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Forum » SpaceEngine » Off-topic Discussions » Interuniversal travel and the fate of civilizations (Wormhole aliens and nuclear war)
Interuniversal travel and the fate of civilizations
HarbingerDawnDate: Saturday, 21.07.2012, 01:45 | Message # 31
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Quote (Talisman)
Indeed, my mistake, I thought you meant all of civilization.

I did mean all of civilization, which is not the same thing as all of humanity, as the definition shows.

Quote (Talisman)
Keep in mind there are many remote servers, databases hidden away with the entire Wikipedia library, I don't think people would revert down to the stone-age if a large percentage of the population was destroyed.

Having a database does not ensure the continuation of the civilization. It only means that the knowledge of the civilization may be preserved for the future. And that assumes that the database survives.

And even if the databases survive, there is no guarantee that the knowledge/appreciation of their existence/significance would last, and also no guarantee that we would posses and maintain the technological capability to access the databases. I can point to many examples both from human history and from science fiction where some of the knowledge of a civilization survives, but the civilization itself does not (Mesoamerican civilizations, Protheans from Mass Effect, Forerunners from Halo).

Quote (Talisman)
How did we become civilized then?

Humans developed agriculture and began living in permanent settlements which supported the agrarian system. Agriculture enabled humans to be able to produce more food than they needed at any given time, thereby allowing the entire community to be fed even if only a fraction of the population was actively farming. This enabled people to devote large amounts of time and effort to non-survival pursuits like art, governance, record keeping, and other specialized tasks that were previously impossible to pursue full-time. This allowed for the development of large complex societies, monumental works, writing and mathematics, organized religions, standing armies, material expressions of culture, etc.

People were obviously not always civilized, that would be impossible since people did not exist forever and did not appear overnight.

Quote (Talisman)
Would a logical nuclear exchange be survivable for humans as a whole? Yes.

I'm inclined to agree, but a civilization can end even if some members of its population survive and give rise to later generations. Take again the example of the Mesoamerican civilizations, like the Aztecs or the Mayans. Not all members of their populations ceased to exist; some continued to exist and yielded later generations of humans. But no one would argue that the civilizations themselves are anything more than a memory. Civilization is not genetic.





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Edited by HarbingerDawn - Saturday, 21.07.2012, 01:48
 
TalismanDate: Saturday, 21.07.2012, 02:11 | Message # 32
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How did we become civilized then?


That was a rhetorical question, I know how we became civilized... I'm trying to show you that humans that are alive today, are significantly smarter then we were back a time ago. And we're already civilized, just because we have to fight to survive doesn't mean we instantly turn into barbarian savages who work to get food 24/7. You don't think some rule would be established in places that survived?

Just because infrastructure and government are gone doesn't mean those that did survive go crazy or something, I don't really understand what you're trying to say. Please explain in more detail. Let's say 10-5% of ALL OF HUMANITY survive from being in extremely remote areas, remote islands (but more advanced then tribes) fallout shelters, bomb shelters, nuclear shelters, underground self sufficient cities. Places that run fine with out any outside help. They would continue on, and eventually learn of what happened and prepare and live on whilst easily having all knowledge preserved in databases.

Quote (HarbingerDawn)
Protheans from Mass Effect, Forerunners from Halo


sad





 
HarbingerDawnDate: Saturday, 21.07.2012, 03:02 | Message # 33
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I'm trying to show you that humans that are alive today, are significantly smarter then we were back a time ago

But we're not smarter (not more intelligent), we just know more. And it's easier than you think for that knowledge to be lost. This isn't hypothetical, it has happened before in history.

Quote (Talisman)
Let's say 10-5% of ALL OF HUMANITY survive from being in extremely remote areas, remote islands (but more advanced then tribes) fallout shelters, bomb shelters, nuclear shelters, underground self sufficient cities. Places that run fine with out any outside help. They would continue on, and eventually learn of what happened and prepare and live on whilst easily having all knowledge preserved in databases.

