Why We Dominate Earth: Uncovering the Strange Existence, Universe & Everything

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In summary, the conversation touched on topics such as the strangeness of existence, the dominance of humans over other species on Earth, and the concept of biological evolution. The idea of humans being the dominant species due to their superior intelligence and the potential for competition between different intelligent species was also discussed. The conversation also delved into the cruelty of nature and the fascinating capabilities of animals such as hummingbirds and crows. Overall, the conversation highlighted the complexity and wonder of life on Earth.
  • #1
revv
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What is going on? Anyone else think all of this is very strange (Existence, The Universe, Everything) I mean what the hell is going on why are we here and why are we so dominant over other species on this earth? It's as if we are playing a video game and have cheat codes.

Also a lot of video games seems to be emulating our lives I find this kind of weird but cool I guess. I like to think of it like the reflection of water reflecting something and video games are reflecting us.

We completely dominate the creatures of this Earth there is no comparison, anyone have any idea why this is?

This place can be VERY cruel also, can you imagine getting eaten alive by a lion?

And the manipulation of the electromagnetic radiation is so fascinating and incredible like how does something like that even exist?
.
Anyways I am just rambling now, would love to hear your thoughts.
 
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  • #2
Great questions.
revv said:
What is going on? Anyone else think all of this is very strange (Existence, The Universe, Everything) I mean what the hell is going on
Well, as compared to what 'normal'?

revv said:
why are we here and why are we so dominant over other species on this earth?
We completely dominate the creatures of this Earth there is no comparison, anyone have any idea why this is?
There is an hypothesis that 'this town's not big enough for the two of us' when it comes to intelligence. Two different species, both with intelligence, would war over resources and space to the point of extermination. It is proposed that this is why Neanderthal is extinct. One of us had to go.
 
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  • #3
DaveC426913 said:
Well, as compared to what 'normal'?

Not sure I understand what you mean by 'normal'
 
  • #4
DaveC426913 said:
There is an hypothesis that 'this town's not big enough for the two of us' when it comes to intelligence. Two different species, both with intelligence, would war over resources and space to the point of extermination. It is proposed that this is why Neanderthal is extinct. One of us had to go.

Well this kind of seems to be happening even within our species isn't it?
 
  • #5
revv said:
I mean what the hell is going on why are we here and why are we so dominant over other species on this earth?

Biological evolution.

revv said:
We completely dominate the creatures of this Earth there is no comparison, anyone have any idea why this is?

Biological evolution.

revv said:
And the manipulation of the electromagnetic radiation is so fascinating and incredible like how does something like that even exist?

Science!
 
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  • #6
Drakkith said:
Biological evolution.
Why would Biological evolution give us such an advantage over others though? Is there an answer to that?
 
  • #7
revv said:
Why would Biological evolution give us such an advantage over others though? Is there an answer to that?

Of course. Our ancestors developed the right mutations under the right conditions that led to us having the most sophisticated brain of any organism. This in turn enabled us to dominate the world. There is an enormous amount of information on this topic, and I encourage you to look up more on it. There is a sticky'd post in the Biology and Medical forum that has some good information and links.
 
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  • #8
revv said:
Not sure I understand what you mean by 'normal'
The opposite of 'strange'.

Strange is a comparative word. Things are only strange by contrast to a baseline of normal.
 
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  • #9
DaveC426913 said:
Not sure I understand what you mean by 'strange'.

It is a comparative word. Things are only strange by contrast to a baseline of normal.
I don't think I can compare to anything maybe I should of used another word.
 
  • #10
revv said:
I don't think I can compare to anything maybe I should of used another word.
Wondrous is my preferred word.:wink:
 
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  • #11
After reading the title, I thought this would be about PF! Anyway...
revv said:
...why are we here and why are we so dominant over other species on this earth?...
We completely dominate the creatures of this Earth there is no comparison, anyone have any idea why this is?
Evolution.
This place can be VERY cruel also, can you imagine getting eaten alive by a lion?
Yes.
[separate post]
Why would Biological evolution give us such an advantage over others though?
Wander into the lion's den and you might feel less sure of your "advantage".
And the manipulation of the electromagnetic radiation is so fascinating and incredible like how does something like that even exist?
We invented it.
Anyways I am just rambling now, would love to hear your thoughts.
Yes. As is common with things that blow your mind, creating rambling/unfocused thoughts, there really isn't anything profound or particularly mysterious in these broad questions. It's more emotional than informative. Better focus and less "Whoa!" might lead to more informative discussion...
 
