PDA

View Full Version : OT: Mars rover has discovered.....What?



Evan
11-21-2012, 04:09 PM
So, now we wait...



Yesterday Mars Science Laboratory principal investigator John Grotzinger set the entire space science world abuzz with a tantalizing promise of “earthshaking” news on the horizon — literally “one for the history books,” as he put it in an interview with NPR. It seems one of Curiosity’s main science tools, the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument, has discovered… something… within recently-gathered samples, possibly in windblown-material scooped at a site called “Rocknest” earlier this month.


http://www.universetoday.com/98599/i-am-sam/

doorknob
11-21-2012, 04:15 PM
McDonald's wrapper, no doubt...

John Stevenson
11-21-2012, 04:19 PM
Supermarket trolley ?

Evan
11-21-2012, 04:20 PM
Let's speculate, and I don't mean just "life". What exactly might they have found in wind blown soil samples that is "Earthshaking"?

doorknob
11-21-2012, 04:22 PM
Amino acids?

Evan
11-21-2012, 04:29 PM
Amino acids are everywhere, even floating in space. All you have to do to make them is mix up a little oxygen, nitrogen and carbon with some water and run an electric charge such as lightning through the mix.

I will give what I think is the most "earthshaking" thing I can think of. You were close but not quite. How about fragments of DNA?


Gotta go to town now, be back some later.

macona
11-21-2012, 04:37 PM
Alan Shepard's golf ball from the moon?

jkilroy
11-21-2012, 04:54 PM
DNA fragments would be an amazing discovery. I thought maybe small fossils?

Black_Moons
11-21-2012, 05:15 PM
Alien junk food wrappers. some weekend campers never clean up after themselfs.

Rustybolt
11-21-2012, 05:17 PM
Jimmy Hoffa's on Mars?
I knew the teamsters were powerful, but jeeze.

laddy
11-21-2012, 05:24 PM
Probably a used rubber or a pop top.

lakeside53
11-21-2012, 05:26 PM
Sir Johns' Bridgey...

George Seal
11-21-2012, 05:30 PM
Lakeside53

You forgot

POS bridgey

lakeside53
11-21-2012, 05:33 PM
damn, I did...:mad:

aostling
11-21-2012, 05:47 PM
I will give what I think is the most "earthshaking" thing I can think of. You were close but not quite. How about fragments of DNA?


You may have hit on it. If SAM detected DNA fragments that would be a first validation of the panspermia hypothesis http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panspermia. The ramifications would be mind-boggling.

Tony Ennis
11-21-2012, 05:58 PM
Does Curiosity have the instrumentation to detect DNA? If this is what they found, then the next question is, "Is it related to Terran DNA, or is it something new."

My guess is that they found a chemical that might be related to a chemical process that's sometimes related to water.

panchula
11-21-2012, 05:59 PM
I'm guessing a blue dress with DNA on it...

bob_s
11-21-2012, 06:25 PM
Elvis!

Tony Ennis
11-21-2012, 06:29 PM
Elvis is everywhere!

winchman
11-21-2012, 06:44 PM
Sorry, Elvis's music can't be more than 60-something light years from earth. That leaves about 99.99% of the universe totally unaware of his existence.

topct
11-21-2012, 07:06 PM
Doesn't DNA decompose?

Could they have found methane?

boslab
11-21-2012, 07:35 PM
it was an M13 spanner, Snap on!
mark

vpt
11-21-2012, 07:44 PM
Just more rocks.

Black_Moons
11-21-2012, 07:49 PM
Several million socks, none of them matching any other.

Evan
11-21-2012, 08:14 PM
Doesn't DNA decompose?

Yes it does. That is what would make it the most earthshaking thing I can think of. http://ixian.ca/pics9/biggrin.gif

wierdscience
11-21-2012, 10:45 PM
Probably the left rear lugnut that fell off the rover last week:rolleyes:

Mike Burdick
11-21-2012, 11:01 PM
I like the comment...



The Rover found Amelia Earhart's diary. The last notation says: "I think we're off course."

Paul Alciatore
11-22-2012, 12:04 AM
If we are going to guess, the first thing is to get some idea of what the Sample Analysis Instrument can and can not detect. What was it designed to do? And how does it do it? What kind of observations or tests does it perform?

A.K. Boomer
11-22-2012, 12:29 AM
I bet it found some "hype" , they do that once in awhile so people don't lose interest - Donald Trump does it all the time but for the most part after the "hype" is revealed then people really lose interest even more...

winchman
11-22-2012, 12:50 AM
Could they have found methane?

Methane must be pretty common because some of the outer solar system bodies have liquid methane on them.

Maybe it's a 65-million-year-old meteorite from earth. That would confirm the impact theory, and it certainly would be earthshaking.

Evan
11-22-2012, 01:48 AM
To be realistic I think JKilroy's "fossils" is a good bet. In particular, something that resembles diatoms. The shells will last millions of years and closely resemble sand, of which there is plenty on Mars. It sure didn't take them long to find this, whatever it is so it must be ubiquitous. It would sure be a kick in the head if Mars is covered in diatomaceous "earth" and all we ever needed to do was send up a microscope to find it.



The diatoms are one of the largest and ecologically most significant groups of organisms on Earth. They are also one of the easiest to recognize, because of their unique cell structure, silicified cell wall and life cycle. They occur almost everywhere that is adequately lit (because most species need light for photosynthesis) and wet - in oceans, lakes and rivers; marshes, fens and bogs; damp moss and rock faces; even on the feathers of some diving birds. Some have been captured by other organisms and live as endosymbionts, e.g. in dinoflagellates and foraminifera. Because of their abundance in marine plankton, especially in nutrient-rich areas of the world's oceans, diatoms probably account for as much as 20% of global photosynthetic fixation of carbon (~ 20 Pg carbon fixed per year: Mann 1999), which is more than all the world's tropical rainforests.

http://tolweb.org/Diatoms/21810

dp
11-22-2012, 03:09 AM
To be realistic I think JKilroy's "fossils" is a good bet. In particular, something that resembles diatoms.

That would turn the creationist world upside down. Surely they have a Plan B to deal with this situation but anything would be a leap of faith, to put a fine point on it. It would also mean Plan A was a leap of another kind.

Evan
11-22-2012, 03:30 AM
Plan "B" would be the same as plan "A". Ignore the evidence and attempt to discredit it via conspiracy theories à la Capricorn One.

Incidentally, I looked up the resolution of the "hand imager" on the end of the sample arm. Its best resolution is about 14 microns per pixel which is 72 pixels per millimetre. That's plenty good enough to image larger Earth diatoms.

Jaakko Fagerlund
11-22-2012, 04:04 AM
Let's speculate, and I don't mean just "life". What exactly might they have found in wind blown soil samples that is "Earthshaking"?
...earthquake? :)

bob ward
11-22-2012, 05:02 AM
That would turn the creationist world upside down. Surely they have a Plan B to deal with this situation but anything would be a leap of faith, to put a fine point on it. It would also mean Plan A was a leap of another kind.

I seem to remember that the creationists etc were quite cock-a-hoop when the Viking missions to Mars in the mid 70s did not find any little green men. The lack of little green men 'proved' that they were right all along.

Evan
11-22-2012, 06:02 AM
Sigh. Lack of evidence in not evidence of lack. It only means you didn't find it, not that "it" doesn't exist.

vpt
11-22-2012, 08:57 AM
On just that one neighboring planet. Its a little hard to say if there was ever life on any of the other kazillion planets around.

Mcgyver
11-22-2012, 09:01 AM
That would turn the creationist world upside down. .

imo it will have no effect. These are a category of people (a very large subset of the species) who are able to convince themselves of anything. Of course they are always right but the horrible part is they are always righteous; no matter what, they've done no wrong and always have a smile just knowing they occupy the moral high ground and hold no fault. These are truly dangerous people.

Spin Doctor
11-22-2012, 09:32 AM
Fossilized life forms looks like the best bet. Plus it goes with my take on life in the universe

1) Life (single cell) is common.
2) multi-cellular life is less so. At least an order of magnitude
3) higher life forms, vertabrates, mollusks, large plants etc. Another order of magnitude.
4) life forms with enough brain capacity to br moderately self aware. At least an order of magnitude again
5) intelligent life. one to two orders of magnitude again.
6) tool users. the rarest of all.

Now given the size of the galaxy let alone the universe I suspect that there may be at any one time ten to fifteen technological species in the galaxy. Note technology can be anything from flint tipped spears to space faring ability*. But we are so thinly spead that the gulf of light years between us means that we will never might short of some form of FTL


*or Bridgeport users;)

A.K. Boomer
11-22-2012, 09:52 AM
That would turn the creationist world upside down. Surely they have a Plan B to deal with this situation but anything would be a leap of faith, to put a fine point on it. It would also mean Plan A was a leap of another kind.


Yes - you would be surprised at how flexible they can be when their multi-billion dollar business gets threatened though,
For instance they can go from thinking the world is flat to then finally excepting it's round,
Or even that the earth is no longer the center of the universe.

It's directly linked to losing it's "sheeple" followers who finally get a clue - this then equates to a direct loss of income to which they are constantly monitoring and they will spin it around on a dime if need be,

A new "rule book" will be written claiming to have found updated scriptures and all will be good again as the insecure masses group back together and all suck on the big plastic pacifier nipple and gather comfort from it because they are too weak and frail in thinking to stand on there own and look at all the evidence and form their own conclusions...

It's not the creationist that im bagging on - im agnostic and if anything lean more to that side - it's the arrogance and simple mindedness of thinking that "it's all about us",,,

But here in lies the driving force of their particular "brand"
You see - there's no real money in leaving all the options open - or even allowing for a "creator" who's focus is not just on us, it tarnishes the brand name and weakens the club (or cult) membership fee's...

It's why pile of crap half worn out "stone washed designer jeans" sell for 4 times the price of regular ones,
most all organized designer religions are no different... only difference is - is the religion will lie to you - make you look stupid and also tell you how to live your life....

The thing is - is all you need to create one of these designer religions is a good imagination - the sheeple abound, just claim an angel directed you to some golden plates that were buried in the ground and make up a bunch of rules that suite your need's - you can even include banging a bunch of your fellow followers wives and claim that it's "gods will" Don't underestimate what sheeple will do in the name of trying to save their pathetic souls - you can literally get away with murder if you want,,,
The trick is - is only you get to see the plates - that way you can change the rules as you go and basically do whatever you want,
Of course - some people might catch on to you - and then when the local press finds out and goes to expose you for who you are you and your cronies go and vandalize the printing press - get thrown in jail - an angry mob then storms the jail - you throw your brother under the bus and let him take the first shot to the face and then you die crying out "oh lord my god" while trying to escape through a window...

yes what a fitting end - but look what it's turned into - it's done nothing but grow, and yet look at the core structure, crazy huh?


Don't worry DP, they will survive....

vpt
11-22-2012, 10:01 AM
Only one month left, then its all over with.

Tony Ennis
11-22-2012, 10:02 AM
Even if they find fossils it may not mean that life originated on Mars. It could mean that it traveled to Mars from Earth. (Or it originated on Mars and traveled to Earth.) So while discovering that life ever existed on Mars would be huge, it is not as huge as proving life developed independently on Mars.

Mike Nash
11-22-2012, 10:35 AM
It was an altar made from aircraft aluminum billet with the words
Thou shalt not use the word billet inappropriately. Go out and verbally abuse those who do.

