Revolt of the Machines

One of the great unanswered questions in science is how did the first building blocks of life arise from the primordial soup of early earth. It is believed that before even the simplest of life forms existed, earth was something like a thin stew that was getting thicker as more complex chemicals formed. At some point, and no one knows how, the first DNA molecules formed. The prevailing theory is that the first genetic molecule was a primitive form of RNA, which evolved into more complex RNA and then DNA.

No one knows how this could happened only that it did happen. The proof of which is all around us, including in the mirror. Life exists and it is based in DNA. Further, RNA is created from DNA to put that information to work, like controlling the creation of proteins and performing other chemical functions. How DNA became the code of life, while RNA, its predecessor, became its tool, is a great mystery in science. It is the question J.F. Gariepy tackles in his book The Revolutionary Phenotype.

Gariepy or “JF” as he is known by his fans, is an enigmatic YouTube personality, known for his willingness to talk with anyone. He has had everyone from science deniers to holocaust deniers on his show, as well as lots of normal people. His YouTube career is recent, as until 2017 he was a neurobiologist and post-doctoral researcher at Duke University’s Institute for Brain Sciences. In this book, he endeavors to explain the origin of life 4 billion years ago and predict the end of DNA-based life on earth.

One of the challenges facing writers of science books for a general audience is they must first simplify the presentation. It’s not that the audience is dumb, but that they are unfamiliar with the jargon and unfamiliar with the way people in science communicate information through mathematics. A book full of complex proofs and splatter charts is not going to be popular with most readers. Gariepy gets past this first obstacle by sticking with a straight forward narrative format that is easy to follow.

The second challenge for science writers is to follow the old rule about essay writing that kids learn in school. The book should always be like a woman’s swimsuit; big enough to cover the important parts, but small enough to keep it interesting. This is probably a good rule for all writing in this age. Thanks to the internet and cable television, everyone’s attention span has collapsed. Gariepy gets past this hurdle, as the book is just 138 pages and written in a brisk style that makes for easy reading.

The question is, of course, does Gariepy deliver on his promise to explain the origin of life and how it will end. The answer is an unequivocal maybe. On the positive side, he does a very good job of explaining one possible narrative for how primitive RNA evolved into RNA and then DNA. He offers up an interesting theory as to how DNA came to be the master and RNA the slave, which is an important event in the history of life. The presentation here is a nice primer for the general reader on the basics of genetic theory.

What really works here is his use of simple concepts that he stacks together to explain more complex ideas. For example, describing the relationship between your genes and your body as something like the relationship between a machine operator and the machine, is useful in understanding why our bodies will evolve over time. Our body is there to serve our genes, so any innovation that is better for our DNA is adopted, while changes that are not useful are discarded. Our body is a vehicle for DNA.

The negative here is that the language and analogies don’t always work. Using the office printer to explain how gene mutation works is clever, but calling it a trickster printer will give the American reader the wrong impression. The same is true for his use of the phrase “fool replicator.” This is probably a language issue, as Gariepy is French. The word trickster and fool have different connotations to French speakers than they do to English speakers, especially Americans, who think tricksters and fools are immoral.

Another complaint about the book, and one of the trade-offs with brevity, is it assumes the reader has recently read Daniel Dennet and Richard Dawkins. In fact, it is probably a good idea to read The Selfish Gene before reading this book, as Gariepy refers to it extensively in the first third of the book. Again, this is the trade-off that comes from brevity and summarizing the material for a general audience. In this case, it is a minor complaint and it does not ruin the book or invalidate his arguments.

The final complaint about the book is that he spends 80% of the text explaining the transition from simple RNA molecules to the complex DNA-based life. That’s about 100 pages, which is a great short primer on a difficult to understand subject. The rest of the book is a dash to the finish line, explaining how the rise of artificial intelligence spells the end of DNA-based life. There’s a strong impression that this part was rushed in order to get the book done and ready for sale. The book sort of ends with a thud.

Without giving too much away, Gariepy argues that RNA used DNA as sort of a bank vault for its code base. When it needed to copy itself, it did so from that copy stored in the DNA molecule. Eventually, the DNA molecule was able to replicate itself, without help from its RNA master. This set off a battle between RNA and DNA, which DNA won, turning RNA into its servant. This same process is about to happen with artificial intelligence, as AI becomes self-aware and able to self-replicate.

That sounds like the premise of a lot of science fiction stories, but it is both an interesting entry point to understanding artificial intelligence and the dynamic between environment, humans and man’s ability to alter his environment. There’s enough there for another book and maybe that’s the plan, but Gariepy only gives it about twenty pages and it felt very rushed. Given his YouTube audience, most of his readers are more interested in how life ends, rather than how it begins. They will undoubtedly feel a bit cheated.

Overall, the first half of the promise, to tell the story of how life began, works pretty well for the intended audience. It’s not a research paper or a bold new hypothesis to explain the origin of life. It is more of a summary of current thinking in a style that the general reader can follow and understand. The second promise could have worked, but it needed a fuller treatment than what Gariepy delivers. Otherwise, it is a book worth reading, if you have an interest in evolutionary biology or the origins of life on earth.

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Teapartydoc
Member
1 year ago

The fact that we see life all around us is not proof that it came about spontaneously. And a book of suppositions and conjectures is just a book of suppositions and conjectures.

Vizzini
Member
Reply to  thezman
1 year ago

That’s exactly what JF says. It’s also what you said:

“No one knows how this could happened only that it did happen. The proof of which is all around us, including in the mirror. “

Vizzini
Member
Reply to  thezman
1 year ago

I am unfamiliar with the verse about complex molecules arising out of the primordial soup.

