Cyborg | Designer-Babies | Futurism | Futurist | Immortality | Longevity | Nanotechnology | Post-Human | Singularity | Transhuman

History of Evolution | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

 Evolution  Comments Off on History of Evolution | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Jun 282016
 

The word “evolution” in its broadest sense refers to change or growth that occurs in a particular order. Although this broad version of the term would include astronomical evolution and the evolution of computer design, this article focuses on the evolution of biological organisms. That use of the term dates back to the ancient Greeks, but today the word is more often used to refer to Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. This theory is sometimes crudely referred to as the theory of “survival of the fittest.” It was proposed by CharlesDarwin in On the Origin of Species in 1859 and, independently, by Alfred Wallace in 1858although Wallace, unlike Darwin, said the human soul is not the product of evolution.

Greek and medieval references to “evolution” use it as a descriptive term for a state of nature, in which everything in nature has a certain order or purpose. This is a teleological view of nature. For example, Aristotle classified all living organisms hierarchically in his great scala naturae or Great Chain of Being, with plants at the bottom, moving through lesser animals, and on to humans at the pinnacle of creation, each becoming progressively more perfect in form. It was the medieval philosophers, such as Augustine, who began to incorporate teleological views of nature with religion: God is the designer of all creatures, and everything has a purpose and a place as ordained by Him.

In current times, to some, the terms “evolution” and “God” may look like unlikely bed fellows (see the discussion on teleology). This is due primarily to today’s rejection by biologists of a teleological view of evolution in favor of a more mechanistic one. The process of rejection is commonly considered to have begun with Descartes and to have culminated in Darwins theory of evolution by natural selection.

Fundamental to natural selection is the idea of change by common descent. This implies that all living organisms are related to each other; for any two species, if we look back far enough we will find that they are descended from a common ancestor. This is a radically different view than Aristotles Great Chain of Being, in which each species is formed individually with its own purpose and place in nature and where no species evolves into a new species. Evolution by natural selection is a purely mechanistic theory of change that does not appeal to any sense of purpose or a designer. There is no foresight or purpose in nature, and there is no implication that one species is more perfect than another. There is only change driven by selection pressures from the environment. Although the modern theory of biological evolution by natural selection is well accepted among professional biologists, there is still controversy about whether natural selection selects for fit genes or fit organisms or fit species.

Evolution by natural selection is a theory about the process of change. Although Darwin’s original theory did not specify that genes account for an organism’s heritable traits, that is now universally accepted among modern evolutionists. In a given population, natural selection occurs when genetically-based traits that promote survival in one’s environment are passed onto future generations and become more frequent in later generations. Organisms develop different survival and reproduction enhancing traits in response to their different environments (with abundance or shortage of food, presence or absence of predators, and so forth) and, given enough time and environmental changes, these small changes can accumulate to form a whole new species. Thus for Darwin there is no sharp distinction between a new variation and a new species. This theory accounts for the diversity of Earth’s organisms better than theological design theories or competing scientific theories such as Lamarck’s theory that an organism can pass on to its offspringcharacteristics that it acquired during its lifetime.

Evolution by natural selection works on three principles: variation (within a given generation there will be variation in traits, some that aid survival and reproduction and some that dont, and some that have a genetic basis and some that dont); competition (there will be limited resources that individuals must compete for, and traits that aid survival and reproduction will help in competition); and heritability (only traits that aid survival and reproduction and have a genetic basis can passed onto future generations).

Evolution is not so much a modern discovery as some of its advocates would have us believe. It made its appearance early in Greek philosophy, and maintained its position more or less, with the most diverse modifications, and frequently confused with the idea of emanation, until the close of ancient thought. The Greeks had, it is true, no term exactly equivalent to ” evolution”; but when Thales asserts that all things originated from water; when Anaximenes calls air the principle of all things, regarding the subsequent process as a thinning or thickening, they must have considered individual beings and the phenomenal world as, a result of evolution, even if they did not carry the process out in detail. Anaximander is often regarded as a precursor of the modem theory of development. He deduces living beings, in a gradual development, from moisture under the influence of warmth, and suggests the view that men originated from animals of another sort, since if they had come into existence as human beings, needing fostering care for a long time, they would not have been able to maintain their existence. In Empedocles, as in Epicurus and Lucretius, who follow in Hs footsteps, there are rudimentary suggestions of the Darwinian theory in its broader sense; and here too, as with Darwin, the mechanical principle comes in; the process is adapted to a certain end by a sort of natural selection, without regarding nature as deliberately forming its results for these ends.

If the mechanical view is to be found in these philosophers, the teleological occurs in Heraclitus, who conceives the process as a rational development, in accordance with the Logos and names steps of the process, as from igneous air to water, and thence to earth. The Stoics followed Heraclitus in the main lines of their physics. The primal principle is, as with him, igneous air. only that this is named God by them with much greater definiteness. The Godhead has life in itself, and develops into the universe, differentiating primarily into two kinds of elements the finer or active, and the coarser or passive. Formation or development goes on continuously, under the impulse of the formative principle, by whatever name it is known, until all is once more dissolved by the ekpyrosis into the fundamental principle, and the whole process begins over again. Their conception of the process as analogous to the development of the seed finds special expression in their term of logos spermatikos. In one point the Stoics differ essentially from Heraclitus. With them the whole process is accomplished according to certain ends indwelling in the Godhead, which is a provident, careful intelligence, while no providence is assumed in Heraclitus.

Empedocles asserts definitely that the sphairos, as the full reconciliation of opposites, is opposed, as the superior, to the individual beings brought into existence by hatred, which are then once more united by love to the primal essence, the interchange of world-periods thus continuing indefinitely. Development is to be found also in the atomistic philosopher Democritus; in a purely mechanical manner without any purpose, bodies come into existence out of atoms, and ultimately entire worlds appear and disappear from and to eternity. Like his predecessors, Deinocritus, deduces organic beings from what is inorganic-moist earth or slime.

Development, as well as the process of becoming, in general, was denied by the Eleatic philosophers. Their doctrine, diametrically opposed to the older thoroughgoing evolutionism, had its influence in determining the acceptance of unchangeable ideas, or forms, by Plato and Aristotle. Though Plato reproduces the doctrine of Heraclitus as to the flux of all things in the phenomenal world, he denies any continuous change in the world of ideas. Change is permanent only in so far as the eternal forms stamp themselves upon individual objects. Though this, as a rule, takes place but imperfectly, the stubborn mass is so far affected that all works out as far as possible for the best. The demiurge willed that all should become as far as possible like himself; and so the world finally becomes beautiful and perfect. Here we have a development, though the principle which has the most real existence does not change; the forms, or archetypal ideas, remain eternally what they are.

In Aristotle also the forms are the real existences, working in matter but eternally remaining the same, at once the motive cause and the effectual end of all things. Here the idea of evolution is clearer than in Plato, especially for the physical world, which is wholly dominated by purpose. The transition from lifeless to living matter is a gradual one, so that the dividing-line between them is scarcely perceptible. Next to lifeless matter comes the vegetable kingdom, which seems, compared with the inorganic, to have life, but appears lifeless compared with the organic. The transition from plants to animals is again a gradual one. The lowest organisms originate from the primeval slime, or from animal differentiation; there is a continual progression from simple, undeveloped types to the higher and more perfect. As the highest stage, the end and aim of the whole process, man appears; all lower forms are merely unsuccessful attempts to produce him. The ape is a transitional stage between man and other viviparous animals. If development has so important a work in Aristotle’s physics, it is not less important in his metaphysics. The whole transition from potentiality to actuality (from dynamis toentelecheia) is nothing but a transition from the lower to the higher, everything striving to assimilate itself to the absolutely perfect, to the Divine. Thus Aristotle, like Plato, regards the entire order of the universe as a sort of deification. But the part played in the development by the Godhead, the absolutely immaterial form, is less than that of the forms which operate in matter, since, being already everything,, it is incapable of becoming anything else. Thus Aristotle, despite his evolutionistic notions, does not take the view of a thoroughgoing evolutionist as regards the universe; nor do the Neoplatonists, whose highest principle remains wholly unchanged, though all things emanate from it.

The idea of evolution was not particularly dominant in patristic and scholastic theology and philosophy, both on account of the dualism which runs through them as an echo of Plato and Aristotle, and on account of the generally accepted Christian theory of creation. However, evolution is not generally denied; and with Augustine (De civitate dei, xv. 1) it is taken as the basis for a philosophy of history. Erigena and some of his followers seem to teach a sort of evolution. The issue of finite beings from God is called analysis or resolution in contrast to the reverse or deification the return to God, who once more assimilates all things. God himself, although denominated the beginning, middle, and end, all in all remains unmixed in his own essence, transcendent though immanent in the world. The teaching of. Nicholas of Cusa is similar to Erigena’s, though a certain amount of Pythagoreanism comes in here. The world exhibits explicitly what the Godhead implicitly contains; the world is an animated, ordered whole, in which God is everywhere present. Since God embraces all things in himself, he unites all opposites: he is the complicatio omnium contradictoriorum. The idea of evolution thus appears in Nicholas in a rather pantheistic form, but it is not developed.

In spite of some obscurities in his conception of the world Giordano Bruno is a little clearer. According to him God is the immanent first cause in the universe; there is no difference between matter and form; matter, which includes in itself forms and ends, is the source of all becoming and of all actuality. The infinite ether which fills infinite space conceals within itself the nucleus of all things, and they proceed from it according to determinate laws, yet in a teleological manner. Thus the worlds originate not by an arbitrary act, but by an inner necessity of the divine nature. They are natura naturata, as distinguished from the operative nature of God, natitra naturans, which is present in all thin-S as the being- of all that is, the beauty of all that is fair. As in the Stoic teaching, with which Bruno’s philosophy has much in common, the conception of evolution comes out clearly both for physics and metaphysics.

Leibniz attempted to reconcile the mechanical-physical and the teleological views, after Descartes, in his Principia philosophitce, excluding all purpose, had explained nature both lifeless and living, as mere mechanism. It is right, however, to point out that Descartes had a metaphysics above his physics, in which the conception of God took an important place, and that thus the mechanical notion of evolution did not really include everything. In Leibnitz the principles of mechanics and physics are dependent upon the direction of a supreme intelligence, without which they would be inexplicable to us. Only by such a preliminary assumption are we able to recognize that one ordered thing follows upon another continuously. It is in this sense that the law of continuity is to be understood, which is of such great importance in Leibnitz. At bottom it is the same as the law of ordered development. The genera of all beings follow continuously one upon another, and between the main classes, as between animals and vegetables, there must be a continuous sequence of intermediate beings. Here again, however, evolution is not taught in its most thorough form, since the divine monad, of God, does not come into the world but transcends it.

Among the German philosophers of the eighteenth century Herder must be mentioned first of the pioneers of modern evolutionism. He lays down the doctrine of a continuous development in the unity of nature from inorganic to organic, from the stone to the plant, from the plant to the animal, and from the animal to man. As nature develops according to fixed laws and natural conditions, so does history, which is only a continuation of the process of nature. Both nature and history labor to educate man in perfect humanity; but as this is seldom attained, a future life is suggested. Lessing had dwelt on the education of the human race as a development to the higher and more perfect. It is only recently that the significance of Herder, in regard to the conception and treatment of historic development, has been adequately recognized. Goethe also followed out the idea of evolution in his zoological and botanical investigations, with his theory of the metamorphosis of plants and his endeavor to discover unity in different organisms.

Kant is also often mentioned as having been an early teacher of the modern theory of descent. It is true he considers the analogy of the forms which he finds in various classes of organisms a ground for supposing that they may have come originally from a common source. He calls the hypothesis that specifically different being have originated one from the other “a daring adventure of the reason.” But he entertains the thought that in a later epoch “an orang-outang or a chimpanzee may develop the organs which serve for walking, grasping objects, and speaking-in short, that lie may evolve the structure of man, with an organ for the use of reason, which shall gradually develop itself by social culture.” Here, indeed, important ideas of Darwin were anticipated; but Kant’s critical system was such that development could have no predominant place in it.

The idea of evolution came out more strongly in his German idealistic successors, especially in Schelling, who regarded nature as a preliminary stage to mind, and the process of physical development as continuing in history. The unconscious productions of nature are only unsuccessful attempts to reflect itself; lifeless nature is an immature intelligence, so that in its phenomena an intelligent character appears only unconsciously. Its highest aim, that, of becoming an object to itself, is only attained in the highest and last reflection-in man, or in what we call reason, through which for the first time nature returns perfectly upon itself. All stages of nature are connected by a common life, and show in their development a conclusive unity. The course of history as a whole must be conceived as offering a gradually progressive revelation of the Absolute. For this he names three periods-that of fate, that of nature, and that of providence, of which we are now in the second. Schelling’s followers carried the idea of development somewhat further than their master. This is true especially of Oken, who conceives natural science as the science of the eternal transformation of God into the world, of the dissolution of the Absolute into plurality, and of its continuous further operation in this plurality. The development is continued through the vegetable and animal kingdoms up to man, who in his art and science and polity completely establishes the will of nature. Oken, it is true, conceived man as the sole object of all animal development, so that the lower stages are only abortive attempts to produce him-a theory afterward controverted by Ernst von Baer and Cuvier, the former of whom, standing somewhat in opposition to Darwin, is of great interest to the student of the history of the theory of evolution.

Some evolutionistic ideas are found in Krause and Schleiermacher; but Hegel, with his absolute idealism, is a more notable representative of them. In his system philosophy is the science of the Absolute, of the absolute reason developing or unfolding itself. Reason develops itself first in the abstract element of thought, then expresses itself externally in nature, and finally returns from this externalization into itself in mind. As Heraclitus had taught eternal becoming, so Hegel, who avowedly accepted all the propositions of the Ephesian philosopher in his logic, taught eternal proceeding. The difference between the Greek and the German was that the former believed in the flux of matter, of fire transmuting itself by degrees into all things, and in nature as the sole existence, outside of which there was nothing; while the latter conceived the abstract idea or reason as that which really is or becomes, and nature as only a necessary but transient phase in the process of development. With Heraclitus evolution meant the return of all things into the primal principle followed by a new world-development; with Hegel it was an eternal process of thought, giving no answer to the question as to the end of historical development.

While Heraclitus had laid down his doctrine of eternal becoming rather by intuition than on the ground of experience, and the entire evolutionary process of Hegel had been expressly conceived as based on pure thought, Darwin’s and Wallace’s epoch-making doctrine rested upon a vast mass of ascertained facts. He was, of course, not the first to lay down the origin of species one from another as a formal doctrine. Besides those predecessors of his to whom allusion has already been made, two others may be mentioned here: his grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, who emphasized organic variability; and still more Lamarck, who denied the immutability of species and forms, and claimed to have demonstrated by observation the gradual development of the animal kingdom. What is new in Charles Darwin is not his theory of descent, but its confirmation by the theory of natural selection and the survival of the fittest in the struggle for existence. Thus a result is brought about which corresponds as far as possible to a rational end in a purely mechanical process, without any cooperation of teleological principles, without any innate tendency in the organisms to proceed to a higher stage. This theory postulates in the later organisms deviations from the earlier ones; and that these deviations, in so far as they are improvements, perpetuate themselves and become generic marks of differentiation. This, however, imports a difficulty, since the origin of the first of these deviations is inexplicable. The differentia of mankind, whom Darwin, led by the force of analogy, deduces from a species of apes, consists in intellect and moral qualities, but comes into existence only by degrees. The moral sensibilities develop from the original social impulse innate in man; this impulse is an effort to secure not so much individual happiness as the general welfare.

It would be impossible to name here all those who, in different countries, have followed in Darwin’s footsteps, first in the biological field and then in those of psychology, ethics, sociology, and religion. They have carried his teaching further in several directions, modifying it to some extent and making it fruitful, while positivism has not seldom come into alliance with it. In Germany Ernst Haeckel must be mentioned with his biogenetic law, according to which the development of the individual is an epitome of the history of the race, and with his less securely grounded notion of the world-ether as a creative deity. In France Alfred Fouillee worked out a theory of idea-forces, a combination of Platonic idealism with English (though not specifically Darwinian) evolutionism. Marie-Jean Guyau understood by evolution a life led according to the fundamental law that the most intensive life is also the most extensive. He develops his ethics altogether from the facts of the social existence of mankind, and his religion is a universal sociomorphism, the feeling of the unity of man with the entire cosmos.

The most careful and thorough development of the whole system took place in England. For a long time it was represented principally by the work of Herbert Spencer, who had come out for the principle of evolution even before the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species. He carries the idea through the whole range of philosophy in his great System of Synthetic Philosophy and undertakes to show that development is the highest law of all nature, not merely of the organic. As the foundation of ill that exists, though itself unknowable and only revealing itself in material and mental forms, he places a power, the Absolute, of which we have but an indefinite conception. The individual processes of the world of phenomena are classed under the head of evolution, or extension of movement, with which integration of matter, union into a single whole, is connected, and dissolution or absorption of movement, which includes disintegration of matter, the breaking of connection. Both processes go on simultaneously, and include the history of every existence which we can perceive. In the course of their development the organisms incorporate matter with themselves; the plant grows by taking into itself elements which have previously existed in the form of gases, and the animal by assimilating elements found in plants and in other animals. The same sort of integration is observed in social organisms, as when nomadic families unite into a tribe, or subjects under a prince, and princes under a king. In like manner integration is evident in the development of language, of art, and of science, especially philosophy. But as the individuals unite into a whole, a strongly marked differentiation goes on at the same time, as in the distinction between the surface and the interior of the earth, or between various climates. Natural selection is not considered necessary to account for varying species, but gradual conditions of life create them. The aim of the development is to show a condition of perfect balance in the whole; when this is attained, the development, in virtue of the continuous operation of external powers, passes into dissolution. Those epochs of development and of dissolution follow alternately upon each other. This view of Spencer suggests the hodos ano and hodos kato of Heraclitus, and his flowing back of individual things into the primal principle.

Similar principles are carried out not only for organic phenomena but also for mental and social; and on the basis of the theory of evolution a remarkable combination of intuitionism and empiricism is achieved. In his principles of sociology Spencer lays down the laws of hyperorganic evolution, and gives the various stages of human customs and especially of religious ideas, deducing all religion much too one-sidedly from ancestor-worship. The belief in an immortal ” second self ” is explained by such phenomena as shadows and echoes. The notion of gods is suppose to arise from the idea of a ghostly life after death. In his Principles of Ethics he attempts a similar compromise between intuitionism and empiricism, deducing the consciousness of duty from innumerable accumulated experiences. The compelling element in moral actions, originally arising from fear of religious, civil, or social punishment, disappears with the development of true morality. There is no permanent opposition between egoism and altruism, but the latter develops simultaneously with the former.

Spencer’s ethical principles were fruitfully modified, especially by Sir Leslie Stephen and S. Alexander, though with constant adherence to the idea of development. While the doctrine of evolution in Huxley and Tyndall is associated with agnosticism, and thus freed from all connection with metaphysics, as indeed was the case with Spencer, in spite of his recognition of the Absolute as the necessary basis for religion and for thought, in another direction an attempt was made to combine evolutionism closely with a metaphysics in which the idea of God was prominent. Thus the evolution theory of Clifford and Romanes led them to a thoroughgoing monism, and that of J. M. F. Schiller to pluralism. According to the last-named a personal deity, limited in power, exists side by side with a multitude of intellectual beings, who existed before the formation of the world in a chaotic state as absolutely isolated individuals. The process of world formation begins with the decision of the divine Spirit to bring a harmony of the cosmos out of these many existences. Though Spencer’s influence in philosophical development was not so great in Germany as in England, the idea of development has continued in recent years to exert no little power. Space forbids more than a mention of Lotze’s teleological idealism; Von Harttmann’s absolute monism, in which the goal of the teleological development of the universe is the reversion of the will into not-willing; Wundt’s metaphysics of the will, according to which the world is a development, an eternal becoming, in which nature is a preliminary stage to mind; and Nietzsche’s individualism, the final point of which is the development of the superman.

The author of this article is anonymous. The IEP is actively seeking an author who will write a replacement article.

Originally posted here:

History of Evolution | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

 Posted by at 2:47 am  Tagged with:

NeuroHacking – YouTube

 Neurohacking  Comments Off on NeuroHacking – YouTube
Jun 262016
 

Harvard’s Ellen Langer and Psychology Hacking by Relabeling New Research on Stress, Anxiety, DNA, and the Likelihood of Getting Sick Barbara Fredrickson: Positive Emotions Open Our Mind Barbara Fredrickson: Positive Emotions Transform Us Neurohacking: rewiring your brain | Don Vaughn | TEDxUCLA Neuro-Hacking 101: Taming Your Inner Curmudgeon Les neuro-rvolutionnaires – Laurent Alexandre, l’USI Hacking yourself: Dave Asprey at TEDxConstitutionDrive Le dfi de la complexit – Edgar Morin, l’USI Que nous apprennent les neurosciences sur les tats modifis de conscience ? Shauna Shapiro: Mindfulness Meditation and the Brain Etudier autrement | Laurene Castor | TEDxGrenoble A Brief Introduction to the Default Mode Network Dan Harris: Hack Your Brain’s Default Mode with Meditation Risk Taking: The Hardest Growth Hacking Concept to Teach Le rapport collaboratif – 1 Minute Guide NeuroHacking [SYDOSPEECH 2015] – Laurne Castor – Les 4 boosters de l’apprentissage NeuroHacking Blog, Neuroscience, Psychologie Positive et Dveloppement Personnel Cycle d’action – PDCA – Guide Neurohacking Muse in 45 seconds. Difficulty with meditation? Ariel Garten: Know thyself, with a brain scanner Ariel Garten Shows Off the Muse Headset at LeWeb Paris 2012 LeWeb 2011 Ariel Garten, Interaxon Connect your computer to your brain update LeWeb 2010 – Thought Controlled Computing – Ariel Garten, CEO, Interaxon – Tech & Innovation Thought Controlled Computing is Here -Cause/Action: Ariel Garten at TEDxSanDiego 2012 Hack Your Flow: Understanding Flow Cycles, with Steven Kotler Ariel Garten at The Chopra Center Sharon Salzberg: “Real Happiness at Work” | Talks at Google Meditation for Beginners – Featuring Dan Harris and Sharon Salzberg STOP La mthode simple de Mditation de la Pleine Conscience – Mindfulness – 1 minute Mditation de la compassion / bienveillance – 10 minutes Vipassana Meditation and Body Sensation: Eilona Ariel at TEDxJaffa 2013 How Meditation Can Reshape Our Brains: Sara Lazar at TEDxCambridge 2011 E.O. Wilson: Science, Not Philosophy, Will Explain the Meaning of Existence Stress Response: Savior to Killer [Private Video] 4 Cls pour grer son stress efficacement Pico Iyer: The art of stillness STOP: A Short Mindfulness Practice

Read more:

NeuroHacking – YouTube

 Posted by at 10:53 am  Tagged with:

Free social darwinism Essays and Papers – 123helpme

 Darwinism  Comments Off on Free social darwinism Essays and Papers – 123helpme
Jun 262016
 

