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the asinine cretin

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Posts posted by the asinine cretin

  1. Not everyone struggles to find meaning without god in the way you're describing, so frankly I don't think your questions are normal.

    There are a great many things that "not everyone" thinks about. This says nothing of significance. Not everyone thinks about important questions of epistemology or ontology. Not everyone is interested in particle physics. Therefore, what? In philosophy the big existential questions are quite "normal." Recommending meds to a person who is pursuing a topic that you aren't interested in seems kinda assholian (zapatos?). Declarations about what is "normal" seem similarly devoid of import.

  2. I'm depressed? That's ironic, I feel as though I am merely describing reality for what it is.



    I don't feel as anything I've shared is abnormal.

    It's not. I think the "medication" thing is just a condescending way of invalidating your ideas and shutting you up. That was basically the reaction when I argued for a kind of nihilism on a "happy atheist" board. I thought it was pretty amusing actually.


    Maybe we are the most intelligent beings in the observable universe in which case we are gods!

    Yeah, maybe we're uber special. Who knows, maybe the cosmos exists for us. And just maybe a supreme being will kindly turn is into invisible immortal superheroes when we die. That would be really awesome. I feel better now.

  3. If the universe is dozens of orders of magnitude larger than the observable universe would it be reasonable to question homogeneity and isotropy? (My guess is that this would conflict with the theory that undergirds inflation in the first place.) What is the smallest actual size of the cosmological horizon allowed if we assume the inflationary epoch? Thanks, people.

  4. My guess is that the few mile ranged impacts would be a good show but not particularly threatening (unless large debris happened to be ejected our way). I'm pretty sure the 750 mile object would bring about doomsday. Maybe certain impact trajectories would make it less of a threat to us, but I can't imagine it being a good time for us on Earth. Maybe the Earth would get some pretty rings out of it. Always look on the bright side of life, I suppose.

  5. Just wondering, why would we waste the effort it would take to make another world habitable when we can't feed the population that exists on this one today? It reminds me of a video by Roy Beck that shows why immigration can never be a solution to help overpopulated, impoverished people. That the only way to really help them is at home.

    Who is this in response to? I'm a terraforming enthusiast but I think I've made it clear that this doesn't imply the view that terraforming is particularly feasible or desirable in the near-term. This recurring objection is a straw man.


    P.S. Also, the view that space colonization, including terraforming, has anything to do with offloading excess population from Earth is nonsensical.

  6. Overpopulation

    All of you are totally ignoring the argument by D H (here). Overpopulation is an argument against terraforming other planets (because we'd be wasting resources on space exploration rather than problems at home).

    Not all. I strongly hold to the view expressed by D H on that subject.


    This is a bit tangential, but I generally don't like to frame the issues in terms of "overpopulation." The problems tend to be scarcity of some kind, ineffective social organization, inappropriate resource utilization, underdevelopment, and so on. The big umbrella term "overpopulation" doesn't do much for me and I don't think that the good solution is to campaign for less people. From the exposure I've had to the issue I'd say it's a very complicated topic.


    And damn it, people reproduce. Waste gargantuan resources blasting people off to Total Recall and in the meantime those people will be replaced. I mean, if that's the whole strategy. If the strategy involves other things then why not simplify it and forget about the extraneous space ghettos. I'm very much pro-freedom and all that but I think I would prefer draconian social controls to such an absurd and wasteful project.


    P.S. In anticipation of the inevitable misinterpretation, I'm not denying the concept of overpopulation. I think the idea of carrying capacity is valid and that overpopulation can occur. I'm saying I think the concept is overused, generally too simplistic, of dubious applicability, and in the end not very useful. It's also a bit charged and has misanthropic connotations that may limit its usefulness for sociological reasons.

  7. Am I mistaken? As far as I can see the assinine cretin has very effectively mocked the position of creationists in post #7. He has issued a warning that he is going to do so - right at the start of his post - when he refers to "my imaginary creationist friend".


