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Author Topic: The Terrifying Future Threat of Nuclear Waste According to the Government  (Read 15146 times)

öde

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So you're saying you're critical of prescriptive institutions such as abrahamic religions and patriarchal societies, yet you want to suspend rational thinking and the scientific method to include your beliefs?
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Barmymoo

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Can I take this discussion in a slightly different angle, partly to avoid any unnecessary bloodshed?

One thing that I think does link science and religion, or at least is existent in both, is the concept of there being something more important than everyday life that binds everyone together. If you are religious you may believe that this bond is the divine creator who created everything. If you are scientific you may believe that it is to do with chemicals and evolution. If you are what most people seem to be, you will believe a little of both and not worry about it too much.

In a lot of ways, I think this is something that feminism also has. The concept at the root of all forms of feminism, as far as I understand it and that is not particularly far at all, is that women are bound together by their struggle to achieve to the same extent as men or perhaps to achieve in the same way, depending what type of feminist you are. Not all feminists believe this to the same extent but there's the same basic belief of there being something beyond superficial day-to-day relationships that connects all women. So in that way, feminism, religion and science all share a characterising unifying bond. Other than that I'm finding it difficult to see anything connecting them in any meaningful way but as I said, I don't really know very much about anything to the sort of depth I would like. Like OWW I often use these boards to develop my opinions and knowledge and therefore I'm very often talking on a level that I can't even comprehend let alone command.

Something has just occured to me that may help me clarify what you're saying, OWW: are you saying that you believe feminism is about focusing on humanity and our connections and relationships with one another, whilst science and religion focus on the connection between humanity as an entity and either the creator or the planet? Because if so, I can see where you're coming from. I don't know if I agree with it or not yet though.
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There's this really handy "other thing" I'm going to write as a footnote to my abstract that I can probably explore these issues in. I think I'll call it my "dissertation."

onewheelwizzard

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So you're saying you're critical of prescriptive institutions such as abrahamic religions and patriarchal societies, yet you want to suspend rational thinking and the scientific method to include your beliefs?

I'm critical of societies that use the standards of the scientific method in a prescriptive way because I see that as an extension, however distant, of patriarchy.

The example I keep coming back too is the Gaea hypothesis, the idea that the biosphere of planet Earth is a living thing unto itself.  There is no way to approach this idea using the scientific method.  No test or measurement we could apply would conclusively tell us that the biosphere is a unified and living thing or isn't.  It's a question of what model we use to envision the biosphere, and from the point of view of the scientific method, it's an arbitrary and effectively meaningless distinction because it's a question with no testable or provable answer.  I happen to think it's extremely important for humans to start thinking of the Earth as a living thing, so I have an issue with a society that depends on the scientific method as an arbiter of truth to the extent that it sees this question as meaningless.

This ties into feminism for me because I see the shift in priorities that would accompany a shift in the way we model the biosphere as one that would inevitably be feminist.
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KharBevNor

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(You seem pretty set on the idea that it's about drugs for me, do you think I have a drug problem?)

I don't think you're a junkie or anything. I think you have a problem dealing rationally with the effects drugs have on your mind. I think you are seeing the effects of drugs as having some sort of objective reality and revelatory validity, when in fact it is because your brain chemistry has been altered because you have taken powerful drugs to alter your brain chemistry. I think this inability or unwillingness to deal rationally with the effects of mind and mood altering substances has taken you to a dangerous place. Specifically, I believe it has taken you to a place where you are extremely susceptible to highly irrational beliefs that somehow chime with your stance on drugs. I think this could concievably lead to people manipulating you in extremely cynical ways. I think there are some things that you want to believe in so much that you are taking rash, blind, dead end roads. 
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The example I keep coming back too is the Gaea hypothesis, the idea that the biosphere of planet Earth is a living thing unto itself.  There is no way to approach this idea using the scientific method.  No test or measurement we could apply would conclusively tell us that the biosphere is a unified and living thing or isn't.  It's a question of what model we use to envision the biosphere, and from the point of view of the scientific method, it's an arbitrary and effectively meaningless distinction because it's a question with no testable or provable answer.  I happen to think it's extremely important for humans to start thinking of the Earth as a living thing, so I have an issue with a society that depends on the scientific method as an arbiter of truth to the extent that it sees this question as meaningless.

This ties into feminism for me because I see the shift in priorities that would accompany a shift in the way we model the biosphere as one that would inevitably be feminist.

