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  1. - Top - End - #211
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    Default Re: Why are people afraid of death?

    Quote Originally Posted by Donnadogsoth View Post
    Name one nonhuman animal that can double a square.
    Human consciousness predates human math skills, to the tune of being orders of magnitude older (how many orders of magnitude depends on the specific bit of math). This alone blows the idea that doubling a square is some sort of prerequisite or even reliable indicator for consciousness out of the water.

  2. - Top - End - #212
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    Default Re: Why are people afraid of death?

    I don't know animals which can double the square, but I know elephants and wild boars which can short circuit electric fences, crows which can read traffic lights, pigs, elephants and bears which paint, dolphins which help fishermen by driving fish into nets, etc.

    There are countless of examples of animal learning which cannot be attributed to instinct. As the simplest possible example, doors with handles did not exist when dogs and wolves evolved, but both can figure out how to open those, both on their own or by observing another dog or wolf or a human do that. Likewise, animal creativity has already been proven. Just because you don't value, say, an orangutan making a whistle out of leaves on the same level as a human making a trumpet, doesn't make it not an example.

    Once more, Donna, it's just your own false expectations which make you demand more. You think cognition is all-or-nothing, despite the fact that nothing empirical supports this. Your "proofs" still amount to nothing more than a slippery slope argument coated with pseudo-religious rhetoric.
    Last edited by Frozen_Feet; 2018-03-11 at 03:16 PM.

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    Default Re: Why are people afraid of death?

    Quote Originally Posted by Donnadogsoth View Post
    You can't lead an animal through a Platonic dialogue.
    So what? Nobody is arguing that animals are as smart as humans... you keep saying "humans are better at X"... and the response consistently is "we agree, but how is that relevant to the discussion at hand?"

    Creativity is beyond them.
    Total BS. Plenty of animals are creative on a daily basis. Once again, most humans are MORE creative, but that doesn't mean that animals are not creative.

    After a million years a chimpanzee tribe might figure out ant fishing, but that's as far as it goes.
    SO FAR. That's how well it has gone so far.

    Considering that the common chimpanzee separated from other primates one million years ago... same as Homo Sapiens and Neanderthals. In that one million years, we managed to figure out all this fancy smart stuff out in what... the last 1% of our time on earth? The Chimps aren't that far behind us. Even if it takes them another ten thousand years to catch up to cave men, they are still only a fraction behind us in the overall timeframe.

    No amount of luck will double the square, only the firm conception of the nature of squareness. That hypothesis is the difference between man and beast, as absolute a difference as between a square and a cube. Denying this is denying Apollo.
    And if the Neanderthals hadn't died out, it is quite possible that they would be able to figure a lot of this stuff out by now.

    They were creative. They had art. They built tools. They weren't us. they feared death and turned to {RULES} to deal with that fear
    Last edited by Aliquid; 2018-03-11 at 03:29 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #214
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    Default Re: Why are people afraid of death?

    Saying neanderthals died out is bit of a simplification: modern genetic research has proven that they could breed with cro-magnon/sapiens, so at least part of them merged with us.

    EDIT: which is also why I don't get what neanderthals have to do with this line of discussion. Neanderthals had humanlike minds because they were humans.
    Last edited by Frozen_Feet; 2018-03-11 at 03:56 PM.

  5. - Top - End - #215
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    Default Re: Why are people afraid of death?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    Saying neanderthals died out is bit of a simplification: modern genetic research has proven that they could breed with cro-magnon/sapiens, so at least part of them merged with us.

    EDIT: which is also why I don't get what neanderthals have to do with this line of discussion. Neanderthals had humanlike minds because they were humans.
    Neanderthals were humans just like us, but they weren't homo-sapiens (at least not according to some scientists). Chimps are hominids just like us, monkeys are simians just like us, lemurs are primates just like us...

    Where is the line drawn in these "classifications" for capacity to be self aware? It isn't JUST homo-sapiens. It isn't just us. We are not unique. We may have "more" of this quality, but we aren't the only ones to achieve it.

