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Author Topic:   What type of biological life will more than likely be found on other planets?
Dogmafood
Member (Idle past 221 days)
Posts: 1814
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


(1)
Message 55 of 178 (670761)
08-18-2012 6:13 PM
Reply to: Message 53 by Taq
08-17-2012 4:49 PM


Re: Hands are Handy
On the one side you have life springing up at every possible opportunity in every imaginable form. On the other, you have natural selection screening out the unsuited candidates. If intelligence is a beneficial characteristic (which I think is undeniable) then does it not stand to reason that organisms with more intelligence than their co-habitants will be more likely to survive? Just on average. Would this process not lead, on average, to a situation similar to what we have on earth where the most intelligent creature is dominant?

Obviously, there are many scenarios where the earth worm is more suited to survival than the human but having the ability to manipulate one's environment must count as a big plus. If this is true would it not lead to an accumulation of intelligent creatures over billions of years and billions of planets?


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Dogmafood
Member (Idle past 221 days)
Posts: 1814
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


Message 57 of 178 (670764)
08-18-2012 6:40 PM
Reply to: Message 56 by jar
08-18-2012 6:31 PM


Re: Hands are Handy
Is intelligence really beneficial?

Intelligence is certainly not a prerequisite for survival.

But if you take 2 cephalopods and one is more intelligent than the other, which is more likely to survive any particular environment?


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Dogmafood
Member (Idle past 221 days)
Posts: 1814
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


Message 59 of 178 (670766)
08-18-2012 7:00 PM
Reply to: Message 58 by jar
08-18-2012 6:49 PM


Re: Hands are Handy
Biology and evolution involve populations not individuals.

Indeed. So in a population of cephalopods or people, are the more intelligent members not more likely to survive any particular environment?


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Dogmafood
Member (Idle past 221 days)
Posts: 1814
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


Message 61 of 178 (670768)
08-18-2012 7:06 PM
Reply to: Message 60 by jar
08-18-2012 7:04 PM


Re: Hands are Handy
No.

Well I disagree with that but ok, make the environment hostile.


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Dogmafood
Member (Idle past 221 days)
Posts: 1814
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


Message 64 of 178 (670771)
08-18-2012 8:16 PM
Reply to: Message 63 by NoNukes
08-18-2012 7:44 PM


Accumulated Intelligence
Is there any species who's evolutionary history shows that they have become less intelligent over time?

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Dogmafood
Member (Idle past 221 days)
Posts: 1814
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


Message 73 of 178 (670794)
08-19-2012 8:18 AM
Reply to: Message 69 by NoNukes
08-18-2012 11:10 PM


Re: Accumulated Intelligence
How many species have changed intelligence at all over time? Have homo sapiens increased in intelligence?

I don't mean within a species but when compared to a predecessor. I suppose that it would be difficult to determine but surely Homo Sapiens are more intelligent than say Homo Heidlebergensis or Homo Ergaster.


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Dogmafood
Member (Idle past 221 days)
Posts: 1814
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


Message 74 of 178 (670796)
08-19-2012 8:57 AM
Reply to: Message 71 by RAZD
08-18-2012 11:47 PM


Re: The inevitable rise of intelligence through evolution
In my personal opinion, if there were a purpose behind the use of evolution by and intelligent designer, that it would be to create intelligent organisms, that we may just be one stepping stone or one trial along that path that is still evolving.

I don't see the need to invoke 'purpose' but just looking at it as a process of refinement where the more intelligent creatures are more likely to make it through the sieve...but that is just the atheist in me.

Also, with regard to memes, as the general level of education of a population increases do their chances of survival not also increase? We may not be more intelligent than our ancestors from the 14th C but we are more able to survive, say, a plague or an asteroid attack.


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Dogmafood
Member (Idle past 221 days)
Posts: 1814
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


Message 77 of 178 (670800)
08-19-2012 9:21 AM
Reply to: Message 76 by jar
08-19-2012 9:10 AM


Re: Accumulated Intelligence
What so many folk seem to be conflating with "intelligence" is the the effects of technology,...

