>yfw a single species of aquatic fucking fern plunged the planet into a ceaseless cycle of ice ages
Has a single species effected the world so much aside from cyanobacteria?
>This drop initiated the switch from a greenhouse to the current icehouse Earth
Not for long
humans could really fuck shit up if we seeded the oceans
it'd ramp up the phytoplankton production, rapidly removing CO2 from the atmosphere, than there'd be a huge algal die off and deadzones would form, further JUST FUCKING SHIT UP SENPAI
Worse, we change the climate enough such that the ocean conveyors temporarily shut down. Oxygen stops penetrating deep into the ocean and most aquatic life dies. Decomposers begin pumping out huge amounts of toxic gas that will kill all terrestrial life living around the shore line. Millions of humans would die.
It is a counter argument to the accusation that humans are bad because they are harming biodiversity, which itself is predicated on valuing life. A universe full of life is better than a universe without life.
If you take the whole biosphere as one entity, humanity fits the role of sperm, or spores.
If all life on Earth got wiped out, the evolutionary tree of Earth life wouldn't be stumped.
I'm not that OP, btw, but I'm guessing this is the argument.
wow, never knew about this, apparently it is a "super plant"
theory: a species of intelligent dolphin created an underwater civilization which eventually genetically modified this crop with the unintended consequence of it freezing their watery world and leading to their demise
Dude, protecting sapient life is just your goal. It's not necessarily others.
As I was saying in a different post, humanity is at WORST a necessary evil because any harm we are doing to anyone now will be made up a thousand fold in the long run. Humanity is pretty great no matter what you value.
This is why humanity needs religion - because without it, when people realise that all moral systems are arbitrary and are predicated on man made axioms, they are no longer bound to act for the wellbeing of society, as nothing psychologically stops them from breaking the rules themselves, which they'll see as inconsequential in the big picture.
They need to have no choice as to whether or not to follow the moral system which preserves society.
Of course, by saying this explicitly I've actively worked to enflame the exact problem I've described.
Deception is necessary for the greater good. Utility is more important than truth. Siktah Kertenkele.
They are bound to the well being of society because it makes sense. Humanity is the sum total of every gene and member that you could possibly define yourself by. If humanity went extinct then you would die more than if your heart stopped beating.
>This is why humanity needs religion - because without it, when people realise that all moral systems are arbitrary and are predicated on man made axioms, they are no longer bound to act for the wellbeing of society, as nothing psychologically stops them from breaking the rules themselves, which they'll see as inconsequential in the big picture.
This is how religious people actual think. It's "I don't murder and rape my neighbours daughter because someone in the sky will know and punish me for it, not because I feel horrified doing something as horrible as that".
No anon, you are the psychopath.
>Implying adopting the dark triad personality type isn't most avantageous for you personally, and most people in Antiquity didn't give a rat's ass about not raping or murdering civilians.
But you have no choice in that regard, it's done for you already by group evolution.
It's not a reason for people to do something, it's a facet which is intrinsic to people.
And I wasn't advocating lying to oneself, only emitting truth from others to preserve religion and by extension societal cohesion.
So it is ok for the government to murder you to harvest your organs and save 5 people's lives?
Freedom and truth are inherently valuable and in the same ballpark as being free from suffering and achieving happiness. Nietzsche wasn't an edgelord like many of his fans today, he believed that we need to find a way of dealing with the vacuum and existential terror left behind when someone loses their religion, he never said the void of nihilism was the ideal, just that someone at that stage can now at least try to progress a little further.
The old religious myths are false but we need not abandon every element of them.
I don't know why you haven't been understanding me. Maybe I skipped a thought and you've been led on by a bad presumption. Oh well. If the following isn't clear then let me know.
Everything that makes you you, your genes and memes, are present and distributed across all of humanity. Even after death you live on through the continued survival of humanity. Protecting humanity is therefore like protecting yourself, or perhaps like protecting your afterlife. It therefore makes logical sense to protect the greater good of humanity without supernatural threats and promises.
>Everything that makes you you, your genes and memes, are present and distributed across all of humanity.
Why is it better to preserve your genes and memes than not to do so? You only have your instinct to preserve your genes from evolution. It arose because creatures with less instinct to preserve their genes didn't do so, and the only ones left are descended from those with this stronger instinct.
The instinct is just the result of an inevitable mechanism. Why should we follow this instinct? There are only two types of valid answers I foresee you giving to this: 1. You will try to evoke the instinct within me or 2. You will admit that this instinct is one of your axioms.
>Even after death you live on through the continued survival of humanity.
You're just playing with language. You emphatically don't continue to live after your death, unless there is an afterlife.
>Protecting humanity is therefore like protecting yourself, or perhaps like protecting your afterlife.
You're just trying to evoke the instinct and associate it with humanity as a whole.
>It therefore makes logical sense to protect the greater good of humanity without supernatural threats and promises.
Only upon a given set of axioms for values and goals.
You've failed to make the case that there is an alternative moral system with the potency of religion.