  6. - Top - End - #216

    Default Re: Why are people afraid of death?

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    Human consciousness predates human math skills, to the tune of being orders of magnitude older (how many orders of magnitude depends on the specific bit of math). This alone blows the idea that doubling a square is some sort of prerequisite or even reliable indicator for consciousness out of the water.
    "Humans" that can't double the square, even in principle, incidental brain damage to an otherwise healthy genetic capacity, aren't.

  7. - Top - End - #217

    Default Re: Why are people afraid of death?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    I don't know animals which can double the square, but I know elephants and wild boars which can short circuit electric fences, crows which can read traffic lights, pigs, elephants and bears which paint, dolphins which help fishermen by driving fish into nets, etc.

    There are countless of examples of animal learning which cannot be attributed to instinct. As the simplest possible example, doors with handles did not exist when dogs and wolves evolved, but both can figure out how to open those, both on their own or by observing another dog or wolf or a human do that. Likewise, animal creativity has already been proven. Just because you don't value, say, an orangutan making a whistle out of leaves on the same level as a human making a trumpet, doesn't make it not an example.

    Once more, Donna, it's just your own false expectations which make you demand more. You think cognition is all-or-nothing, despite the fact that nothing empirical supports this. Your "proofs" still amount to nothing more than a slippery slope argument coated with pseudo-religious rhetoric.
    Learning is not discovering principles which increase potential population density. No beast, no matter how clever, can wilfully increase its population density beyond its rigidly set genetic-environmental potential.

  8. - Top - End - #218

    Default Re: Why are people afraid of death?

    So what? Nobody is arguing that animals are as smart as humans... you keep saying "humans are better at X"... and the response consistently is "we agree, but how is that relevant to the discussion at hand?"
    Therefore humans are a species-level higher intellectually than beasts of the field. No beast will ever discover the circumference of Terra, for example, as an example of the quality of human knowledge that allows humanity to increase its powers of labour and potential population density. This is a uniquely wilfully mediated type of event that humans are capable of, and that no known nonhuman is capable of. And, this is associated with the type of thinking that allows for a sense of personal mortality, morality, and {RULES}.

    Total BS. Plenty of animals are creative on a daily basis. Once again, most humans are MORE creative, but that doesn't mean that animals are not creative.
    By creativity I mean what I said above, wilfully increasing potential population density through the discovery of new principles. Nothing else does this.

    SO FAR. That's how well it has gone so far.

    Considering that the common chimpanzee separated from other primates one million years ago... same as Homo Sapiens and Neanderthals. In that one million years, we managed to figure out all this fancy smart stuff out in what... the last 1% of our time on earth? The Chimps aren't that far behind us. Even if it takes them another ten thousand years to catch up to cave men, they are still only a fraction behind us in the overall timeframe.
    When chimps can do what we do, they will be us. Until then, they're beasts.

    And if the Neanderthals hadn't died out, it is quite possible that they would be able to figure a lot of this stuff out by now.

    They were creative. They had art. They built tools. They weren't us.*they feared death and turned to {RULES} to deal with that fear
    If they were then they were us. Another race of man.

  9. - Top - End - #219
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    Default Re: Why are people afraid of death?

    Quote Originally Posted by Donnadogsoth View Post
    Therefore humans are a species-level higher intellectually than beasts of the field. No beast will ever discover the circumference of Terra, for example, as an example of the quality of human knowledge that allows humanity to increase its powers of labour and potential population density. This is a uniquely wilfully mediated type of event that humans are capable of, and that no known nonhuman is capable of. And, this is associated with the type of thinking that allows for a sense of personal mortality, morality, and {RULES}.
    I agree that no species is capable of discovering the circumference of the earth, but don't say "ever". It is perfectly possible that in another 100,000 years that some other species might be able to pull it off. Still... yes humans are unique. We are a unique animal. Other animals are unique in their own way. Take the Tardigrade for example. It kicks every creature's ass when it comes to resilience.