Technology is a direct result of intelligence. You don't get technology without intelligence.


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Dogmafood
Member (Idle past 221 days)
Posts: 1814
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


Message 80 of 178 (670822)
08-19-2012 10:20 PM
Reply to: Message 78 by jar
08-19-2012 9:33 AM


Re: Accumulated Intelligence
But you also do not get technology just because of intelligence. Technology is something separate and unique and limited to only a very few species.

Sure and technology adds a whole bunch of extra survival advantages. I think that the key point is that intelligence, with or without technology, is an advantage. If it is an advantage then it will accumulate or persist just like eyes and ears and anything else that is an advantage.

Another key point is that it is just the relative intelligence of any particular species. Relative to the intelligence of it's cohabitants. You don't have to be Einstein to survive, just smarter than the Hyena that is trying to steal your food.

From message 72

I know of no way to tell if a human is smarter than a cephalopod or elephant or dolphin...

Really?


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Dogmafood
Member (Idle past 221 days)
Posts: 1814
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


(2)
Message 92 of 178 (670898)
08-20-2012 7:45 PM
Reply to: Message 81 by jar
08-19-2012 10:46 PM


Re: Accumulated Intelligence
Cockroaches and clams have been far better at survival than humans so far.

Since I have your leave to disagree.

If you are talking about being better at survival, then the ability to survive a broader range of environments equals being a better survivor. Something humans do much better than roaches or clams. The ability to adapt your environment to suit your needs equals being the best survivor.

And correct, I know of no way to tell if a human is smarter than a cephalopod or elephant or dolphin.

Every living thing has some amount of intelligence. Some have more and some have less. Would you at least agree with that?

Oni writes:

For the sake of "drawing a line" lets call intelligence the ability to create art, music, do science, create mathematical equations and have complex communication.

Keeping this in mind, I am talking about where does this sort of intelligence come from. It comes down the evolutionary line and if it has evolved once in the universe then it has likely evolved more than once. In our case, intelligence has been selected billions of times in each tiny little step.

How can you possibly believe that we are not more intelligent than our evolutionary ancestors?


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Dogmafood
Member (Idle past 221 days)
Posts: 1814
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


Message 96 of 178 (670927)
08-21-2012 7:37 AM
Reply to: Message 93 by jar
08-20-2012 8:39 PM


Re: Accumulated Intelligence
Because "knowledge" and "intelligence" are not synonymous.

Yes, I know that but even if I didn't know that I could have figured it out.

Human intelligence evolved once in one line of the hominids, no other species has developed anything like our concept of technology or accumulating and dispersing knowledge.

There is no disputing that the level of intelligence in humans is unique on this planet. What is not unique is the process that led to that intelligence. Intelligence, to varying degrees, has evolved millions of times on this planet. Anything that has a brain has some degree of intelligence or cognitive ability. Anything that has a brain has the potential to evolve a more intelligent brain.

And if we look at the history of life on this earth, more intelligent species don't seem to have any particular advantage over less intelligent species. Other strategies seem to work equally well like high birth rates or having the biggest teeth or claws or being the biggest critter in the hood.

The success of less intelligent species is solely dependant on being suited to the existing environment. As Blue Jay points out it is about being successful in your niche. More intelligence means a bigger niche. It really is that simple.

There is no way I know of to accumulate intelligence.

It is called evolution. Now you know.

If we ever do find other life it seems to me far more likely to be unintelligent. After all, most life here on earth has NO brain at all.

I agree that 'unintelligent' life is probably much more abundant than intelligent life. I also think that, given enough time and environmental pressure, wherever you have life you will eventually have intelligent life.

The fact that something happened once does not mean that it is likely to happen again, only that it CAN happen again.

