"I lay awake at nights wondering whether we, as a species, are simply too stupid to figure out the universe that we're investigating. Maybe we need some other species one-percent smarter than we are, for which they would be able to figure out all the greatest mysteries of the universe, from dark matter, dark energy, the origins of life and all the frontiers of our thought would be something that they would just self intuit. I am jealous of that possibility because I want to be around for those discoveries." 

~ Neil deGrasse Tyson 

Cosmic Quandaries

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Replies to This Discussion

I think our species is smart enough to figure it out.  Our primary problem is that part of our species wants to continue to live in the Iron Age and force the rest of us to join them, rather than forsake myth and superstition and develop ourselves to the point where we CAN solve these problems.  Our race - the human race - may be at a juncture where we choose whether to move forward or backward.

I would LIKE to think that the forward guys are winning ... though I look sometimes at what some of my fellow Homo sapiens are doing and I do seriously wonder.

My thinking is the same a Loren's, although he presents it so much better, so I usually wait for him to comment and then I just agree.

Thanks for that video Joan.  Neil deGrasse Tyson is interesting as usual.

Spud, I am with you, I watch for Loren's comments for perspective and good old common sense. He is really good when I am on a high horse and blathering. My daughter is good at that as well.

Loren, this myth and superstition thing presents serious problems ... even for the whole world. The college kids' atheist groups seem to be growing. That gives me hope; mature scientists who support Young Earth depresses me. I watched a debate and have no more understanding, creationists just don't make sense, even the smart ones.

"http://fora.tv/2012/12/05/Debate_Does_Science_Refute_God"

Except it's not clear whether super-intelligence would evolve. 

I get his point - that we tend to assume an alien species would be similar to us in intelligence, and this wouldn't necessarily  be true. 

But it would be nice to hear something about how they would have gotten to this super-intelligence.  Could creatures perhaps modify themselves to enhance intelligence?  i.e. super-intelligence doesn't necessarily have to happen via natural selection. 

Of course we already do this in a sense.  We have all sorts of extensions - computers, books, libraries, each other, in the form of people trained in different specialized skills.  We don't modify ourselves genetically yet, though. 

I have an image of Homo sapiens evolving out of apes and living like animals for millions of years. A sense of recognition of their environment grew until many moved to a higher plane of consciousness. Humans grew beyond caring for their own or their tribe to an awareness of the elements, of making and building things, of trading and bartering and a system of protocols or manners of interaction. Rules, ordinances, boundaries developed along with a sense of right and wrong; that became codified into complex intertribal laws. 

Along this evolutionary path, those who broke rules suffered punishment, even unto death. Desire for power, greed, exploitation and manipulation grew right along with their system of laws. A sense of entitlement, backed by developing religions, justified their greed and power. 

Humans, recognizing they were unable to benefit by warring, formed coalitions, i.e. Confederated tribes of the Iroquois. They gained more by cooperating than competing. Yet humans continued to break codes of conduct. We see that in all the wars taking place around the Earth and includes the wars of preemption of the USA. Israel and Palestine claim the same land that each of their ancestors' gods promised them. 

Great prophets rose up perceiving beyond the ordinary, usual, customary and traditional values  and talked of peace and love and forgiveness. This turned into a tool of manipulation and people could be persuaded to submit, acquiesce, obey, and others were willing to use fear to bring those not submitting into line. Thus rose the fear/hope aspects of religion. 

Present humans stand on a cusp between the fear/hope and moving into a higher plane of being in relation with each other and recognizing that humans do not exist as the top of a pyramid but as part of a net of life. Seeing ourself, not as able to control Earth and all its resources, we see ourselves more as stewards, of participants and responsible for sustaining life, however, at a higher mental level. We see ourselves as not in control but as participants. 

Humans will either continue ancestral attitudes, beliefs, customs, faiths, traditions and values, or cross over the cusp into a participant society.  

Maybe what Neil deGrasse Tyson said is true about needing one percent higher intelligence to evolve into the next plane of existence. 

Maybe what Neil deGrasse Tyson said is true about needing one percent higher intelligence to evolve into the next plane of existence.

Even if that were true - even if intelligence is what is needed, more than empathy or open-mindedness or a hesitation to aggress - why could not that extra intelligence come from interactions, from humans + technology, humans + each other?

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