Do not say unto yourself, "But I don't even know the difference between 'then and than' what if they think me stupid?"
I say unto you, "Meh, whatever."

Making fun of others only works well, if they can't turn your own similar vulnerabilities against you. Faith in Science is pretty much a religious attitude also. How many times have we followed blithely along with something because some "scientist" said it was so, only to have it repudiated at some later date?

herbet999
11-22-2012, 11:01 AM
How many times have we followed blithely along with something because some "scientist" said it was so, only to have it repudiated at some later date?

Good point... wasn't it scientists that said the earth was flat?

wendtmk
11-22-2012, 11:02 AM
Evidence that it was aliens who caused global warming.

Lew Hartswick
11-22-2012, 11:10 AM
Faith in Science is pretty much a religious attitude also. How many times have we followed blithely along with something because some "scientist" said it was so, only to have it repudiated at some later date?

"Continental Drift" anyone? :-) How many years did it take to "exonerate" that?
...lew...

A.K. Boomer
11-22-2012, 11:19 AM
Good point... wasn't it scientists that said the earth was flat?



Don't let any of mankinds fumblings in either direction dictate your course of direction - but do recognize this, "If" there is a "god" of some kind - then "it's" responsible for all science, so getting to know science better would be like getting to know god better to some degree - that is if there is one,

And evolution is a good place to start - and people need to get it through their thick heads that it in no way discredits if there is a god or not - it simply states that if their is one then "its" responsible for the process itself - which incidentally does exist and is as much scientific fact as the earth is for the most part spherical (for the most part)

I have no "faith" in science - It either is - or isn't or is a gray area.... you can educate yourself about some of the details but the fact will remain that this will only create more avenues of uncertainty - I choose to be ok with making the statement of saying "I don't know", but if you think I come to that conclusion easily you would be greatly mistaken...
that's part of whats great though - it keeps me searching and I like that...

Tony Ennis
11-22-2012, 11:35 AM
I have no "faith" in science

But let us all have faith in the scientific method.

A.K. Boomer
11-22-2012, 11:49 AM
Well yeah - but not faith, I mean if you want to "get real" that's all we got, otherwise you might as well believe in the tooth fairy right? or worse yet J. Smith lol


The fact does remain that it can't be just all about faith - sooner or later you do have to add the part of putting two and two together as part of the equation or you will end up looking like a lunatic...

danlb
11-22-2012, 01:16 PM
I can't understand why one would choose not to believe in science. Does your car suddenly run even though you have no gas? Do things in your everyday life suddenly work differently without reason? Do your medications work one day and not the next? Has the sun ever failed to rise on schedule?

Science is different from faith in that science is based on things that can be demonstrated or proved. Science theories can also be disproved, and that is the biggest difference. There are no 'miracles', because an experiment that can not be duplicated is not considered conclusive (or even valid).

It's not that I disbelieve the creationist story. I just see no reason to believe it. It's all word of mouth, poorly documented and no one has replicated it.

Maybe that is the primary difference between a person of science and a person of faith. I see no reason to believe in a religion, and they see no reason not to believe it.

Dan

danlb
11-22-2012, 01:22 PM
Isn't there a theory that the impact that caused the moon to split from the earth may have splashed bits of earth throughout the solar system? I wonder if they found something that would support that? I don't know how they would prove that.

Dan

Evan
11-22-2012, 03:12 PM
Faith in Science is pretty much a religious attitude also.

Not even close and bringing up old so called "failures" of science to understand is not relevant. Eratosthenes knew the Earth is round and measured it to within about 2% error. That was 2300 years ago. Few people and no scientists ever believed the Earth is flat. Just look at the Moon for counter evidence. The Columbus story is a myth.

Other failures of science were the result of incomplete knowledge. The process of science is to accumulate knowledge, not belief, and to use that to further refine what is known to be true. There is no faith involved, only knowledge of the universe and the more we learn the more accurate it becomes.

Evan
11-22-2012, 03:18 PM
Dan,

That hypothesis (not theory) that the Earth suffered a major impact very early is probably correct. All the evidence points in that direction, and there is a lot. If that happened it was at a very early stage in the formation of the solar system. There would not have been any life on Earth at that time. The conditions would have been entirely inhospitable.

Theories are hypotheses that have been proven to be correct by not just confirmational evidence but also by the ability to predict accurately previously unknown discoverable evidence.

Mcgyver
11-22-2012, 04:40 PM
But let us all have faith in the scientific method.

well said.

vpt
11-22-2012, 05:09 PM
Even if they find fossils it may not mean that life originated on Mars. It could mean that it traveled to Mars from Earth. (Or it originated on Mars and traveled to Earth.) So while discovering that life ever existed on Mars would be huge, it is not as huge as proving life developed independently on Mars.



Personally I always thought both mars and earth created their own life but mars being closer to the sun simply dried up first.

dp
11-22-2012, 05:10 PM
The most controversial and incontrovertible finding would be viable spores or the Martian equivalent followed by the Martian equivalent of diatom shells. The shock gap between these two possibilities is night and day, but either would be the scientific finding of my lifetime. Anything short of that would fall into the realm of interesting science. Finding things necessary for the possibility of life is old stuff. Finding life or the undeniable remains of it is big. Very big. Anything that feeds only speculation would be a profound disappointment.

mike4
11-22-2012, 05:11 PM
What have they discovered ?
All the conjecture as to who or what did or does whatever, will never give an answer .

Michael

bob_s
11-22-2012, 05:18 PM
Personally I always thought both mars and earth created their own life but mars being closer to the sun simply dried up first.

UUH? Mars is further from the sun than EARTH!

Evan
11-22-2012, 05:32 PM
Anything that feeds only speculation would be a profound disappointment.

Agreed. If the announcement is that they have verified the existence of "organic compounds" I will be PO'ed and very disappointed. Organic compounds do not imply life, they are simply compounds that contain hydrogen and carbon, methane being an example.

To inject a small note of machining into this discussion, I found an excellent example of the utility of additive machining using 3D printers. These are giant 3D models of diatoms made with a 3D printer. Very cool.

http://ixian.ca/pics10/diatoms.jpg

KiddZimaHater
11-22-2012, 05:45 PM
Personally I always thought both mars and earth created their own life but mars being closer to the sun simply dried up first.
UUHHHH... You might want to look at an astronomy book. Earth is closer to the sun than Mars fella.

vpt
11-22-2012, 05:46 PM
UUH? Mars is further from the sun than EARTH!



See, you can forget how anything goes if you don't talk about it for long enough. I must be getting old.

Evan
11-22-2012, 07:19 PM
Happens to all of us, trust me.

The problem with Mars is simply not enough gravity. It is easy for even relatively heavy molecules like O2 to escape. CO2 is very heavy and that is what is left of the atmosphere. Unfortunately, without the other components of an atmosphere such as Earth's, there is nothing much to prevent the heat from escaping too.

In fact, I was just reading that they are detecting an increase in CO2 in the very upper atmosphere of Earth. At that level it is similar to Mars and the CO2 acts as a coolant for the same reason it acts as a heater lower down on Earth. It is good at absorbing visible radiation and converting it to long infrared. At 75 kilometres up the IR is radiated back to space instead of being trapped by the rest of the atmosphere.

This has serious implications for the space program. The effect is to cool the upper atmosphere and the more CO2 the cooler it becomes. It is already measurable. This causes the upper atmosphere to contract and that reduces friction on low orbiting space junk. That means the junk will stay in orbit much longer and pose a much greater hazard to space vehicles. It doesn't take much to tip the balance from gradual reduction of junk to gradual accumulation. If that happen then the collision rate goes up and could result in an exponential increase in space garbage. Some estimate it could result in a very quickly accelerating event that might ground us for many years.

A single piece of aluminum the size of a marble in orbit carries approximately the same foot lbs of energy as 400 lbs travelling at 60 mph.

loose nut
11-22-2012, 07:29 PM
Sorry, Elvis's music can't be more than 60-something light years from earth. That leaves about 99.99% of the universe totally unaware of his existence.

Not true. He did a benefit concert over subspace while traveling back to his home planet.

herbet999
11-22-2012, 07:58 PM
Science is different from faith in that science is based on things that can be demonstrated or proved...
...
It's not that I disbelieve the creationist story. I just see no reason to believe it. It's all word of mouth, poorly documented and no one has replicated it...



Has evolution been proven or replicated?

aostling
11-22-2012, 08:42 PM
Has evolution been proven or replicated?

Proof is a term reserved for the mathematical method, not the scientific method. Scientific theories, such as Evolution, are validated or falsified by the weight of experimental evidence.

Evolution has been replicated, or observed. Experimental evolution has a long history, described here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Experimental_evolution

wierdscience
11-22-2012, 09:20 PM
They just announced what they found-
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0903/wierdscience/MARTIAN.png

quasi
11-22-2012, 09:30 PM
I guess Dog poop.

Mike Nash
11-22-2012, 10:04 PM
Maybe they found Sandy Island. Scientists went looking for it and it wasn't there.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-20442487

Evan
11-22-2012, 10:06 PM
Creationism and evolution are not competing theories. Creationism is a belief system, evolution is a scientific theory. One is free to believe what they wish. That does not invalidate or validate it. Theories require validation in the form of evidence that can be found and replicated by anyone that wishes and has the tools, regardless of what they believe. Theories must be externally consistent. Belief cannot invalidate a theory.

Legitimate theories are not based on belief of any kind, only the evidence the universe provides. Beliefs do not require evidence, only a personal willingness to accept whatever is internally consistent with one's own mental filters. Belief does not require external consistency or validity. Any attempt to mix belief with scientific theory shows a lack of understanding of the difference and the simple fact that they are in no way equivalent.

herbet999
11-22-2012, 10:18 PM
Proof is a term reserved for the mathematical method, not the scientific method. Scientific theories, such as Evolution, are validated or falsified by the weight of experimental evidence.

Evolution has been replicated, or observed. Experimental evolution has a long history, described here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Experimental_evolution

Seems like quite a leap of faith to compare the spontaneous appearance of human intelligence to some experimentation using e coli.

dp
11-22-2012, 11:17 PM
We are a whim of several billion cells to be us for a while. By way of multiple unrelated and unplanned events I am here to share that with you.Why anyone is here to read and understand this is beyond understanding, but is, none the less, reality. I don't get it either. Stuff happens.

Evan
11-23-2012, 12:02 AM
Seems like quite a leap of faith to compare the spontaneous appearance of human intelligence to some experimentation using e coli.

Two billion years is a very long time. Lots of stuff happens.

Something very interesting happened a couple of years ago although it didn't make much news. Scientists created an entirely artificial genome using the 4 simple chemicals from which DNA consists. They removed the DNA from a bacterium and implanted their own. It immediately turned into what they planned it to be and replicated over a billion times.

Black_Moons
11-23-2012, 12:15 AM
Seems like quite a leap of faith to compare the spontaneous appearance of human intelligence to some experimentation using e coli.

some humans don't express intelligence that much higher then an e. coli so its not that amazing really.

Evan
11-23-2012, 12:49 AM
I will take the opportunity to explain something since we are on the subject. Evolution is very much misunderstood by most people. It is also frequently misstated by those that know better. Living things do not evolve or change because they want to. They do not change because they need to. Outside pressures do not cause adaptation in terms of evolutionary change and it does not cause such changes at all.