    And for this lighthearted debunking of the creationist position he receives two negative votes! :rolleyes:


    I've counteracted one of them and 'punished' insane alien for apparently delivering one of the negatives.


    Thanks, mate. I have to admit I wasn't expecting to be taken seriously at all. laugh.gif

  8. "Some Parts of the Old Testament Written to Try Us."


    That's an interesting question. I recall a friend, who is a devout believer, complaining about the discrepancies and confusing passages in the New Testament and wondering why God chose to make it that way. To me this is a very strange concept. Why would God want to "test" people's credulity in the first place? Is there really merit in believing things in spite of evidence to the contrary? How is this sincere? Wouldn't sincere disbelief be preferable to insincere self-delusion? I'm curious to know what the explanation of this might be.



  9. I think the global population is expected to plateau at around 9 billion by 2050. Something like that anyway. And many countries are below replacement level. I really don't think a Malthusian runaway population explosion is going to happen. The lower birth rates are correlated with quality of life, education, opportunities women, and the like. As far as causation, I think there is actually a pretty good case for economic and social development (e.g., human rights, democratic structures, secular public education, equality of women, etc.) as the best means for stabilizing population. I'm pretty sure there is good evidence supporting this thinking.

    The ludicrously immense resources that would be required to ship millions of people off to the Martian ghetto (a futile endeavor btw) would be better spent on developing infrastructure and quality of life on Earth.


    If we're discussing something as far-fetched as a Martian exodus I'd just say that my fantasy for world-improvement would be the disbanding of all the world's militaries and the use of those resources for pure science, humanitarianism, and environmentalism. Call me a romantic.

  10. What if something crazy happened and the Earth was annihilated and the only trace left of our species and civilizations was a jump drive embedded in a rock containing the following video that was then found by aliens in the far future?




    P.S. That's an example of what I might call a silly question. Want more examples? <-- Itself an example.

  11. CryENGINE 3 is very powerful and state of the art! It also ports quickly to both XBox as well as PS3 . . . . . the editor is quite different from others:


    Neat. I'll have to look into that. I can remember learning of some engines and things that were popular in the industry but far too expensive for me.

  12. D H,

    I was having some layout issues with the bullets when using normal quote blocks so I've decided to respond inline with bold text. Forgive me if this is difficult to read.


    What is the attraction for terraforming?

    Basically all of the reasons that we might want to have a human presence on Mars. Exploration, development of resources, building a space-faring civilization, et cetera, et cetera. The value of Mars for these things could be greatly enhanced by modifying its environment. Also just the kind of wonder that drives a lot of futurist speculation.

