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Switch to Forum Live View When Evolution Fails Us
2 years ago  ::  May 23, 2012 - 5:56PM #11
teilhard
Posts: 51,184

We Human Beings ARE a peculiar Species in many Respects ...


Our ASTONISHING Human Adaptations -- esp. our Culture and Technology -- have indeed allowed us to explore the DEEPEST Ocean Trenches, to journey to The Moon and back several Times, to send Robot Spacecraft to every Planet in The Solar System, and recently OUT of it entirely ...


We ARE a Piece of Work, for sure ...


We have also BEGUN the even MORE astonishing Accomplishments of Virtual Time Travel, exploring and decoding The PAST of our own Planet and Its Life Forms, and to peer WAAAAY back in Time to The Creation of The Universe Itself(!!!) with our ever-more Powerful Telescopes and Instruments ...


What remains a HUGE ??? is our FUTURE ...

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2 years ago  ::  May 24, 2012 - 12:25AM #12
Oncomintrain
Posts: 3,095

May 23, 2012 -- 12:24PM, d_p_m wrote:



Step away from those primal conditions - oxy/nitrogen at STP, 21% O2 to indulge in other activities - mountain climbing at high to extreme altitudes, flying airplanes, deep free diving, scuba diving, rebreathers!!! (tales to tell), space travel - all provide challenges we are not intended to handle.

If we underappreciate the importance of this, we put ourselves at great risk.



I take some measure of comfort in that, actually... that nature can still bitchslap us. The biosphere as a whole does such a wonderful job of holding various species in check, assuring that no one species can go completely wild and burn out the available resources. Change is slow, and is dictated by what the world demands, not what a species wants. Without endorsing Gaia Hypothesis mumbo-jumbo, the planet is analogous in some ways to a body, in which all parts are allowed to work well-enough, but never TOO well.


Humans are certainly doing their damnedest to turn that relationship on its head... to establish that we CAN do whatever we want WHENever we want as QUICKLY as we want. We want to be a part that works TOO well. When cells in a body do that, there's a name for it: cancer.


So while I too marvel at the extent of human achievement, and I certainly don't relish the individual human tragedies involved, it does relieve me a little that humans haven't yet managed to exempt themselves from the rules and become completely malignant. Because I'm not convinced we'd have the wisdom to stop ourselves.

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2 years ago  ::  May 24, 2012 - 9:34AM #13
newchurchguy
Posts: 3,638

May 24, 2012 -- 12:25AM, Oncomintrain wrote:


Without endorsing Gaia Hypothesis mumbo-jumbo, the planet is analogous in some ways to a body, in which all parts are allowed to work well-enough, but never TOO well.


Humans are certainly doing their damnedest to turn that relationship on its head.




OCT,


Without pushing it as true or authority - if you like here is a quote from one of its formulators as science - not munbo jumbo.  Reading what it is - in a science context by a scientist can be helpful in separating the media version from reality.


Gaia is not a goddess, or vicious. Gaia is a series of interacting ecosystems that compose a single huge ecosystem at the Earth's surface. A physiological system whose temperature, reactive gas composition, and surface chemistry are modulated by the entirety of Earth's organisms."


Gaia is not a single organism. The Gaia of Margulis is "no vague, quaint notion of a mother Earth who nurtures us. The Gaia hypothesis is science."


"We are all symbionts on a symbiotic planet, and Gaia is symbiosis seen from space. Independence from the biosphere for all forms of life equals death."


"No human culture despite its inventiveness,  can kill life on this planet, were it even to try. Humans are not the center of life, nor is any other single species. Humans are not even central to life. We are a recent, rapidly growing part of an enormous ancient whole."



www.gaia-movement.org/TextPage.asp?TxtID...




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2 years ago  ::  May 24, 2012 - 10:45AM #14
Oncomintrain
Posts: 3,095

In regards to the Gaia hypothesis, this is the part I can't get behind:


"The originality of the Gaia theory relies on the assessment that such homeostatic balance is actively pursued with the goal of keeping the optimal conditions for life, even when terrestrial or external events menace them."


(From Wikipedia)


This is probably too entangled in our disagreements on the subjects of agency and goal-directedness to be worth discussing.

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2 years ago  ::  May 24, 2012 - 11:41AM #15
d_p_m
Posts: 9,936

May 24, 2012 -- 9:34AM, newchurchguy wrote:


"We are all symbionts on a symbiotic planet




It's all a matter of viewpoint.


Another way of looking at it is that surviving species are all really good at surviving their environment and eating their neighbours.

"If you aren't confused by quantum physics, you haven't really understood it."

― Niels Bohr



"As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality."

-- Albert Einstein
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