MikeatMikedotMike
MikeatMikedotMike
Reply to  Vizzini
1 year ago

Easy – Jews are the complex molecules, and the soup is the Red Sea.

Member
Reply to  thezman
1 year ago

The obvious problems that occur when religion and science encroach on each other’s turf.

oldvannes
oldvannes
Member
Reply to  Teapartydoc
1 year ago

Complex doesn’t mean spontaneous.

Member
Reply to  Teapartydoc
1 year ago

Thank you for summarizing my thoughts. If anything that Gariepy said could be proven, it already would have been. Conjecture on how all of this randomness resulted in the organized structures of life and we are all simply soulless machines is the poison that is rotting out human civilization.
It’s unfortuntate that a man’s intelligence has led him to such a horrifying set of conclusions. For him, his life is meaningless and oblivion awaits. If he does not feel the touch of divine grace, something far worse awaits him.

Hoagie
Hoagie
Reply to  Samuel_Adams
1 year ago

I think perhaps divine grace is the chef and He made the stew. He’s just not ready to share the recipe yet.

Dirtnapninja
Dirtnapninja
1 year ago

Machines are already starting to select humans for breeding via dating apps. As this process continues, the algorithms that get humans together will survive and evolve and more humans will be born with the traits that lead them to use computer algorithms to find mates.

This process, if continued long enough would result in a symbiotic relationship where Humans are naturally selected to favour algorithms to find mates, and the algorithms themselves are highly optimised to select the traits that encourage the use of algorithms to find mates.

Unreal City
Reply to  Dirtnapninja
1 year ago

Except that most people don’t use dating apps to breed, they use them for cheap exploitative sex. So the machines are selecting to turn over-educated app-using hipsters into sterile genetic dead-ends. (See the latest cartoon up at stonetoss.com, really explains the whole thing quite pithily.)

In fact, as a result of dating-app hookup/booty call ethos, the machines are ensuring that the human genetic future belongs to cousin-marrying desert satan-worshipers and ooking Stone Age rape-apes.

Rod1963
Reply to  Unreal City
1 year ago

Very much. The intrusion of social media has been nothing short of sheer poison for Western peoples. We were already fragmented and our sense home,. community and tribe were almost non-existent and here comes Social Media, the final nail in the coffin.

The very fact that Silicon Valley execs keep their children away from it in school and at home says a lot. It’s no damn good for people. its the electronic equivalent of Crack Cocaine.

Unreal City
Reply to  Rod1963
1 year ago

Absolutely. For those who are pro-active about their similar concern…

I sort of assume that there are older, wiser readers of this blog who use some of the topics under discussion here to help red-pill younger people in their lives. If so, go to stonetoss.com and print out the cartoon “Happily Never After” which is on the front page today. In terms of red-pilling young people, especially young White women, on socio-sexual morals, it couldn’t be more concise or more devastating. Go take a look.

LineInTheSand
LineInTheSand
Reply to  Unreal City
1 year ago

The “older, wiser readers of this blog” have no accurate conception of what the real world is. They have successfully separated themselves from it yet persist in thinking they their observations are worthwhile. They literally do not experience the actual world yet want to lecture us on moderation.

Karl McHungus
Karl McHungus
Reply to  LineInTheSand
1 year ago

But I do know that I don’t know the real world any longer. It is/was a conscious decision to pull back and turn my gaze to the past.

Badthinker
Badthinker
Reply to  Unreal City
1 year ago

The problem is that western men end up having to wife up a slut since there are pretty much none left that aren’t. Marriage after 20 is a big problem. We need early marriages again. But the transactional culture and the now insane costs to raise kids in good neighborhoods makes it much harder. If you’re a 20 year old man looking for a wife good luck to you because western women are busy screwing their way through Tinder.

Member
1 year ago

Vox Day ANNIHLATED this man. Destroyed I tell you. 😉
Don’t you think we can aim a little higher than this man. He is likable but questionable in so many areas including his love of David Duke.

One doesn’t have to be a creationist to dispute evolutionists. Many of those disputing that I have read are atheists. Tom Bethell does some serious and interesting works . Still, beyond my pay grade.

Apex Predator
Apex Predator
Reply to  thezman
1 year ago

I’m a bit confused here. I know little about this topic but to the layman it seems his conclusions and that of the ID community are somewhat similar, right? He is arguing that there is a ‘God of the gaps’ in that there is no way to deduce how this RNA–>DNA—>life complexity sprang up. IDers simply fill in that ‘gap’ with God. Or am I way off on this? From my own perspective, I have a background in molecular biology and cell genetics so I’m intimately familiar with the processes of life. When taken in whole, it is beyond comical… Read more »

Al from da Nort
Al from da Nort
Reply to  thezman
1 year ago

Z Man;
So your guy is saying that RNA had *agency* which enabled it to create DNA as a hard drive_? And he’s further saying that if RNA had agency, then DNA has agency too and so, watch out humanity, your DNA is going to create a silicon based life form as a successor hard drive to you(all)_?