It's not meaningless because it isn't provable or whatever, it's meaningless because it's just a matter of semantics. Wherever you put your bounds on what's part of one organism and whats not doesn't matter because the interactions between the parts of it and the parts of everything else are still there regardless. Science is entirely down with the idea that changes in one aspect will effect others, it's down with this at every scale. I think the idea that you're after is inherent in using the term 'biosphere'. I'm not seeing where any shift in priorities - 'feminist' or not - would come from or on what scale you expect them to happen.
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Scrambled Egg Machine

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The definition of life is pretty specific. Homeostasis, organization, metabolism, growth, adaptation, response to stimuli, and reproduction are generally the things which make something "alive". While the biosphere has some of these qualities, it does not have all of them. QED.
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onewheelwizzard

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@Khar:
So are you saying I should protect myself from people, or from ideas, or what?  Do you think my quality of life is in danger?  Is it a matter of my credibility among my peers?  Are my life goals (which, to be fair, currently revolve around working with psychedelics in the field of psychology, either in a clinical or a research position) becoming less realistic as I push my personal beliefs farther out towards the fringe?  (Actually, I had to rewrite that last question so many times that it just turned into something I've been worrying about for a while ... however, I'm pretty confident in my ability to step into a more strictly scientific rigorous mindset when I need to, I find it almost as fascinating as fringe-y stuff and I graduated with an Ivy League psych degree so I figure I'm at least fairly capable in that domain.)  Also, who do you think would be capable of manipulating me, and to what ends?

I'm beginning to see what you think I'm at risk for, I guess, but I've never really considered myself to be in the position you're describing.  I'm wondering if it's about the way I present myself on the forums or if there's something I've been missing entirely.

@McTaggart:
I suppose that if you don't see how changing the model we use to describe the biosphere would change the way we inform our decisions regarding how to approach it, I've hit a dead end, because I see a huge difference and I'm finding it next to impossible to explain why (I've rewritten this reply at least 4 times by now).  I think it comes down to the difference between treating symptoms and treating root causes.  If we understand that localized problems are merely symptoms, and that all problems in the biosphere are to some extent merely localized, we can get to the root of what's going on, which I personally believe is our conception of ourselves and our relationship to the planet.  If we can address that (in other words, change "human nature") we can fix things.  Call it an idealized and unrealistic goal if you want but I think it's kind of a big deal.

@Scrambled Egg Machine:
Why is the definition of "life" so specific?  Who decided that and why is it important that it be such?
« Last Edit: 26 Apr 2009, 09:52 by onewheelwizzard »
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Scrambled Egg Machine

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It wasn't decided as such, it was discovered. You seem to think it was made up from nowhere. It has simply been determined that living things have these qualities and non-living things do not. Things like viruses, prions, and viroids are tricky, but life has been nailed down pretty well. It is important so we know what is alive or is inanimate, and can act accordingly. Coal is not alive, but a tree is, etc. It's not really specific, it's actually really broad. There are many diverse things out there that are all alive. Fungus does not appear to live the same way as a dog, but it is.
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onewheelwizzard

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Actually from what I understand there is some controversy over whether or not fungus is life at all.  I find that really interesting.

So let's go down the list.
Homeostasis, check.  Organization, check.  Metabolism, sure, makes sense, the biosphere "metabolizes" all kinds of natural resources.  Growth, check.  Adaptation, check.  Response to stimuli, I'm going to say check, just about anything that happens to this planet that affects the biosphere elicits a response.  Reproduction's the tricky one.  My argument is that it simply hasn't happened yet and when we start terraforming Mars, that will be also be our biosphere itself reproducing.

What would you say doesn't apply?
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ledhendrix

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If you were to describe the earth in it's entirety as a living thing then would you describe the sun or any star in the same way? They begin "life" as a clouds of gas, go through many changes and eventually die in one way or another. However you would not consider them to have life in the same sense that we do and that other creatures on earth do. Suns will always follow the same path, there is no mutation to drive them to change. Suns created near the start of the universe followed the exact same path as ones that are being created will follow. The earth is a giant inert piece of rock with a lot of physics going on, any biologist would tell you that it is not living. Sure it has life on it that changes the way it looks and responds but it would be very hard to define it as alive.