Dude, I'm not arguing about whatever you were saying about evolution. I was arguing about the idea that anyone NEEDS religion to rationalize serving society and humanity. It's selfish to serve humanity, as I have argued.
Neither. I'm saying there is a rational reason to help one another that can and does take the place of religion.
I'm disagreeing with your statement that a significant part of the population needs religion to act for the greater good. I don't know how to make this any more clear.
I'm 99% sure that this is bait, but I'll respond anyway.
>So it is ok for the government to murder you to harvest your organs and save 5 people's lives?
What are you talking about? To address this non-sequitur: whether something is ok or not depends on the moral system by which it is being judged. Nothing is inherently ok or not ok on its own. You have to come up with a system to judge it by first. I wasn't making any statements that endorsed a particular moral system (aside from religion indirectly), so I don't know how you came up with this sentence.
>Freedom is inherently valuable
That's even less related to my post than the previous statement. Tell me if you want to discuss this in addition to what I was talking about, and then I'll gladly do so.
>Truth are inherently valuable
Nothing is inherently valuable. Try empirically measuring value as an intrinsic property. You need to construct a system of values (or use a pre-made one) in order to say what is valuable and what isn't. What you are really saying is that according to the system of values you are using, truth is valuable.
>Truth in the same ballpark as being free from suffering and achieving happiness.
Would this ballpark happen to be labelled "things I consider valueable"?
>Nietzsche wasn't an edgelord like many of his fans today, he believed that we need to find a way of dealing with the vacuum and existential terror left behind when someone loses their religion, he never said the void of nihilism was the ideal, just that someone at that stage can now at least try to progress a little further.
He was speculating about a time that had not existed then, and we're only just entering. Are you arguing from authority? I'm saying that no moral system has the stopping power of religion.
>The old religious myths are false but we need not abandon every element of them.
I thought you were disagreeing with me. How does that contradict anything that I said?
>More accurately religious people falsely attribute their good nature
Also, you don't understand why "religious people"(an incredibly vague term for just any possible worldview that flows from religion) argue against non-absolute morality.
Hint: In most cases, it isn't about "The big G will smite me for being naughty". It's about what Nietzche's frequently idiotically misused quote "God is dead" is about.
And you basically gave him a non-answer.
"People have no reason to help one another without religion"
"Naa-ah, they have"
Nigga, there are no "good people".
It's proven we will torture a guy to death on the spot or quickly turn into tyrannical wardens if we find it fitting. Yes, regular people like you and me.
You are cherry picking. That isn't proof. For every instance someone does something bad when they can get away with it there are many more of people not doing something bad despite them being able to get away with it.
What drove you to be such a misanthrope?
>I'm saying there is a rational reason to help one another
Upon what axioms do you get this result? State your moral axioms.
>I'm disagreeing with your statement that a significant part of the population needs religion to act for the greater good. I don't know how to make this any more clear.
I know that you disagree with that, but you've failed to actually present a dispassionate argument that shows this.
>You are cherry picking. That isn't proof.
>For every instance someone does something bad when they can get away with it there are many more of people not doing something bad despite them being able to get away with it.
>What drove you to be such a misanthrope?
Studying history and philosophy.
They don't need religion because it is rational to want to protect humanity as a whole, even beyond death. I've given the reason. The self exists beyond your own beating heart. It's a conglomeration of genes and memes. It's a rational way of looking at altruism. Being altruistic in this context is selfish. The self is nebulous. You are just a conglomeration of self serving genes and memes.
That is an alternative way of explaining altruism to religion. It seems like you are interested in the idea and want to discuss it, but first we would need to get past the idea that religion is necessary. I claim it isn't because there is just as good a reason to serve humanity without it. Are you saying my proposal is less rational than religion? If not then I don't see the problem you are having.
Sounds like you are butthurt because someone told you that humanity was all sunshine and rainbows and you woke up. I've don't claim humans aren't self serving, but that doesn't mean I'm going to ignore the good and make sweeping statements about humanity being shit.
Furthermore, the selfishness and selflessness of humans isn't black and white. It's often serves the whole to be self interested. Capitalism seems like the most glaring example of this, also protecting your kids or dying for your country.
>unironically believing this
Yes anon, every single of these pesky xtians (notice the lowercase letter) acts morally due to Hell and Heaven. Such things as perfect contrition and natural law totally aren't xtian in origin.
>I know that you disagree with that, but you've failed to actually present a dispassionate argument that shows this.
It sounds like you are holding my alternative to a far higher standard than religion.
>They don't need religion because it is rational to want to protect humanity as a whole, even beyond death.
No, it isn't.
>I've given the reason.
No, this isn't a reason. This is at best an irrational unconscious instinct on par with anything else that encourages natural selection of your genes(which in nature and throughout human history has also included infanticide of your mate's previous offspring, rape, and genocide of the neighbouring tribe)
>The self exists beyond your own beating heart. It's a conglomeration of genes and memes. It's a rational way of looking at altruism. Being altruistic in this context is selfish. The self is nebulous. You are just a conglomeration of self serving genes and memes.