What happens is exactly what Darwin proposed: The survival of the fittest. If less food is available then the organism that requires less food survives and reproduces more than the others. Changes in organisms are due to mutations caused by the environment. Some is radioactively induced, some is chemical and some can be caused by infection. Changes are also caused by variable gene expression caused by environment. Environment means much more than the weather, it also means things like the internal chemical balance because of what a creature subsists upon.

Changes are random and nearly all are deadly, either immediately or in the long term. A few are beneficial or simply silent until the environment changes in a way that confers an advantage to a certain genotype. Then once again that genotype or phenotype prospers and others fail.

Advantages are conferred on organisms that live in colonies, both at the cellular level and eventually at the level of humans. As the environment changed over a couple of billion years uncountable mutations occurred and evolution progressed. It isn't mysterious or even unlikely. Rather, it is a certainty. Given enough time and the appropriate circumstances anything that can happen will happen.

The reason intelligence arises is for the same reasons. Although the chain of events is very long it is not very complicated.

dp
11-23-2012, 02:41 AM
What happens is exactly what Darwin proposed: The survival of the fittest. If less food is available then the organism that requires less food survives and reproduces more than the others. Changes in organisms are due to mutations caused by the environment. Some is radioactively induced, some is chemical and some can be caused by infection. Changes are also caused by variable gene expression caused by environment. Environment means much more than the weather, it also means things like the internal chemical balance because of what a creature subsists upon.

Probably one of the most complex examples of evolution that had to work right the first time is the bombardier beetle's defense mechanism. How this evolved without killing the species is still fascinating to consider. There had to be some dead ends on this path :)

It also suggests that food alone is but one element in guiding evolutionary change. Not being food is also effective.

Mike Amick
11-23-2012, 02:51 AM
The longer they take to tell us .. the more I feel like the information will be tainted.

Evan
11-23-2012, 05:46 AM
It also suggests that food alone is but one element in guiding evolutionary change. Not being food is also effective.

Food is only one aspect. The only thing that matters is survival and the organism has no control over what makes a difference. Adaption is not evolution. The beetle undoubtedly did not develop such a defense in full form. It will have started as a simple secretion of a waste product and a chance mutation made it more forceful. Then other mutations protected the creature from its own defense system and another mutation that made it too forceful and killed it became an advantage. Mutations are not an all or nothing happening. They may have varying degrees of penetrance which varies the effect. That variation is heritable as well.

I should point out that the mechanisms of evolution are not in doubt. They are totally verified, explained and established. It isn't in question from a scientific viewpoint. From a scientists point of view it is not a theory, simply a description of how biology works. It should really be called The Law of survival of species.



The longer they take to tell us .. the more I feel like the information will be tainted.

Not so. However, there are some hints that NASA is trying to reduce our expectations a bit. They have given comment that the statements reflected John Grotzinger's usual enthusiasm for his work. I suspect the news is the discovery of abundant amounts of organic chemicals. That was a large bone of contention regarding the Viking results. Overturning those apparently negative results would be important but not quite "Earthshaking".

Abner
11-23-2012, 07:42 AM
I think they found Sharon Stone's underwear...and this is all you need to think about to understand evolutionary pressure.;)

herbet999
11-23-2012, 07:47 AM
Two billion years is a very long time. Lots of stuff happens.


Yet, human intelligence has only happened once.

herbet999
11-23-2012, 08:02 AM
The reason intelligence arises is for the same reasons. Although the chain of events is very long it is not very complicated.



Inferring from Darwinism that human self-awareness is the result of mutation seems like quite a leap

Jon Heron
11-23-2012, 08:08 AM
Has evolution been proven or replicated?
It has been proven with hard evidence, namely fossils. No matter how hard the proof is though, there will always be deniers and conspiracy theorists that will deny it to further their own agenda or to protect what they want to believe as the truth, regardless of the facts...
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-fossil-fallacy
Cheers,
Jon

Tony Ennis
11-23-2012, 08:38 AM
Yet, human intelligence has only happened once.

If one does not believe in evolution, then human-like intelligence has happened numerous times. One example is Homo heidelbergensis. Another is Homo neanderthalensis; not human yet they produced art. Further, dolphins, apes, and octopi are all reasonably smart. Crows are tool-makers. Intelligence isn't limited to humans.


Inferring from Darwinism that human self-awareness is the result of mutation is quite a leap

It's no leap at all; mutation is the mechanism by which change happens. What I personally can't comprehend is what 2,500,000 years (the start of genus Homo) means with respect to human evolution. Assuming 10 years to maturity, that's billions of Homo specimens participating in 250,000 generations of improvements to the original model. The elegance and economy of this solution to the problem of 'the environment' leaves me in awe.

This is my only and last post related to any debate involving evolution. This isn't the place for it.

A.K. Boomer
11-23-2012, 09:22 AM
Tony - although were speculating, this is the perfect OP to talk about this so I hope you will continue to contribute as I think one of the things missing from many of the "magic wand theorists" is their lack of understanding of just what kind of a time frame is involved here.

You and Evan both have tried to set this record straight - I think the immense time frame IS one of the area's that's hard for many people to wrap their heads around - I know it amazes me for the most part, this along with all the countless fossil records and proof positives in a plethora of other crosschecks and there really is no disputing it, or I should say if you ignore this than you should ignore everything that's connected to logic - and where does that leave you?

But lets say we give you the bennie of the doubt to prove yourself - we all stand to learn allot from this and flip flopping things around can be a great teaching tool.
So lets just assume for a second that this is not correct in some way - please enlighten us and tell us how, im willing to learn from sound judgment and reasoning.

You can start with when the magic wand was waved and everything went "poof"
but please give us some hard core evidence at least as good as what were giving you, and please explain how our errors in carbon dating took place as im assuming you think that this all happened in the last 4 or 6,000 years or so right?

Ok - were listening - the floor is yours... and so is the burden of proof - or poof - or whatever...

bob308
11-23-2012, 09:47 AM
watch the movie john carter it will explain all.

wierdscience
11-23-2012, 10:01 AM
watch the movie john carter it will explain all.

Oh the humanitah you mean sadistic man recommending anyone watch that disaster:D:D

Rex
11-23-2012, 10:02 AM
So, still no word as to what the discovery was?

JCHannum
11-23-2012, 10:36 AM
Who says we have evolved?

http://radio.woai.com/cc-common/news/sections/newsarticle.html?feed=104668&article=10591459

tyrone shewlaces
11-23-2012, 12:19 PM
I just heard what they found!
I got a call from a friend of mine at NASA this morning telling me that although the cost of returning it will be prohibitive, the Phillips head screwdrivers I was looking for all day last Sunday were found by the rover.
No flat heads of course. I found all of those.

Evan
11-23-2012, 01:18 PM
I really don't want anybody to feel threatened by what I have to say. The sad fact is that some will. I will say no more about it and would ask everyone else to do the same. Let's wait to hear what was found on Mars.

Spin Doctor
11-23-2012, 01:28 PM
Be a real kick if they found a seam of coal.

The Artful Bodger
11-23-2012, 02:13 PM
It found a faded, yellow, copy of a flight plan filled to Area 51.

Evan
11-23-2012, 02:21 PM
be a real kick if they found a seam of coal.

oil!!!!!!!!!!!!!

uncle pete
11-23-2012, 03:10 PM
Maybe? they found a previous unknown race of non lying semi intelligent politicians that unbelievably also have the bare minimum of common sense and morals? I'd sure have my doubts that could ever really happen though. I'd have to call bull$hit on that one. The semi intelligent I might buy, the rest would have to be total B.S.

To be OT, I think whatever they found would have something to do with proving that life doesn't only occur on this planet. Why anyone wouldn't think that wasn't a 100% certainty somewhere else is beyond me. That goes for life that's at least a lot like us. To use a convenient term, Mother Nature just isn't that random or specific that were the only ones around. The odds of it not happening would have to be astronomically large.

Pete

Evan
11-23-2012, 03:41 PM
To think that we could be the only planet in this incredible universe that has intelligent life is the height of human conceit. We are not alone.

There may not be anyone in the immediate neighbourhood at this particular time though. That is very probable. The Universe is a place with huge expanses of nearly empty space punctuated by small concentrations of matter mostly engaged in incredibly violent events. Areas such as we inhabit are the exception, not the norm. Events routinely occur that have the potential to sterilize entire galaxies.

We have been fortunate to have escaped such events until now. Even so, large portions of this galaxy have not been so fortunate. A supernova can sterilize a sphere of several hundred light years diameter, a hypernova an entire galaxy. The central 1/3 of this galaxy is uninhabitable due to the very high energy events occurring in relation to the super-massive central black hole. We live on the outskirts in a quiet zone that is relatively sparsely populated by stars. That has saved this planet from annihilation. Even so, in the history of this planet there have been events where life was almost wiped out. So far as is now known there have been five mass extinction events on Earth when up to over 90% of all life was destroyed. Life is resilient and came back but events are possible that will utterly destroy all life.

There must be other life elsewhere, the odds that there isn't are impossibly small.

Hypernova (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/04/030407075127.htm)


.

danlb
11-23-2012, 03:44 PM
My hypothesis is that a firm help belief is seldom impacted by contradicting evidence. Herbert's posts support this hypothesis, and the results are easily repeatable.

Science is always impacted by contradicting evidence. If I recall correctly, a theory may be disproved by a single experiment, but the theory is seldom considered proven. Given overwhelming evidence, a theory is considered accepted. I don't know why some are considered laws.

Personally, I do not think that my beliefs should change those of another. By the same token, I don't think some one else's beliefs should change my mind. I AM of the opinion that medicines, engineering and manufacturing should be based on science, not faith.

I can't find any news stories that disclose what they found yet. :(

Dan

wierdscience
11-23-2012, 03:48 PM
It has been proven with hard evidence, Cheers,
Jon

Be careful with that word "proven",true science is never settled.To use the word proven pushes science beyond the persuit of knowledge into religious dogma.New discoveries can always be added to existing data and even disprove some.

A recent example is the discovery that suggests man evolved from more than one group of individuals as was previously thought.We maybe branches from more than one trunk.

Evan
11-23-2012, 04:03 PM
Science is always impacted by contradicting evidence. If I recall correctly, a theory may be disproved by a single experiment, but the theory is seldom considered proven. Given overwhelming evidence, a theory is considered accepted. I don't know why some are considered laws.

It only takes a single piece of evidence to falsify a theory. Einstein's theories have so far withstood every test yet applied, and there have been many. However, it is clear that his theories fail to explain some aspects of the universe. Because of that the search for falsifying evidence continues.

Laws are principles that we have deduced that admit of no other explanation within the bounds of known science. They could be overturned by the discovery of something new but it would be of such significance that it would also overturn much of what we already know. An example would be that the laws of thermodynamics are somehow incorrect, that you can actually create energy in excess of what is present. Such a discovery would invalidate nearly all of science and place us in a realm of wizards and magicians where no rules apply. That is not likely to any degree.

bob ward
11-23-2012, 04:13 PM
Wikipedia for creationism. http://conservapedia.com/Main_Page

Mcgyver
11-23-2012, 04:28 PM
An example would be that the laws of thermodynamics are somehow incorrect, that you can actually create energy in excess of what is present. Such a discovery would invalidate nearly all of science and place us in a realm of wizards and magicians where no rules apply.