Yes, in a BEST CASE SCENARIO like you have outlined here, then it is barely possible that human civilization can survive unbroken. But what you have described above is not the most likely scenario for a post-nuclear society.

Quote (Talisman)
Just because infrastructure and government are gone doesn't mean those that did survive go crazy or something

Civilization ending has nothing to do with going crazy, or even to do with reverting to some sort of barbaric state. I'm not sure what is so difficult to understand about the concept of civilization, and what it means for it to stop existing.

Quote (Talisman)
I don't really understand what you're trying to say.

I am trying to say that civilization - by the definition that I outlined several posts ago - would likely not survive unbroken in a post-nuclear world, especially if the theory nuclear winter proves to be correct. It may linger for some time, perhaps decades, but sooner or later the state of human existence will have degraded to below true civilization status, and the world may well resemble a more populous and less hospitable version of itself from 8000 years ago. There will be many groups of people, many of them settled, even in large communities with distinct cultures, but not quite civilized.

Quote (Talisman)
sad

? Ignore the fact that both of those races also became extinct. Just focus on the fact that their knowledge outlived their civilization.





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TalismanDate: Saturday, 21.07.2012, 06:32 | Message # 34
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Quote (HarbingerDawn)
But we're not smarter (not more intelligent)


I disagree, see Flynn effect, even though I don't believe an IQ test is a perfect measurement of intelligence it's a good start.

Quote (HarbingerDawn)
Ignore the fact that both of those races also became extinct. Just focus on the fact that their knowledge outlived their civilization.


They're fictional races from video games lol.

Quote (HarbingerDawn)
I am trying to say that civilization - by the definition that I outlined several posts ago - would likely not survive unbroken in a post-nuclear world, especially if the theory nuclear winter proves to be correct. It may linger for some time, perhaps decades, but sooner or later the state of human existence will have degraded to below true civilization status, and the world may well resemble a more populous and less hospitable version of itself from 8000 years ago. There will be many groups of people, many of them settled, even in large communities with distinct cultures, but not quite civilized.


I understand, but I respectfully disagree.

In my opinion I think any logical nuclear war that would happen (If one would ever even happen) would be short lived, devastating and kill off billions, but we would make it through it, continue, unite and recover.

But maybe I'm just way to optimistic, maybe my brain just subtly cannot take human extinction as a real possibility from nuclear warfare (Unless we're talking gamma ray burst, near Earth supernova, giant unpredictable asteroid impact etc) cool





 
HarbingerDawnDate: Saturday, 21.07.2012, 13:45 | Message # 35
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They're fictional races from video games

Okay, then ignore them entirely and look at the Mesoamerican civilizations I mentioned. I'm just trying to illustrate a concept, it doesn't even matter if the examples are real or not.

Quote (Talisman)
I disagree, see Flynn effect

There is much that is unknown about the Flynn effect, including to what degree an increase in intelligence is really responsible, the cause of the effect, how long it has been active, whether it is ending, etc. We know enough about some people in history to know that high intelligence existed even thousands of years ago.

Quote (Talisman)
In my opinion I think any logical nuclear war that would happen (If one would ever even happen) would be short lived, devastating and kill off billions, but we would make it through it, continue, unite and recover.

Maybe I just have a deeper understanding of human behavior and sociology (I've always had an uncanny knack for understanding humans, more than anything) but I'm certain that it would not be that simple. What you're saying might EVENTUALLY happen, I agree that humanity would survive as a species, and that we would likely eventually rise to civilization again, but what I'm talking about is the fall of civilization in the first decades after the war, and the gap between that point and the eventual recovery. The war itself would be short lived, but the effects would take centuries to fully recover from, and the civilization that we had would be gone, even if it were replaced by something else.

I just came to the realization that I may be a bit biased in this area, which of course renders any "greater insight" that I might claim to have meaningless. I sort of have a thing for civilizations ending, I like stories about it, I've written stories about it, so I almost romanticize it in a way. But even if I can't say without bias that it would happen for sure, I can say that it is possible, and if nuclear winter really does occur, then it is almost certain.

