Do we matter in the Cosmos? (Nick Hughes)

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Do we matter in the Cosmos? (Nick Hughes)

Postby hyksos on August 7th, 2017, 6:53 pm 

Do we matter in the cosmos?
Nick Hughes
29 June 2017

Humanity is nothing more than a microscopic blip in the universe. But does that mean we are insignificant?


https://aeon.co/essays/just-a-recent-blip-in-the-cosmos-are-humans-insignificant
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Re: Do we matter in the Cosmos? (Nick Hughes)

Postby mitchellmckain on August 8th, 2017, 3:17 pm 

For some people, size may be the only thing they have going for them. It must be tempting for them to measure the value of things by their size.

"You humans, when are you going to learn that size doesn't matter. Just because something is important doesn't mean it isn't very very small." Pug in the film Men in Black
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Re: Do we matter in the Cosmos? (Nick Hughes)

Postby DragonFly on August 8th, 2017, 3:48 pm 

As 4.6% of the universe, we surfers of light seem to be an after-effect of a side-affect; however, the universe is only .02% along and we already have shown great potential; so, we will eventually rule the galaxy and then the universe and then the Cosmos and then the Multiverse.
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Re: Do we matter in the Cosmos? (Nick Hughes)

Postby Braininvat on August 8th, 2017, 4:18 pm 

I look forward to the special hats.

I like Kahane's diamond in a warehouse analogy. But, as he notes, we don't yet know if we are the sole exemplar of intelligent life or just one among billons. I admit I will be sorry if no one ever intercepts that record with Chuck Berry on it, flying through interstellar space on the
Voyager probe. But the odds seem small that anyone will happen onto it.
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Re: Do we matter in the Cosmos? (Nick Hughes)

Postby DragonFly on August 8th, 2017, 5:17 pm 

Braininvat » August 8th, 2017, 3:18 pm wrote:I look forward to the special hats.


Then we will rule Totality.

Once we colonize space, there will be no stopping us.
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Re: Do we matter in the Cosmos? (Nick Hughes)

Postby mitchellmckain on August 8th, 2017, 10:11 pm 

DragonFly » August 8th, 2017, 4:17 pm wrote:
Braininvat » August 8th, 2017, 3:18 pm wrote:I look forward to the special hats.


Then we will rule Totality.

Once we colonize space, there will be no stopping us.


Unless someone out there is watching and agrees with you and thus decides to put a stop to us.

Personally, I think the universe is designed to make what you suggest impossible. There can be no star empires. Star Trek is pure fantasy. If we do go to other stars then not only will it be a one way trip, but people will have to change and it won't be a singular humanity anymore but life becoming more and more diverse. It is the nature of life. There will be no we and certainly nobody ruling over everything.

I think those who imagine evolution has stopped with civilization have got it all wrong. I think civilization and technology is a natural part of the evolutionary process and thus it has neither stopped nor even slowed down but actually accelerated.
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Re: Do we matter in the Cosmos? (Nick Hughes)

Postby hyksos on August 12th, 2017, 7:20 pm 

So the argument from size isn't very compelling, I agree. Maybe the blogger should have gone over the usual suspects before getting into size.

Like for example, our sun is pretty much a regular star in the main sequence. (although its a wee bit hotter than average). Our solar system is not located in the center of the galaxy, nor on its edge. It's not even located halfway to the edge. It's in a random spot. Our galaxy is not unique, and not in the center of any other large structure.

In addition to being wee tiny specs in the universe, we circle around a random star in a random galaxy located in a random neighborhood of a galactic group.
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Re: Do we matter in the Cosmos? (Nick Hughes)

Postby mitchellmckain on August 13th, 2017, 1:43 am 

hyksos » August 12th, 2017, 6:20 pm wrote:Like for example, our sun is pretty much a regular star in the main sequence. (although its a wee bit hotter than average). Our solar system is not located in the center of the galaxy, nor on its edge. It's not even located halfway to the edge. It's in a random spot. Our galaxy is not unique, and not in the center of any other large structure.


But this is not quite as random as you are implying.