So you think Einstein wore a pointy hat with stars and moons? lol you could have said the same about Newton's laws at one point...then came relativity, then came quantum mechanics, then came ______

Laws have to have boundaries. For example, Newton's laws are used to shoot an artillery pieces or put something into orbit....but they don't work with the very fast or very small.....general relativity or quantum mechanics is needed. However they are so eminently practical for the tolerances of most earthly matters, they are called laws, even though they've since shown that they can be broken.

It's a huge mistake, hubris, to say if its discovered the current laws are not valid that we've lost all order and it's a universe of wizards. You could perhaps preface with the caveat of what we think we currently know....we are a long way from uncovering all the truths of the universe, micro and macro.


Weird, you're spot on. Scientific theories are never proven only supported or disproven. They become widely accepted after substantial evidence is gather while nothing to disprove it is found. Yet Christians and other religions choose to believe contradictory theories for which there is zero evidence. It is the intellectual rigor of the scientific process, that something can never be proven, that gives the believers the openings..."well God just put the fossils there to trick us". That too is theory....it just doesn't have shred of supporting evidence.

Evan
11-23-2012, 04:34 PM
So you think Einstein wore a pointy hat with stars and moons?

What? I fail to understand the point of your post. You seem to entirely misunderstand what I wrote.

Overturning what we call LAWS is what would overturn most of science. Not overturning theories. They are called laws because of the universal applicability to all areas of science. The universe appears to operate by a set of rules and we have discovered many of them.


It's a huge mistake, hubris, to say if its discovered the current laws are not valid that we've lost all order and it's a universe of wizards.

Really? How about an example? Scientific knowledge does not reach the status of "Law" without good reason.

Mcgyver
11-23-2012, 04:45 PM
Really? How about an example? Scientific knowledge does not reach the status of "Law" without good reason.

i gave examples - Newton's laws for example. They are laws that are practical for many purposes but have proven to have been broken, to not in fact be correct. Only hubris would cause someone to say Newton's laws or the laws of thermodynamics would never be broken (overturned)...in the case of the former the clearly have been. Its their practical applicability within specific boundaries that makes them laws (and useful), not that they are absolutely correct or can't/haven't been overturned.

Or do you profess to know all the secrets of the universe?



The universe appears to operate by a set of rules and we have discovered many of them

wrong. We've devised a number of theories that do a very good job of explaining things and making accurate predictions. That there is conflict between say relativity and quantum mechanics is enough for any scientific mind to know what have not uncovered the immutable laws of the universe.

Evan
11-23-2012, 04:57 PM
Newtons laws have not been overturned. NASA still uses them to navigate spacecraft. They have not been broken as they provide very exact answers to all questions of orbital mechanics in any realm that we encounter. They do not extend to all possible realms. That is mere incompleteness which is also present in Einstein's theories as well as quantum theory. It may also be present in thermodynamics in the quantum realm which would be an example of incompleteness.

Overturning Newtons laws would be equivalent to saying that force=mass times acceleration is no longer valid. Then what?

herbet999
11-23-2012, 05:26 PM
Further, dolphins, apes, and octopi are all reasonably smart.

Although I don't know you personally, I would venture to guess that you are slightly more intelligent than an octopus.

What I don't understand is how the theory of evolution (I thought it was still a theory) explains the gap in the level of intelligence between humans and what ever species you consider to be next on a level of intelligence.

A.K. Boomer
11-23-2012, 05:36 PM
Herbet - I see you want to still try and pick the "theory" of evolution apart yet I also see you haven't taken me up on my offer of trying to prove your theory of any kind - got a better idea that's based on facts? lets hear what you have to say when the burden of "poof" is placed on you...

Im really trying to understand here, do you have some goods or are you in so deep that it's just a matter of stubborn pride now? Maybe it's like betting on a horse? once you do you just jump up and down and say - go - go -go till the very end - I mean nobody would want to think they picked a loser of a God cuz everyone wants to win right???

herbet999
11-23-2012, 06:26 PM
... I mean nobody would want to think they picked a loser of a God cuz everyone wants to win right???

Who said anything about God?

A.K. Boomer
11-23-2012, 06:34 PM
Ok - that's a good start - were listening...

loose nut
11-23-2012, 06:55 PM
It has been proven with hard evidence, namely fossils.
Jon

Of course the evidence is hard, they are made of rock you know.:):):)

loose nut
11-23-2012, 07:04 PM
One is free to believe what they wish.

That's quite true BUT "believe does not equal truth". Show me the proof if you want me to believe.

quasi
11-23-2012, 08:19 PM
I like Huburus on Crackers.

Tony Ennis
11-23-2012, 08:23 PM
Although I don't know you personally, I would venture to guess that you are slightly more intelligent than an octopus.

Others who know me would not be so sure!

darryl
11-23-2012, 10:04 PM
Got sidetracked last night after following a few links- ended up watching a lecture by Feynman, then got into zero point energy. Somebody said that one cc of 'space' contains enough energy to create more mass than we can see in the entire visible universe. If that's the case, then mass is a conversion of a vanishingly small amount of that energy, something almost completely insignificant to the energy 'field'. At the same time, there appears to be some 'proof' of spontaneous emergence of mass from the energy field, and particularly in an organic form. It is not a stretch at all to say that this mass is born from an unimaginably dense level of intelligence (this energy field) and that, complex and difficult or impossible for us to understand as it may be, that this spontaneous emergence of structure which has evolved into us and everything else is but a mere whim or even less than that to the field itself. When a spontaneous emergence of something as incredibly complex as life has taken so little effort on the part of the 'mother field', it follows that it is virtually impossible for it not to happen.

If order can come out of chaos, then there would be an exceedingly vast level of order in the highest sense existing- little wonder that something as mundane as human intelligence has come to be. Conceit has to be one of the negative evolutionary outcomes- though it has served us in some ways, it has also separated us from a more universal and empowering connection to the 'supreme intelligence', something which animals and plants don't suffer from. Who or what are we to think that we are somehow 'a cut above' in species, or 'smarter'- we are not. We are different, yes. We are 'sub-capable' in many ways in comparison to a leaf, or an ant.

Marvelling at the exquisite intelligence of the human race by comparison to other species is something only our species is capable of lowering itself to levels where this is able to be considered. For all our advancement in science, we as yet know virtually nothing about it all, probably less so than a colony of ants.

flathead4
11-23-2012, 10:33 PM
To think that we could be the only planet in this incredible universe that has intelligent life is the height of human conceit.

Another is thinking that Homo sapiens sapiens is the pinnacle of intelligence. Last I heard, evolution is still occuring and there is no evidence that we have become exempt. The deniers of evolution always argue that a species "as intelligent as us" could not have possibly evolved. That's the conceit talking. Who knows what we will become in the next 2.5 million years, assuming we survive. Our children's children's children will think of us as we think of H. erectus.

Tom

wierdscience
11-23-2012, 10:51 PM
Weird, you're spot on. Scientific theories are never proven only supported or disproven. They become widely accepted after substantial evidence is gather while nothing to disprove it is found. Yet Christians and other religions choose to believe contradictory theories for which there is zero evidence. It is the intellectual rigor of the scientific process, that something can never be proven, that gives the believers the openings..."well God just put the fossils there to trick us". That too is theory....it just doesn't have shred of supporting evidence.

Too many religious people have a bad habit of reading things in scripture that simply aren't there,the supposed 6,000 year age of the Earth is one of them.Nowhere in the Bible does it say any such thing,yet here we are.

I for one do believe that there is an intelligence behind what exists,too many coincidences means it's not a coincidence and I don't believe I am alone in that belief-

Richard Feynman- "Why nature is mathematical is a mystery...The fact that there are rules at all is a kind of miracle."

Astrophysicist Robert Jastrow- "The seed of everything that has happened in the Universe was planted in that first instant; every star, every planet and every living creature in the Universe came into being as a result of events that were set in motion in the moment of the cosmic explosion...The Universe flashed into being, and we cannot find out what caused that to happen"

Dinesh D'Souza-"The greatest scientists have been struck by how strange this is. There is no logical necessity for a universe that obeys rules, let alone one that abides by the rules of mathematics. This astonishment springs from the recognition that the universe doesn't have to behave this way. It is easy to imagine a universe in which conditions change unpredictably from instant to instant, or even a universe in which things pop in and out of existence."

IMHO Evolution is simply a process and not an operating program.I don't believe the Earth is only 6,000 years old,I also don't believe the Universe and everything in it is simply an infinite number of lucky accidents that happen to dovetail together perfectly.

wierdscience
11-23-2012, 11:26 PM
Another is thinking that Homo sapiens sapiens is the pinnacle of intelligence. Last I heard, evolution is still occuring and there is no evidence that we have become exempt. The deniers of evolution always argue that a species "as intelligent as us" could not have possibly evolved. That's the conceit talking. Who knows what we will become in the next 2.5 million years, assuming we survive. Our children's children's children will think of us as we think of H. erectus.

Tom

Or simply great,great,grandfather:)

Ever read up on genetic memory?Intuitive reason is extremely rare,it is believed that only three animals truely posses the ability-Humans,Dolphins and Killer Whales which also happen to have the highest brain to body weight ratios.

Mcgyver
11-23-2012, 11:41 PM
I for one do believe that there is an intelligence behind what exists,too many coincidences means it's not a coincidence and I don't believe I am alone in that belief-


that describes a deist, probably what many of us are. That is very, very different than being a theist; believing in magical men in the sky and talking snakes. A deist has no qualms with science and free rational thought whereas a theist believes what he's told and surrenders free thought.

A.K. Boomer
11-24-2012, 12:16 AM
Imma more of a peist, imma getting more peist the more we talka about theist... :)

danlb
11-24-2012, 01:55 AM
I for one do believe that there is an intelligence behind what exists,too many coincidences means it's not a coincidence and I don't believe I am alone in that belief-


This statement carries with it an inference that man is here on purpose. Take that away and there are no coincidences. We happen to be here and there is no "why" behind it.

Will man become smarter? Why should we? The flaw of evolution as a development model is that it stops just as soon as it is good enough.

A proof for that theory is in the answer for "Why do male mammals have nipples?" The answer is "Why not, since there is no advantage to be had by losing them." Neutral features are not removed from the genome.

I suspect that mankind, it general, will get dumber, not smarter. There is no need to be smarter in order to live a long life. There is no need to be smarter to have more children. The dumbest people I know have 5 to 9 children. The smartest have 1 or 2. It takes only a half dozen generations for those with 8 kids to overwhelm the families with one.

Any news yet about the rover?


Dan

dp
11-24-2012, 02:32 AM
There was a recently invented theory of irreducible complexity that is intended to explain the impossibility of incrementalism in certain cases of evolution. A mouse trap was given as an example of being irreducible - you cannot take away any part of it and still have a mouse trap, therefor it cannot be an evolutionary achievement. I was not aware at the time I posted about the bombardier beetle being an example if irreducible complexity. Since it happened it is obviously not impossible to create the defense mechanism behind the beetle's success.

As for the mousetrap - one look at a mantis shrimp shows nature solved that one, too. It is anyone's guess how many failed experiments preceded the successful roll-out of these amazing critters.

At the time they appeared there was no possibility to understand the importance of feathers, but they changed everything. Probably the greatest engine of change over the entire history of earth is the great die-offs. Be they caused by meteors, plague, plate tectonics and subsequent climate change, or opportunistic prion populations, the result has always been an upheaval in the makeup of life.

