Register to reply

Superior Beings

by Bartholomew
Tags: beings, superior
Share this thread:
Bartholomew
#19
Feb10-05, 07:04 PM
P: 613
If a god transforms a human being into a fly, atom by atom, at what point does the "human quality of awareness" suddenly disappear? Everything is a continuum.
loseyourname
#20
Feb10-05, 07:14 PM
Emeritus
PF Gold
loseyourname's Avatar
P: 3,634
Quote Quote by Bartholomew
If a god transforms a human being into a fly, atom by atom, at what point does the "human quality of awareness" suddenly disappear? Everything is a continuum.
So you think if a god transformed a human being into a rock atom by atom that the "human quality of awareness" would remain intact throughout? I don't know the boundary condition, but I'm pretty sure there is one. I'm pretty sure that rocks are not sentient.
Philocrat
#21
Feb10-05, 07:48 PM
P: 579
Quote Quote by Bartholomew
If a superior being is as advanced compared to us as we are to a fruit fly, would there be any immorality if that being swatted us like a bunch of fruit flies?
Well, I know at least one Philosopher and a few scientists (Physicists especially) who think that not only is the probability of such Superior Beings existing anywhere in our universe very low but also the probabality of them ever contacting or reaching us is at the scale of near impossible. I am personally sceptical about this, despite the neatness of the mathematics that give them this confidence.

And because of this, we naively relax, go with the flow and take it easy. Well, this is a fundamental mistake, and this is equivalent to what I persistently call 'THE PRINCIPLE OF DANGEROUS CONTENTMENT. At the moment we are naively spending trillions of dollars year in year out perfecting ever more and more methods of murdering each other in pointless wars. Clear thinking and intelligence suggests that we should be investing all our intellectual and material resources making concrete contingency plans ....getting ready to meet our cosmological neighbours in whatever form they may come (in peace or in war) .......building high speed spaceships for intersteller or interplanetary migration in the event of cataclysmic events within our our spacetime locality (such as decay of the sun in our solar system).

And lastly, we should by now be commencing full scale 'Science of Man'. That we need to fully study and understand ourselves and use the information to structurally and functionally improve ourselves is no longer a question of why but now a question of when. If you sit down with a blank sheet of paper and create a list of enumerable number of things that we externally depend on for our own form of life to tick an inch, let alone any hope of progressively continuing, you would appreciate precisely what I am talking about here.

Hence, there is nothing logically ruling out the fact that we may scientifically create Super Beings out of the humans.

On the issue of morality and how Super beings arriving on earth would treat us, well there is currently no way to predict this until we actually experience it. That is why I personally think, and suggested above, that we must start making contingency plans to counter any eventualities that may potentially manifest during such a visit. For there is no way of knowing whether such alien Super beings would contian any drop of morals in them. It would be suicidal for us not to be ready for that, God forbid bad thing!

Infact, even if the whole world could not theoretically agree on anything else, this is one most important issue that there should not be any dispute at all. At the moment some countries are now busy character-assassinating everyone at the United Nations and trying to completely destroy that organistion. All the countries of the world should by now be exhausting their intellectual and material resources in making concrete contingency plans for the survival of the human race.
Bartholomew
#22
Feb10-05, 09:22 PM
P: 613
Loseyourname: instead of "human quality of awareness," take instead the property of a car to run like a car, and have a god slowly atom-by-atom transform this car into a rock. Certainly it seems like there is a fundamental difference between the car and the rock, in terms of function; it seems like there must be some sharp dividing line. But you can't find one there either, and moreover you can't allude to any supposed philosophical principles that say there should be one.
StatusX
#23
Feb10-05, 09:46 PM
HW Helper
P: 2,567
Is this like the sorites paradox? Something like if you pluck a hair off a man's head who isn't bald, it won't make him bald. So if you keep doing it, he'll never be bald, even when he's hairless. Of course, the problem lies in a vagueness in definitions of words like "bald". This explains the car/rock transition, but I don't know about the experiencing rock question.
Bartholomew
#24
Feb11-05, 12:01 PM
P: 613
The "sorites" paradox? Never heard that one, but it's wrong because if the man has 1 hair left and you pluck it, it will make him bald when he wasn't before. This does not explain the car/rock transition.

