Has there been progress in human history in the 'absolute' sense?
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10-02-2013, 08:14 AM (This post was last modified: 10-02-2013 08:53 AM by Zat.)
RE: Has there been progress in human history in the 'absolute' sense?
(10-02-2013 08:10 AM)Logica Humano Wrote:  Read about the Dark Ages and then ask that question.

Advice for the future:

1. Read (carefully)
2. Think
3. Ask questions
4. Think some more
5. Then answer what the post said -- not what you mistakenly assume it said.

It is possible to read a few of the posts (at the least the OP and the one right above yours) on a thread -- and not just the title! Smile
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10-02-2013, 10:52 AM (This post was last modified: 10-02-2013 11:08 AM by Zat.)
RE: Has there been progress in human history in the 'absolute' sense?
Now, back to the topic at hand.

Scientific experiments are under way to slow down the aging process and maybe even approach immortality.

Lots of links to current research can be found here: http://www.coalitiontoextendlife.org/news.php

Rebecca Costa in her book recently published: "The Watchman's Rattle - Thinking our way out of Extinction" talks about breakthrough in Neuroscience that could drastically improve human intelligence.

As I suggested before -- it may be possible that the pollution, radiation, stress, etc we live in, is offsetting the effects of modern medicine and hygiene, making the effects all but invisible (other than the obvious improvement in the averages) but we might see the day when human limits in longevity, intelligence, etc., will be overcome and new quantum leaps become visible.

What I would have liked to see in this thread was speculation about this possible future with perhaps some references to current research and accomplishments.

I hope that the thread will continue in this direction.
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11-02-2013, 07:15 AM
RE: Has there been progress in human history in the 'absolute' sense?
(09-02-2013 03:53 PM)Zat Wrote:  Still, you can't help but wonder: incredible advances were made in medical science, in biology, in science in general -- wouldn't you expect it to affect at least the maximum longevity of the human species in 2000 years?

Don't you think that the effect of pollution, radiation exposure, stress levels, etc., etc., might be responsible for offsetting the advances we made in other areas?

So we still die at the same age as the longest-living Greek philosophers did?

(and, please, don't mistake the average with the maximum!!!)
I think you can not mix together genetic evolution and the evolution of consciousness. Evolution of consciousness is about awareness. And more people today are more aware than they ever were. We have philosophic writings of the past, but what percentage of population did that make?

The evolved consciousness displays itself in general preference for democratic government, which was at the beginning of 20th century not a standard at all. It's in respect to science. It's in integration of minorities into mainstream society. It's breaking the barriers between nations, between people, genders and their government.
In 18th century people were judged by their genetic relation to nobility lines that had a claim in succession on the royal throne.
In 19th century Europe nobility still mattered, a human being counted from a baron upwards. But they had to broaden the definition by rich people and professors, because inbred nobles were pretty much useless.
In 20th century the rabble of common men got their recognition through the Socialist movement. Women got voting rights...
The two world wars destroyed lots of old barriers to human awareness. They broke the respect to churches, nobility, feudals and the plague of nationalism.

Of course, scientific awareness about the nature of reality counts too! Science enhances all that we do, the good and the bad.


The lessons of awareness for today are the lessons of greed and environment. We're becoming globally aware of the environment and of greed. There are voices questioning the necessity to produce and increase the economic growth, that the common heritage of ecosystems and natural resouces is more valuable than the contrived agreement of money and the next product shipped to us from China. There are voices doubting our definition of private property, saying instead one should own only as much as is humanly needed and not whole industries. And in return, the government's first duty is to provide the most basic necessities of living - food, water, housing, education, healthcare and security (peace).

For example, the German Pirate party proposed such a law of basic income per capita to ensure basic living necessities.

So yes, I'd say we are tremendously evolving, so much that it throws the world into turmoil. We are becoming aware of the true state of the world and this awareness brings chaos. For example, we realize that the world is set up to serve the interests of a small minority of people. A few people control the resources of countless millions. Before 20th century nobody would give it a thought, it would be a natural order of things!

Of course, being aware of something does not mean actual improvement. Awareness is absolutely necessary, but people must act and implement their will. I believe we are seeing great, though slow, imperfect improvements in people's empowerment.
For example, my country got the first public vote for president. The elections were of course dirty, Transparency International marked my country as one of 'takeover states', not really democratic.
The best candidate (who promised anti-corruption measures) got excluded by vote counting treachery at the very beginning. And in the end we got the same crooks that were always there. But it will only increase awareness of the nation and awareness will piss us off.