But - monotremes are impossible owing to irreducible complexity. :)

Fasttrack
11-24-2012, 03:33 AM
I'll admit I didn't read most of the posts ... but I'm going to post anyway.


Newtons laws have not been overturned. NASA still uses them to navigate spacecraft. They have not been broken as they provide very exact answers to all questions of orbital mechanics in any realm that we encounter. They do not extend to all possible realms. That is mere incompleteness which is also present in Einstein's theories as well as quantum theory. It may also be present in thermodynamics in the quantum realm which would be an example of incompleteness.


That's a somewhat delicate topic; they have not been "over-turned" but neither are they inviolate (as presented by Newton), thus they are not "laws". Mike is correct in saying that Newton's laws are only approximations; in fact they don't hold for deformable bodies (like fluids) or for distributed bodies ... like you know ... solid things. They only work for point particles and bodies that can be approximated as such.

Mechanics (as used by NASA, et al) is more properly understood as stemming from a fundamental principle of least action, e.g. Lagrangian (or better yet: Hamiltonian) mechanics. Hamiltonian mechanics is the most important since it provides the fundamental framework from which BOTH classical and quantum mechanics is derived from. And of course, quantum mechanics is the generalization of classical mechanics, i.e. Ehrenfest theorem.




Overturning Newtons laws would be equivalent to saying that force=mass times acceleration is no longer valid. Then what?

MOND

Fasttrack
11-24-2012, 03:42 AM
Seems like quite a leap of faith to compare the spontaneous appearance of human intelligence to some experimentation using e coli.

Actually, there is very interesting research that is giving impressive insight into conscious thought. Not only is exciting for the pure sake of understanding, but it has the potential to accurately diagnose and cure (not just treat) schizophrenia and epilepsy. It turns out that our conscious mind can be understood in a fashion similar to ferromagnetism and the Ising model. In essence, consciousness is a product of criticality, i.e., consciousness evolves from randomness because there are external stimuli. There appears to be a reasonable statistical mechanical explanation for consciousness!

Evan
11-24-2012, 04:42 AM
Of course they are approximations. Everything that deals with the real world is an approximation, even mathematics. Between any pair of rational numbers there are an infinite number of irrational numbers.

There is a big difference between incompleteness and incorrectness. I am not making up those terms. They are part of Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/goedel/

Until and only if we develop a true "theory of everything" all theories will be incomplete. Since true completeness is impossible in classical mathematics that may not be possible.

Even using only Newtons Laws of Motion we cannot solve the three body problem. There is an elegant solution found over 100 years ago but it converges so slowly that a solution will take longer than the life span of the universe. It is an intractable problem and it seems it has no usable general case solution. The same applies to numerous other problems.

Everything we know about the Universe is an approximation to the truth. That set of approximations becomes closer to the truth as we discover more. There is no likelihood that Newtons Laws will be overturned. To do so would require invalidating all other principles of motion including Einstein's theories.

There is no requirement that scientific Laws be rigorously accurate mathematically. That is impossible at all but the most trivial level where integer mathematics will suffice. Even then infinities may arise.

Evan
11-24-2012, 04:58 AM
There appears to be a reasonable statistical mechanical explanation for consciousness!

If that is true then an AI should be relatively easy to build. We shall see. I doubt it.

I have been doing a lot of studying on the form of the brain and its components and how it interacts internally, as far as we know. I have very serious doubts that we can fully characterize it. It is nothing at all similar to any sort of computer that we know about. Just modelling a single neuron reasonably accurately with its interactions with other neurons would require all the resources of a very powerful computer to even approximate. The so called "neural network" models we play with now have almost no resemblance to the real thing. The real thing is many orders of magnitude more complex. Even just the interactions at a single synapse are mediated by as many as 1470 neurotransmitter proteins. Each neuron may have thousands of synapses and each synapse not only interacts with the one to which it is connected but it also interacts with nearby synapses and they with it in a variable manner that depends on thousands of variables. All of that also interacts with the local environment and the chemical composition of same. That is almost infinitely variable.

flathead4
11-24-2012, 08:21 AM
Will man become smarter? Why should we? The flaw of evolution as a development model is that it stops just as soon as it is good enough.


The flaw in the statement is that it assumes that conditions around us will stay the same. Even if the climate on Earth were to stay the same, our own actions have input to evolution. For example, our technology constantly redefines who is the "fittest." Those who can not keep up with the technology find themselves in lower paying jobs with less chance of finding a desirable mate.

Tom

rohart
11-24-2012, 09:24 AM
Well, thanks. Now I don't know if I'm an atheist, or an adeist. I believe it's all random - there's nothing anywhere controlling anything. So ?

I read in an article by a fellow called Oliver Burkeman today the thought that in the old days religion might have been considered as their best bet for science.

My interest in evolution at the moment is to try to understand what are the forces that will drive the future evolution of our species. In the past, changes to the environment, and mutations, have allowed a species to thrive at the expense of other species. The availablity of food and benign living conditions have been the major positive factors in success.

But these days human intelligence takes some part in the equation. Some sections of our species - the rich and 'powerful' - are considered successful even if they do not reproduce in massive numbers. Under any serious environmental threat, numerosity would be a negative force - the hungry masses would die first. The rich in their bunkers would survive at least until the second round.

So how do you measure fitness nowadays ?

A.K. Boomer
11-24-2012, 09:30 AM
Flathead, Finding a "desirable mate" has nothing to do with it, and in fact they don't even have to work, they heap that load on the "fittest" as you call them.

So they procreate at an alarming rate even though they are sloths and have an IQ in the double digits,
They are the worst examples of both the physical and mental evolutionary process and yet they are thriving - It's not only bass ackwards to the evolutionary process - it makes you wonder who the dummy's really are...

As far as what it does to the "herd" or "pack" --- it's the equivalent of trophy hunting....

aostling
11-24-2012, 09:36 AM
There appears to be a reasonable statistical mechanical explanation for consciousness!

Your post is perfectly timed to coincide with this front page article in today's NYT http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/24/science/scientists-see-advances-in-deep-learning-a-part-of-artificial-intelligence.html?hp&_r=0, about new field of deep learning.



The technology, called deep learning, has already been put to use in services like Apple’s Siri virtual personal assistant, which is based on Nuance Communications’ speech recognition service, and in Google’s Street View, which uses machine vision to identify specific addresses.

But what is new in recent months is the growing speed and accuracy of deep-learning programs, often called artificial neural networks or just “neural nets” for their resemblance to the neural connections in the brain.

aboard_epsilon
11-24-2012, 09:40 AM
cant be that bigger find ..its been three days now ..and no more news ..

all the best.markj

wierdscience
11-24-2012, 09:51 AM
This statement carries with it an inference that man is here on purpose. Take that away and there are no coincidences. We happen to be here and there is no "why" behind it.

Will man become smarter? Why should we? The flaw of evolution as a development model is that it stops just as soon as it is good enough.

Experimental model for possible further distribution.


A proof for that theory is in the answer for "Why do male mammals have nipples?" The answer is "Why not, since there is no advantage to be had by losing them." Neutral features are not removed from the genome.

Think of the human,or any other mammal.Our bodies are like base model cars,the car has to run,drive and stop(DNA/RNA),but doesn't have to have power brakes and AC unless they are ordered(Chromosomes/hormones)so the car may not have power brakes or AC,but the bolt holes for those features are there anyway.


I suspect that mankind, it general, will get dumber, not smarter. There is no need to be smarter in order to live a long life. There is no need to be smarter to have more children. The dumbest people I know have 5 to 9 children. The smartest have 1 or 2. It takes only a half dozen generations for those with 8 kids to overwhelm the families with one.
Dan

That is only a function of environment factors.Family size has nothing to do with it,add in housing,ADC,SNAP and TWIC then combine with public education and there you have it.

herbet999
11-24-2012, 09:51 AM
Actually, there is very interesting research that is giving impressive insight into conscious thought. Not only is exciting for the pure sake of understanding, but it has the potential to accurately diagnose and cure (not just treat) schizophrenia and epilepsy. It turns out that our conscious mind can be understood in a fashion similar to ferromagnetism and the Ising model. In essence, consciousness is a product of criticality, i.e., consciousness evolves from randomness because there are external stimuli. There appears to be a reasonable statistical mechanical explanation for consciousness!

wow.. I have no idea what you just said

wierdscience
11-24-2012, 09:57 AM
Flathead, Finding a "desirable mate" has nothing to do with it, and in fact they don't even have to work, they heap that load on the "fittest" as you call them.

So they procreate at an alarming rate even though they are sloths and have an IQ in the double digits,
They are the worst examples of both the physical and mental evolutionary process and yet they are thriving - It's not only bass ackwards to the evolutionary process - it makes you wonder who the dummy's really are...

As far as what it does to the "herd" or "pack" --- it's the equivalent of trophy hunting....

Like I told my brother the otherday,it's hard for me to get a date because I lack three essential things-earings,tattos and felony convictions:D

wierdscience
11-24-2012, 10:03 AM
cant be that bigger find ..its been three days now ..and no more news ..

all the best.markj

Supposed to be announced Dec 2nd or 3rd.The word "Earth shattering" is a clue.

loose nut
11-24-2012, 11:06 AM
So they procreate at an alarming rate even though they are sloths and have an IQ in the double digits,
They are the worst examples of both the physical and mental evolutionary process and yet they are thriving - It's not only bass ackwards to the evolutionary process - it makes you wonder who the dummy's really are...


How do you think the planet got 7,000,000,000people on it, half of which have trouble or can't feed them self?

It started a couple of centuries ago when we quit killing deformed births and prevented mental or physically handicapped people from breeding. Human evolution has effectively stopped and as you posted is heading downward. For those that wonder what homo sapiens might evolve into in a couple of million years, it is very unlikely that we will survive at all. Population stress on the planet and the masses on it are quickly reaching the breaking point and to make it worse we now have the power to exterminate our selves when the inevitable war to end all wars happens. On the plus side if there are any survivors in the radioactive chem/bio polluted future they will have to revert to a evolution friendly way of life to have any chance of survival. A severely reduced population and brutal existence will reset the evolutionary clock and we can start all over again.

loose nut
11-24-2012, 11:16 AM
Too many religious people have a bad habit of reading things in scripture that simply aren't there,the supposed 6,000 year age of the Earth is one of them.Nowhere in the Bible does it say any such thing,yet here we are.

.

It is a knee jerk reaction by the so-called religious to try and discredit the dating evidence, presented by the various sciences, to others of their religion.

The age of the planet can be gauged by the rock it is made of, the age of the universe can be determined by how far you can see by looking through a telescope etc (13.3 light years plus). The Bible daters have nothing but subjective interpretation to back up there claim.

loose nut
11-24-2012, 11:24 AM
"Why do male mammals have nipples?"
Any news yet about the rover?



Teacher, teacher I know this one!!!!!

I don't know if this applies to all male mammals (in should but I can say for sure, I'm a welder not a biologist) but as far as humans are concerned it is because all humans are conceived as females but at some point in the gestation period the male chromosomes kick in and half of us become male babies. The nipples are just left over bits from the earlier development stage.

Tony Ennis
11-24-2012, 11:25 AM
How do you think the planet got 7,000,000,000people on it, half of which have trouble or can't feed them self?


Agriculture. It's a lovely invention.

