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Scientific/objective purpose of the human species

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Scientific/objective purpose of the human species

Post by Blue Grey Brain » December 17th, 2018, 11:25 pm

Be it atheists or theists, many may feel human life may be purposeless or untenable; i.e. a never ending search or a "why" question that's perhaps not worth asking.

I think there's a viable alternative to especially the "purposeless" based outlook, with the introduction of a recent concept called "teleonomy", which is an atheistic/scientific way to describe nature in purpose driven language. (In fact, as seen on Wikipedia/teleonomy, Richard Dawkins; recently introduced the treatments “archeo” and “neo” purpose. See his video/speech "the purpose of purpose".)

Anyway, for example, using the laws of thermodynamics, we can try to objectively discover non-trivial goals that humans may undertake, as far as nature goes. (i.e. grand purposes for the human species, that reasonably transcend the desires of individual humans, while seeking to be objective, much like how Science tends to follow the evidence, aiming to describe what the cosmos actually is, rather than what people may want the cosmos to be.)

Note: One may reasonably grasp an understanding of the summaries below, without clicking on the associated wikipedia etc sources. One may however get an even more wholesome understanding, by toggling the links conveniently provided throughout the summaries.
  • Hypothesis A - An atheist PhD psychologist named Michael Price, hypothesizes that future humans are probably supposed to replicate universes [2017] : "Michael's variant of Cosmological Natural Selection I"
    The original version of CNS I stems from a concept called Cosmological Natural Selection by
    physicist Lee Smolin.
    1. Cosmological Natural Selection, posits that our universe likely stemmed from a process that like evolution or biological natural selection, spun many universes; where the best universe instances emerge from universes that possess excellent replication abilities/properties, through the utilization of blackholes. Intelligent life is said to be an accidental by-product of this replication process.
    2. Cosmological Natural Selection I (CNS I), additionally posits thatintelligent life is a viable factor for replicating universes.
    3. Michael Price’s variant of CNS I, additionally posits that intelligentlife is a likely core influence on the successful generation of replicating universes, where Michael surmises that humanintelligence is the most “improbably complex” outcome of the cosmos thus far. Michael ranks modern humans to be a step in the direction towards future human intelligence, that will be able to create non-arbitrary universes. Thereafter, Michael expresses that the scientific purpose of humans is reasonably, ultimately to replicate universes like ours.
  • Hypothesis B - An atheist computer scientist named Jordan Bennett, hypothesizes that a grand human purpose is probably to create Artificial General Intelligence [2015] : "Why the purpose of the human species is probably to create artificial general intelligence?"
    1. In understanding Jordan's hypothesis, one may imagine entropy as a currency in an economy.
    2. Agents/organisms that get work done (access to activities) in nature, must pay up some entropy, you don't do work or have access to activities, without paying up some entropy.
    3. Highly Intelligent things (like humans) reasonably pay more entropy, compared to less intelligent things or non intelligent things, because humans do more work i.e. many cognitive tasks (thinking about science, doing scientific stuff) compared to lesser intelligences or non intelligent things.
    4. In a similar way, chimps may pay more entropy than say less intelligent things, because they do more work, or have access to more complicated activities. (More access to activities result from more access to stuff called "macrostates" in the OP's quora url)
    5. Likewise, Artificial General Intelligence [AGI] or Artificial Super Intelligence [ASI] when built, will have access to more cognitive activities, and they'll get more work done than humans. So, they'll reasonably pay more entropy to the thermodynamic system that is nature.
    6. This means there is reasonably a pattern, nature is finding more and more ways to extract more and more entropy from activities done (i.e. entropy maximization), and nature reasonably does this by building smarter and smarter things. Humans thus likely won't be the last thing nature finds to derive entropy from work; there will likely be AGI or ASI or whatever smarter thing that follows humans. (Laws of physics permits smarter things than humans overall)





Crucially, Science can reasonably describe how organic life began (namely, via evolutionary principle etc) and also, reasonably where human life perhaps seeks to go (again, via evolutionary principle etc, as described in the hypotheses above.)