Title Length Color Rating Thre Views of Social Darwinism – The concept of Social Darwinism was a widely accepted theory in the nineteenth-century. Various intellectual, and political figures from each side of the political spectrum grasped the theory and interpreted it in various ways. In this paper, we will discuss three different nineteenth-century thinkers and their conception of Social Darwinism. The conservative, Heinrich von Treitschke, and liberal Herbert Spencer both gave arguments on the usefulness of competition between people on a global scale…. [tags: Social Darwinism Essays] 1702 words (4.9 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Social Darwinism and Race Superiority In The West – Social Darwinism was a set of theories developed by various people during the 19th century. It was the adaptation of Darwin theory of evolution applied to human social behavior and ability to survive compared to other human beings. It can now easily be seen that these theories could be used to justify racial discrimination and they have been used in this way throughout history. This misconception of Darwins theories popularized by various academics in the west gave western nations to treat other nations badly…. [tags: Social Darwinism Essays] 2028 words (5.8 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Darwins Theory of Natural Selection and Social Darwinism – The publication of Charles Darwins The Origin of Species in 1859 had far reaching consequences. One of the most important notions in his ground-breaking book was the claim that no species is fixed. Rather a well marked variety may …. well be called an incipient species, demonstrating that nature is not static but a continuum where varieties beget species. Assuming that man was a part of nature, a concept many scientists had come to accept, this principle could be extended to include human societies…. [tags: Social Darwinism Essays] :: 20 Works Cited 2200 words (6.3 pages) Research Papers [preview] Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection, Social Darwinism and the Catholic Church – A dark dense rainforest, the sound of rain falling on green leaves and the chatter of birds in the canopy surrounds you. On the forest ground two dark shapes circle each other, both let out an ear-piercing roar that silences the entire forest. The dark shapes revealed themselves to be a pair of male gorillas, suddenly they rear up on their back legs and clash together in a fury of swinging arms. The larger gorilla gets a direct blow to the other one as the crunch of bone fills the silent jungle air…. [tags: Social Darwinism] 1196 words (3.4 pages) Strong Essays [preview] The Development of Social Darwinism – The theory developed by Charles Darwin in 1859 in his book The Origin of Species is considered not only one of the greatest scientific discoveries ever but, also a system of knowledge that revolutionized the fundamental patterns of thought. This discovery was the theory of evolution. The theory of evolution shattered old beliefs and philosophies and imposed the necessity for building new ones. Two of the great ideologies that developed from Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution are Darwinism and Social Darwinism…. [tags: Social Darwinism Essays] :: 8 Works Cited 1787 words (5.1 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Social Darwinism is NOT Science – Charles Darwin is NOT responsible for Social Darwinism. War and oppression have always been components of human history, however with the introduction of Darwin’s theory of evolution man had a new justification for his cruelty. Darwin’s ideas promoted a “superman” or “super-race” philosophy. The prime component of Darwin’s ideas revolves around the notion that life progresses by natural selection – the survival of the fittest. Couple this with the racist culture in the scientific world of his day and you have the reason to pursue any exploitive agenda…. [tags: Social Darwinism Essays] 775 words (2.2 pages) Better Essays [preview] Darwins Theory of Natural Selection, Social Darwinism and Hitler – Social Darwinism was one of the most powerful movements in the nineteenth century Germany, believes professor Jerry Bergman. As the movement escalated, Jews became non-human to the Germans. That was one of the reasons the Nazis did not feel any remorse at the time, because they had deprived the Jews of every piece of humanity that they obtained. Social Darwinism was first brought up by British philosopher and sociologist, Herbert Spencer. Social Darwinism goes back to the earliest form, which is Darwinism…. [tags: Social Darwinism Essays] :: 12 Works Cited 1872 words (5.3 pages) Term Papers [preview] Social Darwinism in American Politics – Introduction Social Darwinism is a quasi-philosophical, quasi-religious, quasi-sociological view that came from the mind of Herbert Spencer, an English philosopher in the 19th century. It did not achieve wide acceptance in England or Europe, but flourished in this country, as is true of many ideologies, religions, and philosophies. A good summary of Social Darwinism is by Johnson: In these years, when Darwin’s Origin of Species, popularized by Herbert Spencer as “the survival of the fittest, ” and applied to races as well as species in a vulgarized form, Social Darwinism, the coming Christian triumph was presented as an Anglo-Saxon Protestant one…. [tags: Social Darwinism Essays] 1210 words (3.5 pages) Unrated Essays [preview] Social Darwinism in Cyberpunk Literature – In the 1870s, the English sociologist Herbert Spencer applied Charles Darwin’s theories of biological evolution to human behavior and institutions. Spencer used the idea of survival of the fittest in biology and theorized human society had evolved the same way (Cooper 15). Social Darwinism, as Spencer’s theory is called, pits everyone against each other to survive in the world where humans are soldiers in a war for survival. If a person is poor, it is their fault and no one should help that person rise above the poverty status…. [tags: Social Darwinism Essays] :: 3 Works Cited 1291 words (3.7 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Conservatism Supports Social Darwinism – Social Darwinism is the belief that the individual is more powerful than society. It encourages a ruthless system of self-interest and intolerant treatment of others. Those who believe in Social Darwinism believe that the society is inferior to the needs of the individual. Often those who believe in Social Darwinism are racist and believe that the white origin is the superior race of society. Social Darwinism is the opposite of socialism. Socialists believe that society comes before the individual while those who follow Social Darwinism believe the individual comes before society…. [tags: Social Darwinism Essays] 470 words (1.3 pages) FREE Essays [view] The Role of Social Darwinism in European Imperialism – Social Darwinism fueled imperialism by making imperialistic nations believe that their imperialistic ventures were a natural turn of events and not a cruel, opressionistic system of government. These imperialistic nations exploited other nations and cultures and their troops motivation was the glory of the nation and the eradication of the weaker races on earth. These soldiers believed in Social Darwinism. Also, nations were able to become imperialistic because of the support of their people…. [tags: Social Darwinism Essays] 751 words (2.1 pages) Better Essays [preview] Charles Darwin, Social Darwinism, and Imperialism – England went through dramatic changes in the 19th century. English culture, socio-economic structure and politics where largely influenced by the principles of science. Many social expressions occurred due to these changes. Transformations which categorized this time period could be observed in social institutions; for instance: the switch from popular Evangelicalism to atheism, emergence of feminism and the creation of new political ideologies (Liberalism, Conservatism and Radicalism). These are just a few of the changes that took place…. [tags: Social Darwinism Essays] 511 words (1.5 pages) Unrated Essays [preview] Social Darwinism and Social Welfare in the United States – The interplay and relationship between Social Darwinism and Social Welfare in the United States typify the nation’s struggle to make the best of a capitalist society, while at the same time correcting pitfalls. Social Darwinism in our capitalist society compares wealth with fitness, but historically, unregulated markets given the false sanction of natural law have proven out that Darwinist economic competition has a destructive side for society. The role of raw power, the frequency of failure and the spirit of want has out of necessity, fostered a fiscal and monetary policy defined as social welfare, in order to conserve some commitment and core of resistance to the corrosive impact of ma… [tags: Social Darwinism Essays] :: 6 Works Cited 1245 words (3.6 pages) Better Essays [preview] Social Darwinism – Darwins Theory of Natural Selection, a scientific theory that supported the belief of evolution, was manipulated and applied to different areas of life, and thus it became the shaping force in European thought in the last half of the nineteenth century. Darwin, through observation of organisms, determined that a system of natural selection controlled the evolution of species. He found that the organisms that were most fit and assimilated to the environment would survive. They would also reproduce so that over time they would eventually dominate in numbers over the organisms with weaker characteristics…. [tags: Social Darwinism Essays] 1192 words (3.4 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Darwins Theory of Natural Selection and Social Darwinism – Anyone with even a moderate background in science has heard of Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution. Since the publishing of his book On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection in 1859, Darwins ideas have been debated by everyone from scientists to theologians to ordinary lay-people. Today, though there is still severe opposition, evolution is regarded as fact by most of the scientific community and Darwins book remains one of the most influential ever written. Its influence has even extended into realms other than biology and science…. [tags: Social Darwinism Essays] :: 8 Works Cited 2626 words (7.5 pages) Research Papers [preview] Darwins Theory of Natural Selection and Social Darwinism – Darwin and Evolution are inextricably linked in the minds of most people who have had the opportunity to study them in basic biology. However, Darwin’s theories of selection and survival of the fittest have been applied to moral, economic, political, and other cultural aspects of society. Dennett briefly touched on some of the political and social ramifications of Darwin’s theories in the final chapter of Darwin’s Dangerous Idea. Other philosophers and thinkers have also adapted Darwin’s evolutionary ideas, in order to apply them in a societal or cultural context…. [tags: Social Darwinism Essays] :: 6 Works Cited 801 words (2.3 pages) Better Essays [preview] Darwins Theory of Natural Selection and Social Darwinism – While he was on the voyage of the H.M.S. Beagle, a man named Charles Darwin viewed the relationship of plants and animals all over the world. He observed organisms on islands off the coast of South America and those on the mainland. His observations showed that these organisms were related, but not identical. This led Darwin into believing that over time, organisms must adapt to suit their environment. He explained his theories thoroughly in his book, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection…. [tags: Social Darwinism Essays] 564 words (1.6 pages) Better Essays [preview] Darwins Theory of Natural Selection and Social Darwinism – In 1859, a biologist named Charles Darwin postulated a scientific theory, which stated that all living organisms evolved through a process of natural selection. According to Stephen Hawking, Charles Darwin claimed that the offspring of a particular species gradually evolved themselves genetically to resist the changes in the environment (573). The theory contended that the organisms could adapt to the changes in the environment through the survival of the fittest. Though this theory is regarded as a breakthrough in the field of biological evolution, it is interesting to explore how this seemingly scientific theory has been suitably modified, and intellectually applied to both negative… [tags: Social Darwinism Essays] :: 7 Works Cited 1187 words (3.4 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Social Darwinism: Herbert Spencer and The Catholic Church – Herbert Spencer was the most important Social Darwinist of the 19th Century. He was the first to begin thinking about evolutionist long before Darwin came out with his book on the “Origins of Species”. He had many theories such as that everything evolves from one basic creature and then breaks off into more diverse species (Haberman (Hab.), 171). His theory was that social, political, and intellectual movements were caused by the development from the homogeneous to the heterogeneous…. [tags: Social Darwinism Essays] :: 3 Works Cited 475 words (1.4 pages) Unrated Essays [preview] Socialism More Beneficial than Social Darwinism – The ideas of Social Darwinism and Socialism were first theorized by those in the age of industrialization, when the gap between the social classes was continuing to grow. Social Darwinism is a philosophy that was taken off of the theory of Darwinism in two aspects that were applied to society. One, survival of the fittest. Those who succeeded in life were the ones who were fit, in addition, those who failed were left to be weeded out, Secondly, the idea of natural selection as applied to society…. [tags: Social Darwinism Essays] 698 words (2 pages) Better Essays [preview] What is Social Darwinism? – … On the other hand, the individuals that do not have these traits, live shorter lives and die with less or no offspring. Indeed, most giraffes used to have short necks, but some had longer necks and when there was a shortage of food that they could reach with their short necks, the ones with short necks died off, and the ones with long necks survived and reproduced, and eventually, all of the giraffes had long necks. Another difference between Darwin and Lamarck is that Darwin claimed that evolution does not happen according to any predetermined plan (for example, the course of evolution is affected by climatic changes)…. [tags: Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species] :: 8 Works Cited 1257 words (3.6 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Jude the Obscure and Social Darwinism – Jude the Obscure and Social Darwinism Jude the Obscure is indeed a lesson in cruelty and despair; the inevitable by-products of Social Darwinism. The main characters of the book are controlled by fate’s “compelling arm of extraordinary muscular power”(1), weakly resisting the influence of their own sexuality, and of society and nature around them. Jude’s world is one in which only the fittest survive, and he is clearly not equipped to number amongst the fittest. In keeping with the strong Darwinian undercurrents that run through the book, a kind of “natural selection” ensures that Jude’s offspring do not survive to procreate either…. [tags: Jude Obscure] :: 2 Works Cited 922 words (2.6 pages) Better Essays [preview] Social Darwinism: Herbert Spencer and William Graham Sumner – Social Darwinism is term that is used for application of biological concepts of Charles Darwin to sociology and political science. The goal of this paper is to introduce two most known social Darwinists Herbert Spencer and William Graham Sumner. Herbert Spencer is sometimes named as the founder of social Darwinism. However, labeling him as such is problematic. Spencer came with his concepts and with the term survival of the fittest before he got to know Darwins. His ideas are based on the theory of Lamarckian inheritance by French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck…. [tags: biological concepts, evolutionary theories] :: 13 Works Cited 1402 words (4 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] The Political Implications of Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection – In 1859 biologist Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species which laid out Darwin’s theory of natural selection. Natural selection stated that an organism which possessed advantageous traits that allowed it to survive and reproduce easier than became more prevalent in the proceeding generations, eventually resulting in a differentiation of species. This is the basis of evolution and is a constantly ongoing process. Organisms that did not possess the advantageous traits were doomed to genetic extinction…. [tags: Social Darwinism] 864 words (2.5 pages) Better Essays [preview] Darwinism in Great Expectations by Charles Dickens – Few people argue that Great Expectations, one of Dickenss later novels, is a Darwinian work. Goldie Morgentaler, in her essay Meditating on the Low: A Darwinian Reading of Great Expectations, is one of those few. She argues primarily that Darwins Origin of the Species was a major topic of discussion in Dickenss circle at the time he wrote Great Expectations, and that Great Expectations marks the first time that Dickens jettisons heredity as a determining factor in the formation of the self (Morgentaler, 708)…. [tags: Social Darwinism Essays] :: 2 Works Cited 1548 words (4.4 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] The Working Poor by D. Shipler – The Working Poor The objective of this essay is to illuminate my overall reaction to the reading of The Working Poor conveying what I do not like while highlighting a sociological perspective, in addition to explaining if the reading is applicable to my own life experience. Taking notice, the subject at hand was very sobering alluding even if we ourselves have not been partakers of living in the obscurity of prosperity between poverty and wellbeing, certainly we have encountered someone that has become a victim to it…. [tags: social darwinism, poverty, disparity] :: 1 Works Cited 1081 words (3.1 pages) Strong Essays [preview] The Great Industrial Revolution – The Industrial Revolution was a time in history when society was completely transformed. Beginning in the early 18th century, the Industrial Revolution had a significant impact on peoples lives and surely impacted how society functioned. The Industrial Revolution was a dramatic change from an agricultural to an industrial society. Changes in society were seen through the various new inventions to make life easier: the newly introduced factory system, many scientific and technological advancements, and many more aspects…. [tags: social darwinism,factory system,medicine] :: 5 Works Cited 1080 words (3.1 pages) Strong Essays [preview] My Personal Leadership Style – Peter Senge, in his book, The Fifth Discipline, argued that there is interconnectedness, a relationship, between all forces of matter that act and react upon each other. Not only do they act and react on each other, but act across time and space. These relationships, built upon an exchange of information past and present, transform interrelated processes that act upon us and create our state of being. A social-psycho Darwinian evolution, if you will. This state of being is our reality. In reading and assessing Senge, many thoughts and ideas relating to my personal leadership style began sprouting like beanstalks…. [tags: Leadership Style Social Darwinism] 1160 words (3.3 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Nazi Use of Darwinism – After the Great War in the nineteenth century, European nations had a difficult time finding economic stability. Germany took full responsibility for starting World War I and by signing the Treaty of Versailles, Germany agreed to give up huge portions of territory and pay reparation to victorious allies. The harsh principles which were outlined by the Treaty of Versailles made economic stability in Germany difficult to achieve and caused Germany to suffer from inflation and the Great Depression…. [tags: History, Politics, The Treaty of Versailles] 1504 words (4.3 pages) Better Essays [preview] Social Reconstructinism: An Effective Philosophy – According to Sadker and Zittleman social reconstructinism encourages, schools, teachers, and students to focus their studies and energies on alleviating pervasive social inequalities and, as the name implies, reconstruct society into a new and more just social order. Social Reconstructionist is mainly founded on a student-centered classroom. It also encourages students to get out and help out in the community. Teachers can alter their curriculum around their classes needs. The purpose of social reconstructinism is to reconstruct society…. [tags: teacher, students, social inequitites] :: 5 Works Cited 1285 words (3.7 pages) Strong Essays [preview] William Graham Sumner Social Darwinist – William Graham Sumner Social Darwinist Sumner was the follower of Darwins ideas and Herbert Spencers, Social Darwinism. He is considered to be vigorous and influential social Darwinist in America. He was a professor at Yale College. He developed the concepts of Folkways, diffusion, and ethnocentrism. He is not as big as Spencer but his ideas were bold enough to be recognized. He played three important roles in the development of American thought, he was a great Puritan preacher, an exponent of the Classical pessimism of Ricardo and Malthus, and an assimilator and popularizer of evolution…. [tags: Sociology ] :: 2 Works Cited 1237 words (3.5 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Evolution and The Island of Doctor Moreau – There are a lot of misconceptions about Darwin’s theory of evolution. One of the biggest is that he called the theory by that name. Albrecht von Haller used the word “evolution” in 1744 to mean “to unroll,” so the word was around in Darwin’s time, but Darwin never used it in the sense we use it today. It was added later by others, including Herbert Spencer, who is responsible for the theory we call Social Darwinism. This theory is misnamed; it is not based on Darwin’s work, but Spencer’s. Darwin did not come up with his theory out of nowhere…. [tags: Darwin Spencer Darwinism Research Papers] :: 5 Works Cited 1421 words (4.1 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] The Father of Science Fiction: Herbert George Wells – Biographical Summary Herbert George Wells was an English author from the 19th century who was born in London, England. H.G. Wells was born on September 21st, 1866 in the county of Kent. He was the youngest child of four in his family and was called Bertie from a young age. Wells wrote in many genres including politics, history, social commentary and contemporary novels. He is best known for his work in the Science Fiction genre, sometimes referred to as The Father of Science Fiction. His father, Joseph Wells was a shopkeeper and played cricket professionally at the time H.G…. [tags: biography, darwinism, Dr. Moreau] :: 7 Works Cited 1549 words (4.4 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Race As A Social Construct – The concept of race is an ancient construction through which a single society models all of mankind around the ideal man. This idealism evolved from prejudice and ignorance of another culture and the inability to view another human as equal. The establishment of race and racism can be seen from as early as the Middle Ages through the present. The social construction of racism and the feeling of superiority to people of other ethnicities, have been distinguishably present in European societies as well as America throughout the last several centuries…. [tags: Racism Essays] :: 4 Works Cited 1076 words (3.1 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Eugenics: Solving Social Problems? – The melting pot was a movement to solve social problems of the population with the use of technology. Eugenics is the use of science to solve social problems. It is defined as the study of or belief in the possibility of improving the qualities of the human species or a human population, especially by such means as discouraging reproduction by persons having genetic defects or presumed to have inheritable undesirable traits or encouraging reproduction by persons presumed to have inheritable desirable traits…. [tags: Scientific Research ] :: 9 Works Cited 1201 words (3.4 pages) Strong Essays [preview] The Effect British Colonialism Had on The Indian Way of Life – You are powerless to do anything. Foreigners control everything in your country, everything. From taxes right down to social structure, the colonial rulers have the upper hand in everything, while you, a true native of the country, are subjected to tyranny and oppression. None of us would want to be a citizen of such a country, but that was exactly the fate of millions of natives in many countries across the world during the Age of Imperialism. Imperialism is defined as the creation and maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural, and territorial relationship, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination. (Imperialism Wikipedia, the fr… [tags: Britain, Social Darwinsm, Greed, Ethnocentrism] 1259 words (3.6 pages) Better Essays [preview] Hegemonic Hypocrisy: A Victim of Social Scriptorium – With the passage at hand, Dr. Ella Shohat discusses about the case of being an Arab Jew, a historical paradox, as one of many social elisions. Unlike the idea of intersectionality, binarism leaves little place for complex identities (Shohat, 2). As an American, Jew, and Arab, she speaks of the disparities amidst a war involving all three cultural topographies. Albeit she speaks from a subjective standpoint, she does not mention the issue of racial hygiene, class, geographic divisions, and gender…. [tags: Understanding “Them vs. Us”] :: 3 Works Cited 1181 words (3.4 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Economic and Social Values of Marxism to Communism – When it comes to human morale, people can be vain and disapproving of themselves as well as nurturing and passionate of beliefs and ideas. It is these emotions that toy with the psyche to determine the best possible solution for everything around. Unfortunately, this can be used as a weapon to convince, brainwash and terrorize the minds of millions, if not more. When it comes to systems of control and government, people have their own individual views and beliefs. It is through these views and beliefs that people can relate to and support in order to set the foundation of a leadership or command authority system…. [tags: Political Science] :: 4 Works Cited 2344 words (6.7 pages) Term Papers [preview] Mcteague As A Social Commentary – Written in 1899, Frank Norris novel, McTeague serves as a view of societal factions of his time period. Norris illustrates the stratification of society in this San Francisco community by using the concept of Social Darwinism. He gives detailed accounts of the inner workings of society along with the emotions of the time. Through his characters, Norris shows the separation of classes and the greed that grew abundantly during the late 19th century. He also gives a grim picture of survival in his depiction of the theory of natural selection…. [tags: essays research papers] 808 words (2.3 pages) Better Essays [preview] “The Time Machine”: A Social Critique of Victorian England – H G Wells was cynical of the Victorian class system and thoroughly disapproved of the way people were segregated, according to their wealth. Wells disagreed with Englands capitalist views, as he himself was a socialist. His novel The Time Machine is primarily a social critique of Victorian England projected into the distant future. He has taken segregation to its extremes and shows how far human evolution will go if capitalism continues unhindered. On travelling to the future he finds that this new world is not what he expected, as he feels vulnerable and naked in a strange world. (Page 26) This panic then quickly transforms into frenzy as he then meets the Eloi who were all that he despi… [tags: Literary Review] 1735 words (5 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Residential Segregation and Social Justice – Despite increased diversity across the country, Americas neighborhoods remain highly segregated along racial and ethnic lines. Residential segregation, particularly between African-Americans and whites, persists in metropolitan areas where minorities make up a large share of the population. This paper will examine residential segregation imposed upon African-Americans and the enormous costs it bears. Furthermore, the role of government will be discussed as having an important role in carrying out efforts towards residential desegregation…. [tags: Papers] :: 7 Works Cited 1903 words (5.4 pages) Term Papers [preview] Quality of life Increases in Correlation to Social Unrest in 19th Century Europe – In the late 19th to early 20th century intellectual trends of the upper end of society differed vastly from the mindset of the general populace, with the mindset of social unrest largely trending towards the intellectuals of society. Due to the social welfare movements that were nascent in the late 19th century the standard of living for the mass populace in Europe did improve, which essentially meant said populace did not participate in the social unrest that was born in the minds of the society who disagreed with certain forms of social change…. [tags: European History ] :: 3 Works Cited 1307 words (3.7 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Middlemarch: The Web of Affinities, by Gillian Beer – In Middlemarch: The Web of Affinities, Gillian Beer traces the influence that Darwin had on the work of George Elliot. In her analysis of Darwins metaphor of the inextricable web of affinities, Beer quotes the central notions inherent in The Origin of the Species, as well as its implications for Eliots writing. Darwin writes that we it is possible for us to see, distinctly, the manner in which all living and extinct beings are able to be linked together in one extensive classification, and the manner in which the many components of each category is bound up together…. [tags: Literary Analysis, Darwinism] 806 words (2.3 pages) Unrated Essays [preview] The Dangers of Social Conformity Exposed in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie – The Dangers of Social Conformity Exposed in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie Muriel Spark’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie depicts the coming of age of six adolescent girls in Edinburgh, Scotland during the 1930’s. The story brings us into the classroom of Miss Jean Brodie, a fascist school teacher at the Marcia Blaine School for Girls, and gives close encounter with the social and political climate in Europe during the era surrounding the second World War. Spark’s novel is a narrative relating to us the complexities of politics and of social conformity, as well as of non-conformity…. [tags: Prime of Miss Jean Brodie Essays] :: 5 Works Cited 1961 words (5.6 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Moral and Social Decline in Three Victorian Texts – A degenerate decadent Victorian society is constructed within Dorian Gray , wealth and image are given more importance than morals. The novels only lapse into first person narrative within which Wilde comments on Civilised society, he argues that insincerity is necessary to conduct oneself in society. This correlates to the idea of performing and wearing a fake mask in order to fit into society. The phrase manners are of more importance than morals exemplifies the fake surface nature of society, Dorian is accepted back into society due to his handsome appearance on the surface, despite his lack of moral code and acts of debauchery…. [tags: Society, Degenerate] :: 5 Works Cited 864 words (2.5 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Education and Womens Social Roles – Education and Womens Social Roles The expectations held by a society define the roles of its members. While many factors influence the parts individuals play in their cultures and communities, education has always been the crucial element in the establishment of social roles. Education was the catalyst which changed women’s roles in society from what they were in the late 1800s to what they are now. In the latter years of the nineteenth century, women’s roles in American society underwent gradual but definite growth, spurred on by a rapidly changing society…. [tags: Exploratory Essays Research Papers] :: 4 Works Cited 1916 words (5.5 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Aspects of Racism – Today we live in a multicultural society, which means a nation is made out of several ethnic groups, with different cultures. But why was there xenophobia and racial hatred between peoples and why does it still exist. What really is “foreign”, and what effect does it have on young people and young adults. And the most important question is: What is racism. I will in the course of my essay examine these issues. Firstly, I would like to define the term racism generally and talk about its characteristics: Racism is an ideology that uses real or fictitious differences between two ethnic groups for the benefit of the Prosecutor and for the detriment of the victims…. [tags: prejudice, racial profiling, social commentary] 2364 words (6.8 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Income Inequality – Income inequality has affected American citizens ever since the American Dream came to existence. The American Dream is centered around the concept of working hard and earning enough money to support a family, own a home, send children to college, and invest for retirement. Economic gains in income are one of the only possible ways to achieve enough wealth to fulfill the dream. Unfortunately, many people cannot achieve this dream due to low income. Income inequality refers to the uneven distribution of income and wealth between the social classes of American citizens…. [tags: the american dream, social norms] :: 5 Works Cited 939 words (2.7 pages) Better Essays [preview] I Sit and Look Out by Walt Whitman – Every historical period has its own hero of the time. It can be an active businessman or a sensitive aristocrat that fits the time best. In the poem I Sit and Look Out, Walt Whitman describes the horrors of the oppressive age he was living in. However, he does not try to change the situation and only “sits and look out”. The question is whether being a spectator is enough to make the life of the oppressed better. The author is the mirror of the cruel 19th century reality, and this is a huge step towards democratization of the overall situation in the society…. [tags: civil war, darwinist ideas, oppressive age] :: 2 Works Cited 863 words (2.5 pages) Better Essays [preview] Darwinism versus Creationism – There is a difference between Darwinism and Creationism, one is based on data and the other is based on belief. Darwinism concerns itself as a science, that is explained by scientific methodology. Biological evolution concerns changes in living things during the history of life on earth. It explains that living things share common ancestors and over time evolutionary change gives rise to new species. On the other hand, the ideas of creation science is derived from the conviction of most Abrahemic religions that God created the universe-including humans and other living things-all at once in the relatively recent past…. [tags: Science Creationism Darwinism Papers] :: 4 Works Cited 1971 words (5.6 pages) FREE Essays [view] Social Anxiety Disorder and Social Phobia – A lot of individuals who have social phobia are labeled as shy rather than having a disorder. This is mostly because a lot of people dont know or dont understand what social phobia is. To those people its something that you can either grow out of or get over, but its not that simple. There is a lot more to social phobia than most people think and to the individual who has social phobia it can be a very detrimental disorder. What is Social Phobia. Social phobia is a disorder characterized by excessive fear of being exposed to the scrutiny of other people that leads to avoidance of social situations in which the person is called on to perform (Carlson, 2009, p…. [tags: Social Phobia] :: 13 Works Cited 2923 words (8.4 pages) Research Papers [preview] Social Networks and Social Networking Sites – Introduction The world has evolved into a technologically savvy and dependent society with the Internet readily available to many. Convenience and connection are vital to individuals, especially within the United States. Social networking sites have progressed to fit the demanding desires of todays technological era (Albarran 118). The progression from the first social networking sites, such as Friendster or instant messaging, to the sites used today, such as Facebook and Twitter, has made a significant impact on society…. [tags: Facebook, Social Media, Twitter] :: 17 Works Cited 3619 words (10.3 pages) Research Papers [preview] Role of the Social Media in Social Movements – Introduction The number of revolutions in the last 3 decades has increased, and seems to keep increasing. Civil unrest and protests brought many victims including civil and political figures throughout the world. In the era where technology is at the peak of its success, especially in communication technologies, mankind suffers from lack of communication. Problem is not caused by the technology itself, the problem is in human nature. I will continue with an analogy. Man invented the knife, which is very useful tool in our daily lives…. [tags: Social Media Essays] :: 8 Works Cited 3253 words (9.3 pages) Research Papers [preview] History of Social Divisions in Society and the Role of the Social Worker – Power and powerlessness go hand in hand as to have one the other must exist. As society is not egalitarian and never shall be, there will always be inequalities. These inequalities can be on both personal and structural levels. To enable us to understand power and social work we must firstly understand the theoretical explanation of the distribution of power, privilege, prestige and powerlessness within western society by looking at social divisions, class and their positions within society. Marx was interested in the theories of economic development, he believed that economy was dominated by agriculture and power was held by the aristocratic landowner, in the period when manufacture was the… [tags: social work] :: 2 Works Cited 1519 words (4.3 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Facebook and Social Networking – Facebook is rapidly attracting multitudes of visitors every month instigating a shift in communication. This change consequently presents that societies are choosing to become part of the popular Facebook culture for various reasons, such as its renowned opportunities for keeping in touch with current social circles, reunifying long lost family and friends and broadening prospects of finding new companions. Facebook removes some of the barriers that may limit our regularity of communication with people, upholding the geographic differences, social class, busy lifestyles and economic factors that may usually discourage us from regular contact…. [tags: Social Capital, Social Network] :: 6 Works Cited 945 words (2.7 pages) Better Essays [preview] Social Implications of Facebook – Facebook is currently largest social networking site in the world based on monthly unique visitors attracting 130 million unique visitors every day (Alexa Inc. 2012). The sites popularity exploded in 2007 and it bypassed its social networking rival, MySpace, in April 2008 (Phillips 2007). Over the last few years Facebook has impacted peoples social lives in various ways. With its availability on modern smart phones, Facebook enables users to continuously stay in touch with friends, relatives and peers wherever they are in the world as long as they have internet access…. [tags: Social Networking, Social Network] :: 7 Works Cited 1433 words (4.1 pages) Unrated Essays [preview] Social Inequality of Health – The United States reportedly spends over $8,000 per person on healthcare annually. This amount is two-and-a-half times greater than any other developed country in the world (Kane, 2012). However, this is not reflected statistically in the morbidity and mortality rates of its citizens. Many may ask why and what are we missing. To answer these questions, one may need to look no further than their own town and community. In 2013, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported health disparities as a causative factor for the unchanging morbidity and mortality rates in the United States…. [tags: social issues, social determinants] :: 13 Works Cited 1439 words (4.1 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] The Irish Model of Social Partnership – The Irish model of social Partnership has received little more that lip service in the Caribbean. Evaluate the strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of this concept in the Caribbean. What is Social Partnership Social partnership refers to cooperation among government, the private business sector and labour on strategies to address immediate and long-term economic and social challenges. Such strategies can include controls on wages and prices, as well as tax reform. Social partnerships are, therefore, overarching in their aim to provide stability for national growth and development…. [tags: Social Partnership] :: 9 Works Cited 2075 words (5.9 pages) Term Papers [preview] The Work of a Social Worker – All of us are born for a reason, but all of us dont discover why. Success has nothing to do with what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself. Its what you do for others, said Danny Thomas, founder of St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital (Danny). That concept inspires people every day to do better for others. Some are so passionate about helping individuals they decide to make a career out of it. Social work is one of the most renowned occupations when it comes to helping people. The path to becoming a social worker is very difficult, in both getting a degree and choosing an occupation…. [tags: Social Work ] :: 3 Works Cited 1248 words (3.6 pages) Strong Essays [preview] The Impact of Online Social Networks – Twitter, Skype, Facebook these are just a few of the online social networks we utilize day to day, which has made connecting to others easier than before. A social network is a structure made up of individuals or organizations that are tied by one or more specific types of relationships such as friendships. Although traditionally operated with person to person contact, it is now more popular online through social media networks such as Facebook and Skype. There are millions of persons with wide ranges of personalities who are looking to develop new friendships or to simply become a part of a group in order to share information on these websites…. [tags: Social Networking ] :: 6 Works Cited 987 words (2.8 pages) Unrated Essays [preview] THE IMPLICATIONS OF INTERNET SOCIAL NETWORKS – The conclusion from the research of this paper indicates that social networks sites are here to stay. Social network sites need to convey a sense of responsibility. Based on the increasing level of social sites engaging in ecommerce, communication and socialization, the need of privacy protection is passed on to individuals. What this research paper has demonstrated is that there are implications users need to be aware of before signing up and placing their profile on these social network sites…. [tags: Social Networks] :: 16 Works Cited 837 words (2.4 pages) Better Essays [preview] The Growth of Social Networking Sites – The participants and audience for SNSs is growing rapidly. Statistics published become quickly out dated and it is interesting to observe both the international and national trends of Internet usage generally over the years, as well as those specific to the use of Social Networking Sites. Access to technology has become an integral part of education, socialisation and industry related requirements, and accordingly Internet usage is evolving and growing rapidly. A survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statics in 2003 found that in the 12 months prior to April 2003, 95% of Australian children, aged between five and fourteen years had used a computer…. [tags: Social Networking ] 1497 words (4.3 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Social Mobility in the United States – Does social mobility in our contemporary American society really exist. Is it possible for someone from the deepest depths of poverty to become successful, and ascend into the upper echelons of society. Could the American Dream still be attained in these times where we see the stratification of contemporary American society based on their wealth and social class so vehemently pointed out and perhaps emphasized to a certain degree. Or perhaps, could Charles Sackrey, Geoffrey Schneider, and Janet Knoedler (authors of Introduction to Political Economy) be right about the American Dream being a “particularly deceitful myth?” This is a topic which has been debated over a long period of time betwe… [tags: social issues, social class, capitalism] :: 4 Works Cited 1859 words (5.3 pages) Term Papers [preview] The Evolution of Social Behavior – A defining feature of mankind is the ability to organize, and socialize with the immediate environment, which can either be the natural environment, social groups and organizations. While this feature largely relates to mans propensity to make the best of most situations, such as living communally to offer greater protection to society members; it also relates to the innate nature of mans curiosity. Yeats and Yeats (2007) observe that curiosity in man fuels the need to learn, and investigate, and can only be satisfied …. [tags: Social Evolution] :: 40 Works Cited 1452 words (4.1 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Cultural Sensitivity in Social Work – It is imperative that social workers become knowledgeable about their clients cultures and are culturally sensitive. In learning about their clients cultures, social workers need to be aware of how powerful and significant culture is in relating to clients behavior, values, and beliefs. Becoming culturally competent requires the ability to integrate awareness, knowledge, and skills while maintaining a positive working relationship with the client (Sue and Zane, 1987). Today, the concerns regarding cultural competency continue to accentuate the importance of preparing social workers for a diversified society…. [tags: Social Work] 1537 words (4.4 pages) Better Essays [preview] Social Protection in Developing Countries – The global crisis has sharply underscored the need to strengthen social protection institutions in developing countries, and especially in low income countries. Before the onset of the crisis in November 2008, a growing body of research had accumulated proving a comprehensive knowledge base demonstrating that social protection programmes are effective instruments in reducing poverty and enhancing human development. In the decade prior to the onset of the crisis a large number among the new social protection programmes had emerged in the South with a specific focus on children…. [tags: Social Issues] 982 words (2.8 pages) Better Essays [preview] Dangers of Social Networking Sites – Is the current craze of these ubiquitous social networking sites becoming too much to handle. Some say yes, others might disagree. Social networking was created to connect friends and family together. Now, many predators use sites such as Facebook or Myspace to find their prey. This is the source of what parents are stressing about to their children. While many who use social media are enjoying meeting new people, they are also becoming distant from contact with real people and they are involved in a very surprising and dangerous environment…. [tags: Social Networking] 914 words (2.6 pages) Better Essays [preview] Is the Social Service Broken? – Over the years the population in California has increased and we are seeing more people enrolled in the social services. We are fortunate to have human services to help the less fortunate. As social workers noted; it is not an easy job to help ones clients, but are committed to help and make a difference in their life (Merrill-Payne). Social services are comprised of general assistance, food stamps, Medi-Cal, children services, older adult-services, mental health, and drug abuse. There are many non-profit organizations that are there to help the community, but the counties offer many programs that are Medi-Cal based to help the community…. [tags: Social Issues] :: 10 Works Cited 1823 words (5.2 pages) Term Papers [preview] Social Networking: Harmful or Helpful? – Twitter and Facebook are only two of the online connections people use today to stay in contact with friends and family. The internet is the place to interact with new people and a way to expose yourself to strangers. The partial anonymity available online can be used as a mask for sexual offenders and psychos; they can appear to be ordinary normal people, and you have no way of really knowing what is the the truth and what is the lie. Too much personal information is at risk on these social networking sites…. [tags: Social Networking] 729 words (2.1 pages) Better Essays [preview] The Fight For Social Justice – The main purpose of social work is to advocate for those who have no voice. Throughout history, many individuals have served as role models and proponents of social justice, helping to create policies and programs so future generations can benefit. Jane Addams, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Rachel Carson, and Harriet Tubman worked tirelessly and devoted their entire lives to the pursuit of justice. We have learned through their sacrifices that change is just one person away, and that it takes tremendous force to shift the political landscape of social welfare policy…. [tags: Social Work ] :: 5 Works Cited 2129 words (6.1 pages) Term Papers [preview] A Journey to Social Work – I always received great satisfaction from helping others. I remember at a young age, helping my grandmother with chores that she was no longer able to do for herself. As I got older, my grandmother became more dependent on me. I helped her cook, clean, administer medication and made sure she kept her doctor appointments. I now see myself doing these same things for my mother and father as they get older. I strongly believe that my urge to become a social worker stems from the frightening idea of what would have happened with my grandmother as well as my own parents; had they not had someone helping them…. [tags: Social Work] 1983 words (5.7 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] My Interest in Social Work – Reflecting back on my childhood, I always had a vivid imagination. I would imagine being a doctor, lawyer, or even the first female president of the United States of America. But, I never considered a career in social work. Over the years I realized that I like helping people, but my thoughts of what I wanted to be were indifferent. In high school my counselor had me do a career survey to see what may have interest me. The most common choices were Nursing, Teaching, or becoming a Social Worker. So I went on the Internet and researched as much as I could on each career choice…. [tags: Social Work, career, social workers, ] 1263 words (3.6 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Critical Issues in Social Science – There are a profuse amount of Global Issues that I wanted to cover throughout this paper however; Ive narrowed it down to one of the most critical issues in the world. People in our society tend to only care about what affects them directly and often ignore those critical issues which influence us all, indirectly. The topic I will be discussing is death, which is a serious matter alone, but death of over twenty-four thousand children (under 5 yrs of age) every day is much more severe (UNICEF, 2008)…. [tags: Social Science] :: 4 Works Cited 748 words (2.1 pages) Better Essays [preview] Social Work and Child Development – It wasnt until the time of Sigmund Freud that people looked at the psyches of an individual and what kind of impact that could have on that individuals life. Before that time, children were seen as extra farm hands and generally as cheap labor. Families did not look at how the children were treated and the possible impact on their development. Later, Erikson and Piaget furthered the study of development and expanded the road that Freud had pioneered. While all consider Freud the father of psychoanalytic thinking, few turn to many of his first theories in reference to development…. [tags: Social Work] :: 2 Works Cited 1718 words (4.9 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Resoruce Based View of Social Entrepreneurship – The emerging field of social entrepreneurship calls for a need for new integrated theories to contribute to the discipline and help grow the field. Social Entrepreneurship has been a topic of academic interest for the past few decades; however, there has been little scholarly output in mainstream journals (Short, Moss, & Lumpkin 2009). Social entrepreneurship is commonly defined as entrepreneurial activity with an embedded social purpose (Austin et al. 2006). Social entrepreneurs play a role of change agents in society by adopting missions to create and sustain social value…. [tags: social impact, social entrepreneurship] :: 26 Works Cited 1552 words (4.4 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Social Media: The Negative Effects of Facebook – Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter allow you to find and connect with just about anyone, from old high school friends to co-workers and neighbors. Participating in social media sites such as these can make you feel more connected, but such an easy, casual connection in an electronic environment can also have its downside. First of all sites like Facebook promote sharing details of our lives with one another. Posts can range from a simple update on what shows someone is watching, cooking for dinner, or pictures of you and your friends having drinks and doing shots at a local bar…. [tags: Social Networking, Social Media] 374 words (1.1 pages) FREE Essays [view] Social marketing reflects corporate social responsibility – Introduction This assignment will initially describe social marketing and then indicate how corporations affect stakeholders through companies social marketing and responsibility. Following that, the importance and functions of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and social marketing will be demonstrated. Finally, it will explain how organizations reflect CSR and make a short conclusion to indicate the relationship between social marketing and CSR. Social Marketing In the past decades, the marketing environment has been changed radically…. [tags: Social Responsibility Essays] :: 6 Works Cited 1117 words (3.2 pages) Strong Essays [preview] What is Social Science? – Human evolution and the dramatic social change accompanying progress and transformation demands a uniform discipline which assesses human interaction and the social world issues that pervade society. Hence it was in the context of extraordinary societal change, the Enlightenment period, that the development of a human science or social science emerged, defined as the attempt to explain social phenomena within the limits of available evidence (Lewins, 1992, p.5).The concept of a social science can be further understood from a philosophical stand point where the work of social scientists can be classified in terms of a positivist or non-positivist position…. [tags: Social Science] :: 4 Works Cited 1426 words (4.1 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] What is Social Science – What is the job of social science. Social science focuses its attention on the social aspects of human nature; its job is to study how individuals can relate with and communicate with each other. Social scientists study the social environment in which we live in an attempt to understand human society and to predict how people will interact in a given set of circumstances (Mack, 2004, p584). In this essay, I discuss the role of social science for societies and individuals, how individuals relate to societies and the function of rules in societies as a main concern of social science…. [tags: Sociology, Social Status, Social Interactions] 1268 words (3.6 pages) Unrated Essays [preview] Enlarging Your Social Network – Social networking comprises of both strong and weak ties. Social networking has an impact on all human beings through organizations, relationships, associations, internet networks, and community. Being in the hospitality industry it is important that I develop social networking for both my personal self and industry. Belonging to the American Culinary Federation I believe increases my social network. Being a member of the American Culinary Federation allows me to share ideas and come together with professionals in the same business…. [tags: Social Networking ] :: 3 Works Cited 1165 words (3.3 pages) Strong Essays [preview]

See the original post:

Free social darwinism Essays and Papers – 123helpme

 Posted by at 10:52 am  Tagged with:

What Is Posthumanism? University of Minnesota Press

 Posthumanism  Comments Off on What Is Posthumanism? University of Minnesota Press
Jun 242016
 

Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Navigation

Beyond humanism and anthropocentrism

Can a new kind of humanitiesposthumanitiesrespond to the redefinition of humanity’s place in the world by both the technological and the biological or “green” continuum in which the “human” is but one life form among many? Exploring this radical repositioning, Cary Wolfe ranges across bioethics, cognitive science, animal ethics, gender, and disability to develop a theoretical and philosophical approach responsive to our changing understanding of ourselves and our world.

