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Evolution and Revolution

Mr. Bester

Beyond the rim
In B5, it was implied that the Shadows became first ones through chaos and revolution while the Vorlons reached the first one stage through order and evolution. Now in the technomage trilogy we can infer that the mages are the shadows vision of the younger races through tech implants (basically evolving through technological innovation) while the teeps are the vorlon vision of the younger races through genetic manipulation and basically evolution.

So we can infer that the humans of the future become first ones through the Shadow Way. First of all humans become the dominant group among the mages, the first human first one Jason Ironheart becomes a first one through technology and the human in deconstruction turns from human to first one.
 
Although Ironheart was manipulated into becoming firstone-like, we don't know for sure if he became a true firstone, and we certainly don't know exactly how the human in Deconstruction, and presumably the whole human race, became firstones. We do know that it happened over a very long span of time, approaching a million years. This sounds more like evolution than revolution -- more biological than technical, but we can't be sure. We are to the point now where we can see that we will be able to control our genetic make up, if we wish. Also, cybernetics will progress, so it might be a combination of biology and technology.
 
The spidery and squiddy ones travelled different roads, but ended up in the same point. To be more exact, on the opposite sides of the same road. Both had their vision about how the younger races should develop. But their vision was cut short when the younger races asked them to leave.

Initially it would seem that the Vorlon vision prevailed. Many civilisations have telepaths and telekinetics. Basing on these abilities, nature will discover and refine new abilities, and beings can do the same. Eventually it will lead to better manipulation of knowledge, a larger capability to learn and develop.

But neither should one discard the Shadow part. Yes, technomages are few and their future is not certain. The Shadows left them with an unenviable task: to jump over their own shadow. To learn how Shadowtech can be grown without needing to harm anyone.

But if the technomages find a way, their numbers are not relevant. Genes need millions of people to continue them, technologies need far fewer. As long as the technomages last, derivations and modifications of Shadow technology will play a crucial part in development. With different methods, they offer opportunities very similar to telepathy. A technomage can communicate and research with incredible efficiency, control and influence things which others never see.

While the Vorlon legacy needs constant existance and preservation, Shadow legacies can sleep for millennia and then suddenly surface. So without a detailed timeline of everything from "Crusade" to "Deconstruction", I cannot tell how the younger races (or humanity in particular) changed.
 
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Jade Jaguar:
<font color=yellow>Although Ironheart was manipulated into becoming firstone-like, we don't know for sure if he became a true firstone, and we certainly don't know exactly how the human in Deconstruction, and presumably the whole human race, became firstones. We do know that it happened over a very long span of time, approaching a million years. This sounds more like evolution than revolution -- more biological than technical, but we can't be sure. We are to the point now where we can see that we will be able to control our genetic make up, if we wish. Also, cybernetics will progress, so it might be a combination of biology and technology.</font color=yellow><hr></blockquote>

If I were to hazard a guess, I'd say humanity likely synthesized the two methods - one of our greatest strengths is the ability to take the middle way.
 
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Darkwing:
<font color=yellow>If I were to hazard a guess, I'd say humanity likely synthesized the two methods - one of our greatest strengths is the ability to take the middle way.</font color=yellow><hr></blockquote>
And isn't that humanity's strongest feature? we are capable of the most horrendous evils as well as the most honourable goods. It all depends on how we use what we have and what we recieve! I think that the humans won't become first ones based on shadow or vorlon tech but rather by using this tech we will become first ones!
 
Speaking of which, I've seen enough politicians to actually believe that humans are devolving into slimy, squirmy things! Then again thats just politicians, maybe we're safe!
 
10 points kin, 10 points. Actually squirmy, wriggely things look at him and view him as sub human!

Still, I wonder if humans are eveolving. For all our technoligical advancement we are still the same socially speaking. First one status is really an interpretation of self actualization. 99.9% of humans never make it that far. Are we going to join the stars or simply burn out!
 
From what I can remember from Psych1A
There are 3 requirements for evolution by natural selection:
variability, inheritance and competition. Now among humans we're not letting the weak die out like animals, we have poverty relief and aid agencies, so basically there is no competition and we've stopped evolving naturally. The only way we can now reach an energy state is to start messing with our DNA.
 
We do exhibit small variants of telepathy and telekenisis. We may not need to mess with DNA.
Personally I think the minute we start doing that we're going to open the proverbial pandora's box. Man already has God complex genetic engineering is going to add fuel to the fire!
 
Kin_of_zathras:

Competition has not gone anywhere. It never does, and never stops. What has changed: for our kind, competition is no longer genetic. While before, genes played a significant part, technical and social development have reduced their role to secondary. Only in rare cases do they decide.

Instead of genes, our accomplishments and success are now more determined by ideas, principles, education, societies, economies, technologies. Matters of society and technology are becoming predominant over genes. Because the possibilities they open or close are multiple times wider.