The idea of terraforming another planet is a human idea not one that earth decided upon, the earth isn't going to go "hey shit man I'm fucked better move myself to Mars". Mars is already there and there is liquid water present, if circumstances had been slightly different there could have been or there might be still traces of life on Mars (something that still hasn't been entirely ruled out). If Mars already had an atmosphere and we went and claimed it as our own that would not be reproduction. Neither would moving to Mars. An ant colony changing home isn't reproduction, how is that any different?

I do agree that the definition of life is a tricky one, you could even argue that nothing is alive, everything that exists can be broken down into how atoms react with each other. We and everything around us are just an assortment of atoms that happened to have come together the way they did.

Bit of a messy post but you can probably get something from it.
« Last Edit: 26 Apr 2009, 10:43 by ledhendrix »
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onewheelwizzard

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The idea of terraforming another planet is a human idea not one that earth decided upon

What makes you say this?  Humanity is part of the earth.  We're just as much an extension of "Mother Nature" (note the commonly accepted gender of the biosphere) as any tree or fungus or bird or large carnivore.  If you made a conscious decision to go running, would you say that your body isn't the one "running" because it was your brain's idea?

I see humanity as an extension of Earth, not something removed from Earth that happens to hang out on top of it.
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Biology isn't my field at all, but the way I understand it is that science already recognises all that. I think the main issue is that in order to actually do anything you have to spin it so it turns a profit. You need more primary research and investigation into identifying and dealing with the problems, which there isn't enough of because it's not really marketable and theres a limited amount of funding that you have to play politics and spit out paper after paper to get. You need more money set aside to enacting the solutions you find, for the good of everyone instead of for the good of your bottom line. The issues in science are roughly all down to economic factors.
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ledhendrix

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So me saying I dislike marshmallows is also the Earth's idea? A lot of people like marshmallows, is that also "Mother Nature's" idea? If you are going to apply that sort of logic to one thing then it has to apply to everything.
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onewheelwizzard

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Sure, why not?  Your personal preferences as an individual ARE in some sense an extension of the planet as a whole, via all the different myriad influences that have come into play along the timeline of your life.  Your dislike of marshmallows is neither arbitrary nor isolated.  It's the product of literally everything else that has happened up until now, just like everything else that is happening now.

"ledhendrix doesn't like marshmallows" is just as much nature's responsibility as, say, "Neal Armstrong walked on the moon in 1969."
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ledhendrix

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Define nature, you could just as easily call the Universe a living entity. Confining your view just to the world after what you've said previously would seem narrow minded on your part. If you read Richard Feynman, one of my favourite people, he says it all comes down to atoms, and that everything that has happened and ever will happen comes down to the tiny interactions that happen between atoms. Why give this effect a name like "Mother Nature" when it's just tiny little bits of matter reacting with each other. People have always tried to give identities to the things that they can't see or understand. Once we have a better understanding of things, through rigorous scientific experiments we don't need to assign arbitrary names to things.
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onewheelwizzard

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Define nature, you could just as easily call the Universe a living entity.

Yep!  In fact, I do.
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ledhendrix

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Why do you need to define it like that though? Your hijacking a word that is used to define something else and then your trying to bend what your describing (The universe, the earth etc) into something that fits the original definition. Just because something is dynamic doesn't mean it's alive. If you call everything living then the word loses value, if it was decided that everything fitted into the category of "living" then new definitions would just have to be made up to describe what was previously living.
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pwhodges

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I'm critical of societies that use the standards of the scientific method in a prescriptive way because I see that as an extension, however distant, of patriarchy.
Quote
This ties into feminism for me because I see the shift in priorities that would accompany a shift in the way we model the biosphere as one that would inevitably be feminist.

You may think you see these things, but are you going to give a reason why anyone else should?
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"Being human, having your health; that's what's important."  (from: Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi )
"As long as we're all living, and as long as we're all having fun, that should do it, right?"  (from: The Eccentric Family )

A Shoggoth on the Roof

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@Led-
it is possible to accept that the entire universe is just the product of tiny interactions between atoms and see it as a sort of living thing at the same time. Beliefs and science are separate and not necessarily mutually exclusive. I completely agree with your explanation of the universe, but, at the same it, it is possible for me to create a personal spiritual view of that explanation. I would never confuse my beliefs with the science, but that doesn't mean I can't have both.

in short, facts and beliefs are not related, and should never be.
I can believe the universe is alive in the spiritual sense, and, at the same time, agree that, by the scientific definition of the word, rock or other inanimate objects are not alive.
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Alex C

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in short, facts and beliefs are not related, and should never be.


