for it, since those are basically irrational positions to hold, and we are, after all, the Rational Response Squad.

Fine. I just take offense when people laugh at or shrug-off entire professional fields of astronomy because of they associate them with Star Wars.

 

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


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Watcher wrote:Hambydammit

Watcher wrote:

Hambydammit wrote:

I'm not sure why it's difficult for you to accept the notion that the odds against us leaving earth are staggering.   

Hamby, there is one thing I'd like to add.  When I promote the idea of us leaving Earth I'm not underestimating the difficulties.  What I am promoting is the fact that it is not impossible.  And to simply dismiss the attempt to do so is equivalent to laying down and dieing without a fight.

That's all I'm saying.

I echo this sentiment.

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


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Hambydammit wrote:We don't

Hambydammit wrote:

We don't have to get off the planet.  It may well be impossible.  Even if it's possible, we don't have to do anything.  I think you're really overestimating the human animal's potential to accomplish such far sighted goals. 

And would it even be justified? While I'd love to know humans will eventually be traveling throughout the galaxy I don't think it's right to spend all that time, money, and resources developing something that may (or may not) help people a thousand years from now when so many people already alive don't even have access to basics like food, clean water, and healthcare. Take care of the people already alive before worrying about the unborn. That's not to say we don't need to plan for future generations. But working to make our home planet able to sustain future generations seems like a lot more realistic goal than hoping to someday find another planet to rescue us.

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Hambydammit wrote:I'm sure

Hambydammit wrote:

I'm sure that at some point, I will put forth an idea that is irrational, and everyone will gang up on me, and I won't see the truth of it.  It happens to everybody.

As irrational beliefs go, the belief that humans are even remotely destined to leave earth en masse is a pretty harmless one.  We're talking about things that will happen thousands of years in the future if they happen.  However, DamnDirtyApe makes a good point.  Taking the belief anywhere beyond science fiction imagination is equivalent to trusting in an invisible friend to bail out humanity.

Oh, I use this as an example of irrational beliefs I hold in arguments with theists. I too state that everyone has their irrational beliefs, or at least irrational hopes.

I'm with watcher on this one. If we don't believe we can do it, we're not even going to try. And while I would not advocate giving extra-terrestrial colonization precedence over correcting our problems here on earth, I also don't hold out much hope of being able to correct our problems here on earth. At least, not as things stand. And, I don't have any answers for those problems, except that we need a more equitable economic model, one that can't be fucked up by human nature.

In game theory, people are willing to take huge risks for even bigger payoffs. This is one such case, for me. The payoff is far greater than the risk, at least for me.

Irrational? Yes. Very. Improbable? Yes. Again, very. Impossible?

Only if we don't try.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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 Carl Sagan also

 

Carl Sagan also illustrates here that high concept notions of what the future may yield are not so easily dismissable as most pessimists would like to claim. I'm sure victorians hadn't the foggiest notion that one day something like the internet would exist.

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


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Quote:Yeah.  You sound just

Quote:
Yeah.  You sound just like that quack Jules Verne.  He used to write a lot of fanciful things like us going to the moon and shit.  That crazy fucker.

Checklist for moon landing:

1) Build big rocket that's a bit better than the rockets we have.

2) Design craft with state of the art propulsion system a bit better than the existing propulsion systems.

3) Build slightly better spacesuit.

4) Use existing physics to design spacecraft such that it can survive reentry.

5) Use existing computer technology to build slightly better computer.

6) Spend substantially less money than what it would cost to fight a big war.

7) Find three wackos to sit in a big Roman Candle.

Cool Push button.

9) Write eulogy for astronauts... just in case.

 

Checklist for colonization of other planets.

1) Develop (as yet completely unknown) technology capable of finding planets with earth-like conditions, verifying earth-like conditions, detecting suitable magnetic field, atmosphere, surface temperature, etc...

1a) Discover potentially suitable planet.