    • It is too far in the future. I'm interested in terraforming but that doesn't imply that I think it's plausible in the foreseeable future. There are crude "plans" that are more realistic than others, but I can't imagine actually supporting a concrete terraforming endeavor in my lifetime. Want some laughs? Dig up some Popular Science or Popular Mechanics magazines from the 1950s where they try to predict fifty years into the future. They got almost everything wrong. Trying to predict 100 years or more into the future now is even more of a laughable endeavor. The world is changing at an even faster pace now than it was in the 1950s. Speculating about what may be possible is still as interesting as it was back then. Why shouldn't people think about such things? Science fiction has often inspired scientific and technological reality -- there's another side to that coin. And while I'm far from an expert, there are some pretty knowledgeable folks who have devoted some of their time to the subject. It's not merely fiction. But assessing the plausibility is part of the topic. The example of Carl Sagan's classic paper on terraforming Venus comes to mind. Reconnaissance revealed that the sheer volume of carbon in the Venusian atmosphere rendered Sagan's plan implausible. To me that paper was not therefore a waste of time. But not to go off on a rant...
    • It is fraught with political peril. Politicians have a hard time committing to anything long-term. This is a very long-term project. I think the terraforming literature that I've seen would agree. The epic challenges are part of what is interesting about the subject.
    • It is fraught with economic peril. Terraforming would be a massively expensive venture. Once started, it would have to be followed through to completion without interruption. A multi-year hiatus due to some future economic collapse could easily set the project back to step one. There are many perils for sure.
    • It is fraught with ecological peril on Earth. What if life is discovered on Mars? This is a huge uncertainty, and a huge risk. Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars faction is somewhat real right now, and would become very real should life be discovered on Mars. I am very much a proponent of planetary protection measures considering that we've barely scratched the surface in Mars exploration, but the terraforming discussion is very speculative and this isn't an objection to having that discussion. My view is that if Martian biology exists (not likely) terraforming may be out of the question, but more for ethical reasons than from fear of back contamination (I currently find there to be compelling responses to the back contamination fears). But I won't assume that our descendants will see things the same way - perhaps they'll "terraform" in a way that works with the existing biota. Anyway, these are all highly speculative scenarios and I think it's at least as likely that Mars is sterile.
    • It is fraught with ecological peril on Mars. The focus of most terraforming articles is on the physics and chemistry. The messy biological issues are just hand-waved away. Ask a biologist for their opinions on the viability of those proposed terraforming efforts. Which is one of many reasons why "we" are not going to terraform Mars. But it is possible in principle, given a sufficiently capable future civilization.
    • It isn't scalable. Instead it's an all or nothing kind of venture. Habitats are scalable. Exploiting asteroids is scalable.
      I don't believe the first part of this statement is true; the second part is in dispute by no one as far as I know. Mars would approach a fully habitable environment and each stage along the way would bring considerable value. Greater atmospheric pressure, warming temperatures, availability of water and other resources, more protection from radiation and small impacts, and so on. I think I'm misinterpreting you given how standard this is.


    Terraforming is counterproductive to the goal of a permanent human presence in space, at least for the foreseeable future. Yes, I agree. I had to shut down the enthusiasms of a friend recently when this topic came up. And yet it is no less interesting and enjoyable a topic for me.

    Terraforming is a project for two or more generations into the future. Leave that problem to them. Our problem now is to get a start on that permanent human presence in space so that the people two or more generations in the future have a chance at that.

    I don't agree with this dichotomizing. I think it's valuable to consider the far future and the remote possibilities. To allow for wonder and free speculation. There is no reason why this would necessarily distract from the near-term practical goals. There is no tension or dichotomy as I see thing.


    That's assuming that our successors two or three generations into the future will even want to terraform another planet. Why go back down into a deep gravity well once we've learned how to reliably and safely get out of one on a regular basis?

    I like to imagine the possibilities. The introduction of life on Mars. The evolution of very distinct Martian biology. Perhaps human speciation will occur and there will be distinctly Martian people fully adapted to a terraformed but still VERY different Martian environment. I like to imagine touring Mars in a speeder bike. Exploring the vast canyons and mountains. Given the gravity perhaps our Martian descendants will take up human-powered (err, Martian-powered) flight as a typical mode of transportation and recreation. And endless more speculations. I vividly imagine the landscapes and the scenes. The alien flora and fauna. Even the distinct architectures and cuisines. This is of course pure science fiction and fantasy, but to me it is inspiring. Different temperaments perhaps?


    I must stress the very different types of discussion here. The latter fantasy is in a separate compartment from the more technical type of literature that seeks to explore things on a concrete and practical level (as much as is possible given the issues and limitations you've rightly pointed out.)


    Space is not going to solve that problem for a number of reasons.


    The idea that off-loading people to space is a good way to reduce the human footprint on Earth is irksome to me. Wrong on so many levels. Thanks for addressing that so well.

  13. That's a good thought. I don't know about Deimos off the top of my head but I know that Phobos is slowly decelerating due to tidal forces and will impact Mars at some point in the future. I think I'd remember if this were to happen in human-relevant time scales. I'd guess a scale of at least millions of years. I'd look it up but I hear thunder and have to power down this machine... damn it.




    This paper suggests that Phobos may break up into an interplanetary ring, or impact the surface, in about 11 million years. I've got nothing on Deimos at the moment and don't care enough to look into it since I'm sure it's far less relevant than Phobos as far as impact is concerned.

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