    If the ultimate goal is "to survive", then they win hands down. For you the goal seems to be intelligence... to each their own.

    By creativity I mean what I said above, wilfully increasing potential population density through the discovery of new principles. Nothing else does this.
    That is an odd and very restricted definition of creativity.

    When chimps can do what we do, they will be us. Until then, they're beasts.
    Again with odd definitions... they would be us? They might be very different from us at that point, other than their cognitive abilities.

    I am capable of imagining a creature capable of math and technology (alien, or future earth creature), and I'm capable of imagining that creature being completely different from humans in look, personality, culture, and methods of applying their intelligence upon the world around them.

  10. - Top - End - #220

    Default Re: Why are people afraid of death?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aliquid View Post
    I agree that no species is capable of discovering the circumference of the earth, but don't say "ever". It is perfectly possible that in another 100,000 years that some other species might be able to pull it off. Still... yes humans are unique. We are a unique animal. Other animals are unique in their own way. Take the Tardigrade for example. It kicks every creature's ass when it comes to resilience.

    If the ultimate goal is "to survive", then they win hands down. For you the goal seems to be intelligence... to each their own.
    What will the tardigrade do should Sol engulf Terra?

    That is an odd and very restricted definition of creativity.
    People can scribble in their colouring books and make a new shape if they want.

    Again with odd definitions... they would be us? They might be very different from us at that point, other than their cognitive abilities.

    I am capable of imagining a creature capable of math and technology (alien, or future earth creature), and I'm capable of imagining that creature being completely different from humans in look, personality, culture, and methods of applying their intelligence upon the world around them.
    "And now, when Danforth and I saw the freshly glistening and reflectively iridescent black slime which clung thickly to those headless bodies and stank obscenely with that new, unknown odor whose cause only a diseased fancy could envisage - clung to those bodies and sparkled less voluminously on a smooth part of the accursedly resculptured wall in a series of grouped dots - we understood the quality of cosmic fear to its uttermost depths. It was not fear of those four missing others - for all too well did we suspect they would do no harm again. Poor devils! After all, they were not evil things of their kind. They were the men of another age and another order of being. Nature had played a hellish jest on them - as it will on any others that human madness, callousness, or cruelty may hereafter dig up in that hideously dead or sleeping polar waste - and this was their tragic homecoming. They had not been even savages-for what indeed had they done? That awful awakening in the cold of an unknown epoch - perhaps an attack by the furry, frantically barking quadrupeds, and a dazed defense against them and the equally frantic white simians with the queer wrappings and paraphernalia ... poor Lake, poor Gedney... and poor Old Ones! Scientists to the last - what had they done that we would not have done in their place? God, what intelligence and persistence! What a facing of the incredible, just as those carven kinsmen and forbears had faced things only a little less incredible! Radiates, vegetables, monstrosities, star spawn - whatever they had been, they were men! "
    -- H.P. Lovecraft, At the Mountains of Madness

  11. - Top - End - #221
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    Default Re: Why are people afraid of death?

    So you're defining any possible creature that would meet your ever moving target for sentience as human? That's convenient.
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  12. - Top - End - #222
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    Default Re: Why are people afraid of death?

    Quote Originally Posted by Donnadogsoth View Post
    Because it's a rank fallacy that threatens the morale and the morality of the human race.
    But it's kind of true isn't it?

    The sun is not the largest star in the cosmos.

    Emperors came and falled.

    They ruled nothing but a samll sized planet.

    Do you deny that as a fact?
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    Excellent Chaotic Evil "roleplaying" The Eye. "The only people responsible for the welfare of or harm dealt to others are people who aren't me."
    "A clear horizon — nothing to worry about on your plate, only things that are creative and not destructive… I can’t bear quarreling, I can’t bear feelings between people — I think hatred is wasted energy, and it’s all non-productive." - Alfred Hitchcock

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    Default Re: Why are people afraid of death?