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  • #12
One view I have on this is that while humans are far superior in many ways, other living beings are far superior in other ways. Humming birds beat me at hovering, bears beat me at hibernating, fish beat me at using oxygen under water (though we can use technology to do some of this now). I think this happens with evolution, so that we aren't all competing for the same resources. Until recently, fish haven't had to worry too much about competition from humans, as we could not venture into water much.

That's changed in the past few hundred years, but evolution works on a far longer time scale.
 
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  • #13
NTL2009 said:
One view I have on this is that while humans are far superior in many ways, other living beings are far superior in other ways.
I agree.

Also, I am personally fascinated by and interested in animal intelligence, e.g. various amazing behaviors of crows/birds:
And here's a fascinating documentary on animal intelligence (two episodes): Super Smart Animals (BBC)
 
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  • #14
Unfortunately, mankind is so superior (i.e. control the world) that these other animals only get to display their particular superiorities at mankind's pleasure.
We have to actively work to prevent wiping them out. A lion's claws are of little use against a herd of bulldozers turning its habitat into farmland.

But I don't want to start a political debate, simply pointing out that animals are totally outclassed by humans.
 
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  • #15
DaveC426913 said:
Unfortunately, mankind is so superior (i.e. control the world) that these other animals only get to display their particular superiorities at mankind's pleasure.
We have to actively work to prevent wiping them out. A lion's claws are of little use against a herd of bulldozers turning its habitat into farmland.

But I don't want to start a political debate, simply pointing out that animals are totally outclassed by humans.
Yes, now that we are building on our intelligence with technology, we are probably superior to just about everything in terms of survival. Maybe on the other extreme, cockroaches, bacteria, viruses could out-survive us? But with our intelligence alone, w/o access to our technology, we would lose to many animals, I think.
 
  • #16
NTL2009 said:
Maybe on the other extreme, cockroaches, bacteria, viruses could out-survive us?
I'd consider that possible (but I'd like to point out that AFAIK viruses and bacteria are not classified as animals).
Nevertheless, there is ridiculously much bacteria on Earth. Even inside us. It would not be easy for us to exterminate bacteria, those are pesky little organisms :biggrin:.
 
  • #17
NTL2009 said:
Maybe on the other extreme, cockroaches, bacteria, viruses could out-survive us?
Entirely possible. It has not escaped us that high intelligence has yet to demonstrate its efficacy as a successful survival strategy.

The dinosaurs we around for several hundred million years. We have maybe a hundred thousand racked up.

DennisN said:
It would not be easy for us to exterminate bacteria, those are pesky little organisms :biggrin:.
Indeed. Just ask Wells' Martians. :woot:
 
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  • #18
Imo:

There is no reason why, other than the story of how (something something anthropic principle).

I also would be careful comparing human existence to a video game - video games are designed to be balanced (i.e., fair) and real life does not have a design or a scoring system or a "win" condition. We don't have cheat codes and we aren't dominant in every way. Bacteria don't care about growing cattle or building sports cars, but we struggle very hard to manage their presence in our home, our foods, and our own bodies. We can't even say we dominate the animal kingdom, given how difficult it is for us to tolerate an environment of water (which the majority of Earth's liveable volume is made of) and under what conditions would survive a large predator or venomous reptile/insect attack. There's also the question of suffering. Humans are practiced at causing it to themselves and others - i don't know how that compares to other animals, but it seems like it's a factor that should play a role in the assessing how a species is getting along.

Humans are certainly intelligent and colorful and have probably the most complex emergent social structures and unique environment adaptation (altering their environment through construction for their own survival and even their own pleasure - under the guidance of those previously mentioned social structures), but that doesn't make them particularly more efficient or dominant as a species. Just interesting, especially to themselves.
 