Nope. An interesting meme in itself, but false.
>but first we would need to get past the idea that religion is necessary.
Oh, this crap again. No one is suggesting you can't be good without God. I am implying you'd have to be stupid to do so, given how successful psychopath-like tendencies are in politics and business.
Thus, if we consider preservation of our genes as a standard for moral behaviour, why shouldn't we adopt these sort of actions and the dark triad as a guide?
>Sounds like you are butthurt because someone told you that humanity was all sunshine and rainbows and you woke up.
I've never had this worldview. But once you see some shit that happened and how quickly normal people will turn to horrific behaviour, statistically, you really lose all pretense of the inherent goodness of mankind.
>I've never had this worldview. But once you see some shit that happened and how quickly normal people will turn to horrific behaviour, statistically, you really lose all pretense of the inherent goodness of mankind.
By what standards are you judging humanity by other than some skewed preconception you once had?
>natural law totally aren't xtian in origin.
But natural law states that some morality is inherent in human nature.
If morality is inherent in human nature and natural law is true, then it's obviously not christian in origin.
No, you've just failed to dispassionately argue that there is a viable alternative to religion.
Feel free to keep trying though, or just do as little as repost something you already said if you feel I didn't properly respond to it. Although I'm pretty sure I did.
>Oh, this crap again. No one is suggesting you can't be good without God. I am implying you'd have to be stupid to do so, given how successful psychopath-like tendencies are in politics and business.
Well then you have been dragging me through the ringer for no reason then, because that is the only thing I have been stating form the beginning and I've made that clear time and time again. You've apparently been so preoccupied with arguing something else entirely that you never gave a moment to state that you agreed with me form the very beginning, perhaps intentionally just because you are desperate for a conversation.
I'm willing to discuss this stuff, but goddam.
Anyway, what's the gist of this David Dobbs' guys argument against selfish genes? Is he just saying that they don't rule all biology? Because I don't have a problem with that statement.
>Is he just saying that they don't rule all biology? Because I don't have a problem with that statement.
No, he's arguing that it invalides the model entirely, if inter-gene interactions and environment factors have such an important part to play, the whole "individual genes piggybacking off organisms and treating them like carriers for their own ends" simply doesn't work anymore.
>Anyway, what's the gist of this David Dobbs' guys argument against selfish genes? Is he just saying that they don't rule all biology?
Not that anon but why don't you just read the linked article?
>Because I don't have a problem with that statement.
Maybe you should stop building your worldview on what you do and don't like, and start thinking about what's true and what isn't.
It's been awhile since I've refreshed myself on The Selfish Gene and I haven't read the article yet, so I won't be arguing anything absolutely, but humor me with some discussion such that I can get interested in the topic again.
Aren't sexual species defined by being not just many singular individuals but pools of genes? The success of genes within this pool doesn't necessarily coincide with the fitness of individuals. I believe a some sexually selected traits are example of this. If I'm not mistaken that is what is meant by selfish genes and it is simply a different way of looking at evolutionary biology. Correct?
>If I'm not mistaken that is what is meant by selfish genes and it is simply a different way of looking at evolutionary biology. Correct?
No, it literally means genes try to pass themselves, as individual molecules, off, across generations and species.
>No, it literally means genes try to pass themselves, as individual molecules, off, across generations and species.
Sorry, you are losing me. That is exactly what genes do through the transcription process. Genes are part of the DNA molecule and during the formation of a zygote some of them get passed along.
Ok, you are right. Wrong way of saying it.
Let me phrase it another way.
While gene transmission and natural selection is a thing that's been known since Mendel, what selfish gene theory suggests is that the individual genes are those that try to ensure their survival, while old-school genetics is vice-versa, with species using genes to ensure their own survival.
The contention is that the genes that are passed on are the ones whose evolutionary consequences serve their own implicit interest (to continue the anthropomorphism) in being replicated, not necessarily those of the organism.
Sorta. The whole theory is kinda vague in many regards.
Humans are the pinnacle of an evolutionary line begging with self replicating carbon chains
The earth isnt trying to do shit. It has no will.
>to what end
That depends entirely on your subjective philosophical standpoint
As an absurdist, I would contend that there is no 'end goal'. Not inherently anyway.
Humans are the most amazing thing in the (observed) universe. We are LITERALLY a self aware combination of atoms.
Although if I had to ascribe a goal to human kind, I believe it would be to reverse entropy.
Humans possess the natural inclination to create order from disorder. And we've become exceedingly efficient at doing so in a very short (universally speaking) time frame
One of my favorite mentally masturbatory theories is that humans are the universes evolutionary response to it's own heat death.
>While gene transmission and natural selection is a thing that's been known since Mendel, what selfish gene theory suggests is that the individual genes are those that try to ensure their survival, while old-school genetics is vice-versa, with species using genes to ensure their own survival.
Following you so far. That jives with my understanding of selfish genes.