    Quote Originally Posted by Donnadogsoth View Post
    Learning is not discovering principles which increase potential population density. No beast, no matter how clever, can wilfully increase its population density beyond its rigidly set genetic-environmental potential.
    This is bull crap. First, you have not, in any pedagogically sound terms, shown that learning principles is different from any other kind of learning. Second, you have not explained why learning to short circuit electric fences, or learning to read traffic lights, or learning to hunt together with humans, or learning to understand human sign language, etc., do not involve principles. Third, population density is not rigidly set at a genetic level. That is why animal populations can grow dramatically if given a new environment. Again, invasive ant species are a perfect example.

    Fourth, you are only good for defining what a principle is, not recognizing them as they exist. In past discussions, you have demonstrated complete ignorance of key principles underlying important modern theories, such as the Chaos theory. On the field of biology, you failed to recognize Lotka-Volterra-equations as a principle. The latter especially means that you have zero credibility when talking about populations or population density.
    "It's the fate of all things under the sky,
    to grow old and wither and die."

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    Default Re: Why are people afraid of death?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    Third, population density is not rigidly set at a genetic level. That is why animal populations can grow dramatically if given a new environment. Again, invasive ant species are a perfect example.
    The phrase was, "wilfully increase population density". Once again, it comes down to fetishising the emergent properly of "awareness" - we still can't define it, but let that not stop us from insisting that anything done by a creature that has this attribute is qualitatively different from the same act performed by a mere natural creature.

    Anything done by a species "wilfully" is, itself, evidence of "will". A creature that is, a priori, not aware, may do just the same thing, but in their case it's merely evidence of - I dunno, genetic determinism or something.

    It's a perfect circle, unbreakable and utterly meaningless.
    "None of us likes to be hated, none of us likes to be shunned. A natural result of these conditions is, that we consciously or unconsciously pay more attention to tuning our opinions to our neighbor’s pitch and preserving his approval than we do to examining the opinions searchingly and seeing to it that they are right and sound." - Mark Twain

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    Default Re: Why are people afraid of death?

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    The phrase was, "wilfully increase population density". Once again, it comes down to fetishising the emergent properly of "awareness" - we still can't define it, but let that not stop us from insisting that anything done by a creature that has this attribute is qualitatively different from the same act performed by a mere natural creature.

    Anything done by a species "wilfully" is, itself, evidence of "will". A creature that is, a priori, not aware, may do just the same thing, but in their case it's merely evidence of - I dunno, genetic determinism or something.

    It's a perfect circle, unbreakable and utterly meaningless.
    The "willfull" part is a red herring. The existence of a genetic limit to population density is a factor that has to be proven independently of consciousness - and such a limit has not been found to exist in most species!

    Also, as I explained in context of ants, if animals are found to unwillfully act in some way, attributing such behaviour to will in humans is suspect as well. How do we know we humans are not following our instincts when we war, build or farm? By contrast, the ability to speak we know to be instinctive, because we can show it's dependent on genetics, to the point of being able to name individual genes (FOX2P) which govern this behaviour and showing the same gene exists in other species (such as songbirds, particularly parrots. Why did you think birds are among the best mimics of human speech?).

    Language is also learned and cultural, but that's another thing. Mostly mentioning this just to point out that the dichtomy between nature and nurture is frequently false - nearly all behaviours are results of both.
    "It's the fate of all things under the sky,
    to grow old and wither and die."

  16. - Top - End - #226

    Default Re: Why are people afraid of death?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Eye View Post
    But it's kind of true isn't it?

    The sun is not the largest star in the cosmos.

    Emperors came and falled.

    They ruled nothing but a samll sized planet.

    Do you deny that as a fact?
    I deny that the facts you list have anything to do with importance. Or is a baby less important than an adult?