1b) Make sure that potentially suitable planet is situated such that it will remain relatively close to earth such that there will be regular launch windows.

2) Develop (as yet completely unknown) technology capable of traveling near-lightspeed to propel unmanned spacecraft to planet to find landing zone.

2a) Develop (as yet completely unknown) technology capable of anticipating every single potential collision with all objects in the amazingly complicated flightpath that will include gravity from everything in between.

2b) Develop (as yet completely unknown) technology capable of sending information back from said earth-like planet at faster than light speed, such that we don't have to wait twenty years for our signals to get there and another 20 for them to get back (assuming it's only 20 light years away!)

2) (ALTERNATE) Develop (as yet completely unknown) technology capable of generating energy equivalent to a sun's output.

2a) (ALT) Develop (as yet completely unknown) technology capable of harnessing said energy and creating a (theoretically highly improbable) wormhole capable of transporting not only a couple of small particles, but entire HUGE mechanical devices.

2b) (ALT) Develop (as yet completely unknown) technology capable of creating said wormhole in such a way as to be able to pinpoint a destination with statistical perfection for the "other side" of said wormhole.

2c) (ALT) Develop (as yet completely unknown) technology capable of creating said incredible energy, wormhole, etc, on a completely undeveloped planet trillions of miles away such that we can retrieve said probe again, and not have to wait tens, or hundreds, or thousands of years for sub-light signals to reach earth.

3) Develop (as yet unknown) technology capable of creating a sustained barrier against radiation, yet incredibly lightweight, so as to be usable in spaceships that must, after all, get off the earth in the first place.

4) Develop (as yet unknown) technology to counteract the effects of zero gravity on humans.

4) (ALT) Develop (as yet unknown) technology to build spacecrafts so large that they can create their own gravity while being covered with the incredibly lightweight radiation barrier and getting off the earth and carrying immense amounts of food and supplies.

4) (ALT2) Develop (as yet unknown) technology to put humans in near indefinite stasis while keeping their muscles from atrophying, eyes from deteriorating, brain from shutting down, etc... while incorporating the technology to counteract the effects of zero gravity on humans.

5) Send probe to planet.

6) Fail.

7) Send another probe to planet.

Cool Fail.

9) Repeat steps 5-8 at least a dozen times, each time spending the equivalent of a large country's GDP and keeping the voters happy about their pay.

10) Send probe to planet.

11) Succeed, but find out that the planet is unsuitable.

12) Repeat step 1a.

13) Repeat steps 5-10 at least a few times.

14) Repeat step 1a, followed by 5-11, a lot of times.

15) Find suitable planet.

15a) Spend trillions of dollars (based on current value of the dollar) verifying (over decades, or even centuries) that the planet is suitable.

15b) Send manned spacecraft to planet at enormous expense.

15c) Lose manned spacecraft.  Placate voters.

15d) Repeat steps 15b-c until spacecraft succeeds in reaching planet.

15e) Develop technology to build suitable living environments for humans with only a few workers.

15f) Continue to repeat steps 15b-d with additional humans, keeping voters placated, stimulating the economy such that enormous funds are available, until there are enough people on the planet to establish a colony.

16) Establish colony.  (At astronomically large expense, while keeping the voters happy.)

17) Lose colony due to unforseen circumstances or mechanical failure or disease or natural disaster.

18) Repeat steps 16-17 (while keeping the voters happy and the moralists at bay) as many times as needed.

19) Send space armada to quell uprising after the colony decides it doesn't need earth any more.

20) Step outside and breath in some of the pollution.

21) Call it a day.

 

 

 

 

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nigelTheBold wrote:I think

nigelTheBold wrote:

I think that was a bit of what the OP was talking about. Right now, it seems we're doomed to death by stupidity, which seems kind of ironic, considering it's our intelligence that gives us our edge.

It's not our intelligence (or lack of) that will doom us. It's our egos. If scientists can ever find the gene responsible for the human ego and remove it we might have a chance.