That's bullshit. People keep trying to tell me that their beliefs are harmless and somehow distinct from their decision making process but for the life of me I've yet to find a case where this has truly been so. For example, there's pernicious beliefs floating around that lead to the marginalization of women, gays and other disenfranchised groups. Beliefs can in fact hurt others but unfortunately many of us continue to confuse freedom from coercion with freedom from accountability and so are loathe to speak up even when they should. At some point you need to be able to draw a line in the sand and start refuting the mindsets that propagate injustices. I'm no tyrant and I don't really believe in censorship, but that sure as hell doesn't mean I'm going to keep my mouth shut.
« Last Edit: 26 Apr 2009, 13:18 by Alex C »
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A Shoggoth on the Roof

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decision process and facts are two different things. You make decisions based off of beliefs and facts, more of one or the other depending on the decision- some decisions are obviously more emotionally charge than others. I mean, I'm not going to choose between two different girls because of facts, I'm going to go with the one I just know I like more. At the same time, if I'm buying a new car or deciding what type of material is most efficient to build something out of, I would use facts.

Beliefs will make people lean to one side or the other when it comes to decision making, but the facts themselves (should) remain unchanged. I'm sure some people forget that sometimes, but still. Of course, I'm an atheist, so I don't really have terribly complicated beliefs. It's surely different with extremists on either side (from staunch atheists to fervent catholics) I mean, I know someone who votes for political leaders based solely on who is pro-life, and I know people who think science can prove god illogical and highly improbable. Both let their beliefs cloud the facts. I'm not saying everyone makes a distinction between the two, I'm just saying, people should.
« Last Edit: 26 Apr 2009, 13:20 by A Shoggoth on the Roof »
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Alex C

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You're talking about opinions. Opinions are subjective by their very nature even when they are true statements. I don't like Pepsi is a statement that asserts nothing but my own preferences. Same thing when I say I like the Vikings. A belief is the statement that proposes something is or will be true, typically with little supporting evidence, which is what distinguishes believing something from knowing something. When you say you believe in God, you're saying that a God does in fact exist. That's a different kettle of fish from saying you think Jesus sounds like someone you'd hang out with. So, yeah, facts and beliefs are often seperate, but I think you're better off deciding on what your beliefs are after considering some of the facts involved rather than keeping them cordoned off from eachother. At the very least, I'd kind of appreciate it if you did since we're all stuck on the same planet for the time being.

P.S. I readily acknowledge that I have just as many beliefs as the next guy. For example, I believe that thinking beliefs are unassailable is an irresponsible position to take.
« Last Edit: 26 Apr 2009, 13:46 by Alex C »
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snalin

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OWW, I see where you are coming from with the living world thing. And I completely agree with you, it's probably beneficial to see the world as one single living thing, and that if we hurt it on one side, the whole of it will eventually take the consequences. Just as a human is alive, but really only made up from multitudes of small, living organisms that work together. But you seem to have this idea that the earth is sentient. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that sounds a bit too far out. Especially the part where we colonize Mars not because our own will and needs, but then you are basically going back to "we have no free will". Which isn't really a good point to start out from, since it makes discussion go nowhere fast and makes everything ever meaningless.
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A Shoggoth on the Roof

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Yea, that looks like it makes sense to me. I mean, Everyone's gonna look at the facts and then decide what they believe. We just come to different conclusions.
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pwhodges

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if we hurt it on one side, the whole of it will eventually take the consequences.

That's called cause and effect, and has nothing to do with being alive.  You could mention feedback as well, but the same applies.

We just come to different conclusions.

But there's still only one actual world.
« Last Edit: 26 Apr 2009, 14:04 by pwhodges »
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"Being human, having your health; that's what's important."  (from: Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi )
"As long as we're all living, and as long as we're all having fun, that should do it, right?"  (from: The Eccentric Family )

A Shoggoth on the Roof

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well yea, that's why we shouldn't let beliefs cloud the facts, but there's no harm in letting the facts lead us to our beliefs.
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KharBevNor