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11-02-2013, 07:30 AM (This post was last modified: 11-02-2013 08:58 AM by Zat.)
RE: Has there been progress in human history in the 'absolute' sense?
I guess everybody is determined to answer the misunderstood title, instead of the OP and later clarifications.
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11-02-2013, 07:46 AM
RE: Has there been progress in human history in the 'absolute' sense?
Actually your OP was very poorly stated if that was what you wanted discussed.
Do some research for yourself.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_expectancy
And even IF there were occasional exceptions to the Bell distribution of individuals with long lives, it proves nothing, as you need to discuss the standard deviation from the central tendancies, (both one and two), and the Bell curve.
So quit whining and do some research.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein Certified Ancient Astronaut Theorist
Isaiah 45:7 "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things" (KJV)

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11-02-2013, 07:52 AM (This post was last modified: 11-02-2013 08:04 AM by Zat.)
RE: Has there been progress in human history in the 'absolute' sense?
Right...

You know what?

This no fun any more.

I will do something more enjoyable, like visiting my dentist.

He can pull teeth a lot better than I can! Big Grin
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11-02-2013, 09:03 AM
RE: Has there been progress in human history in the 'absolute' sense?
The knowledge we have is an extension of us. If anything happened that changed the world dramatically (Near extinction event..large nuclear war.. uncurable plaque etc) then potentially a lot of research and knowledge could be lost in an instant with only small pockets surviving. Given circumstance it would be easy for even that knowledge to be lost or tainted as generations of survivors change to the enviroment and survival.

All of the social "niceties" and morals we base our lifes on are also subject to the flimsyness of our system. It all seems so "real" yet it could all potentially change in the blink of an eye at any given moment, unlikely but not impossible.

Collectively we are in charge of our own (semi-temporaily) destinies and who knows where technology may take us. If the future is robotic where we may become "immortal" and remove the need for food, water and sleep would this make us all equal? Or would we still compete and destroy each other over "upgrades" and the resources to build them?

There are occurences and patterns in life that we have created measurements to observe and potentially our knowledge of the universe may reach an exponential curve where we remove all doubt over almost everything, a kind of "singularity" and have a new understanding of the universe... I feel this is a long way away but will have more of an impact over everything else we have achieved up until that point.

For no matter how much I use these symbols, to describe symptoms of my existence.
You are your own emphasis.
So I say nothing.

-Bemore.
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11-02-2013, 12:26 PM
RE: Has there been progress in human history in the 'absolute' sense?
Zat, if you can't communicate clearly, then tough. If you fucked up this thread, make a new one and try to make it clearer what you want to talk about.

E 2 = (mc 2)2 + (pc )2
614C → 714N + e + ̅νe
2 K(s) + 2 H2O(l) → 2 KOH(aq) + H2 (g) + 196 kJ/mol
It works, bitches.
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11-02-2013, 11:23 PM
RE: Has there been progress in human history in the 'absolute' sense?
If theories like those presented in books like "Sex at Dawn" accurately depict what life was like before we figured out that we could plant a seed in fertile land and eat the result, thereby paving the way for regional, resource based conflict and the need for ownership of everything from inanimate objects to land to mates, I say hit the reboot button and forget all of our supposed achievements.

Aside from that impossible solution, happiness at this point in time is a state of mind that has more to do with overcoming one's fear of all the nasty things that can and do sometimes happen. It has to do with our perception of the things that happen in our lives, not whether or not we can micromanage the things that happen in our lives.

Ultimately, we still have many of the same worries as we did several thousand years ago, except in many cases those worries have been magnified. We are dependent on even more types of rare resources, increasing the need to fight for our privileged lifestyles. The form of slavery that existed not long ago at least required one to put forth a lifetime investment in his or her slave(s), which meant they had something to gain from keeping that slave relatively healthy. The ones mining for the things we need halfway across the world now, however, are cheaper to maintain and replaceable. Fear of death will always be there. Before it might have been from swords, common sickness, and yes the occasional plague. Now it's from chemical and nuclear weapons that can kill you from thousands of miles away or bacteria that is evolving faster than we can counter it.

The number of people who have access to new technologies and supposed improvements, and the degree of access they have, also varies greatly. I could argue that life is awesome because I can sit and play video games all day and, when my legs or heart start to atrophy from disuse, someone will operate on me or pump me full of meds to extend my pointless existence. Someone in Darfur whose family was raped and murdered in an attempt to demoralize the rebels fighting for them so the Sudanese government can maintain better control of the resources ultimately being used to make things like those video games might disagree about how great life is these days.

I'm not saying any of it is right or wrong, I'll leave judgement to the religious folks Smile I'm no poster child for morality. I simply believe in cause and effect, and that rule is the same as it always has been.

Sometimes I wrestle with my demons. Sometimes we just snuggle.
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