Footnotes:


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Re: Scientific/objective purpose of the human species

Post by Eduk » December 18th, 2018, 12:09 pm

Why does it have to be an atheist scientist, atheist PHD, atheist computer scientist, etc. What's atheism got to do with being a computer scientist.
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Re: Scientific/objective purpose of the human species

Post by h_k_s » December 20th, 2018, 12:13 pm

Blue Grey Brain wrote:
December 17th, 2018, 11:25 pm
Be it atheists or theists, many may feel human life may be purposeless or untenable; i.e. a never ending search or a "why" question that's perhaps not worth asking.

I think there's a viable alternative to especially the "purposeless" based outlook, with the introduction of a recent concept called "teleonomy", which is an atheistic/scientific way to describe nature in purpose driven language. (In fact, as seen on Wikipedia/teleonomy, Richard Dawkins; recently introduced the treatments “archeo” and “neo” purpose. See his video/speech "the purpose of purpose".)

Anyway, for example, using the laws of thermodynamics, we can try to objectively discover non-trivial goals that humans may undertake, as far as nature goes. (i.e. grand purposes for the human species, that reasonably transcend the desires of individual humans, while seeking to be objective, much like how Science tends to follow the evidence, aiming to describe what the cosmos actually is, rather than what people may want the cosmos to be.)

Note: One may reasonably grasp an understanding of the summaries below, without clicking on the associated wikipedia etc sources. One may however get an even more wholesome understanding, by toggling the links conveniently provided throughout the summaries.
  • Hypothesis A - An atheist PhD psychologist named Michael Price, hypothesizes that future humans are probably supposed to replicate universes [2017] : "Michael's variant of Cosmological Natural Selection I"
    The original version of CNS I stems from a concept called Cosmological Natural Selection by
    physicist Lee Smolin.
    1. Cosmological Natural Selection, posits that our universe likely stemmed from a process that like evolution or biological natural selection, spun many universes; where the best universe instances emerge from universes that possess excellent replication abilities/properties, through the utilization of blackholes. Intelligent life is said to be an accidental by-product of this replication process.
    2. Cosmological Natural Selection I (CNS I), additionally posits thatintelligent life is a viable factor for replicating universes.
    3. Michael Price’s variant of CNS I, additionally posits that intelligentlife is a likely core influence on the successful generation of replicating universes, where Michael surmises that humanintelligence is the most “improbably complex” outcome of the cosmos thus far. Michael ranks modern humans to be a step in the direction towards future human intelligence, that will be able to create non-arbitrary universes. Thereafter, Michael expresses that the scientific purpose of humans is reasonably, ultimately to replicate universes like ours.
  • Hypothesis B - An atheist computer scientist named Jordan Bennett, hypothesizes that a grand human purpose is probably to create Artificial General Intelligence [2015] : "Why the purpose of the human species is probably to create artificial general intelligence?"
    1. In understanding Jordan's hypothesis, one may imagine entropy as a currency in an economy.
    2. Agents/organisms that get work done (access to activities) in nature, must pay up some entropy, you don't do work or have access to activities, without paying up some entropy.
    3. Highly Intelligent things (like humans) reasonably pay more entropy, compared to less intelligent things or non intelligent things, because humans do more work i.e. many cognitive tasks (thinking about science, doing scientific stuff) compared to lesser intelligences or non intelligent things.
    4. In a similar way, chimps may pay more entropy than say less intelligent things, because they do more work, or have access to more complicated activities. (More access to activities result from more access to stuff called "macrostates" in the OP's quora url)
    5. Likewise, Artificial General Intelligence [AGI] or Artificial Super Intelligence [ASI] when built, will have access to more cognitive activities, and they'll get more work done than humans. So, they'll reasonably pay more entropy to the thermodynamic system that is nature.
    6. This means there is reasonably a pattern, nature is finding more and more ways to extract more and more entropy from activities done (i.e. entropy maximization), and nature reasonably does this by building smarter and smarter things. Humans thus likely won't be the last thing nature finds to derive entropy from work; there will likely be AGI or ASI or whatever smarter thing that follows humans. (Laws of physics permits smarter things than humans overall)





Crucially, Science can reasonably describe how organic life began (namely, via evolutionary principle etc) and also, reasonably where human life perhaps seeks to go (again, via evolutionary principle etc, as described in the hypotheses above.)