The question is not about definitions, but about emergent properties of complex systems. At what point do the properties disappear when you gradually alter the system? Answer: for macroscopic systems, there is never such a point.
loseyourname
#25
Feb11-05, 02:18 PM
Emeritus
PF Gold
loseyourname's Avatar
P: 3,634
Quote Quote by Bartholomew
The question is not about definitions, but about emergent properties of complex systems. At what point do the properties disappear when you gradually alter the system? Answer: for macroscopic systems, there is never such a point.
It is clear that at some point when removing parts from the human neurological system, soon enough you lose the emergent property of being conscious. In fact, you don't even have to reduce the complexity of the system - just remove the oxygen for a couple of minutes or keep a calcium ion pump open a little too long. If you're really going to use the argument that because we don't know when a property disappears that we must say the fly neural system is capable of the same conscious states that the human neural system is, then you can use that same argument to make the same statement about any property of the human neural system. You can say that because we don't know at what point the ability to conceive of language or solve calculus problems emerges, that a fly must be able to do these things as well.
StatusX
#26
Feb11-05, 05:02 PM
HW Helper
P: 2,567
Quote Quote by Bartholomew
The "sorites" paradox? Never heard that one, but it's wrong because if the man has 1 hair left and you pluck it, it will make him bald when he wasn't before. This does not explain the car/rock transition.
You missed my point. First of all, I meant bald in the sense that George Costanza or Homer Simpson are bald. It doesn't mean they have zero hairs, but how exactly many hairs are needed not to be bald is unspecified in the definition. And yes, this does clear up the car/rock transition. As you change a car atom by atom into a rock, at some point it will no longer have some of the functionality necessary to be called a "car" (just imagine doing the process in reverse). Halfway through, it might not look like most cars we're used to, but if it moves under the power of gas, you can fit inside it and control it, etc., then it's still a car. But eventually, even though we don't know exactly when, it will become a rock. And the reason we don't know when is because of the vagueness in the definition of the word "car".
Bartholomew
#27
Feb11-05, 05:55 PM
P: 613
If it's not possible to name the precise point at which the transition occurs--or at least to name the precise range of points--then the transition never occurs. When dealing with real-world systems we use fuzzy logic; there is never an absolute falsehood or an absolute truth about any real-world macroscopic object. It's all a sliding scale.

What I'm saying with respect to the car and the rock is, the fuzziness is inescapable. (vagueness of terms, okay, I see where you're coming from) There is no such thing as an absolute rock or an absolute car; that's why you can't find the dividing line. The terms are vague, and there is no way to make them precise without being arbitrary; the vagueness is a property of concepts themselves, not merely terms.


Now, I am not saying that a fly has all the abilities that a human has, calculus included, in the same degree that the human has them; instead, a fly has traces of all those abilities. The moment the god changes 1 atom in the human to make the human more like a fly, you can say that the human is less humanlike and more flylike. You just can't find anywhere when the human actually becomes a fly.

So, the fly does calculus very poorly compared to a human, with a degree of error close to 100%. But he does it.
StatusX
#28
Feb11-05, 08:03 PM
HW Helper
P: 2,567
Quote Quote by Bartholomew
If it's not possible to name the precise point at which the transition occurs--or at least to name the precise range of points--then the transition never occurs. When dealing with real-world systems we use fuzzy logic; there is never an absolute falsehood or an absolute truth about any real-world macroscopic object. It's all a sliding scale.

What I'm saying with respect to the car and the rock is, the fuzziness is inescapable. (vagueness of terms, okay, I see where you're coming from) There is no such thing as an absolute rock or an absolute car; that's why you can't find the dividing line. The terms are vague, and there is no way to make them precise without being arbitrary; the vagueness is a property of concepts themselves, not merely terms.


Now, I am not saying that a fly has all the abilities that a human has, calculus included, in the same degree that the human has them; instead, a fly has traces of all those abilities. The moment the god changes 1 atom in the human to make the human more like a fly, you can say that the human is less humanlike and more flylike. You just can't find anywhere when the human actually becomes a fly.

So, the fly does calculus very poorly compared to a human, with a degree of error close to 100%. But he does it.

I disagree with basically everything said here. Of course there are absolute cars. A ford taurus, for example, isn't some high percentage car and low percentage every other conceivable object. It is a car. The vagueness prohibits writing explicit defintions that specify the necessary and sufficient conditions to be called a car. It doesn't prohibit objects from being cars. By your logic, you could never point to an object and say "that is a car" and have it be a true statement (or a false statement).

As for a fly being some kind of extremely deficient mathematician, that is the kind of example I should be citing to show how ridiculous your proposal is. Clearly a fly is incapable of carrying out any function that could reasonably be considered characteristic of a calculus doer. What significance does your proposal have, besides adding new, confusing, and useless aspects to our language?
Philocrat
#29
Feb12-05, 12:30 AM
P: 579
IMPORTANT POINTS TO CLEAR UP

1) PARTS - WHOLE RELATIONS

It is currently controvsersial as to whether it is possible for anything to exist without structurally and functionally related or synchronised parts. Anyway, while this confusion still exists and the controversy still rages on, it is very important here to distinguish between two fundamental types of PARTS:

(a) FUNCTION-CRITICAL PARTS are parts within a whole that onced removed, or they become faulty, grind the whole system to a halt. The whole system just stops working. In Humans or other life forms, I think it is most appropriate to call them 'LIFE-CRITICAL PARTS' (e.g. the human heart, the brain, a percentage of Blood, etc.). In a car, you should be able to find such parts, equivalently.

(b) NON-FUNCTION-CRITICAL PARTS are parts that once interfered with or removed merely render the system functionally or cosmetically disadvantaged but without grinding the whole system to a halt. The whole system still continues to function even though in a functionally or cosmetically disadvantaged way. In life forms this would be equivalently called 'NON-LIFE-CRITICAL PARTS' (such as an amputated limb, blind eyes, deaf ears, etc.).