  17. - Top - End - #227

    Default Re: Why are people afraid of death?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    This is bull crap. First, you have not, in any pedagogically sound terms, shown that learning principles is different from any other kind of learning. Second, you have not explained why learning to short circuit electric fences, or learning to read traffic lights, or learning to hunt together with humans, or learning to understand human sign language, etc., do not involve principles. Third, population density is not rigidly set at a genetic level. That is why animal populations can grow dramatically if given a new environment. Again, invasive ant species are a perfect example.

    Fourth, you are only good for defining what a principle is, not recognizing them as they exist. In past discussions, you have demonstrated complete ignorance of key principles underlying important modern theories, such as the Chaos theory. On the field of biology, you failed to recognize Lotka-Volterra-equations as a principle. The latter especially means that you have zero credibility when talking about populations or population density.
    You're not listening. I said genetic-environmental potential. In other words, any given species, including man to the degree he thinks and acts like a beast, has a potential population density relative to its genetic capabilities interacting with its environment. There are maximum populations for any given species in any given terrain, per square mile. Anything more initiates a die-off and a population correction back to sustainable levels.

    Humans are 700-fold past the die-off limits for the great apes. We do this by wilfully increasing our principled knowledge. That I have been corrected here by this forum, with the understanding that there are many more principles that have been discovered (and which no doubt play a helpful role in increasing our power over Nature), I welcome and thank you. It all goes to show that mankind is the wilful, creative species that increases his power over the natural world, effectively removing any principled limit to his potential population density, as already proven by his current far-past-dieoff actual population.

    If any other entity, whether it be animal, plant, fungus, microbe, crystal, or star-spawn, can do what we do, in terms of what I have just said, then that thing is effectively genus man. Anything else is a mere beast.

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    Default Re: Why are people afraid of death?

    Quote Originally Posted by Donnadogsoth View Post
    Or is a baby less important than an adult?
    Curious that you have to ask that question.

    Yes, it is. So are children and maybe even juveniles, at least according to your own line of argument so far.

    So far, you mix up the ability to learn, adapt to a culture and modify that culture, with the culture and how it "stores and updates" data itself.

    A human baby by itself is practically worth nothing, can´t accomplish nothing, wont solve a two squared equation and will be eaten by wolves. A human baby/child is probably less capable of survival then an equal animal and will reach full consciousness/ego/sense of self at around the same age, 3.

    Now we're social animals and our major trait is to learn, teach and adapt, what we call "culture" or "society", to be top of the food chain. This is where you get your Proto-Nazi thoughts from, because you can´t grasp that we act like a self-replicating virus and any growth that we experienced is only based on us trying to battle and dominate ourselves because we have run out of natural enemies.

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    Default Re: Why are people afraid of death?

    Humans having a larger population limit than great apes does not prove humans have no "environmental-genetic" treshold. Your idea that human population density can increase "without principled limit" has already been shown to be false elsewhere. Furthermore, the current state of humanity is not stable. The society which you extol has only been in existence for 200 years, and that's being generous. Even that 200 years is a tiny slice of the total existence of humanity. Total collapse could be right around the corner and wouldn't even be surprising.

    In short, we have not proven we can keep this up. We have not proven our ability to "rule the galaxy" or whatever, all such claims belong in the field of science fiction and not very hard science fiction at that.

    By contrast, ants had their own population boom due to agriculture ten million years ago. I don't know how much their population density increased from proto-ants, but again: modern ants outnumber humans by total biomass. If you had a giant scale, with all the ants on one side and all the humans on the other, the ants would weigh more.

    So get back to me in 10 million years.
    Last edited by Frozen_Feet; 2018-03-12 at 04:16 PM.

  20. - Top - End - #230

    Default Re: Why are people afraid of death?

    Quote Originally Posted by Florian View Post
    Curious that you have to ask that question.

    Yes, it is. So are children and maybe even juveniles, at least according to your own line of argument so far.

    So far, you mix up the ability to learn, adapt to a culture and modify that culture, with the culture and how it "stores and updates" data itself.