The center of the galaxy is not good place to be at all. That location is occupied by a very large black hole. But even close to the center would mean a large increase in gamma radiation which is also not conducive to life. This is due to an increase in the density of stars and the increase in the numbers of larger hotter stars which also means an increase in the number of supernovae in this region.

The edge of the galaxy lacks the material for the production of young stars like our own, and thus is mostly populated with the older colder red dwarf stars.

Thus scientists have suggested that there is a galactic habitable zone. It is more probabilistic in nature than the stellar habitable zone, but it does suggest that instead of being simply random, our location in the galaxy is just the more probable location for the development of life.
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Re: Do we matter in the Cosmos? (Nick Hughes)

Postby mitchellmckain on August 14th, 2017, 9:38 pm 

There is also a catch 22 here in regards to significance of location.

The more the universe is conducive to life, then the larger the regions of space would be which allow the development of life and thus more random we would expect our particular location to be. We would only expect to be in a very special nonrandom location if the locations which allow the development of life were extremely rare and thus the more hostile the universe as a whole would be to the development of life.

So... even if our location in the universe isn't quite so random as suggested above, the regions in which we can expect life to occur are reasonably large, as far as we know. Thus it is not that far fetched that the universe may have been designed to support life, even if it does not revolve around our particular instance of it.

The most we can say is that much of the development of life is not a matter of design, but I believe that design is not compatible with the very nature of life in the first place. Perhaps one day we will have the technology to use the machinery of biological organisms for technological applications but I do not believe these will constitute the design of living organisms. I think the very fact they are a product of design makes them machines not living things. This is because definition I have for life has to do with the process not the substance and medium in which it occurs. And self-organization is a definitive aspect of the process I call life.
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Re: Do we matter in the Cosmos? (Nick Hughes)

Postby Pelargir on September 11th, 2017, 5:00 pm 

I'd say yes, because as the chaos theory points out, it is possible that minor changes have huge influences on the world/universe/..
Besides: on the assumption that The earth is the only inhabited planet, it makes a huge difference that there is intelligent life on earth
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Re: Do we matter in the Cosmos? (Nick Hughes)

Postby Inconsequential on September 26th, 2017, 12:46 am 

But inspite of all of this, do we actually matter? Even if we one day rule the galaxy or the cosmos, do we actally matter?

We'd still be random specs of dust floating around the cosmos with no higher purpose but to serve ourselves. We'd just be more in numbers and we'd have problems on a bigger scale, but this doesn't mean we matter. We'd still be as insignificant as we are now, there would just be more of us doing a lot more insignificant things on a much larger scale then we are now.

But still we would only matter to ourselves.
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Re: Do we matter in the Cosmos? (Nick Hughes)

Postby Pelargir on October 1st, 2017, 3:47 pm 

So the actual question is about the meaning of life?
Well normally I'd say everyone can choose for oneself (although it will always be good for the species, even if you're a murderer you might encourage the police to think of better tactics for example) but your question is about all humans..

In that case that's a hard question which I have not yet spent much time thinking on. However maybe the simulation hypothesis could at least make it a little easier:
Maybe our purpose is to help our creators understand something.
The only problem for us in this case is: what do they need us for?
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Re: Do we matter in the Cosmos? (Nick Hughes)

Postby edy420 on October 9th, 2017, 4:53 am 

We may be a blip in terms of size or dominance, which we may one day conquer.

But in the face of the eternal beast we call time, we are truly insignificant.
If our universe keeps expanding and cooling, then its only a matter of time before we become obsolete, and the "cosmos" begins its next stage in life.
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Re: Do we matter in the Cosmos? (Nick Hughes)

Postby mitchellmckain on October 9th, 2017, 11:26 am 

The way life works, the superiority of our descendants makes us more significant rather than less. Our decisions in the present very much do matter, because the wrong choices determines whether our descendants even exist or whether they are superior or inferior in their achievements. After all, there is no inherent direction to evolution. If we remake the earth into a barren hell, our only descendants may be waste eating microbes.