Footnotes:

Don't forget that besides theists and atheists there are also deists and agnostics out there as well.

And in addition you have a whole lot of people worldwide in every nation that just don't care either way.

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Re: Scientific/objective purpose of the human species

Post by LuckyR » December 20th, 2018, 3:08 pm

Not to mention that in the Modern era, many, if not most of the folks who check the religious box don't look to ancient texts to explain scientific and engineering questions.
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Re: Scientific/objective purpose of the human species

Post by h_k_s » December 20th, 2018, 5:54 pm

LuckyR wrote:
December 20th, 2018, 3:08 pm
Not to mention that in the Modern era, many, if not most of the folks who check the religious box don't look to ancient texts to explain scientific and engineering questions.
Yup definitely a very good thing too !!

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Re: Scientific/objective purpose of the human species

Post by Gertie » December 21st, 2018, 5:35 pm

Welcome BGB, interesting first post :)
I think there's a viable alternative to especially the "purposeless" based outlook, with the introduction of a recent concept called "teleonomy", which is an atheistic/scientific way to describe nature in purpose driven language. (In fact, as seen on Wikipedia/teleonomy, Richard Dawkins; recently introduced the treatments “archeo” and “neo” purpose. See his video/speech "the purpose of purpose".)
I think there's a risk in using purpose driven language to describe natural processes, in that it can anthropomorphise nature, the way things work (physics). So you end up sliding into comparisons with what you say here - ''Be it atheists or theists, many may feel human life may be purposeless or untenable; i.e. a never ending search or a "why" question that's perhaps not worth asking.''

Because generally speaking we ascribe purpose and goals to conscious critters such as ourselves, likewise meaningfulness and understanding which are pre-requisites for goal-oriented behaviour.

Without consciousness there are just processes following patterns (laws). Unless you're suggesting there's some 'mindful' drive behind the universe itself.

So as regards the two hypotheses you reference, I think it would be clearer to simply say this is how the universe seems to work (science), and this is where that might lead. Adding the notion of Purpose doesn't add any extra info I can see, but implies perhaps there's something else going on behind that without explaining or justifying that 'extra something'.

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Re: Scientific/objective purpose of the human species

Post by h_k_s » December 22nd, 2018, 12:31 pm

Blue Grey Brain wrote:
December 17th, 2018, 11:25 pm
Be it atheists or theists, many may feel human life may be purposeless or untenable; i.e. a never ending search or a "why" question that's perhaps not worth asking.

I think there's a viable alternative to especially the "purposeless" based outlook, with the introduction of a recent concept called "teleonomy", which is an atheistic/scientific way to describe nature in purpose driven language. (In fact, as seen on Wikipedia/teleonomy, Richard Dawkins; recently introduced the treatments “archeo” and “neo” purpose. See his video/speech "the purpose of purpose".)

Anyway, for example, using the laws of thermodynamics, we can try to objectively discover non-trivial goals that humans may undertake, as far as nature goes. (i.e. grand purposes for the human species, that reasonably transcend the desires of individual humans, while seeking to be objective, much like how Science tends to follow the evidence, aiming to describe what the cosmos actually is, rather than what people may want the cosmos to be.)