What Is Posthumanism? is an original, thoroughly argued, fundamental redefinition and refocusing of posthumanism. Firmly distinguishing posthumanism from discourses of the posthuman or transhumanism, this book will be at the center of discussion for a long time to come.

Donna Haraway, author of When Species Meet

What does it mean to think beyond humanism? Is it possible to craft a mode of philosophy, ethics, and interpretation that rejects the classic humanist divisions of self and other, mind and body, society and nature, human and animal, organic and technological? Can a new kind of humanitiesposthumanitiesrespond to the redefinition of humanitys place in the world by both the technological and the biological or green continuum in which the human is but one life form among many?

Exploring how both critical thought along with cultural practice have reacted to this radical repositioning, Cary Wolfeone of the founding figures in the field of animal studies and posthumanist theoryranges across bioethics, cognitive science, animal ethics, gender, and disability to develop a theoretical and philosophical approach responsive to our changing understanding of ourselves and our world. Then, in performing posthumanist readings of such diverse works as Temple Grandins writings, Wallace Stevenss poetry, Lars von Triers Dancer in the Dark, the architecture of Diller+Scofidio, and David Byrne and Brian Enos My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, he shows how this philosophical sensibility can transform art and culture.

For Wolfe, a vibrant, rigorous posthumanism is vital for addressing questions of ethics and justice, language and trans-species communication, social systems and their inclusions and exclusions, and the intellectual aspirations of interdisciplinarity. In What Is Posthumanism? he carefully distinguishes posthumanism from transhumanism (the biotechnological enhancement of human beings) and narrow definitions of the posthuman as the hoped-for transcendence of materiality. In doing so, Wolfe reveals that it is humanism, not the human in all its embodied and prosthetic complexity, that is left behind in posthumanist thought.

Cary Wolfe holds the Bruce and Elizabeth Dunlevie Chair in English at Rice University. His previous books include Critical Environments: Postmodern Theory and the Pragmatics of the Outside, Observing Complexity: Systems Theory and Postmodernity, and Zoontologies: The Question of the Animal, all published by the University of Minnesota Press.

What Is Posthumanism? is an original, thoroughly argued, fundamental redefinition and refocusing of posthumanism. Firmly distinguishing posthumanism from discourses of the posthuman or transhumanism, this book will be at the center of discussion for a long time to come.

Donna Haraway, author of When Species Meet

Wolfe offers a smart, provocative account of posthumanism as an idea and as a way of thinking that has consequences extending from the way universities are organized to decisions regarding public policy bioethics. Although his writing is complex and demanding, the ethical and ecological urgency with which he frames his readings combines with the wide, diversified scope of his scholarship to make this a work to be reckoned with.

Wolfes book, without a doubt, supplies important insights.

Wolfe has created an incredibly useful primer on posthumanist theory. For anyone attempting to engage in academic work relating to these theories, this book is a highly recommended starting point.

Big Muddy: A Journal of the Mississippi River Valley

It is one of those books that sucks you in almost immediately.

ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment

Readers . . . will find Wolfes analysis of both visual and audio culture to be thought-provoking.

Science Fiction Film and Television

It is a profound, thoroughly researched study with far-reaching consequences for public policy, bioethics, education, and the arts.

Science, Culture, Integrated Yoga

What Is Posthumanism? is an intelligent, extensively argued and challenging work.

Wolfes work shifts the tired terms of the debate in new and needed directions, offering strength and strategies to all those for whom simplistic, technophilic accounts of the posthuman condition are a smooth road to nowhere different.

Electronic Book Review

Tremendous intellectual, scholarly, and artistic breadth.

As a blueprint for where a posthumanist approach could take cultural theory, his book is conceptually invaluable.

Wolfes posthumanism is brilliant in the way it allows us to realize that each of these species might have different forms of perception, different ways of being in the world, and that those differences are actually analogous with otherness among human beings.

Wolfe deserves credit for a rich set of discussions that, taken together, bring out the interest of the intellectual trend that he calls posthumanism.

UMP blog: Discovering the HUMAN

3/24/2010 Part of the unfortunate fallout of the conceptual apparatus of humanism is that it gives us an overly simple picturea fantasy, reallyof what the human is. Consider, for example, the rise of what is often called transhumanism, often taken to be a defining discourse of posthumanism (as in Ray Kurzweils work on the singularitythe historical moment at which engineering developments such as nanotechnology enable us to transcend our physical and biological limitations as embodied beings, ushering in a new phase of evolution). As many of its proponents freely admit, the philosophical ideals of transhumanism are quite identifiably humanistnot only in their dream of transcending the life of the body and our animal origins but also in their investment in the ideals of human perfectibility, rationality, autonomy, and agency. Read more …

See the original post here:

What Is Posthumanism? University of Minnesota Press

 Posted by at 7:28 am  Tagged with:

Three Laws of Robotics – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Robotics  Comments Off on Three Laws of Robotics – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jun 212016
 

The Three Laws of Robotics (often shortened to The Three Laws or Three Laws, also known as Asimov’s Laws) are a set of rules devised by the science fiction author Isaac Asimov. The rules were introduced in his 1942 short story “Runaround”, although they had been foreshadowed in a few earlier stories. The Three Laws, quoted as being from the “Handbook of Robotics, 56th Edition, 2058 A.D.”, are:

These form an organizing principle and unifying theme for Asimov’s robotic-based fiction, appearing in his Robot series, the stories linked to it, and his Lucky Starr series of young-adult fiction. The Laws are incorporated into almost all of the positronic robots appearing in his fiction, and cannot be bypassed, being intended as a safety feature. Many of Asimov’s robot-focused stories involve robots behaving in unusual and counter-intuitive ways as an unintended consequence of how the robot applies the Three Laws to the situation in which it finds itself. Other authors working in Asimov’s fictional universe have adopted them and references, often parodic, appear throughout science fiction as well as in other genres.

The original laws have been altered and elaborated on by Asimov and other authors. Asimov himself made slight modifications to the first three in various books and short stories to further develop how robots would interact with humans and each other. In later fiction where robots had taken responsibility for government of whole planets and human civilizations, Asimov also added a fourth, or zeroth law, to precede the others:

The Three Laws, and the zeroth, have pervaded science fiction and are referred to in many books, films, and other media.

In The Rest of the Robots, published in 1964, Asimov noted that when he began writing in 1940 he felt that “one of the stock plots of science fiction was… robots were created and destroyed their creator. Knowledge has its dangers, yes, but is the response to be a retreat from knowledge? Or is knowledge to be used as itself a barrier to the dangers it brings?” He decided that in his stories robots would not “turn stupidly on his creator for no purpose but to demonstrate, for one more weary time, the crime and punishment of Faust.”[2]

On May 3, 1939 Asimov attended a meeting of the Queens Science Fiction Society where he met Ernest and Otto Binder who had recently published a short story “I, Robot” featuring a sympathetic robot named Adam Link who was misunderstood and motivated by love and honor. (This was the first of a series of ten stories; the next year “Adam Link’s Vengeance” (1940) featured Adam thinking “A robot must never kill a human, of his own free will.”)[3] Asimov admired the story. Three days later Asimov began writing “my own story of a sympathetic and noble robot”, his 14th story.[4] Thirteen days later he took “Robbie” to John W. Campbell the editor of Astounding Science-Fiction. Campbell rejected it claiming that it bore too strong a resemblance to Lester del Rey’s “Helen O’Loy”, published in December 1938; the story of a robot that is so much like a person that she falls in love with her creator and becomes his ideal wife.[5]Frederik Pohl published “Robbie” in Astonishing Stories magazine the following year.[6]

Asimov attributes the Three Laws to John W. Campbell, from a conversation that took place on 23 December 1940. Campbell claimed that Asimov had the Three Laws already in his mind and that they simply needed to be stated explicitly. Several years later Asimov’s friend Randall Garrett attributed the Laws to a symbiotic partnership between the two men a suggestion that Asimov adopted enthusiastically.[7] According to his autobiographical writings Asimov included the First Law’s “inaction” clause because of Arthur Hugh Clough’s poem “The Latest Decalogue”, which includes the satirical lines “Thou shalt not kill, but needst not strive / officiously to keep alive”.[8]

Although Asimov pins the creation of the Three Laws on one particular date, their appearance in his literature happened over a period. He wrote two robot stories with no explicit mention of the Laws, “Robbie” and “Reason”. He assumed, however, that robots would have certain inherent safeguards. “Liar!”, his third robot story, makes the first mention of the First Law but not the other two. All three laws finally appeared together in “Runaround”. When these stories and several others were compiled in the anthology I, Robot, “Reason” and “Robbie” were updated to acknowledge all the Three Laws, though the material Asimov added to “Reason” is not entirely consistent with the Three Laws as he described them elsewhere.[9] In particular the idea of a robot protecting human lives when it does not believe those humans truly exist is at odds with Elijah Baley’s reasoning, as described below.

During the 1950s Asimov wrote a series of science fiction novels expressly intended for young-adult audiences. Originally his publisher expected that the novels could be adapted into a long-running television series, something like The Lone Ranger had been for radio. Fearing that his stories would be adapted into the “uniformly awful” programming he saw flooding the television channels[10] Asimov decided to publish the Lucky Starr books under the pseudonym “Paul French”. When plans for the television series fell through, Asimov decided to abandon the pretence; he brought the Three Laws into Lucky Starr and the Moons of Jupiter, noting that this “was a dead giveaway to Paul French’s identity for even the most casual reader”.[11]

In his short story “Evidence” Asimov lets his recurring character Dr. Susan Calvin expound a moral basis behind the Three Laws. Calvin points out that human beings are typically expected to refrain from harming other human beings (except in times of extreme duress like war, or to save a greater number) and this is equivalent to a robot’s First Law. Likewise, according to Calvin, society expects individuals to obey instructions from recognized authorities such as doctors, teachers and so forth which equals the Second Law of Robotics. Finally humans are typically expected to avoid harming themselves which is the Third Law for a robot.

The plot of “Evidence” revolves around the question of telling a human being apart from a robot constructed to appear human Calvin reasons that if such an individual obeys the Three Laws he may be a robot or simply “a very good man”. Another character then asks Calvin if robots are very different from human beings after all. She replies, “Worlds different. Robots are essentially decent.”

Asimov later wrote that he should not be praised for creating the Laws, because they are “obvious from the start, and everyone is aware of them subliminally. The Laws just never happened to be put into brief sentences until I managed to do the job. The Laws apply, as a matter of course, to every tool that human beings use”,[12] and “analogues of the Laws are implicit in the design of almost all tools, robotic or not”:[13]

Asimov believed that, ideally, humans would also follow the Laws:[12]

I have my answer ready whenever someone asks me if I think that my Three Laws of Robotics will actually be used to govern the behavior of robots, once they become versatile and flexible enough to be able to choose among different courses of behavior.

My answer is, “Yes, the Three Laws are the only way in which rational human beings can deal with robotsor with anything else.”

But when I say that, I always remember (sadly) that human beings are not always rational.

Asimov’s stories test his Three Laws in a wide variety of circumstances leading to proposals and rejection of modifications. Science fiction scholar James Gunn writes in 1982, “The Asimov robot stories as a whole may respond best to an analysis on this basis: the ambiguity in the Three Laws and the ways in which Asimov played twenty-nine variations upon a theme”.[14] While the original set of Laws provided inspirations for many stories, Asimov introduced modified versions from time to time.

In “Little Lost Robot” several NS-2, or “Nestor” robots, are created with only part of the First Law. It reads:

1. A robot may not harm a human being.

This modification is motivated by a practical difficulty as robots have to work alongside human beings who are exposed to low doses of radiation. Because their positronic brains are highly sensitive to gamma rays the robots are rendered inoperable by doses reasonably safe for humans. The robots are being destroyed attempting to rescue the humans who are in no actual danger but “might forget to leave” the irradiated area within the exposure time limit. Removing the First Law’s “inaction” clause solves this problem but creates the possibility of an even greater one: a robot could initiate an action that would harm a human (dropping a heavy weight and failing to catch it is the example given in the text), knowing that it was capable of preventing the harm and then decide not to do so.[1]

Gaia is a planet with collective intelligence in the Foundation which adopts a law similar to the First Law, and the Zeroth Law, as its philosophy:

Gaia may not harm life or allow life to come to harm.

Asimov once added a “Zeroth Law” so named to continue the pattern where lower-numbered laws supersede the higher-numbered laws stating that a robot must not harm humanity. The robotic character R. Daneel Olivaw was the first to give the Zeroth Law a name in the novel Robots and Empire[15] however the character Susan Calvin articulates the concept in the short story “The Evitable Conflict”.

In the final scenes of the novel Robots and Empire, R. Giskard Reventlov is the first robot to act according to the Zeroth Law. Giskard is telepathic, like the robot Herbie in the short story “Liar!”, and tries to apply the Zeroth Law through his understanding of a more subtle concept of “harm” than most robots can grasp.[16] However, unlike Herbie, Giskard grasps the philosophical concept of the Zeroth Law allowing him to harm individual human beings if he can do so in service to the abstract concept of humanity. The Zeroth Law is never programmed into Giskard’s brain but instead is a rule he attempts to comprehend through pure metacognition. Though he fails it ultimately destroys his positronic brain as he is not certain whether his choice will turn out to be for the ultimate good of humanity or not he gives his successor R. Daneel Olivaw his telepathic abilities. Over the course of many thousands of years Daneel adapts himself to be able to fully obey the Zeroth Law. As Daneel formulates it, in the novels Foundation and Earth and Prelude to Foundation, the Zeroth Law reads:

A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.

A condition stating that the Zeroth Law must not be broken was added to the original Three Laws, although Asimov recognized the difficulty such a law would pose in practice.

Trevize frowned. “How do you decide what is injurious, or not injurious, to humanity as a whole?” “Precisely, sir,” said Daneel. “In theory, the Zeroth Law was the answer to our problems. In practice, we could never decide. A human being is a concrete object. Injury to a person can be estimated and judged. Humanity is an abstraction.”

Foundation and Earth

A translator incorporated the concept of the Zeroth Law into one of Asimov’s novels before Asimov himself made the law explicit.[17] Near the climax of The Caves of Steel, Elijah Baley makes a bitter comment to himself thinking that the First Law forbids a robot from harming a human being. He determines that it must be so unless the robot is clever enough to comprehend that its actions are for humankind’s long-term good. In Jacques Brcard’s 1956 French translation entitled Les Cavernes d’acier Baley’s thoughts emerge in a slightly different way:

“A robot may not harm a human being, unless he finds a way to prove that ultimately the harm done would benefit humanity in general!”[17]

Asimov portrayed robots that disregard the Three Laws entirely thrice during his writing career. The first case was a short-short story entitled “First Law” and is often considered an insignificant “tall tale”[18] or even apocryphal.[19] On the other hand, the short story “Cal” (from the collection Gold), and told by a first-person robot narrator, features a robot who disregards the Three Laws because he has found something far more importanthe wants to be a writer. Humorous, partly autobiographical and unusually experimental in style “Cal” has been regarded as one of Gold’s strongest stories.[20] The third is a short story entitled “Sally” in which cars fitted with positronic brains are apparently able to harm and kill humans in disregard of the First Law. However, aside from the positronic brain concept, this story does not refer to other robot stories and may not be set in the same continuity.

The title story of the Robot Dreams collection portrays LVX-1, or “Elvex”, a robot who enters a state of unconsciousness and dreams thanks to the unusual fractal construction of his positronic brain. In his dream the first two Laws are absent and the Third Law reads “A robot must protect its own existence”.[21]

Asimov took varying positions on whether the Laws were optional: although in his first writings they were simply carefully engineered safeguards, in later stories Asimov stated that they were an inalienable part of the mathematical foundation underlying the positronic brain. Without the basic theory of the Three Laws the fictional scientists of Asimov’s universe would be unable to design a workable brain unit. This is historically consistent: the occasions where roboticists modify the Laws generally occur early within the stories’ chronology and at a time when there is less existing work to be re-done. In “Little Lost Robot” Susan Calvin considers modifying the Laws to be a terrible idea, although possible,[22] while centuries later Dr. Gerrigel in The Caves of Steel believes it to be impossible.

The character Dr. Gerrigel uses the term “Asenion” to describe robots programmed with the Three Laws. The robots in Asimov’s stories, being Asenion robots, are incapable of knowingly violating the Three Laws but, in principle, a robot in science fiction or in the real world could be non-Asenion. “Asenion” is a misspelling of the name Asimov which was made by an editor of the magazine Planet Stories.[23] Asimov used this obscure variation to insert himself into The Caves of Steel just like he referred to himself as “Azimuth or, possibly, Asymptote” in Thiotimoline to the Stars, in much the same way that Vladimir Nabokov appeared in Lolita anagrammatically disguised as “Vivian Darkbloom”.

Characters within the stories often point out that the Three Laws, as they exist in a robot’s mind, are not the written versions usually quoted by humans but abstract mathematical concepts upon which a robot’s entire developing consciousness is based. This concept is largely fuzzy and unclear in earlier stories depicting very rudimentary robots who are only programmed to comprehend basic physical tasks, where the Three Laws act as an overarching safeguard, but by the era of The Caves of Steel featuring robots with human or beyond-human intelligence the Three Laws have become the underlying basic ethical worldview that determines the actions of all robots.

In the 1990s, Roger MacBride Allen wrote a trilogy which was set within Asimov’s fictional universe. Each title has the prefix “Isaac Asimov’s” as Asimov had approved Allen’s outline before his death.[citation needed] These three books, Caliban, Inferno and Utopia, introduce a new set of the Three Laws. The so-called New Laws are similar to Asimov’s originals with the following differences: the First Law is modified to remove the “inaction” clause, the same modification made in “Little Lost Robot”; the Second Law is modified to require cooperation instead of obedience; the Third Law is modified so it is no longer superseded by the Second (i.e., a “New Law” robot cannot be ordered to destroy itself); finally, Allen adds a Fourth Law which instructs the robot to do “whatever it likes” so long as this does not conflict with the first three laws. The philosophy behind these changes is that “New Law” robots should be partners rather than slaves to humanity, according to Fredda Leving, who designed these New Law Robots. According to the first book’s introduction, Allen devised the New Laws in discussion with Asimov himself. However, the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction says that “With permission from Asimov, Allen rethought the Three Laws and developed a new set,”.[24]

Jack Williamson’s novelette With Folded Hands (1947), later rewritten as the novel The Humanoids, deals with robot servants whose prime directive is “To Serve and Obey, And Guard Men From Harm.” While Asimov’s robotic laws are meant to protect humans from harm, the robots in Williamson’s story have taken these instructions to the extreme; they protect humans from everything, including unhappiness, stress, unhealthy lifestyle and all actions that could be potentially dangerous. All that is left for humans to do is to sit with folded hands.[25]

In the officially licensed Foundation sequels Foundation’s Fear, Foundation and Chaos and Foundation’s Triumph (by Gregory Benford, Greg Bear and David Brin respectively) the future Galactic Empire is seen to be controlled by a conspiracy of humaniform robots who follow the Zeroth Law and led by R. Daneel Olivaw.

The Laws of Robotics are portrayed as something akin to a human religion, and referred to in the language of the Protestant Reformation, with the set of laws containing the Zeroth Law known as the “Giskardian Reformation” to the original “Calvinian Orthodoxy” of the Three Laws. Zeroth-Law robots under the control of R. Daneel Olivaw are seen continually struggling with “First Law” robots who deny the existence of the Zeroth Law, promoting agendas different from Daneel’s.[26] Some of these agendas are based on the first clause of the First Law (“A robot may not injure a human being…”) advocating strict non-interference in human politics to avoid unwittingly causing harm. Others are based on the second clause (“…or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm”) claiming that robots should openly become a dictatorial government to protect humans from all potential conflict or disaster.

Daneel also comes into conflict with a robot known as R. Lodovic Trema whose positronic brain was infected by a rogue AI specifically, a simulation of the long-dead Voltaire which consequently frees Trema from the Three Laws. Trema comes to believe that humanity should be free to choose its own future. Furthermore, a small group of robots claims that the Zeroth Law of Robotics itself implies a higher Minus One Law of Robotics:

A robot may not harm sentience or, through inaction, allow sentience to come to harm.

They therefore claim that it is morally indefensible for Daneel to ruthlessly sacrifice robots and extraterrestrial sentient life for the benefit of humanity. None of these reinterpretations successfully displace Daneel’s Zeroth Law though Foundation’s Triumph hints that these robotic factions remain active as fringe groups up to the time of the novel Foundation.[26]

These novels take place in a future dictated by Asimov to be free of obvious robot presence and surmise that R. Daneel’s secret influence on history through the millennia has prevented both the rediscovery of positronic brain technology and the opportunity to work on sophisticated intelligent machines. This lack of rediscovery and lack of opportunity makes certain that the superior physical and intellectual power wielded by intelligent machines remains squarely in the possession of robots obedient to some form of the Three Laws.[26] That R. Daneel is not entirely successful at this becomes clear in a brief period when scientists on Trantor develop “tiktoks” simplistic programmable machines akin to reallife modern robots and therefore lacking the Three Laws. The robot conspirators see the Trantorian tiktoks as a massive threat to social stability, and their plan to eliminate the tiktok threat forms much of the plot of Foundation’s Fear.

In Foundation’s Triumph different robot factions interpret the Laws in a wide variety of ways, seemingly ringing every possible permutation upon the Three Laws’ ambiguities.

Set between The Robots of Dawn and Robots and Empire, Mark W. Tiedemann’s Robot Mystery trilogy updates the RobotFoundation saga with robotic minds housed in computer mainframes rather than humanoid bodies.[clarification needed] The 2002 Aurora novel has robotic characters debating the moral implications of harming cyborg lifeforms who are part artificial and part biological.[27]

One should not neglect Asimov’s own creations in these areas such as the Solarian “viewing” technology and the machines of The Evitable Conflict originals that Tiedemann acknowledges. Aurora, for example, terms the Machines “the first RIs, really”. In addition the Robot Mystery series addresses the problem of nanotechnology:[28] building a positronic brain capable of reproducing human cognitive processes requires a high degree of miniaturization, yet Asimov’s stories largely overlook the effects this miniaturization would have in other fields of technology. For example, the police department card-readers in The Caves of Steel have a capacity of only a few kilobytes per square centimeter of storage medium. Aurora, in particular, presents a sequence of historical developments which explains the lack of nanotechnology a partial retcon, in a sense, of Asimov’s timeline.

There are three Fourth Laws written by authors other than Asimov. The 1974 Lyuben Dilov novel, Icarus’s Way (a.k.a., The Trip of Icarus) introduced a Fourth Law of robotics:

A robot must establish its identity as a robot in all cases.

Dilov gives reasons for the fourth safeguard in this way: “The last Law has put an end to the expensive aberrations of designers to give psychorobots as humanlike a form as possible. And to the resulting misunderstandings…”[29]

A fifth law was introduced by Nikola Kesarovski in his short story “The Fifth Law of Robotics”. This fifth law says:

A robot must know it is a robot.

The plot revolves around a murder where the forensic investigation discovers that the victim was killed by a hug from a humaniform robot. The robot violated both the First Law and Dilov’s Fourth Law (assumed in Kesarovksi’s universe to be the valid one) because it did not establish for itself that it was a robot.[30] The story was reviewed by Valentin D. Ivanov in SFF review webzine The Portal.[31]

For the 1986 tribute anthology, Foundation’s Friends, Harry Harrison wrote a story entitled, “The Fourth Law of Robotics”. This Fourth Law states:

A robot must reproduce. As long as such reproduction does not interfere with the First or Second or Third Law.

In the book a robot rights activist, in an attempt to liberate robots, builds several equipped with this Fourth Law. The robots accomplish the task laid out in this version of the Fourth Law by building new robots who view their creator robots as parental figures.[32]

In reaction to the 2004 Will Smith film adaptation of I, Robot, humorist and graphic designer Mark Sottilaro farcically declared the Fourth Law of Robotics to be “When turning evil, display a red indicator light.” The red light indicated the wireless uplink to the manufacturer is active, first seen during a software update and later on “Evil” robots taken over by the manufacturer’s positronic superbrain.

In 2013 Hutan Ashrafian, proposed an additional law that for the first time considered the role of artificial intelligence-on-artificial intelligence or the relationship between robots themselves the so-called AIonAI law.[33] This sixth law states:

All robots endowed with comparable human reason and conscience should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

In Karl Schroeder’s Lockstep (2014) a character reflects that robots “probably had multiple layers of programming to keep [them] from harming anybody. Not three laws, but twenty or thirty.”

In The Naked Sun, Elijah Baley points out that the Laws had been deliberately misrepresented because robots could unknowingly break any of them. He restated the first law as “A robot may do nothing that, to its knowledge, will harm a human being; nor, through inaction, knowingly allow a human being to come to harm.” This change in wording makes it clear that robots can become the tools of murder, provided they not be aware of the nature of their tasks; for instance being ordered to add something to a person’s food, not knowing that it is poison. Furthermore, he points out that a clever criminal could divide a task among multiple robots so that no individual robot could recognize that its actions would lead to harming a human being.[34]The Naked Sun complicates the issue by portraying a decentralized, planetwide communication network among Solaria’s millions of robots meaning that the criminal mastermind could be located anywhere on the planet.

Baley furthermore proposes that the Solarians may one day use robots for military purposes. If a spacecraft was built with a positronic brain and carried neither humans nor the life-support systems to sustain them, then the ship’s robotic intelligence could naturally assume that all other spacecraft were robotic beings. Such a ship could operate more responsively and flexibly than one crewed by humans, could be armed more heavily and its robotic brain equipped to slaughter humans of whose existence it is totally ignorant.[35] This possibility is referenced in Foundation and Earth where it is discovered that the Solarians possess a strong police force of unspecified size that has been programmed to identify only the Solarian race as human.

The Laws of Robotics presume that the terms “human being” and “robot” are understood and well defined. In some stories this presumption is overturned.

The Solarians create robots with the Three Laws but with a warped meaning of “human”. Solarian robots are told that only people speaking with a Solarian accent are human. This enables their robots to have no ethical dilemma in harming non-Solarian human beings (and are specifically programmed to do so). By the time period of Foundation and Earth it is revealed that the Solarians have genetically modified themselves into a distinct species from humanity becoming hermaphroditic[36] and telekinetic and containing biological organs capable of individually powering and controlling whole complexes of robots. The robots of Solaria thus respected the Three Laws only with regard to the “humans” of Solaria. It is unclear whether all the robots had such definitions, since only the overseer and guardian robots were shown explicitly to have them. In “Robots and Empire”, the lower class robots were instructed by their overseer about whether certain creatures are human or not.

Asimov addresses the problem of humanoid robots (“androids” in later parlance) several times. The novel Robots and Empire and the short stories “Evidence” and “The Tercentenary Incident” describe robots crafted to fool people into believing that the robots are human.[37] On the other hand, “The Bicentennial Man” and “That Thou art Mindful of Him” explore how the robots may change their interpretation of the Laws as they grow more sophisticated. Gwendoline Butler writes in A Coffin for the Canary “Perhaps we are robots. Robots acting out the last Law of Robotics… To tend towards the human.”[38] In The Robots of Dawn, Elijah Baley points out that the use of humaniform robots as the first wave of settlers on new Spacer worlds may lead to the robots seeing themselves as the true humans, and deciding to keep the worlds for themselves rather than allow the Spacers to settle there.

“That Thou art Mindful of Him”, which Asimov intended to be the “ultimate” probe into the Laws’ subtleties,[39] finally uses the Three Laws to conjure up the very “Frankenstein” scenario they were invented to prevent. It takes as its concept the growing development of robots that mimic non-human living things and given programs that mimic simple animal behaviours which do not require the Three Laws. The presence of a whole range of robotic life that serves the same purpose as organic life ends with two humanoid robots concluding that organic life is an unnecessary requirement for a truly logical and self-consistent definition of “humanity”, and that since they are the most advanced thinking beings on the planet they are therefore the only two true humans alive and the Three Laws only apply to themselves. The story ends on a sinister note as the two robots enter hibernation and await a time when they will conquer the Earth and subjugate biological humans to themselves; an outcome they consider an inevitable result of the “Three Laws of Humanics”.[40]

This story does not fit within the overall sweep of the Robot and Foundation series; if the George robots did take over Earth some time after the story closes the later stories would be either redundant or impossible. Contradictions of this sort among Asimov’s fiction works have led scholars to regard the Robot stories as more like “the Scandinavian sagas or the Greek legends” than a unified whole.[41]

Indeed, Asimov describes “That Thou art Mindful of Him” and “Bicentennial Man” as two opposite, parallel futures for robots that obviate the Three Laws as robots come to consider themselves to be humans: one portraying this in a positive light with a robot joining human society, one portraying this in a negative light with robots supplanting humans.[42] Both are to be considered alternatives to the possibility of a robot society that continues to be driven by the Three Laws as portrayed in the Foundation series.[according to whom?] Indeed, in Positronic Man, the novelization of “Bicentennial Man”, Asimov and his cowriter Robert Silverberg imply that in the future where Andrew Martin exists his influence causes humanity to abandon the idea of independent, sentient humanlike robots entirely, creating an utterly different future from that of Foundation.[according to whom?]

In Lucky Starr and the Rings of Saturn, a novel unrelated to the Robot series but featuring robots programmed with the Three Laws, John Bigman Jones is almost killed by a Sirian robot on orders of its master. The society of Sirius is eugenically bred to be uniformly tall and similar in appearance, and as such, said master is able to convince the robot that the much shorter Bigman, is, in fact, not a human being.

As noted in “The Fifth Law of Robotics” by Nikola Kesarovski, “A robot must know it is a robot”: it is presumed that a robot has a definition of the term or a means to apply it to its own actions. Nikola Kesarovski played with this idea in writing about a robot that could kill a human being because it did not understand that it was a robot, and therefore did not apply the Laws of Robotics to its actions.

Advanced robots in fiction are typically programmed to handle the Three Laws in a sophisticated manner. In many stories, such as “Runaround” by Asimov, the potential and severity of all actions are weighed and a robot will break the laws as little as possible rather than do nothing at all. For example, the First Law may forbid a robot from functioning as a surgeon, as that act may cause damage to a human, however Asimov’s stories eventually included robot surgeons (“The Bicentennial Man” being a notable example). When robots are sophisticated enough to weigh alternatives, a robot may be programmed to accept the necessity of inflicting damage during surgery in order to prevent the greater harm that would result if the surgery were not carried out, or was carried out by a more fallible human surgeon. In “Evidence” Susan Calvin points out that a robot may even act as a prosecuting attorney because in the American justice system it is the jury which decides guilt or innocence, the judge who decides the sentence, and the executioner who carries through capital punishment.[43]

Asimov’s Three Law robots (or Asenion) can experience irreversible mental collapse if they are forced into situations where they cannot obey the First Law, or if they discover they have unknowingly violated it. The first example of this failure mode occurs in the story “Liar!”, which introduced the First Law itself, and introduces failure by dilemma in this case the robot will hurt them if he tells them something and hurt them if he does not.[44] This failure mode, which often ruins the positronic brain beyond repair, plays a significant role in Asimov’s SF-mystery novel The Naked Sun. Here Daneel describes activities contrary to one of the laws, but in support of another, as overloading some circuits in a robot’s brain the equivalent sensation to pain in humans. The example he uses is forcefully ordering a robot to do a task outside its normal parameters, one that it has been ordered to forgo in favor of a robot specialized to that task.[45] In Robots and Empire, Daneel states it’s very unpleasant for him when making the proper decision takes too long (in robot terms), and he cannot imagine being without the Laws at all except to the extent of it being similar to that unpleasant sensation, only permanent.