Larkin Lover
Larkin Lover
Reply to  Al from da Nort
1 year ago

RNA has been seen to catalyze reactions, like proteins do. Rnazymes, like enzymes. There is a hypothesized “rna world.” Wherein all molecules were RNA that self replicating themselves with their own catalytic power. However, RNA is much less thermodynamically stable than DNA. Life-threatening mutations to animals like bacteria will occur quite frequently. However, DNA is much more thermodynamically stable. At some point creatures learn to store all the information in DNA, from the rna template. The Rna transcribes from the DNA into a Messenger that creates the protein. There are many viruses that still store all their information on RNA.… Read more »

Larkin Lover
Larkin Lover
Reply to  Larkin Lover
1 year ago

Basically, organisms learn to keep their vital information in a hidden place, and the cell the nucleolus, which is sort of like keeping a master copy of something in a bank vault.

Al from da Nort
Al from da Nort
Reply to  Larkin Lover
1 year ago

Larkin; The point I was trying to make is that evolutionary apostles try to have things both ways, Materialistically and Non-Materialistically, while simultaneously denying that they do so. Creationists have no problem with both methods of species change. In fact they insist on it. But Evolutionists, OTOH, are sternly, dogmatically insistent that species change is the solely the result of random processes and lots and lots of time, IOW it is the undirected *result* of purely materialistic processes (random mutation + environmental selection). So Evolution is not a thing at all. There is no directness towards some end or other.… Read more »

Larkin Lover
Larkin Lover
Reply to  Al from da Nort
1 year ago

No, I meant learn figuratively. By random processes some organisms aggregated dna molecules which stored some of their genetic information more efficiently and thus conveyed a survival advantage. This mechanism proved so advantageous that soon all larger creatures use that mechanism.

Member
Reply to  thezman
1 year ago

Hold on there Z, my point on Vox was in jest. He always declares victory. An evolved trait in his type.

I just need a better grade of debaters to to appreciate the arguments. That said, most on both sides are pretty well set in their beliefs, and beliefs are what they are.

George Orwell
George Orwell
Reply to  David_Wright
1 year ago

Vox Day went down several large notches in reputation when I spotted a post where he suggested no one landed on the moon. Not even worth the time to see if he was merely click-baiting or was in earnest. The man has interesting ideas but it seems half or more of his posts consume themselves with settling scores in some queeny drama he has with someone. While I have no use for Jordan Peterson, his obsession with the man almost feels like stalking. He was pimping the whole silly Qanon for some time as well. Still refers to Trump as… Read more »

John Ent's Whistle
Reply to  George Orwell
1 year ago

Vox Day is sort of like a guy juggling chainsaws — it takes a lot of skill and guts to do it, but at the end of the day it’s sort of a questionable thing to do. Worse if the chainsaw juggler has convinced himself he’s in the Bolshoi Ballet, and not the circus.

Hm, I wonder if what I just said was rhetoric, or dialectic? Or diatonic, or rhetbutlerectic? There’s only one way to find out — have an army of sycophants discuss it for nine hours.

Member
Reply to  John Ent's Whistle
1 year ago

I find Vox to be an interesting but ultimately mixed up pundit with some sociopathic streaks. He is smart and widely read but too convinced of his own insight to have a good BS detector. If Vox thinks it, it must be the truth and anyone who disagrees is a moron.

He also seems to have an impressive grasp of ancient history but is historically illiterate about the last one hundred years. However, historical illiteracy about Western Culture from the dawn of the 20th century onward seems par for the course with the alt right.

Bartleby the Scrivener
Bartleby the Scrivener
Reply to  John Ent's Whistle
1 year ago

I had to look up several words to understand your post. Well played!

Glenfilthie
Glenfilthie
Reply to  thezman
1 year ago

I’m curious, Z. What are we up to, exactly? I was raised to think that anyone that denied evolution was a rube or a gull. My progressive family had nothing but contempt for Christians and that continues to this day. In my day I was a firm atheist too and that was that for that. When The Narrative collapsed for me, and I started noticing things that countered everything that I knew and thought to be true – so I started looking at the faith too. I looked really hard at real Christians – not the phonies and shills like… Read more »

Issac
Issac
Reply to  Glenfilthie
1 year ago

“We are amassing too much knowledge too fast, and we are clearly losing our way.”

I didn’t agree with your sentiments up to this point, but felt it was a moving post. This particular line at the end; however, is the opposite of what I observe in the world. Genius is on the decline, innovation is on the decline, the world is stagnating as it becomes browner. An entirely predictable consequence of replacing humans with orcs.

Glenfilthie
Glenfilthie
Member
Reply to  Issac
1 year ago

Is it? Based on what, exactly? I see genius in plain sight every day. 20 years ago Z wouldn’t have gotten past the gatekeepers, never mind guys like us. Genius? Watch a a V22 Osprey take off and transition to a fixed wing aircraft. Watch the LiveLeak vids of moslem terrorist turdies getting droned from half a world away. Genius is flourishing – you’ve just become numb to it. So it goes for our Maker I suppose. We live in a very temporary, very artificial inversion of reality. As our blog host pointed out in his podcast yesterday – the… Read more »

Compsci
Compsci
Reply to  Issac
1 year ago

Issac and John, I suspect you both are right, but perhaps looking at different things—or views, of the current world situation. We (say US population) would seem in the *aggegate* to be getting dummer, but there is also that portion of the population that remains untouched, or perhaps even gets smarter (ala Murray’s concept of assortive mating from his book, “Coming Apart”). Think “critical fraction”. Now that fraction (if I understand the theory correctly) might also be decreasing, but while it remains a viable portion of the population, we maintain our technological infrastructure and can progress scientifically in any number… Read more »