Note: One may reasonably grasp an understanding of the summaries below, without clicking on the associated wikipedia etc sources. One may however get an even more wholesome understanding, by toggling the links conveniently provided throughout the summaries.
  • Hypothesis A - An atheist PhD psychologist named Michael Price, hypothesizes that future humans are probably supposed to replicate universes [2017] : "Michael's variant of Cosmological Natural Selection I"
    The original version of CNS I stems from a concept called Cosmological Natural Selection by
    physicist Lee Smolin.
    1. Cosmological Natural Selection, posits that our universe likely stemmed from a process that like evolution or biological natural selection, spun many universes; where the best universe instances emerge from universes that possess excellent replication abilities/properties, through the utilization of blackholes. Intelligent life is said to be an accidental by-product of this replication process.
    2. Cosmological Natural Selection I (CNS I), additionally posits thatintelligent life is a viable factor for replicating universes.
    3. Michael Price’s variant of CNS I, additionally posits that intelligentlife is a likely core influence on the successful generation of replicating universes, where Michael surmises that humanintelligence is the most “improbably complex” outcome of the cosmos thus far. Michael ranks modern humans to be a step in the direction towards future human intelligence, that will be able to create non-arbitrary universes. Thereafter, Michael expresses that the scientific purpose of humans is reasonably, ultimately to replicate universes like ours.
  • Hypothesis B - An atheist computer scientist named Jordan Bennett, hypothesizes that a grand human purpose is probably to create Artificial General Intelligence [2015] : "Why the purpose of the human species is probably to create artificial general intelligence?"
    1. In understanding Jordan's hypothesis, one may imagine entropy as a currency in an economy.
    2. Agents/organisms that get work done (access to activities) in nature, must pay up some entropy, you don't do work or have access to activities, without paying up some entropy.
    3. Highly Intelligent things (like humans) reasonably pay more entropy, compared to less intelligent things or non intelligent things, because humans do more work i.e. many cognitive tasks (thinking about science, doing scientific stuff) compared to lesser intelligences or non intelligent things.
    4. In a similar way, chimps may pay more entropy than say less intelligent things, because they do more work, or have access to more complicated activities. (More access to activities result from more access to stuff called "macrostates" in the OP's quora url)
    5. Likewise, Artificial General Intelligence [AGI] or Artificial Super Intelligence [ASI] when built, will have access to more cognitive activities, and they'll get more work done than humans. So, they'll reasonably pay more entropy to the thermodynamic system that is nature.
    6. This means there is reasonably a pattern, nature is finding more and more ways to extract more and more entropy from activities done (i.e. entropy maximization), and nature reasonably does this by building smarter and smarter things. Humans thus likely won't be the last thing nature finds to derive entropy from work; there will likely be AGI or ASI or whatever smarter thing that follows humans. (Laws of physics permits smarter things than humans overall)





Crucially, Science can reasonably describe how organic life began (namely, via evolutionary principle etc) and also, reasonably where human life perhaps seeks to go (again, via evolutionary principle etc, as described in the hypotheses above.)











Footnotes:

According to Aristotle the purpose of life is to have an opportunity to become the Magnanimous Man.

You either succeed or fail. So it is a pass/fail test.

Bertrand Russell chose "magnanimous man" which is a Latin rendition of the Greek "great animal".

I would have called it megra animos for great animal.

At any rate, I don't know of any other philosophers who have tried to tackle this issue besides Aristotle The Great.

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Re: Scientific/objective purpose of the human species

Post by Blue Grey Brain » December 22nd, 2018, 1:33 pm

Gertie wrote:
December 21st, 2018, 5:35 pm
Welcome BGB, interesting first post :)
I think there's a viable alternative to especially the "purposeless" based outlook, with the introduction of a recent concept called "teleonomy", which is an atheistic/scientific way to describe nature in purpose driven language. (In fact, as seen on Wikipedia/teleonomy, Richard Dawkins; recently introduced the treatments “archeo” and “neo” purpose. See his video/speech "the purpose of purpose".)
I think there's a risk in using purpose driven language to describe natural processes, in that it can anthropomorphise nature, the way things work (physics). So you end up sliding into comparisons with what you say here - ''Be it atheists or theists, many may feel human life may be purposeless or untenable; i.e. a never ending search or a "why" question that's perhaps not worth asking.''