Arcane
11-24-2012, 11:31 AM
About the only thing that could be a "really big deal" is the discovery of organic chemistry of some sort.

loose nut
11-24-2012, 11:33 AM
Agriculture feeds the masses but pulling your zipper down is what makes them. When hordes of people do it with out though of what will happen you get 7,000,000,000 and counting.

A.K. Boomer
11-24-2012, 11:58 AM
It's a little of both - a happy belly makes people frisky...


I really don't care what they find on mars - this post was already worth it due to hearing everone's thoughts, yes everyone's

esp. Quasi's comment of: "I like Huburus on Crackers."

that good stuff - lol

flathead4
11-24-2012, 12:03 PM
Flathead, Finding a "desirable mate" has nothing to do with it, and in fact they don't even have to work, they heap that load on the "fittest" as you call them.

I was only trying to make the point that human evolution continues and that many factors contribute to it. You certainly can not take a time-slice of some local condition and predict where we are headed.


Agriculture. It's a lovely invention.
In itself, it is not a bad thing but without excessive, for-profit, First World agriculture, there would be no Third World overpopulation. People are made of food.

Tom

Mcgyver
11-24-2012, 12:21 PM
Agriculture feeds the masses but pulling your zipper down is what makes them. When hordes of people do it with out though of what will happen you get 7,000,000,000 and counting.

true.....peel the layers back a bit its currently potash that feeds the masses (through crop yield) and its a finite resource. The rate of its application despite diminishing returns on yield increases coupled with the large increases in production that will come on stream a few years (lets use it all up ASAP) should hold some concern. Yet there is barely a leader out there doing anything but lip service to the notion of sustainability

perhaps Malthus will have his day.

lakeside53
11-24-2012, 12:44 PM
It will eventually be self regulating. Oil and food will run out for those who can't pay for it. Most of the Midwest bread-basket (feeding way more than the USA) goes back to desert or Buffallo grass (if resown) when the aquifer is gone - 20 years?

wierdscience
11-24-2012, 12:45 PM
It is a knee jerk reaction by the so-called religious to try and discredit the dating evidence, presented by the various sciences, to others of their religion.

The age of the planet can be gauged by the rock it is made of, the age of the universe can be determined by how far you can see by looking through a telescope etc (13.3 light years plus). The Bible daters have nothing but subjective interpretation to back up there claim.

I said the same thing with a lot less words:D

flathead4
11-24-2012, 12:51 PM
perhaps Malthus will have his day

Hard to have your day when you are dead.:) But it is obvious that feeding the poor just makes more poor. We have tough decisions to make. If we don't make them, nature will.

I hope they found fossils on Mars. To me that would be earth shatterring to me.

Tom

Tony Ennis
11-24-2012, 12:51 PM
It will eventually be self regulating.

All biological systems are self-regulating. If food (or some other critical resource) is abundant, there will be more reproduction until there isn't enough of that resource. A healthy biological system is always under stress.

Fasttrack
11-24-2012, 01:41 PM
There is no requirement that scientific Laws be rigorously accurate mathematically. That is impossible at all but the most trivial level where integer mathematics will suffice. Even then infinities may arise.

... the statement regarding the impossibility of mathematically rigorous physical laws is completely incorrect. Thus far, we lack rigor in QCD but QED and Hamiltonian mechanics are both formally rigorous theories. Providing the rigor for QCD is one of the million dollar prize problems and is almost guaranteed to land one the Nobel prize or Fields medal.

And to claim that either QED or Hamiltonian mechanics are examples of integer mathematics is laughable. Perhaps you were making a statement about accuracy and not rigor? In which case, we still have a problem with the statement since QED is accurate to the highest experimental precision. I believe it is currently tested out to 12 and 1/2 decimals.

Furthermore, the fact that there are an infinite number of irrational numbers between integer numbers does not make any statement regarding accuracy or approximation. You seem to be making an implicit argument that anything not an integer is an approximation of an irrational number. There is no reason that this must be the case.

Regardless, the fact remains that the term "laws" is misleading. For instance, children learn about "Newton's Law of Gravity" but this is not a law at all. There are "laws" which we consider fundamental; overturning these would put is in a land of wizards and magic, so to speak. Those are not Newton's laws, but instead things like Noether's theorem.

Fasttrack
11-24-2012, 01:51 PM
If that is true then an AI should be relatively easy to build. We shall see. I doubt it.

I have been doing a lot of studying on the form of the brain and its components and how it interacts internally, as far as we know. I have very serious doubts that we can fully characterize it. It is nothing at all similar to any sort of computer that we know about. Just modelling a single neuron reasonably accurately with its interactions with other neurons would require all the resources of a very powerful computer to even approximate. The so called "neural network" models we play with now have almost no resemblance to the real thing. The real thing is many orders of magnitude more complex. Even just the interactions at a single synapse are mediated by as many as 1470 neurotransmitter proteins. Each neuron may have thousands of synapses and each synapse not only interacts with the one to which it is connected but it also interacts with nearby synapses and they with it in a variable manner that depends on thousands of variables. All of that also interacts with the local environment and the chemical composition of same. That is almost infinitely variable.

I think you misunderstand ... As you say, the brain cannot be modeled (efficiently) by a computer that is fundamentally a binary system. Instead, one needs statistical mechanics to understand the brain since neurons form complex relationships with other neurons in the brain - it's not a 1:1 correspondence.

The parameter of criticality in the brain is the number of connections between neurons. When the number of connections reaches the critical point, the brain is the most sensitive to external stimuli - small changes in stimuli cause cascade firings of neurons. This is similar to holding a ferromagnetic system at the critical temperature. A small deviation in temperature results in rapid change of state. The model for consciousness is far more complex than the Ising model, but the essence is the same.

In samples of healthy human brain tissue, the research group was able to diagnose epilepsy and schizophrenia with 100% accuracy by recording and analyzing neuron firings. Until now, there have been no rigorous tests for schizophrenia and epilepsy is likewise difficult to diagnose given only a small sample of healthy brain tissue.

The paper has not yet been published, but what I have presented here has been published in initial papers or has been released publicly already.


Now, understanding the statistical mechanics of brain consciousness is vastly different from understanding how to recreate it - especially when we are constrained to binary systems.

Mcgyver
11-24-2012, 02:48 PM
That's a somewhat delicate topic; they have not been "over-turned" but neither are they inviolate (as presented by Newton), thus they are not "laws".


I have heard of this referred to as delicate business, but don't 100% understand it.... given you're likely the most knowledgeable here by a wide margin on the subject I'd be curious on your take.

Why is it delicate? Is it because people like Newton are iconic and so strong admired by many that its just politically incorrect to say it describes a lot of things very well but its been proven incorrect?

danlb
11-24-2012, 03:01 PM
Will man become smarter? Why should we? The flaw of evolution as a development model is that it stops just as soon as it is good enough.

The flaw in the statement is that it assumes that conditions around us will stay the same. Even if the climate on Earth were to stay the same, our own actions have input to evolution. For example, our technology constantly redefines who is the "fittest." Those who can not keep up with the technology find themselves in lower paying jobs with less chance of finding a desirable mate.
680 overpass hole
Tom

I give you that point, but there is nothing in that equation that will prevent the guy with the low paying job from passing on his genes via a half dozen kids. There is also no reason for a more desirable wife to be any smarter or more fit in today's society. Snookie as an example? Lady Gaga? Oh, plumbers get $100 an hour here. Programmers are under $50.

I assert that man started to defeat evolution when compassion overcame practicality. Diabetics used to die young. Now they live a normal life, but pass on that gene to their kids. Without civilization they will die. Same with other congenital diseases. Without medication or medical intervention many would die at birth or shortly thereafter. In 2010, 32.8% of US births were via C-section. Have we bred a generation that can't even give birth?


I'm still waiting for the rover news. No leaks yet?

Dan

Evan
11-24-2012, 03:15 PM
And to claim that either QED or Hamiltonian mechanics are examples of integer mathematics is laughable. Perhaps you were making a statement about accuracy and not rigor? In which case, we still have a problem with the statement since QED is accurate to the highest experimental precision. I believe it is currently tested out to 12 and 1/2 decimals.

What I said is that everything is an approximation of reality. You just made that point in saying that QED is tested to only 12.5 places. That's nothing, not even good enough to navigate using Kepler's laws. Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem demonstrates that some parts of classical mathematics are correct but cannot be proven to be correct. If that sounds like a paradox, it is. It even has a name that I cannot recall, So and so's Paradox.

That has nothing to do with rigour of the solution, only the accuracy of the answers the solution provides. What I wrote is "There is no requirement that scientific Laws be rigorously accurate mathematically.". That is not the same as being logically rigorous.

Evan
11-24-2012, 03:30 PM
The Incompleteness Theorem has many implications. All mathematics has classical mathematics as its base. Since classical mathematics cannot be proven to be correct then neither can anything else. This leads directly to such things as the "Halting Problem" which is a proof that no non-trivial computer program can be proven to be free of errors. That is where the reference to integer mathematics is from. Only solutions using integer math can be proven to be correct and even then only in trivial cases. Mathematics relies on certain assumptions of correctness. They must be made since they cannot be proven.

One example is division by zero. We solve that problem by not allowing it. That isn't a solution at all, we simply skirt around the problem. The other possible solution is to allow it to produce the result of infinity. That helps nothing but is a valid interpretation. That problem shows up everywhere in math and infinity is a much better answer since it carries better intuitive "correctness". The problem is that we have no way to deal with infinities in classical mathematics.

aostling
11-24-2012, 04:59 PM
.. children learn about "Newton's Law of Gravity" but this is not a law at all. There are "laws" which we consider fundamental; overturning these would put is in a land of wizards and magic, so to speak. Those are not Newton's laws, but instead things like Noether's theorem.

I heard about Emmy Noether http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emmy_Noether only a few years ago. When I was a student there was never a mention in any of my thermodynamics classes that the so-called First Law is a consequence of symmetries in space and time. Noether showed that the conservation laws for momentum and energy are equivalent. I doubt that my engineering professors were even aware of this.

Noether was high in the pantheon of great mathematicians, right up there with Gauss, Newton, Fermat, Reimann, Archimedes, Leonhard Euler, Galois, Godel, Von Neumann, et.al. Do they teach her theorem in engineering courses these days?

flathead4
11-24-2012, 06:01 PM
Diabetics used to die young. Now they live a normal life, but pass on that gene to their kids. Without civilization they will die.

That's even a better example of the point I was trying to make. The diabetic, who in the past would die young, will live to pass on his traits. And one of those traits might be just what the human race needs to survive.

Tom

Deja Vu
11-24-2012, 06:15 PM
It will eventually be self regulating. Oil and food will run out for those who can't pay for it. Most of the Midwest bread-basket (feeding way more than the USA) goes back to desert or Buffallo grass (if resown) when the aquifer is gone - 20 years?
That might be one scenario. Can't rule out the Yellowstone Caldera deciding to throw a fit and affecting a vast area.

Deja Vu
11-24-2012, 06:21 PM
I'm still waiting for the rover news. No leaks yet?

Dan
I can only imagine that all the excitement was for naught and only an attempt to get our attention, OR, I see very busy laboratories as scientists methodically analyse the samples making sure that what they suspect can be verified before putting out any assertions.

dfw5914
11-24-2012, 06:34 PM
Every other big announcement has been underwhelming, I expect more of the same.