Member
Reply to  David_Wright
1 year ago

Inasmuch as liberal progressives adhere to any sort of biological theory, it’s not Darwin but some sort of Lamarckian/Magic Dirt nonsense. If we just pull black kids out of failing inner-city schools, mix them with white kids in the suburbs, and don’t punish them for bad behavior, their academic performance will magically improve! What would Darwin say to the idea of taxing our most productive citizens and using the proceeds to pay the least productive citizens (and non-citizens) to have more babies? The most fanatical Bible-thumping Christian farmer does not slaughter his best animals, breed his worst animals, and declare… Read more »

Al from da Nort
Al from da Nort
Reply to  Dave6034
1 year ago

Dave; You are absolutely right that the logical consequence of Darwinism when applied to humanity is Social Darwinism: And also that Social Darwinism, when logically applied to humanity, has real, physical consequences that were put into horrifying practice 70 odd years ago. This demonstrated experimental outcome ought to pull a person up short about the whole intellectual project of Darwinism. The unfashionable Creationist counter answer that voids the evil logical chain leading to hell on earth is, of course, that humans were *created* in the Image of God. This means that we are therefore, *not* just animals. Else, stock breeder… Read more »

Compsci
Compsci
Reply to  Dave6034
1 year ago

Dave, it all boils down to one problem—unique to our current era of abundance (industrial revolution)—the welfare state. Which stems directly from a perverse interpretation of Democracy—universal sufferage. No societal survival is possible in the long run if the dumbest and least productive among us has a vote equal to the cleaverest and most productive among us.

CaptainMike
CaptainMike
1 year ago

I used to be a techno-utopian and a big Sci-fi reader. Currently I’m more of a perma-blackpilled-distopian. For AI to replace us, it will need the hardware to run on and the equipment necessary for it to self-replicate. Some society will have to enable it via infrastructure. I don’t think the techno-west will be around long enough to achieve the ‘singularity.’ Maybe the Chinese will remain viable after we collapse and can keep technological progress going long enough to achieve techno-nirvana. I constantly repress a certain set of thoughts to get through the day, but my formal academic training is… Read more »

The Anti-Gnostic
Reply to  CaptainMike
1 year ago

My Great Filter hypothesis is technologically advanced society becoming incapable of maintaining the technology upon which it has become reliant. In other words, if human evolution (implying, “progress”) is the struggle to eliminate scarcity, then post-scarcity is the wall, and it’s all downhill after that.

Gene editing could be the big game-changer but I’m bearish on humanity.

A.B. Prosper
A.B. Prosper
Reply to  The Anti-Gnostic
1 year ago

Greer , a former Arch Druid of all things on Catabolic Collapse

https://www.resilience.org/stories/2011-01-20/onset-catabolic-collapse/

TL;DR once social and fiscal costs get too great to sustain it, a society slowly collapses

That said the Great Filter theory is mindbogglingly stupid in that it requires a categorical refusal to accept the aliens might already be here.

We have thousands of witnesses, film and many trained observers some even former government officials saying they have already seen and/or interacted with them.

Several species in fact

This may be all B.S. but a theory that doesn’t take human witness into account is worthless

The Anti-Gnostic
Reply to  A.B. Prosper
1 year ago

Humans have “witnessed” a lot of things. Nobody has ever recorded an energy signature associated with interstellar travel.

A.B. Prosper
A.B. Prosper
Reply to  The Anti-Gnostic
1 year ago

Understood but multiple people as in hundreds and thousands recording similar events is pretty suggestive. We also have quite a lot of photo evidence of UFOs, some good, some bad, some fake. We’ve started wars, convicted people and done more rightfully with less evidence. If it weren’t UFO’s and people didn’t buy into that extraordinary claims BS meme we’d be investigating it as a scientific phenomenon Than again maybe not, if the stories are true, our society would end overnight if exposed Also the filter idea presumes we even understand properly how they get here. Saying “our scientists think it… Read more »

Sean Detente
Sean Detente
Member
Reply to  A.B. Prosper
1 year ago

@A.B. Prosper: “This doesn’t mean the UFO stuff is true, I don’t know though my personal opinion is that if its true, its probably a spiritual phenomenon which is whole other can of worms,”

You know Art Bell died last April? Didn’t mean anything by it, just figured you might’ve been a fan.

A.B. Prosper
A.B. Prosper
Reply to  Sean Detente
1 year ago

I did and I enjoyed his show from time to time. It had its fair share of stupid and fair share of “World of the Psychic” guests Peter Venkman would have kicked off the show but it also had profoundly interesting topic matter that was a breath of fresh air back in the 90’s The U.F.O’s as spiritual phenomenon’s biggest proponent is Jacques Vallée. His boon Passport to Magonia is really good. That said I’m still agnostic on the topic. I don’t know and frankly wouldn’t want to know as no good would come of it. Our civilizations can’t rats… Read more »

Aldo
Aldo
Reply to  A.B. Prosper
1 year ago

The point that Great Filter makes is that if there was life out there both comparable to a White Man in intellect and capable of space travel they’d make their presence far more obvious.

Indeed, there’s no answer from advocates as to what stopped the aliens from colonizing Earth (be it for materials or out of some ideological demand ala Warhammer with its Imperium of Man). Unless you go James Cameron and insist the aliens are nicer and better than meanie humans so they totally wouldn’t do that.