Because generally speaking we ascribe purpose and goals to conscious critters such as ourselves, likewise meaningfulness and understanding which are pre-requisites for goal-oriented behaviour.

Without consciousness there are just processes following patterns (laws). Unless you're suggesting there's some 'mindful' drive behind the universe itself.

So as regards the two hypotheses you reference, I think it would be clearer to simply say this is how the universe seems to work (science), and this is where that might lead. Adding the notion of Purpose doesn't add any extra info I can see, but implies perhaps there's something else going on behind that without explaining or justifying that 'extra something'.
The hypotheses don't seek to describe any "extra something". It sounds like you're saying the hypotheses seek to go beyond the realm of Science, which is reasonably false. The hypotheses seek to avoid subjective approaches on the matter, while merely observing for eg, biological functions, in relation to natural pressures.

Which part of the hypotheses supposedly conveyed this "extra something"?

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Re: Scientific/objective purpose of the human species

Post by JamesOfSeattle » December 22nd, 2018, 3:54 pm

Gertie wrote:
December 21st, 2018, 5:35 pm
Adding the notion of Purpose doesn't add any extra info I can see, but implies perhaps there's something else going on behind that without explaining or justifying that 'extra something'.
Gertie, other thinkers have introduced the concept of natural purpose, or teleonomic purpose, or archeo-purpose, because it is necessary to explain how we get things that look designed, like eyeballs. I believe the OP is suggesting, following Dawkins, that a natural extension of this phenomenon explains how we get what you are calling purpose (neo-purpose, teleologic purpose). Further extension of this phenomenon looks like it will lead to artificial super intelligence (metateleologic purpose?).

I think the interesting question then becomes how you explain natural/teleonomic/archeo purpose. I expect the solution involves the second law of thermodynamics.

*

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Re: Scientific/objective purpose of the human species

Post by Count Lucanor » December 26th, 2018, 8:43 pm

Blue Grey Brain wrote:Be it atheists or theists, many may feel human life may be purposeless or untenable; i.e. a never ending search or a "why" question that's perhaps not worth asking.
"Human life" is an abstraction of the many individual concrete human lives, all full of contingencies. It makes no sense to abscribe (permanently) a particular contingent property to a general category. Some individual lives may feel purposeless, and others will have purpose.
Blue Grey Brain wrote:I think there's a viable alternative to especially the "purposeless" based outlook, with the introduction of a recent concept called "teleonomy", which is an atheistic/scientific way to describe nature in purpose driven language. (In fact, as seen on Wikipedia/teleonomy, Richard Dawkins; recently introduced the treatments “archeo” and “neo” purpose. See his video/speech "the purpose of purpose".)
Again, "nature" is an abstraction of all particular natural entities. To think of it as one entity with a grand purpose of its own will not be either an atheistic description or a scientific one. Purpose implies consciousness, will and agency, so actually this would be a theistic description. That's why in the speech Dawkins refers to this concept of archeo-purpose as "pseudo-purpose", because it just looks as purpose, but it isn't. It just means that the constitution of something fits a function.
Blue Grey Brain wrote: Anyway, for example, using the laws of thermodynamics, we can try to objectively discover non-trivial goals that humans may undertake, as far as nature goes. (i.e. grand purposes for the human species, that reasonably transcend the desires of individual humans, while seeking to be objective, much like how Science tends to follow the evidence, aiming to describe what the cosmos actually is, rather than what people may want the cosmos to be.)
Science is made by people, too. It is scientists that want to be objective and follow the evidence. A "grand purpose for the human species that transcend individual humans" is an impractical, unrealistic idealization, only for dwellers of an abstract, platonic realm. Besides, I don't see what there is to discover, since humans are already known to have plenty of purposes in their lives. Although they are natural beings, it doesn't mean their particular or shared purposes are the purposes of nature in general.
Blue Grey Brain wrote:Hypothesis A - An atheist PhD psychologist named Michael Price, hypothesizes that future humans are probably supposed to replicate universes [2017] : "Michael's variant of Cosmological Natural Selection I"

The original version of CNS I stems from a concept called Cosmological Natural Selection by
physicist Lee Smolin.