Quote (Talisman)
But maybe I'm just way to optimistic, maybe my brain just subtly cannot take human extinction as a real possibility from nuclear warfare

I think that the real problem is that your brain seems to be unable to separate the concepts of existence and civilization. For at least the sixth time, I am not arguing that a nuclear war would cause the extinction of Homo sapiens, in fact I think that it would not. But a population can lose its civilization without ceasing to exist. Civilization is simply a collective of people following certain patterns of behavior. If something happens and people cease to follow those patterns of behavior, then the civilization ceases to exist.





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DoctorOfSpaceDate: Saturday, 21.07.2012, 15:33 | Message # 36
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Quote (HarbingerDawn)
I just came to the realization that I may be a bit biased in this area, which of course renders any "greater insight" that I might claim to have meaningless. I sort of have a thing for civilizations ending, I like stories about it, I've written stories about it, so I almost romanticize it in a way. But even if I can't say without bias that it would happen for sure, I can say that it is possible, and if nuclear winter really does occur, then it is almost certain.


Although bias can be detrimental to new ways of thinking from a subjective point of view, I find people with any bias offer a unique insight into most subjects. That hardly makes your statements meaningless.





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HarbingerDawnDate: Saturday, 21.07.2012, 16:04 | Message # 37
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That hardly makes your statements meaningless

Forgive me, I didn't mean that my opinions and utterances were meaningless. I meant that my claim to a superior understanding of humanity was - in this case - nullified by the bias I just realized I had.





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TalismanDate: Saturday, 21.07.2012, 23:01 | Message # 38
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Quote (HarbingerDawn)
I just came to the realization that I may be a bit biased


No, just slightly pretentious. tongue

I'm just kidding Harb. cool

Quote (HarbingerDawn)
I am not arguing that a nuclear war would cause the extinction


I know, I understand that already. What I'm saying is

Quote (HarbingerDawn)
If something happens and people cease to follow those patterns of behavior, then the civilization ceases to exist.


If everyone in the United States stopped going to work and doing what they normally do and just went outside and jumped up and down and pooped in the street the civilization wouldn't disappear, it would simply be changing. The civilization would change.

Quote (HarbingerDawn)
I'm talking about is the fall of civilization in the first decades after the war, and the gap between that point and the eventual recovery.


I agree, but I don't know if that counts as civilization completely disappearing for the time where we're trying to recover. But I do agree that if a small country was blanketed by a large amount of nuclear force sufficient enough to kill the entire population/civilization of that single country then yes that would destroy and kill off that civilization.

I just looked up Civilization on wikipedia and I understand why we're slightly split on it in the first sentence on the article,

Quote (Wikipedia)
Civilization is a sometimes controversial term


I can tell haha.







Edited by Talisman - Saturday, 21.07.2012, 23:09
 
HarbingerDawnDate: Sunday, 22.07.2012, 00:00 | Message # 39
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If everyone in the United States stopped going to work and doing what they normally do and just went outside and jumped up and down and pooped in the street the civilization wouldn't disappear, it would simply be changing. The civilization would change.

If all they did was that, then they would die, so the civilization absolutely would disappear.

Quote (Talisman)
I just looked up Civilization on wikipedia

I abandoned Wikipedia immediately when I was trying to define civilization. I already had a good idea of my own understanding of the term, I just needed help with the specific words. So I did a Google search and found a page where somebody had compiled dozens - maybe over a hundred - different definitions and opinions on the term from historians and archeologists and such. I found one that closely matched my own understanding of the term, and I loosely based my definition on her words.

Quote (Talisman)
No, just slightly pretentious.

Pretentiousness is just knowing that you're highly capable at something and then stating it publicly biggrin It's really only a bad thing if you're a) totally in people's faces about it, or b) just boasting idly and making stuff up. I try to avoid both of these things. I've gotten better at the former over the years (still got some work to do). I've never been prone to the latter.