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Quote:And would it even be

Quote:
And would it even be justified? While I'd love to know humans will eventually be traveling throughout the galaxy I don't think it's right to spend all that time, money, and resources developing something that may (or may not) help people a thousand years from now when so many people already alive don't even have access to basics like food, clean water, and healthcare. Take care of the people already alive before worrying about the unborn. That's not to say we don't need to plan for future generations. But working to make our home planet able to sustain future generations seems like a lot more realistic goal than hoping to someday find another planet to rescue us.

I was hinting at this in my sarcastic little checklist post.  The expense of developing and implementing this kind of technology would be excruciatingly high.  Without even sending people to the moon, we're bitching and moaning (rightfully so) about wasting money when children are starving and the education system sucks and elderly people can't pay for their prescriptions and poor people can't go to college.  There will never be a generation where there is enough excess money being generated to even remotely justify the kind of expense even the first step or two towards colonization would take.

You think you can convince pissed off voters to spend a hundred trillion dollars to send an unmanned spacecraft on a journey that's going to take seventy five years, and we won't even know if it succeeded for another seventy five years after it arrives?  If so, why aren't you running for office now?  You could accomplish a lot of good in the world.

 

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Quote:3) Develop (as yet

Quote:
3) Develop (as yet unknown) technology capable of creating a sustained barrier against radiation, yet incredibly lightweight, so as to be usable in spaceships that must, after all, get off the earth in the first place.

See: H2O

Quote:
4) Develop (as yet unknown) technology to counteract the effects of zero gravity on humans.

See: Spinning spacecraft to create artificial gravity.

 

The rest of your post relies on ignoring any point made by Watcher and myself regarding creating space-borne colonies, and basically crossing your arms and huffing, "Whatever. We're just doomed anyway."

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


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After reading that list

After reading that list Hamby i noticed 1 glarring flaw... why the hell would you build interplanetary space ships... ON A PLANET?!?! it defies logic!.... build them in space you ninny, much less problematic (takes longer but at thats really the only down side )

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Hambydammit wrote:I was

Hambydammit wrote:

I was hinting at this in my sarcastic little checklist post.  The expense of developing and implementing this kind of technology would be excruciatingly high.  Without even sending people to the moon, we're bitching and moaning (rightfully so) about wasting money when children are starving and the education system sucks and elderly people can't pay for their prescriptions and poor people can't go to college.  There will never be a generation where there is enough excess money being generated to even remotely justify the kind of expense even the first step or two towards colonization would take.

You think you can convince pissed off voters to spend a hundred trillion dollars to send an unmanned spacecraft on a journey that's going to take seventy five years, and we won't even know if it succeeded for another seventy five years after it arrives?  If so, why aren't you running for office now?  You could accomplish a lot of good in the world.

Colonization could begin here at home. As Kevin mentioned, we can build artificial outposts on Mars, or the moon, or the Lagrange points.

The problems you mention are completely orthogonal to our current expenditure in money and resources on space exploration. The bitching and moaning about space exploration is not justified when we really aren't even making a concerted effort in fixing our educational system, or the inequitable distribution of wealth and economic power in our country or in our world, or even in creating sustainable foreign policies.

Space exploration has given us much in return for the amount we have invested. Not only has it contributed directly and indirectly to the computer industry of the 60s, 70s, and 80s, but it gave us Tang. Don't forget Tang. Many of the purely-theoretical experiments done throughout the history of the space program have resulted in practical products and processes here on earth.

My point is, we aren't even attempting to address the real issues. And the money spent on space exploration is negligible compared to the money spent on researching new ways to kill people from afar, so it isn't a cost issue, either. If you are arguing that space exploration is distracting people from working on the real problems, I'd have to agree -- but there are a lot of smart people out there, and only a small number of them work in space exploration, and I submit they would not help much, as the solution to many of these problems are not soluble by pure logic and engineering.