Evan
11-24-2012, 06:42 PM
I have seen some more comments from people in the space program. While they have no direct knowledge of what has been found their best guesses are something to do with organic compounds. What they cannot guess at is the complexity of the organics. Methane is not exciting but a wide range of amino acids will be.

There won't be any leaks unless somebody doesn't care about their career. Leaking something like this in advance of the conference would be occupational suicide.

loose nut
11-24-2012, 08:29 PM
I said the same thing with a lot less words:D

I was feeling talkative.

Fasttrack
11-24-2012, 08:33 PM
What I said is that everything is an approximation of reality. You just made that point in saying that QED is tested to only 12.5 places. That's nothing, not even good enough to navigate using Kepler's laws.

That statement seriously hurts your credibility and demonstrates a major lack of understanding. I'm certain you know better.

As you may remember, we had a discussion here earlier about the power and/or utility of the appeal to consensus; specifically I mentioned that we piece together a picture of reality using a variety of techniques. It is absolutely correct to say that everything is an approximation of reality.

I am well versed in Goedel's Incompleteness Theorem and I believe you have misunderstood it or have been influenced by mainstream philosophical interpretations of it. Hamiltonian mechanics and QED are consistent, rigorous, proven theories. The incompleteness theorem does not apply. You could make the statement that there are physical theories that are correct but not mathematically provable (e.g., QCD may fall into this category).


I think your use of the word "rigor" is inappropriate. It either means rigorous in the mathematical sense or it is redundant; I am uncertain how you expect us to interpret the expression. Just so we're clear; when you say classical mathematics, you are referring to the ZFC sets?

Fasttrack
11-24-2012, 08:45 PM
Why is it delicate? Is it because people like Newton are iconic and so strong admired by many that its just politically incorrect to say it describes a lot of things very well but its been proven incorrect?

I consider it delicate because we have to be really careful about our word choice. Newton's Laws are problematic for physicists because they aren't rooted in any fundamental principles and don't have any elegant mathematical justification. In practice, they perform very well but they are, in essence, empirical "laws" with no "connective tissue".

For instance, Modern physics is built around the (reasonable) belief that the laws of physics look the same everywhere and don't change in time (actually, that's an over-simplification). The notion of symmetries leads to conservation laws (energy, momentum, charge, etc) and is the foundation for modern theories. On the other hand, there is no good reason to believe that force should equal mass times acceleration. Nevertheless, this empirical observation is a good one!

Fasttrack
11-24-2012, 08:51 PM
Noether was high in the pantheon of great mathematicians, right up there with Gauss, Newton, Fermat, Reimann, Archimedes, Leonhard Euler, Galois, Godel, Von Neumann, et.al. Do they teach her theorem in engineering courses these days?

Having never taken an engineering course, I can't say. However, Noether's theorem is typically mentioned in undergraduate physics courses but it's not until a more advanced graduate level class that you get into the meat of the theorem. When I get back to my house, I will scan a sketch of how Noether's theorem is useful. It tells us that for any symmetry that leaves the action of a system invariant, there is a corresponding conserved quantity. The conservation of electric charge, hypercharge, quark color, lepton number, energy, momentum, etc is due to various types of symmetries.

lakeside53
11-24-2012, 09:23 PM
That might be one scenario. Can't rule out the Yellowstone Caldera deciding to throw a fit and affecting a vast area.

But one will happen in 20 years; the other may be tomorrow or 10,000...

Evan
11-24-2012, 11:09 PM
I think your use of the word "rigor" is inappropriate. It either means rigorous in the mathematical sense or it is redundant; I am uncertain how you expect us to interpret the expression. Just so we're clear; when you say classical mathematics, you are referring to the ZFC sets?

The rigour of any proof or solution is determined by logic. This is closely connected to computers in which all mathematics is reduced to integer form at the lowest level. All computer mathematics is directly reducible to logic statements. It must be. Classical mathematics is the mathematics of Plato which is integer mathematics. I am somewhat familiar with ZF set theory. The problem with classical mathematics is that it cannot be proven correct using classical mathematics. That is the paradox that requires assumptions to create axioms.

This is enough. It isn't relevant to this post.

Fasttrack
11-24-2012, 11:37 PM
This is enough. It isn't relevant to this post.


I will bite my tongue, then. I forgot the original topic and I apologize for derailing the thread.

A.K. Boomer
11-25-2012, 12:42 AM
The OP breeds speculation - its just that you two took it to a level that lost me along time ago - lol
still fun to try and read some of the big words. :)

aostling
11-25-2012, 02:00 AM
I'm not giving up on something imaged by MAHLI, that Mars Hand Lens Imager which Evan told us about. With all the evidence for past oceans on the planet, maybe there are sea shells in the soil. Extraterrestrial oysters, anyone?

darryl
11-25-2012, 04:06 AM
Something earth-shattering was it- hmm. Maybe they found Teslas oscillator :)

A.K. Boomer
11-25-2012, 08:09 AM
I think most of us would agree it's related to life there, if not then what else could cause a big stir?

gold? lol diamonds? although diamonds might/would mean life right?

vpt
11-25-2012, 09:17 AM
That unobtainium everyone keeps talking about.

MichaelP
11-25-2012, 11:47 AM
The Part Two of the Maya calendar: from 12/22/2012 on.

lazlo
11-25-2012, 12:11 PM
The Part Two of the Maya calendar: from 12/22/2012 on.

The Mayan Y2K :D

lazlo
11-25-2012, 12:15 PM
For example, our technology constantly redefines who is the "fittest." Those who can not keep up with the technology find themselves in lower paying jobs with less chance of finding a desirable mate.

Not sure if that's true Tom. Engineers certainly make a very good salary, but we're not at the top of the food chain. By your definition, evolution will result in the ultimate investment banker :)

Edit: skipping over the inevitable pissing contest, Dan's examples of Snookie and Lady Gaga are a perfect example :)

Assuming there's extra-terrestrial life (based on the sheer statistics), that's why they don't visit us: we're a race of morons, watching Jersey Shore and entertained by a woman wearing raw meat http://www.practicalmachinist.com/eek.gif

flathead4
11-25-2012, 02:13 PM
skipping over the inevitable pissing contest, Dan's examples of Snookie and Lady Gaga are a perfect example

I prefer Dan's examples of how technology has allowed people with Diabetes and other diseases to live normal lives. How many great thinkers, like Stephen Hawking, were able to live and contibute to human knowledge because of technology. How many board members here are diabetic or were born by C-section? Would it have been better for the human race if you would have just died instead of contribute your bit of innovation? Of course there is no way to predict what the human race will need to survive in the coming years and whether our technology will be our savior or our downfall.


Tom

Mcgyver
11-25-2012, 02:23 PM
we're a race of morons, watching Jersey Shore and entertained by a woman wearing raw meat http://www.practicalmachinist.com/eek.gif

increasingly so. Evolution has been arrested - doesn't matter who makes what income, provided they survive to breeding age which means everyone in the developed world. There's even a semi-case for arguing there is de-evolution; that we will dumb down to the level required for survival. If there's a correlation between intellect and prosperity, and we know there is just about a universal correlation between prosperity and birth rates, and Levitt and Dubner make a compelling arument that the single biggest factor in someones intellect is who their parents are.....then there's a highly politically incorrect case to be made for ongoing dilution of intellect in the gene pool. I proffer the popularity of Michael Jackson, Jersey Shore and Windows 8 as strong compelling evidence of de-evolution. :D

Evan
11-25-2012, 02:25 PM
Assuming there's extra-terrestrial life (based on the sheer statistics), that's why they don't visit us: we're a race of morons, ...

To quote The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, "Mostly Harmless".

lazlo
11-25-2012, 02:25 PM
I prefer Dan's examples of how technology has allowed people with Diabetes and other diseases to live normal lives. How many great thinkers, like Stephen Hawking, were able to live and contibute to human knowledge because of technology. How many board members here are diabetic or were born by C-section?

But evolution works by statistics. Stephen Hawking only had 1 child. As Dan and AK pointed out, there's no longer any natural selection: smart people tend to have few children, and Snookie and Lady Gaga fans tend to have a lot of them :)


To quote The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, "Mostly Harmless".

No doubt. The truly embarrassing part is that we're broadcasting that sh!t into space, so 4 years from now when that broadcast hits Alpha Centauri, they'll just be shaking their heads :)

Evan
11-25-2012, 02:37 PM
It's absolutely true. Intelligence short circuits evolutionary processes and not just at the level of humans. Human intelligence is no different in kind from that of a dog, it's only a matter of degree. As soon as a species develops any degree of intelligence that plays a part in further evolution. Even a planaria flatworm is able to learn in order to find light. That is the earliest step up the ladder. Sensors become evolved and eventually you end up with a brain that can plan and anticipate the results of actions. Dogs are at that level. When that happens evolution plays a much smaller part. Dogs made a choice to associate with humans which tied their evolutionary fate to us. Dogs have been extremely successful.

Incidentally, the type of meddling we do with dogs in creating various breeds is not a form of directed evolution. If you put a pack of random breeds together the offspring immediately revert to the original phenotype within about 3 generations.

flathead4
11-25-2012, 03:57 PM
Intelligence short circuits evolutionary processes and not just at the level of humans.

I disagree.


As soon as a species develops any degree of intelligence that plays a part in further evolution.

I agree. There are many inputs to evolution, intelligence included. And I disagree that evolution has stopped, as much as some people would like (desperately want) it to be so. Also, you can hardly say we are "devolving" based a few years of crappy TV and overbreeding. Evolution is a slow process.

Tom

Evan
11-25-2012, 04:01 PM
Intelligence makes it possible for the unfit to survive. Whether that is a good or bad thing is a different discussion.

dp
11-25-2012, 04:22 PM
Intelligence makes it possible for the unfit to survive.

So does love. All babies are born unfit, for example, but most grow into becoming self-sufficient. Some can never care for themselves at any time in their lives, but survive because they are loved.

Intelligence is a consequence of evolution and augments evolution but cannot replace it. If it is in our genes to hit an evolutionary wall as has happened with all other apes, all the intelligence in the world can't help us. We haven't hit our wall yet but I'm certain we will. We haven't the intelligence to prevent our own self-destruction. One indicator is New Orleans has not been given back to the sea. We're deluded into believing we can hang on to that hole in the ocean with technology and by pouring money into it. We respond badly to obvious flawed ideas. War being another example.

I think we are more clever than intelligent.

danlb
11-25-2012, 04:45 PM
In first world countries, I appears that neither strength, intelligence, wealth nor health are required for survival. The propagation of your genes has been reduced to the simple feat of getting someone to sleep with you without birth control. You don't even need to be good at it when the prospect pool is large enough.

Beer factors in there somewhere. So does lack of scruples. Note that one does not even need to know how to brew the beer.

The only game changers I see are things like resistance to disease or psychic powers.

Dan

Evan
11-25-2012, 05:25 PM
Contrary to what has been said before, the more malnourished people are the more they breed. The birth rates are highest where people are starving and lowest where people are well fed.

Resistance to disease is a definite factor. A genetic mutation that causes sickle cell anemia in Africans is protective against malaria if you only inherit it on one chromosome which makes it fairly harmless. It tends to kill people that have it on both chromosomes but that happens less often. Therefor the mutation survives because it is a net benefit where malaria is prevalent.