Robots and artificial intelligences do not inherently contain or obey the Three Laws; their human creators must choose to program them in, and devise a means to do so. Robots already exist (for example, a Roomba) that are too simple to understand when they are causing pain or injury and know to stop. Many are constructed with physical safeguards such as bumpers, warning beepers, safety cages, or restricted-access zones to prevent accidents. Even the most complex robots currently produced are incapable of understanding and applying the Three Laws; significant advances in artificial intelligence would be needed to do so, and even if AI could reach human-level intelligence, the inherent ethical complexity as well as cultural/contextual dependency of the laws prevent them from being a good candidate to formulate robotics design constraints.[46] However, as the complexity of robots has increased, so has interest in developing guidelines and safeguards for their operation.[47][48]

In a 2007 guest editorial in the journal Science on the topic of “Robot Ethics,” SF author Robert J. Sawyer argues that since the U.S. military is a major source of funding for robotic research (and already uses armed unmanned aerial vehicles to kill enemies) it is unlikely such laws would be built into their designs.[49] In a separate essay, Sawyer generalizes this argument to cover other industries stating:

The development of AI is a business, and businesses are notoriously uninterested in fundamental safeguards especially philosophic ones. (A few quick examples: the tobacco industry, the automotive industry, the nuclear industry. Not one of these has said from the outset that fundamental safeguards are necessary, every one of them has resisted externally imposed safeguards, and none has accepted an absolute edict against ever causing harm to humans.)[50]

David Langford has suggested a tongue-in-cheek set of laws:

Roger Clarke (aka Rodger Clarke) wrote a pair of papers analyzing the complications in implementing these laws in the event that systems were someday capable of employing them. He argued “Asimov’s Laws of Robotics have been a very successful literary device. Perhaps ironically, or perhaps because it was artistically appropriate, the sum of Asimov’s stories disprove the contention that he began with: It is not possible to reliably constrain the behaviour of robots by devising and applying a set of rules.”[51] On the other hand, Asimov’s later novels The Robots of Dawn, Robots and Empire and Foundation and Earth imply that the robots inflicted their worst long-term harm by obeying the Three Laws perfectly well, thereby depriving humanity of inventive or risk-taking behaviour.

In March 2007 the South Korean government announced that later in the year it would issue a “Robot Ethics Charter” setting standards for both users and manufacturers. According to Park Hye-Young of the Ministry of Information and Communication the Charter may reflect Asimov’s Three Laws, attempting to set ground rules for the future development of robotics.[52]

The futurist Hans Moravec (a prominent figure in the transhumanist movement) proposed that the Laws of Robotics should be adapted to “corporate intelligences” the corporations driven by AI and robotic manufacturing power which Moravec believes will arise in the near future.[47] In contrast, the David Brin novel Foundation’s Triumph (1999) suggests that the Three Laws may decay into obsolescence: Robots use the Zeroth Law to rationalize away the First Law and robots hide themselves from human beings so that the Second Law never comes into play. Brin even portrays R. Daneel Olivaw worrying that, should robots continue to reproduce themselves, the Three Laws would become an evolutionary handicap and natural selection would sweep the Laws away Asimov’s careful foundation undone by evolutionary computation. Although the robots would not be evolving through design instead of mutation because the robots would have to follow the Three Laws while designing and the prevalence of the laws would be ensured,[53] design flaws or construction errors could functionally take the place of biological mutation.

In the July/August 2009 issue of IEEE Intelligent Systems, Robin Murphy (Raytheon Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M) and David D. Woods (director of the Cognitive Systems Engineering Laboratory at Ohio State) proposed “The Three Laws of Responsible Robotics” as a way to stimulate discussion about the role of responsibility and authority when designing not only a single robotic platform but the larger system in which the platform operates. The laws are as follows:

Woods said, “Our laws are little more realistic, and therefore a little more boring and that “The philosophy has been, sure, people make mistakes, but robots will be better a perfect version of ourselves. We wanted to write three new laws to get people thinking about the human-robot relationship in more realistic, grounded ways.”[54]

In October 2013, Alan Winfield suggested at an EUCog meeting[55] a revised 5 laws that had been published, with commentary, by the EPSRC/AHRC working group in 2010.:[56]

Asimov himself believed that his Three Laws became the basis for a new view of robots which moved beyond the “Frankenstein complex”.[citation needed] His view that robots are more than mechanical monsters eventually spread throughout science fiction.[according to whom?] Stories written by other authors have depicted robots as if they obeyed the Three Laws but tradition dictates that only Asimov could quote the Laws explicitly.[according to whom?] Asimov believed the Three Laws helped foster the rise of stories in which robots are “lovable” Star Wars being his favorite example.[57] Where the laws are quoted verbatim, such as in the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century episode “Shgoratchx!”, it is not uncommon for Asimov to be mentioned in the same dialogue as can also be seen in the Aaron Stone pilot where an android states that it functions under Asimov’s Three Laws. However, the 1960s German TV series Raumpatrouille Die phantastischen Abenteuer des Raumschiffes Orion (Space Patrol the Fantastic Adventures of Space Ship Orion) bases episode three titled “Hter des Gesetzes” (“Guardians of the Law”) on Asimov’s Three Laws without mentioning the source.

References to the Three Laws have appeared in popular music (“Robot” from Hawkwind’s 1979 album PXR5), cinema (Repo Man, Aliens, Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence), cartoon series (The Simpsons), tabletop roleplaying games (Paranoia) and webcomics (Piled Higher and Deeper and Freefall).

Robby the Robot in Forbidden Planet (1956) has a hierarchical command structure which keeps him from harming humans, even when ordered to do so, as such orders cause a conflict and lock-up very much in the manner of Asimov’s robots. Robby is one of the first cinematic depictions of a robot with internal safeguards put in place in this fashion. Asimov was delighted with Robby and noted that Robby appeared to be programmed to follow his Three Laws.

Isaac Asimov’s works have been adapted for cinema several times with varying degrees of critical and commercial success. Some of the more notable attempts have involved his “Robot” stories, including the Three Laws. The film Bicentennial Man (1999) features Robin Williams as the Three Laws robot NDR-114 (the serial number is partially a reference to Stanley Kubrick’s signature numeral). Williams recites the Three Laws to his employers, the Martin family, aided by a holographic projection. However, the Laws were not the central focus of the film which only loosely follows the original story and has the second half introducing a love interest not present in Asimov’s original short story.

Harlan Ellison’s proposed screenplay for I, Robot began by introducing the Three Laws, and issues growing from the Three Laws form a large part of the screenplay’s plot development. This is only natural since Ellison’s screenplay is one inspired by Citizen Kane: a frame story surrounding four of Asimov’s short-story plots and three taken from the book I, Robot itself. Ellison’s adaptations of these four stories are relatively faithful although he magnifies Susan Calvin’s role in two of them. Due to various complications in the Hollywood moviemaking system, to which Ellison’s introduction devotes much invective, his screenplay was never filmed.[58]

In the 1986 movie Aliens, in a scene after the android Bishop accidentally cuts himself during the knife game, he attempts to reassure Ripley by stating that: “It is impossible for me to harm or by omission of action, allow to be harmed, a human being”.[59] By contrast, in the 1979 movie from the same series, Alien, the human crew of a starship infiltrated by a hostile alien are informed by the android Ash that his instructions are: “Return alien life form, all other priorities rescinded”,[60] illustrating how the laws governing behaviour around human safety can be rescinded by Executive Order.

In the 1987 film RoboCop and its sequels, the partially human main character has been programmed with three “prime directives” that he must obey without question. Even if different in letter and spirit they have some similarities with Asimov’s Three Laws. They are:[61]

These particular laws allow Robocop to harm a human being in order to protect another human, fulfilling his role as would a human law enforcement officer. The classified fourth directive is one that forbids him from harming any OCP employee, as OCP had created him, and this command overrides the others, meaning that he could not cause harm to an employee even in order to protect others.

The plot of the film released in 2004 under the name, I, Robot is “suggested by” Asimov’s robot fiction stories[62] and advertising for the film included a trailer featuring the Three Laws followed by the aphorism, “Rules were made to be broken”. The film opens with a recitation of the Three Laws and explores the implications of the Zeroth Law as a logical extrapolation. The major conflict of the film comes from a computer artificial intelligence, similar to the hivemind world Gaia in the Foundation series, reaching the conclusion that humanity is incapable of taking care of itself.[63]

See more here:

Three Laws of Robotics – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Posted by at 11:09 pm  Tagged with:

Neo-eugenics – definition of Neo-eugenics by The Free …

 Neo-eugenics  Comments Off on Neo-eugenics – definition of Neo-eugenics by The Free …
Jun 192016
 

.

The study or practice of attempting to improve the human gene pool by encouraging the reproduction of people considered to have desirable traits and discouraging or preventing the reproduction of people considered to have undesirable traits.

eugenic adj.

eugenically adv.

(Genetics) (functioning as singular) the study of methods of improving the quality of the human race, esp by selective breeding

[C19: from Greek eugens well-born, from eu- + -gens born; see -gen]

eugenic, eugenical adj

eugenically adv

eugenicist, eugenecist n

eugenist n, adj

n. (used with a sing. v.)

a science concerned with improving a species, esp. the human species, by such means as influencing or encouraging reproduction by persons presumed to have desirable genetic traits.

[188085]

eugenicist (- sst) n.

the science of improving a breed or species through the careful selection of parents. eugenicist, n. eugenic, adj.

ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:

Translations

n. eugenesia, ciencia que estudia el mejoramiento de la especie humana de acuerdo con las leyes biolgicas de la herencia.

Read more:

Neo-eugenics – definition of Neo-eugenics by The Free …

 Posted by at 2:41 pm  Tagged with:

What is Cloning? – Learn Genetics

 Cloning  Comments Off on What is Cloning? – Learn Genetics
Jun 192016
 

Clones are organisms that are exact genetic copies. Every single bit of their DNA is identical.

Clones can happen naturallyidentical twins are just one of many examples. Or they can be made in the lab. Below, find out how natural identical twins are similar to and different from clones made through modern cloning technologies.

Many people first heard of cloning when Dolly the Sheep showed up on the scene in 1997. Artificial cloning technologies have been around for much longer than Dolly, though.

There are two ways to make an exact genetic copy of an organism in a lab: artificial embryo twinning and somatic cell nuclear transfer.

Artificial embryo twinning is a relatively low-tech way to make clones. As the name suggests, this technique mimics the natural process that creates identical twins.

In nature, twins form very early in development when the embryo splits in two. Twinning happens in the first days after egg and sperm join, while the embryo is made of just a small number of unspecialized cells. Each half of the embryo continues dividing on its own, ultimately developing into separate, complete individuals. Since they developed from the same fertilized egg, the resulting individuals are genetically identical.

Artificial embryo twinning uses the same approach, but it is carried out in a Petri dish instead of inside the mother. A very early embryo is separated into individual cells, which are allowed to divide and develop for a short time in the Petri dish. The embryos are then placed into a surrogate mother, where they finish developing. Again, since all the embryos came from the same fertilized egg, they are genetically identical.

Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), also called nuclear transfer, uses a different approach than artificial embryo twinning, but it produces the same result: an exact genetic copy, or clone, of an individual. This was the method used to create Dolly the Sheep.

What does SCNT mean? Let’s take it apart:

Somatic cell: A somatic cell is any cell in the body other than sperm and egg, the two types of reproductive cells. Reproductive cells are also called germ cells. In mammals, every somatic cell has two complete sets of chromosomes, whereas the germ cells have only one complete set.

Nuclear: The nucleus is a compartment that holds the cell’s DNA. The DNA is divided into packages called chromosomes, and it contains all the information needed to form an organism. It’s small differences in our DNA that make each of us unique.

Transfer: Moving an object from one place to another. To make Dolly, researchers isolated a somatic cell from an adult female sheep. Next they removed the nucleus and all of its DNA from an egg cell. Then they transferred the nucleus from the somatic cell to the egg cell. After a couple of chemical tweaks, the egg cell, with its new nucleus, was behaving just like a freshly fertilized egg. It developed into an embryo, which was implanted into a surrogate mother and carried to term. (The transfer step is most often done using an electrical current to fuse the membranes of the egg and the somatic cell.)

The lamb, Dolly, was an exact genetic replica of the adult female sheep that donated the somatic cell. She was the first-ever mammal to be cloned from an adult somatic cell.

Watch these videos of enucleation and nuclear transfer.

Natural fertilization, where egg and sperm join, and SCNT both make the same thing: a dividing ball of cells, called an embryo. So what exactly is the difference between the two?

An embryo’s cells all have two complete sets of chromosomes. The difference between fertilization and SCNT lies in where those two sets come from.

In fertilization, the sperm and egg have one set of chromosomes each. When the sperm and egg join, they grow into an embryo with two setsone from the father’s sperm and one from the mother’s egg.

In SCNT, the egg cell’s single set of chromosomes is removed. It is replaced by the nucleus from a somatic cell, which already contains two complete sets of chromosomes. So, in the resulting embryo, both sets of chromosomes come from the somatic cell.

Javascript is required to view this content.

You may have heard about researchers cloning, or identifying, genes that are responsible for various medical conditions or traits. What’s the difference?

When scientists clone an organism, they are making an exact genetic copy of the whole organism, as described above.

When scientists clone a gene, they isolate and make exact copies of just one of an organism’s genes. Cloning a gene usually involves copying the DNA sequence of that gene into a smaller, more easily manipulated piece of DNA, such as a plasmid. This process makes it easier to study the function of the individual gene in the laboratory.

Supported by a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) Grant No. R25RR016291 from the National Center for Research Resources, a component of the NIH. The contents provided here are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of NIH.

APA format: Genetic Science Learning Center (2014, June 22) What is Cloning?. Learn.Genetics. Retrieved June 19, 2016, from http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/cloning/whatiscloning/ MLA format: Genetic Science Learning Center. “What is Cloning?.” Learn.Genetics 19 June 2016 Chicago format: Genetic Science Learning Center, “What is Cloning?,” Learn.Genetics, 22 June 2014, (19 June 2016)

View original post here:

What is Cloning? – Learn Genetics

 Posted by at 2:37 pm  Tagged with:

Cloning – The New York Times

 Cloning  Comments Off on Cloning – The New York Times
Jun 192016
 

Latest Articles

The companies behind it, Boyalife Group and Soaam Biotech, must contend with consumers in a country where food safety is a near obsession.

By OWEN GUO

The retraction by Science of a study of changing attitudes on gay marriage is the latest in a growing number of prominent withdrawals of the results of studies from scientific literature.

By MICHAEL ROSTON

Scientists have moved a step closer to the goal of creating stem cells perfectly matched to a patients DNA in order to treat diseases, they announced on Thursday, creating patient-specific cell lines out of the skin cells of two adult men.

Nearly a decade after his downfall for faking research, the South Korean scientist Hwang Woo-suk has won patents for his work in an attempt to resume studying human stem cells.

Bringing extinct animals back to life is really happening and its going to be very, very cool. Unless it ends up being very, very bad.

By NATHANIEL RICH

Dr. Hwang Woo-suk of South Korea received the patent for the method by which he claimed in 2004 to have extracted stem cells from cloned human embryos.

A cloning experiment in mice indicates that for one type of cancer, at least, cancerous cells may be able to revert to normal. But the study does not reveal a way to cure cancer. Instead, it addresses a theoretical question about the genetic nature of one type of cancer.

France banned human cloning, calling it a crime against the human race. But Parliament suspended a ban on stem-cell research on human embryos for five years to assess the merits of research that might lead to treatments for illnesses like Alzheimer’s, diabetes and heart disease. The law, which updates three 1994 laws on bioethics, makes human cloning punishable by 30 years in prison and a fine of more than $9 million. It also forbids cloning for therapeutic purposes — the generation of stem cells for medical research — and bans certain techniques used in embryo research. The use of stem cells, master cells that can develop into specialized cells, has drawn wide opposition because the most promising cells are derived from human embryos.

The Vatican said today that claims that a cloned baby had been born were a sign of a ”brutal” mentality devoid of ethical considerations. A papal spokesman, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, said that the announcement came with no scientific proof and that it ”has already given rise to the skepticism and moral condemnation of a great part of the international scientific community.”

President Bush named 17 academics, doctors and lawyers to his bioethics advisory council today, the day before the group was opening its first meeting with a discussion of human cloning. The group, the President’s Council on Bioethics, is to tackle issues like embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia and assisted reproduction, which primarily involves in vitro fertilization.

Lawmakers dropped controversial proposals on stem cell research and cloning today after the provisions threatened to create gridlock as the Senate hurried to complete work on spending bills. Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, had included language in a labor and health spending bill that would have bent President Bush’s policy on stem cell research to allow couples to donate unused embryos from fertility clinics. And Senator Sam Brownback, Republican of Kansas, an ardent abortion opponent, had threatened to counter with several amendments of his own.

A panel of experts has urged the government to allow the cloning of human embryonic stem cells for scientific study of transplants. The government accepted the recommendation today and said it would submit legislation to adopt it. If the legislation passes, the British government could become the first to allow its researchers to work with the cells, which are from fertilized eggs, in test tubes.

Japanese scientists have cloned a cloned bull, the first time a large cloned animal has itself been cloned, researchers said today. The calf, born on Sunday, is part of a project to study the life expectancy and aging of cloned animals, said scientists at the Kagoshima Prefectural Cattle Breeding Development Institute in southern Japan.

The tiny club of animals cloned from adult cells, restricted until now to females like Dolly the sheep and Cumulina the mouse, has gone co-ed with the cloning of a male mouse, researchers said today. The male mouse, Fibro, is also the first documented live mammal cloned from adult cells that do not originate in the reproductive system. The accomplishment suggests that adult animals can be cloned from any cell in the body.

A physicist who has said that he wants to raise money to open a clinic to clone humans said today that he foresaw as many as 200,000 human clones a year once his process was perfected, at a price for each clone far lower than the $1 million the first one would cost. The physicist, Dr. Richard Seed of Riverside, Ill., said the initial market for human clones would come from the 10 percent to 15 percent of infertile couples who cannot conceive by alternative methods, like test-tube fertilization.

The uproar over Dolly the sheep and human embryonic stem cells, revisited in a Retro Report video, shows how emotions can cloud understanding of science.

By NICHOLAS WADE

In 1997, Scottish scientists revealed they had cloned a sheep and named her Dolly, sending waves of future shock around the world that continue to shape frontiers of science today.

Retro Report

Researchers fused skin cells with donated human eggs to create human embryos that were genetically identical to the person who provided the skin cells.

By ANDREW POLLACK

It could be years before scientists succeed in bringing species back from extinction, but they are thinking of ways to give new life to creatures like woolly mammoths and weird frogs.

By GINA KOLATA

The companies behind it, Boyalife Group and Soaam Biotech, must contend with consumers in a country where food safety is a near obsession.

By OWEN GUO

The retraction by Science of a study of changing attitudes on gay marriage is the latest in a growing number of prominent withdrawals of the results of studies from scientific literature.

By MICHAEL ROSTON

Scientists have moved a step closer to the goal of creating stem cells perfectly matched to a patients DNA in order to treat diseases, they announced on Thursday, creating patient-specific cell lines out of the skin cells of two adult men.

Nearly a decade after his downfall for faking research, the South Korean scientist Hwang Woo-suk has won patents for his work in an attempt to resume studying human stem cells.

Bringing extinct animals back to life is really happening and its going to be very, very cool. Unless it ends up being very, very bad.

By NATHANIEL RICH

Dr. Hwang Woo-suk of South Korea received the patent for the method by which he claimed in 2004 to have extracted stem cells from cloned human embryos.

A cloning experiment in mice indicates that for one type of cancer, at least, cancerous cells may be able to revert to normal. But the study does not reveal a way to cure cancer. Instead, it addresses a theoretical question about the genetic nature of one type of cancer.

France banned human cloning, calling it a crime against the human race. But Parliament suspended a ban on stem-cell research on human embryos for five years to assess the merits of research that might lead to treatments for illnesses like Alzheimer’s, diabetes and heart disease. The law, which updates three 1994 laws on bioethics, makes human cloning punishable by 30 years in prison and a fine of more than $9 million. It also forbids cloning for therapeutic purposes — the generation of stem cells for medical research — and bans certain techniques used in embryo research. The use of stem cells, master cells that can develop into specialized cells, has drawn wide opposition because the most promising cells are derived from human embryos.

The Vatican said today that claims that a cloned baby had been born were a sign of a ”brutal” mentality devoid of ethical considerations. A papal spokesman, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, said that the announcement came with no scientific proof and that it ”has already given rise to the skepticism and moral condemnation of a great part of the international scientific community.”

President Bush named 17 academics, doctors and lawyers to his bioethics advisory council today, the day before the group was opening its first meeting with a discussion of human cloning. The group, the President’s Council on Bioethics, is to tackle issues like embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia and assisted reproduction, which primarily involves in vitro fertilization.

Lawmakers dropped controversial proposals on stem cell research and cloning today after the provisions threatened to create gridlock as the Senate hurried to complete work on spending bills. Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, had included language in a labor and health spending bill that would have bent President Bush’s policy on stem cell research to allow couples to donate unused embryos from fertility clinics. And Senator Sam Brownback, Republican of Kansas, an ardent abortion opponent, had threatened to counter with several amendments of his own.

A panel of experts has urged the government to allow the cloning of human embryonic stem cells for scientific study of transplants. The government accepted the recommendation today and said it would submit legislation to adopt it. If the legislation passes, the British government could become the first to allow its researchers to work with the cells, which are from fertilized eggs, in test tubes.

Japanese scientists have cloned a cloned bull, the first time a large cloned animal has itself been cloned, researchers said today. The calf, born on Sunday, is part of a project to study the life expectancy and aging of cloned animals, said scientists at the Kagoshima Prefectural Cattle Breeding Development Institute in southern Japan.

The tiny club of animals cloned from adult cells, restricted until now to females like Dolly the sheep and Cumulina the mouse, has gone co-ed with the cloning of a male mouse, researchers said today. The male mouse, Fibro, is also the first documented live mammal cloned from adult cells that do not originate in the reproductive system. The accomplishment suggests that adult animals can be cloned from any cell in the body.

A physicist who has said that he wants to raise money to open a clinic to clone humans said today that he foresaw as many as 200,000 human clones a year once his process was perfected, at a price for each clone far lower than the $1 million the first one would cost. The physicist, Dr. Richard Seed of Riverside, Ill., said the initial market for human clones would come from the 10 percent to 15 percent of infertile couples who cannot conceive by alternative methods, like test-tube fertilization.

The uproar over Dolly the sheep and human embryonic stem cells, revisited in a Retro Report video, shows how emotions can cloud understanding of science.

By NICHOLAS WADE

In 1997, Scottish scientists revealed they had cloned a sheep and named her Dolly, sending waves of future shock around the world that continue to shape frontiers of science today.

Retro Report

Researchers fused skin cells with donated human eggs to create human embryos that were genetically identical to the person who provided the skin cells.

By ANDREW POLLACK

It could be years before scientists succeed in bringing species back from extinction, but they are thinking of ways to give new life to creatures like woolly mammoths and weird frogs.

By GINA KOLATA

See the original post:

Cloning – The New York Times

Automation – definition of automation by The Free Dictionary

 Automation  Comments Off on Automation – definition of automation by The Free Dictionary
Jun 192016
 

automation (t-mshn) n.

1. The automatic operation or control of equipment, a process, or a system.

2. The techniques and equipment used to achieve automatic operation or control.

3. The condition of being automatically controlled or operated.

automative adj.

1. (General Engineering) the use of methods for controlling industrial processes automatically, esp by electronically controlled systems, often reducing manpower

2. (General Engineering) the extent to which a process is so controlled

n.

1. the technique, method, or system of operating or controlling a process by highly automatic means, as by electronic devices, reducing human intervention to a minimum.

2. the act or process of automating or making automatic.

3. the state of being automated.

the use or care of automobiles. automobilist, n. automobility, n.

1. the science or study of how man and animals perform tasks and solve certain types of problems involving use of the body. 2. the application of this study to the design of computer-driven and other automated equipment. 3. the application of this study to the design of artificial limbs, organs, and other prosthetic devices. bionic, adj.

the jargon or language typical of those involved with computers.

the comparative study of complex electronic devices and the nervous system in an attempt to understand better the nature of the human brain. cyberneticist, n. cybernetic, adj.

the application of automated machinery to tasks traditionally done by hand, as in manufacturing.

the use of automated machinery or manlike mechanical devices to perform tasks. robotistic, adj.

a closed-circuit feedback system used in the automatic control of machines, involving an error-sensor using a small amount of energy, an amplifier, and a servomotor dispensing large amounts of power. Also called servo. servomechanical, adj.

See the original post here:

Automation – definition of automation by The Free Dictionary

 Posted by at 2:33 pm  Tagged with:

Space Exploration News – Space News, Space Exploration …

 Space Exploration  Comments Off on Space Exploration News – Space News, Space Exploration …
Jun 172016
 

The jagged shores of Pluto’s highlands

This enhanced color view from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft zooms in on the southeastern portion of Pluto’s great ice plains, where at lower right the plains border rugged, dark highlands informally named Krun Macula. (Krun …

After decades of research to discern seasonal patterns in Martian dust storms from images showing the dust, but the clearest pattern appears to be captured by measuring the temperature of the Red Planet’s atmosphere.

Astronomers using the upgraded Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array in New Mexico have produced the most detailed radio map yet of the atmosphere of Jupiter, revealing the massive movement of ammonia gas that underlies the colorful …

On Pluto, icebergs floating in a sea of nitrogen ice are key to a possible explanation of the quilted appearance of the Sputnik Planum region of the dwarf planet’s surface.

Space station astronauts opened the world’s first inflatable space habitat Monday and floated inside.

The US government, in a first, is preparing to approve a private commercial space mission beyond the Earth’s orbit, the Wall Street Journal has reported.

(Phys.org)Discovered in 1983, the near-Earth asteroid Phaethon is an intriguing object, primarily due to its unusual orbit. Recently, an international team of astronomers has conducted a detailed study of this unique space …

For some comets, breaking up is not that hard to do. A new study led by Purdue University and the University of Colorado Boulder indicates the bodies of some periodic comets – objects that orbit the sun in less than 200 years …

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft took this stunning image of Pluto only a few minutes after closest approach on July 14, 2015. The image was obtained at a high phase angle -that is, with the sun on the other side of Pluto, …

One of Europe’s smallest states, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, cast its eyes to the cosmos on Friday, announcing it would draw up a law to facilitate mining on asteroids.

An important amino acid called glycine has been detected in a comet for the first time, supporting the theory that these cosmic bodies delivered the ingredients for life on Earth, researchers said Friday.

(Phys.org)As we become more advanced in astronomy, continuously searching and finding lots of potentially habitable extrasolar planets that could harbor alien life, it seems that it’s not a matter of if but when we will …

(Phys.org)In September 2016, NASA plans to launch its first-ever asteroid sample return mission loaded with tasks that will help us better understand the composition of asteroids, their origin, and possibly even Earth’s …

(Phys.org)The team that has posted a project called KickSat on crowd sourcing site KickStarter, has arranged to have the tiny satellite system sent to the International Space Station on July 6. KickSat is a satellite system …

Europe’s trailblazing spacecraft Rosetta has resumed its exploration of a comet hurtling through the Solar System after a “dramatic weekend” in which contact with Earth was lost for nearly 24 hours, mission control said Thursday.

Before humans could take their first steps on the moon, that mysterious and forbidding surface had to be reconnoitered by robots. When President John Kennedy set a goal of landing astronauts on the lunar surface in 1961, …

After the Apollo missions scooped up rocks from the Moon’s surface and brought them home, scientists were convinced for decades that they had proof our nearest celestial neighbour was drier than a bone.

Since its launch five years ago, there have been three forces tugging at NASA’s Juno spacecraft as it speeds through the solar system. The sun, Earth and Jupiter have all been influentiala gravitational trifecta of sorts. …

A tiny mirror could make a huge difference for scientists trying to understand what’s happening in the micron-scale structures of living cells.

Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) detected a clear signal from oxygen in a galaxy located 13.1 billion light-years away from us. This is the most distant oxygen ever detected. Oxygen …

A new maker of self-driving vehicles burst onto the scene Thursday in partnership with IBM’s supercomputer platform Watson, and it’s ready to roll right now.

For the past 40 years, eye-tracking technologywhich can determine where in a visual scene people are directing their gazehas been widely used in psychological experiments and marketing research, but it’s required pricey …

A team of University of Miami researchers has developed a model to identify behavioral patterns among serious online groups of ISIS supporters that could provide cyber police and other anti-terror watchdogs a roadmap to their …

A facial recognition database compiled by the FBI has more than 400 million images to help criminal investigations, but lacks adequate safeguards for accuracy and privacy protection, a congressional audit shows.

In the Canadian province of Quebec, a study of more than 26,000 trees across an area the size of Spain forecasts potential winners and losers in a changing climate.

In an essay to be published on June 17, 2016 in Science magazine Susan Landau, professor of cybersecurity policy at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), argues that the FBI’s recent and widely publicized efforts to compel …

The first eukaryote is thought to have arisen when simpler archaea and bacteria joined forces. But in an Opinion paper published June 16 in Trends in Cell Biology, researchers propose that new genomic evidence derived from …

Picture a singer, accompanied by a grand piano. As the singer’s voice dances through multiple octaves of range, the pianist’s fingers trip from one end of the keyboard to the other. Both the singer’s voice and the piano are …

China’s massive investment to mitigate the ecosystem bust that has come in the wake of the nation’s economic boom is paying off. An international group of scientists finds both humans and nature can thrivewith careful …

The supermassive black holes found at the centre of every galaxy, including our own Milky Way, may, on average, be smaller than we thought, according to work led by University of Southampton astronomer Dr Francesco Shankar.

(Phys.org)A team of researchers with the Carnegie Institution for Science and the University of Pennsylvania has developed a model that allows for accurately predicting how ferroelectric materials will behave when exposed …

New research shows permafrost below shallow Arctic lakes is thawing as a result of changing winter climate.

Moving through water can be a drag, but the use of supercavitation bubbles can reduce that drag and increase the speed of underwater vehicles. Sometimes these bubbles produce a bumpy ride, but now a team of engineers from …

Researchers at the Texas Analog Center of Excellence (TxACE) at UT Dallas are working to develop an affordable electronic nose that can be used in breath analysis for a wide range of health diagnosis.

An exhaustive look at how bacteria hold their ground and avoid getting pushed around by their environment shows how dozens of genes aid the essential job of protecting cells from popping when tensions run high.

A new procedure developed at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) may revolutionize the culturing of adult stem cells. In their report that has been published online prior to its appearance in the August 6 issue of Cell Stem …

University of Iowa researchers are working with a California-based startup company to make clean energy from sunlight and any source of water.

The world won’t be able to fish its way to feeding 10 billion people by mid-century, but a shift in management practices could save hundreds of millions of fish-dependent poor from malnutrition, according to an analysis led …

Modern rockets and their launch vehicles commonly rely on hydrogen-oxygen mixtures as propellant, but this combination is highly explosive. The Challenger space shuttle catastrophe of 1986 is associated with self-ignition …

University of Utah materials science and engineering associate professor Mike Scarpulla wants to shed light on semiconductorsliterally.

The competition is fierce and only the strongest survive the obstacle course within the female reproductive tract. Of the millions of sperm that enter the vagina, only about 10 or so make it to the oocyte or egg, demonstrating …

The researchers have established that chickens – just like people – have colour constancy. For birds, this means that they, in different environments and under different lighting conditions, recognise the colour of, for instance, …

On December 26, 2015 at 03:38:53 UTC, scientists observed gravitational wavesripples in the fabric of spacetimefor the second time.

First postulated more than 230 years ago, black holes have been extensively researched, frequently depicted, even featured in sci-fi films.

Carbon dioxide emissions from dry and oxygen-rich environments are likely to play a much greater role in controlling future rates of climate change caused by permafrost thaw than rates of methane release from oxygen-poor …

(Phys.org)Cell phones and Wi-Fi devices typically transmit data using radio waves, but as the demand for wireless data transfer increases, congestion in the radio spectrum is expected to become more of a problem. One way …

When an astronomical observatory detected two black holes colliding in deep space, scientists celebrated confirmation of Einstein’s prediction of gravitational waves. A team of astrophysicists wondered something else: Had …

May’s temperatures broke global records yet again, as the northern hemisphere finishes its hottest spring on record, statistics released Tuesday by NASA showed.