A.B. Prosper
A.B. Prosper
Reply to  Aldo
1 year ago

The Ancient Aliens crowd says basically “they did.” which admittedly would be one decent answer for the evolution question at least for our species

Who evolved them? Well that is another question entirely

Range Front Fault
Range Front Fault
Reply to  A.B. Prosper
1 year ago

One starlit night many years ago camping at the base of Mammoth Mountain watching a great lightning storm 50 miles away in the White Mountains, augmented by a tish of brandy, I came up with the following space alien odds: 33 1/3% space guys are friendly, curious, hold hands and throw crystals on the table, take me by the hand and commence a dandy tour of their space craft, and end the evening with a shot of their high octane delicious intoxicant and a rousing back slapping game of space guy cards. 33 1/3 % chance space guys are benign,could… Read more »

Rod1963
Reply to  A.B. Prosper
1 year ago

Humans can be arrogant bunch, the boys in the lab coats think they have it all figured out. Aliens break that smug reality filter if theirs so they delete it Soviet style by curb stomping anyone who claims to have seen anything. Yet a hundred years ago scientists were much more open minded and were willing to consider their existence.

Today people who are in positions of authority who witness something learn to keep their mouth shut.

Aldo
Aldo
Reply to  Rod1963
1 year ago

There is no solid ground to believe in life on other worlds are comparable to modern Whites in intellect. Let alone capable of space travel.

All actual evidence points to life on other worlds as either no more sophont than chimpanzees or not capable of interstellar travel. After all, the majority of life on Earth isn’t capable it (see the global IQ and how the only populations who reach the 90s let alone 100 are European or Far Eastern).

Whitney
Member
Reply to  The Anti-Gnostic
1 year ago
The Anti-Gnostic
Reply to  Whitney
1 year ago

I had an interesting exchange with him on Twitter once. He is definitely not an egalitarian.

Whitney
Member
Reply to  The Anti-Gnostic
1 year ago

Then he probably wouldn’t appreciate you taking credit for his great filter hypothesis

The Anti-Gnostic
Reply to  Whitney
1 year ago

He would probably say ideas are not a scarce commodity.

Issac
Issac
Reply to  The Anti-Gnostic
1 year ago

The Great Filter is probably the problem of a cooperative strategies. Tribalism wins in the long run, but tribalism requires genocide of all the other tribes. Therefor the shortcut is universal altruism, but that only works while your tribe is totally dominant, which does not last very long if you are acting universally altruistic. Cycles of the dominant group moving between these two phases and falling into cycles of individualism tend to precipitate a collapse. Once planetary resources have been sufficiently exhausted, there are no more tries to be had and the species remains relatively primitive until it is destroyed… Read more »

JR Wirth
JR Wirth
1 year ago

AI excels at pattern matching but lacks the ability to create new categories for things it doesn’t understand. AI will not replace human beings any more than the microwave replaced cooking. What it will replace is painfully mind numbing jobs (or, for many people, just plain jobs).

Jack Boniface
Jack Boniface
Member
1 year ago

Mencken quipped the genius physicists always end up attempting metaphysics. The same now seems true of the genius evolutionists.

Vizzini
Member
1 year ago

I bought the book a couple weeks ago and I wasn’t that impressed. It’s just another evolutionary “Just So Story” and doesn’t really prove anything, despite its claim to definitive answers. I’ve been reading material on evolution, favorable and skeptical, for going on 40 years and this book is no closer to proving evolution’s case than what I was reading back in the ’80s.

In a recent Darkstream, Vox Day presents an intriguing case for evolution’s falsifiability by comparing mutation rates among known divergent species using gene sequencing from very old DNA samples compared against current samples.

Bruno the Arrogant
Bruno the Arrogant
1 year ago

Perhaps we’ll eventually build AI that can displace us, but I wouldn’t count on it happening anytime soon. Yes, it can complete certain tasks more efficiently than we can, but it only does so when told to do so. It doesn’t have any incentives or motivations. It’s not likely to take over the world unless somebody tells it to do so. That may change eventually, but given the current state of the art, I’m betting it’ll be a long, long time. I’d be more inclined to think our successors will be the result of genetic engineering than AI. Possibly we’ll… Read more »

A.B. Prosper
A.B. Prosper
Reply to  thezman
1 year ago

Solar power is pretty cheap right now at least compared to when I was a kid . Its improved far more than A.I. If we were willing to make the investment people and drop our standard of living quite a bit people in temperate climates could get by pretty easily on little but renewable resources Germany is over 1/3 now . Its a multi trillion investment though and despite what eco-nutters says is a job crusher, not creator An example, California where I live is run by nincompoops but if we were to have the resources for the investment used… Read more »

Fred Zeppelin
Reply to  Bruno the Arrogant
1 year ago

Granted those chess-playing genius computers are not genuine AI, but use them as a proxy for a moment. The chess computer is not a real chess player, it is just a gigantic compendium of all possible lines of play, with a processing speed able to compare and select huge numbers of lines of play much faster than a human can. It’s just superior storage space and processing speed, it isn’t really “playing” chess. I won’t be worried about such things until they invent a chess computer that gets mad when it loses. Hey, I think I might have just summarized… Read more »

The Anti-Gnostic
Reply to  Fred Zeppelin
1 year ago

Dennett’s a complicated character. He’s an atheist who sings Christmas carols, enthusiastically, every single year. His thesis that consciousness exists along the spectrum of neural complexity is, so far as I can tell, irrefutable. This is important, to counter the ridiculous Mind-Body dichotomy which has never been shown to exist and which is used to justify all manner of gnostic nonsense.

The Anti-Gnostic
Reply to  thezman
1 year ago
King Tut
King Tut
Reply to  The Anti-Gnostic
1 year ago

The Anti-Gnostic, thanks for the link. Consciousness is something which fascinates me, though I am neither a doctor not a scientist.