>The contention is that the genes that are passed on are the ones whose evolutionary consequences serve their own implicit interest (to continue the anthropomorphism) in being replicated, not necessarily those of the organism.
Sorry, this sounds like you are simply further elaborating on the concept of of selfish genes, but you use the word "contention" is throwing me off. I want to be crystal clear about what you are saying. Are you:
A) simply further elaborating on your conception of what selfish genes are? (perhaps merely misusing the word "contention")
B) saying this is part of Dobbs' argument? (which wouldn't make sense to me since it's just you further defining what a selfish gene is)
C) saying that this is the part of the selfish gene theory that Dobbs disagrees with?
>I believe it would be to reverse entropy.
Woah there, hot shot! Don't get too big for your britches. There is nothing wrong with simply doing everything short of that. 100 trillion years until the last star dies sounds like a pretty good run to me. Maybe we should just shoot for that.
I mean, reversing entropy within a closed system would be a violation of physics.
I'm glad someone else entertains the thought. I'm sure it's not a novel concept, but I've yet to come across it, not explicitly anyway.
Have another one: mainly influenced by fairly mainstream hypothesis such as "the great filter" and other observations attempting to explain why we seem to be alone in our sentience.
Again, this is more of a thought experiment than something I would say I truly believe:
My thinking is that it may very well be that humans are on the forefront of intelligent evolution period. Like its entirely possible (if unlikely given the vastness of the universe and the timescale of its existence) that we are the first time such a phenomenon has occurred. In terms of a sci-fi troupe, I liken humanity to the "precursor" "forerunner" "ancients" or whathave you that our entertainment media is fond of (examples: mass effect, Halo series, etc) Since we are 3-D beings who experience the concept of time linearly, it would follow that (in terms of intelligent life in the universe) we very well might be the first to reach this stage.
Supporting this idea is the fact that we dont know how common the phenomenon of self replication is. It could be extremely rare, requiring ideal circumstances which are found in few places and contingent on probabilistic events that are also rare, such that this may well be the literal first time in 14 billion (however many) years of the universes life that self replication chemical processes have had the proper environment to reproduce and evolve into what we know as life.
Confounding this is obviously the vastness of the universe and the law of large numbers. But there would still have to be a "first", right?
Sorry for blogging. Its the stims
>As an absurdist, I would contend that there is no 'end goal'.
Sorry but absurdism always seemed silly to me. In order for something to be absurd, it has to violate the rules of a system - the expected outcome. If you think reality is absurd, it just means your expected outcome / the system that you think corresponds to reality is wrong.
>Although if I had to ascribe a goal to human kind, I believe it would be to reverse entropy.
Yeah that's a pretty good goal. But first we have to prove that entropy is/isn't reversible. And to do that, we probably need to have a working unified theory of physics. So let's get that bottleneck out of the way.
>I'm sure it's not a novel concept, but I've yet to come across it, not explicitly anyway.
It's hinted at sometimes.
>My thinking is that it may very well be that humans are on the forefront of intelligent evolution period. Like its entirely possible (if unlikely given the vastness of the universe and the timescale of its existence) that we are the first time such a phenomenon has occurred. In terms of a sci-fi troupe, I liken humanity to the "precursor" "forerunner" "ancients" or whathave you that our entertainment media is fond of (examples: mass effect, Halo series, etc) Since we are 3-D beings who experience the concept of time linearly, it would follow that (in terms of intelligent life in the universe) we very well might be the first to reach this stage.
That is actually one of the possible solutions to the Fermix Paradox. Another is "super-predatory galactic civilisation annihilates all pretenders once they "come of age" ", but let's go "Reapers are real" as our main theory.
And it's not that unlikely. We are amongst the first 8% of worlds that are capable of supporting sapient life.
Perhaps our goal is/should be increasing the Universe's hospitality towards life and/or intelligence(that was actually an idea of an old catholic theologian: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omega_Point).
Here's an awesome short story by Asimov on the whole "reversing entropy" thing:
>One of my favorite mentally masturbatory theories is that humans are the universes evolutionary response to it's own heat death.
So universes reproduce as part of some greater system? If the big bang corresponds to birth, what corresponds to creating offspring?
Is it a sexual reproduction i.e. two universes meld their information and produce another, or is it asexual? I'd guess the latter.
In the span of (approximately) 3.5 billion years, "We" have gone from simple elements, to self replicating chemical compounds, to living creatures, and finally to sentient beings.
Our species (homo sapien) has been evolutionarily distinct for a mere 200,000 years
Human Civilization ( meta-abstract of human will) has only existed for (charitably) 10,000 years
In those 10,000 years, we've gone from nothing, to communicating across the world instantaneously. We've discovered (and harnessed for our own benefit):
Fire, and all its derivative uses.
Logical truths (math) and how to apply them (physics, arithmetic, etc)
and on and on
We've broken the universe down to its smallest observable... thing. (planck length) we've split the atom and harnessed more efficient energy generation than the fusion reactors we know as stars. Not only that, but we've charted these starts, gazed upon them from literally millions of light years away.