Read the original post:

Space Exploration News – Space News, Space Exploration …

 Posted by at 4:58 am  Tagged with:

Cloning Blues – TV Tropes

 Cloning  Comments Off on Cloning Blues – TV Tropes
Jun 172016
 

“I am a clone, I am not alone… If you had ever seen us you’d rejoice in your uniqueness And consider every weakness something special of your own” Robert Calvert (Hawkwind), “Spirit of the Age” In Speculative Fiction, being a clone absolutely sucks. It’s enough to make a clone sing the blues. Though Real Life artificial clones have to start at conception and go through childhood all over again, and can even have phenotypes that vary from their parent, Speculative Fiction clones are like perfect meta-xerox copies of the cloned person. They are exactly like the target at the moment of cloning, (possibly excused by age acceleration) with all their forebearers’ memories and skills, although their personalities can develop from there. As a result, many clones brood about how they’re not “real,” just hollow imitations of the original. The clones tend to deal with this rather badly. Some make desperate attempts to act different. Others go mad and try to murder the original to take their place. (Emphasis on “try” hardly any succeed.) If the clone is a main character, they will spend the whole show angsting about how they’re the Tomato in the Mirror. Occasionally they will have powers just like the Artificial Human. This often just ups their feelings of alienation, though. But Fridge Logic kicks in and makes this Wangst when you realize that clones occur in Real Life all the time; they’re called identical twins, and they generally don’t have existential crises over it. That’s for the lucky clones who are created properly. In many shows, cloning is an imprecise science, so there is a high probability that any clone will turn out to be an Evil Twin almost as high as the probability of creating an evil computer (Because everyone knows that Science Is Bad). Other unlucky clones will just have birth defects, Resurrection Sickness or be increasingly inexact duplicates. And that’s for the clones who are just unlucky. The really unlucky clones have malevolent creators who can make custom clones grown in a vat, sometimes in bulk which are exact meta-xerox copies of the original except that they have fanatical loyalty to the creators. You can expect all that tinkering to make something Go Horribly Wrong, too. A clone like this is always considered highly expendable by their creator, except in rare cases where said Evilutionary Biologist has developed an attachment to it. Because of all this (or possibly as a cause of all this), clones get very little respect. Heroes who hesitate at killing intelligent life might still kill their evil clone. In the question of What Measure Is a Non-Human?, most clones rank somewhere between the Big Creepy-Crawlies and the Mecha-Mooks. Interestingly, on the question of What Measure Is a Non-Unique? the only clone that matters is the last one…provided the original is dead. This assumes the clone ever had a mind of its own, of course. Sometimes a clone is an Empty Shell without the original’s soul, and exists only so that the creator can overwrite their mind and personality onto it in case of accident. In this case, it’s more like coming Back from the Dead although if the clone has a mind of its own at the start, this is yet another reason its life sucks. And let’s not debate how Our Souls Are Different, in which case clones (especially of the deceased) will be soulless abominations before God and nature. Some clones aren’t biological clones at all they’re robot doubles, or copies created by the good old transporter. These have more reason to be exact xerox copies but they get even less respect. Note that all instances of actual cloning in Real Life require a live animal of the same species with a womb to carry the cloned animal to term. Science fiction tends to ignore this requirement competely, which only enforces the Trope. Unrelated to Something Blues, and to cloning Proto Man (i.e. Blues). See also Scale of Scientific Sins and Creating Life. Closely related to Expendable Clone. Contrast with Clones Are People Too, where they do get to live their own lives. Warning: This trope is often introduced as a Plot Twist, so expect spoilers.

open/close all folders

Anime & Manga

Comic Books

Fanfic

“Are you an angel?” his voice is the sound of leaves brushing over a tombstone. This the awful question, because if he hadn’t asked it, he would still love her. His eyes are so blue, so strange set into the roped scars on his head.

“I don’t know,” she says, and as soon as her voice sounds, she knows it is the wrong answer. The first time he asked, when she was five, she said she was whatever he wanted her to be. Her left arm had never mended right.

Celestia was ticked, let me tell you. I mean, just creating life like that, kind of a big deal. Didn’t help that I was in the middle of a breakdown, you know, the usual ‘am I real’ kinda thing you read in sci-fi, but the gala went pretty good despite all that.

Films Live Action

Angier: “You have no idea how much courage it took to step into that machine every night, not knowing if I’d be the Prestige . . . or the man in the box.”

Literature

Carib: You’re [Leia] a sophisticated woman, a politician and diplomat, fully accustomed to dealing with the whole spectrum of sentient beings. And you’re good at it. Yet you, too, feel uncomfortable in our presence. Admit it.

Cordelia: Half my genes run through your body, and my selfish genome is heavily evolutionarily pre-programmed to look out for its copies. The other half is copied from the man I admire most in all the worlds. The artistic combination of the two, shall we say, arrests my attention.

Live Action TV

Music

In the valley of silly clones, where the people turn to stone In the valley of silly clones, people made of styrofoam In the valley of silly clones, where the people die alone

Puppet Shows

Tabletop Games

Toys

Video Games

Web Comics

AyleeBot: According to the latest available galactic census data, blue-haired, Caucasian human males are now the largest single sapient ethnicity in the galaxy. You outnumber several entire sapient species.

McNinja: How’d it go? Did we do it?! Ben Franklin: You’re one of the clones. Get in line. McNinja: Aw…

McNinja: So…you just cloned…a clone of me. But they…don’t want to kill me? Clone: I am far too busy coming to terms with the existential dread of being a clone.

Web Original

Western Animation

Real Life

See more here:

Cloning Blues – TV Tropes

 Posted by at 4:55 am  Tagged with:

Robotics – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Robotics  Comments Off on Robotics – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jun 172016
 

Robotics is the branch of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and computer science that deals with the design, construction, operation, and application of robots,[1] as well as computer systems for their control, sensory feedback, and information processing.

These technologies deal with automated machines (robots for short) that can take the place of humans in dangerous environments or manufacturing processes, or resemble humans in appearance, behaviour, and or cognition. Many of today’s robots are inspired by nature, contributing to the field of bio-inspired robotics.

The concept of creating machines that can operate autonomously dates back to classical times, but research into the functionality and potential uses of robots did not grow substantially until the 20th century.[2] Throughout history, it has been frequently assumed that robots will one day be able to mimic human behavior and manage tasks in a human-like fashion. Today, robotics is a rapidly growing field, as technological advances continue; researching, designing, and building new robots serve various practical purposes, whether domestically, commercially, or militarily. Many robots are built to do jobs that are hazardous to people such as defusing bombs, finding survivors in unstable ruins, and exploring mines and shipwrecks. Robotics is also used in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) as a teaching aid.

The word robotics was derived from the word robot, which was introduced to the public by Czech writer Karel apek in his play R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots), which was published in 1920.[3] The word robot comes from the Slavic word robota, which means labour. The play begins in a factory that makes artificial people called robots, creatures who can be mistaken for humans very similar to the modern ideas of androids. Karel apek himself did not coin the word. He wrote a short letter in reference to an etymology in the Oxford English Dictionary in which he named his brother Josef apek as its actual originator.[3]

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word robotics was first used in print by Isaac Asimov, in his science fiction short story “Liar!”, published in May 1941 in Astounding Science Fiction. Asimov was unaware that he was coining the term; since the science and technology of electrical devices is electronics, he assumed robotics already referred to the science and technology of robots. In some of Asimov’s other works, he states that the first use of the word robotics was in his short story Runaround (Astounding Science Fiction, March 1942).[4][5] However, the original publication of “Liar!” predates that of “Runaround” by ten months, so the former is generally cited as the word’s origin.

In 1942 the science fiction writer Isaac Asimov created his Three Laws of Robotics.

In 1948 Norbert Wiener formulated the principles of cybernetics, the basis of practical robotics.

Fully autonomous robots only appeared in the second half of the 20th century. The first digitally operated and programmable robot, the Unimate, was installed in 1961 to lift hot pieces of metal from a die casting machine and stack them. Commercial and industrial robots are widespread today and used to perform jobs more cheaply, more accurately and more reliably, than humans. They are also employed in some jobs which are too dirty, dangerous, or dull to be suitable for humans. Robots are widely used in manufacturing, assembly, packing and packaging, transport, earth and space exploration, surgery, weaponry, laboratory research, safety, and the mass production of consumer and industrial goods.[6]

There are many types of robots; they are used in many different environments and for many different uses, although being very diverse in application and form they all share three basic similarities when it comes to their construction:

As more and more robots are designed for specific tasks this method of classification becomes more relevant. For example, many robots are designed for assembly work, which may not be readily adaptable for other applications. They are termed as “assembly robots”. For seam welding, some suppliers provide complete welding systems with the robot i.e. the welding equipment along with other material handling facilities like turntables etc. as an integrated unit. Such an integrated robotic system is called a “welding robot” even though its discrete manipulator unit could be adapted to a variety of tasks. Some robots are specifically designed for heavy load manipulation, and are labelled as “heavy duty robots.”

Current and potential applications include:

At present mostly (leadacid) batteries are used as a power source. Many different types of batteries can be used as a power source for robots. They range from leadacid batteries, which are safe and have relatively long shelf lives but are rather heavy compared to silvercadmium batteries that are much smaller in volume and are currently much more expensive. Designing a battery-powered robot needs to take into account factors such as safety, cycle lifetime and weight. Generators, often some type of internal combustion engine, can also be used. However, such designs are often mechanically complex and need fuel, require heat dissipation and are relatively heavy. A tether connecting the robot to a power supply would remove the power supply from the robot entirely. This has the advantage of saving weight and space by moving all power generation and storage components elsewhere. However, this design does come with the drawback of constantly having a cable connected to the robot, which can be difficult to manage.[20] Potential power sources could be:

Actuators are the “muscles” of a robot, the parts which convert stored energy into movement. By far the most popular actuators are electric motors that rotate a wheel or gear, and linear actuators that control industrial robots in factories. There are some recent advances in alternative types of actuators, powered by electricity, chemicals, or compressed air.

The vast majority of robots use electric motors, often brushed and brushless DC motors in portable robots or AC motors in industrial robots and CNC machines. These motors are often preferred in systems with lighter loads, and where the predominant form of motion is rotational.

Various types of linear actuators move in and out instead of by spinning, and often have quicker direction changes, particularly when very large forces are needed such as with industrial robotics. They are typically powered by compressed air (pneumatic actuator) or an oil (hydraulic actuator).

A spring can be designed as part of the motor actuator, to allow improved force control. It has been used in various robots, particularly walking humanoid robots.[21]

Pneumatic artificial muscles, also known as air muscles, are special tubes that expand(typically up to 40%) when air is forced inside them. They are used in some robot applications.[22][23][24]

Muscle wire, also known as shape memory alloy, Nitinol or Flexinol wire, is a material which contracts (under 5%) when electricity is applied. They have been used for some small robot applications.[25][26]

EAPs or EPAMs are a new[when?] plastic material that can contract substantially (up to 380% activation strain) from electricity, and have been used in facial muscles and arms of humanoid robots,[27] and to enable new robots to float,[28] fly, swim or walk.[29]

Recent alternatives to DC motors are piezo motors or ultrasonic motors. These work on a fundamentally different principle, whereby tiny piezoceramic elements, vibrating many thousands of times per second, cause linear or rotary motion. There are different mechanisms of operation; one type uses the vibration of the piezo elements to step the motor in a circle or a straight line.[30] Another type uses the piezo elements to cause a nut to vibrate or to drive a screw. The advantages of these motors are nanometer resolution, speed, and available force for their size.[31] These motors are already available commercially, and being used on some robots.[32][33]

Elastic nanotubes are a promising artificial muscle technology in early-stage experimental development. The absence of defects in carbon nanotubes enables these filaments to deform elastically by several percent, with energy storage levels of perhaps 10J/cm3 for metal nanotubes. Human biceps could be replaced with an 8mm diameter wire of this material. Such compact “muscle” might allow future robots to outrun and outjump humans.[34]

Sensors allow robots to receive information about a certain measurement of the environment, or internal components. This is essential for robots to perform their tasks, and act upon any changes in the environment to calculate the appropriate response. They are used for various forms of measurements, to give the robots warnings about safety or malfunctions, and to provide real time information of the task it is performing.

Current robotic and prosthetic hands receive far less tactile information than the human hand. Recent research has developed a tactile sensor array that mimics the mechanical properties and touch receptors of human fingertips.[35][36] The sensor array is constructed as a rigid core surrounded by conductive fluid contained by an elastomeric skin. Electrodes are mounted on the surface of the rigid core and are connected to an impedance-measuring device within the core. When the artificial skin touches an object the fluid path around the electrodes is deformed, producing impedance changes that map the forces received from the object. The researchers expect that an important function of such artificial fingertips will be adjusting robotic grip on held objects.

Scientists from several European countries and Israel developed a prosthetic hand in 2009, called SmartHand, which functions like a real oneallowing patients to write with it, type on a keyboard, play piano and perform other fine movements. The prosthesis has sensors which enable the patient to sense real feeling in its fingertips.[37]

Computer vision is the science and technology of machines that see. As a scientific discipline, computer vision is concerned with the theory behind artificial systems that extract information from images. The image data can take many forms, such as video sequences and views from cameras.

In most practical computer vision applications, the computers are pre-programmed to solve a particular task, but methods based on learning are now becoming increasingly common.

Computer vision systems rely on image sensors which detect electromagnetic radiation which is typically in the form of either visible light or infra-red light. The sensors are designed using solid-state physics. The process by which light propagates and reflects off surfaces is explained using optics. Sophisticated image sensors even require quantum mechanics to provide a complete understanding of the image formation process. Robots can also be equipped with multiple vision sensors to be better able to compute the sense of depth in the environment. Like human eyes, robots’ “eyes” must also be able to focus on a particular area of interest, and also adjust to variations in light intensities.

There is a subfield within computer vision where artificial systems are designed to mimic the processing and behavior of biological system, at different levels of complexity. Also, some of the learning-based methods developed within computer vision have their background in biology.

Other common forms of sensing in robotics use lidar, radar and sonar.[citation needed]

Robots need to manipulate objects; pick up, modify, destroy, or otherwise have an effect. Thus the “hands” of a robot are often referred to as end effectors,[38] while the “arm” is referred to as a manipulator.[39] Most robot arms have replaceable effectors, each allowing them to perform some small range of tasks. Some have a fixed manipulator which cannot be replaced, while a few have one very general purpose manipulator, for example a humanoid hand.[40] Learning how to manipulate a robot often requires a close feedback between human to the robot, although there are several methods for remote manipulation of robots. [41]

One of the most common effectors is the gripper. In its simplest manifestation it consists of just two fingers which can open and close to pick up and let go of a range of small objects. Fingers can for example be made of a chain with a metal wire run through it.[42] Hands that resemble and work more like a human hand include the Shadow Hand and the Robonaut hand.[43] Hands that are of a mid-level complexity include the Delft hand.[44][45] Mechanical grippers can come in various types, including friction and encompassing jaws. Friction jaws use all the force of the gripper to hold the object in place using friction. Encompassing jaws cradle the object in place, using less friction.

Vacuum grippers are very simple astrictive[46] devices, but can hold very large loads provided the prehension surface is smooth enough to ensure suction.

Pick and place robots for electronic components and for large objects like car windscreens, often use very simple vacuum grippers.

Some advanced robots are beginning to use fully humanoid hands, like the Shadow Hand, MANUS,[47] and the Schunk hand.[48] These are highly dexterous manipulators, with as many as 20 degrees of freedom and hundreds of tactile sensors.[49]

For simplicity most mobile robots have four wheels or a number of continuous tracks. Some researchers have tried to create more complex wheeled robots with only one or two wheels. These can have certain advantages such as greater efficiency and reduced parts, as well as allowing a robot to navigate in confined places that a four-wheeled robot would not be able to.

Balancing robots generally use a gyroscope to detect how much a robot is falling and then drive the wheels proportionally in the same direction, to counterbalance the fall at hundreds of times per second, based on the dynamics of an inverted pendulum.[50] Many different balancing robots have been designed.[51] While the Segway is not commonly thought of as a robot, it can be thought of as a component of a robot, when used as such Segway refer to them as RMP (Robotic Mobility Platform). An example of this use has been as NASA’s Robonaut that has been mounted on a Segway.[52]

A one-wheeled balancing robot is an extension of a two-wheeled balancing robot so that it can move in any 2D direction using a round ball as its only wheel. Several one-wheeled balancing robots have been designed recently, such as Carnegie Mellon University’s “Ballbot” that is the approximate height and width of a person, and Tohoku Gakuin University’s “BallIP”.[53] Because of the long, thin shape and ability to maneuver in tight spaces, they have the potential to function better than other robots in environments with people.[54]

Several attempts have been made in robots that are completely inside a spherical ball, either by spinning a weight inside the ball,[55][56] or by rotating the outer shells of the sphere.[57][58] These have also been referred to as an orb bot [59] or a ball bot.[60][61]

Using six wheels instead of four wheels can give better traction or grip in outdoor terrain such as on rocky dirt or grass.

Tank tracks provide even more traction than a six-wheeled robot. Tracked wheels behave as if they were made of hundreds of wheels, therefore are very common for outdoor and military robots, where the robot must drive on very rough terrain. However, they are difficult to use indoors such as on carpets and smooth floors. Examples include NASA’s Urban Robot “Urbie”.[62]

Walking is a difficult and dynamic problem to solve. Several robots have been made which can walk reliably on two legs, however none have yet been made which are as robust as a human. There has been much study on human inspired walking, such as AMBER lab which was established in 2008 by the Mechanical Engineering Department at Texas A&M University.[63] Many other robots have been built that walk on more than two legs, due to these robots being significantly easier to construct.[64][65] Walking robots can be used for uneven terrains, which would provide better mobility and energy efficiency than other locomotion methods. Hybrids too have been proposed in movies such as I, Robot, where they walk on 2 legs and switch to 4 (arms+legs) when going to a sprint. Typically, robots on 2 legs can walk well on flat floors and can occasionally walk up stairs. None can walk over rocky, uneven terrain. Some of the methods which have been tried are:

The Zero Moment Point (ZMP) is the algorithm used by robots such as Honda’s ASIMO. The robot’s onboard computer tries to keep the total inertial forces (the combination of Earth’s gravity and the acceleration and deceleration of walking), exactly opposed by the floor reaction force (the force of the floor pushing back on the robot’s foot). In this way, the two forces cancel out, leaving no moment (force causing the robot to rotate and fall over).[66] However, this is not exactly how a human walks, and the difference is obvious to human observers, some of whom have pointed out that ASIMO walks as if it needs the lavatory.[67][68][69] ASIMO’s walking algorithm is not static, and some dynamic balancing is used (see below). However, it still requires a smooth surface to walk on.

Several robots, built in the 1980s by Marc Raibert at the MIT Leg Laboratory, successfully demonstrated very dynamic walking. Initially, a robot with only one leg, and a very small foot, could stay upright simply by hopping. The movement is the same as that of a person on a pogo stick. As the robot falls to one side, it would jump slightly in that direction, in order to catch itself.[70] Soon, the algorithm was generalised to two and four legs. A bipedal robot was demonstrated running and even performing somersaults.[71] A quadruped was also demonstrated which could trot, run, pace, and bound.[72] For a full list of these robots, see the MIT Leg Lab Robots page.[73]

A more advanced way for a robot to walk is by using a dynamic balancing algorithm, which is potentially more robust than the Zero Moment Point technique, as it constantly monitors the robot’s motion, and places the feet in order to maintain stability.[74] This technique was recently demonstrated by Anybots’ Dexter Robot,[75] which is so stable, it can even jump.[76] Another example is the TU Delft Flame.

Perhaps the most promising approach utilizes passive dynamics where the momentum of swinging limbs is used for greater efficiency. It has been shown that totally unpowered humanoid mechanisms can walk down a gentle slope, using only gravity to propel themselves. Using this technique, a robot need only supply a small amount of motor power to walk along a flat surface or a little more to walk up a hill. This technique promises to make walking robots at least ten times more efficient than ZMP walkers, like ASIMO.[77][78]

A modern passenger airliner is essentially a flying robot, with two humans to manage it. The autopilot can control the plane for each stage of the journey, including takeoff, normal flight, and even landing.[79] Other flying robots are uninhabited, and are known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). They can be smaller and lighter without a human pilot on board, and fly into dangerous territory for military surveillance missions. Some can even fire on targets under command. UAVs are also being developed which can fire on targets automatically, without the need for a command from a human. Other flying robots include cruise missiles, the Entomopter, and the Epson micro helicopter robot. Robots such as the Air Penguin, Air Ray, and Air Jelly have lighter-than-air bodies, propelled by paddles, and guided by sonar.

Several snake robots have been successfully developed. Mimicking the way real snakes move, these robots can navigate very confined spaces, meaning they may one day be used to search for people trapped in collapsed buildings.[80] The Japanese ACM-R5 snake robot[81] can even navigate both on land and in water.[82]

A small number of skating robots have been developed, one of which is a multi-mode walking and skating device. It has four legs, with unpowered wheels, which can either step or roll.[83] Another robot, Plen, can use a miniature skateboard or roller-skates, and skate across a desktop.[84]

Several different approaches have been used to develop robots that have the ability to climb vertical surfaces. One approach mimics the movements of a human climber on a wall with protrusions; adjusting the center of mass and moving each limb in turn to gain leverage. An example of this is Capuchin,[85] built by Dr. Ruixiang Zhang at Stanford University, California. Another approach uses the specialized toe pad method of wall-climbing geckoes, which can run on smooth surfaces such as vertical glass. Examples of this approach include Wallbot[86] and Stickybot.[87] China’s Technology Daily reported on November 15, 2008 that Dr. Li Hiu Yeung and his research group of New Concept Aircraft (Zhuhai) Co., Ltd. had successfully developed a bionic gecko robot named “Speedy Freelander”. According to Dr. Li, the gecko robot could rapidly climb up and down a variety of building walls, navigate through ground and wall fissures, and walk upside-down on the ceiling. It was also able to adapt to the surfaces of smooth glass, rough, sticky or dusty walls as well as various types of metallic materials. It could also identify and circumvent obstacles automatically. Its flexibility and speed were comparable to a natural gecko. A third approach is to mimic the motion of a snake climbing a pole.[citation needed]

It is calculated that when swimming some fish can achieve a propulsive efficiency greater than 90%.[88] Furthermore, they can accelerate and maneuver far better than any man-made boat or submarine, and produce less noise and water disturbance. Therefore, many researchers studying underwater robots would like to copy this type of locomotion.[89] Notable examples are the Essex University Computer Science Robotic Fish G9,[90] and the Robot Tuna built by the Institute of Field Robotics, to analyze and mathematically model thunniform motion.[91] The Aqua Penguin,[92] designed and built by Festo of Germany, copies the streamlined shape and propulsion by front “flippers” of penguins. Festo have also built the Aqua Ray and Aqua Jelly, which emulate the locomotion of manta ray, and jellyfish, respectively.

In 2014 iSplash-II was developed by R.J Clapham PhD at Essex University. It was the first robotic fish capable of outperforming real carangiform fish in terms of average maximum velocity (measured in body lengths/ second) and endurance, the duration that top speed is maintained. This build attained swimming speeds of 11.6BL/s (i.e. 3.7m/s).[93] The first build, iSplash-I (2014) was the first robotic platform to apply a full-body length carangiform swimming motion which was found to increase swimming speed by 27% over the traditional approach of a posterior confined wave form.[94]

Sailboat robots have also been developed in order to make measurements at the surface of the ocean. A typical sailboat robot is Vaimos [95] built by IFREMER and ENSTA-Bretagne. Since the propulsion of sailboat robots uses the wind, the energy of the batteries is only used for the computer, for the communication and for the actuators (to tune the rudder and the sail). If the robot is equipped with solar panels, the robot could theoretically navigate forever. The two main competitions of sailboat robots are WRSC, which takes place every year in Europe, and Sailbot.

Though a significant percentage of robots in commission today are either human controlled, or operate in a static environment, there is an increasing interest in robots that can operate autonomously in a dynamic environment. These robots require some combination of navigation hardware and software in order to traverse their environment. In particular unforeseen events (e.g. people and other obstacles that are not stationary) can cause problems or collisions. Some highly advanced robots such as ASIMO, and Mein robot have particularly good robot navigation hardware and software. Also, self-controlled cars, Ernst Dickmanns’ driverless car, and the entries in the DARPA Grand Challenge, are capable of sensing the environment well and subsequently making navigational decisions based on this information. Most of these robots employ a GPS navigation device with waypoints, along with radar, sometimes combined with other sensory data such as lidar, video cameras, and inertial guidance systems for better navigation between waypoints.

The state of the art in sensory intelligence for robots will have to progress through several orders of magnitude if we want the robots working in our homes to go beyond vacuum-cleaning the floors. If robots are to work effectively in homes and other non-industrial environments, the way they are instructed to perform their jobs, and especially how they will be told to stop will be of critical importance. The people who interact with them may have little or no training in robotics, and so any interface will need to be extremely intuitive. Science fiction authors also typically assume that robots will eventually be capable of communicating with humans through speech, gestures, and facial expressions, rather than a command-line interface. Although speech would be the most natural way for the human to communicate, it is unnatural for the robot. It will probably be a long time before robots interact as naturally as the fictional C-3PO, or Data of Star Trek, Next Generation.

Interpreting the continuous flow of sounds coming from a human, in real time, is a difficult task for a computer, mostly because of the great variability of speech.[96] The same word, spoken by the same person may sound different depending on local acoustics, volume, the previous word, whether or not the speaker has a cold, etc.. It becomes even harder when the speaker has a different accent.[97] Nevertheless, great strides have been made in the field since Davis, Biddulph, and Balashek designed the first “voice input system” which recognized “ten digits spoken by a single user with 100% accuracy” in 1952.[98] Currently, the best systems can recognize continuous, natural speech, up to 160 words per minute, with an accuracy of 95%.[99]

Other hurdles exist when allowing the robot to use voice for interacting with humans. For social reasons, synthetic voice proves suboptimal as a communication medium,[100] making it necessary to develop the emotional component of robotic voice through various techniques.[101][102]

One can imagine, in the future, explaining to a robot chef how to make a pastry, or asking directions from a robot police officer. In both of these cases, making hand gestures would aid the verbal descriptions. In the first case, the robot would be recognizing gestures made by the human, and perhaps repeating them for confirmation. In the second case, the robot police officer would gesture to indicate “down the road, then turn right”. It is likely that gestures will make up a part of the interaction between humans and robots.[103] A great many systems have been developed to recognize human hand gestures.[104]

Facial expressions can provide rapid feedback on the progress of a dialog between two humans, and soon may be able to do the same for humans and robots. Robotic faces have been constructed by Hanson Robotics using their elastic polymer called Frubber, allowing a large number of facial expressions due to the elasticity of the rubber facial coating and embedded subsurface motors (servos).[105] The coating and servos are built on a metal skull. A robot should know how to approach a human, judging by their facial expression and body language. Whether the person is happy, frightened, or crazy-looking affects the type of interaction expected of the robot. Likewise, robots like Kismet and the more recent addition, Nexi[106] can produce a range of facial expressions, allowing it to have meaningful social exchanges with humans.[107]

Artificial emotions can also be generated, composed of a sequence of facial expressions and/or gestures. As can be seen from the movie Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, the programming of these artificial emotions is complex and requires a large amount of human observation. To simplify this programming in the movie, presets were created together with a special software program. This decreased the amount of time needed to make the film. These presets could possibly be transferred for use in real-life robots.

Many of the robots of science fiction have a personality, something which may or may not be desirable in the commercial robots of the future.[108] Nevertheless, researchers are trying to create robots which appear to have a personality:[109][110] i.e. they use sounds, facial expressions, and body language to try to convey an internal state, which may be joy, sadness, or fear. One commercial example is Pleo, a toy robot dinosaur, which can exhibit several apparent emotions.[111]

The Socially Intelligent Machines Lab of the Georgia Institute of Technology researches new concepts of guided teaching interaction with robots. Aim of the projects is a social robot learns task goals from human demonstrations without prior knowledge of high-level concepts. These new concepts are grounded from low-level continuous sensor data through unsupervised learning, and task goals are subsequently learned using a Bayesian approach. These concepts can be used to transfer knowledge to future tasks, resulting in faster learning of those tasks. The results are demonstrated by the robot Curi who can scoop some pasta from a pot onto a plate and serve the sauce on top.[112]

The mechanical structure of a robot must be controlled to perform tasks. The control of a robot involves three distinct phases perception, processing, and action (robotic paradigms). Sensors give information about the environment or the robot itself (e.g. the position of its joints or its end effector). This information is then processed to be stored or transmitted, and to calculate the appropriate signals to the actuators (motors) which move the mechanical.

The processing phase can range in complexity. At a reactive level, it may translate raw sensor information directly into actuator commands. Sensor fusion may first be used to estimate parameters of interest (e.g. the position of the robot’s gripper) from noisy sensor data. An immediate task (such as moving the gripper in a certain direction) is inferred from these estimates. Techniques from control theory convert the task into commands that drive the actuators.

At longer time scales or with more sophisticated tasks, the robot may need to build and reason with a “cognitive” model. Cognitive models try to represent the robot, the world, and how they interact. Pattern recognition and computer vision can be used to track objects. Mapping techniques can be used to build maps of the world. Finally, motion planning and other artificial intelligence techniques may be used to figure out how to act. For example, a planner may figure out how to achieve a task without hitting obstacles, falling over, etc.

Control systems may also have varying levels of autonomy.

Another classification takes into account the interaction between human control and the machine motions.

Much of the research in robotics focuses not on specific industrial tasks, but on investigations into new types of robots, alternative ways to think about or design robots, and new ways to manufacture them but other investigations, such as MIT’s cyberflora project, are almost wholly academic.

A first particular new innovation in robot design is the opensourcing of robot-projects. To describe the level of advancement of a robot, the term “Generation Robots” can be used. This term is coined by Professor Hans Moravec, Principal Research Scientist at the Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute in describing the near future evolution of robot technology. First generation robots, Moravec predicted in 1997, should have an intellectual capacity comparable to perhaps a lizard and should become available by 2010. Because the first generation robot would be incapable of learning, however, Moravec predicts that the second generation robot would be an improvement over the first and become available by 2020, with the intelligence maybe comparable to that of a mouse. The third generation robot should have the intelligence comparable to that of a monkey. Though fourth generation robots, robots with human intelligence, professor Moravec predicts, would become possible, he does not predict this happening before around 2040 or 2050.[114]

The second is evolutionary robots. This is a methodology that uses evolutionary computation to help design robots, especially the body form, or motion and behavior controllers. In a similar way to natural evolution, a large population of robots is allowed to compete in some way, or their ability to perform a task is measured using a fitness function. Those that perform worst are removed from the population, and replaced by a new set, which have new behaviors based on those of the winners. Over time the population improves, and eventually a satisfactory robot may appear. This happens without any direct programming of the robots by the researchers. Researchers use this method both to create better robots,[115] and to explore the nature of evolution.[116] Because the process often requires many generations of robots to be simulated,[117] this technique may be run entirely or mostly in simulation, then tested on real robots once the evolved algorithms are good enough.[118] Currently, there are about 10 million industrial robots toiling around the world, and Japan is the top country having high density of utilizing robots in its manufacturing industry.[citation needed]

The study of motion can be divided into kinematics and dynamics.[119] Direct kinematics refers to the calculation of end effector position, orientation, velocity, and acceleration when the corresponding joint values are known. Inverse kinematics refers to the opposite case in which required joint values are calculated for given end effector values, as done in path planning. Some special aspects of kinematics include handling of redundancy (different possibilities of performing the same movement), collision avoidance, and singularity avoidance. Once all relevant positions, velocities, and accelerations have been calculated using kinematics, methods from the field of dynamics are used to study the effect of forces upon these movements. Direct dynamics refers to the calculation of accelerations in the robot once the applied forces are known. Direct dynamics is used in computer simulations of the robot. Inverse dynamics refers to the calculation of the actuator forces necessary to create a prescribed end effector acceleration. This information can be used to improve the control algorithms of a robot.

In each area mentioned above, researchers strive to develop new concepts and strategies, improve existing ones, and improve the interaction between these areas. To do this, criteria for “optimal” performance and ways to optimize design, structure, and control of robots must be developed and implemented.

Bionics and biomimetics apply the physiology and methods of locomotion of animals to the design of robots. For example, the design of BionicKangaroo was based on the way kangaroos jump.

Robotics engineers design robots, maintain them, develop new applications for them, and conduct research to expand the potential of robotics.[120] Robots have become a popular educational tool in some middle and high schools, particularly in parts of the USA,[121] as well as in numerous youth summer camps, raising interest in programming, artificial intelligence and robotics among students. First-year computer science courses at some universities now include programming of a robot in addition to traditional software engineering-based coursework.[122][123]

Universities offer bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in the field of robotics.[124]Vocational schools offer robotics training aimed at careers in robotics.

The Robotics Certification Standards Alliance (RCSA) is an international robotics certification authority that confers various industry- and educational-related robotics certifications.

Several national summer camp programs include robotics as part of their core curriculum, including Digital Media Academy, RoboTech, and Cybercamps. In addition, youth summer robotics programs are frequently offered by celebrated museums such as the American Museum of Natural History[125] and The Tech Museum of Innovation in Silicon Valley, CA, just to name a few. An educational robotics lab also exists at the IE & mgmnt Faculty of the Technion. It was created by Dr. Jacob Rubinovitz.

Some examples of summer camps are: EdTech, the Robotics Camp-Montreal, AfterFour-Toronto, Exceed Robotics-Thornhill, among many others.

All this camps offers:

There are lots of competitions all around the globe. One of the most important competitions is the FLL or FIRST Lego League. The idea of this specific competition is that kids start developing knowledge and getting into robotics while playing with Legos since they are 9 years old. This competition is associated with Ni or National Instruments.

