19 MAR 2015 by ideonexus

 Extraterrestrials as Gods

[T]here are very probably alien civilizations that are superhuman, to the point of being god-like in ways that exceed anything a theologian could possibly imagine. … As Arthur C. Clarke put it, in his Third Law: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” In what sense would they be superhuman but not supernatural? In a very important sense, which goes to the heart of this book. The crucial difference between gods and god-like extraterrestrials lies not in ...
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08 NOV 2013 by ideonexus

 We are Ultimately Responsible for Our Fate

Thus it is that (to ensure feeding and breeding), "Nature" during the aeons of experimentation which we call "Evolution" has developed a variety of fixed preservative instincts, traits, and characteristics in the animal world. From the animal world, we as animals have inherited such of these instincts, traits, and characteristics as were necessary or most favorable to Man's survival and present dominance. "Gifts": Peculiarly Human. In addition to these, man lias acquired, attained, or bee...
Folksonomies: fate purpose responsibility
Folksonomies: fate purpose responsibility
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If we choose to interfere with evolution and nature, then we are responsible for the consequences, but if we choose not to, then we are also responsible for the consequences.

01 JAN 2012 by ideonexus

 Thinking About Aliens Stretches the Imagination

The virtue of thinking about life elsewhere is that it forces us to stretch our imaginations. Can we think of alternative solutions to biological problems already solved in one particular way on Earth? For example, the wheel is a comparatively recent invention on the planet Earth. It seems to have been invented in the ancient Near East less than ten thousand years ago. In fact, the high civilizations of Meso- America, the Aztecs and the Mayas, never employed the wheel, except for children's t...
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The possible life that could evolve in other environments is an imaginative treasure chest.

(TODO: The wheeled organisms described here appear in the Amber Spyglass by Pullman)

29 MAY 2011 by ideonexus

 Evolution Versus Engineering

What's the difference between evolution and engineering? Engineering is the designing of a whole out of parts suited to their individual purposes. Evolution is the process of tiny incremental changes, each making some small or large improvement in the ability of the thing to survive and reproduce. A good engineer avoids the kluge-jargon for the use of a part not particularly suited to its purpose. But evolution favors, even cherishes, the kluge. Suddenly finding a new purpose for a part witho...
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Evolution is all about kludges.

01 JAN 2010 by ideonexus

 Obama Describes the World Wide Web

The image was mesmerizing, more organic than mechanical, as if I were glimpsing the early stages of some accelerating evolutionary process, in which all the boundaries between men--nationality, race, religion, wealth--were rendered invisible and irrelevant, so that the physicist in Cambridge, the bond trader in Tokyo, the student in a remote Indian village, and the manager of a Mexico City department store were drawn into a single constant, thrumming conversation, time and space giving way to...
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A beautiful, insightful description of a monitor showing World Wide Web traffic patterns.