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Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Use this forum to discuss the philosophy of science. Philosophy of science deals with the assumptions, foundations, and implications of science.
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ThomasHobbes
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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by ThomasHobbes » August 29th, 2018, 5:33 am

Greta wrote:
August 28th, 2018, 7:51 pm
As a wannabe sci-fi writer, I very much like the idea of face arms :)
I've read 100s of Sci-fi books, and always wanted to have a go myself. My Dad used to write so I thought I was in with a chance.
I've had some good ideas for scenarios and plot lines, but what got me stuck is all the packing; the dialogue the build up and the chitter-chatter to expand an outline that can be expressed on 4 sides of A4 to 200 pages. And- also dumbing it down to appeal to a generalised market.

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Greta
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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by Greta » August 29th, 2018, 10:32 am

ThomasHobbes wrote:
August 29th, 2018, 5:33 am
Greta wrote:
August 28th, 2018, 7:51 pm
As a wannabe sci-fi writer, I very much like the idea of face arms :)
I've read 100s of Sci-fi books, and always wanted to have a go myself. My Dad used to write so I thought I was in with a chance.
I've had some good ideas for scenarios and plot lines, but what got me stuck is all the packing; the dialogue the build up and the chitter-chatter to expand an outline that can be expressed on 4 sides of A4 to 200 pages. And- also dumbing it down to appeal to a generalised market.
I'm writing short stories. If a classic like Blade Runner can be based on the Philip K. Dick short story, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, I figure that the trick is coming up with good ideas.

To some extent the problem of characterisation was solved by deciding to bring dead family and friends "back to life" (originally as a remembrance) and then I found the easy characterisation helped other ideas flow. I'm also keen to address Neil deGrasse Tyson's legitimate complaints about unrealistic aliens in fiction by considering what might be realistic evolutionary flows as opposed to authors who simply imagine fantastical critters that make no sense.

For instance, it's highly unlikely that any advanced spacefaring being would have slavering jaws and be obsessed with eating creatures from other planets. Besides the fact that the energetic makeup of organisms that evolve on other worlds would most likely be such that they'd be indigestible or toxic to us and vice versa.

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ThomasHobbes
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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by ThomasHobbes » August 29th, 2018, 11:59 am

Greta wrote:
August 29th, 2018, 10:32 am
For instance, it's highly unlikely that any advanced spacefaring being would have slavering jaws and be obsessed with eating creatures from other planets. Besides the fact that the energetic makeup of organisms that evolve on other worlds would most likely be such that they'd be indigestible or toxic to us and vice versa.
Yes, indeed. Although love Star Trek it's probably statistically impossible that there would be any humanoids in the universe.
So many pulp sci-fi aliens also seemed to have an excessive interest in the human female too, especially scantily clad ones.

As well as the usual space hoot up ups this has given Sci-fi a bad name, and lack of respect.

I reservedly happy that Asimov's Foundations stories have ben picked by film makers and is soon to go into production. I worry, though, that it will just end up being a cliched space opera and turned into a cheap media circus like "I Robot" which was basically empty of any nuance.

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Greta
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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by Greta » August 29th, 2018, 5:15 pm

ThomasHobbes wrote:
August 29th, 2018, 11:59 am
Greta wrote:
August 29th, 2018, 10:32 am
For instance, it's highly unlikely that any advanced spacefaring being would have slavering jaws and be obsessed with eating creatures from other planets. Besides the fact that the energetic makeup of organisms that evolve on other worlds would most likely be such that they'd be indigestible or toxic to us and vice versa.
Yes, indeed. Although love Star Trek it's probably statistically impossible that there would be any humanoids in the universe.
So many pulp sci-fi aliens also seemed to have an excessive interest in the human female too, especially scantily clad ones.

As well as the usual space hoot up ups this has given Sci-fi a bad name, and lack of respect.

I reservedly happy that Asimov's Foundations stories have ben picked by film makers and is soon to go into production. I worry, though, that it will just end up being a cliched space opera and turned into a cheap media circus like "I Robot" which was basically empty of any nuance.
Yes, too often space fantasy is referred to as sci fi.

I was disappointed the first time I saw the I Robot movie but it's grown on me since. I suspect Foundation would have to be dumbed down too or audiences won't be able to tell who is under the Mule's subtle affective control or not. I can imagine that producers might at least do a good job bringing Trantor's massive artificiality to the screen.

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ThomasHobbes
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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by ThomasHobbes » August 29th, 2018, 5:31 pm

Hopefully it will be handled by a good director and made into a 7 season TV show, rather than a few motion pictures.
Did you read the later Foundations novels and the titles that tied up R. Daneel Olivaw?

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Greta
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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by Greta » August 30th, 2018, 6:05 pm

I only came to the Foundation series in retirement so I'm a tad green with Hari's world but it seems epic enough to deserve a multi series treatment. Also, there's so many subtleties, it would not work as a blockbuster.