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I'm confused here. The Gaia Hypothesis is that the earth's ecosystem is homeostatic, not that it is a living organism. Even if you created a model of the biosphere as a living organism, that wouldn't mean it was alive. If it did then every ecosystem would be alive. The reason these things aren't alive is because the things within them are independently alive. The reason you are an organism, and not, say, your liver, is that if you hack out your liver it is not capable of life on its own (and neither, unless you get a quick replacement, are you). Scientists have got some use from using organic paradigms to model complex systems (like the earths biosphere), but the leap from that to claiming that the biosphere is alive is huge and unfounded. As mentioned above, the earth ould not possibly qualify as life under any standard definition. Reproduction is the main hurdle, though I think we could also argue growth. Reproduction is your kicker. Taking as red that earth's reproduction would be asexual, there's no way that there is going to be a genetically similiar or identical copy of the earth. Terraforming Mars is nothing like reproduction: Mars is farther from the sun, smaller than earth, with a completely different gravity and tidal system. There's no way that a terraformed mars would produce anything that really could be said to resemble earth, except in broad details. This is what you get when you try and blur the boundaries between organism and environment.

@OWW: I don't think you need protection from anything except yourself, though I do think the way you seem to view drugs and religious experiences makes you prime material for cult recruitment. I do think you will have significant trouble attaining your life goals or gaining the respect of your scientific peers if you keep on spouting some of the stuff you have in this thread. And don't pull the 'experimental' defence, or whatever it is you are trying to say. What does that even mean? That you are deliberately lying? If nothing you say is even what you believe, let alone true, or rational, or interesting, why should anyone ever pay attention to you?
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[22:25] Dovey: i don't get sigquoted much
[22:26] Dovey: like, maybe, 4 or 5 times that i know of?
[22:26] Dovey: and at least one of those was a blatant ploy at getting sigquoted

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snalin

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if we hurt it on one side, the whole of it will eventually take the consequences.

That's called cause and effect, and has nothing to do with being alive.  You could mention feedback as well, but the same applies

Sure, but it's still a good picture to use to help people understand that driving their SUV to work instead of taking the bus is killing something, like a bush or a beehive, somewhere in the world, in the long run.

You could probably get into a broader scientific discussion about the world actually being alive, and argument that if we see a human alive, even though it's just a combination of living things, why can't we see the world as living? But that doesn't seem to have any meaning outside discussion, what OWW is getting at here is alive in a broader sense, like alive and able to somehow interact with it's surroundings.

How the hell did we get to this from The Terrifying Future Threat of Nuclear Waste According to the Government after only two pages?
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ledhendrix

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If you take any part of us away it would die on it's own, the liver analogy Khar gave was a good one. If you took a big chunk of rock out of the earth and launched it into space it's still going to carry on being a big chunk of rock regardless of it not being attached to the earth any more.

The word alive shouldn't be thrown about like that then, there's probably better words out there to describe what OWW is talking about.
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Yes, homeostatic.
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[22:25] Dovey: i don't get sigquoted much
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So I actually think the 'alive' model is perfectly valid by the definition of life I learned. It really applies to the biosphere and not 'the planet', though, which is a screwy bit of language sometimes. Colonizing Mars is a totally valid incidence of reproduction of our biosphere, and I'm sure the bacteria in your digestive tract have their own opinions on marshmallows, or in my case, cheap beer (no I am not assigning any necessary degree of intelligence or emotional capacity to bacteria just using a word in a stretched situation). Likewise, I take all the water out of you and launch it into space and it'll keep right on being water. Or you can take the rocks out of a bird's gullet for the same effect.
I think the problem is more that someone sometime was like 'hey guys, wtf is life?' and then someone else was like 'dude look at this list of approximately seven things, that seems like a sensible definition of life amirite?' and now somebody else is like 'lol your definition applies to the everythings everywheres' and some other people are like 'fuuuuuuuuuuuuckkkk yoooouuuuu'.
What I mean to say is, those 'defining characteristics of life' are just a list of things we came up with to try and categorize 'life', life, of course, being a word that is full of all sorts of other connotations in language. We have written up a list of things, and found things that fit all the things in that list. We have done nothing more and nothing less, and if we use that list as a definition of a word, then the word fits, but nothing else has been ascribed based on that definition.
Yes, the biosphere is alive and can be modeled as a single living thing. No, I do not believe it has a soul or a spirit any more than I believe the seeds in my garden, my neighbour's dog, or my dead loved ones have or had a soul.
I think it is dangerous to take a 'scientific' definition of life to be anything other than exactly what it is.