I would love to solve the problems you mention. But the reason those problems aren't being solved has nothing to do with a lack of resources.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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out of curiousity... and

out of curiousity... and sheer ignorance... i thought we already had and used material that protects astronuts, space craft, and satelites from (solar?) radiation? if we do, why would it be a poor choice for defeating interstellar radiation? (plz disregard the asteroids >.< )... now... if we dont have this tech already, then how the hell do astronauts survive? and how do satelites continue to function? (the ones far outside the atmosphere)

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The Doomed Soul wrote:out of

The Doomed Soul wrote:

out of curiousity... and sheer ignorance... i thought we already had and used material that protects astronuts, space craft, and satelites from (solar?) radiation? if we do, why would it be a poor choice for defeating interstellar radiation? (plz disregard the asteroids >.< )... now... if we dont have this tech already, then how the hell do astronauts survive? and how do satelites continue to function? (the ones far outside the atmosphere)

We do have the material. It's called dihydrogen monoxide. More commonly known as water.

Hamby is ignoring this fact because it's a convenient omission for his argument.

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


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The Doomed Soul wrote:out of

The Doomed Soul wrote:

out of curiousity... and sheer ignorance... i thought we already had and used material that protects astronuts, space craft, and satelites from (solar?) radiation? if we do, why would it be a poor choice for defeating interstellar radiation? (plz disregard the asteroids >.< )... now... if we dont have this tech already, then how the hell do astronauts survive? and how do satelites continue to function? (the ones far outside the atmosphere)

We really haven't stepped much outside the Van Allen belt, which shields the earth from a lot of radiation. As for astronauts going to the moon, they were exposed only for short periods, no more than a few days, and their exposure in the belt itself was fairly limited.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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Kevin R Brown wrote:We do

Kevin R Brown wrote:

We do have the material. It's called dihydrogen monoxide. More commonly known as water.

Hamby is ignoring this fact because it's a convenient omission for his argument.

oooooh.... right... so i can assume that an astronaut is basically wearing a body tight waterbed with a breathing sytem >.>?

and i highly doubt we cram satelite circuitry full of good ole h2o ;-p

 

there must be something else that we already possess -_-

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Quote:Except that we aren't

Quote:
Except that we aren't really talking natural selection or biology at this point, are we? We talking about intelligence-driven (real intelligence driven) choices and ensuing consequences. If we teach future generations about valuing long-term benefit over short-term gain, and really push the limits of our capacity of abstract thinking and conceptualization, I fail to see how we'll be 'bound' strictly to biological evolutionary changes.

You've missed my point entirely.  We are talking about natural selection and biology.  Our moral instinct is hardwired, and it doesn't provide for non-reciprocal altruism across generations.  You can teach people all you want, and they're still going to sacrifice the welfare of their great great grandchildren for their own survival.

Quote:
Again, I disagree. A very small percentage of people know what damage is being done. Anyone outside the industrialized world hasn't got a clue,

Anyone outside the industrialized world can't do anything about it, so the effect is the same.  Educate them all you like, and they'll still have to feed themselves.

Quote:
This has more to do with politics, manipulation and the spread of disinformation (and the promotion of democracy to people too stupid to elect competent leaders, in my opinion) than it does the idea that we simply 'can't' get around to fixing our situation.

Look, I can't *prove* you wrong, but I can tell you that this is a naive way to think.  I see now where your hangup is in this whole thing.  You seem to believe that human intellect can transcend human biology.  This is simply not true.  Our intellect is our biology, and our moral instincts are completely tied to it.  You will never be able to convince people to do something for future generations because the majority of people in the world will never be in a position to either give a damn or, having given a damn, be able to do anything about it.  99% of the humans on the planet are just getting from one day to the next and making babies.  It's not because they're stupid.  It's because they're human.  Humans are big packages built by genes as tools to make more genes.  Our genes don't give a damn about two hundred years from now.  Because of that, they don't bother to make humans who give a damn about two hundred years from now.  That's what I was saying about predictive selection.