2) PERFECT CAR

This is a machine that from outset is built once, or that is gradually but systematically improved to a point in time where it becomes wholly structurally and functionally indestructible. At this point, ALL the parts in it become FUNCTION-CRITICAL in the sense that if you remove any of such parts the whole car grinds instantly to a halt. All perfect cars are by any engineering standards completely structurally and functionally devoid of non-function-critical parts. And the good news about all this is that once function-critical parts are successfull engineered into place in the perfect car they are non-reversible. That is, they become permanent and irreversible parts of a perfect car.

3) PERFECT LIFE FORMS

The same is equivalently true of life forms, except that here you swop the terms 'Function-critical' for 'Life-critical' and vice versa. My favourite definition of a Perfect Life form is usually this:

A life form is Perfect if it structurally and functionally progresses to a point where it survives physical destruction with whatever properties or parts that it ends up with.

My argument is that such properties or parts must subsequestly all be 'Life-critical' and structually and functionally non-reversible (that is, in terms of taking them apart to destroy them). The whole Super Being, as you guys wish to call it, must become structurally and functionally self-sufficient and effiecient, hence indestructible!
chound
#30
Feb12-05, 02:13 AM
P: 239
Earlier during age of slave trade, people bought slave people and treated them as if they didnt have any feelings, flog them, whip them, and were lower than animals. If we could think that our fellow humans were lower than animals then the type II civ could think the same of us.
Philocrat
#31
Feb12-05, 03:02 AM
P: 579
Quote Quote by chound
Earlier during age of slave trade, people bought slave people and treated them as if they didnt have any feelings, flog them, whip them, and were lower than animals. If we could think that our fellow humans were lower than animals then the type II civ could think the same of us.
There is nothing that is structurally and functionally perfect (in the very way that I have described above) that would at the same time lack MORAL PERFECTION or SUPERIORITY as well. My long-existing argument is that if it lacks moral perfection or superiority in the very way that I personally understand it, then such a thing is still structurally and functionally imperfect. It still needs structural and functional improvement, scientifically!
Problem+Solve=Reason
#32
Feb12-05, 08:51 PM
P: 109
I see that many people are talking about these beings having little or no morals. This civilization would have to stop the war, the murdering, and the simplist things such as deceit.
I see a superior being as being far more moral than us humans. They would probably actual base their lives around their morals and beliefs. It is outrageous think that a civilization that would be so advanced as to travel to our world would contain no moral aspects about them, one unmoral being of that power could push a button and destroy his own race.
You can see that us unperfect MORAL human beings can create catastrophe with nuclear bobms, imagine the weapons we could produce at the stage that one would compare with beings capable of interstellar travel.

_______________________________________
In seeking wisdom thou art wise; in imagining that thou hast attained it - thou art a fool.
Lord Chesterfield
Dayle Record
#33
Feb12-05, 10:37 PM
P: 464
Someone in this thread mentioned the intelligence of Neanderthal People. We have no idea how intelligent they were.

I think that the proper way to treat this planet is to live as lightly as possible, on the surface here. I think if an extremely advanced race had come here, when there was no mark of man, or significant mark of man. The way they would have lived, would have to be in harmony with the life here. I think they would have been vegetarian, and lived in a soft climate, and make few marks. They would have treated this world as an object of exquisite complexity and beauty, and basically left it alone as much as possible. The older I get, the more I think that simplicity and harmony are the marks of advanced civilization.

We are not that, we are ridiculous in our brutality, and have been for all of recorded western history. History will remember this civilization for its destructiveness.
Dissident Dan
#34
Feb12-05, 10:44 PM
Dissident Dan's Avatar
P: 691
Quote Quote by loseyourname
They didn't even give any citations for this article. What studies were they even referring to and what were the conclusions drawn by the scientists that actually performed these studies?
It says "Source: New Scientist" at the bottom.
loseyourname
#35
Feb12-05, 11:10 PM
Emeritus
PF Gold
loseyourname's Avatar
P: 3,634
Quote Quote by Dissident Dan
It says "Source: New Scientist" at the bottom.
A citation would include the name of the article and the author. If you found that, you looked harder than I did.
Problem+Solve=Reason
#36
Feb13-05, 07:24 PM
P: 109
We are not that, we are ridiculous in our brutality, and have been for all of recorded western history. History will remember this civilization for its destructiveness.
Do you not believe that some of the brutality used by ALL civilizations has been necessary? The individual is not perfectly moral and effiicient, until that day comes, people must have slip knots around their heads choking them everytime they stray off the edge, and thereby teaching them harmony and order. Of course that is metaphorical, I hope that it helped you understand my point that brutality helps society advance.

And when I talk of brutality, I am not talking about murder, torcher, or oppression ect.. I am talking about consequence and rule.
_______________________________________
In seeking wisdom thou art wise; in imagining that thou hast attained it - thou art a fool.
Lord Chesterfield


Register to reply

Related Discussions
Superior limit question Calculus & Beyond Homework 2
Limit Superior/Inferior Calculus 3
Superior memory Medical Sciences 5
Even Better Than Superior To Nature? Mechanical Engineering 4