Sorry to Disappoint the Transhumanists…

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…but evolution is apparently over:

[Via bOING bOING.]

NEXT: Escape from L.A.

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  1. Every naturally evolved species must go! All mollusks half off! Buy two beetles get one free!

  2. Glad we made it.

  3. Though I was really hoping to get second set of opposable thumbs before it was over. Great for rock climbing.

  4. /sigh

    If only creationism and ID would follow suit.

  5. Someone finally noticed that Evolution violates the Law of Entropy. Lawbreakers and Evildoers cannot be tolerated.

  6. “Law of Entropy?” I don’t recall that one in my studies of thermogoddamics.

  7. Homo sapiens sapiens wins! Party on, fellow rulers of Earth! Woo hoo! Take that squirrels, with your nasty, little potentially threatening hand-like manipulators!

  8. NoStar wrote:
    > Someone finally noticed that Evolution violates > the Law of Entropy.

    The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics only applies to adiabatic systems — i.e. those sytems which do not exchange heat with their surroundings. This is far from true on the planet Earth.

  9. If evolution is being rescinded, does this mean there’s a chance I could get back that prehensile tail my ancestors lost years ago?

    I keep thinking about how useful it would be, although I would have to have all my pants modified by a taylor.

  10. Sparky | April 6, 2007, 4:52pm | #
    Every naturally evolved species must go! All mollusks half off! Buy two beetles get one free!

    There aren’t three Beatles left and I’ll be damned if I’ll pay money for McCartney and Ringo just to get Yoko for free.

  11. NoStar,

    Taylor, as in “Damned dirty apes” Taylor? That must’ve been a Zaiusian slip!

    Actually, the end of evolution gives us more than a permanent leg up on the squirrels (nasty, creepy car-wrecking things); we also can widen the existing gap between us and the other animals through the use of bionics and other computerized and mechanical implants.

    Soon, there will be only one species. Mankind triumphant!

  12. The Second Law certainly applies to systems other than adiabatic ones.

    One implication of the Second Law is that heat cannot be converted *entirely* into work (or vice versa) with no other effects. The system and its surroundings are taken into account. As long as the entropy of the system and surroundings does not change or increases the second law is not violated.

  13. I think what you’re trying to say is that as long as a process is reversible and adiabatic, that the process is isentropic (that is, deltaS=0).

  14. Doug,
    Now I understand. Evolution is caused when individuals exchange heat with surrounding individuals.

    And yes I knew that the 2nd law pertains to closed systems. And if the Universe is a closed system (no external energy source to draw upon) then J. M. Keynes will be proven correct: In the long run, we’re all dead. And any advances made via evolution will have been for naught.

  15. NO! NOOO! NOOOOOOOOOOOO!

  16. Pro-Lib,
    “Zaiusian slip”. Good one.

    “Soon, there will be only one species. Mankind triumphant!” For whatever reason, my mind just suggested I write a fan-fiction story about the Borg vs. the Daleks. Will the Daleks be assimilated or will the Borg be terminated?

    Who knows?

  17. If only one species will emerge triumphant, my money is on the dolphins. They’re just biding their time, you know.

  18. THAT’S IT!
    No more Dolphin Safe Tuna for this fit survivalist.

  19. My guess is that the Borg will assimilate the Daleks and then EXTERMINATE everything. Fortunately, the Borg will cease to assimilate anything else. Unfortunately there will be nothing left to assimilate once they EXTERMINATE everything.

  20. Dolphins? Ha! Not even in the top ten. Gots to has the handses.

    I don’t think the Daleks match up well with the Borg, though that may just be due to their inferior special effects rather than to any intrinsic kickassedness.

  21. I dunno. The “Seven Days” in that sign may be support for a literalist interpretation of Genesis: that evolution lasted for seven days.

