doc on August 31, 2007, 06:09:53 pm
So-Everyone has gathered at Bettie Mae's for the party!  I hope Lamviin are bulletproof (my gunsmith Whitey insists they are!).  If Bud and Lou-err-I mean-Ness and Lawrence can survive this they could take the act on stage (and there'es one leaving in an hour!)
Keep it coming Guys!!

Rocketman on August 31, 2007, 08:32:12 pm
Just out of curiosity, how many Lamviin has your gunsmith shot anyway?  I seem to remember in the L. Neil Smith novel "Tom Paine Maru" that a number of them were shot, mainly in the foot as that would be a non lethal injury but a few were killed by well aimed pistol shots.   ;D  ;D

enemyofthestate on September 01, 2007, 11:55:09 pm
Nothing is bulletproof to a sufficiently determined bullet :-)

Besides, evolution doesn't seem to favor intelligence -- or at least a technophilic intelligence -- in heavily armored animals.  How much brains does it take to pull your head into a shell?  OTOH, wern't the Lamviin uplifted?  I recall something about caffeine?

Rocketman on September 02, 2007, 03:02:15 pm
Nothing is bulletproof to a sufficiently determined bullet :-)

Besides, evolution doesn't seem to favor intelligence -- or at least a technophilic intelligence -- in heavily armored animals. How much brains does it take to pull your head into a shell? OTOH, wern't the Lamviin uplifted? I recall something about caffeine?


Okay, lets look at this the following way.  Although technophilic intelligence has been around for a very long time, it's pretty much used by human beings not animals.  (I will beg exception to the chimpanees that learn to use sticks to pull ants out of their nests.)  I'm not an expert on xenobiology (all the people that really are aren't talking if they exist) so if we assume that your speaking about strictly the lamviin I don't understand your remark concerning evolution not favoring intelligence when in human intelligence it always has.  Put a idiot on a desert island with no food but a knife and he will starve to death or die of thirst.  Put an intelligent man on that same island with a knife and he will build a fire with it, sharpen a piece of bamboo for a spear and catch fish.  Look at the movie "Castaway" with Tom Hanks.  He was clearly a man with no survival background who survived because he had some brains.  Now imagine Paris Hilton in the same situation.   ;D   ;D    ;D    ;D

Zen Redneck on September 02, 2007, 06:41:54 pm
Evolution selects for successful reproduction, first and foremost.  All other traits are favored insofar as they contribute to that reproduction.  Intelligence is one of those traits, but it is only one, and often other traits can be more important.

Rocketman on September 03, 2007, 10:18:10 am
Zen, concerning the reproduction angle, I completely agree with you.  Normally a human female is attracted to a handsome, tall, muscular man as opposed to one who is not.  But the way that I read enemyofthestate's comment was he (or she) was using a technophille intelligence benchmark as a way of comparing how valuable intelligence was in non-human animals.  He concluded that in his own words "evolution doesn't seem to favor intelligence".  I totally disagreed with this conclusion because to me it's clear that if we are speaking of beings that are intelligent enough to be able to effectively use intelligence that survival favors the brainy over the idiot.   ;D

Zen Redneck on September 03, 2007, 11:00:36 am
Oh, you're quite right my point is just that reproduction is the sine qua non.  And, of course, all things being equal, the more intelligent creature will reproduce more readily.  This is in a state of nature.  Unfortunately, not being in a state of nature, we're currently undergoing an opposite trend.  As in Idiocracy.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0387808/

Rocketman on September 03, 2007, 05:36:05 pm
If you want a very good example of what you just said try googling "Darwin Award" sometime.
 ;D  ;D  ;D   ;D  ;D  ;D  ;D

Zen Redneck on September 04, 2007, 12:35:43 pm
If you want a very good example of what you just said try googling "Darwin Award" sometime.
 ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D

Ah.  Great stuff!

wdg3rd on September 04, 2007, 03:29:56 pm
Nothing is bulletproof to a sufficiently determined bullet :-)

Besides, evolution doesn't seem to favor intelligence -- or at least a technophilic intelligence -- in heavily armored animals.  How much brains does it take to pull your head into a shell?  OTOH, wern't the Lamviin uplifted?  I recall something about caffeine?