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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by Karpel Tunnel » August 31st, 2018, 2:58 pm

Greta wrote:
August 28th, 2018, 7:51 pm
As a wannabe sci-fi writer, I very much like the idea of face arms :)

They would interfere with the field of vision, so a face-limbed mutant would be perhaps less likely to survive and reproduce than peers better able to see predator and prey. The ability to feed oneself with one's arms full is not enough of an advantage to overcome the disadvantages. Every "feature" on an animal or plant comes at a cost from its energy needs, so minimalism is the order of the day, with no more features than are necessary.
I am sure it would not be beneficial, however my point is that I doubt it would make it through embryology. The current form of the organism is a factor, not just what happens after the mutant tries to survive.

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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by Karpel Tunnel » August 31st, 2018, 3:01 pm

Steve3007 wrote:
August 29th, 2018, 3:41 am
Elephants seem to do ok with their face-arms.
It's not an arm, it's a nose. IOW it is not so odd that it developed from the middle of the face. How an organism is already built up limits how it might mutate. And yes, I am aware it now functions in a number of ways like an arm.

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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by Karpel Tunnel » August 31st, 2018, 3:05 pm

Or to look at it another way, an insect will not mutate into a horse in a couple or mutations. Forms limit what the next forms will be like.

What the organisms are like now affects the directions of evolution.

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ThomasHobbes
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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by ThomasHobbes » August 31st, 2018, 5:02 pm

Greta wrote:
August 30th, 2018, 6:05 pm
I only came to the Foundation series in retirement so I'm a tad green with Hari's world but it seems epic enough to deserve a multi series treatment. Also, there's so many subtleties, it would not work as a blockbuster.
Foundation is a monument.
I read the original trilogy first, along with the robot stories. I was always a bit puzzled why there were no robots in the Foundation world.
It was not until the 1980s that Asimov decided to build on the trilogy with the 2 prequels and 2 sequels, in which my puzzlement was answered.

Have you read all 7?


I never thought to say that Foundation would ever seem dated. The PC and mobiles has done that to so many sci-fi stories.
I've never re-read them, for that reason, but now I think I must before the TV ruins it for me forever.

I understand that other authors have been given permission to write Foundation stories, but I could never bring myself to read them.

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Greta
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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by Greta » August 31st, 2018, 5:16 pm

I've only read a couple. Since retirement (and not commuting) I've stopped reading novels.
It's a good point about mobile phones - so many situations where a futuristic person would simply make a call to get help.

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ThomasHobbes
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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by ThomasHobbes » August 31st, 2018, 6:06 pm

Greta wrote:
August 31st, 2018, 5:16 pm
I've only read a couple. Since retirement (and not commuting) I've stopped reading novels.
It's a good point about mobile phones - so many situations where a futuristic person would simply make a call to get help.
Yeah, this is true in TV drama's too. It's taken quite a time for crime dramas, especially to catch up with the development.
The Drama just ended on BBC "Keeping Faith" was all about phones , but there are still instances where the bleedin' obvious is conveniently forgotten.

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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by Greta » August 31st, 2018, 7:14 pm

I also have an issue with humans of the far future just being regular shmucks of the day, whereas they should seem rather weird, remote, alien - "other" in at least some ways aside from just having awesome futuristic technology at their disposal. The authors keep ignoring humanity's artificial (and natural) selection.

That's something I like about Asimov, who is criticised for the woodenness of his characters, but I think that calmness, rationality and intelligence will increase in humans, not to mention various genetic engineering and nanobot enhancements. I'm not sure whether that was intentional or just Asimov's own personality showing.

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Felix
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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by Felix » September 3rd, 2018, 9:39 pm

Felix: That is, force of will can drive organisms to seek out and adapt to new habitats, and in so doing they develop different traits and characteristics.
ThomasHobbes: Will is a trait arrived at by natural selection, so you only confirm that NS is at the heart of all evolution.
No, will is not a trait, all life has it. Without the will to live there could be no natural selection, life is essentially will in action.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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ThomasHobbes
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Re: Is There Another Force Besides Natural Selection?

Post by ThomasHobbes » September 4th, 2018, 4:12 am

Felix wrote:
September 3rd, 2018, 9:39 pm
Felix: That is, force of will can drive organisms to seek out and adapt to new habitats, and in so doing they develop different traits and characteristics.
ThomasHobbes: Will is a trait arrived at by natural selection, so you only confirm that NS is at the heart of all evolution.
No, will is not a trait, all life has it. Without the will to live there could be no natural selection, life is essentially will in action.
I think not. Without a nervous system you cannot will, since you have no equipment with which to conceive.
Life is not will in action, in any sense. Most of our own systems are autonomic.

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