We've conquered diseases, exterminated species who threatened us. Tamed our rivals and bonded them to us. We've left our planet and returned in a purely scientific pursuit (not withstanding cold war pissing matches)
We've had the ability to completely annihilate all life as we know it, and yet we remain.
Give us just a few thousand more anon. We will be more than gods
>we've split the atom and harnessed more efficient energy generation than the fusion reactors we know as stars.
Why do you think we want to make cold fusion?
Fission is inferior.
Okay, gotcha. Yes, that fully jives with my understanding of what selfish genes are.
I don't understand what Dobbs' problem is. The theoretical underpinnings of the selfish gene theory seem solid to me. Perhaps he is just arguing the against the practical relevance of looking at genes individually within evolutionary biology. I guess I'll just have to skim his essay to figure out what he is saying.
You may be using a different understanding of absurdism than I am.
To paraphrase the currently accepted definition:
I see absurdism as a compromise between nihilism (that existence is meaningless and attempting to derive a "true" meaning is impossible due to the inherent meaninglessness) and existentialism (that existence has no inherent meaning besides that which one can ascribe to it.
Basically if you accept nihilism as being true (which I would expect a non-religious logical entity to) than it's intellectually dishonest to also claim existentialism, since ascribing meaning to the meaningless is a logical impossibility.
Absurdism is basically a cop-out / compromise between the two. And honestly it's mainly a response to the issue of linguistic inadequacy and logical impossibly that humans encounter when attempting to describe a concept that is pretty much too abstract to put into words. An absurdist recognizes that there is no inherent meaning, yet also recognizes that humans have an innate drive to ascribe one. Basically its a reconciliation between the two other systems. It pretty much just gives up on the logical consistency aspect, and recognizes the whole logical conundrum as absurd, since it inevitably boils down to semantics that cant really be resolved.
Ill let wikipedia give you another perspective, since (and this is, ironically, a huge part of absurdism) the concept is not intuitive to describe
>Absurdism is a philosophical stance embracing a wide range of relativist perspectives, which implies that the efforts of humanity to find or absolutely define, limit, express or exclude the inherent meanings of anything, including human existence, are absurd because the qualities of communicable information available to the human mind, and relationships within Reality makes any certainty about such impossible.
So its kinda like agnosticism for pseudo-intellectual autists like myself
Not counting anything before Newton, humanity has never broken a physical barrier. We've only ever broken engineering barriers and added to the standard model. We've never changed anything in physics to the order of throwing out something as fundamental as thermodynamics.
Yeah, sure, we may completely uproot our current understanding of the universe and entropy may end up being malarkey ("we can get free energy from the subluminous ether!"), but we can only make plans based off of what we know. If we throw out something as fundamental and well established as thermodynamics then we have zero grounds for predicting anything or setting goals for humanity. Doing otherwise is probably a symptom of an unwillingness to accept reality.
I suggest you base your goals for humanity off what is currently theoretically possible. To do otherwise isn't sensible and is self defeating. You won't be able to willfully influence the course of humanity if you have to throw out all your grounds for understanding the world.
I recommend accepting the bitter truths. Humanity will have to colonize the galaxy without FTL. There will be no Star Trek. We will be able to last until the last star dies but we won't be able to reverse entropy. Humanity* will end when the last white dwarf cools.
* Specifically humanity's descendants/creations.
>Humans are the most amazing thing in the (observed) universe. We are LITERALLY a self aware combination of atoms.
> is a self-aware combination of atoms
> thinks that's hot shit
Stay classy, Narcissus.
Yeah I got overzealous with that one. I retract that statement. I knew it sounded questionable but I threw it in anyway.
I am not suggesting that we throw out the current models. What I am suggesting is that our current knowledge is incomplete, and it's conceivable (to me) that over a long enough time scale human ingenuity could find a workaround, or some loophole esque phenomena.
Keep in mind that if you told a human in 800 A.D that humans would soon be able to communicate with eachother at (near) instantaneous speeds from all over the world, using a series of orbiting satellites in space that send the data from one logic machine to another, they would have absolutely no concept of what you were talking about, and would think it to be either impossible or some reality defying magic.
Colonizing without FTL isn't the biggest deal, since there are mitigating factors (for example: technological singularity) which would completely change our conception of time.
Is it not possible that thousands of years into the future, humans (or whatever species/ construct 'we' may be at that point) would possess the computing power to simulate a similar universe in which the laws of physics could be manipulated at the whim of the controller?
We've got trillions of years to solve the issue. And our sample size of 1 shows us that 3.5 billion is all it takes to get from inorganic compounds to where we are now.
You gotta believe
I'm finding it hard to see the key difference between existentialism and absurdism. Both sound like "there is inherent purpose in existence but humans nonetheless can or should create their own values and purpose for being".
God, i hate how empathy has become such a buzz-word.
Empathy doesn't mean shut on it's own.
What would happen if we turned up the volume on empathy?
