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Author Topic:   The Problem With Intelligence?
Tusko
Member
Posts: 612
From: London, UK
Joined: 10-01-2004


Message 1 of 30 (147446)
10-05-2004 10:33 AM


Okay, this is just a bit idle and random, and might not fit the criteria for a new topic very well. It is also long and rambly. Sorry...
I was just reading one of the threads here, and a contribution by Darth Mal interested me. He talked about a selective pressure that has been affecting rattlesnake populations, saying that because humans have been seeking out and killing audible rattlesnakes for at least 200 years, rattlesnakes are generally much quieter now.
I have recently been thinking about the dire warnings that doctors give about the over consumption of antibiotics, and in this country (UK) at least, the severe problems caused by hospital-bred "superbugs" like MRSA.
I imagine there are many other instances of common-sense human interventions in the natural world that have provoked the exact opposite reaction from what they were intended to do (in these examples, totally reasonable attempts to protect people from rattlesnakes or bacteria made deadlier rattlesnakes and bacteria invulnerable to antibiotics).
So, my point is, is this a serious evolutionary disadvantage, that might make an intelligence like ours - one capable of moulding an environment - a liability in the long term? Unless there is a magic button you can press that wipes out ALL malaria or whatever instantly, aren't your efforts to control it simply going to breed a disease that is beyond the means of your current technology to control, however advanced?
Couple this with the fact that it is very unlikely that technology and civilisation will keep improving forever, and that there might be some global disaster sometime in the next few hundred thousand years (if we're lucky!) that would severely hit social and healthcare structures, aren't we making loads of problems - potentially insurmountable problems - for people at that time? Its just a thought.
Obviously, if a whole society understands the danger of excerting such selective pressures on living things, and can find a way around them, there isn't a problem. Or there might be a technology that would somehow make this techonology reduntant.But is there a way around them? Could there be such a technology?

Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by Dr Jack, posted 10-05-2004 11:56 AM Tusko has not replied
 Message 4 by Brad McFall, posted 10-05-2004 1:22 PM Tusko has not replied
 Message 7 by Chiroptera, posted 10-05-2004 1:37 PM Tusko has replied
 Message 8 by JasonChin, posted 10-06-2004 7:20 AM Tusko has not replied
 Message 16 by coffee_addict, posted 10-07-2004 6:39 AM Tusko has replied

AdminNosy
Administrator
Posts: 4754
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Joined: 11-11-2003


Message 2 of 30 (147466)
10-05-2004 11:28 AM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.

Dr Jack
Member (Idle past 1538 days)
Posts: 3507
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 3 of 30 (147478)
10-05-2004 11:56 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Tusko
10-05-2004 10:33 AM


We will be saved by the very same thing that is causing the problem - when a pathogen emerges that is highly infectious, highly fatal and resistant to all our means of controlling it (and such a virus will emerge) it'll select for those of us who are already resistant to it.
Kind of like the black death really.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Tusko, posted 10-05-2004 10:33 AM Tusko has not replied

Brad McFall
Member (Idle past 4466 days)
Posts: 3428
From: Ithaca,NY, USA
Joined: 12-20-2001


Message 4 of 30 (147527)
10-05-2004 1:22 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Tusko
10-05-2004 10:33 AM


note word "tension" in msg THREE
if you will, please, with sugar on top.
http://EvC Forum: My unrestrained thought. -->EvC Forum: My unrestrained thought.

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Dan Carroll
Inactive Member


Message 5 of 30 (147529)
10-05-2004 1:26 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by Brad McFall
10-05-2004 1:22 PM


Re: note word "tension" in msg THREE
Oh sweet Jebus, it's META-BRAD.

"If I had to write ten jokes about potholders, I don't think I could do it. But I could write ten jokes about Catholicism in the next twenty minutes. I guess I'm drawn to religion because I can be provocative without harming something people really care about, like their cars."
-George Meyer, Simpsons writer

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Brad McFall
Member (Idle past 4466 days)
Posts: 3428
From: Ithaca,NY, USA
Joined: 12-20-2001


Message 6 of 30 (147530)
10-05-2004 1:29 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Dan Carroll
10-05-2004 1:26 PM


Re: note word "tension" in msg THREE
dont evc'n get me started on the tail end.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by Dan Carroll, posted 10-05-2004 1:26 PM Dan Carroll has not replied

Chiroptera
Inactive Member


Message 7 of 30 (147533)
10-05-2004 1:37 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Tusko
10-05-2004 10:33 AM


quote:
Couple this with the fact that it is very unlikely that technology and civilisation will keep improving forever, and that there might be some global disaster sometime in the next few hundred thousand years (if we're lucky!) that would severely hit social and healthcare structures, aren't we making loads of problems - potentially insurmountable problems - for people at that time?
Well, with global climate change in the works right now, over population and general environmental degradation, the rapacious use of non-renewable resources, and unfettered genetic engineered consumer crops, I'd say that we may be about to get an answer to this very question. And we may not like the answer.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Tusko, posted 10-05-2004 10:33 AM Tusko has replied

Replies to this message:
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JasonChin 
Inactive Suspended Member


Message 8 of 30 (147731)
10-06-2004 7:20 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Tusko
10-05-2004 10:33 AM


Materialistic Theory of Phi
Hi, I'm new and haven't been able to figure out how to make a new thread, so I'll just ask my question here.
Are there any materialistic theories as to why the number Phi occurs so often in nature and the cosmos? If not, isn't this irrefutable proof of a creator?
This message has been edited by JasonChin, 10-06-2004 06:22 AM

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 Message 10 by Dr Jack, posted 10-06-2004 8:09 AM JasonChin has replied

JasonChin 
Inactive Suspended Member


Message 9 of 30 (147732)
10-06-2004 7:23 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by JasonChin
10-06-2004 7:20 AM


Re: Materialistic Theory of Phi
Also, if any of you could clue me into how to post a new topic, I'd be appreciative. Gracias.