The idea of space empires might be bogus, but that doesn't mean we cannot spread across the universe. Our decedents may be nothing like us, but I hardly think that makes us insignificant -- quite the opposite.
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Re: Do we matter in the Cosmos? (Nick Hughes)

Postby Braininvat on October 9th, 2017, 11:55 am 

Have mostly stepped around the thread, due to my feeling there's a prima facie case, very strong, for "yes."

Most of the matter in the universe is dead, without sentience. It is we, and other biological entities like us, who are the universe's big chance at consciousness. A universe that never gives rise to conscious beings might as well not exist. It is a sterile dead thing that will never be known. Life creates a potential path to meaning, joy, love, wonder, and unleashes nearly infinite possibilities. You should wake up amazed and grateful every day - after 13.7 billion years you were given the chance to exist.
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Re: Do we matter in the Cosmos? (Nick Hughes)

Postby parsoff on October 14th, 2017, 1:20 pm 

it is a fear that would make you answer that your life is not for nothing.
the answer on 'do WE matter ..' in the 'we' you are allowed to make more mistakes because you take the point of many in the same situation.
The hole weight doesn't come down on one pair of shoulders where there is only one voice and one 'i' in 'i think so i exist'.
The idea is given that listening to others is our main priority, while in reality listen to the smartest is the only good idea.

I hear a lot of talking about the universe and ruling.
Yeah the universe is big and who doesn't hold the fantasy of having powers to rule !?!

If you take away the fear and stay naked saying we don't matter is this some sort of crime that you bursted the bubble of someone else?

90% of all life wants to live so life does matter from a fear that keeps you awake alert that you wouldn't loose this life
everything, including the life of a fish, is in the cosmos
life matters in the cosmos
to separate humans from life, that it was something else, is not possible
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Re: Do we matter in the Cosmos? (Nick Hughes)

Postby Tizzah on November 7th, 2017, 9:29 pm 

mitchellmckain wrote:The way life works, the superiority of our descendants makes us more significant rather than less. Our decisions in the present very much do matter, because the wrong choices determines whether our descendants even exist or whether they are superior or inferior in their achievements. After all, there is no inherent direction to evolution. If we remake the earth into a barren hell, our only descendants may be waste eating microbes.

The idea of space empires might be bogus, but that doesn't mean we cannot spread across the universe. Our decedents may be nothing like us, but I hardly think that makes us insignificant -- quite the opposite.


Interesting way of thinking... This does make sense from a 'species' perspective. However, I don't think I can agree with this from a more detailed humanised angle. Many men and women who are part of our historical data did not have children, e.g. Howard Hughes.

I guess the first question here is 'what matters'? Are we talking about the quantity of a species or the impact that 'anything' has over everything else? Considering the latter we - individuals, you and I, don't matter at all really. Or are we talking consciousness, because the human mind is truly a universe of psychosomatic & psychological complexities...?

This is a great question :)
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Re: Do we matter in the Cosmos? (Nick Hughes)

Postby mitchellmckain on November 8th, 2017, 2:35 pm 

Tizzah » November 7th, 2017, 8:29 pm wrote:I guess the first question here is 'what matters'? Are we talking about the quantity of a species or the impact that 'anything' has over everything else? Considering the latter we - individuals, you and I, don't matter at all really. Or are we talking consciousness, because the human mind is truly a universe of psychosomatic & psychological complexities...?

This is a great question :)


The question of "what matters" doesn't alter my argument, which is that we matter because our decisions affect the future whatever it may be.

The majority of individuals have little effect but a few individuals have enormous effect. This is easily connected with "chaos science." Complex interactions are governed by nonlinear (differential) equations which are often approximated by linear equations. In the latter, individuals do not matter because everything averages out to no effect. But nonlinear equations deviate from this approximation by amplifying the effect of select individuals. Because of this, one person CAN make a difference and change the course of history. However, WHO makes a difference can be highly unpredictable, so this is never something we can or should expect. Thus it is advisable to follow our dreams, passions, and crusades for their own sake expecting little, but knowing that changing the world is always a possibility, however rare it may be.
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