I remember a part of The God Delusion where Dawkins describes some far-out cosmological hypotheses in which universes spawn other universes, as an answer to the anthropic principle. So Drake's equation says that even if the range of planets that can contain life is small, then that's OK because there's so many planets. These hypotheses say s/planets/universes/g. And universes, like planets, don't breed sexually. But I forget how they're supposed to do it.
--Nick Bensema Tue Dec 18 10:12:54 2007
Why's it so hard to believe that through random mutations and the tough environment of "natural" survival of the fittest, through millions, even billions of years, well designed organic beings with culture would occur?
--The_Lex Tue Dec 18 10:27:20 2007
Nick: something to do w/ blackholes and singularities maybe?
Lex: well, the other analogy then is "would a whirlwind through a junkyard create a 747"? That of course ignores the role of selection. On the other hand, it seems amazing that every advanced feature of life today resulted from a series of incremental improvements, and didn't get stuck on any "local maximas" where the part worked as good or better than anything it could directly evolve to, but the truly optimal version would require taking a "step back", so to speak.
On the third hand, maybe thinking the "local maxima" issue is a problem has a hint of "well this must be the best of all possible worlds"... there is certainly a multiverse of "better" creature designs that we don't see, because we ARE at local maximas...
--Kirk Tue Dec 18 12:11:41 2007
You're talking vague there, Kirk.
Personally, though, I think it's funny that the only other creature that can vocalize closest to human beings are parrots. Where'd they get the vocal chords and voice boxes that chimps, who have a lot less genetic material different from us? It's even funnier, though, that just because they have the physical capability to vocalize that way, they don't have the minds crafted to innovate with it or communicate in any real complicated ways. That contributes evidence to the evolutionary randomness of just this planet.
--The_Lex Tue Dec 18 14:19:05 2007
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