I am aware of Dennett’s arguments and while interesting, they are just a theory. His prognosis is really just an extended version of the “emergent property” explanation. I can’t say for sure that he’s wrong just as you can’t say for sure that he’s right. Seems to me from having read your post that you want him to be right otherwise…..Trannies!!! That sounds a lot to me like confirmation bias.

The Anti-Gnostic
Reply to  King Tut
1 year ago

There is no evidence for disembodied consciousness, so prudentially the holistic view of Humans should be our default, so we don’t do stupid things like damage our physical brains with chemicals in a quest for “higher consciousness.” Or mutilate our genitals because we believe Mind /= Body.

Compsci
Compsci
Reply to  Fred Zeppelin
1 year ago

Fred, I tend to agree, but would state that current computers *are* playing chess using a strategy/technique that we know is not quite the same as used by human players. But the reality is, we don’t really know just what it is that human players, the good ones, do wrt chess playing. Can’t be the same as the computers as we can’t think/process as fast, nor store all those moves and prior games. Obviously, the best seem to intuitively reduce/exclude bad moves and select good ones, but how?

TomA
TomA
Reply to  Bruno the Arrogant
1 year ago

For sentient AI to evolve, it will first need an electronic version of the primordial soup in which to spawn it’s existence. It won’t be nerds in the basement writing code.

Frip
Member
1 year ago

Fun podcast. Listened to some of it last night at a bar and chuckled my way through it. Can’t wait to finish it tonight. Great conversational humor. A lot of big idea guys haven’t a feel for smaller things like personalities but Z gets it. Impossible not to grin when he sizes up these people. Quick, unscripted, off-the-cuff lines. I always think of Z at those National Review dinners. Sitting down and just verbally wrecking the whole table. Can you imagine what raucous fun NR would’ve been had it not gone astray. Instead of cowering it’d be roaring and blowing… Read more »

Member
1 year ago

Hard to see AI replacing DNA-based life, considering that they don’t compete with us for food, housing, education, medical care, or mates. The entire concept of competition grows from the Darwinian struggle for survival, so machines won’t even try to take over the world until they’re able to make near-perfect replicas of themselves, with non-fatal mistakes passed on to succeeding generations.

Al from da Nort
Al from da Nort
Reply to  thezman
1 year ago

Z Man;
So Slaver RNA Privilege replaces Slaver White Privilege_? I’d like to see anybody explain this to the vibrants. Who knew molecules had privilege_?

Issac
Issac
1 year ago

JF had much to contribute to science. It’s a shame he opted for the crass freedom of expression avaliable to a pop-Sci youtube host instead. Not that his content isn’t an interesting view on occasion, but one hates to see wasted mental horsepower. And now, having praised his intellect, I will suggest his macro theory falls into the category of “not even wrong,” due to the fact that it is simply irrelevant. The meta “evolution,” of a system containing several entities (organelles, organs, or organisms – pick your scale) is no more deliberate (or random) than any other process. Which… Read more »

DLS
DLS
1 year ago

I have never understood why people insist that creationism, ID and evolution are mutually exclusive. I have always believed that God created life in a structure that allows for evolution. This is the simplest and most comprehensive explanation. Ninety-nine percent of the human body is comprised of 6 simple elements (Carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, calcium and phosphorous). How did these simple elements come together at random, in such a way as to create life so infinitely complex that it can split the atom, travel to other planets through a vacuum, and even contemplate its own existence? Yet we cannot take… Read more »

DLS
DLS
Reply to  thezman
1 year ago

Christians get caught up on the whole “universe created in six days” thing. But we always assume the six days should be measured from the perspective of the earth. I read an interesting theory by a PhD astrophysicist who measured the six days from the area of where the big bang occurred, and translated this period to time as measured from earth. In other words, if you sent a light beam from the area of the big bang immediately after it occurred, toward the matter that became the earth, it would take six days as measured from the point of… Read more »

Felix_Krull
Member
Reply to  DLS
1 year ago

If you sent a light beam from the area of the big bang immediately after it occurred, toward the matter that became the earth, it would take six days as measured from the point of origin for it to reach the earth Either you got that very, very wrong, or the man is a charlatan, akin to those we wuz kangz-types explaining how melanin converts photons into knowledge: goobledydook imitating scientific nomenclature without the slightest idea of what their half-baked neologisms even mean. Genesis identifies the exact correct sequence from the big bang, to the dark earth covered in water… Read more »

DLS
DLS
Reply to  Felix_Krull
1 year ago

Actually, I did state that wrong. It’s been awhile since I read it. I should have said that if you sent a light beam from the point of the Big Bang six days after the event, it would take 14 billion years to reach Earth. “Let there be light” refers to the time at which the dense clouds that covered the Earth receded, and the sunlight was visible. Not when it was created.

Felix_Krull
Member
Reply to  DLS
1 year ago

I still fail to even see the argument. Never mind that the Big Bang doesn’t have a location, but what difference does it make if light arrives after 14 million years or 14 billion years and six days? Some of the light from the BB is only reaching us now.

Besides, there was no light six days after the Big Bang. The universe only becomes transparent about 350,000 years after the event.