The kind of concerted human effort necessary to get off the planet would require very large numbers of people to not only give a damn, but sacrifice their own well being to do it.  If it costs ten trillion dollars to send a probe on a mission that's not even going to be heard from again until everyone on the planet at launch is dead, you're just not going to be able to convince voters (or parlaimants, or monarchs, or dictators) that it's a better idea than spending money on people now.

Quote:
Bums know how to fix their circumstances, and have the means to do so - they just choose not to. If they wisen-up, they get the enjoy the benefits of a more priveleged existence.

My blood boils when I hear people say things like this.  Social science is my thing.  I know a lot about this.  I could derail this thread with a ten page essay on just how wrong this is, but I'm just going to say that you're completely and utterly wrong.

Briefly, (way too incompletely,) there are a small percentage of disenfranchised people who choose not to rise from their situation, but the reality is that the vast majority are not capable, on their own, of affecting a meaningful change in their own lives -- in the practical sense.  In other words, you can write it on paper, but in practice, it's usually not possible.  A good primer for you would be to read this book:

 American Families and the Nostalgia Trap  

The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap by Stephanie Coontz (Paperback - Aug 2000)

 

Quote:
Again, we're also not married strictly to 'our nature' (as if there's only one such universal thing). But I already said that.

Whether you realize it or not, you're making an extraordinary claim.  "Our nature" is literally what we are.  To say that we are anything else is to assert something incoherent.

I understand what you mean, but you're not thinking of it correctly.  I can decide not to have children.  (In fact, I have.  I've even got the snip-job to back up my decision.)  This, you could say, is "against" nature, since there is a biological drive to have children, and it is literally what our genes designed us to do.  However, you're not taking several things into account.  First, there are many, many examples of creatures in nature that do not reproduce for various reasons, whether it's social hierarchy, unsuitability, or colonial breeding, like worker ants or bees.  Throughout human history, there have always been celibate people, for a variety of reasons.  Why?  Because we're not just individuals.  We are a colonial species, and our genes have programmed us to sometimes do things that are counterintuitive.  Joining the army doesn't make any sense at all, yet hundreds of thousands of men do it all the time.

Man can decide to do something "against nature."  However, if he does so, it is because it is in his nature to sometimes make such decisions.  Our genes benefit in some way from us making such decisions, else we would not have evolved the way we did.

Now, back to what you're saying.  I've said it before, but it's really important.  It is not in human nature to comprehend or care about long-term non-reciprocal altruism.  Simply, the vast majority of people will never care about it because it's the overriding concern of our genes for this generation to do well.  You're actually being pretty condescending by suggesting that most people cannot comprehend long term consequences.  They do.  Even primitive tribes know all about long term ecological consequences of human activity.  They may not know the ins and outs of global warming, but they're aware that we have an effect on the environment.  The thing is, they don't care because they get hungry and their kids need to eat, too.  They are biologically programmed to give a damn about their family, and not give a damn about people who haven't even been born yet.

Speaking of "one universal nature" I highly recommend this book:

 Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature  

The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature by Matt Ridley (Paperback - April 29, 2003)

Quote:
I don't get the notion of 'self sacrifice' you're dragging into this discourse. There's nothing 'sacrificial' about not bringing offspring into the world to curb global population problems

Tell that to a woman whose biological clock is ticking.  Bring some sort of shield, or a club.  You're going to need it.

Quote:
or to lower the cost of your own living with green alternatives to 'standard' practice.

Tell that to someone living in a poor country.  For that matter, tell it to an American.  Suppose for a minute that you convince everyone in America that it's a simply fabulous idea to reduce consumption by 75%.  Good luck convincing all the Walmart employees that their unemployment is for the greater good.  Oh, and when the football players decide that it won't hurt if they spend their millions on excessive lifestyles, and it turns out that there are a lot of women who really want to fuck them, good luck convincing the other Joe Schmoe's who happen to have a little money in the bank that they should live below their means, even though it will mean not getting as hot a woman to marry them.