    A human baby by itself is practically worth nothing, can´t accomplish nothing, wont solve a two squared equation and will be eaten by wolves. A human baby/child is probably less capable of survival then an equal animal and will reach full consciousness/ego/sense of self at around the same age, 3.

    Now we're social animals and our major trait is to learn, teach and adapt, what we call "culture" or "society", to be top of the food chain. This is where you get your Proto-Nazi thoughts from, because you can´t grasp that we act like a self-replicating virus and any growth that we experienced is only based on us trying to battle and dominate ourselves because we have run out of natural enemies.
    You're a devotee of Peter Singer, then?

  21. - Top - End - #231

    Default Re: Why are people afraid of death?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    Humans having a larger population limit than great apes does not prove humans have no "environmental-genetic" treshold. Your idea that human population density can increase "without principled limit" has already been shown to be false elsewhere. Furthermore, the current state of humanity is not stable. The society which you extol has only been in existence for 200 years, and that's being generous. Even that 200 years is a tiny slice of the total existence of humanity. Total collapse could be right around the corner and wouldn't even be surprising.

    In short, we have not proven we can keep this up. We have not proven our ability to "rule the galaxy" or whatever, all such claims belong in the field of science fiction and not very hard science fiction at that.

    By contrast, ants had their own population boom due to agriculture ten million years ago. I don't know how much their population density increased from proto-ants, but again: modern ants outnumber humans by total biomass. If you had a giant scale, with all the ants on one side and all the humans on the other, the ants would weigh more.

    So get back to me in 10 million years.
    You've almost got it: yes, total collapse is always right around the corner, because "what we know" translates into a fixed resource base, which inexorably depletes over time no matter how much we try to "reduce our footprint". The end result is a collapse. The only way to avoid the economic machine stopping running, is to not "stop running"--in other words, to hop to higher and higher knowledge bases (increases in "what we know"), that will generate, in principle, and through principle, to no known principled limit, new resources, just as metals were formerly useless rocks until principles of metallurgy were discovered and implemented. There is no telling how many undiscovered resources there are; it's a big Universe and we have not explored very much of it. We have no reason to believe in anything other than the fertile stars. We have no choice, in fact, unless we want to genocide most of the planet as our "conservation efforts" inevitably provoke resource wars.

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    Default Re: Why are people name dropping philosophers? ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Donnadogsoth View Post
    You're a devotee of Peter Singer, then?

    @Florian may just have similar conclusions without having read the guy, because independently coming to beliefs is totally a thing.

    Full disclosure:
    Of philosophers, I remember reading somr Bertrand Russell and John Rawls and thinking "That makes sense", and I remember reading Aristotle and Plato and thinking "That was entertaining, but nah", but what those thoughts were that I read I've forgotten, maybe some of my thoughts I actually got from my reading and if I had an education instead of a library card I'd remember, but I don't.
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    Default Re: Why are people afraid of death?

    @Donna: your argument is just optimistic betting on the future. You realized we have limits, and hope better knowledge will move those limits a bit further.

    But I'm asking you to prove that they'll move. Without that, all you say is just someone confusing wishfull thinking for prediction and science fiction for reality.

    Furthermore, some limits of nature have proven hard enough that they realistically place limits on what we can expect to find in the future. Speed of light is one such limit, and absolutely does set a principled limit to humam growth.
    "It's the fate of all things under the sky,
    to grow old and wither and die."

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    Default Re: Why are people afraid of death?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    @Donna: your argument is just optimistic betting on the future. You realized we have limits, and hope better knowledge will move those limits a bit further.

    But I'm asking you to prove that they'll move. Without that, all you say is just someone confusing wishfull thinking for prediction and science fiction for reality.

    Furthermore, some limits of nature have proven hard enough that they realistically place limits on what we can expect to find in the future. Speed of light is one such limit, and absolutely does set a principled limit to humam growth.
    There is no reason to believe they won't, aside from fashionable anti-humanism. Increasing our population density 700-fold is very impressive and demonstrates we have access to a far deeper well of knowledge than anything else we know of. And, there is every reason to believe we have no choice: we expand our knowledge and resource bases, or we die.

