Someday, when almost everyone is connected to almost everyone else via the Internet, I would argue that humans will have evolved into a single collective organism for all practical purposes. It would be much like the way individual cells of your body are united as one human.

Sure, humans aren't physically connected to each other, but neither are the atoms in your body if you shrink down to their level and take a look. You'd see more empty space in your body than matter. So proximity doesn't seem to be relevant to the definition of a living entity. It has more to do with how the parts communicate and act in a generally shared purpose for survival. Thus, when humans are linked via a central nervous system called the Internet, we can call humanity a newly evolved creature.

Humanity will eventually develop the scientific wherewithal to create new worlds, create new life, and manipulate existing life. And humanity will be immortal for all practical purposes, as long as it diversifies its parts across multiple planets, which seems likely.

If science progresses at a normal pace, it seems inevitable that we would someday terraform a planet and seed it with life designed to evolve. Prepping new planets for our eventual colonization might be part of our long term plan for survival. We'll always need more real estate if we keep reproducing. And it is the only way this new entity called humanity can reproduce.

Once we future humans get rolling with all the terraforming and seeding planets with life, we'll probably repeat the process thousands of times over millions of years. And that brings us to the interesting part. Logically, it is far more likely we are the product of previous human tinkering than it is likely we are the original humans who start it all. There can be only one first planet of humans, but there will be (or has been) thousands of subsequent versions that are essentially man-made.

So even if you assume a traditional God exists, it is far more likely that your more proximate creator is people. And even if you believe in evolution, it is far more likely we are a human designed version than the very first version.

And the odds that somewhere there is at least one planet inhabited with some version of advanced humans is very high indeed, for there is no rational reason to believe we are the first of what will be thousands to come. It's more likely we are somewhere in the middle of the process.

[Note: Yes, I know all of the individual ideas in this post are borrowed from places such as the old TV show Firefly, Boltzmann's Brains, my own book God's Debris, and more. But you probably haven't seen them all together. I hope.]

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Feb 23, 2009
I'm not easily offended and have a crude sense of humor - but I did find this cartoon offensive, racist, and dangerous. Scott, you underestimate the redneck / racist element in this country.
Feb 11, 2009
I doubt that the human species will evolve into one collective, "god" as you say. The will to survive as an individual and exist will almost always trump the will of a collective, unless of course, our brains shrink and communism becomes a more common practice.
Feb 9, 2009
The Internet is becoming a nervous system of sorts and Scott, you are contemplating ideas that float on the edge of an abyss. Even to describe something 'like' something else shows that we as humans don't get it. We are constantly trying to model our perceptions of new things to our current understanding. All that can be known is that this whole system is bigger than we could come close to comprehending and as you look from the micro to the macro, the patterns can look similar but they will never repeat. Kind of like Pi.

Some of the patterns are pretty crazy too. Road networks work just like veins and arteries. They even have their own immune systems with emergency vehicles and road crews.

I'm guessing this is why you looked up the definition of Life on Wikipedia mentioned in a recent post. I did the same thing not so long ago. It's is a bit scary that the definition is so vague but in someways it's kind of cool.

Keep up the posts!

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Feb 9, 2009
As mentioned elsewhere, Douglas Adams' 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' series included a planet-building society called the Magratheans, who created Earth as a super-computer to find the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything, to which the answer was 42. So Scott, you are about 30 years late with that bit. The other comedic Mr Adams also suggested that everything ever created grew naturally as alifeforms somewhere in the universe; I recall a planet inhabited entirely by matresses named Zim and, yes this is a ridiculous-sounding premise based on sci-fi comedy writings, but then many 'fantasy' writings of the past have become a reality as technology advances.

Secondly "Humanity will eventually develop the scientific wherewithal to create new worlds, create new life, and manipulate existing life." - it happens now; we have cloning experiements, stem-cell regeneration, IVF, gender re-assignment, cross-breeding, and genetic modification happening already.
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Feb 9, 2009
I love it when you blog on these topics Scott! Not only does it get the brain thinking about what's really possible out there, but it seriously pisses off the all those religious folks, which is exactly what I like reading on a Monday. Thanks for kicking my week of right!
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Feb 9, 2009

Thought you'd be interested in the kinds of ads that are popping up on your blog:


FYI. Other than that, great posts!

Feb 7, 2009
First - atoms are "connected" they share electron clouds - and atoms are discrete little balls that act like separate solarsystems (with the star being the nucleus and the planets being the electrons) - that is a model to explain the idea to kids. Without going too far into one comment you have confused the model with another model with another model ( and on and on because you can never get to reality - only an observation of reality).
Secondly - "logically" - you use it as a weasel word. You use the word to assume credibility which isn't really there. it is is the same logic that I have seen used to justify that we aren't the only planet in the universe with life, or intelligent life, or civilisation etc. the Drake equation. It is all guesswork and it only takes one of the numbers to be zero for us to be the only life - or us not to be life at all which would seem to suit the blog.
Feb 7, 2009
This is basic trolling.

