Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What Will They Be Like?: Humanoid Form

When modern biologists go to war in Kansas in defense of the evolutionary theory, it is, weirdly, the same war that they fight against UFOlogists. More weirdly still, they are, in the end, correct in Kansas and wrong in the Galaxy. How in the world can that be ? Supporters of Darwin's theory are, not always [but pretty close to always when you count only the highly vocal ones], adamantly opposed to GOD, religion, and any concept of "Design". They have been afraid of these ideas entering into evolutionary biology for the entire 20th century and beyond. Despite my own Catholicism, in this they are generally right [i.e. one's religion has no place in the science classroom]. In my, and Catholic theology in general, there is no conflict between a brilliant theory and the idea that this is how GOD made the world to function. But the "evolutionists" have their paranoias, and this has caused them to misrepresent "their" theory to its detriment, and in a small way to UFOlogy's too. These highly educated paranoids have been so frightened that GOD will somehow creep into the laboratory that they have deemphasized half of Darwin's ideas. The half they almost whackily emphasize is the half which speaks of nature throwing up random unpredictable variations or traits. This, they erroneously then go on, means that nothing is predictable in biology and you're going to get all manner of weird stuff--therefore don't expect any hint that there might be a "design" in any of this. They have no faith in their own theory. The other half says, equally importantly, that random traits when they arise are going to be severely tested by the environment, and the losers are going to, well, lose. The environment is the "regulator" here. It, the physics of it, the chemistry of it, the mere geometry of it, will demand that most things "lose" and only certain things win. I'll mention why this causes them problems in Kansas later--what about UFOlogy?-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The universe at a very high probability is full of life--evolved life. Some of that life may come here or we may go to visit there. What are they going to look like? The details are a bit open, though some of them not as open as you'd think. But the general plan [of a land-developing, fire-making, technology-creating species] is pretty rigidly controlled by the physics, chemistry, and geometry that all of us face. In the pictures along the right, intelligent beings fixed in place are not at all likely---they have little use for high intelligence in a limited mobility lifestyle---it's a trait that Nature won't bother spending much energy on when other things are more vital to survival. Very large insectoids, assuming that means no bone-like skeletal structure [in line with their outward chitinous appearance] will fail the test of physics and strength of materials. But Zoran might be able to "give us six". ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The reason for this is that all of biological development is a "Risks vs. Rewards" game based on whether you are being aided by any given trait in making it far enough to produce more things like you. That's all. You may think that you have a higher or at least more diverse agenda, but Mother Nature doesn't. [That really includes sex, by the way]. That every design is not as good as every other one is most easily shown by our friends the Dolphins. There were no mammals originally in the sea. Mammals developed on land--with legs. They and the whales went to the sea because there was something good for their survival there--probably an underutilized food niche. Their leg-ness was awkward and not particularly valuable. It got in the way of cutting through the water rapidly and was a body element where they could be hurt and killed. As time, and variations proceeded, they got sleeker and sleeker, dumping the useless and dangerous and becoming racers of the oceans. As a largish meat-eating predator, the faster the better. Every such predator has developed the exact same shape. This is true right down to the mathematics of what's best hydrodynamically to cut the water. What chances exist that ET "dolphins" or "sharks" are shaped differently? This "force" is called "Convergent Evolution" and because it smells like a kind of "design" in the universe, it has until recently had a tough road to acceptance among the paranoids. The fact that many LAND animals also show such convergence, indicates how powerful physics, chemistry, and geometry are. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Monsters" randomly pop up in land species all the time. Their "new design" is almost always a loser and that variation quickly disappears. It turns out that since Nature has had such a long time to do this Try-and-Winnow process, most of the stuff we individuals carry around with us is pretty good, at least as far as getting us through reproductive age--which is all Mama Nature cares about--[this is why we age age--why we get senile--why circulatory and cancer-fighting problems usually "wait" until we're past 40.] Nature is not a kindly affectionate Old Girl. She's got her priorities. To accomplish those, she "selects designs" that work, sometimes at surprisingly systemic levels. Look at the graph nearby. Who would have suspected that you could graph all the mammals from mice to whales on a simple math relationship? There are dozens of these relationships discovered by the convergent evolutionists. So, what exactly does this have to do with humanoid form? ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Life almost had to occur in a liquid environment [not too chaotic (gas) and not too uninteractive (solid) ]. Once single-cells proliferated, there becomes an opportunity for some organism to actively seek out and harvest those cells. Bigger single-cell blobs might develop. They're not very efficient. If we are ever going to get anywhere in evolution, and if we're ever going to get anything big enough to have a highly intelligent brain and a technology, we're going to have to develop multicellular organisms. That is probably hard to do--took Earth far longer than simple cells. But where it does happen, there is one superior favored design: [dramatic music, please] The Predatory Tube. No screaming--you're one yourself. This is the thing that allows seek-and-destroy and a type of efficient specialization that Mother Nature has honored by re-evolving over and over again. The predatory tube has important features. It has a front [intake] and a back [exit] end. It has a top and a bottom [a gravitational orientation, because it's not as useful to be rotating around your axis when trying to get lunch]. It has, therefore, a left and a right side. This latter gives all predatory tubes bilateral symmetry [which probably makes embryonic development a lot easier and organisms, when we look at them, "recognizable" as something we're familiar with]. You and I are predatory tubes-- sorry there's no more polite way to say it. But it is a great put-down when used in the right circumstances--admit it, you know some VERY predatory tubes. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
All of "us", fish, insects, people are predatory tubes. So will be ET [even octopi are, by the way]. But there's more to humanoid form than that. Most especially, what about limbs? In a fluid environment the fluid rules. Bony, waterflow-blocking appendages aren't a priority. Once you get to a land-dwelling lifestyle, legs really make a difference. When the tubular fish first heaved up on land, they weren't very efficient. The only way they could make it was if another food supply, unused was already there. Plants and small life no doubt. It was the fins of the proto-land-animals which developed into legs on earth. On Tau-Ceti, who knows--but they'll have to come from somewhere or we'll go nowhere with our hoped-for advanced technology maker. "They" like us will have limbs. But 4? I believe that this number is required. The reasons are these: unless you're snakelike [and your lack of hands as a snake makes technology tough], you need at least four legs to give you stability and speed. Odd numbers of legs are unlikely. Why? Because you're bilaterally symmetric [notice that when an Earth organism needed an extra limb it had to develop it as a tail or a weird nose--odd "regular" limbs aren't in the plan]. Two is too few for best predatorial stability. Six is fine, but not worth it in the "risks vs. rewards" game. Why? You can do well with four, and two more don't add much and just give you more places where you can be hert, maimed, killed. But this doesn't make sense, one might reasonably say. The cute little red spider in the picture has eight. Right. Here's how insects and arachnids get away with that. They're small. Their limbs don't need to be attached super-strongly as ours do, and can therefore be "discarded" when a bad guy grabs them there or some other damage comes. You and I can't just toss off a leg. No advanced big lifeform will be able to do so. There's no "random accident" in the fact that all big land dwellers except snakes have four limbs. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Intelligence is important to survival. Information to feed that intelligence is important. There is no source of detailed and "distant" information more rich than light. To get that information, sooner or later the four-limbed predatory tube will "stand up". [ watch the squirrels and even the birds stretching their necks---where's the predator? where's the food? where's my mate?]. The four limbed predatory tube, standing upright with useful manipulative hands [again, watch the squirrels, they're on their way] IS the humanoid form. It's not arbitrary nor accidental. It's forced by the environment(s). Biologists like George Gaylord Simpson and Stephen Gould and even Carl Sagan argued, fooled by their fears, that any weird thing imaginable was lurking out there in the galaxy. These meat-heads, smart as they were, so emphasized chance and "unlikeliness" that the creationists turned their gun around on them. The argument was made, even by a scientist like Fred Hoyle [he was angling for panspermia to explain this], that by their own odds, life could never have happened---nor any of its well-designed critters. Thus Kansas was inundated with a blizzard of examples pretty impressive, if you bought the flawed view of evolution pushed by the frightened materialists themselves. It would have been amusing if it wasn't so important. Anyone wanting to read the curative for all this, including the prevalence of humanoid form, should read the new star of convergent biology Simon Conway Morris' book, Life's Solution. You'll be instantly smarter than most of the biologists. It's too bad that physical laws do not allow a flying elephant, nor any number of neat but preposterous things. Much is still possible in diversity, but it will be built off tried and true basic designs. Zoran for instance might well have six fingers to slap hands with, or four. As far as there being no other humanoid forms "out there", we can say to Simpson, Gould, and Sagan [who are currently looking around shell-shocked in the afterlife they didn't believe was there], "Compute it again, Sam."

No comments:

Post a Comment


Blog Archive