Cosmological Natural Selection, posits that our universe likely stemmed from a process that like evolution or biological natural selection, spun many universes; where the best universe instances emerge from universes that possess excellent replication abilities/properties, through the utilization of blackholes. Intelligent life is said to be an accidental by-product of this replication process.
Cosmological Natural Selection I (CNS I), additionally posits thatintelligent life is a viable factor for replicating universes.
Michael Price’s variant of CNS I, additionally posits that intelligentlife is a likely core influence on the successful generation of replicating universes, where Michael surmises that humanintelligence is the most “improbably complex” outcome of the cosmos thus far. Michael ranks modern humans to be a step in the direction towards future human intelligence, that will be able to create non-arbitrary universes. Thereafter, Michael expresses that the scientific purpose of humans is reasonably, ultimately to replicate universes like ours.
This is sci-fi nonsense, the product of wishful thinking and speculation. But the worst is the idea that biological natural selection implies the notion that "the best" organisms result from it.
Blue Grey Brain wrote: Hypothesis B - An atheist computer scientist named Jordan Bennett, hypothesizes that a grand human purpose is probably to create Artificial General Intelligence [2015] : "Why the purpose of the human species is probably to create artificial general intelligence?"
What would be of any regular pseudoscience without mentioning AI?

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Re: Scientific/objective purpose of the human species

Post by Gertie » December 28th, 2018, 6:44 am

Blue Grey Brain wrote:
December 22nd, 2018, 1:33 pm
Gertie wrote:
December 21st, 2018, 5:35 pm
Welcome BGB, interesting first post :)



I think there's a risk in using purpose driven language to describe natural processes, in that it can anthropomorphise nature, the way things work (physics). So you end up sliding into comparisons with what you say here - ''Be it atheists or theists, many may feel human life may be purposeless or untenable; i.e. a never ending search or a "why" question that's perhaps not worth asking.''

Because generally speaking we ascribe purpose and goals to conscious critters such as ourselves, likewise meaningfulness and understanding which are pre-requisites for goal-oriented behaviour.

Without consciousness there are just processes following patterns (laws). Unless you're suggesting there's some 'mindful' drive behind the universe itself.

So as regards the two hypotheses you reference, I think it would be clearer to simply say this is how the universe seems to work (science), and this is where that might lead. Adding the notion of Purpose doesn't add any extra info I can see, but implies perhaps there's something else going on behind that without explaining or justifying that 'extra something'.
The hypotheses don't seek to describe any "extra something". It sounds like you're saying the hypotheses seek to go beyond the realm of Science, which is reasonably false. The hypotheses seek to avoid subjective approaches on the matter, while merely observing for eg, biological functions, in relation to natural pressures.

Which part of the hypotheses supposedly conveyed this "extra something"?
The implied 'extra something' is Purpose. What extra something are you adding to the description of how nature works, by introducing the concept of Purpose?

So for example if we take evolution, we understand that without introducing the notion of Purpose. By adding the notion that evolution has a purpose is saying what in addition to our current understanding? That it has some original design/designer with a particular goal in sight, or some self-generated goal-driven desire, or what?

My second related point is that Purpose is a concept, created by conscious beings, because we ourselves have conscious goals and desires. It can only exist as such, because it is only meaningful to conscious critters. So if we take the earth before conscious life evolved, all that existed were physical processes following the laws of nature. Only once conscious critters with fears and desires arose, does the concept of purpose come into existence. Likewise meaningfulness, which purpose can't exist without. IMO. These are attributes of consciousness, not physical processes or laws.

We conscious critters can recognise entropy and laws, and how they play out. And we can choose to describe them in terms of purpose, but only because we created such a concept.