I am curious what the probability experts have to say about this. If the conditions in the universe are relatively homogenous, are the same processes not likely to repeat?


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Dogmafood
Member (Idle past 221 days)
Posts: 1814
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


(1)
Message 98 of 178 (670930)
08-21-2012 8:03 AM
Reply to: Message 95 by caffeine
08-21-2012 4:50 AM


Re: Accumulated Intelligence
...not only is it easy to come up with a scenario a less intelligent creature could survive better (one in which instinctual response matters more than planning), it's too simplistic just to ask who will survive in some arbitrarily invented scenario as if that defines evolutionary success.

I agree and this is the key point. Intelligence allows it's possessor to survive a broader range of scenarios.

These disadvantages to our big brains have obviously been outweighed by the advantages in our evolutionary history, but it's not clear that they always would be.

I would say that the prevalence of brains in general would indicate that their cost is less than their benefit. I imagine that there is a point where the cost is greater than the benefit and in those cases I imagine that they wont last.

While it's difficult to declare a clear link between brain size and intelligence, there have been cases of species evolving smaller brains.

There may be a few cases where brain size has been reduced but for the most part, the brain size/body mass ratio has increased has it not?


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Dogmafood
Member (Idle past 221 days)
Posts: 1814
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


Message 135 of 178 (671067)
08-22-2012 5:40 AM
Reply to: Message 126 by New Cat's Eye
08-21-2012 1:22 PM


Re: bilateral symmetry
But the kinds of enviroments that foster the kind of evolutionary change required for Animal-like species to emerge would also favor bilateral symmetry, in my opinion. We can get into the specifics of the reasons for my opinion, which deal with the early evolution of eukaryotes,...

My intuitive opinion is that symmetry is a response to gravity and results in the ability to balance and motivate more easily. That and the need to triangulate for vision and hearing. These conditions should be universal.


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Dogmafood
Member (Idle past 221 days)
Posts: 1814
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


Message 149 of 178 (671150)
08-22-2012 4:39 PM
Reply to: Message 148 by jar
08-22-2012 2:53 PM


Re: Rare sapience
My point is that it is NOT just intelligence that led to human success but rather a whole group of fortuitous things and that it is very unlikely that we would expect to find anything like humans anywhere.

This may be your point now but it wasn't your point when you said,

Is intelligence really beneficial?

but I see little evidence that intelligence offers any advantage or that it is a characteristic likely to be found in biological life on other planets.

And if we look at the history of life on this earth, more intelligent species don't seem to have any particular advantage over less intelligent species.

My original point was that intelligence is a clear survival advantage and is likely to persist and to increase in any environment where resources are limited. Blue Jay's example of the evolution of h. sapiens from lemurs is a clear example of such.

The fact that there are more unintelligent life forms on this planet than intelligent ones is immaterial. Some niches are [abe; bigger and] easier to fill than others. When they are full the impetus for higher development is created. So, yes there is likely way more unintelligent life in the universe but wherever it exists there will be a driver for more intelligent life to evolve, as long as the resources are limited.

Oni's definition of intelligence is fine but that level of intelligence doesn't just pop out of thin air. It develops over time and I contend that it is likely to develop wherever evolution is at work.

Edited by Dogmafood, : as noted


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Dogmafood
Member (Idle past 221 days)
Posts: 1814
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


Message 151 of 178 (671161)
08-22-2012 5:55 PM
Reply to: Message 150 by jar
08-22-2012 5:16 PM


Re: Rare sapience
You are free to believe that but that is NOT what the evidence shows.

If the evidence doesn't show it then I am, in fact, not free to believe it.

The fact that there are far more types of unintelligent critters is relevant because it shows that other methods work even better than intelligence.

Other methods work better in their limited environments. Other methods work sooner in the time line. Other methods rely on sheer volume of reproduction. It is directly because of the success of these lines that more intelligent critters are selected for. Extend this for a few billion yrs and you get Mozart.

If you have life and you have time.


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