To begin with, we might help psychopaths – people who ruthlessly exploit others – be even better at what they do. Research from Keysers and others reveals that these apparently cold-blooded predators are actually good at detecting emotions. In one 2013 study, Keysers asked 20 criminal psychopaths to watch short videos of two people either caressing or striking one another’s hands – a simple way to evoke an emotional response that in ordinary people activates brain regions associated with emotional processing. Initially, these participants did not have much activation in regions involved in feelings or pain. But when Keysers instructed them to empathise while watching, their patterns of neural activity became fairly normal.
A mind-reading machine wouldn’t necessarily turn a psychopath into a creampuff
His interpretation is that these violent predators can feel empathy, but often choose not to. They deploy the ability strategically in order to win over their victims and secure their trust, and then shut it down in order to swindle, rape and kill. So a mind-reading machine wouldn’t necessarily turn a psychopath into a creampuff. Instead, he might become an even more effective manipulator – more cunning, more perceptive, and harder to outwit.
The rest of us aren’t really so different: we also evade or down-regulate our mind-reading abilities when it becomes painful or inconvenient. In one 1988 experiment, psychologists in Canada set up a donation table in a busy corridor and monitored the pathways of passersby. If the table featured a picture of a dejected child, people veered far away from it, in order to avoid getting their heartstrings jerked.
Yes, we MIGHT do a lot of stuff, but I'm just stressing that it's not worth giving a second thought to the idea that we will upturn our understanding of physics. And it's not just useless, it's possibly destructive.
There are people out there that think humanity has to expand beyond Earth, but they excuse themselves not lifting a finger to do so because they just assume some miracle technology or completely new understanding of physics will be discovered by someone other than them and solve all the problems associated with that expansion. "After all, people used to say flying was impossible, so anti-gravity is probably just around the corner". It's a form of escapism to ignore the hard realities of one's goals. If you want humanity to spread beyond Earth and the solar system then you should accept our current understanding of physics utterly and resolve yourself to do what is necessary within those limitations.
In another experiment, people told that a fellow participant had been given electric shocks downgraded their opinion of him – and justified it by concluding that he probably deserved it. Rather than feel his feelings, they found ways to emotionally distance themselves through rationalisations. In similar ways, people frequently underestimate the suffering of foreigners, people of other ethnicities, or prisoners.
This was from an article discussing a hypotethical telepathy machine, if that isn't clear.
‘We tend to view it as something relatively automatic, but people exert control over their experiences of empathy,’ he says. Although it seems self-evident that people who feel more empathy will behave more morally, in practice there is only weak evidence that feeling someone else’s pain induces you to do something about it. Some data even indicates that people who sense others’ emotions most intensely tend to avoid situations that will expose them to deep suffering. Their own pain prevents them from helping those who need it the most.
Amplifying empathy is not even a sure-fire means of building trust or dissolving suspicion; other findings from empathy research suggest that encouraging people to consider the perspectives and thoughts of those they already distrust and dislike can backfire. ‘As a premise, it’s a terrible idea,’ says Zaki. ‘I don’t think that understanding what people are feeling would make you like them.’
He points to studies that instruct rivals to empathise with one another, and have the paradoxical effect of fostering unethical behaviour. In competitive negotiating scenarios devised by the psychologist Adam Galinsky of the Columbia Business School, for example, people who were told to think about the mindset of a rival became more likely to lie or cheat in order to win. Galinsky suspects this is because that act of mind-reading serves as a reminder that a rival is capable of being equally dishonest.
In other experiments, people asked to consider the feelings and perspectives of rival groups were more selfish, more intolerant, and judged outsiders more harshly. In a study pairing Mexican immigrants and white Americans, the neuroscientist Emile Bruneau of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that asking lower-status immigrants to take on the perspective of the dominant group tended to lower their opinions of the higher-status whites.
The more we know about empathy, the less it seems to guarantee moral rectitude. People generally feel more empathy toward members of their own racial, political or social ‘tribe’, and limit the amount they extend to outsider. It directs you to respond to the needs of the person right in front of you and downgrade those who are abstract and far away. Empathy often biases you toward people who look and act like you, at the expense of those who do not. It is easy to manipulate, responding strongly to cuteness, proximity, or particularly heartbreaking details. ‘A morality based on empathy would lead to preferential treatment and grotesque crimes of omission,’ writes Jesse Prinz, a philosopher at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
Psychopathy is characterized by diminished empathy. Picking up on other's emotions is part of empathy but the defining factor is instinctual feeling what others feel when that feeling is perceived. Someone who doesn't instinctualy feel others feelings when perceived may spend more time and effort on perceiving other's emotions in an effort fit in by imitating empathy.
Well I warned you that it is an exceedingly autistic, minor semantic difference.
My understanding is that the existentialist school of thought states the following premise:
There is no (valid) inherent meaning to existence. BUT one creates a valid meaning in one's consciousness. And that meaning is validated by virtue of the feelings and thoughts of the individual experiencing it. (I think, therefore I am, overlapping with humanism) Basically, that while there is no meaning "assigned" to a person, that person will go on to create their own and in doing so, derive meaning from non meaning.