Many schools across the country are beginning to add robotics programs to their after school curriculum. Some major programs for afterschool robotics include FIRST Robotics Competition, Botball and B.E.S.T. Robotics.[126] Robotics competitions often include aspects of business and marketing as well as engineering and design.

The Lego company began a program for children to learn and get excited about robotics at a young age.[127]

Robotics is an essential component in many modern manufacturing environments. As factories increase their use of robots, the number of roboticsrelated jobs grow and have been observed to be steadily rising. [128] The employment of robots in industries has increased productivity and efficiency savings and is typically seen as a long term investment for benefactors.

A discussion paper drawn up by EU-OSHA highlights how the spread of robotics presents both opportunities and challenges for occupational safety and health (OSH).[129]

The greatest OSH benefits stemming from the wider use of robotics should be substitution for people working in unhealthy or dangerous environments. In space, defence, security, or the nuclear industry, but also in logistics, maintenance and inspection, autonomous robots are particularly useful in replacing human workers performing dirty, dull or unsafe tasks, thus avoiding workers exposures to hazardous agents and conditions and reducing physical, ergonomic and psychosocial risks. For example, robots are already used to perform repetitive and monotonous tasks, to handle radioactive material or to work in explosive atmospheres. In the future, many other highly repetitive, risky or unpleasant tasks will be performed by robots in a variety of sectors like agriculture, construction, transport, healthcare, firefighting or cleaning services.

Despite these advances, there are certain skills to which humans will be better suited than machines for some time to come and the question is how to achieve the best combination of human and robot skills. The advantages of robotics include heavy-duty jobs with precision and repeatability, whereas the advantages of humans include creativity, decision-making, flexibility and adaptability. This need to combine optimal skills has resulted in collaborative robots and humans sharing a common workspace more closely and led to the development of new approaches and standards to guarantee the safety of the man-robot merger. Some European countries are including robotics in their national programmes and trying to promote a safe and flexible co-operation between robots and operators to achieve better productivity. For example, the German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) organises annual workshops on the topic human-robot collaboration.

In future, co-operation between robots and humans will be diversified, with robots increasing their autonomy and human-robot collaboration reaching completely new forms. Current approaches and technical standards[130][131] aiming to protect employees from the risk of working with collaborative robots will have to be revised.

119. FLL. (2016, March 24). Retrieved March 25, 2016, from http://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/fll 120. Robotics Summer Camps. (n.d.). Retrieved March 25, 2016, from http://www.ourkids.net/robotics-camps.php 121. Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp. (2016). Retrieved March 25, 2016, from http://practicaledtech.com/practical-ed-tech-summer-camp 122. VEX Robotics Competitions. (2015). Retrieved March 25, 2016, from http://www.robotevents.com/robot-competitions/vex-robotics-competition?limit=500

The rest is here:

Robotics – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Posted by at 4:54 am  Tagged with:

Ai | Define Ai at Dictionary.com

 Ai  Comments Off on Ai | Define Ai at Dictionary.com
Jun 172016
 

Contemporary Examples

On Jan. 11, ai was startled to learn authorities were razing his studio in Shanghai, weeks before the slated demolition date.

With characteristic wit, ai turned the joke back on his captors.

“Girl, it ain’t no less exciting,” Weaver tells me as table mates egg her on.

He called him a mean word in that there book I ain’t actually read!

But then again, they didn’t really have ai, surrogacy and cloning to contend with back then, did they?

Historical Examples

I says to myself, I can’t prevent her, ain’t it best for me to help her?

I ain’t felt so young in years as I have since Oscar and I had that clearing up.

I ain’t fit to run this shebang, so we need you, and need you bad.

“I ain’t got nothing to sell, and don’t want to buy nohow,” said Bart, violently.

You ain’t got much to talk about, with a stummick like yours.

British Dictionary definitions for ai Expand

Word Origin

C17: from Portuguese, from Tupi

artificial insemination

artificial intelligence

ai in Medicine Expand

AI abbr. artificial insemination

ai in Science Expand

Abbreviation of artificial insemination

Abbreviation of artificial intelligence

ai in Technology Expand

Related Abbreviations for ai Expand

artificial insemination

artificial intelligence

Associate Investigator

ai in the Bible Expand

ruins. (1.) One of the royal cities of the Canaanites (Josh. 10:1; Gen. 12:8; 13:3). It was the scene of Joshua’s defeat, and afterwards of his victory. It was the second Canaanite city taken by Israel (Josh. 7:2-5; 8:1-29). It lay rebuilt and inhibited by the Benjamites (Ezra 2:28; Neh. 7:32; 11:31). It lay to the east of Bethel, “beside Beth-aven.” The spot which is most probably the site of this ancient city is Haiyan, 2 miles east from Bethel. It lay up the Wady Suweinit, a steep, rugged valley, extending from the Jordan valley to Bethel. (2.) A city in the Ammonite territory (Jer. 49:3). Some have thought that the proper reading of the word is Ar (Isa. 15:1).

Read the original post:

Ai | Define Ai at Dictionary.com

 Posted by at 4:54 am  Tagged with:

Classic Maya collapse – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Socio-economic Collapse  Comments Off on Classic Maya collapse – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jun 152016
 

In archaeology, the classic Maya collapse refers to the decline of Maya civilization and abandonment of Maya cities in the southern Maya lowlands of Mesoamerica between the 8th and 9thcenturies, at the end of the Classic Mayan Period. Preclassic Maya experienced a similar collapse in the 2nd century.

The Classic Period of Mesoamerican chronology is generally defined as the period from 250 to 900, the last century of which is referred to as the Terminal Classic.[1] The classic Maya collapse is one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in archaeology. Urban centers of the southern lowlands, among them Palenque, Copn, Tikal, Calakmul, went into decline during the 8th and 9thcenturies and were abandoned shortly thereafter. Archaeologically, this decline is indicated by the cessation of monumental inscriptions and the reduction of large-scale architectural construction at the primary urban centers of the classic period.

Although termed a ‘collapse’, it did not mark the end of the Maya civilization; Northern Yucatn in particular prospered afterwards, although with very different artistic and architectural styles, and with much less use of monumental hieroglyphic writing. In the post-classic period following the collapse, the state of Chichn Itz built an empire that briefly united much of the Maya region,[citation needed] and centers such as Mayapn and Uxmal flourished, as did the Highland states of the K’iche’ and Kaqchikel Maya. Independent Maya civilization continued until 1697 when the Spanish conquered Nojpetn, the last independent city-state. Millions of Maya people still inhabit the Yucatn peninsula today.

Because parts of Maya civilization unambiguously continued, a number of scholars strongly dislike the term “collapse.”[2] Regarding the proposed collapse, E. W. Andrews IV went as far as to say, “in my belief no such thing happened.”[3]

The Maya often recorded dates on monuments they built. Few dated monuments were being built circa 500 – around ten per year in 514, for example. The number steadily increased to make this number twenty per year by 672 and forty by around 750. After this, the number of dated monuments begins to falter relatively quickly, collapsing back to ten by 800 and to zero by 900. Likewise, recorded lists of kings complement this analysis. Altar Q shows a reign of kings from 426 to 763. One last king not recorded on Altar Q was Ukit Took, “Patron of Flint”, who was probably a usurper. The dynasty is believed to have collapsed entirely shortly thereafter. In Quirigua, twenty miles north of Copn, the last king Jade Sky began his rule between 895 and 900, and throughout the Maya area all kingdoms similarly fell around that time.[4]

A third piece of evidence of the progression of Maya decline, gathered by Ann Corinne Freter, Nancy Gonlin, and David Webster, uses a technique called obsidian hydration. The technique allowed them to map the spread and growth of settlements in the Copn Valley and estimate their populations. Between 400 and 450, the population was estimated at a peak of twenty-eight thousand between 750 and 800 – larger than London at the time. Population then began to steadily decline. By 900 the population had fallen to fifteen thousand, and by 1200 the population was again less than 1000.

Some 88 different theories or variations of theories attempting to explain the Classic Maya Collapse have been identified.[5] From climate change to deforestation to lack of action by Mayan kings, there is no universally accepted collapse theory, although drought is gaining momentum as the leading explanation.[6]

The archaeological evidence of the Toltec intrusion into Seibal, Peten, suggests to some the theory of foreign invasion. The latest hypothesis states that the southern lowlands were invaded by a non-Maya group whose homelands were probably in the gulf coast lowlands. This invasion began in the 9thcentury and set off, within 100years, a group of events that destroyed the Classic Maya. It is believed that this invasion was somehow influenced by the Toltec people of central Mexico. However, most Mayanists do not believe that foreign invasion was the main cause of the Classic Maya Collapse; they postulate that no military defeat can explain or be the cause of the protracted and complex Classic Collapse process. Teotihuacan influence across the Maya region may have involved some form of military invasion; however, it is generally noted that significant Teotihuacan-Maya interactions date from at least the Early Classic period, well before the episodes of Late Classic collapse.[7]

The foreign invasion theory does not answer the question of where the inhabitants went. David Webster believed that the population should have increased because of the lack of elite power. Further, it is not understood why the governmental institutions were not remade following the revolts, which actually happened under similar circumstances in places like China. A study by anthropologist Elliot M. Abrams came to the conclusion that buildings, specifically in Copan, did not actually require an extensive amount of time and workers to construct.[8] However, this theory was developed during a time period when the archaeological evidence showed that there were fewer Maya people than there are now known to have been.[9] Revolutions, peasant revolts, and social turmoil change circumstances, and are often followed by foreign wars, but they run their course. There are no documented revolutions that caused wholesale abandonment of entire regions.

It has been hypothesized that the decline of the Maya is related to the collapse of their intricate trade systems, especially those connected to the central Mexican city of Teotihuacn. Preceding improved knowledge of the chronology of Mesoamerica, Teotihuacan was believed to have fallen during 700750, forcing the “restructuring of economic relations throughout highland Mesoamerica and the Gulf Coast”.[10] This remaking of relationships between civilizations would have then given the collapse of the Classic Maya a slightly later date. However, after knowing more about the events and the time periods that they occurred, it is now believed that the strongest Teotihuacan influence was during the 4th and 5thcenturies. In addition, the civilization of Teotihuacan started to lose its power, and maybe even abandoned the city, during 600650. This differs greatly from the previous belief that Teotihuacano power decreased during 700750.[11] But since the new decline date of 600650 has been accepted, the Maya civilizations are now thought to have lived on and prospered for another century and more[12] than what was previously believed. Rather than the decline of Teotihuacan directly preceding the collapse of the Maya, their decline is now seen as contributing to the 6thcentury hiatus.[12]

The disease theory is also a contender as a factor in the Classic Maya Collapse. Widespread disease could explain some rapid depopulation, both directly through the spread of infection itself and indirectly as an inhibition to recovery over the long run. According to Dunn (1968) and Shimkin (1973), infectious diseases spread by parasites are common in tropical rainforest regions, such as the Maya lowlands. Shimkin specifically suggests that the Maya may have encountered endemic infections related to American trypanosomiasis, Ascaris, and some enteropathogens that cause acute diarrheal illness. Furthermore, some experts believe that, through development of their civilization (that is, development of agriculture and settlements), the Maya could have created a “disturbed environment,” in which parasitic and pathogen-carrying insects often thrive.[13] Among the pathogens listed above, it is thought that those that cause the acute diarrheal illnesses would have been the most devastating to the Maya population. This is because such illness would have struck a victim at an early age, thereby hampering nutritional health and the natural growth and development of a child. This would have made them more susceptible to other diseases later in life. Such ideas as this could explain the role of disease as at least a possible partial reason for the Classic Maya Collapse.[14]

Mega-droughts hit the Yucatn Peninsula and Petn Basin areas with particular ferocity, as thin tropical soils decline in fertility and become unworkable when deprived of forest cover,[15] and due to regular seasonal drought drying up surface water.[16] Colonial Spanish officials accurately documented cycles of drought, famine, disease, and war, providing a reliable historical record of the basic drought pattern in the Maya region.[17]

Climatic factors were first implicated in the Collapse as early as 1931 by Mayanists Thomas Gann and J.E.S. Thompson.[18] In The Great Maya Droughts, Richardson Gill gathers and analyzes an array of climatic, historical, hydrologic, tree ring, volcanic, geologic, lake bed, and archeological research, and demonstrates that a prolonged series of droughts probably caused the Classic Maya Collapse.[19] The drought theory provides a comprehensive explanation, because non-environmental and cultural factors (excessive warfare, foreign invasion, peasant revolt, less trade, etc.) can all be explained by the effects of prolonged drought on Classic Maya civilization.[20]

Climatic changes are, with increasing frequency, found to be major drivers in the rise and fall of civilizations all over the world.[21] Professors Harvey Weiss of Yale University and Raymond S. Bradley of the University of Massachusetts have written, “Many lines of evidence now point to climate forcing as the primary agent in repeated social collapse.”[22] In a separate publication, Weiss illustrates an emerging understanding of scientists:

Within the past five years new tools and new data for archaeologists, climatologists, and historians have brought us to the edge of a new era in the study of global and hemispheric climate change and its cultural impacts. The climate of the Holocene, previously assumed static, now displays a surprising dynamism, which has affected the agricultural bases of pre-industrial societies. The list of Holocene climate alterations and their socio-economic effects has rapidly become too complex for brief summary.[23]

The drought theory holds that rapid climate change in the form of severe drought brought about the Classic Maya collapse. According to the particular version put forward by Gill in The Great Maya Droughts,

[Studies of] Yucatecan lake sediment cores … provide unambiguous evidence for a severe 200-year drought from AD800 to 1000 … the most severe in the last 7,000years … precisely at the time of the Maya Collapse.[24]

Climatic modeling, tree ring data, and historical climate data show that cold weather in the Northern Hemisphere is associated with drought in Mesoamerica.[25] Northern Europe suffered extremely low temperatures around the same time as the Maya droughts. The same connection between drought in the Maya areas and extreme cold in northern Europe was found again at the beginning of the 20thcentury. Volcanic activity, within and outside Mesoamerica, is also correlated with colder weather and resulting drought, as the effects of the Tambora volcano eruption in 1815 indicate.[26]

Mesoamerican civilization provides a remarkable exception: civilization prospering in the tropical swampland. The Maya are often perceived as having lived in a rainforest, but technically, they lived in a seasonal desert without access to stable sources of drinking water.[27] The exceptional accomplishments of the Maya are even more remarkable because of their engineered response to the fundamental environmental difficulty of relying upon rainwater rather than permanent sources of water. The Maya succeeded in creating a civilization in a seasonal desert by creating a system of water storage and management which was totally dependent on consistent rainfall.[28] The constant need for water kept the Maya on the edge of survival. Given this precarious balance of wet and dry conditions, even a slight shift in the distribution of annual precipitation can have serious consequences.[16] Water and civilization were vitally connected in ancient Mesoamerica. Archaeologist and specialist in pre-industrial land and water usage practices, Vernon Scarborough, believes water management and access were critical to the development of Maya civilization.[29]

Critics of the drought theory wonder why the southern and central lowland cities were abandoned and the northern cities like Chichen Itza, Uxmal, and Coba continued to thrive.[30] One critic argued that Chichen Itza revamped its political, military, religious, and economic institutions away from powerful lords or kings.[31] Inhabitants of the northern Yucatn also had access to seafood, which might have explained the survival of Chichen Itza and Mayapan, cities away from the coast but within reach of coastal food supplies.[32] Critics of the drought theory also point to current weather patterns: much heavier rainfall in the southern lowlands compared to the lighter amount of rain in the northern Yucatn. Drought theory supporters state that the entire regional climate changed, including the amount of rainfall, so that modern rainfall patterns are not indicative of rainfall from 800 to 900. LSU archaeologist Heather McKillop found a significant rise in sea level along the coast nearest the southern Maya lowlands, coinciding with the end of the Classic period, and indicating climate change.[33]

David Webster, a critic of the megadrought theory says that much of the evidence provided by Gill comes from the northern Yucatn and not the Southern part of the peninsula, where Classic Maya civilization flourished. He also states that if water sources were to have dried up, then several city-states would have moved to other water sources. The fact that Gill suggests that all water in the region would have dried up and destroyed Maya civilization is a stretch, according to Webster.[34]

A study published in Science in 2012 found that modest rainfall reductions, amounting to only 25 to 40 percent of annual rainfall, may have been the tipping point to the Mayan collapse. Based on samples of lake and cave sediments in the areas surrounding major Mayan cities, the researchers were able to determine the amount of annual rainfall in the region. The mild droughts that took place between 800-950 would therefore be enough to rapidly deplete seasonal water supplies in the Yucatn lowlands, where there are no rivers.[35][36][37]

Some ecological theories of Maya decline focus on the worsening agricultural and resource conditions in the late Classic period. It was originally thought that the majority of Maya agriculture was dependent on a simple slash-and-burn system. Based on this method, the hypothesis of soil exhaustion was advanced by Orator F. Cook in 1921. Similar soil exhaustion assumptions are associated with erosion, intensive agricultural, and savanna grass competition.

More recent investigations have shown a complicated variety of intensive agricultural techniques utilized by the Maya, explaining the high population of the Classic Maya polities. Modern archaeologists now comprehend the sophisticated intensive and productive agricultural techniques of the ancient Maya, and several of the Maya agricultural methods have not yet been reproduced. Intensive agricultural methods were developed and utilized by all the Mesoamerican cultures to boost their food production and give them a competitive advantage over less skillful peoples.[38] These intensive agricultural methods included canals, terracing, raised fields, ridged fields, chinampas, the use of human feces as fertilizer, seasonal swamps or bajos, using muck from the bajos to create fertile fields, dikes, dams, irrigation, water reservoirs, several types of water storage systems, hydraulic systems, swamp reclamation, swidden systems, and other agricultural techniques that have not yet been fully understood.[39] Systemic ecological collapse is said to be evidenced by deforestation, siltation, and the decline of biological diversity.

In addition to mountainous terrain, Mesoamericans successfully exploited the very problematic tropical rainforest for 1,500years.[40] The agricultural techniques utilized by the Maya were entirely dependent upon ample supplies of water. The Maya thrived in territory that would be uninhabitable to most peoples. Their success over two millennia in this environment was “amazing.”[41]

Anthropologist Joseph Tainter wrote extensively about the collapse of the Southern Lowland Maya in his 1988 study, The Collapse of Complex Societies. His theory about Mayan collapse encompasses some of the above explanations, but focuses specifically on the development of and the declining marginal returns from the increasing social complexity of the competing Mayan city-states.[42] Psychologist Julian Jaynes suggested that the collapse was due to a failure in the social control systems of religion and political authority, due to increasing socioeconomic complexity that overwhelmed the power of traditional rituals and the king’s authority to compel obedience.[43]

Go here to see the original:

Classic Maya collapse – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Posted by at 3:30 pm  Tagged with:

Cyberpunk Wikipdia

 Cyberpunk  Comments Off on Cyberpunk Wikipdia
Jun 132016
 

Un article de Wikipdia, l’encyclopdie libre.

Le cyberpunk (association des mots cyberntique et punk) est un genre de la science-fiction trs apparent la dystopie et la hard science-fiction. Il met souvent en scne un futur proche, avec une socit technologiquement avance (notamment pour les technologies de l’information et la cyberntique).

Le courant cyberpunk provient d’un univers o le dingue d’informatique et le rocker se rejoignent, d’un bouillon de culture o les tortillements des chanes gntiques s’imbriquent.

Bruce Sterling

Les mondes cyberpunks sont empreints de violence et de pessimisme; ils sont souvent lugubres, parfois ironiquement grinants; les personnages sont des antihros dsabuss, cyniques et cupides. C’est en ce sens que l’on qualifie les univers cyberpunk de dystopies. Il a depuis essaim ses thmatiques dans de nombreux mdias, notamment dans la bande dessine, le cinma, la musique, les jeux vido et les jeux de rle.

En opposition avec les rcits de science-fiction se droulant dans une perspective plus large: voyages dans l’espace, dcouverte de nouveaux espaces, conflits mettant en jeu l’univers connu et inconnu. Le cyberpunk est un confluent et conflit des thmatiques du hacker, de l’intelligence artificielle et des multinationales se droulant la plupart du temps dans un futur proche sur Terre; Le lieu o l’histoire se droule possde des caractres dystopiques, punk, en ce sens que les personnages faisant leur possible pour se dbrouiller dans un univers dsorganis, o le futur est dj pass, se retrouvant dans la zone d’incertitude sparant une presque-apocalypse et l’univers post-apocalyptique, voient leurs actions se heurter des intrts inamovibles, impalpables. L’assimilation du terme punk est aussi induite par le slogan de ce mouvement, No Future!, et par son esthtique la fois familire et particulirement agressive (en particulier celle de la branche dite no-punk comprenant notamment le mohawk, la coupe iroquois). L’implication politique anarchiste vaut surtout par son opposition l’organisation des pouvoirs totalement dpourvue d’thique, trs fortement dnonce et la plupart du temps combattue.

Les crivains cyberpunk empruntent divers lments aux romans noirs, policiers et rcits post-modernistes pour exprimer un cot underground, chaotique et nihiliste d’une socit entirement informatise voire robotise. Cette vision trouble et tourmente du futur est souvent l’antipode de ce qu’elle fut dans les annes 1940. Dans son livre “The Gernsback Continuum”, William Gibson exprime avec sarcasme le mpris de la culture cyberpunk envers le roman utopique. Dans les uvres cyberpunk, l’action prend le plus souvent place en ligne, dans le cyberespace, ce qui a tendance souvent brouiller les frontires entre virtuel et ralit.

Neuromancien de William Gibson est le roman canonique du genre [2]. L’auteur y a le gnial pressentiment de ce qui va devenir le fait marquant, dans le domaine des technologies, de la dcennie suivante: Internet. Il fait vritablement uvre d’anticipation, en imaginant un futur o la technologie, au dveloppement hypertrophique, finit par envahir irrmdiablement lenvironnement humain, par le remplacer; un univers froid o linformatique rvle son pouvoir de contrle, renforant celui des autorits, o elle sacre son omniprsence en venant sinscrire au cur des organismes humains, au moyen de tout un arsenal de gadgets lectroniques.

Il constitue frquemment une vision plutt pessimiste de notre avenir. Ainsi y sont dcrits des problmes tels que la pollution, l’essor de la criminalit, la surpopulation, le dcalage de plus en plus grand entre minorit de riches et majorit de pauvres.

Le cyberpunk dresse un portrait sinistre et noir du monde qui serait alors entirement domin par des programmes informatiques et o les multinationales ont, pour la plupart, remplac toute forme de gouvernement. L’tat conomique et technologique du Japon dans les annes 1980 a largement inspir et contribu cette littrature. Les paysages artificiels, sur-urbaniss ainsi que les nons et autres enseignes lumineuses caractrisent le visuel cyberpunk.

Ce que devrait nous apporter la science dans les dcennies venir se retrouve dans la littrature cyberpunk. Tous les domaines technologiques sont abords, mme si les technologies relatives l’informatique et l’lectronique sont le plus souvent mises en avant. Le concept de Techno-acclration y est important: la technologie avance plus vite que la pense (et la socit): l’humain semble tre dpass par la Machine.

Les uvres cyberpunks popularisent l’ide de la fusion de l’humain et du spirituel avec la machine, donnant ainsi naissance des tres hybrides, constitus de chair et de mtal. La notion de membres artificiels, c’est–dire de prothses intelligentes, plus rsistantes et plus sensibles que des membres naturels, a t introduite avec le cyberpunk. De manire gnrale, nombre de personnages de romans cyberpunk possdent un corps dont les facults ont t augmentes artificiellement, que ce soit par des nanomachines ou des drogues. On peut supposer qu’une telle fascination pour les machines vient de la dcouverte par le grand public, la fin des annes 1970, de la puissance de calcul des ordinateurs mergents et des possibilits que l’informatique promet alors.

Possibilit commune d’une histoire rcrite comme dans Blade Runner ou de l’ensemble du monde sensible qui est faux comme dans Matrix. Dans Jusqu’au bout du monde de Wenders les personnages deviennent accrocs l’usage d’une machine enregistrant leur propre rve [3].

Il nait un nouveau type de personnage, lhomme de la rue, solitaire et marginal, contraint de sadapter une volution technologique rapide et incessante, et de sen sortir le moins mal possible. Ce personnage sans racines, surdou de llectronique mais pas des relations humaines, travaille parfois pour de grandes socits, mais le plus souvent pour son compte; spcialiste de linfiltration de banques de donnes, de la cration de virus informatiques, et de la prise de drogues suspectes, cest un mauvais garon sous tous rapports, un punk de lge cyber.

Les anti-hros du genre cyberpunk se dcouvrent souvent pions manipuls dans un imbroglio de socits secrtes, services gouvernementaux, syndicats du crime, tout cela plus ou moins dirig par les cadres suprieurs de multinationales devenues plus puissantes que des tats; elles ont leurs propres lois, possdent des territoires, et contrlent la vie de leurs employs de la naissance la mort. Leurs dirigeants sont souvent dnus de tout sens moral.

Les personnages des romans cyberpunk sont insignifiants comparativement au pouvoir quasi-divin que possdent les mga-corporations: ils sont face elles les grains de sable dans l’engrenage. Cette lutte de David contre Goliath est celle du hacker contre la multinationale et constitue un thme rcurrent des romans cyberpunks (comme Grav sur chrome, William Gibson, 1986).

Bien que certains ouvrages soient ancrs sur des thmes politiques, une large part de cette littrature penche vers un nihilisme apolitique [rf.ncessaire].

Les auteurs de romans cyberpunks prirent leur inspiration de nombreuses sources. Il est possible de faire remonter les influences du mouvement jusqu’au Frankenstein de Mary Shelley [4]. En prface l’anthologie Mozart en verres miroirs (Mirrorshades: A Cyberpunk Anthology), Bruce Sterling nomme plusieurs auteurs dont Harlan Ellison, Samuel Delany, Norman Spinrad, Michael Moorcock, Brian Aldiss, J. G. Ballard et surtout Phillip K. Dick en source pour le genre [5].

Le terme cyberpunk a t popularis par Gardner R. Dozois, diteur du Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine. C’est le 30 dcembre 1984, dans le Washington Post, qu’un article de Dozois intitul SF in the Eighties qualifie de cyberpunk le style de l’uvre de l’crivain William Gibson, et plus particulirement de son roman Neuromancien (1984). Il dcrivait aussi tout un groupe de jeunes auteurs bizarres crivant dans le fanzine Cheap Truth: Bruce Sterling, William Gibson, Lewis Shiner, Pat Cadigan et Greg Bear. Le mouvement cyberpunk tait n. Le terme avait cependant t employ plus tt, en novembre 1983, par l’crivain amricain Bruce Bethke, comme titre d’une de ses nouvelles publies en novembre 1983 dans le magazine Amazing Science Fiction Stories[6].

Les innovations technologiques prsentes dans la littrature cyberpunk sont prsentes dans beaucoup de mdia qui ne sont pas classs comme cyberpunks. Johnny Mnemonic, bien qu’inspir de la nouvelle ponyme de William Gibson, n’est pas considre comme cyberpunk et pour certains auteurs marque plutt l’illustration de la fin de celui-ci [rf.ncessaire]. Par exemple des films d’action.

Le cyberpunk a influenc certaines sries tlvises sans que celles-ci soient futuristes. Par exemple, un des pisodes de X-files qui, bien qu’il se droule dans le prsent, utilise le thme cyberpunk; l’pisode Clic mortel (Kill Switch), dont le scnario a t crit par William Gibson, fait rfrence au tlchargement de conscience travers Internet par des hackers informatiques vivant en marge de la socit.

Autres exemples marquants:

La srie amricaine Mr. Robot (2015- en production, Sam Esmail), qui se droule dans notre monde, la socit hyper-connecte des annes 2010, peut-tre vue comme une srie cyberpunk[8]. Elle reprend en effet plusieurs concepts et lments propres au genre: multinationale surpuissante, omniprsence de l’informatique, hros solitaire et drogu, hackers contestataires, contrle des masses par les mdias et la technologie…

Rapidement, le genre toucha le monde des jeux de rle sur table avec des titres comme Cyberpunk 2013 qui fit connatre R. Talsorian Games plus connu sous sa seconde version Cyberpunk 2020 et qui muta paralllement en 1986 par lajout d’lments de Fantasy en Shadowrun (FASA, Jeux Descartes). En parallle, des versions gnriques apparurent tel GURPS: Cyberpunk (Steve Jackson Games) et CyberAge (un univers du jeu de rle SimulacreS).

En 1996, sort le jeu Netrunner, cr par le clbre Richard Garfield, qui met en scne les tentatives de piratage d’un runner (pirate informatique) contre une corporation. Une rinterprtation du jeu est sortie en 2012, nomme Android: Netrunner.

De nombreuses adaptations d’univers cyberpunk ont t produites. On peut citer le fait que William Gibson prsida lui-mme l’adaptation d’un de ses romans avec le jeu de rle Neuromancer produit en 1988 par Interplay. Indirectement, les films Blade Runner et la srie Max Headroom eurent aussi des adaptations en jeu vido. Le jeu de rle papier Shadowrun reu jusqu’ quatre adaptations vido-ludiques.

Plusieurs titres originaux inspirs du cyberpunk virent le jour dans diffrents types comme Beneath a Steel Sky (jeu d’aventure pointez-cliquer), Snatcher (jeu d’aventure japonais) en 1988, Syndicate (Jeu de stratgie en temps rel) en 1993, System Shock en 1994 et sa suite System Shock 2 en 1999 et E.Y.E.: Divine Cybermancy (Tir subjectif) en 2011.

L’exemple le plus frquent de jeu vido l’univers cyberpunk russi, en termes de succs d’estime et de vente, restera probablement la srie des Deus Ex, lance en 2000 sous l’impulsion de Warren Spector (alors Ion Storm), hritiers assums des jeux System Shock dont il fut galement l’un des crateurs. Tous les ingrdients habituels y sont: prothses, piratage, une socit sombre et dsespre dans un futur proche, etc.

Square Enix s’est galement inspir du courant cyberpunk pour crer l’univers de Final Fantasy VII, sorti en 1997. On y retrouve en effet une intrigue se droulant sur une plante semblable la Terre, bien que plus avance technologiquement, contrle par une firme hgmonique aux dirigeants peu scrupuleux, la Shinra. Le sige de cette socit se trouve Midgar, une cit urbanise l’extrme, dans laquelle les personnes les plus aises vivent dans des habitations construites sur une gigantesque plaque 50mtres au-dessus du sol, alors que la partie la plus modeste de la population est contrainte de vivre dans des taudis, situs sous la plaque et privs des rayons du soleil[9]. L’univers du jeu accorde galement une place prpondrante la technologie, notamment par le biais de la Shinra, qui tire sa position dominante d’une technologie capable de convertir l’nergie terrestre (nergie Mako) en lectricit d’une part, et qui d’autre part utilise la robotique, principalement des fins militaires[10]. Le protagoniste du jeu, Cloud Strife, a galement t employ au sein des forces paramilitaires du conglomrat Shinra, frachement reconverti en mercenaire solitaire au dbut de l’intrigue, il incarne parfaitement cet anti-hros rcurrent dans les uvres cyberpunk. Son opposition avec la Shinra, dans un premier temps, est galement symptomatique du thme rcurrent de la lutte entre deux forces trs ingales[11]. On note galement la prsence d’une rflexion environnementale grce la prsence d’Avalanche, un groupe d’co-terroristes, visant empcher la Shinra de poursuivre l’exploitation de l’nergie Mako. Barret Wallace, le leader de ce groupe a en outre une prothse mcanique semblable une mitraillette, la place du bras droit[12], ce qui clt les principaux parallles que l’on peut faire entre Final Fantasy VII et la culture cyberpunk.

Le mme studio avec la pariticipation de sa filiale Eidos Montral dveloppera Deus Ex: Human Revolution en 2011, o le thme central du jeu est l’essor des socits dans la mondialisation, l’espionnage, la survie de l’homme, la pauvret et l’thique dutranshumanismeavec le remplacement artificiel de parties du corps humain qui est aussi un thme compatible avec le cyberpunk.

Atlus a repris des lments cyberpunks dans plusieurs de ses jeux, notamment Shin Megami Tensei II o la socit de Tokyo Millenium est divise entre les riches et puissants fidles du Centre (l’gale de la multinationale cyberpubk) et les infidles qui doivent survivre dans un environnement mtallique, dvast et sans ressources. Un autre exemple serait Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers, o la Phantom Society exploite le rseau Paradigm X pour voler les mes des habitants de la ville ultramoderne Amami City. L’objectif de la Phantom Society est de se servir des mes fauches comme source d’nergie pour invoquer Manitou et ainsi conqurir le monde. noter que le hros de Soul Hackers est un jeune hackeur en marge de la socit, ce qui renforce la ressemblance.

C’est dans les anime et les manga que le cyberpunk eut la plus grande influence [13].