The example I keep coming back too is the Gaea hypothesis, the idea that the biosphere of planet Earth is a living thing unto itself.  There is no way to approach this idea using the scientific method.  No test or measurement we could apply would conclusively tell us that the biosphere is a unified and living thing or isn't.  It's a question of what model we use to envision the biosphere, and from the point of view of the scientific method, it's an arbitrary and effectively meaningless distinction because it's a question with no testable or provable answer.  I happen to think it's extremely important for humans to start thinking of the Earth as a living thing, so I have an issue with a society that depends on the scientific method as an arbiter of truth to the extent that it sees this question as meaningless.
See, I like the idea of thinking of the earth as a living thing, it's a neat concept and is useful for helping us think about our actions, but I think it's silly to get carried away with it. I also find your claim that no test can tell us this thing to be a little stupid. We just haven't designed a test. If the thing exists and has an effect on us, there must be a way to observe its effects. If there are no effects to observe, then it effectively doesn't exist. If we can't observe it's effects yet, hopefully we will be clever enough to do so later.
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KharBevNor

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Colonizing Mars is a totally valid incidence of reproduction of our biosphere,

It's really not.
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snalin

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Really, it is.

Look at the earth as a plant that reproduce asexually. For it to reproduce, it would need to make a seed (humans), send it away from itself (space expeditions), let the seed land in soil (Mars), and root and start to grow (colonization and adaption of an atmosphere). There's no problem to the idea that "Mother Earth" is sentient, and able to influence evolution and entire races to become a space faring, and find other planets to colonize. I guess this falls into the realm of belief, and it's not less likely than most other mainstream religions.

Onewheel, you've said something in the direction of wanting more research and investigation into stuff that's beyond our senses, like the universe being alive and similar ideas. How do you think that this can be done? I'm genuinely intrigued; how can you figure out stuff that isn't even related to our range of reference and knowledge?
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KharBevNor

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No, that's a metaphor for reproduction, not actual reproduction. When an organism reproduces it makes something that is very like itself. A human colony on another planet would not be anything like the biosphere of earth. It would be like a dog giving birth to a cat.
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Slick

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See I don't want to get into an argument about reproduction but the reason I think your arguement doesn't defeat it is that it's giving birth to an ecosystem and planetary ecosystems have different notions of similarity and likeness. Just look at what you think of as defining properties of people, how those properties change throughout the species, and then think of defining properties of an ecosystem, and how much that can vary.
If we terraformed Mars up from scratch, it would probably have a lot in common with earth, despite how fucking wacky Mars actually is. If you're talking, say, we find a planet with trees that grow upside down and all the animals have two legs and a wheely-limb, that'd be a different story and I didn't actually consider that.

I'm just interested in this because I think our definition of life is a little loose and our reaction when someone talks about being alive relate not to the definition of life that we use but perhaps to what we think life means on some other level. I've just finished a course on general relativity and intro cosmology, where we modeled the universe as a fluid where the basic particles (the analouges to atoms/molecules in your regular gasses and fluids) are galaxies or clusters of galaxies so I'm just thinking about generalizing things to weird scales.
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Ozymandias

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Dudes of course planets can be alive.

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Not only that, but this whole discussion is void because as of tomorrow we'll all be infected with the swine flu anyway.
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maybe the swine flu is Mother Earth's immune system and we are cancer

 :-o :-o :-o
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Reproduction is not a necessity in all models for the definition of life.  This stems more from mixed species that can't reproduce and less from a liberal interpretation of what it means to be alive.  (i.e. a liger)

I've never heard the argument that fungus isn't considered alive.  It sounds like a crock to me, and I don't see how the argument could begin to be made.  Ascomycota and basidiomycota both have full sexual reproduction cycles and are multicellular.  Zygomycota and chytridiomycota yeasts are still haplontic.  Fungi are the genetically closest kingdom to animals there is.  To argue against them being classified as alive you would also have to reclassify the domains prokaryotes and archaebacteria, as well as a good number of protists.

If there is actual dissent among the scientific community I'd love to read about it.
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There is dissent on specific types of fungus as to whether or not to classify a colony as multiple organisms or just one big one, but that's not even close to arguing if it's alive or no.
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The point you're missing is that reproduction is often listed as a requirement for being considered alive. There is no specification in terms of type of replication (as in sexual or not). Nobody in the scientific community have clained that fungi, or even bacteria are not alive. On the other hand whether or not viruses are alive is still debateable.
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