Eh, I think this topic's done wacko

I'd be fun to talk about other threats civilization may face though smile





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DoctorOfSpaceDate: Sunday, 22.07.2012, 03:43 | Message # 40
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fun to talk about other threats civilization may face though


Well how about the upcoming technological singularity?





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HarbingerDawnDate: Sunday, 22.07.2012, 13:12 | Message # 41
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Well how about the upcoming technological singularity?

Well, any discussion about technological singularity is only really useful for events up until singularity occurs. After that nothing is really possible beyond base speculation (which is the whole idea of the singularity analogy). But I think it would be great fun to talk about how we might reach that point, and what role humans will play in the world at the time singularity occurs (e.g. whether true AI or great enhancements in human intelligence will be the cause).

To start it off, here is a very interesting program that I have just become aware of that relates to this topic: 2045.com

(Popular Science article)





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DoctorOfSpaceDate: Monday, 23.07.2012, 04:50 | Message # 42
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I like reading about both sides on talks of the singularity but personally I think the whole rogue AI or grey goo ideas are a bit ridiculous and won't happen. After all if there are multiple AIs then there would be an AI arms race and they'd constantly be trying to out smart each other. The same goes for grey goo, we'd have nanotechnology with means of building little robots so just make little robots that eat the rogue robots.

My personal view is the human species as we know it today won't exist, or if it does would be in a much smaller population. With demands on resources and space just waiting for humanity I think the best possible outcomes is through nano-augmentations and genetic rewrites making us capable of going to space with little to no chance of being harmed.





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HarbingerDawnDate: Monday, 23.07.2012, 14:33 | Message # 43
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I like reading about both sides on talks of the singularity

Oh, I wasn't saying that it wouldn't be fun to talk about! I enjoy speculating about such things. It's just the scientific part of me inserting the obligatory caveat when entering into a realm of a subject that is totally speculative happy

I agree about the gray goo scenario being highly unlikely and possible to deal with if it does become a threat. But I wouldn't write off AIs so quickly. You assume that AIs would behave very much like humans and would be competitive and adversarial with each other. While this is certainly possible, I see no reason to believe that it is inevitable. Perhaps one master AI would create many more limited slave AIs. Perhaps a race of AIs would be created that would be networked or interdependent. There are many possibilities. Even if different AIs had fundamental, irresolvable disagreements with each other, it doesn't necessarily follow that this would result in a destructive conflict (e.g., the geth in Mass Effect).

Quote (DoctorOfSpace)
My personal view is the human species as we know it today won't exist, or if it does would be in a much smaller population.

I agree with this. Once it is possible for sentient intelligence to exist digitally, then everything changes. Corporeal existence then becomes not only optional, but generally undesirable. We will be able to achieve things that were formerly impossible. Even if we learn to upload our own minds into a computer before we learn to create AI, I think that AI capability would rapidly follow, for we would then seek to find a way to reproduce non-biologically, leading to the development of constructed digital intelligences built on the framework of human minds; these would technically be AI.





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TalismanDate: Monday, 23.07.2012, 22:35 | Message # 44
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There will always be those types of people that don't want to leave their bodies, and want to stay purely human, it might be a small percentage but I bet there would be those types of people out there. cool




 
DoctorOfSpaceDate: Monday, 23.07.2012, 22:52 | Message # 45
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There will always be those types of people that don't want to leave their bodies, and want to stay purely human, it might be a small percentage but I bet there would be those types of people out there.


Like the Amish we can call them Humanish tongue

Personally the moment the technology is available I'd love to start replacing cells with nanobots. Just imagine becoming a cloud of sentient nanobots capable of taking on any form and not dying in the vacuum of space.





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Forum » SpaceEngine » Off-topic Discussions » Interuniversal travel and the fate of civilizations (Wormhole aliens and nuclear war)
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