  22. You know, I’ve always been weak on the lingo and really fine distinctions required to be a true master of thermodynamics. Suffice it to say that entropy doesn’t need to increase if there’s an energy input to the system. And we just happen to be orbiting a mass of incandescent gas, a gigantic nuclear furnace where hydrogen is turned into helium at a temperature of millions of degrees. (TMBG reference)

    Besides, disorder is not always the maximum entropy state. Colloidal crystallization and liquid crystallization are good examples: There’s more free volume per molecule in a liquid crystal if the molecules orient, because now their center of mass can move around with far less chance of bumping up against another molecule and getting jammed. But if they were randomly oriented they’d be jammed.

    And while surfactant molecules (a crucial component of cell membranes) are driven to the interface largely by energetic effects, their ability to reduce surface tension and inhibit coalescence (i.e. the ability to maintain a stable, enclosed droplet) is driven by entropy. Don’t believe me? See “Statistical Thermodynamics of Surfaces, Interfaces, and Membranes” by Samuel Safran, page. 72.

  23. No more Dolphin Safe Tuna for this fit survivalist.

    Too Late.

  24. Well, at least I finally understand what the Monkees were singing about.

    The porpoise is laughing, goodbye goodbye…

  25. Now that evolution is shutting down, we can all move over to Ron Bailey’s Genetically Modified Shop.

    In a free economy, there are always substitutes.

  26. Besides, disorder is not always the maximum entropy state. Colloidal crystallization and liquid crystallization are good examples: There’s more free volume per molecule in a liquid crystal if the molecules orient, because now their center of mass can move around with far less chance of bumping up against another molecule and getting jammed. But if they were randomly oriented they’d be jammed.

    Bingo! The Gibbs free energy of solution is minimized in some arrangements that are quite orderly. It’s a common misconception, as you note, that disorder is implied by increasing entropy (at least on a local scale).

  27. Okay, there are obviously some people on here who need to realize that it is Friday. As such, they need to go out and destroy those brain cells that know all the gibberish that was just written.

    Nick

  28. Man, I’m really out of the loop. I thought transhumanism had almost nothing to do with evolution, and almost everything to do with designing a more optimal version of individual people. Oh, well, I guess we can learn something new every day.

  29. goddamit, when will i evolve pinkie fingers so i can work these goddam shift keys?

    evolutionists still haven’t faced the big peanut butter question head-on yet. i want to see the peanut butter question addressed rigorously.

  30. So, transhumanism is Intelligent Design at work?

    I once worked with a guy who believed that there had been a great civilization, circa 100k-125k years ago, that was exceptionally highly advanced, and for some reason, was based in South America and had passed on its wisdom to Nikolai Tesla and the Mayans, for some reason.

    Oh, and some German scientists had deciphered the great works and perfected immortality and teleportation and who-knows-what-else.

    But I digress. If what this guy believed was true, would it not be possible that we could have been intelligently designed by the scientists of this super civilization?

    I’d like to see an argument between the two great branches of ID on this subject. Maybe they’d self destruct.

  31. I’d hate to see the living quarters of those who claim “entropy always increases, everywhere, at any time.”

    And I suppose refrigerators don’t work in their vicinity, either.

  32. Okay, there are obviously some people on here who need to realize that it is Friday. As such, they need to go out and destroy those brain cells that know all the gibberish that was just written.

    Nick

    Five words:

    Knob.
    Creek.
    Straight.
    Kentucky.
    Bourbon.

  33. db, as my parents own stock in the company that makes Knob Creek, I congratulate you on your good taste. I like the stuff myself. Tonight, however, I had an entire shaker of Herradura Silver margaritas (16 oz). I haven’t had that much booze since 1997 when I was pregnant with #1 son, so I’m in a really, really good mood tonight. Let’s see how long it lasts. . . . .

  34. I thought transhumanism had almost nothing to do with evolution, and almost everything to do with designing a more optimal version of individual people.

    Google “transhuman” with “posthuman.”