You're thinking of the Yamaguchians there, discovered by Bernie Greenblum and discussed in El Neil's The Nagasaki Vector.  Smaller than the Lamviin, more limbs and seventeen genders rather than just three.  Also able to pass on education genetically.
Ward Griffiths        wdg3rd@aol.com

Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.  --  Denis Diderot

enemyofthestate on September 05, 2007, 12:25:52 am
Okay, lets look at this the following way.  Although technophilic intelligence has been around for a very long time, it's pretty much used by human beings not animals.  (I will beg exception to the chimpanees that learn to use sticks to pull ants out of their nests.)  I'm not an expert on xenobiology (all the people that really are aren't talking if they exist) so if we assume that your speaking about strictly the lamviin I don't understand your remark concerning evolution not favoring intelligence when in human intelligence it always has.  Put a idiot on a desert island with no food but a knife and he will starve to death or die of thirst.  Put an intelligent man on that same island with a knife and he will build a fire with it, sharpen a piece of bamboo for a spear and catch fish.  Look at the movie "Castaway" with Tom Hanks.  He was clearly a man with no survival background who survived because he had some brains.  Now imagine Paris Hilton in the same situation.

I said it doesn't favor the development of intelligence in heavily armored animals.  Also technophilic intelligence is actually a fairly recent development as terrestrial evolution goes. Depending on how you gauge it only about 500KYA to 2.5MYA.  Some species of saurian might have evolved it but I rather doubt it.

Intelligence is biologically expensive and, as another reader had pointed out, evolution rewards reproductive success.  It is also quite conservative in that it will not select for an "expensive" trait when a "cheap" one will do.  An armored animal can pull it's head into it's shell and have a good chance of surviving an attack to make more babies.  An unarmored one had better be able to run fast (the horse), be fearsomely armed (cats -- mostly), or figure out that a rock tied to a stick can turn an attacker into a meal (humans).

And, yes, I know evolution is it not that simplistic.  I'm trying to explain briefly why think an armored animal would be unlikely to evolve a technophilic intelligence.

Quote
You're thinking of the Yamaguchians there, discovered by Bernie Greenblum and discussed in El Neil's The Nagasaki Vector.  Smaller than the Lamviin, more limbs and seventeen genders rather than just three.  Also able to pass on education genetically.
Thank you for the correction.

Zen Redneck on September 05, 2007, 09:01:51 am
And to that, I agree.  I think the problem is semantic.  Everything is unlikely develop technophilic intelligence, so to speak, because any particular evolutionary direction is unlikely.  But for a tree ape, a little more smarts can be very useful, while to a turtle, it would be considerably less so.

So I'd put it this way:  for some species, as they are, a bit more intelligence can greatly enhance their reproductive chances, while for others, it may only slightly enhance reproduction, and while there's a certain amount of Darwinian pressure for a turtle to get more intelligent, it may be outdone by pressure to get a thicker shell.

Indeed, intelligence is being selected against in the human race right now, to some extent, because the more intelligent are tending, for all sorts of political/sociological reasons, choosing to reproduce less, or not at all, while the less intelligent, unemcumbered by any social pressures otherwise, are merrily reproducing away, leaving their offspring to be brought to maturity by the society as a whole, subsidized by the efforts of the more intelligent.

enemyofthestate on September 09, 2007, 08:35:12 pm
And to that, I agree.  I think the problem is semantic.  Everything is unlikely develop technophilic intelligence, so to speak, because any particular evolutionary direction is unlikely.  But for a tree ape, a little more smarts can be very useful, while to a turtle, it would be considerably less so.