  • #19
Pythagorean said:
I also would be careful comparing human existence to a video game - video games are designed to be balanced (i.e., fair) and real life does not have a design or a scoring system or a "win" condition. We don't have cheat codes and we aren't dominant in every way. Bacteria don't care about growing cattle or building sports cars, but we struggle very hard to manage their presence in our home, our foods, and our own bodies. We can't even say we dominate the animal kingdom, given how difficult it is for us to tolerate an environment of water (which the majority of Earth's liveable volume is made of) and under what conditions would survive a large predator or venomous reptile/insect attack.

I disagree with some of this. I think it is entirely apt to say that we dominate the animal kingdom (and every other kingdom). We have, in the span of less than a century, wiped out more than one disease, have utterly dominated many others through antibiotics and other medications, driven multiple plant and animal species to extinction without even trying, and have established permanent or semi-permanent homes in nearly every single large-scale habitat known to exist on this planet (and even one above it). We could extend ourselves even further if we wanted to.

We even have the capability, if we so choose, of wiping out nearly all life through the use of nuclear weapons, an act that in the past only astronomical bodies had (thankfully, they chose not to fully utilize this capability, otherwise we wouldn't be here now :biggrin:).

As Dave said in post #14, we have to actively work to prevent extinction events from occurring at both the level of individual species and the level of large parts of the biosphere. I would say that no species in the history of the Earth has enacted such large-scale changes to Earth's surface and its biosphere in such a short span of time as the human species.

Pythagorean said:
There's also the question of suffering. Humans are practiced at causing it to themselves and others - i don't know how that compares to other animals, but it seems like it's a factor that should play a role in the assessing how a species is getting along.

That depends on what you mean by "suffering". Humans are far from the only species to engage in conflict. Conflict between different species and even between different groups of the same species happens in many places throughout the animal kingdom. So if conflict is a measure of suffering, then it is widespread. If, instead, suffering means something more along the lines of prolonged living in sub-optimal conditions or under some sort of subjugation, then we still aren't unique. Just ask those still-living spiders, paralyzed and with a wasp larva slowly devouring them alive. And if suffering means something closer to a state of mind or an emotion that only humans and higher-level animals can feel, then we've started to cut the rest of life out through the use of a narrow definition and the question begins to answer itself.

Pythagorean said:
Humans are certainly intelligent and colorful and have probably the most complex emergent social structures and unique environment adaptation (altering their environment through construction for their own survival and even their own pleasure - under the guidance of those previously mentioned social structures), but that doesn't make them particularly more efficient or dominant as a species. Just interesting, especially to themselves.

On the contrary, I think that's exactly what it means. But that's just me, some random guy on the internet. :-p
 
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  • #20
Drakkith said:
On the contrary, I think that's exactly what it means.
exactly

But that's just me, some random guy on the internet. :-p
Well, OK, that part is true too :smile:
 
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  • #21
Funny, because as much as I now that "strange" means "not normal" I find the universe to be a strange place, despite having no point of comparison.

I think it is because as I grow older and learn more about the universe, things are not what I thought they were the day or year before. The more you learn, the weirder it gets.

-dave K
 
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  • #22
revv said:
Why would Biological evolution give us such an advantage over others though? Is there an answer to that?

It was hard at first and we were marginal. But the advantage was of a nature that it led to other advantages, other advantages in fact became advantages, e.g a more dexterous hand makes a more dexterous brain advantageous and vice versa so it accelerates, brain, speech, dexterity, -> intense communication and knowledge transmission and acquisition, so an acceleration, and in a evolutionary blink here we are. this dynamics means first come on anything has such big advantage that there is only one winner.
 
  • #23
epenguin said:
It was hard at first and we were marginal. But the advantage was of a nature that it led to other advantages, other advantages in fact became advantages, e.g a more dexterous hand makes a more dexterous brain advantageous and vice versa so it accelerates, brain, speech, dexterity, -> intense communication and knowledge transmission and acquisition, so an acceleration, and in a evolutionary blink here we are. this dynamics means first come on anything has such big advantage that there is only one winner.

We're also much better looking than animals.
 