This message is a reply to:
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Dr Jack
Member (Idle past 1538 days)
Posts: 3507
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 10 of 30 (147735)
10-06-2004 8:09 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by JasonChin
10-06-2004 7:20 AM


Re: Materialistic Theory of Phi
The number Phi? Do you mean Pi?

This message is a reply to:
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Tusko
Member
Posts: 612
From: London, UK
Joined: 10-01-2004


Message 11 of 30 (147736)
10-06-2004 8:12 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by Chiroptera
10-05-2004 1:37 PM


Hmmm.. I'm not sure if I'm understanding some of these posts.
Yes, I think human inginuity has cooked up all kinds of problems that are more immediate than any notional problem caused by the effect of our intelligence as a selective pressure.
We're doomed, I tell you!
I guess what I was clumsily trying to focus on in my opening post was the strange effects that will be produced when a fantastically unlikely thing happens: an intelligence, like human intelligence, is introduced into the usually "blind" process of natural selection, as it was on this planet at some time in our prehistory.
Now, a system that's been going quite happily for aeons is for a while tweaked in contrary and bizarre directions by human attempts to mould the world around it. I'm not saying we are doing it on purpose, but the effects of our ansestors and our choices are having an effect on loads of organisms.
I have already talked about the self-defeating problems that arise when we attempt to intervene with other organisms, like superbugs and silent rattlesnakes, but of course there are other effects, notably of technology and medical care on humans ourselves. As more hereditable diseases become curable, or their effects are mitigated, then our populations will become reservoirs for genetic problems in a way simply impossible in a population without intelligence. Of course I'm not a social Darwinist, or proposing that eugenics is a good thing. I'm just saying that intelligence and natural selection work in such utterly different ways.
Probably the most obvious example of this is the "Unnatural" selection that our domestic animals and plants have been subjected to. Dogs are so weird. Thoroughbred dogs (like my mum and dad's wheezy, cross-eyed siamese cats,) are walking reservoirs of genetic oddness. It always strikes me as funny when you see someone saying that there can't be macroevolution because "you can only push dogs so far" but that seems utter nonsense, because human selective breeding, with its tendency to accrue all kinds of genetic problems seems to be the exact opposite of NATURAL selection.
All that stuff I started with, that "is Intelligence a Problem?" was a bit flippant. I guess what I'm trying to get at in a really roundabout way is to talk about UNnatural selection, brought about through human interventions, guided by our inteligence (I'm sorry I keep going on about intelligence, but I can't think of a better way to put it. Maybe I mean our common-sense interventions in the world rather than intelligence).
Our effect seems to be to impact on natural selection, and bend it in our image. Is that what's happening? What are unnatural selection's limitations? What's it all about?

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Replies to this message:
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Brad McFall
Member (Idle past 4466 days)
Posts: 3428
From: Ithaca,NY, USA
Joined: 12-20-2001


Message 12 of 30 (147811)
10-06-2004 1:36 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by Tusko
10-06-2004 8:12 AM


It has already been introduced but as you responded to batman and not me as boy wonder i simply point a brower to
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
and
http://law.lotsofgoodbooks.com/...-AsinSearch-locale-us.html
or
Powell’s Books | The World’s Largest Independent Bookstore
I know the author of this answer personally. His publication from SUNY PRESS was just honored on the Cornell Campus last week.
I dont think FROM Lamarkian terms as SJGOULD did about genetic (re)engineering(there is a difference in my mind between genetic engineering and reverse genetic engineering) but the lattter will only begin to exist really after some more advances in nanotechnology DO come up against any nanoecology. Lets hope that being introduced is enough for the limit to have already been reached. The difference of independence and logic are not the same things and result in confusions about what is natural or not (otherwise) etc.

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JasonChin 
Inactive Suspended Member


Message 13 of 30 (148012)
10-07-2004 6:16 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by Dr Jack
10-06-2004 8:09 AM


MrJack
The number Phi? Do you mean Pi?>>
No, I mean Phi. I think it's 1.618, etc. It was called the Golden Section by the Greeks and the Divine Proportion during the Rennisance. It appears, as I understand it, a freakishly inexplicable number of times in nature. For instance, if you take the number of male bees and divide it by the number of female bees in any behive anywhere in the world, you get Phi. Phi also outlines the proportions of a pethora of animal life, including ourselves, and is found in the cosmos as well supposedly.
And I can't concieve and haven't heard of any possible materialistic explaination for this.

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 Message 14 by JasonChin, posted 10-07-2004 6:20 AM JasonChin has not replied
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JasonChin 
Inactive Suspended Member


Message 14 of 30 (148013)
10-07-2004 6:20 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by JasonChin
10-07-2004 6:16 AM


Re: MrJack
BTW, how in God's name do I graduate from Jr. Member status to full member status so my actions aren't restricted?

This message is a reply to:
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Dr Jack
Member (Idle past 1538 days)
Posts: 3507
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 15 of 30 (148015)
10-07-2004 6:36 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by JasonChin
10-07-2004 6:20 AM


Re: MrJack
You "graduate" by posting. At a certain number of posts it'll change over.
It makes no difference to your posting restrictions. If you want to start a new topic you must make a post to the "Propose New Topics" forum outlining the topic you wish to start, and saying where you want it to go.
If it meets with Admin's approval they'll promote it to proper topic status.
I'll wait for you to propose your question about the Golden Ratio there before responding.
(Visit this link: http://EvC Forum: Instructions for Proposing a New Topic -->EvC Forum: Instructions for Proposing a New Topic for further details)
This message has been edited by Mr Jack, 10-07-2004 05:37 AM

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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