Absurdism agrees that there is no (valid) inherent meaning. AND it agrees that humans will go on to generate their own meaning. BUT asserts that this meaning isnt "valid".
This may seem like an... absurd distinction, because it is. The philosophy boils down to: there is no true meaning, but you should make your own anyway, while recognizing the inherent absurdity of having a meaning while knowing that it isnt "real"
It is violation of physics. Throwing out physics is equal to thinking Gandalf riding atop Shadowfax will solve entropy by shooting rainbows at it. Set goals based on known limitations. If physicists discover something that changes how you should best accomplish your goals then they will let you know.
It nonetheless seems silly to try to theoretically explain psychopathy as an excess of empathy. Wasn't that your point? To say that empathy isn't all it's cracked up to be and argue it with an example of what excess empathy looks like?
>It nonetheless seems silly to try to theoretically explain psychopathy as an excess of empathy.
Maybe. I believe that it's the same amount of empathy as others, used to analyze other people for their own machiavellian gain.
Yes, that would indeed be ideal. However it's not practical.
I'm simply not capable enough to be directly involved in the research and development aspect. I got up to calc III and it was brutal. I can handle pretty much only the into level courses in physics and engineering. I was real good at chem and bio but the career options just werent that attractive.
Instead I do my part by being environmentally conscious, doing my part in the sustainable energy sector. using what little political power I have to try and steer policy in a future-conscious direction, and paying my taxes ( a very small minority of which goes to funding research) Oh, and I suppose I did some undergrad research. But that was ultimately meaningless. Its not like my anthropological optimism is somehow depriving the current generation of tech developers of funding. And its not like my posting on an anonymous fucking anime imageboard is going to convince boeing or space X to drop their current projects and pursue a warp drive.
I do feel that putting humanities accomplishments over such relatively small timescale into perspective for people could affect a positive change in their opinions about human development and get them thinking about what the future may hold.
yes its a bit of escapism. But its ultimately benign because im not in a position to directly contribute
That's why I stated the first steps as
1. Devise a unified theory of physics
2. Use it to definitively prove whether or not entropy can be reversed
If the result from 2 is no, then there you go.
I still think even mentioning a violation of physics is completely a wrong way of framing the long term problem's humanity faces and can be a deceptively destructive perspective, but all and all it's just a small point of contention. Your heart otherwise seems like it's in the right place. Not enough people think about the well being of humanity over the long term and if I met you in a bar I might buy you a drink.
I'm this anon: >>547720
I don't see how meaning could possibly be anything other than a human construct, hardwired or not.
Nihilism's expression that reality is "meaningless" seems to be loaded with some form of despondency, which seems to me to be because it is essentially an initial reaction to a perceived "loss" of meaning, following centuries of deriving meaning from religion. In reality, I don't see how there could ever have been any intrinsic meaning, and so there is no need to associate some despair with this fundamental fact.
>and existentialism (that existence has no inherent meaning besides that which one can ascribe to it.
is an accurate summary of existentialism, it seems to be logical.
Cyanobacteria froze the entire fucking planet multiple times.
Azolla sent the Earth into permanent cycle of ice ages.
Only one species can save the day.
Are sudden warmings inherently destructive because methane builds up over time in the ground when the Earth is cold and is suddenly released during an exceptional warm period, causing a run away warming which melts the ice caps, shuts down the oceanic conveyor, and then causes an anoxic event which poisons the entire planet with hydrogen sulfide?
Yes, nihilism does indeed seem to be intrinsically pessimistic. And somewhat intellectually dishonest of a doctrine to subscribe to, since a true nihilist should inevitably conclude that suicide is the most logical outcome of their outlook. Or at least would be some kind of hypocrite if they continued to strive towards goals / positive outcomes in their life.
>so there is no need to associate some despair with this fundamental fact
you say that, but many others would certainly fall into despair if confronted with such a concept.
example: religious people being unable to fathom a reality without god, since they have so closely tied their self-efficacy to the belief. Many people would absolutely take it badly.
Yeah. All three should sound pretty similar
As much as I hesitate to put things in "stages" I feel it might be illustrative of the point Im trying to make
1: nihilism - understand that existence is inherently meaningless, and that the choices and outcomes that constitute ones life are ultimately inconsequential
If you accept this premise as being logically true, two options remain:
a) despair / accept futility/ apathy (nihilism)
b) Accept that there is no inherent meaning to existence, but assert that one can formulate their own, thereby ascribing meaning from the meaningless
2 - existentialism
If you accept these premises are true, two options remain
a) reject despair / disregard futility /indulge in experience
b) Accept that there is no inherent meaning to existence WHILE recognizing that humans can generate their own. BUT also recognize the logical inconstancy in knowing that there is ultimately no meaning, while simultaneously knowing that one can create one's own
3 - absurdism
If you accept this premise as true, two options remain
a) embrace despair / reject futility / indulge in the absurdity that comes from realizing that meaningfulness is simply too abstract to ever be certain of
Indeed it does. But its worth noting that absurdists are nearly indistinguishable from existentialists in practice.