Define immortal.

Did you say something to prevent heat death ?

Take care.

"Humanity will eventually develop the scientific wherewithal to create new worlds"

Give it a probability value. Is it more than 1% ?

Are you saying rubbish ?
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Feb 6, 2009
"Anything can happen, that is, if you are ignorant. As it turns out, not anything can happen. Seriously Scott, you need to learn some science, particularly physics and biology.

I know you make up some of the things you write just to stir things up but it is becoming apparent that you need to take some classes."

Actually, the Universe is ever expanding. Not to mention there are an infinite number of alternate Universes in the 7th dimension which are just points on the plane that is the 7th dimension. If something hasn't happened yet, it will.

Infinity has a knack for making things seemingly improbable possible. Maybe not in this Universe, but in another. Or one that has not been created yet.

Feb 6, 2009
We are BORG, you will be assimilated.
Feb 6, 2009
You guys sound like Futurists. Have you checked their track records? I'm very surprised that, out of 43 comments, no one mentioned the obvious: we're headed for extinction, just like all the other animals that were once near the top of a food chain, to be replaced by another species that fills approximately the same ecological niche, to have its day in the sun and be replaced. The only winners are the gut bacteria, which manage to move to a new species when the old one goes extinct. The reasons for our future extinction are usually given as due to being too smart or too technological or too secular or ... (add your favorite reason here). But it could be something random, like an asteroid, or multiple random disasters. But it might be that our gut bacteria will become disgusted with us, and ready to move on. Have a nice day.

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Feb 6, 2009
Why do we have to wait until all the humans on earth are connected? If your essential idea works I would say the x number of humans connected to the Internet (notice how we capitalize it like God?) constitute one organism now of which we all are parts.

here we go... down the rabbit hole.
Feb 6, 2009
what i find arrogant is the notion that jesus is not a time traveler.

what if discovering GUT gives you transdimensional powers? the assumption is that higher knowledge will require accompanying applied technology to function. that is not necessarily true.

if human evolution results in glowing time traveling human ascended god after they realize GUT, every religion could be true after the fact.

or how about if enough people believe something it becomes real. like enough people believe in ganesh, so he magically incorporates on the moon with full god powers.

maybe i'm just getting paranoid, but it seems like life is more than just what we see. the halogram universe makes a lot of sense. secular humanism seems to simple to be reality.
Feb 6, 2009
Interstellar travel is definitely in the realm of the possible:

Feb 6, 2009
"If science progresses at a normal pace", based on what we know, it would seem unlikely that any significant form of travel outside our solar system will ever take place, which kind of ruins your theory.
Feb 6, 2009
So just like that you wave away all the evidence of evolution? Or do you think whoever seeded this planet decided to seed it with the most primitive life forms and then decided to vanish completely leaving no trace behind? And any ways who is to say humans are at the end of the evolution chain? For all you know humans might be primitive to superior life forms out there.
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Feb 6, 2009
As to Uncollated's question: "...where are they?"

I recall a science fiction short story where a crew of exo-biologists (species not specified) whose spaceship crashed on a planet on which they could not survive. While these biologists waited for their inevitable demise, they genetically designed zoological and botanic microbes (presumably by modifiying their own DNA-equivalent.) to seed this water bearing planet with genomes compatable with the current and probable environs.

The story itself concentrated on the exploits of the earliest sentient miniscule creatures that evolved from their seeding -- long after any remains of the original biologist had long dispersed.

I found it a very clever twist.
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Feb 6, 2009
"So even if you assume a traditional God exists, it is far more likely that your more proximate creator is people. And even if you believe in evolution, it is far more likely we are a human designed version than the very first version."

Oooooo....you are SO going to honk off the churchies with that one! ;^)

FWIW, though, it *is* an interesting concept. Even now there exist collective organisms here on Earth, albeit on a much smaller scale than us human beans. It's a bit of a difficult concept to wrap one's head around when it involves sentience on multiple levels.

With all due diligence to avoid the obvious Borg references, one can imagine that we would think of ourselves now as individual !$%*!$%* (single humans). But when amalgamated into a collective consciousness via whatever the internet ultimately develops into, if indeed we colonize other worlds (with great time and expense), would each world's civilization consider itself to be an individual entity/lifeform?

This assumes the *lack* of FTL communication, such that, even with our collective-internet-consciousness, every world would effectively be isolated from every other world. Going on that notion, one could even say that the eventual civilization of "Homo Collectivus" would have, after colonizing its first new world, only two members of the whole species. How lonely would that seem?
Feb 6, 2009
Asimov's story about the Multivax is kind of related and definitely worth reading. http://www.multivax.com/last_question.html
Feb 6, 2009
If we were part of a global organism, what makes you think we'd be any more likely to understand its motivations than a cell understands the motivations of the human its a part of?

What makes you think we're not part of a superorganism already? How would you know the difference?
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