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The Official Perfection KOs Creationism Thread Part Two: The Empiricists Strike Back!

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Perfection, Feb 23, 2006.

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  1. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    I have a heck of a time with that one - mainly because 'intelligence' is so hard to define.

    My ability to perform 'intelligent' tasks has shot up with the advent of the computer. I can now run calculations at lightning speed, recall all my appointments and phone numbers, and speed-read documents for relavent materials.

    However, my 'understanding' of calculus and finance is really due to study and learning and intuition. Can these abilities be augmented through manipulation? Maybe. I sure hope so. If we find drugs/genes/machines that can make these parts of our brains better, the world is going to get much better..
     
  2. Perfection

    Perfection The Great Head.

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    There is a definition of fitness based on the ability to have reproductive sucess. The fact that animals have different reproductive sucess has been experimentally verified.
     
  3. ironduck

    ironduck Deity

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    It's my understanding that it's possible to increase concentration and memory through the use of drugs. I see no reason why we shouldn't be able to do the same thing at some point through genetic engineering. And it's probably reasonable to say that increased ability to focus and increased memory capacity aids human intelligence, in whichever way one wishes to define it.
     
  4. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    You won't get any disagreement from me. I'm certain that reversing Alzheimer's will add to the intelligence of our patients (when we can).

    As well, due to the plasticity of the brain, I'm really sure that we can add genetically modified (or augmented) stem cells to our brains, and eventually they'll replace our current brain cells, and still retain 'us'.
     
  5. sanabas

    sanabas Psycho Bunny Hall of Fame Staff

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    they are uni level books. The organic chem book doesn't go into it, the less specialised chem text probably does mention it, but I don't remember it going into much detail. I've just moved house, it's still in a box somewhere, so I didn't have it handy.

    Yeah, I do know the basic stuff. The bit that's confusing me is trying to match up gravitational effects with an increase in entropy. It appears to me that gravity is something that makes things more ordered, and massively increasing the effect of gravity shouldn't change any universal laws, but should result in one big ball of stuff, which is even more ordered than the universe we currently have. So either I need a new definition for disorder and entropy, that shows forming planets and things does increase disorder, or the 2nd law is not a universal law applying to everything, but is actually an approximation to apply only to closed, thermodynamic systems, or I've missed something else entirely. The popular science books I have unpacked suggest option 2.

    To keep vaguely on topic, it's like the phrase brought up in a definition a few posts ago, 'the law of natural selection'. It's not a universal law, it's something that applies only to systems that can experience cumulative selection. And my misunderstanding may be along the lines of people who look at 'survival of the fittest', 'law of the jungle', and say it's obviously crap, because wouldn't that result in one really powerful animal eating everything else? (I hope not, because I'll feel really stupid if it is.)

    One reason I can see is that te exact DNA is propagated indefinitely, the organisms based on it lose the ability to adapt. Evolution is built on not copying exactly. Not really a problem at the moment, as for the most part we're capable of adapting our environment instead. A lot of potential problems I can come up with get into the realms of speculative sci-fi stuff.

    Personally, I have no interest in living indefinitely, it's something that really doesn't appeal to me. I can see lots of good reasons for researching this sort of stuff though. But the statement in your quote, and the idea of going from organisms that live 70 years or so to organisms that are practically immortal, suggests to me the mentality of "We are the absolute pinnacle of evolution, we want to freeze things now, as we're not going to get any better." That seems arrogant to me, there's no reason why humans as they are now are the pinnacle, there's no reason why keeping the current DNA as is in perpetuity is a good idea, unless we can do the same to the world. One practical example that springs to mind is disease resistance. Viruses will continue to evolve, new viruses will appear, especially as curing aging is likely to lead to humans expanding into new habitats. If viruses have a static population of people to evolve against, I can see them causing us a few problems.
     
  6. Bill3000

    Bill3000 OOOH NOOOOOOO! Supporter

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    It's quite simple. The reason why we call Entropy a measure of "disorder" is because of its statistical definition.

    S = k*ln(N)

    Where:

    k = boltzmann's constant
    N = The number of microstates corresponding to the given macrostate

    A macrostate is the state you see on a whole scale - e.g. one with a given pressure, volume, total energy, and other state variables for the entire system. A microstate is the state of all of the individual particles of the system - velocity and their energies, in particular. It's probably more proper to consider entropy a measure of the spread of energy distribution (Akin to a standard deviation, you could say, although the definition is different - actually, you can measure entropy for a probability distribution - entropy is highly related to information theory) rather than a measure of "disorder".

    Now, in normal conditions (e.g. one in which there are no significant external forces - just imagine a ball of approximately massless gas, or one in which gravity doesn't matter) this goes with our common perception of disorder. A gas with a small volume and small total energy would mean that the particles would have less options in terms of their own individual energies and momentums. This corresponds to a lesser amount of microstates. The opposite would have mroe microstates - assuming that the gas isn't constrainted, the gas will naturally go into a position of higher entropy, thus spreading out.