  35. The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics only applies to adiabatic systems — i.e. those sytems which do not exchange heat with their surroundings.

    Doug, the cheese has slid of your cracker.

  36. The dolphins are biding their time but the mice are running the show.

    And yarn people are cool looking.

  37. I’m sipping some Cazadores A?ejo.
    Mmmm…
    Not that I displayed the need to smash any brain cells.

  38. Doug, the cheese has slid of your cracker.

    Oooo, are you going to eat that?

  39. No, I just put all those fossils there to test your faith. And you fell for it! Suckers! One suggestion: start watching those “Left Behind” movies, if you can sand them. Just sayin’.

  40. Actually, the Rapture happened on March 14, 2004.

    For those of you still here, well, you’r going to get warm.

  41. Evolution may have ended, but de-evolution is still going strong.

    Make mine a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, heavy on the Old Janx Spirit.

    Kevin

  42. Goddamnit! I don’t want to have to drive a WRX now….

  43. Someone finally noticed that Evolution violates the Law of Entropy.

    Evolution doesn’t violate the law, it counteracts entropy by passing on positive mutations while killing off negative ones. Entropy only occurs if there is no outside organizing force opposing it, like evolution.

  44. Damn! I was hoping http://www.zgtnw.com/ was still an available domain.

  45. Evolution for Homo sapiens is likely over by any meaningful definition of the term. Our technology permits us to prevent the deaths of the most unfit for survival members of our species and will help them reproduce. Survival of the fittest no longer applies to humanity as whole.

    Whatever you’d call what the transhumanists want to do, it is not Darwinian evolution, so I don’t see why they’d be disappointed.

  46. Evolution for Homo sapiens is likely over by any meaningful definition of the term.

    Obviously you haven’t been paying attention to the X-Men movies.

    Our technology permits us to prevent the deaths of the most unfit for survival members of our species and will help them reproduce.

    I agree. But only as long as we can keep the technology running.

    Survival of the fittest no longer applies to humanity as whole.

    Barring widespread disaster.

    Disclaimer: I’m working on an end-of-the-world novel, but it’s stalled out. I made my characters too competent.

  47. …evolution is apparently over…

    I coulda told ya that after seeing the O’Reilly/Geraldo trainwreck…

  48. Dolphins can suck it! (favorite episode of Upright Citizens Brigade)

  49. Evolution for Homo sapiens is likely over by any meaningful definition of the term. Our technology permits us to prevent the deaths of the most unfit for survival members of our species and will help them reproduce. Survival of the fittest no longer applies to humanity as whole.

    That doesn’t mean evolution is over it just means different parameters. One of the latest developments was lactose tolerence in Europeans/North Africans. This was directly enabled by raising dairy animals (ie tehcnology/civilization) but spread fast enough through the population that it must have been a serious survival enhancer.

    For that matter, “fittest” doesn’t have to mean “best hunter”. Lately “fittest” seems to mean “cutest” or “tastiest” in that animals we use as pets or food are least likely to be in any danger.

  50. So um, transhuman has nothing to do with sex changes?

  51. kwais wins the thread.

  52. John is partly right. Evolution isn’t over for humans, but natural selection for humans is largely countered by medical technology and culture. Evolution in the smallest-scale sense is a change in allele frequencies in a population. Since many genes/ alleles that would be lethal without our medical technology are now treatable and survivable, they no longer are kept at low frequencies in the population by death of those who have them.

    Fitness is another widely misunderstood term. In evolutionary biology, fitness is the lifetime reproductive output of an individual. The average lifetime reproductive output of all individuals in a population is the population’s mean (= average) fitness). It is not a reference to Ahnold-style physical fitness (going to pump you up!).

  53. During the famous Darrow-confronts-Bryan “monkey trial” in Dayton, Tennessee, there was a photograph of JR Darwin’s Everything to Wear Store, above which a newly painted sign stated “DARWIN IS RIGHT–INSIDE”…

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