This is a basic principle in natural selection.  You've read "The Selfish Gene," right?  You should know this.  Resources will be used if they are available.  If everyone agrees to reduce production, someone will defy them, to his advantage.  It's game theory.  It's simple math.

Quote:
Given that there are going to be a number of real breaking points down the road, it's also logical to assume there will be a need for adaptive, right now fixes to problems that humans will have to make in order to survive.

It's patently illogical to assume that humans will not act like humans.  We will make some "right now" fixes, and we can predict with a great deal of accuracy what the human landscape will look like afterwards.  What resources there are will be used, and a few people will get rich as they run out.  When we find something new to use, a few people will get rich selling it to everybody else.

Quote:
Fine. I just take offense when people laugh at or shrug-off entire professional fields of astronomy because of they associate them with Star Wars.

I admire astronomers.  I chuckle when they believe that we'll get off the planet, but I have immense respect for the actual science they do.

 

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Quote:We do have the

Quote:

We do have the material. It's called dihydrogen monoxide. More commonly known as water.

Hamby is ignoring this fact because it's a convenient omission for his argument.

I'm not ignoring it.  I've addressed it in another thread.  Water is very heavy.

 

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Hambydammit wrote:Checklist

Hambydammit wrote:

Checklist for moon landing:

1) Build big rocket that's a bit better than the rockets we have.

etc.

Hamby the only difference between the two different hurdles is a matter of how quickly it can be done.

The exact same difference between the supposed micro vs macro evolution.

Plus, well it doesn't have to be done like that.  We can go about it a hundred different ways.  I personally think the idea of finding a new habitable planet is ridiculous.  There are far easier ways to get off this planet for good.  Come on, dude.  I can find easier ways to get off this rock.  And I'm just one, little dumbass.

Imagine what a hundred thousand dumbasses can come up with.  *grins*

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Quote:Hamby the only

Quote:
Hamby the only difference between the two different hurdles is a matter of how quickly it can be done.

No, it's not.

The difference I was trying to point out (perhaps I should have removed my tongue from my cheek for clarity) is that they are different in kind.  To get to the moon, we needed better versions of existing technology, and we had the necessary science to work from.  To get to an extra-solar planet, we need science that doesn't exist, technology that doesn't exist, and we need some unproven guesses about very theoretical physics to be correct.

 

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Hambydammit wrote:I'm not

Hambydammit wrote:

I'm not ignoring it.  I've addressed it in another thread.  Water is very heavy.

The space elevator will take care of that.  No problem.

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Just to be perfectly clear,

Just to be perfectly clear, if I haven't stated my position explicitly, here it is:

I do not know if it is physically possible for people to get to another planet.  If it is physically possible, there are several known factors that make it so unlikely as to be discounted as a real possibility:

1) A combination of improbable technological advances, including the safe production of staggering amounts of energy in very, very small packages, observation equipment capable of finding earth like planets and giving us accurate, reliable data about many conditions that seem extraordinarily difficult to detect over great distances, technology to survive extended space travel, technology to send information faster than light for communication with deep space objects, etc, etc,

2) Staggering cost combined with increased human population and discontented voters who would not put up with that much expenditure on what political opponents would rightly call "pipe dreams instead of real fixes for current problems!!"

3) Basic human nature.  Humans are not designed to embark on projects that will span many generations.  If one generation succeeds in starting such a project, the next must keep it up.  This is not in our nature, particularly when nobody alive will see any tangible results.

4) Basic human nature.  If humans were capable of mounting such a huge effort for the betterment of mankind in the future, we wouldn't have to worry about getting off the planet because we wouldn't be destroying it.

 

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