Its kinda like with the differences between atheist / agnostic.
(and no, I dont subscribe to that sanctimonious faggotry with gnostic atheism and agnoistic theism and such)
In that both existentialism and absurdism reach the same conclusion with the same outcomes in practice. But the absurdists get to feel slightly intellectually superior due to their unreasonably pedantic adherence to stringent logic (in much the same way that a smug agnostic will insist that the atheist is wrong to assert there is no god because he can't knoOoOoOoOow beyond 99.999999999^99 certainty that there isnt an invisible purple unicorn who controls the weather and the state lottery or some shit)
Its really just the recognition that the premise of existentialism is self contradictory in the strict sense of logic statements, while also admitting that it doesnt matter.
>since a true nihilist should inevitably conclude that suicide is the most logical outcome of their outlook.
I don't really agree with that. A true nihilist would acknowledge that suicide would be another meaningless act, and thus as pointless as anything else. In fact, everything being equally pointless, they're basically free to pursue shit willy-nilly.
ah, but those pursuits would also be meaningless, and the very drive that causes them to pursue these things would become indistinguishable from meaning, no?
I do agree that complete and total apathy may well take precedence over efforts such as suicide. But at the same time I think that a nihilist who uses the meaninglessness of existence as a justification for doing whatever he wants is venturing out of the realm of pure nihilism, and into that of nihilistic hedonism, which I conceive to be a stepping stone into existentialism, since the pursuit of (presumably pleasing or enticing activities and such) ends up becoming something nearly indistinguishable from a goal / meaning
I think the difference between this brand of nihilism and existentialism is that this nihilism continues to acknowledge these things as meaningless. I think ultimately it's a more honest way to pursue things, as you're not constructing some manner of narrative to lend these actions more weight than they possess.
In fact, I think the construction of any sort of meaning would ultimately be harmful, as anything you can build will inevitably be ground down by the greater universe as our minds are very limited things and any meaning we construct can't possibly encompass its complexities in their entirety, leaving you worse than if you had just skipped the step entirely.
I also dislike the term nihilistic hedonism, as the actions you pursue don't necessarily have to be pleasurable. A nihilist could pursue an utterly miserable course of action out a desire to better understand suffering, for instance.
> A nihilist could pursue an utterly miserable course of action out a desire to better understand suffering
While that is a possibly, consider thefact that the very nature of such an undertaking betrays your assertion.
>out of a desire
this is what im referring to, and it brings me back to my point that any human action requires a goal as a consequence as that action, yet pure nihilism asserts that all consequences are meaningless, which I find to be at odds with the fact that they still pursue these goals, which almost paradoxically implies meaningfulness
But I assert that they way around this paradox is to understand that a nihilist who continues to take actions in hopes of an expected outcome is actually an absurdist. IE: one who realizes the ultimate meaninglessness of his actions yet cannot deny that he still does them, and thereby ascribes meaning through his efforts.
This is the point I've been trying to push on people throughout the thread. That if the logic of nihilism is accepted, yet the nihilist continues to strive towards objectives or actions, then they are inadvertently "creating" meaning, even if it is fleeting.
I believe the answer to this paradox to be absurdism
The problem I have with the nihilism -> existentialism -> absurdism path is that it seems to be a way of rehabilitating the concept of meaning derived from religion, in the absence of religion.
But if you started with a blank slate, without a religious concept of inherent meaning to start with, then there's no need to reconcile inherent meaning with self derived meaning, as it would have been an axiom that inherent meaning doesn't exist all along. Then there is nothing absurd about it.
To be honest, I don't even think "meaning" is the best word for it. People can change what they want to do in the big picture all the way through their lives. I think a "search for meaning" isn't a very good way of expressing life goals, because the phrase implies that there is some absolute purpose that you should either find or create, when in reality goals are much more dynamic and plastic than that, and I don't see the problem with them being so.
This sounds pedantic. Absurdism is a form of existential nihilism; an absurdist believes that there is no meaning to existence, which is the sole requirement to be an existential nihilist. Nihilism is much like atheism in this regard: it has no doctrines beyond an absence of a specific belief.
Well, the first mass extinction might have been Theia colliding with the Earth, vaporizing the oceans and liquifying the Earth's crust. But we don't know if Earth had life at that point.
So yes, the first mass extinction was due to cyanobacteria pumping the atmosphere so full of oxygen that the ENTIRE surface of Earth froze.
>Azolla is a highly productive plant. It doubles its biomass in 3–10 days, depending on conditions, and yield can reach 8-10 tonnes fresh matter/ha in Asian rice fields. 37.8 t fresh weight/ha (2.78 t DM/ha dry weight) has been reported for Azolla pinnata in India (Hasan et al., 2009).
Dang, no wonder it sucked so much carbon out of the atmosphere.