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Re: Scientific/objective purpose of the human species

Post by Gertie » December 28th, 2018, 7:10 am

JamesOfSeattle wrote:
December 22nd, 2018, 3:54 pm
Gertie wrote:
December 21st, 2018, 5:35 pm
Adding the notion of Purpose doesn't add any extra info I can see, but implies perhaps there's something else going on behind that without explaining or justifying that 'extra something'.
Gertie, other thinkers have introduced the concept of natural purpose, or teleonomic purpose, or archeo-purpose, because it is necessary to explain how we get things that look designed, like eyeballs. I believe the OP is suggesting, following Dawkins, that a natural extension of this phenomenon explains how we get what you are calling purpose (neo-purpose, teleologic purpose). Further extension of this phenomenon looks like it will lead to artificial super intelligence (metateleologic purpose?).

I think the interesting question then becomes how you explain natural/teleonomic/archeo purpose. I expect the solution involves the second law of thermodynamics.

*
I find it a notion that doesn't add anything to the sum of our knowlege, but can slide into implying there's some grand plan either inherent in nature, or some guiding mind behind it. It strikes me as an anthropomorphic approach to apply conscious attributes to (as far as we know) non-conscious processes.

Like how Dawkins talks about selfish genes and memetics as if from the gene or meme pov, but of course in reality they don't have a point of view themselves, because only conscious critters do. So to say the purpose of a gene or meme is to replicate itself is anthropomorphising, it's saying the processes are analogous to purposeful processes performed by conscious critters with purposes. It can be a useful framing in some circs, but misleading unless you understand it's essentially a sort of metaphor.

So if you say the purpose of the universe is to create AI because whatever, are you really saying anything more than that the way the universe works results in ... AI or bunny rabbits or table lamps or Hamlet?

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Re: Scientific/objective purpose of the human species

Post by Greta » December 28th, 2018, 5:53 pm

Humans may yet become useful. If we manage to stop even one "planet killer" asteroid we'll have come some way towards making up for the trouble we've caused. If we stop a number of nasty ones, then we'll be doing well.

Since the Sun will heat up enough to make the Earth's surface uninhabitable in millions (not billions) of years' time, what plan is there for the biosphere? No doubt life will increasingly venture underground but there are limits, especially with greater geological instability through heating and evaporation. Further, in about five billion years' time it's thought that the Sun could expand to the point where it engulfs the Earth.

So that's well and truly game over unless machines seed other worlds with Earth's biota and genetic information. Ideally humans would do it but, let's face it, non microbes are not evolved for space's extreme cold, heat, radiation, magnetism and speeds; it's all lethal to us. So, just as we sent rovers to Mars, we will send ever more intelligent machines and, in time, other worlds will surely be seeded (possibly accidentally at times too). In that way, at least some of the Earth's DNA and other information will continue.

Life does not like going away without leaving a legacy, genetic or otherwise. It is impelled, as humans and humanity are impelled and will ensure the spread of our influence (which will be, in context, the Earth's influence).

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Re: Scientific/objective purpose of the human species

Post by Mark1955 » December 29th, 2018, 7:40 am

Greta wrote:
December 28th, 2018, 5:53 pm
Humans may yet become useful. If we manage to stop even one "planet killer" asteroid we'll have come some way towards making up for the trouble we've caused. If we stop a number of nasty ones, then we'll be doing well.
Well that would be useful to humans and our fellow traveller species, dogs, farm animals etc. but it might be highly deleterious to the species that would thrive post the asteroid arrival. If the dinosaurs were destroyed by an asteroid then the lack of that asteroid might have prevented the rise of the mammals.
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Re: Scientific/objective purpose of the human species

Post by Eduk » December 29th, 2018, 8:08 am

Yeah I'm not sure the human species has the right to represent the earth.
I guess it rests on the end goal really. Is the 'goal' of life simply longevity then being able to leave the planet is a must and in this sense we could claim a kind of objective betterment but then what? At which point have we succeeded? A million years, a billion? The sun is done for at some point but so is the universe. Perhaps if we could escape the universe we could make a stronger claim to represent life (but it would depend on the details).
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