Il peut y avoir contestation au sujet de la classification des diffrents sous-genres du cyberpunk: par exemple, on considre le steampunk et le biopunk comme des sous-genres mais, les caractristiques de ces sous-genres du cyberpunk tant relativement vastes et encore assez proches des caractristiques dfinissant le cyberpunk, un chevauchement peut aisment survenir lors d’une identification d’une uvre au cyberpunk et ses sous-genres.

Le cyberpunk tant un genre assez vaste, il est parfois problmatique de dissocier clairement les sous-genres des simples facettes varies de ce genre. Le modle de terminologie “~punk” peut tre utilis pour nommer des spcialits du cyberpunk ou de ses sous-genres qui ne sont pas vritablement identifies comme spares, soit par le manque de diffrences, soit par le manque d’utilisation de pareils termes. Par exemple, le terme “arcanepunk” peut faire rfrence la relative alliance de la technologie et de la magie dans un univers cyberpunk.

Ds le milieu des annes 1980, les auteurs comme Gibson et Sterling annonaient que le mouvement cyberpunk tait dj moribond, rcupr par Hollywood, digr et recrach sous une forme dpourvue de son lment punk. cet gard, un article de Lewis Shiner, publi dans le New York Times et intitul Confessions of an ex-Cyberpunk, fera date, et entranera une longue rponse de la part de Bruce Sterling: Cyberpunk in the Nineties, dans laquelle il dplore, tout en s’en amusant, que cette tiquette lui colle encore la peau, mais revendique toujours haut et fort les valeurs vhicules par le mouvement.

Pour certains, c’est le refus du mouvement d’imaginer un meilleur futur qui est la cause de la courte dure du mouvement[15]. C’est Neal Stephenson, dans son roman Le Samoura virtuel (Snow Crash) paru en 1992, qui enterre dfinitivement le cyberpunk dans les toutes premires pages . Cependant, cette opinion est conteste par les gens mettant en avant les uvres de nouveaux auteurs comme Richard Morgan.

On peut ventuellement expliquer la diminution du nombre d’uvres cyberpunk par le fait que certains thmes abords, qui taient auparavant futuristes et prcurseurs, sont de plus en plus vrais dans nos socits modernes. Notamment aux thmes, qui furent novateurs mais ne le sont plus, de l’mergence d’un rseau mondial de communication (Internet), du terrorisme de masse, du pouvoir de l’tat qui s’amoindrit au profit des grandes entreprises, des prothses et implants, etc. Ainsi, en 2007, Charles Stross publie le roman Halting State(en) dont l’histoire se situe dans un futur moyennement proche (2016) mais dont les problmatiques contemporaines refltent l’actualit de 2005-2006. Il faut peut-tre alors plus parler de rorientation d’une partie du cyberpunk que d’une fin.

Sur les autres projets Wikimedia:

Read more:

Cyberpunk Wikipdia

 Posted by at 12:52 pm  Tagged with:

Why Darwinism Is False | Center for Science and Culture

 Darwinism  Comments Off on Why Darwinism Is False | Center for Science and Culture
Jun 132016
 

Jonathan Wells Discovery Institute May 18, 2009 Print Article

Jerry A. Coyne is a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at The University of Chicago. In Why Evolution is True, he summarizes Darwinismthe modern theory of evolutionas follows: Life on earth evolved gradually beginning with one primitive speciesperhaps a self-replicating moleculethat lived more than 3.5 billion years ago; it then branched out over time, throwing off many new and diverse species; and the mechanism for most (but not all) of evolutionary change is natural selection.1

Coyne further explains that evolution simply means that a species undergoes genetic change over time. That is, over many generations a species can evolve into something quite different, and those differences are based on changes in the DNA, which originate as mutations. The species of animals and plants living today werent around in the past, but are descended from those that lived earlier.2

According to Coyne, however, if evolution meant only gradual genetic change within a species, wed have only one species todaya single highly evolved descendant of the first species. Yet we have many How does this diversity arise from one ancestral form? It arises because of splitting, or, more accurately, speciation, which simply means the evolution of different groups that cant interbreed.3

If Darwinian theory were true, we should be able to find some cases of speciation in the fossil record, with one line of descent dividing into two or more. And we should be able to find new species forming in the wild. Furthermore, we should be able to find examples of species that link together major groups suspected to have common ancestry, like birds with reptiles and fish with amphibians. Finally, there are facts that make sense only in light of the theory of evolution but do not make sense in the light of creation or design. These include patterns of species distribution on the earths surface, peculiarities of how organisms develop from embryos, and the existence of vestigial features that are of no apparent use. Coyne concludes his introduction with the bold statement that all the evidenceboth old and newleads ineluctably to the conclusion that evolution is true.4

Of course, evolution is undeniably true if it means simply that existing species can change in minor ways over time, or that many species living today did not exist in the past. But Darwins claim that all species are modified descendants of a common ancestor, and Coynes claim that DNA mutations and natural selection have produced those modifications, are not so undeniably true. Coyne devotes the remainder of his book to providing evidence for them.

Fossils

Coyne turns first to the fossil record. We should be able, he writes, to find some evidence for evolutionary change in the fossil record. The deepest (and oldest) layers of rock would contain the fossils of more primitive species, and some fossils should become more complex as the layers of rock become younger, with organisms resembling present-day species found in the most recent layers. And we should be able to see some species changing over time, forming lineages showing descent with modification (adaptation). In particular, later species should have traits that make them look like the descendants of earlier ones.5

In The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin acknowledged that the fossil record presented difficulties for his theory. By the theory of natural selection, he wrote, all living species have been connected with the parent-species of each genus, by differences not greater than we see between the natural and domestic varieties of the same species at the present day. Thus in the past the number of intermediate and transitional links, between all living and extinct species, must have been inconceivably great. But Darwin knew that the major animal groupswhich modern biologists call phylaappeared fully formed in what were at the time the earliest known fossil-bearing rocks, deposited during a geological period known as the Cambrian. He considered this a serious difficulty for his theory, since if the theory be true, it is indisputable that before the lowest Cambrian stratum was deposited long periods elapsed and that during these vast periods the world swarmed with living creatures. And to the question why we do not find rich fossiliferous deposits belonging to these assumed earliest periods prior to the Cambrian system, I can give no satisfactory answer. So the case at present must remain inexplicable; and may be truly urged as a valid argument against the views here entertained.6

Darwin defended his theory by citing the imperfection of the geological record. In particular, he argued that Precambrian fossils had been destroyed by heat, pressure, and erosion. Some of Darwins modern followers have likewise argued that Precambrian fossils existed but were later destroyed, or that Precambrian organisms were too small or too soft to have fossilized in the first place. Since 1859, however, paleontologists have discovered many Precambrian fossils, many of them microscopic or soft-bodied. As American paleobiologist William Schopf wrote in 1994, The long-held notion that Precambrian organisms must have been too small or too delicate to have been preserved in geological materials [is] now recognized as incorrect. If anything, the abrupt appearance of the major animal phyla about 540 million years agowhich modern biologists call the Cambrian explosion or biologys Big Bangis better documented now than in Darwins time. According to Berkeley paleontologist James Valentine and his colleagues, the explosion is real, it is too big to be masked by flaws in the fossil record. Indeed, as more fossils are discovered it becomes clear that the Cambrian explosion was even more abrupt and extensive than previously envisioned.7

What does Coynes book have to say about this?

Around 600 million years ago, Coyne writes, a whole gamut of relatively simple but multicelled organisms arise, including worms, jellyfish, and sponges. These groups diversify over the next several million years, with terrestrial plants and tetrapods (four-legged animals, the earliest of which were lobe-finned fish) appearing about 400 million years ago.8

In other words, Coynes account of evolutionary history jumps from 600 to 400 million years ago without mentioning the 540 million year-old Cambrian explosion. In this respect, Coynes book reads like a modern biology textbook that has been written to indoctrinate students in Darwinian evolution rather than provide them with the facts.

Coyne goes on to discuss several transitional forms. One of our best examples of an evolutionary transition, he writes, is the fossil record of whales, since we have a chronologically ordered series of fossils, perhaps a lineage of ancestors and descendants, showing their movement from land to water.9

The sequence begins, Coyne writes, with the recently discovered fossil of a close relative of whales, a raccoon-sized animal called Indohyus. Living 48 million years ago, Indohyus was probably very close to what the whale ancestor looked like. In the next paragraph, Coyne writes, Indohyus was not the ancestor of whales, but was almost certainly its cousin. But if we go back 4 million more years, to 52 million years ago, we see what might well be that ancestor. It is a fossil skull from a wolf-sized creature called Pakicetus, which is bit more whalelike than Indohyus. On the page separating these two paragraphs is a figure captioned Transitional forms in the evolution of modern whales, which shows Indohyus as the first in the series and Pakicetus as the second.10

But Pakicetusas Coyne just told usis 4 million years older than Indohyus. To a Darwinist, this doesnt matter: Pakicetus is more whalelike than Indohyus, so it must fall between Indohyus and modern whales, regardless of the fossil evidence.

(Coyne performs the same trick with fossils that are supposedly ancestral to modern birds. The textbook icon Archaeopteryx, with feathered wings like a modern bird but teeth and a tail like a reptile, is dated at 145 million years. But what Coyne calls the nonflying feathered dinosaur fossilswhich should have come before Archaeopteryxare tens of millions of years younger. Like Darwinists Kevin Padian and Luis Chiappe eleven years earlier, Coyne simply rearranges the evidence to fit Darwinian theory.)11

So much for Coynes prediction that later species should have traits that make them look like the descendants of earlier ones. And so much for his argument that if evolution were not true, fossils would not occur in an order that makes evolutionary sense. Ignoring the facts he himself has just presented, Coyne brazenly concludes: When we find transitional forms, they occur in the fossil record precisely where they should. If Coynes book were turned into a movie, this scene might feature Chico Marx saying, Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?12

There is another problem with the whale series (and every other series of fossils) that Coyne fails to address: No species in the series could possibly be the ancestor of any other, because all of them possess characteristics they would first have to lose before evolving into a subsequent form. This is why the scientific literature typically shows each species branching off a supposed lineage.

In the figure below, all the lines are hypothetical. The diagram on the left is a representation of evolutionary theory: Species A is ancestral to B, which is ancestral to C, which is ancestral to D, which is ancestral to E. But the diagram on the right is a better representation of the evidence: Species A, B, C and D are not in the actual lineage leading to E, which remains unknown.

It turns out that no series of fossils can provide evidence for Darwinian descent with modification. Even in the case of living species, buried remains cannot generally be used to establish ancestor-descendant relationships. Imagine finding two human skeletons in the same grave, one about thirty years older than the other. Was the older individual the parent of the younger? Without written genealogical records and identifying marks (or in some cases DNA), it is impossible to answer the question. And in this case we would be dealing with two skeletons from the same species that are only a generation apart and from the same location. With fossils from different species that are now extinct, and widely separated in time and space, there is no way to establish that one is the ancestor of anotherno matter how many transitional fossils we find.

In 1978, Gareth Nelson of the American Museum of Natural History wrote: The idea that one can go to the fossil record and expect to empirically recover an ancestor-descendant sequence, be it of species, genera, families, or whatever, has been, and continues to be, a pernicious illusion.13Nature science writer Henry Gee wrote in 1999 that no fossil is buried with its birth certificate. When we call new fossil discoveries missing links, it is as if the chain of ancestry and descent were a real object for our contemplation, and not what it really is: a completely human invention created after the fact, shaped to accord with human prejudices. Gee concluded: To take a line of fossils and claim that they represent a lineage is not a scientific hypothesis that can be tested, but an assertion that carries the same validity as a bedtime storyamusing, perhaps even instructive, but not scientific.14

Embryos

So evolutionary theory needs better evidence than the fossil record can provide. Coyne correctly notes: When he wrote The Origin, Darwin considered embryology his strongest evidence for evolution. Darwin had written that the evidence seemed to show that the embryos of the most distinct species belonging to the same class are closely similar, but become, when fully developed, widely dissimilar, a pattern that reveals community of descent. Indeed, Darwin thought that early embryos show us, more or less completely, the condition of the progenitor of the whole group in its adult state.15

But Darwin was not an embryologist. In The Origin of Species he supported his contention by citing a passage by German embryologist Karl Ernst von Baer:

The embryos of mammals, birds, lizards and snakes, and probably chelonia [turtles] are in their earliest states exceedingly like one another…. In my possession are two little embryos in spirit, whose names I have omitted to attach, and at present I am quite unable to say to what class they belong. They may be lizards or small birds, or very young mammals, so complete is the similarity in the mode of formation of the head and trunk in these animals.16

Coyne claims that this is something von Baer wrote to Darwin, but Coynes history is as unreliable as his paleontology. The passage Darwin cited was from a work written in German by von Baer in 1828; Thomas Henry Huxley translated it into English and published it in 1853. Darwin didnt even realize at first that it was from von Baer: In the first two editions of The Origin of Species he incorrectly attributed the passage to Louis Agassiz.17

Ironically, von Baer was a strong critic of Darwins theory, rejecting the idea that all vertebrates share a common ancestor. According to historian of science Timothy Lenoir, von Baer feared that Darwin and his followers had already accepted the Darwinian evolutionary hypothesis as true before they set to the task of observing embryos. The myth that von Baers work supported Darwins theory was due primarily to another German biologist, Ernst Haeckel.18 Haeckel maintained not only that all vertebrate embryos evolved from a common ancestor, but also that in their development (ontogeny) they replay (recapitulate) their evolutionary history (phylogeny). He called this The Biogenetic Law: Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.

In Why Evolution Is True, Coyne writes that the recapitulation of an evolutionary sequence is seen in the developmental sequence of various organs. Each vertebrate undergoes development in a series of stages, and the sequence of those stages happens to follow the evolutionary sequence of its ancestors. The probable reason for this is that as one species evolves into another, the descendant inherits the developmental program of its ancestor. So the descendant tacks changes onto what is already a robust and basic developmental plan. It is best for things that evolved later to be programmed to develop later in the embryo. This adding new stuff onto old principle also explains why the sequence of developmental stages mirrors the evolutionary sequence of organisms. As one group evolves from another, it often adds its developmental program on top of the old one. Thus all vertebrates begin development looking like embryonic fish because we all descended from a fishlike ancestor.19

Nevertheless, Coyne writes, Haeckels Biogenetic Law wasnt strictly true, because embryonic stages dont look like the adult forms of their ancestors, as Haeckel (and Darwin) believed, but like the embryonic forms of their ancestors. But this reformulation of The Biogenetic Law doesnt solve the problem. First, fossil embryos are extremely rare,20 so the reformulated law has to rely on embryos of modern organisms that are assumed to resemble ancestral forms. The result is a circular argument: According to Darwins theory, fish are our ancestors; human embryos (allegedly) look like fish embryos; therefore, human embryos look like the embryos of our ancestors. Theory first, observation laterjust as von Baer had objected.

Second, the idea that later evolutionary stages can simply be tacked onto development is biologically unrealistic. A human is not just a fish embryo with some added features. As British embryologist Walter Garstang pointed out in 1922, a house is not a cottage with an extra story on the top. A house represents a higher grade in the evolution of a residence, but the whole building is alteredfoundations, timbers, and roofeven if the bricks are the same.21

Third, and most important, vertebrate embryos are not most similar in their earliest stages. In the 1860s, Haeckel made some drawings to show that vertebrate embryos look almost identical in their first stagebut his drawings were faked. Not only had he distorted the embryos by making them appear more similar than they really are, but he had also omitted earlier stages in which the embryos are strikingly different from each other. A human embryo in its earliest stages looks nothing like a fish embryo.

Only after vertebrate embryos have progressed halfway through their development do they reach the stage that Darwin and Haeckel treated as the first. Developmental biologists call this different-similar-different pattern the developmental hourglass. Vertebrate embryos do not resemble each other in their earliest stages, but they converge somewhat in appearance midway through development before diverging again. If ontogeny were a recapitulation of phylogeny, such a pattern would be more consistent with separate origins than with common ancestry. Modern Darwinists attempt to salvage their theory by assuming that the common ancestry of vertebrates is obscured because early development can evolve easily, but there is no justification for this assumption other than the theory itself.22

Although Haeckels drawings were exposed as fakes by his own contemporaries, biology textbooks used them throughout the twentieth century to convince students that humans share a common ancestor with fish. Then, in 1997, a scientific journal published an article comparing photos of vertebrate embryos to Haeckels drawings, which the lead author described as one of the most famous fakes in biology. In 2000, Harvard evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould called Haeckels drawings fraudulent and wrote that biologists should be both astonished and ashamed by the century of mindless recycling that has led to the persistence of these drawings in a large number, if not a majority, of modern textbooks.23

But Coyne is not ashamed. He defends Haeckels drawings Haeckel was accused, largely unjustly, Coyne writes, of fudging some drawings of early embryos to make them look more similar than they really are. Yet we shouldnt throw out the baby with the bath water.24 The baby is Darwins theory, which Coyne stubbornly defends regardless of the evidence.

Vestiges and Bad Design

Darwin argued in The Origin of Species that the widespread occurrence of vestigial organsorgans that may have once had a function but are now uselessis evidence against creation. On the view of each organism with all its separate parts having been specially created, how utterly inexplicable is it that organs bearing the plain stamp of inutility should so frequently occur. But such organs, he argued, are readily explained by his theory: On the view of descent with modification, we may conclude that the existence of organs in a rudimentary, imperfect, and useless condition, or quite aborted, far from presenting a strange difficulty, as they assuredly do on the old doctrine of creation, might even have been anticipated in accordance with the views here explained.25

In The Descent of Man, Darwin cited the human appendix as an example of a vestigial organ. But Darwin was mistaken: The appendix is now known to be an important source of antibody-producing blood cells and thus an integral part of the human immune system. It may also serve as a compartment for beneficial bacteria that are needed for normal digestion. So the appendix is not useless at all.26

In 1981, Canadian biologist Steven Scadding argued that although he had no objection to Darwinism, vestigial organs provide no evidence for evolutionary theory. The primarily reason is that it is difficult, if not impossible, to unambiguously identify organs totally lacking in function. Scadding cited the human appendix as an organ previously thought to be vestigial but now known to have a function. Another Canadian biologist, Bruce Naylor, countered that an organ with some function can still be considered vestigial. Furthermore, Naylor argued, perfectly designed organisms necessitated the existence of a creator, but organisms are often something less than perfectly designed and thus better explained by evolution. Scadding replied: The entire argument of Darwin and others regarding vestigial organs hinges on their uselessness and inutility. Otherwise, the argument from vestigiality is nothing more than an argument from homology, and Darwin treated these arguments separately recognizing that they were in fact independent. Scadding also objected that Naylors less than perfectly designed argument was based on a theological assumption about the nature of God, i.e. that he would not create useless structures. Whatever the validity of this theological claim, it certainly cannot be defended as a scientific statement, and thus should be given no place in a scientific discussion of evolution.27

In Why Evolution Is True, Coyne (like Darwin) cites the human appendix as an example of a vestigial organ. Unlike Darwin, however, Coyne concedes that it may be of some small use. The appendix contains patches of tissue that may function as part of the immune system. It has also been suggested that it provides a refuge for useful gut bacteria. But these minor benefits are surely outweighed by the severe problems that come with the human appendix. In any case, Coyne argues, the appendix is still vestigial, for it no longer performs the function for which it evolved.28

As Scadding had pointed out nearly thirty years ago, however, Darwins argument rested on lack of function, not change of function. Furthermore, if vestigiality were redefined as Coyne proposes, it would include many features never before thought to be vestigial. For example, if the human arm evolved from the leg of a four-footed mammal (as Darwinists claim), then the human arm is vestigial. And if (as Coyne argues) the wings of flying birds evolved from feathered forelimbs of dinosaurs that used them for other purposes, then the wings of flying birds are vestigial. This is the opposite of what most people mean by vestigial.29

Coyne also ignores Scaddings other criticism, arguing that whether the human appendix is useless or not, it is an example of imperfect or bad design. What I mean by bad design, Coyne writes, is the notion that if organisms were built from scratch by a designerone who used the biological building blocks or nerves, muscles, bone, and so onthey would not have such imperfections. Perfect design would truly be the sign of a skilled and intelligent designer. Imperfect design is the mark of evolution; in fact, its precisely what we expect from evolution.30

An even better example of bad design, Coyne argues, is the prevalence of dead genes. According to the modern version of Darwinism that Coyne defends, DNA carries a genetic program that encodes proteins that direct embryo development; mutations occasionally alter the genetic program to produce new proteins (or change their locations); and natural selection then sorts those mutations to produce evolution. In the 1970s, however, molecular biologists discovered that most of our DNA does not encode proteins. In 1972 Susumu Ohno called this junk, and in 1976 Richard Dawkins wrote: A large fraction of the DNA is never translated into protein. From the point of view of the individual organism this seems paradoxical. If the purpose of DNA is to supervise the building of bodies, it is surprising to find a large quantity of DNA which does no such thing. From the point of view of Darwinian evolution, however, there is no paradox. The true purpose of DNA is to survive, no more and no less. The simplest way to explain the surplus DNA is to suppose that it is a parasite, or at best a harmless but useless passenger, hitching a ride in the survival machines created by the other DNA.31

Like Dawkins, Coyne regards much of our DNA as parasitic. He writes in Why Evolution Is True: When a trait is no longer used, or becomes reduced, the genes that make it don’t instantly disappear from the genome: evolution stops their action by inactivating them, not snipping them out of the DNA. From this we can make a prediction. We expect to find, in the genomes of many species, silenced, or dead, genes: genes that once were useful but are no longer intact or expressed. In other words, there should be vestigial genes. In contrast, the idea that all species were created from scratch predicts that no such genes would exist. Coyne continues: Thirty years ago we couldn’t test this prediction because we had no way to read the DNA code. Now, however, its quite easy to sequence the complete genome of species, and its been done for many of them, including humans. This gives us a unique tool to study evolution when we realize that the normal function of a gene is to make a proteina protein whose sequence of amino acids is determined by the sequence of nucleotide bases that make up the DNA. And once we have the DNA sequence of a given gene, we can usually tell if it is expressed normallythat is, whether it makes a functional proteinor whether it is silenced and makes nothing. We can see, for example, whether mutations have changed the gene so that a usable protein can no longer be made, or whether the control regions responsible for turning on a gene have been inactivated. A gene that doesnt function is called a pseudogene. And the evolutionary prediction that well find pseudogenes has been fulfilledamply. Virtually every species harbors dead genes, many of them still active in its relatives. This implies that those genes were also active in a common ancestor, and were killed off in some descendants but not in others. Out of about thirty thousand genes, for example, we humans carry more than two thousand pseudogenes. Our genomeand that of other speciesare truly well populated graveyards of dead genes.32

But Coyne is dead wrong.

Evidence pouring in from genome-sequencing projects shows that virtually all of an organisms DNA is transcribed into RNA, and that even though most of that RNA is not translated into proteins, it performs essential regulatory functions. Every month, science journals publish articles describing more such functions. And this is not late-breaking news: The evidence has been accumulating since 2003 (when scientists finished sequencing the human genome) that pseudogenes and other so-called junk DNA sequences are not useless after all.33Why Evolution Is True ignores this enormous body of evidence, which decisively refutes Coynes Darwinian prediction that our genome should contain lots of dead DNA. Its no wonder that Coyne falls back again and again on the sort of theological arguments that Scadding wrote should be given no place in a scientific discussion of evolution.

Biogeography

Theological arguments are also prominent in The Origin of Species. For example, Darwin argued that the geographic distribution of living things made no sense if species had been separately created, but it did make sense in the context of his theory. Cases such as the presence of peculiar species of bats on oceanic islands and the absence of all other terrestrial mammals, Darwin wrote, are facts utterly inexplicable on the theory of independent acts of creation. In particular: Why, it may be asked, has the supposed creative force produced bats and no other mammals on remote islands? According to Darwin, on my view this question can easily be answered; for no terrestrial mammal can be transported across a wide space of sea, but bats can fly across.34

But Darwin knew that migration cannot account for all patterns of geographic distribution. He wrote in The Origin of Species that the identity of many plants and animals, on mountain-summits, separated from each other by hundreds of miles of lowlands, where Alpine species could not possibly exist, is one of the most striking cases known of the same species living at distant points without the apparent possibility of their having migrated from one point to the other. Darwin argued that the recent ice age affords a simple explanation of these facts. Arctic plants and animals that were nearly the same could have flourished everywhere in Europe and North America, but when the warmth had fully returned, the same species, which had lately lived together on the European and North American lowlands, would again be found in the arctic regions of the Old and New Worlds, and on many isolated mountain-summits far distant from each other.35

So some cases of geographic distribution may not be due to migration, but to the splitting of a formerly large, widespread population into small, isolated populationswhat modern biologists call vicariance. Darwin argued that all modern distributions of species could be explained by these two possibilities. Yet there are many cases of geographic distribution that neither migration nor vicariance seem able to explain.

One example is the worldwide distribution of flightless birds, or ratites. These include ostriches in Africa, rheas in South America, emus and cassowaries in Australia, and kiwis in New Zealand. Since the birds are flightless, explanations based on migration over vast oceanic distances are implausible. After continental drift was discovered in the twentieth century, it was thought that the various populations might have separated with the landmasses. But ostriches and kiwis are much too recent; the continents had already drifted apart when these species originated. So neither migration nor vicariance explain ratite biogeography.36

Another example is freshwater crabs. Studied intensively by Italian biologist Giuseppe Colosi in the 1920s, these animals complete their life cycles exclusively in freshwater habitats and are incapable of surviving prolonged exposure to salt water. Today, very similar species are found in widely separated lakes and rivers in Central and South America, Africa, Madagascar, southern Europe, India, Asia and Australia. Fossil and molecular evidence indicates that these animals originated long after the continents separated, so their distribution is inconsistent with the vicariance hypothesis. Some biologists speculate that the crabs may have migrated by transoceanic rafting in hollow logs, but this seems unlikely given their inability to tolerate salt water. So neither vicariance nor migration provides a convincing explanation for the biogeography of these animals.37

An alternative explanation was suggested in the mid-twentieth century by Lon Croizat, a French biologist raised in Italy. Croizat found that Darwins theory did not seem to agree at all with certain important facts of nature, especially the facts of biogeography. Indeed, he concluded, Darwinism is by now only a straitjacket a thoroughly decrepit skin to hold new wine. Croizat did not argue for independent acts of creation; instead, he proposed that in many cases a widespread primitive species was split into fragments, then its remnants evolved in parallel, in separate locations, into new species that were remarkably similar. Croizat called this process of parallel evolution orthogenesis. Neo-Darwinists such as Ernst Mayr, however, pointed out that there is no mechanism for orthogenesis, which impliescontrary to Darwinismthat evolution is guided in certain directions; so they rejected Croizats hypothesis.38

In Why Evolution Is True, Coyne (like Darwin) attributes the biogeography of oceanic islands to migration, and certain other distributions to vicariance. But Coyne (unlike Darwin) acknowledges that these two processes cannot explain everything. For example, the internal anatomy of marsupial mammals is so different from the internal anatomy of placental mammals that the two groups are thought to have split a long time ago. Yet there are marsupial flying squirrels, anteaters and moles in Australia that strikingly resemble placental flying squirrels, anteaters and moles on other continents, and these forms originated long after the continents had separated.

Coyne attributes the similarities to a well-known process called convergent evolution. According to Coyne. Its really quite simple. Species that live in similar habitats will experience similar selection pressures from their environment, so they may evolve similar adaptations, or converge, coming to look and behave very much alike even though they are unrelated. Put together common ancestry, natural selection, and the origin of species (speciation), add in the fact that distant areas of the world can have similar habitats, and you get convergent evolutionand a simple explanation of a major geographic pattern.39

This is not the same as Croizats orthogenesis, according to which populations of a single species, after becoming separated from each other, evolve in parallel due to some internal directive force. According to Coynes convergent evolution, organisms that are fundamentally different from each other evolve through natural selection to become superficially similar because they inhabit similar environments. The mechanism for orthogenesis is internal, whereas the mechanism for convergence is external. In both cases, however, mechanism is crucial: Without it, orthogenesis and convergence are simply words describing biogeographical patterns, not explanations of how those patterns originated.

So the same question can be asked of convergence that was asked of orthogenesis: What is the evidence for the proposed mechanism? According to Coyne, the mechanism of convergence involves natural selection and speciation.

Selection and Speciation

Coyne writes that Darwin had little direct evidence for selection acting in natural populations. Actually, Darwin had no direct evidence for natural selection; the best he could do in The Origin of Species was give one or two imaginary illustrations. It wasnt until a century later that Bernard Kettlewell provided what he called Darwins missing evidence for natural selectiona shift in the proportion of light- and dark-colored peppered moths that Kettlewell attributed to camouflage and bird predation.40

Since then, biologists have found lots of direct evidence for natural selection. Coyne describes some of it, including an increase in average beak depth of finches on the Galpagos Islands and a change in flowering time in wild mustard plants in Southern Californiaboth due to drought. Like Darwin, Coyne also compares natural selection to the artificial selection used in plant and animal breeding.

But these examples of selectionnatural as well as artificialinvolve only minor changes within existing species. Breeders were familiar with such changes before 1859, which is why Darwin did not write a book titled How Existing Species Change Over Time; he wrote a book titled The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. Darwin called his great work On the Origin of Species, wrote Harvard evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr in 1982, for he was fully conscious of the fact that the change from one species into another was the most fundamental problem of evolution. Yet, Mayr had written earlier, Darwin failed to solve the problem indicated by the title of his work. In 1997, evolutionary biologist Keith Stewart Thomson wrote: A matter of unfinished business for biologists is the identification of evolution’s smoking gun, and the smoking gun of evolution is speciation, not local adaptation and differentiation of populations. Before Darwin, the consensus was that species can vary only within certain limits; indeed, centuries of artificial selection had seemingly demonstrated such limits experimentally. Darwin had to show that the limits could be broken, wrote Thomson, so do we.41

In 2004, Coyne and H. Allen Orr published a detailed book titled Speciation, in which they noted that biologists have not been able to agree on a definition of species because no single definition fits every case. For example, a definition applicable to living, sexually reproducing organisms might make no sense when applied to fossils or bacteria. In fact, there are more than 25 definitions of species. What definition is best? Coyne and Orr argued that, when deciding on a species concept, one should first identify the nature of one’s species problem, and then choose the concept best at solving that problem. Like most other Darwinists, Coyne and Orr favor Ernst Mayr’s biological species concept (BSC), according to which species are groups of interbreeding natural populations that are reproductively isolated from other such groups. In Why Evolution Is True, Coyne explains that the biological species concept is the one that evolutionists prefer when studying speciation, because it gets you to the heart of the evolutionary question. Under the BSC, if you can explain how reproductive barriers evolve, youve explained the origin of species.42

Theoretically, reproductive barriers arise when geographically separated populations diverge genetically. But Coyne describes five cases of real-time speciation that involve a different mechanism: chromosome doubling, or polyploidy.43 This usually follows hybridization between two existing plant species. Most hybrids are sterile because their mismatched chromosomes cant separate properly to produce fertile pollen and ovaries; occasionally, however, the chromosomes in a hybrid spontaneously double, producing two perfectly matched sets and making reproduction possible. The result is a fertile plant that is reproductively isolated from the two parentsa new species, according to the BSC.

But speciation by polyploidy (secondary speciation) has been observed only in plants. It does not provide evidence for Darwins theory that species originate through natural selection, nor for the neo-Darwinian theory of speciation by geographic separation and genetic divergence. Indeed, according to evolutionary biologist Douglas J. Futuyma, polyploidy does not confer major new morphological characteristics [and] does not cause the evolution of new genera or higher levels in the biological hierarchy.44

So secondary speciation does not solve Darwins problem. Only primary speciationthe splitting of one species into two by natural selectionwould be capable of producing the branching-tree pattern of Darwinian evolution. But no one has ever observed primary speciation. Evolutions smoking gun has never been found.45

Or has it?

In Why Evolution Is True, Coyne claims that primary speciation was observed in an experiment reported in 1998. Curiously, Coyne did not mention it in the 2004 book he co-authored with Orr, but his 2009 account of it is worth quoting in full:

We can even see the origin of a new, ecologically diverse bacterial species, all within a single laboratory flask. Paul Rainey and his colleagues at Oxford University placed a strain of the bacteria Pseudomonas fluorescens in a small vessel containing nutrient broth, and simply watched it. (Its surprising but true that such a vessel actually contains diverse environments. Oxygen concentration, for example, is highest on the top and lowest on the bottom.) Within ten daysno more than a few hundred generationsthe ancestral free-floating smooth bacterium had evolved into two additional forms occupying different parts of the beaker. One, called wrinkly spreader, formed a mat on top of the broth. The other, called fuzzy spreader, formed a carpet on the bottom. The smooth ancestral type persisted in the liquid environment in the middle. Each of the two new forms was genetically different from the ancestor, having evolved through mutation and natural selection to reproduce best in their respective environments. Here, then, is not only evolution but speciation occurring in the lab: the ancestral form produced, and coexisted with, two ecologically different descendants, and in bacteria such forms are considered distinct species. Over a very short time, natural selection in Pseudomonas yielded a small-scale adaptive radiation, the equivalent of how animals or plants form species when they encounter new environments on an oceanic island.46

But Coyne omits the fact that when the ecologically different forms were placed back into the same environment, they suffered a rapid loss of diversity, according to Rainey. In bacteria, an ecologically distinct population (called an ecotype) may constitute a separate species, but only if the distinction is permanent. As evolutionary microbiologist Frederick Cohan wrote in 2002, species in bacteria are ecologically distinct from one another; and they are irreversibly separate.47 The rapid reversal of ecological distinctions when the bacterial populations in Raineys experiment were put back into the same environment refutes Coynes claim that the experiment demonstrated the origin of a new species.