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    Default Re: Why are people afraid of death?

    Quote Originally Posted by Donnadogsoth View Post
    Increasing our population density 700-fold is very impressive
    So... doing something stupid, unnecessary, and destructive is impressive? Utter lack of self control is impressive?

    There is no reason for us to be swarming over this planet like an out of control viral infection. We could be just as successful with technology, medicine, science, economics... etc. with a fraction of the number of people we have now.

    Population growth causes far more problems than benefits, but we are too incompetent to do anything about it.

  26. - Top - End - #236

    Default Re: Why are people afraid of death?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aliquid View Post
    So... doing something stupid, unnecessary, and destructive is impressive? Utter lack of self control is impressive?

    There is no reason for us to be swarming over this planet like an out of control viral infection. We could be just as successful with technology, medicine, science, economics... etc. with a fraction of the number of people we have now.

    Population growth causes far more problems than benefits, but we are too incompetent to do anything about it.
    Yes, drastic population reduction is possible, and has been tried. It's called genocide.

  27. - Top - End - #237
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    PirateCaptain

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    Default Re: Why are people afraid of death?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aliquid View Post
    So... doing something stupid, unnecessary, and destructive is impressive? Utter lack of self control is impressive?

    There is no reason for us to be swarming over this planet like an out of control viral infection. We could be just as successful with technology, medicine, science, economics... etc. with a fraction of the number of people we have now.

    Population growth causes far more problems than benefits, but we are too incompetent to do anything about it.
    Pretty sure there's a link between population growth and growth of the knowledge base... If only because it allows for more smart people to be born and higher specialization.
    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Greenflame133 View Post
    So what do you think? What is best use for Signatures?
    To curate my brilliance and wit, of course. Any other use is a waste.

  28. - Top - End - #238
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    Default Re: Why are people afraid of death?

    Quote Originally Posted by Donnadogsoth View Post
    There is no reason to believe they won't, aside from fashionable anti-humanism. Increasing our population density 700-fold is very impressive and demonstrates we have access to a far deeper well of knowledge than anything else we know of. And, there is every reason to believe we have no choice: we expand our knowledge and resource bases, or we die.
    On the contrary, the only reason to believe that the growth of technology and the human population is unlimited rests in making a single, unprovable assumption that because a relatively short period of human history has exhibited exponential growth, this must continue indefinitely into the future. This is a typical error of extrapolation, and something that any halfway decent course that covers even basic linear regression (you know, an actual tool used by actual scientists for genuine scientific discovery) will warn you against in very strong terms.

    And there's very good reason to believe that the exponential extrapolation is wrong. It's well understood that organisms, when sufficient resources are available, will grow exponentially (or even super-exponentially) over a brief period of time. They will not continue to do so indefinitely however, because the available resources are finite. Instead their longterm growth will follow a logistic curve, which asymptotes out at the carrying capacity of the system, baring more complex interactions that cause a subsequent population crash. These are often seen in predator/prey dynamics, or any other case where over-use depletes a necessary resource at well above its replacement rate.

    Now interestingly enough, an exponential and a logistic curve are essentially indistinguishable early on. This means that there's absolutely no way to tell whether the logistic or the exponential curve dictates your future growth based on past observation. Here's a simple example of the two curves showing how closely they can match:

    Spoiler
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    And here's how they differ in longterm behavior:
    Spoiler
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    If you only have data up until Time = 4 (time unit is arbitrary in this example), it's difficult to impossible to tell them apart. And there's other curves that could also fit our observed data extremely well. Here for instance is a piecewise polynomial curve that matches about as well, and goes into immediate decline after time = 4.

    Spoiler
    Show



    A smoother function would be more plausible, but there's a limit to how much time I want to spend monkeying around with these curves, and this communicates the point fairly well.