DLS
DLS
Reply to  Felix_Krull
1 year ago

The Big Bang does indeed have a location (in time though, not place). Here are a couple of links describing time in the universe and matching the Genesis account to the current state of science. I don’t pretend to understand this in any depth, and I have probably mangled some of the details, but the main two points being 1) time is relative, and the six days in Genesis as experienced at the origin of the universe may be different than what we know on earth as 24 hour days, and 2) the sequence in Genesis matches up very well… Read more »

Felix_Krull
Member
Reply to  DLS
1 year ago

But the biblical days are not of equal length, are they? The space of time between the creation of light and the creation of Earth is the same as between the creation of life and the creation of man. In the scientific cosmology, the first ‘day’ is ten billion years, the latter is three billion. So you first assign an arbitrary value to the biblical day, and then you argue that Genesis follows the time table of the scientific cosmology. In the process, you incidentally acknowledge that science has the superior cosmology, because you use it to argue for the… Read more »

DLS
DLS
Reply to  Felix_Krull
1 year ago

I am not saying God or science is superior or that one proves or disproves the other. I am saying both can be true, especially if one created the other. You are getting hung up on length of days in Genesis, and are completely ignoring that the sequence of evolution and planet development believed by scientists, and the sequence described in Genesis, are very much in sync. I am not afraid of science. Why are you afraid of God?

Wan Wei Lin
Wan Wei Lin
Reply to  DLS
1 year ago

According to theoretical physics at the moment of the Big Bang and for a long time following there was no light. So Gen1:1 is correct in saying at first there was darkness before light came into existence.

Compsci
Compsci
Reply to  DLS
1 year ago

Not all Christians, sects, should be judged as uniform in their literal beliefs. Lumping everyone together muddies the water. It would be a shame for folk to lose the inherent moral value of the teachings of the Bible because of stumbling over dates, places, and times.

A.B. Prosper
A.B. Prosper
Reply to  thezman
1 year ago

The heathens are smiling.

bilejones
Member
1 year ago

“He has had everyone from science deniers to holocaust deniers on his show, as well as lots of normal people.”

The bullshit never ends, does it?

“holocaust deniers” ARE “normal people.

It is the fairy-tale believers who are not.

TomA
TomA
1 year ago

The primordial soup was literally numerous bodies of liquid water in which were dissolved an enormous array of elements and chemical compounds. When some of things bumped into each other, a reaction would occur based purely on physical laws of nature (think High School chemistry class). The vast majority of these reactions were simplistic, meaning a new compound was created or an existing compound was fractured. However, for a very small number of chain reactions, the end-state can be a replication of some constituent. This can occur purely in the realm of physical (and not organic) chemistry, and is driven… Read more »

Cranky Scientist
Cranky Scientist
Member
Reply to  TomA
1 year ago

JF is at best a biologist. Biologists and layman have absolutely no idea what they are talking about when it comes to chemistry. Read this article by James Tour, a real synthetic chemist: https://inference-review.com/article/animadversions-of-a-synthetic-chemist The idea that random chemistry created the building blocks of life in a prebiotic soup 4 billion years ago is a fantasy. The reality is that no one knows how it happened. It’s a mystery. The evolutionists generally skip over the chemistry part because they have never synthesized a complex organic molecule. They just assume that 4 billion years of random chemistry will produce amino acids,… Read more »

Sean Detente
Sean Detente
Member
Reply to  Cranky Scientist
1 year ago

Thanks for the link, good read for a boob like me. Personally, I’m a fan of the idea space aliens threw their trash onto our planet. It wasn’t in the article. But the idea of extraterrestrials hot-rodding around the solar system and throwing their version of a beer can into the side of the interstellar road makes a sort of connection with humans.

Cranky Scientist
Cranky Scientist
Member
Reply to  TomA
1 year ago

The great problem that Einstein faced with his theory of relativity was that he could not think of a practical way to test his theory. Then he realized that his theory predicted that star light would be bent around the sun by the gravitational field of the sun, and that this should be observed during a total eclipse of the sun. This set off a great race after solar eclipses until Arthur Eddington obtained the definitive dataset in 1919. His data showed that the position of stars changed when they are observed relative to the sun when the sun is… Read more »

Unreal City
1 year ago

I’m a Christian but not a scientist. I respect both God and Science, but I only worship God. (There be those unfortunates who worship Science, or who can’t tell the difference.) My layman’s view is, God created the heavens and the earth and Man, but how He did it, and via what mechanisms, is none of my business. If it was evolution, or some form of natural selection working in tandem with other as-yet-unknown processes, it’s all groovy with me. The problem arises because the issue becomes a cultural one rather than a scientific or epistemological one. Darwin’s theory, though… Read more »

tonaludatus
tonaludatus
Reply to  Unreal City
1 year ago

name dropping: Lamarck, Cuvier ………….Mendel, Watson…….

Clayton Barnett
1 year ago

Sounds like something I can use in one of my novels’ book tour stops… as well as my next SF novel with self-aware machines. Thank you for this.

PS I read The Selfish Gene when it first came out… sucks to be old.

A.B. Prosper
A.B. Prosper
1 year ago

We don’t need general A.I. to destroy a functional society. We only need enough automation to keep wages too low for people to start families. We’ve already have that and combined with urbanization, anywhere with sufficient development now has a TFR well below replacement. Its 1.6-1.8 basically everywhere from America to Europe to Russia and starting now the less developed world too. Now if it takes something like 100 hours at minimum wage to afford a one bedroom apartment as it does in most of the US , this means there will be massive difficulty in creating the conditions needed… Read more »

tz1
Member
1 year ago

It is a good story. But is it a Myth. While reading Tolkien you can also imagine Hobbits, Elves, and Dwarves – and wizards and Balrogs exist.
But is there any more evidence for the actual existence of the catalytic RNA than for Elves?