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  • #24
♫People are strange when you're a stranger
Faces look ugly when you're alone
Women seem wicked when you're unwanted
Streets are uneven when you're down ♫
 
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  • #25
revv said:
Not sure I understand what you mean by 'normal'

Well I think I know what he may mean. "Normal" is what you would expect if you just left something alone: a mess. But why is there something, rather than nothing (as the 19th century philosopher Schelling once asked)? Even if there is stuff, why should they interact? Why not just a lot of stuff floating around randomly? And not only do they interact, but the interact in a way that looks like they were MEANT to interact to create so many higher-ordered structures. I mean how often can you just throw a bunch of random things together and come back and see them forming so many levels and hierarchies of interaction? Subatomic particles, quarks, electrons, neutrinos, atoms, biological organisms, astronomical bodies, all forming atoms, molecules, galaxies, etc...? It's like pieces of a lego set that look like they were meant to fit together. Even if they were off a little bit, they wouldn't fit.

I mean if you leave a warehouse full of stuff and come back to see any kind of interaction between the pieces of junk there or regularities, you might be surprised.

I am not very religious, but I can certainly see the appeal of that kind of cosmological/teleological thinking. I think even Steven Hawking did too in some of his books. The best non-religious explanation for all this I have heard is from his book "The Grand Design", using M-theory and the anthropic principle. Otherwise, this is really pretty mind-boggling and just not "normal".
 
  • #26
♫ When you're strange
Faces come out of the rain...
When you're strange
No one remembers your name... ♫
 
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  • #27
"Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s going to die." - Rick Sanchez
 
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  • #28
dirt-waits-four-and-a-half-billion-years-and-evolves-and-changes-and-richard-p-feynman-141-91-08.jpg
 
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  • #29
Pythagorean said:
We don't have cheat codes and we aren't dominant in every way. Bacteria don't care about growing cattle or building sports cars, but we struggle very hard to manage their presence in our home, our foods, and our own bodies. We can't even say we dominate the animal kingdom, given how difficult it is for us to tolerate an environment of water (which the majority of Earth's liveable volume is made of) and under what conditions would survive a large predator or venomous reptile/insect attack.

Interesting quote, I think.
Another interesting question is in my opinion is if or how well the human race/primates would survive a major mass extinction. Compare with insects; AFAIK this is the only known mass extinction of insects (see also Insect Diversity in the Fossil Record). And some say This Is Why Insects Rule the World :smile:.

And a warning from spiders concerning extinction (though spiders are not insects):
spider-memory-500x318.jpg
 

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  • #30
DennisN said:
And a warning from spiders concerning extinction...
Lol..... :ok:
 
  • #31
DennisN said:
spider-memory-500x318-jpg.jpg

I don't get it.

OCR said:
Lol..... :ok:
 

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  • #32
DennisN said:
That's debatable. I've heard it said that "insects" is derived from "in" meaning small and "sect" meaning "nasty creature", so "insects" include spiders, little yippy dogs, and the late Truman Capote.
 
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  • #33
revv said:
What is going on? Anyone else think all of this is very strange (Existence, The Universe, Everything) I mean what the hell is going on why are we here and why are we so dominant over other species on this earth? It's as if we are playing a video game and have cheat codes.

Also a lot of video games seems to be emulating our lives I find this kind of weird but cool I guess. I like to think of it like the reflection of water reflecting something and video games are reflecting us.

We completely dominate the creatures of this Earth there is no comparison, anyone have any idea why this is?

This place can be VERY cruel also, can you imagine getting eaten alive by a lion?

And the manipulation of the electromagnetic radiation is so fascinating and incredible like how does something like that even exist?
.
Anyways I am just rambling now, would love to hear your thoughts.

I have often wondered about this, why us, humans?
One of my wonders is consciousness:
I find that only intelligent beings can think about: "Who am I?", "Why was I born human (for example)?", "What the heck am I doing here?", because, in my opinion, this is a special ability to think about an own self. This is just interesting. Great questions, OP.
 
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  • #34
Noisy Rhysling said:
♫People are strange when you're a stranger
Faces look ugly when you're alone
Women seem wicked when you're unwanted
Streets are uneven when you're down ♫

OCR said:
♫ When you're strange
Faces come out of the rain...
When you're strange
No one remembers your name... ♫
Takes me back to about 1968, and The Doors.
 
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  • #35
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