If you spend most of your time arguing with your immediate family, then even the family members with whom you most disagree are at the center of your world, and greatly define you. Or if you spend most of your time focusing on the “hot” topics and status conflicts within a particular academic community, then even the people there with which you most disagree are your close colleagues, and greatly define you. Or if you spend most of your time arguing about US politics, then even those who disagree with you most about that are near the center of your world, and define you.
Why don't you entertain the idea that some UFOs are visiting ETs . . . even just for fun?
Okay, I added a question re where life originated from.
Child support obligations are really expensive. I'd suspect that's one factor.
Re: Fertility dropping.Some things that might influence it are technologies that make childcare easier or cheaper, as well as bringing children to term. Artificial wombs, robotic childcare, etc. Yet we already have some amount of this (an iPad or TV can make a child much easier to care for, as does a washing machine and dishwasher). These things don't seem to have increased fertility much, if it all. Perhaps the opposite. Has the ease of childcare simply not reached some threshold?Perhaps the technologies that make childcare easier also tend to affect our lives in other ways the disincentivize having children.
I don't know, but my guess is that we may have to wait for natural selection to select for those people who have a genetic propensity for an overwhelming desire to have children to outbreed the rest of us. In the current environment enjoying sex, a propensity to fall in love and engage in pair bonding, etc. aren't enough to gaurantee high fertility rates, but a desire to have children is a phenotype that could be selected for. Not sure how long that will take, though.
Possible adds:Which flavors of multiverse (if any) actually exist?How abundant and how detailed is information concerning the past of Earth’s biosphere?Where and how did life originate in this galaxy, this stellar neighborhood, this planet?What limits on ultimate engineering capabilities are implied by existing physical laws?== == 24: Why is “information” not included as a 6th growth mode?Typo: 41. … *at* least re internal decay.
Additional question: Are there inherent structural limits to growth or effects that make growth more and more difficult/unlikely with increasing size?
For example - the size of minimum viable (bacterial) life on this planet seems to be around 10^-6m, - the minimum size of an animal with a brain is around 10^-4m- the minimum size of an animal capable of tool use is around 10^-1m- the size of a human is 2*10^0m
Scaling beyond that is done with groups:- the size of a hunter gatherer tribe is Dunbar's number: ~10^2 covering an area >10^3m - agriculture allows city states of up 10^5 humans needing a minimum region >10^4m
I don't know what the minimum size of a civilizations is that gets industrialization working but probably much bigger and I wonder whether the next scaling step is bigger than we can get on Earth.
(I got the numbers from misc Wikipedia pages)
A possible solution: Define an artificial slave class and allow women to make slave babies for profit. No one can ever be enslaved, but additional babies can be conceived and born into slavery as a business model. Once you have an initial slave population, they can be bred commercially. While this slave class wouldn't have ordinary rights and liberties, they have the right to choose painless death at any time, so slave owners have an incentive to keep them at least happy enough to want to exist. More people get to live net-positive lives (those who are net-negative will choose death) and the labor shortage is remedied. Bonus: Society will have an abundance of cute sex slaves.
I have seen this idea in a dystopia story, but it also had other elements like global totalitarianism, destruction of free speech and several more, which would be harmful to our interests. I'll give the link here with a content warning for violent scenes and explicitly sexual scenes: https://www.asstr.org/files...
Of course, we would expect wide-spread opposition to even the mildest forms of this idea in our current culture.
But that's just not going to happen.
How small would the human population have to be to allow all people to live at the comfort level of the wealthiest in the West (currently) while simultaneously reversing climate change?
1) Did there have to be something, rather than nothing?
I'm going to postpone saying whether any universe exists and talk about things in a universe existing. Inside of a universe, to be or exist means to be part of that universe. For instance, Minnie Mouse may exist in Mickey Mouse's universe but not in ours. To us, Mickey and Minnie are couterfactual.
An important meaning of "universe" is that no one inside it will ever have a chance to interact with anything outside it. And an important thing about science is that it can't say anything about things it can never interact with. And when you go beyond science you have to be careful with footing.
Whether our universe exists or any other universes or stuff exist outside it is something we can never do anything resembling science with. We can do things like Disney imagining a girlfriend for Mickey. Or imagine that there might be more stuff in our universe to interact with than we thought.
But what it's like in our universe is the answer to "What would it be like inside a universe like <this>?" We would be here thinking about your questions. There would be something rather than nothing. But this is our hypothetical universe, so for us, the right thing to say is that we exist and something exists.
The universe being only like a hypothetical hypothetical doesn't undo the fact that it's proper for us to say this stuff inside it exists. The question what would it be like here doesn't need someone more real or authoritative than us, or someone outside our universe, to think of the question, deduce the answer, run a simulation, or wind the clock. This is the answer regardless.
I can imagine our universe being arranged along a timeline with a beginning and an end. I can imagine a version of Mickey Mouse's universe without me in it. But the fact that something exists here now is a necessary truth: it's the only meaning of "really exists" for an inhabitant of a universe. There isn't any ever-accessible context for it to "have been" otherwise.
p.s. I wonder how conscious you were of using the past tense in the question.[minor edits 15 hrs later]
- Does humanity have a big future or are we probably doomed?- If we are doomed, what will cause our doom?
Thank you for the excellent framing of something I've felt for a long time but couldn't surface. Your unconcious mind learns from what you focus on, and given the ratio of other brains to our own, more mental space is dedicated to you in other people than yourself. So what you focus on matters more than anything, and focus is easily swindled from you.
In the spirit of trying to provoke disagreement on large questions... I often hear arguments that the universe is infinite, meaning things like replica worlds to our exist etc. Also there is no free will, because essentially everything boils down to physics at some level. But both of these are silly if we assume things can also go infinitely small. So my question would be, is the universe scale only infinte in one direction? Why?
I say no, and I'll add a thought experiment for anyone to dismantle. There are two objects in an infinte universe, a photon and a perfect mirror. They collide and we measure the angle of defelction by where the photon moves to. This gets more precise the further the photon travels, and the universe is infinite. So how many decimal places do we use for that angle? If the mirror is a problem, we just could imagine measuring the direction of a photon in the same way. I think this show if we allow infinity, we need it to scale down as well as up.
Imo the infiniteness of the universe is an open question, but I see no reason it should be infinite (or bounded) in one direction and not the other.
Related to the first question: What are the most basic laws of physics, and did they have to be that way?In fact, the first question is a special case, asking why aren't the laws of physics the empty set.
See my next post.