As we gained limited control over our environment, evolution shifted its focus from genetic to social and technical. Genes matter, but no longer compete. Genes maintain, while ideas and technologies compete. Hopefully that competition comes with minimum loss, and does not destroy diversity - because our ability to generate diversity is limited.

Hopefully the Shadow/Vorlon part will come later, when we are ready for it. Because some day, people *will* start changing themselves. Either in the Shadow or Vorlon way. But both ways require knowledge... and experience... and responsibility. Not enough yet.
 
But thats just the problem Lennier. We've shunted our genetic developement one side and decided that society and technology will be the new deciding factors. As a result the community appears to develope but the individual stagnates.
Even if we try to bring society into the equation as well as techno. Those two points in themselves don't prove that we are evolving, in fact they prove the opposite. Society has let the individual down. Human beings have lost the ethics of things like honour, valor, integrity and replaced them with cold ambition, greed and indifference. Society is expanding, not growing . We must never confuse the two.
Technology is the black magic of the new age. Humans are becoming more and more dependant on technology, as a result the species is getting lazy and complacent. We are not thinking for ourselves.
No I believe that genetic evolution has taken the back seat and that we are going to pay for it in the long run.
 
Actually, if you want to talk evolution, does anyone really know for certain what medicine has done to our evolution?

We sometimes forget that many, many people today are surviving and going on to have children themselves because of modern medicine. This is subverting "natural" evolution though, isn't it?

Is it possible that we are weakening our species in this way? About the only conclusion I can come to personally is: possibly, so we must 'evolve' mentally and spiritually to compensate. But if you seriously believe that evolution makes species stronger, then we are on our own at this point.
 
We only use 10% of our brains. I don't mean area but processing power. So i figure the way to evolve is to learn to use the other 90%. I'm already up another 3%. Unfortunately it only helps me remember lyrics from thousands of songs and irrelevent crap that would only come in handy on game shows.
 
But that is natural, Superbob.

<font color=yellow>For the time being, genes cannot take us further.</font color=yellow> For the time being, genetic evolution has fulfilled its purpose and stepped aside. By adding more nerve cells, you can make the human brain smarter... but not any wiser. Given our current society, even a twice smarter person might easily become an arrogant self-destructive fool. Given that this person would be twice smarter, his/her foolishness and errors would be twice as destructive. We are destructive enough in our current form.

Genetic evolution will re-enter the playground later, controlled by social / technical evolution and directed by sentient minds. Currently it is suspended. It will continue when we become able to change ourselves. There is no need to hurry with that.

Even if genes cannot produce anything qualitatively better, they will maintain balance and slowly optimize things. Their influence is subtle. It becomes visible only when something goes very wrong. Only in extreme cases. When something important gets damaged and modern medicine cannot help, then genetic evolution will come into foreground. But it will create little, only maintaining a balance, as it should.

Because genetic evolution cannot build a stable society, it cannot create a better individual, it cannot propel us to stars nor teach us to care for Earth. For the time being, genes are useless. Until we learn to responsibly use them. <font color=yellow>Because human nature is not determined by genes. It is characteristic of any sentient society, any sentient mind. What is not determined by genes cannot be changed with genes.</font color=yellow>

The evolution of society, ideas, technologies... it can achieve what we need. Something which genes can never achieve. Social evolution can make our economies sustainable, our societies stable and sane. It can give individuals the opportunity to express their best sides, and teach societies how to let this happen. It can propel us to other worlds.

Some time after that (call it first-oneishness if you want) genetic evolution will continue. Preferably not before we can decide which genes we really want and need.
 
“Some time after that (call it first-oneishness if you want) genetic evolution will continue. Preferably not before we can decide which genes we really want and need. "

I am curious, on what science are you basing this assumption?

Right now the most likely use of genetic experimentation is to replace body parts for people, or possibly to clone a lost loved one. As much as we like to discuss the concept of “social evolution” I don’t think it can be considered on the same level as traditional evolution.

Unless, of course, you assume our intelligence has effectively made natural evolution unnecessary. As I said, we are on our own. I think are chances are better, actually, to survive as a species longer with “brainpower” rather than “random-force-of-evolution” power. (Look at all of the species that become extinct.) But in the end we are also suffering from some things that are hard to look at and still sound liberal about. Like the fact that educated people do tend to have fewer children than uneducated people. Some have even been known to argue that we are weakening our race by letting anyone who cares to keep “cranking out babies”.

Sorry to get so controversial, but I see these as terrible, uncomfortable, but necessary points to consider before we cast all hope into that uncertain glob we call ‘social evolution’.

I am not saying I think modern medicine should be abandoned, or that sterilizations should be made, or anything like that. I’m simply coming back to the point “we are on our own”. Nature might seem to have all of the ideal solutions, it might seem “simple” and “unspoiled”. But part of that “simple and unspoiled” means letting a large percentage of our population die terrible, “premature” deaths.

