[extropy-chat] Manifest Destiny for >H

John Grigg desertpaths2003 at yahoo.com
Mon Apr 16 14:13:43 UTC 2007

Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com> wrote:  

  On 4/16/07, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:

  > On the other hand, maybe there will be long, long periods of dynamic
> equilibrium, evn between competing species grossly mismatched in
> intelligence, such as humans and bacteria.

That's because, in my view, human beings just got here. Another eye- 
blink from now, and just why will we or our >H successors permit
anything to use valuable energy besides ourselves (themselves)?

I wouldn't write off bacteria as easily. By prevalence, total biomass, hardiness and species longevity they far surpass humans. It's only in the last century that we have really been able to fight them, and in the last couple of decades we have fallen behind in that battle as they develop resistance to antibiotics even while medical science advances in leaps and bounds. Tigers are smarter, bigger and stronger than bacteria and we've almost wiped them out without meaning to, while we haven't made much impact on even the most pathogenic bacteria that we would dearly like to see extinct. A planet-wide catastrophe of the sort that wiped out the dinosaurs would not have much impact on bacteria, and it is even possible that bacterial spores might travel through space and seed other planets. We are very proud of our intelligence, but in the greater scheme of things, it might turn out to be just an evolutionary dead end. Life took hold and spread almost everywhere on the surface of
 the Earth over billions of years without need of intelligence. 

  My comment:
  Considering how bacteria have been found to communicate and even cooperate with each other at a surprisingly sophisticated level, do you think they might evolve over time into a roughly human level or better form of intelligence, but of the hive mind variety?  I could envision giant bacterial "brains/colonies" floating on the seas, rooted in the land and floating along in the sky.  It would be very interesting to see where the virus would fit in such an alien ecology.  This could make for a good science fiction novel but I bet it has already been done a number of times. 
Stathis Papaioannou
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