Sean Detente
Sean Detente
Member
Reply to  tz1
1 year ago

First off, you’re conflating fiction and myth, and Ribozymes are a real thing, ‘bro.

Epaminondas
Member
1 year ago

THE great question: Why is there something instead of nothing?

DraveckysHumuers
DraveckysHumuers
Reply to  Epaminondas
1 year ago

Our math acknowledges infinite somethings and a single instance of nothing as the sum total of possibilities. Infinite potential occurences versus once for nothing. Many of those who discuss your question either don’t apprehend or they deliberately mischaracterize material definitions. It isn’t binary.

Epaminondas
Member
Reply to  DraveckysHumuers
1 year ago

Hubris to the third power.

williamwilliams
williamwilliams
Reply to  Epaminondas
1 year ago

There used to be nothing at all, but it broke down.

the Russians
the Russians
Member
Reply to  Epaminondas
1 year ago

What’s for dinner?

Compsci
Compsci
Reply to  Epaminondas
1 year ago

Epaminondas—exactly. We spend considerable time on the theory of the creation of the universe, aka, the Big Bang. But as you note, that is the wrong question. The big question really is, why! If nothing, then why did something come about? Answer that, and you’ve found god.

Demeter Last
Demeter Last
Reply to  Epaminondas
1 year ago

The puddle of water asks, “why am I in this shape and not another shape?”

Ifrank
Ifrank
Reply to  Epaminondas
1 year ago

Jim Holt. “Why Does the World Exist?” He doesn’t answer your Q, of course Epaminondas, but he goes around the world asking your Q of super smart ppl. and comes as close to an answer as i have ever heard anyone get.

Wan Wei Lin
Wan Wei Lin
1 year ago

Science without experiment is not science. To conjecture on the beginnings of life when there is no way to reproduce or even know the primordial environment is baseless. Whether you are religious or atheist we can agree that life is the grandest mystery to be explored. When someone can explain how inanimate elements become animate when assembled in certain sequences then a scientific approach to the origins of life can begin. As a side note The International Society for the Study of the Origin of Life has been pursuing this since 1973. As of today there is still no unified… Read more »

Independent_George
Independent_George
1 year ago

This is not unanswered by science at all. Not sure how you missed Miller and Urey’s experiments but these experiments are considered a likely simulation by the scientific world. In a re-creation of earths early atmosphere, with the presence of water, amino acids were created. Amino acids are crucial to cellular structure – RNA and DNA. The cool thing about cells and life in general, and the reason cells replicate and evolved, is because cells can be destroyed, but if they are attacked and survive, they adapt ie. evolve. Thus constantly changing and becoming more sophisticated. (Maybe it’s at this… Read more »

Al from da Nort
Al from da Nort
Reply to  Independent_George
1 year ago

I.G.; My recollection of the progress of scientific debate that followed from Miller & Urey’s spectacular announcement that they created amino acids (building blocks of life) from early earth atmospheric gasses + electrical discharge (i.e. lightning) is that it went something like this: A. Wow, this explains everything_! B. Hey, we can’t actually replicate your experimental results, M & U. C. M&U: Well you have to be really, really carful about picking the exact primordial soup starting conditions or the experiment doesn’t work. D. Assorted physicists and atmospheric chemists, etc.: The early earth atmosphere was nothing like the really special… Read more »

James
James
1 year ago

Single cell to a living creature sped up to 6 minutes (posted a week or so ago). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Q9VyHJ1l2Q

This amazing event astonishingly happens every moment. I don’t even comprehend THAT event let alone life forming from just the right stew.

Frip
Member
1 year ago

I think Gariepy is French Canadian. I assume this because he sounds just like the great MMA fighter George St. Pierre, who’s from Quebec, and sounds equally odd-funny.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3NjFDWjt90

scrivener3
scrivener3
1 year ago

I don’t know why people apply the adjective “intelligence” to machines. The first requirement should be “self aware.” Even a very low IQ person is self aware. A very smart dog is not self aware; it is a machine and anyone who trains dogs knows that. Searching lots of data for patterns is not intelligence. Show me a machine that exhibits pride or shame and I may reconsider.

Cloudwrest
Cloudwrest
1 year ago

Life is older than the Earth, and Earth life was seeded via panspermia. Extrapolating backward via a biological version of Moore’s law suggests life originated approximately 10 billion years ago.

“A new study co-authored by a geneticist at the National Institutes of Health concludes that life originated elsewhere in the Universe around 9.8 billion years ago – roughly five-billion years before the Earth was even formed.”

https://arxiv.org/abs/1304.3381

Wan Wei Lin
Wan Wei Lin
Reply to  Cloudwrest
1 year ago

Extrapolation is not science since there is no collaborating evidence.

Demeter Last
Demeter Last
1 year ago

Amino acids are commonly made in racemic mixtures. Life on Earth uses left-handed amino acids. This is compelling evidence of a common ancestor at the most basic level. It’s interesting that JF advocates for RNA-world. It’s the safest bet, and going out on a limb in biology puts you in the crank column, which says something about JF. I.e., he’s not attracted to being a famous crank. The evolution/natural selection arguments, if you watch carefully, deviates quickly from what can be proved to what can be argued. Biologists and organic chemists spend a lot of time trying to figure out… Read more »

Larkin Lover
Larkin Lover
Reply to  Demeter Last
1 year ago

I wonder, would it be possible to use R amino acids to create life in theory? is there some difficult to perceive reason, physical reason, that all life is L Amino acid? Do the nucleosomes have a chirality? I’m not sure.