We need to look at this straight-on. Evolution cannot help us anymore. And we don’t appear to be doing a very good job of helping ourselves. Unless you count the wasting of human life through never-ending wars (I’m thinking Somalia, Israel/Palestine, etc, etc…) to be “social evolution” I’d say we are not showing a great tendency to do much more than find a way to kill off some of the people who have managed to survive childhood.
 
It seems Hyp, that you have partly misread my post.

With the sentence you quoted, I wished to express my hope that people will *not* start tampering with their own genome *before* they can build a stable society, and thus be more or less safe from their own errors. Otherwise such activity could cause much damage. I expect this because I always expect the best, while taking into account that the worst can happen as well.

Genetic experimentation to replace body parts seems fine. It does not carelessly change the genome of the species. Genetic experimantation to clone a lost loved one is not fine. Firstly it is futile, as this person will not be that person. Secondly it is unethical, as current cloning technologies are a tremendous waste and involve high medical risk for the clone. Thirdly it decreases diversity, and everyone deserves to be unique.
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr>Unless, of course, you assume our intelligence has effectively made natural evolution unnecessary.<hr></blockquote> All evolution is natural, and nothing will ever make it unnecessary. I am simply pointing out that everything with inheritance, diversity and selection tends to evolve. Not only genes, but technologies and ideas too. In fact, while the evolution of our genes is slowing (but will quicken again sometime when people start changing their own genome) the evolution of societies and technologies is currently becoming faster and more important.

While reading this, you should remember that by "faster" I do not mean that people would be quickly changing for better. No. One can become worse just as fast, or swing between improvement and decline faster than usual. Where change takes us depends on our choices. Every road can be traveled in two ways. By "faster" I indicate that change forces us to try out more answers. Which ways we try is our own choice.

<blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr>Like the fact that educated people do tend to have fewer children than uneducated people.<hr></blockquote> But you are ignoring one fact, Hyp. Education does not depend on genes. It depends on society, economy, technology. It depends on whether the person *could* receive education. If a well-developed society can guarantee those children an education, everything is fine. Nothing is being weakned. True harm occurs if society fails to provide these children with education, pushing itself as a whole further back into misery.

<blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr>Unless you count the wasting of human life through never-ending wars (I?m thinking Somalia, Israel/Palestine, etc, etc?) to be ?social evolution? I?d say we are not showing a great tendency to do much more than find a way to kill off some of the people who have managed to survive childhood.<hr></blockquote> Truly sad, and truly unnecessary. One should always try to avoid it. Yet to answer your question, yes it does demonstrate social evolution. It demonstrates that ideas like "lets mind our own business" and "let them help themselves" are likely to cause harm and backfire at everyone, because we all live on the same planet.

It demonstrates that not giving a damn is an evolutionary dead end. Letting a fire burn until it fries our collective asses. On the other hand, helping one society so it can in turn help others is a good and efficient option. Which option we pursue is our choice. If we choose to let the planet fall apart, it does not change the rule. We will simply become a record in galactic history: "chose wrongly and became exitinct".

The evolutionary part: civilisations who realize this, learn how to repair societies and start doing it - they will last. If our civilisation fails to realize this, fails to find stable social and environmental models, or fails to apply them, mankind will finish itself in wars and environmental disasters. If we realize the need to defuse such problems, we may continue.

Each day, each year, already for millennia, we have been trying countless ways to reach a sustainable and stable society. We have found many good practises, and written them down. We have learned about human nature, and sometimes even learned that this knowledge must be applied. Sometimes, very rarely, we have even applied it successfully. If you want any demonstration of social evolution, consider this one.

Yet nothing but trouble comes easily. For every right decision, people will make a wrong decision. But if societies record their right and wrong decisions, and try to learn from them, they will eventually improve. Not easily and never quickly. Everything which may succeed may also fail.

I believe I am correct to say that genetic evolution is becoming irrelevant, and social / technical evolution relevant. That was my point, and nothing more. Where this evolution will lead is our choice.

You are correct to say that evolution does not help us. I have never said that it should - it may just as well help another planet. We can become an example of success or an example of failure. What we become depends on how we choose.
 
It's almost as if the proverbial "pandora's box" has been opened with this whole genetics story. I'm not talking about this thread but society in general. We are digging in somthing that we were not meant to. How can we as a species presume to meddle with somthing like this. We don't have the wisdom to govern ourselves who are we to think we can play God!
You present a solid argument Lennier and I admit that I find it difficult to argue with you but I must disagree with you. Genes cannot be put aside in favour of social and technological developement. There is too much chaos within in human nature, wisdom comes with time doesn't it? o.k well theoritically speaking. In nature it's survival of the fittest right? we moved in that direction mentally, not physically. There has to be some link between our make up and that of our attitude. I know I'm being obscure here but this is a damn difficult argument I need to make here and articulate doesn't feature in my vocab today. I think I'll need to chew on this a bit more
 

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