    This isn't in the case of when there are external forces. Why? Look at our definition of Entropy, in particular, N: "The number of microstates corresponding to the given macrostate." This isn't a measure of disorder per se. When gravity matters, particles are attracted to each other, and it is natural for it to form a sphere of matter. What does this mean? It means that there are more microstates corresponding to spheres of matter than one in which the entire system is uniformly spread - a uniformly spread system means that matter will inevitably clump. Thus, there are more states for a non-uniform distribution. What does this means? It means that when gravity matters, a uniform distribution of matter is the macrostate corresponding to the least amount of microstates - this has the least amount of entropy when compared to other macrostates of the system.

    Thus, the universe on the whole scale does increase in entropy, as matter clumps to form galaxies and the like, and had a uniform distribution of matter/energy near the time of the big bang.

    So to answer the question, "Does the system have more entropy compared to another configuration?", a layman's way to answer that is to ask yourself, "How would the system tend to change over time? That tendicity is the direction of higher entropy." Remember: Entropy is not explictly a measure of disorder - it is a measure of k*ln(N).
     
  7. Perfection

    Perfection The Great Head.

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    Nah, it adds character.


    I am such a witty bastard :smug:
    Why?
     
  8. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    I dunno Sanabas ... I think that once you find perfect DNA, it's best to keep what you have ...


    Link

    dr_krupkauer.jpg
     
  9. sanabas

    sanabas Psycho Bunny Hall of Fame Staff

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    I assume you're talking about Claude Shannon's work here? Which is a different definition for entropy, determined by a different formula? Calling them highly related makes me very doubtful about the accuracy of the rest of your post.

    :D Not a bad article that. Onion articles aside, do you not think it's arrogant to be calling, or implying, that what we have now is 'perfect DNA'?
     
  10. Eran of Arcadia

    Eran of Arcadia Stormin' Mormon Retired Moderator

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    @Sanabas: Why are you applying these ideas of right and wrong to the issue? It's a simple matter of gene propagation, and so those whose genes allow them to try to live forever, thus ensuring their genes exist forever, have the 'perfect' genes no matter what they are.

    Although I think that effective immortality is impossible, and I wouldn't want it.
     
  11. sanabas

    sanabas Psycho Bunny Hall of Fame Staff

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    Not trying to apply right & wrong. No problem with the idea that curing aging and removing other problems associated with an unchanging set of genes might result in genes existing indefinitely. But to me, simply curing aging introduces a new line of problems caused by being unable to adapt as a species.

    Same.
     
  12. ironduck

    ironduck Deity

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    I thought your religion granted you immortality.
     
  13. Bill3000

    Bill3000 OOOH NOOOOOOO! Supporter

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    Not at all. They are, in fact, highly related.

    - Wikipedia


    Besides, the formula that I did post (k*ln(N)), is the definition of thermodynamic entropy.
     
  14. Secular

    Secular Warlord

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    damn i'm gonna stop checking this thread out, just giving me an inferiority complex
     
  15. classical_hero

    classical_hero In whom I trust

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    Now have alook at the Scientists of the past who were creationist, many of them are fathers of certain fields. Here is a list. http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/feedback/2006/0224.asp
    So you can see that many famous scientists were creationists, so it seems that these very intelligent fellows believed in creation and yet they also believed in science. Interesting isn't it?
     
  16. Sahkuhnder

    Sahkuhnder Delusions of grandeur

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    Not really, no. I could make a huge list of renowned and respected scientific names that believed in outdated concepts we now know are not true. This shows nothing.

    As science advances the sum of scientific knowledge increases. It does not reflect poorly on great minds of the past that they believed as they did as they did not have our current scientific data to draw from.
     
  17. Meleager

    Meleager Stoned as a Statue

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    Just backing CH up because I know someone is going to make a claim about evolution not being around in their time.

    Although the modern theory of Evolution is relitively recent, the idea has been around scince ancient times. Greek Atomists believed as early as 400BC that the universe came in existance completely without human intervention.

    So if the men CH mentioned really didn't believe in evolution, they had no reason not to do so.

    Edit - x post
     
  18. Perfection

    Perfection The Great Head.

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    Not particularly, creationism was the best thing around at the time.

    Creationism did explain some aspects of biology. Evolution explains a whole lot more.
     
  19. classical_hero

    classical_hero In whom I trust

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    WRT the nylon bug, it is again an issue of differing views because we can say things about it and the Evolutionists could counter that and a cross counter and so on. The problem here is thinking that just because a mutation occurs and it appears to be helpful to the organism, that it is automatically gaining info, whereas it could be losing info that once was there. It is not as cut and dry as some people here think.
     
  20. classical_hero

    classical_hero In whom I trust

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    Actually Evolutions goes further back than you realise. We go back to the Greek who were the first to state the idea of evolution in the now rejected idea of Spontaeous generation. Due the work of Louis Pastuer, one of the men in that list, this theory was rejected but in it's place was put a theory that we came from a chemical soup that we have no idea how it occured, but must have occured, because the alternative is not worth exploring. There are millions of people who view that Creationism is still the best way of explaining how man came to being, over evolution, otherwise we would not be having this arguement.
     
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