I think that life is the easy part. Intelligence is the hard part.  Admittedly that is largely a "just so" story founded in 40 years of of a layman thinking about evolution in general and human evolution in particular.  I'm really just an engineer with a penchant for thinking about stuff late at night when I should be sleeping.

Quote
So I'd put it this way:  for some species, as they are, a bit more intelligence can greatly enhance their reproductive chances, while for others, it may only slightly enhance reproduction, and while there's a certain amount of Darwinian pressure for a turtle to get more intelligent, it may be outdone by pressure to get a thicker shell.

As I said earlier, evolution is a conservative process.  It doesn't create anything new where something existing will do.   Human ancestor were blessed with the intelligence and grasping hand of an arboreal and probably onmivorous and migratory animal.  Dramatic climate changes forced some of those early apes out onto the plains where there was no convenient niche for them to expliot and where the top predators were faster and better armed.  Hindsight being 20/20 it was perhaps inevitable that better hands and better brains were the features evolution would select for in the human ancestor.

Quote
Indeed, intelligence is being selected against in the human race right now, to some extent, because the more intelligent are tending, for all sorts of political/sociological reasons, choosing to reproduce less, or not at all, while the less intelligent, unemcumbered by any social pressures otherwise, are merrily reproducing away, leaving their offspring to be brought to maturity by the society as a whole, subsidized by the efforts of the more intelligent.
When I was in college the first time around one of my professors used to say that a species never gets any smart than it need to be.  A corrolary might be a species won't stay any smarter than it needs to be.  It may be that intelligence carries a risk of it's own destruction.  That could certainly explain the Fermi Paradox.

Carla on September 13, 2007, 02:52:05 pm
Many years ago, I used to say much the same thing re evolution, but I phrased it as "an organism is likely to have little incentive to evolve much past the point at which it can consistently catch its natural prey"

I used as an example "Consider that Norske fishermen have evolved, over the years, to the point at which they are very good at consistently catching cod-fish."

The "punch line", of course, is "but then, there is another ethnic group, for whom the natural prey is a potato".

I haven't used that line for years now, ever since a gentleman from "The Emerald Isle" became ever so emotionally wrought, and took vehement exception to that comment.

cheers

Carla

Sphynx on September 14, 2007, 11:41:36 pm
I said it doesn't favor the development of intelligence in heavily armored animals. Also technophilic intelligence is actually a fairly recent development as terrestrial evolution goes. Depending on how you gauge it only about 500KYA to 2.5MYA. Some species of saurian might have evolved it but I rather doubt it.

Intelligence is biologically expensive and, as another reader had pointed out, evolution rewards reproductive success. It is also quite conservative in that it will not select for an "expensive" trait when a "cheap" one will do. An armored animal can pull it's head into it's shell and have a good chance of surviving an attack to make more babies. An unarmored one had better be able to run fast (the horse), be fearsomely armed (cats -- mostly), or figure out that a rock tied to a stick can turn an attacker into a meal (humans).

And, yes, I know evolution is it not that simplistic. I'm trying to explain briefly why think an armored animal would be unlikely to evolve a technophilic intelligence.
I recall that L. Neil referenced Sodde Lydfan (SP?) evolution and Lamviin development in Their Majesties' Bucketeers tangentally, also later, in Tom Paine Maru. Most land species, including the proto-lamviin evolved from a pseudo-arthropod, similar to a cross between a spider and a crab. Due to their sub-dermal carapace, the lamviin are resistant to ballistic damage from low velocity, low mass firearms ammunition. In TMB, Mymysiir Offe Woom relates that "...it takes considerable force to..." breach the lam carapace.

Whitey's Darrick/Dardick pistol wasn't slowing down the guards manning the fort/prison where Agot Edmoot Mav was held. A shot in an eye was generally fatal, so, not wanting to kill them, Whitey shot them in the foot\hand to incapacitate with minimal injury.

The point of all this, from my perspective, is that on Sodde Lydefe the carapace/armor remained a survival trait while the Lam were developing intelligence.

 

anything