    So we can't tell much about which curve we're on, simply by looking at the past. Again, it's bad science to extrapolate very far into the future based solely on the fitted curve. Next year will probably exhibit similar traits to this year, sure, but that does not extend well to even 100 years into the future, let alone thousands or millions.


    What then can we tell? The human population has grown very fast in the last few hundred years, thanks mostly to harnessing stored solar energy in the form of fossil fuels. This is not surprising, since we have basically gained access to a new source of calories, albeit ones we don't eat directly but instead use for agriculture and other purposes. There's nothing about this that suggests we aren't following a logistic curve, any more than we should expect a drop of bacteria put in a petri dish to grow to be the size of the world by next Wednesday because it exhibits exponential growth for the next 24 hours. Our timeframe is simply longer, and our petri dish isn't growth medium but hydrocarbon bonds formed by plants millions of years ago.

    The situation is probably worse for us than for the bacteria however. A bacteria formed late in the logistic growth curve will need about the same caloric inputs as a bacteria formed early on. Humans however have exhibited a substantially less efficient growth curve; we seem to require more and more energy inputs for correspondingly smaller increases in population growth. Energy consumption might rise exponentially, but the population does not. So the future population looks basically like the current population, it just consumes vastly more.

    Which is sustainable if the world can meet an exponentially expanding need for energy. It almost certainly cannot; and the side effects of pollution and ecosystem damage have a very good chance of lowering the effective carrying capacity of the planet substantially. Put differently, we're in the indistinguishable-from-exponential phase of a growth-crash curve, because we're 'preying' on millions of years of accumulated environmental production and durability. Eventually our consumption will burn through both the existing stores and the replacement rate, and we'll look like the coyote population right after eating all the rabbits. Starving and dying of diseases in vast numbers. Or, if we manage to raise global temperatures enough to kill off enough phytoplankton in the oceans, suffocating.


    Now if we actually have free will, and can buck the evolutionary drive to consume as much as possible, we can get to choose which curve we follow. The logistic, or the one that crashes. So far as I can tell, we seem to be defaulting for the crash-curve. The most substantial proof I can think of that we are truly different from an animal following a predator-prey cycle is if we stopped increasing our consumption, instead of idiotically assuming the rules we can clearly see don't apply to us because we're all special'n'crap.
    Blood-red were his spurs i' the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat,
    When they shot him down on the highway,
    Down like a dog on the highway,
    And he lay in his blood on the highway, with the bunch of lace at his throat.


    Alfred Noyes, The Highwayman, 1906.

  29. - Top - End - #239
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    Default Re: Why are people afraid of death?

    Quote Originally Posted by Donnadogsoth View Post
    Yes, drastic population reduction is possible, and has been tried. It's called genocide.
    Look more long term, rather than immediate gratification (another thing humans seem to suck at). We could just have less children, and gradually reduce the world's population year by year.

    If we were as smart as you claim, we could find a way to make that work and mitigate any side-effects.

    Quote Originally Posted by thorgrim29 View Post
    Pretty sure there's a link between population growth and growth of the knowledge base... If only because it allows for more smart people to be born and higher specialization.
    almost all "developed" countries have a declining population if you exclude immigration.

    There is way more than enough people out there. We just need to give many of them better education and resources.
    Last edited by Aliquid; 2018-03-13 at 12:47 PM.

  30. - Top - End - #240
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Why are people afraid of death?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aliquid View Post
    Look more long term, rather than immediate gratification (another thing humans seem to suck at). We could just have less children, and gradually reduce the world's population year by year.

    If we were as smart as you claim, we could find a way to make that work and mitigate any side-effects.

    almost all "developed" countries have a declining population if you exclude immigration.

    There is way more than enough people out there. We just need to give many of them better education and resources.
    I agree, the optimum world population is between 1 and 1.5 billion people. If we want to survive as a species we should have less kids for a considerable amount of time.

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