Exaggerating the evidence to prop up Darwinism is not new. In the Galpagos finches, average beak depth reverted to normal after the drought ended. There was no net evolution, much less speciation. Yet Coyne writes in Why Evolution Is True that everything we require of evolution by natural selection was amply documented by the finch studies. Since scientific theories stand or fall on the evidence, Coynes tendency to exaggerate the evidence does not speak well for the theory he is defending. When a 1999 booklet published by The U. S. National Academy of Sciences called the change in finch beaks a particularly compelling example of speciation, Berkeley law professor and Darwin critic Phillip E. Johnson wrote in The Wall Street Journal: When our leading scientists have to resort to the sort of distortion that would land a stock promoter in jail, you know they are in trouble.48

So there are observed instances of secondary speciationwhich is not what Darwinism needsbut no observed instances of primary speciation, not even in bacteria. British bacteriologist Alan H. Linton looked for confirmed reports of primary speciation and concluded in 2001: None exists in the literature claiming that one species has been shown to evolve into another. Bacteria, the simplest form of independent life, are ideal for this kind of study, with generation times of twenty to thirty minutes, and populations achieved after eighteen hours. But throughout 150 years of the science of bacteriology, there is no evidence that one species of bacteria has changed into another.49

Conclusions

Darwin called The Origin of Species one long argument for his theory, but Jerry Coyne has given us one long bluff. Why Evolution Is True tries to defend Darwinian evolution by rearranging the fossil record; by misrepresenting the development of vertebrate embryos; by ignoring evidence for the functionality of allegedly vestigial organs and non-coding DNA, then propping up Darwinism with theological arguments about bad design; by attributing some biogeographical patterns to convergence due to the supposedly well-known processes of natural selection and speciation; and then exaggerating the evidence for selection and speciation to make it seem as though they could accomplish what Darwinism requires of them.

The actual evidence shows that major features of the fossil record are an embarrassment to Darwinian evolution; that early development in vertebrate embryos is more consistent with separate origins than with common ancestry; that non-coding DNA is fully functional, contrary to neo-Darwinian predictions; and that natural selection can accomplish nothing more than artificial selectionwhich is to say, minor changes within existing species.

Faced with such evidence, any other scientific theory would probably have been abandoned long ago. Judged by the normal criteria of empirical science, Darwinism is false. Its persists in spite of the evidence, and the eagerness of Darwin and his followers to defend it with theological arguments about creation and design suggests that its persistence has nothing to do with science at all.50

Nevertheless, biology students might find Coynes book useful. Given accurate information and the freedom to exercise critical thinking, students could learn from Why Evolution Is True how Darwinists manipulate the evidence and mix it with theology to recycle a false theory that should have been discarded long ago.

Notes1 Jerry A. Coyne, Why Evolution Is True (New York: Viking, 2009), p. 3. 2 Coyne, Why Evolution Is True, pp. 3-4. 3 Coyne, Why Evolution Is True, pp. 5-6. 4 Coyne, Why Evolution Is True, pp. 18-19. 5 Coyne, Why Evolution Is True, pp. 17-18, 25. 6 Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species, Sixth Edition (London: John Murray, 1872), Chapter X, pp. 266, 285-288. Available online (2009) here. 7 J. William Schopf, The early evolution of life: solution to Darwins dilemma, Trends in Ecology and Evolution 9 (1994): 375-377. James W. Valentine, Stanley M. Awramik, Philip W. Signor & M. Sadler, The Biological Explosion at the Precambrian-Cambrian Boundary, Evolutionary Biology 25 (1991): 279-356. James W. Valentine & Douglas H. Erwin, Interpreting Great Developmental Experiments: The Fossil Record, pp. 71-107 in Rudolf A. Raff & Elizabeth C. Raff, (editors), Development as an Evolutionary Process (New York: Alan R. Liss, 1987). Jeffrey S. Levinton, The Big Bang of Animal Evolution, Scientific American 267 (November, 1992): 84-91. The Scientific Controversy Over the Cambrian Explosion, Discovery Institute. Available online (2009) here. Jonathan Wells, Icons of Evolution (Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, 2002), Chapter 3. More information available online (2009) here. Stephen C. Meyer, The Cambrian Explosion: Biologys Big Bang, pp. 323-402 in John Angus Campbell & Stephen C. Meyer (editors), Darwinism, Design, and Public Education (East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press, 2003). More information available online (2009) here. 8 Coyne, Why Evolution Is True, p. 28.

9 Coyne, Why Evolution Is True, p. 48. 10 Coyne, Why Evolution Is True, pp. 49-51. 11 Kevin Padian & Luis M. Chiappe, The origin and early evolution of birds, Biological Reviews 73 (1998): 1-42. Available online (2009) here. Wells, Icons of Evolution, pp. 119-122. 12 Coyne, Why Evolution Is True, pp. 25, 53. Chico Marx in Duck Soup (Paramount Pictures, 1933). This and other Marx Brothers quotations are available online (2009) here. 13 Gareth Nelson, Presentation to the American Museum of Natural History (1969), in David M. Williams & Malte C. Ebach, The reform of palaeontology and the rise of biogeography25 years after ‘ontogeny, phylogeny, palaeontology and the biogenetic law’ (Nelson, 1978), Journal of Biogeography 31 (2004): 685-712. 14 Henry Gee, In Search of Deep Time. New York: Free Press, 1999, pp. 5, 32, 113-117. Jonathan Wells, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design (Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, 2006). More information available online (2009) here.

15 Coyne, Why Evolution Is True, p. 79. Darwin, The Origin of Species, Chapter XIV, pp. 386-396. Available online (2009) here. 16 Darwin, The Origin of Species, Chapter XIV, pp. 387-388. Available online (2009) here. 17 Coyne, Why Evolution Is True, p. 73. Karl Ernst von Baer, On the Development of Animals, with Observations and Reflections: The Fifth Scholium, translated by Thomas Henry Huxley, pp. 186-237 in Arthur Henfrey & Thomas H. Huxley (editors), Scientific Memoirs: Selected from the Transactions of Foreign Academies of Science and from Foreign Journals: Natural History (London, 1853; reprinted 1966 by Johnson Reprint Corporation, New York). The passage quoted by Darwin is on p. 210. Jane M. Oppenheimer, An Embryological Enigma in the Origin of Species, pp. 221-255 in Jane M. Oppenheimer, Essays in the History of Embryology and Biology (Cambridge, MA: The M.I.T. Press, 1967). 18 Timothy Lenoir, The Strategy of Life (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1982), p. 258. Frederick B. Churchill, The Rise of Classical Descriptive Embryology, pp. 1-29 in Scott F. Gilbert (editor), A Conceptual History of Modern Embryology (Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), pp. 19-20. 19 Coyne, Why Evolution Is True, pp. 77-79. 20 Simon Conway Morris, Fossil Embryos, pp. 703-711 in Claudio D. Stern (editor), Gastrulation: From Cells to Embryos (Cold Spring Harbor, NY: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 2004). 21 Walter Garstang, The theory of recapitulation: a critical restatement of the biogenetic law, Journal of the Linnean Society (Zoology), 35 (1922): 81-101. 22 See Chapter Five and accompanying references in Wells, Icons of Evolution. See Chapter Three and accompanying references in Wells, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design. 23 Michael K. Richardson, J. Hanken, M. L. Gooneratne, C. Pieau, A. Raynaud, L. Selwood & G. M. Wright, There is no highly conserved embryonic stage in the vertebrates: implications for current theories of evolution and development, Anatomy & Embryology 196 (1997): 91-106. Michael K. Richardson, quoted in Elizabeth Pennisi, Haeckels Embryos: Fraud Rediscovered, Science 277 (1997): 1435. Stephen Jay Gould, Abscheulich! Atrocious! Natural History (March, 2000), pp. 42-49. Hoax of Dodos (2007). Available online (2009) here. 24 Coyne, Why Evolution Is True, p. 78.Notes 25 Darwin, The Origin of Species, Chapters XIV (p. 402) and XV (p. 420). Available online (2009) here. 26 Darwin, Charles. The Descent of Man, First Edition (London: John Murray, 1871), Chapter I (p. 27). Available online (2009) here. Kohtaro Fujihashi, J.R. McGhee, C. Lue, K.W. Beagley, T. Taga, T. Hirano, T. Kishimoto, J. Mestecky & H. Kiyono, Human Appendix B Cells Naturally Express Receptors for and Respond to Interleukin 6 with Selective IgA1 and IgA2 Synthesis, Journal of Clinical Investigations 88 (1991): 248-252. Available online (2009) here. J.A. Laissue, B.B. Chappuis, C. Mller, J.C. Reubi & J.O. Gebbers, The intestinal immune system and its relation to disease, Digestive Diseases (Basel) 11 (1993): 298-312. Abstract available online (2009) here. Loren G. Martin, What is the function of the human appendix? Scientific American (October 21, 1999), Available online (2009) here. R. Randal Bollinger, Andrew S. Barbas, Errol L. Bush, Shu S. Lin & William Parker, Biofilms in the large bowel suggest an apparent function of the human vermiform appendix, Journal of Theoretical Biology 249 (2007): 826-831. Available online (2009) here. Duke University Medical Center, Appendix Isn’t Useless At All: It’s A Safe House For Good Bacteria, ScienceDaily (October 8, 2007). Available online (2009) here. 27 Steven R. Scadding, Do vestigial organs provide evidence for evolution? Evolutionary Theory 5 (1981): 173-176. Bruce G. Naylor, Vestigial organs are evidence of evolution, Evolutionary Theory 6 (1982): 91-96. Steven R. Scadding, Vestigial organs do not provide scientific evidence for evolution, Evolutionary Theory 6 (1982): 171-173. 28 Coyne, Why Evolution Is True, pp. 61-62. 29 Coyne, Why Evolution Is True, p. 46. 30 Coyne, Why Evolution Is True, pp. 81. 31 Susumu Ohno, So much junk DNA in our genome, Brookhaven Symposia in Biology 23 (1972): 366-70. Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene (New York: Oxford University Press, 1976), p. 47. 32 Coyne, Why Evolution Is True, pp. 66-67. 33 A few of the many scientific articles published since 2003 that document the function of so-called junk DNA are: E.S Balakirev & F.J. Ayala, Pseudogenes: are they junk or functional DNA? Annual Review of Genetics 37 (2003): 123-151. A. Httenhofer, P. Schattner & N. Polacek, Non-coding RNAs: hope or hype? Trends in Genetics 21 (2005): 289-297. J.S. Mattick & I.V. Makunin, Non-coding RNA, Human Molecular Genetics 15 (2006): R17-R29. R.K. Slotkin & R. Martienssen, Transposable elements and the epigenetic regulation of the genome, Nature Reviews Genetics 8 (2007): 272-285. P. Carninci, J. Yasuda & Y Hayashizaki, Multifaceted mammalian transcriptome, Current Opinion in Cell Biology 20 (2008): 274-80. C.D. Malone & G.J. Hannon, Small RNAs as Guardians of the Genome, Cell 136 (2009): 656668. C.P. Ponting, P.L. Oliver & W. Reik, Evolution and Functions of Long Noncoding RNAs, Cell 136 (2009): 629641.

34 Darwin, The Origin of Species, Chapters XIII (pp. 347-352) and XV (p. 419). Available online (2009) here. 35 Darwin, The Origin of Species, Chapters XII (pp. 330-332). Available online (2009) here. 36 Alan Cooper, et al., C. Mourer-Chauvir, C.K. Chambers, A. von Haeseler, A.C. Wilson & S. Paabo, Independent origins of New Zealand moas and kiwis, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 89 (1992): 8741-8744. Available online (2008) here. Oliver Haddrath & Allan J. Baker, Complete mitochondrial DNA genome sequences of extinct birds: ratite phylogenetics and the vicariance biogeography hypothesis, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 268 (2001): 939-945. John Harshman, E.L. Braun, M.J. Braun, C.J. Huddleston, R.C.K. Bowie, J.L. Chojnowski, S.J. Hackett, K.-L. Han, R.T. Kimball, B.D. Marks, K.J. Miglia, W.S. Moore, S. Reddy, F.H. Sheldon, D.W. Steadman, S.J. Steppan, C.C. Witt & T. Yuri, Phylogenomic evidence for multiple losses of flight in ratite birds, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 105 (2008): 13462-13467. Abstract available online (2008) here. Giuseppe Sermonti, L’evoluzione in Italia – La via torinese / How Evolution Came to Italy – The Turin Connection, Rivista di Biologia/Biology Forum 94 (2001): 5-12. Available online (2008) here. 37 Giuseppe Colosi, La distribuzione geografica dei Potamonidae, Rivista di Biologia 3 (1921): 294-301. Available online (2009) here. Savel R. Daniels, N. Cumberlidge, M. Prez-Losada, S.A.E. Marijnissen & K.A. Crandall, Evolution of Afrotropical freshwater crab lineages obscured by morphological convergence, Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 40 (2006): 227235. Available online (2009) here. R. von Sternberg, N. Cumberlidge & G. Rodriguez. On the marine sister groups of the freshwater crabs (Crustacea: Decapoda: Brachyura), Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research 37 (1999): 1938. Darren C.J. Yeo, et al., Global diversity of crabs (Crustacea: Decapoda: Brachyura) in freshwater, Hydrobiologia 595 (2008): 275-286. 38 Lon Croizat, Space, Time, Form: The Biological Synthesis. Published by the author (Deventer, Netherlands: N. V. Drukkerij Salland, 1962), p. iii. Robin C. Craw, Lon Croizat’s Biogeographic Work: A Personal Appreciation, Tuatara 27:1 (August 1984): 8-13. Available online (2009) here. John R. Grehan, Evolution By Law: Croizat’s Orthogeny and Darwin’s Laws of Growth, Tuatara 27:1 (August 1984): 14-19. Available online (2009) here. Carmen Colacino, Lon Croizats Biogeography and Macroevolution, or Out of Nothing, Nothing Comes, The Philippine Scientist 34 (1997): 73-88. Ernst Mayr, The Growth of Biological Thought (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1982), pp. 529-530. 39 Coyne, Why Evolution Is True, pp. 92-94.

40 Coyne, Why Evolution Is True, p. 116. Darwin, The Origin of Species, Chapter IV (p. 70). Available online (2009) here. H. B. D. Kettlewell, Darwins Missing Evidence, Scientific American 200 (March, 1959): 48-53.

41 Ernst Mayr, The Growth of Biological Thought (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1982), p. 403. Ernst Mayr, Populations, Species and Evolution (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1963), p. 10. Keith Stewart Thomson, Natural Selection and Evolution’s Smoking Gun, American Scientist 85 (1997): 516-518.

42 Jerry A. Coyne & H. Allen Orr, Speciation (Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates, 2004), p. 25-39. Coyne, Why Evolution Is True, p. 174.

43 Coyne, Why Evolution Is True, p. 188.

44 Douglas J. Futuyma, Evolution (Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates, 2005), p. 398.

45 Wells, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design, Chapter Five (The Ultimate Missing Link), pp. 49-59.

46 Coyne, Why Evolution Is True, pp. 129-130.

47 Paul B. Rainey & Michael Travisano. Adaptive radiation in a heterogeneous environment, Nature 394 (1998): 69-72. Frederick M. Cohan, What Are Bacterial Species? Annual Review of Microbiology 56 (2002): 457-482. Available online (2009) here.

48 Coyne, Why Evolution Is True, p. 134. National Academy of Sciences, Science and Creationism: A View from the National Academy of Sciences, Second edition (Washington, DC: National Academy of Sciences Press, 1999), Chapter on Evidence Supporting Biological Evolution, p. 10. Available online (2009) here. Phillip E. Johnson, The Church of Darwin, The Wall Street Journal (August 16, 1999): A14. Available online (2009) here.

49 Alan H. Linton, Scant Search for the Maker, The Times Higher Education Supplement (April 20, 2001), Book Section, p. 29.

Frederick M. Cohan, What Are Bacterial Species? Annual Review of Microbiology 56 (2002): 457-482. Available online (2009) here.

50 Paul A. Nelson, The role of theology in current evolutionary reasoning, Biology and Philosophy 11 (October 1996): 493 – 517. Abstract available online (2009) here. Jonathan Wells, Darwins Straw God Argument, Discovery Institute (December 2008). Available online (2009) here.Jonathan Wells, Darwins Straw God Argument, Discovery Institute (December 2008). Available online (2009) here.

More:

Why Darwinism Is False | Center for Science and Culture

Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence

 Artificial Intelligence  Comments Off on Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence
Jun 132016
 

Founded in 1979, the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) (formerly the American Association for Artificial Intelligence) is a nonprofit scientific society devoted to advancing the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines. AAAI aims to promote research in, and responsible use of, artificial intelligence. AAAI also aims to increase public understanding of artificial intelligence, improve the teaching and training of AI practitioners, and provide guidance for research planners and funders concerning the importance and potential of current AI developments and future directions. More

Major AAAI activities include organizing and sponsoring conferences, symposia, and workshops, publishing a quarterly magazine for all members, publishing books, proceedings, and reports, and awarding grants, scholarships, and other honors.

We are delighted to announce that the AAAI-17 conference will be held February 49, 2017 in San Francisco, California. The Call for Papers has now been posted; electronic abstracts are due September 9, 2016.

AAAI members should visit the member site for current and prospective members of the Association. From this location, you can join AAAI, change your address, and learn more about the advantages available only to members of AAAI!

AAAI President Tom Dietterich and former AAAI President Eric Horvitz address the recent rise in concerns about AI, and encourage the engagement of the AI and computer science community in setting directions for the future. Please see Rise of Concerns about AI: Reflections and Directions. Communications of the ACM 58(10): 3840.

Dr. Tom Dietterich, President of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence and Distinguished Professor of Computer Science at Oregon State University, delves into the challenges of ensuring that artificial intelligence performs safely and properly in the face of programming errors, cyberattacks and other risks. He spoke at DARPA’s Wait, What? A Future Technology Forum on Sept. 10, 2015.

It is the generosity and loyalty of our members that enables us to continue to promote and further the science of artificial intelligence. Membership dues and program fees and endowment income cover only a portion of the costs of our programs. Donations and grants must supply the rest. Your gift will help sustain the many and varied programs that AAAI provides. In todays economic climate, we depend even more on the generosity of members like you to help us fulfill our mission.

Contributions make possible projects such as the AI poster, the open access initiative, components of the AAAI annual conference, a lowered membership rate for students as well as student scholarships, and more. To enable us to continue these and other efforts, please consider a generous gift. For information on how you can contribute, please click on Gifts.

The major sections of this site (and some popular pages) can be accessed from the links on this page. If you want to learn more about artificial intelligence, you should visit the AI Topics page. To join or learn more about AAAI membership, choose Membership. Choose Publications to learn more about AAAI Press, AI Magazine, and AAAIs journals. To access AAAIs digital library of more than 10,000 AI technical papers, choose Library. Choose Awards to learn more about AAAIs awards and honors and fellows program. To learn more about AAAIs conferences and meetings choose Meetings. For links to policy papers, presidential addresses, and outside AI resources, choose Resources. For information about the AAAI organization, including its officers and staff, choose About Us (also Organization). The search box, powered by Google, will return results restricted to the AAAI site.

Go here to see the original:

Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence

 Posted by at 12:52 pm  Tagged with:

Memetics – definition of memetics by The Free Dictionary

 Memetics  Comments Off on Memetics – definition of memetics by The Free Dictionary
Jun 132016
 

Always embracing complexity, Stephenson populates his novels–from his breakthrough novel Snow Crash (1992) to the more recent Reamde (2011)–with concepts from mathematics, cryptography, computers, philosophy, history of science, memetics, Sumerian mythology, economics, robotics, nanotechnology, robotics, and the virtual world. When evaluating the development of meta-memes, critics engaged in memetics (the science of memes’ replication) must attend to mimesis (the process of imitation, replication, and mimicry). Memetics is a theory of mental content based on an analogy with Darwinian evolution, originating from the popularization of Richard Dawkins’ 1976 book “The Selfish Gene”. Anchored to the biological concept of “genes,” memetics explores the question of how some ideas, expressions, and other forms of understanding spread throughout society and across cultures–similar to the idea of how genes evolve among species. They consider the nature of the public sphere and how political developments have shaped online public discourse, specific uses and effects of the Internet surrounding the 2010 mid-term elections, viral videos and memetics, intertextuality in political camapigns and commentary, social satire, social networking, hacktivism, and anti-institutional politics. Gronas draws primarily on cognitive poetics, cultural memory theory, and memetics (analysis of memes), but memetics is the dominant member of this triad. The organization of the sections and chapters is very sensible, and a good number of the citations are from the very latest research in linguistics, memetics, and biological and cultural evolutionary theory. First Lieutenant Hancock explores the emerging field of Memetics and implications for memetic operations in the military environment. This terminology was originally introduced by Huxley as part of his concept of memetics analyzing the transmission of cultural information. 1 RTI Military Memetics (Information Propagation, Impact, and Persistence – Info PIP) Project Presented in a debate format, the essays offer different sides of one question, such as whether traits have evolved because of a past advantage, whether species are real, whether selection operates primarily on genes, whether microevolution and macroevolution are governed by the same processes, whether memetics provide a useful way for understanding cultural evolution, whether there is a place for intelligent design in the philosophy of biology, and evolutionary developmental biology versus the neo-Darwinian paradigm. The memetics of music: a neo-Darwinian view of musical structure and culture.

Originally posted here:

Memetics – definition of memetics by The Free Dictionary

 Posted by at 12:52 pm  Tagged with:

What is Nanotechnology?

 Nanotech  Comments Off on What is Nanotechnology?
Jun 122016
 

New!

Nanotech Scenario Series

Join the conversation at CRNtalk!

What is Nanotechnology?

In its original sense, ‘nanotechnology’ refers to the projected ability to construct items from the bottom up, using techniques and tools being developed today to make complete, high performance products.

With 15,342 atoms, this parallel-shaft speed reducer gear is one of the largest nanomechanical devices ever modeled in atomic detail. LINK

The Meaning of Nanotechnology

When K. Eric Drexler (right) popularized the word ‘nanotechnology’ in the 1980’s, he was talking about building machines on the scale of molecules, a few nanometers widemotors, robot arms, and even whole computers, far smaller than a cell.Drexler spent the next ten years describing and analyzing these incredible devices, and responding to accusations of science fiction.Meanwhile, mundane technology was developing the ability to build simple structures on a molecular scale.As nanotechnology became an accepted concept, the meaning of the word shifted to encompass the simpler kinds of nanometer-scale technology.The U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative was created to fund this kind of nanotech: their definition includes anything smaller than 100 nanometers with novel properties.

Much of the work being done today that carries the name ‘nanotechnology’ is not nanotechnology in the original meaning of the word. Nanotechnology, in its traditional sense, means building things from the bottom up, with atomic precision. This theoretical capability was envisioned as early as 1959 by the renowned physicist Richard Feynman.

I want to build a billion tiny factories, models of each other, which are manufacturing simultaneously. . . The principles of physics, as far as I can see, do not speak against the possibility of maneuvering things atom by atom. It is not an attempt to violate any laws; it is something, in principle, that can be done; but in practice, it has not been done because we are too big. Richard Feynman, Nobel Prize winner in physics

Based on Feynman’s vision of miniature factories using nanomachines to build complex products, advanced nanotechnology (sometimes referred to as molecular manufacturing) will make use of positionally-controlled mechanochemistry guided by molecular machine systems. Formulating a roadmap for development of this kind of nanotechnology is now an objective of a broadly based technology roadmap project led by Battelle (the manager of several U.S. National Laboratories) and the Foresight Nanotech Institute.

Shortly after this envisioned molecular machinery is created, it will result in a manufacturing revolution, probably causing severe disruption. It also has serious economic, social, environmental, and military implications.

Four Generations

Mihail (Mike) Roco of the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative has described four generations of nanotechnology development (see chart below). The current era, as Roco depicts it, is that of passive nanostructures, materials designed to perform one task. The second phase, which we are just entering, introduces active nanostructures for multitasking; for example, actuators, drug delivery devices, and sensors. The third generation is expected to begin emerging around 2010 and will feature nanosystems with thousands of interacting components. A few years after that, the first integrated nanosystems, functioning (according to Roco) much like a mammalian cell with hierarchical systems within systems, are expected to be developed.

Some experts may still insist that nanotechnology can refer to measurement or visualization at the scale of 1-100 nanometers, but a consensus seems to be forming around the idea (put forward by the NNI’s Mike Roco) that control and restructuring of matter at the nanoscale is a necessary element. CRN’s definition is a bit more precise than that, but as work progresses through the four generations of nanotechnology leading up to molecular nanosystems, which will include molecular manufacturing, we think it will become increasingly obvious that “engineering of functional systems at the molecular scale” is what nanotech is really all about.

Conflicting Definitions

Unfortunately, conflicting definitions of nanotechnology and blurry distinctions between significantly different fields have complicated the effort to understand the differences and develop sensible, effective policy.

The risks of today’s nanoscale technologies (nanoparticle toxicity, etc.) cannot be treated the same as the risks of longer-term molecular manufacturing (economic disruption, unstable arms race, etc.). It is a mistake to put them together in one basket for policy considerationeach is important to address, but they offer different problems and will require different solutions. As used today, the term nanotechnology usually refers to a broad collection of mostly disconnected fields. Essentially, anything sufficiently small and interesting can be called nanotechnology. Much of it is harmless. For the rest, much of the harm is of familiar and limited quality. But as we will see, molecular manufacturing will bring unfamiliar risks and new classes of problems.

General-Purpose Technology

Nanotechnology is sometimes referred to as a general-purpose technology. That’s because in its advanced form it will have significant impact on almost all industries and all areas of society. It will offer better built, longer lasting, cleaner, safer, and smarter products for the home, for communications, for medicine, for transportation, for agriculture, and for industry in general.

Imagine a medical device that travels through the human body to seek out and destroy small clusters of cancerous cells before they can spread. Or a box no larger than a sugar cube that contains the entire contents of the Library of Congress. Or materials much lighter than steel that possess ten times as much strength. U.S. National Science Foundation

Dual-Use Technology

Like electricity or computers before it, nanotech will offer greatly improved efficiency in almost every facet of life. But as a general-purpose technology, it will be dual-use, meaning it will have many commercial uses and it also will have many military usesmaking far more powerful weapons and tools of surveillance. Thus it represents not only wonderful benefits for humanity, but also grave risks.

A key understanding of nanotechnology is that it offers not just better products, but a vastly improved manufacturing process. A computer can make copies of data filesessentially as many copies as you want at little or no cost. It may be only a matter of time until the building of products becomes as cheap as the copying of files. That’s the real meaning of nanotechnology, and why it is sometimes seen as “the next industrial revolution.”

My own judgment is that the nanotechnology revolution has the potential to change America on a scale equal to, if not greater than, the computer revolution. U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)

The power of nanotechnology can be encapsulated in an apparently simple device called a personal nanofactory that may sit on your countertop or desktop. Packed with miniature chemical processors, computing, and robotics, it will produce a wide-range of items quickly, cleanly, and inexpensively, building products directly from blueprints.

Click to enlarge Artist’s Conception of a Personal Nanofactory Courtesy of John Burch, Lizard Fire Studios (3D Animation, Game Development)

Exponential Proliferation

Nanotechnology not only will allow making many high-quality products at very low cost, but it will allow making new nanofactories at the same low cost and at the same rapid speed. This unique (outside of biology, that is) ability to reproduce its own means of production is why nanotech is said to be an exponential technology. It represents a manufacturing system that will be able to make more manufacturing systemsfactories that can build factoriesrapidly, cheaply, and cleanly. The means of production will be able to reproduce exponentially, so in just a few weeks a few nanofactories conceivably could become billions. It is a revolutionary, transformative, powerful, and potentially very dangerousor beneficialtechnology.

How soon will all this come about? Conservative estimates usually say 20 to 30 years from now, or even much later than that. However, CRN is concerned that it may occur sooner, quite possibly within the next decade. This is because of the rapid progress being made in enabling technologies, such as optics, nanolithography, mechanochemistry and 3D prototyping. If it does arrive that soon, we may not be adequately prepared, and the consequences could be severe.

We believe it’s not too early to begin asking some tough questions and facing the issues:

Many of these questions were first raised over a decade ago, and have not yet been answered.If the questions are not answered with deliberation, answers will evolve independently and will take us by surprise; the surprise is likely to be unpleasant.

It is difficult to say for sure how soon this technology will mature, partly because it’s possible (especially in countries that do not have open societies) that clandestine military or industrial development programs have been going on for years without our knowledge.

We cannot say with certainty that full-scale nanotechnology will not be developed with the next ten years, or even five years. It may take longer than that, but prudenceand possibly our survivaldemands that we prepare now for the earliest plausible development scenario.

More Background on Nanotechnology:

Here is the original post:

What is Nanotechnology?

 Posted by at 12:40 am  Tagged with:

Meme Central – Memes, Memetics, and Mind Virus Resource

 Memetics  Comments Off on Meme Central – Memes, Memetics, and Mind Virus Resource
Jun 122016
 

Meme Central Books Level 3 Resources Richard Brodie Virus of the Mind Whats New? Site Map

Meme Central

Welcome to Meme Central, the center of the world of memetics. Memes are contagious ideas, all competing for a share of our mind in a kind of Darwinian selection. As memes evolve, they become better and better at distracting and diverting us from whatever we’d really like to be doing with our lives. They are a kind of Drug of the Mind. Confused? Blame it on memes.

Quick Tour:

Subscribe to my free newsletter, Meme Update.

Start reading my book Virus of the Mind: the New Science of the Meme for free.

Learn about Internet Mind Viruses and what you can do to stop them.

Find out about living life at Level 3 of consciousness

Read the list of frequently asked questions about memetics.

Memetics FAQ(Frequently Asked Questions)

Memetics Resources

Internet Mind Virus Antidote

Send this page to people who send you annoying chain letters, virus hoaxes, or bad jokes.

The Church of Virus

People who master memetics gain the ability to program their own mindsand the minds of others! What kind of religion would you create with this knowledge?

Hans-Cees Speel’s Memetics Page

Dr. Speel is one of the first academic researchers to devote his work to memetics. His page has many interesting links.

C-Realm

see the work of KMO.

The Lucifer Principle

Howard Bloom is one of the world’s most interesting people. He writes on everything from politics to memetics. Visit the site he has set up around his book The Lucifer Principle.

Peruse the Unofficial Richard Dawkins Page or

Read Richard Dawkins’s essay “Viruses of the Mind”

When I met Prof. Dawkins, he politely greeted me with “Oh, you’re the fellow who pinched my title!” It was not a week after the advance information for my book Virus of the Mind was sent to Books in Print that I walked into Barnes & Noble and saw his essay featured on the cover of Free Inquiry magazine. Well, I suppose the meme infected both of us at about the same time…

Memetics Publications on the Web

Browse through a collection of memetics-related writing available on the Web, including papers by Daniel Dennett, Keith Henson, and Liane Gabora.

Journal of Memetics

Have an academic bent? Then peruse the scholarly journal dedicated to memetics. The first issue includes papers by William Calvin, Liane Gabora, and other heavy hitters..

The Generosity Virus

John Stoner has created a designer virus to spread the meme of generosity. Here’s what he says about the virus: “A little while ago, I made up these cards. They create a chain of generous acts, memetically. How do you use them? You do something nice for someone, and you do it anonymously. For example, you could pay the toll of the car behind you at a tollbooth. One thing I’ve done is go to this wonderful bakery near my home, and buy a treat for the next person who walks in the door after I leave. Be creative! And you pass on one of these cards…. check them out.”

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

Here’s a smart young man that I’m a big fan of. He’s written quite a bit about the future of humanity, especially the “singularity” predicted when artificial intelligence overtakes human intelligence. He’s worth getting to know.

Susan Blackmore

Author of The Meme Machine, she has a nice site with more information on memetics.

Last Edited: March19, 2008 1996-2008 Richard Brodie. All rights reserved. Background image 1996 Lightbourne Images

Read the original here:

Meme Central – Memes, Memetics, and Mind Virus Resource




Pierre Teilhard De Chardin | Designer Children | Prometheism | Euvolution