If we interfere using our intelligence and eliminate sickle cell from the gene pool in order to prevent sickle cell deaths the death rate from malaria will skyrocket unless we also find a way to eliminate that. The former is much easier than the latter. In the face of a cure for sickle cell deaths what do you think we should/would do?

dp
11-25-2012, 05:41 PM
Contrary to what has been said before, the more malnourished people are the more they breed. The birth rates are highest where people are starving and lowest where people are well fed.

So too are death rates, so that is a bit of a wash.


Resistance to disease is a definite factor. A genetic mutation that causes sickle cell anemia in Africans is protective against malaria if you only inherit it on one chromosome which makes it fairly harmless. It tends to kill people that have it on both chromosomes but that happens less often. Therefor the mutation survives because it is a net benefit where malaria is prevalent.

If we interfere using our intelligence and eliminate sickle cell from the gene pool in order to prevent sickle cell deaths the death rate from malaria will skyrocket unless we also find a way to eliminate that. The former is much easier than the latter. In the face of a cure for sickle cell deaths what do you think we should/would do?

Expressed as a paradox it seems there is no (humane?) answer but in fact outside of Africa sickle cell anemia is not useful and so there, a cure for it would be beneficial. Again avoiding the paradox, eradicating malaria in Africa would be beneficial regardless of what happens with sickle cell anemia. So a solution is to deal with sickle cell disease outside of Africa and deal with malaria in Africa and then sickle cell.

And we should work hard to avoid exporting these diseases to Mars :)

Evan
11-25-2012, 05:54 PM
If we were to develop a cure for sickle cell it would be politically impossible to withhold it from Africa.

I am more concerned about bringing samples back from Mars. Not very concerned but some caution may be warranted. Samples will need to be quarantined in an orbital laboratory, at the very least for political/stupidity reasons.

dp
11-25-2012, 06:04 PM
That gets back to my assertion we are more clever than intelligent.

lazlo
11-25-2012, 07:26 PM
In first world countries, I appears that neither strength, intelligence, wealth nor health are required for survival. The propagation of your genes has been reduced to the simple feat of getting someone to sleep with you without birth control.

What Dan said. If anything, I think we're devolving, since intelligence, strength, and health are no longer required for survival 'till progeny.

Evan
11-25-2012, 07:33 PM
That isn't evolution or devolution. That is why I wrote that we have short circuited evolution. It no longer applies at our level. We can and do interfere with the genome directly. That makes evolution irrelevant. We also do it to many other living things.

Jon Heron
11-25-2012, 07:46 PM
Here is some fodder, we are all getting dumber...
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2012/nov/12/pampered-humanity-less-intelligent

Since modern humans emerged from the evolutionary brambles of our ancient ancestry, our bodies and minds have been transforming under the pressures of natural and sexual selection. But what of human intelligence? Has our cognitive ability risen steadily since our forebears knapped the first stone tools? Or are our smartest days behind us?

Gerald Crabtree, a geneticist at Stanford University in California, bets on the latter. He believes that if an average Greek from 1,000 BC were transported to modern times, he or she would be one of the brightest among us. Our intellectual prowess has probably been sliding south since the invention of farming and the rise of high-density living that it allowed, he claims.
Cheers,
Jon

rohart
11-25-2012, 07:56 PM
Everyone appears to be treating the survival of the fittest as a numbers game. It used to be a numbers game, but that was before intelligence and technology - the ability to control your environment - was invented.

When species just reproduce as fast as they can, it is a number game. But certain groups of people in our human race now have the ability to survive whan the masses around them perish. Think of any catastrophe - disease, nuclear, asteriod, flooding, starvation - that has the potential to kill none tenths of the world population. The survivors will be a few who inhabit remote parts and are self-sufficient, and a few who have the money and the resources to ring-fence themselves and bunker-down. This latter takes money, and lots of it.

So it's now survival of the richest. It's changed.

sasquatch
11-25-2012, 08:00 PM
dinosaur turds.

lazlo
11-25-2012, 08:24 PM
Here is some fodder, we are all getting dumber...
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2012/nov/12/pampered-humanity-less-intelligent

Sure, if the species proliferates without any natural selection, as we're doing now on most of the planet, we're watering down the gene pool. Lack of natural selection == de-evolution.

In Mike Judge's "Idiocracy", a below average intelligence guy from 2006 is put in suspended animation, and when he's revived 500 years later, he's the smartest guy on the planet. Walmart owns everything, and people are puzzled why their crops aren't growing when they water it with Gatorade :)

http://ia.media-imdb.com/images/M/MV5BMTQwMjc4MjMyNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTk0NDczMQ@@._ V1_.jpg

Zero_Divide
11-25-2012, 08:40 PM
Survival of the fittest still applies today(at lest till our recent history)
Since early days warriors with good eye sight were chosen to be archers and those without became infantry. The latter were many times more likely to die in combat.
This caused todays population's average eye sight to improve significantly due to this kind of selection

Edit. Didnt that rover discover a piece of itself last time?

danlb
11-25-2012, 08:51 PM
Everyone appears to be treating the survival of the fittest as a numbers game. It used to be a numbers game, but that was before intelligence and technology - the ability to control your environment - was invented.

[ chop ] The survivors will be a few who inhabit remote parts and are self-sufficient, and a few who have the money and the resources to ring-fence themselves and bunker-down. This latter takes money, and lots of it.

So it's now survival of the richest. It's changed.

I've read enough science fiction to lead me to an alternate conclusion. The rich folks will only survive as long as they have something of value to others and only as long as they can control that asset. By definition, the people protecting them will be more able and will eventually take what they want.

I'd like to think that the self sufficient ones in remote areas are the most likely to survive a pandemic or global holocaust. They are more likely the ones with the knowledge to take care of themselves and their families without the support of smarter people around them for support. They won't live to 100 like now, but they are more likely to live long enough to procreate.

Dan

Evan
11-25-2012, 09:00 PM
This caused todays population's average eye sight to improve significantly due to this kind of selection

Sounds like BS to me. Genetics is not that simple and neither is evolutionary pressure. Not enough people would be affected to make a significant difference. So many genes are involved that it isn't possible to improve eyesight by simply killing off those soldiers with poor eyesight. It would have to be much more selective and much more widespread through the population. Also, many genes that regulate eyesight are sex linked which means the regulating genes are carried by females but mainly affect males. Red-green colour blindness is an example.

There are many causes of poor eyesight and only some are due to genetics. Low birthweight is most often caused by poor nutrition and is closely associated with myopia. Killing off low birthweight soldiers will not make any change to the eyesight of decendants of those who survive since the cause was not genetic.

lazlo
11-25-2012, 09:10 PM
Sounds like BS to me.

I don't buy that either. Archers and footmen were chosen by caste. Edward IV, and later Henry VIII banned early forms of cricket and football (soccer) because they wanted the commoners to spend all their free time practicing archery.

JCHannum
11-25-2012, 09:36 PM
It looks like NASA is backing off from its earlier statements. Now, it is not so much earth shaking after all, just interesting.

http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2012/11/25/SciTechTalk-NASA-says-Mars-discovery-may-not-be-one-for-the-history-books/UPI-73681353843060/#axzz2DEcSGaf8

A.K. Boomer
11-26-2012, 12:21 AM
That's what I thought it was going to be - they found some hype...

Boy did we cover some ground with speculation though - was really fun for the most part and im glad George let it roll...

dp
11-26-2012, 12:32 AM
That's what I thought it was going to be - they found some hype...

Boy did we cover some ground with speculation though - was really fun for the most part and im glad George let it roll...

No "they" even. Just a single exclamatory scientist and a twit from the press present. It is probably important within the peer reviewed literature but not far beyond. The scriptures are for now, safe.

A.K. Boomer
11-26-2012, 01:16 AM
yeah that guys up a creek - geeze - kinda feel like a bared my soul some for no real reason at all,

Now all the sudden I want to sing that Conan O-brian song so here goes.


Imma gonna go to hell when I die (clap) - imma gonna go to hell when I die? yeah imma gonna go to hell when I die (everybody) imma gonna go to hell when I die (clap) imma gonna go to hell when I die...

It's a little repetitious but you have to admit it's kinda catchy...

Zero_Divide
11-26-2012, 02:09 AM
Sounds like BS to me. Genetics is not that simple and neither is evolutionary pressure. Not enough people would be affected to make a significant difference. So many genes are involved that it isn't possible to improve eyesight by simply killing off those soldiers with poor eyesight. It would have to be much more selective and much more widespread through the population. Also, many genes that regulate eyesight are sex linked which means the regulating genes are carried by females but mainly affect males. Red-green colour blindness is an example.

There are many causes of poor eyesight and only some are due to genetics. Low birthweight is most often caused by poor nutrition and is closely associated with myopia. Killing off low birthweight soldiers will not make any change to the eyesight of decendants of those who survive since the cause was not genetic.
Not enough soldiers killed?
Well in ww2 soviet union lost about 7% of its pupulation in action.
Which means they were soldiers and were pretty much reproductive age.

In ancient times same things happened all over the place.

unfortunately I dont remember where i read it, so i cant cite it.

Zero_Divide
11-26-2012, 02:13 AM
I don't buy that either. Archers and footmen were chosen by caste. Edward IV, and later Henry VIII banned early forms of cricket and football (soccer) because they wanted the commoners to spend all their free time practicing archery.
Yep and those who sucked at it were given swords and pitchforks.

vpt
11-26-2012, 08:17 AM
Sounds like BS to me. Genetics is not that simple and neither is evolutionary pressure. Not enough people would be affected to make a significant difference. So many genes are involved that it isn't possible to improve eyesight by simply killing off those soldiers with poor eyesight. It would have to be much more selective and much more widespread through the population. Also, many genes that regulate eyesight are sex linked which means the regulating genes are carried by females but mainly affect males. Red-green colour blindness is an example.

There are many causes of poor eyesight and only some are due to genetics. Low birthweight is most often caused by poor nutrition and is closely associated with myopia. Killing off low birthweight soldiers will not make any change to the eyesight of decendants of those who survive since the cause was not genetic.



This post sounds like the show I was watching last night, 'The rise of Man'.

herbet999
11-26-2012, 10:57 AM
... Dogs made a choice to associate with humans...

That's an interesting statement. How did they choose?

lakeside53
11-26-2012, 11:20 AM
The instinct (their genome) to be in pack.

dp
11-26-2012, 11:42 AM
That's an interesting statement. How did they choose?

Same way cows did. Elected representation of the world's ungulates seeking a peaceful solution to breeding violence designed a program of managed reproduction which they outsourced to humans. Unknown to them, human breeding programs optimized for de-weaponizing, compliance, and marble. About that time the briquette was invented.

George Bulliss
11-26-2012, 11:57 AM
Same way cows did. Elected representation of the world's ungulates seeking a peaceful solution to breeding violence designed a program of managed reproduction which they outsourced to humans. Unknown to them, human breeding programs optimized for de-weaponizing, compliance, and marble. About that time the briquette was invented.

I had my doubts about letting this thread run, but that just made it all worth it.

dp
11-26-2012, 12:01 PM
I had my doubts about letting this thread run, but that just made it all worth it.

Some threads just give you a lot to work with :)

Evan
11-26-2012, 01:10 PM
Maybe this is a good time to close it George. It's hard to beat that.

George Bulliss
11-26-2012, 01:14 PM
Maybe this is a good time to close it George. It's hard to beat that.

Sounds good to me.