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Posted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 9:28 pm
by delta
a quick google search for 'debunking braveheart' brings up a nice little list, of which this is the first link:

http://www.discussanything.com/forums/s ... hp?t=90013

i also quite like this one, which manages to be quite funny:

http://www.firstfoot.com/scotchmyth/williamwallace.htm

i'm not saying that the scots didn't win the battle, just that not everything was as portrayed in the film... :v2_dizzy_tongue2:

Posted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 10:03 pm
by DizzyFanUK
I may attempt a philosophical reply:

The power, knowledge and ability described below is not evenly distributed among people - leading to a situation where, if people are gods then the rich and powerful are the supreme gods over the poor and weak.

However we are not gods as we are still fragile, dependant and mortal.

We may have more knowledge and power than ever, but we are interdependant on each other and the world we live in. We rely on energy, food, services and goods imported from around the globe not just for luxuries but for basic survival. Economic conditions, weather or wars in countries thousands of miles away affect our lives.
As our populations rise and the gap between rich and poor grows wider resources are becoming scarcer putting people in a more vulnerable position.

And unlike gods - even the most rich and powerful are still very much mortal creatures dependant on basic things to survive. Only if we discover how to live without relying on food, water or clean air, defeat disease and old age - unlocking the key the immortality - then we would be gods.

So far the closest we have got to immortality is by recording in books or other media, literature, film or audio. However that is not immortatility - it is an interpretation of a memory or a snapshot of a life, where even the original message or personailty can become lost or changed depending on fashion, political motive or current social acceptance.

Medical advances have not been able to unlock the key to long life. On the whole people may be living longer, but they are also living unhealthier lives for longer. The benefits of an ageing population for example have yet to be socially and economically realised.

Cloning does not create carbon copies of the clonee. As peoples personalities and abiloties are as much determined by their genes as by life experiences and even chemicals & foods exposed to in the womb. Even if clones look identical - it is unlikely they will ever be the same 'person'.

If we look at our 'god-like' effect on the planet - we may be able to change the world in ways before undreamed of - destroying life on this planet in all manner of new and imaginative ways as well as manipulating life to our benefit. But as history has always shown - no matter how powerful or destructive we become - in the long run any one species is insignificant.

For example, much has been made of what would happen if bees which are mysteriously disappearing became extinct - would plants no longer be polinated and millions of species die. In reality - if all bees died tomorrow chances are, some plant and animal species would die too. But over time (a very very long time to us) new species of insect would evolve to take the bees place and plants which dont require pollination by bees would become more numerous and evolve new species. This probably wont help us in the short term to get enough fruit/crops to eat, but life would survive - even if bees and humans dont.

Even if we exploded every nuclear bomb in existence, destroyed the ozone layer, cut down all the forests and polluted all the oceans - We'd only be destroying ourselves. In a mere few million years - the earth would recover, life would evolve and regrow and humans would be a forgotten memory. After all worse has happened before - we just weren't around to witness the over- active super volcanoes and huge meteor collisions of eons ago.

Looking at life on its head - may one be absurd to argue that bacteria are the closest things to gods in the universe - they have lived on this planet for millions of years longer than people - and will do so for millions of years after our death. They may not be able to demonstrate language, technology or culture but they can survive in more extreme places than people - being found at the bottom of oceans, in asteroids and even other planets - In contrast people have only managed to walk on the moon, using artificial means to protect our vulnerable bodies.

In short, we are not gods - after all would gods question if they were gods? -- let alone worry about credit crunches or be affected by hurricanes?


Gosh Random Ramblings sure is the best place for this - either that or the pub!!

:v2_dizzy_confused2:

Posted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 5:32 pm
by Meph
delta wrote:bah. i had thought i may get a more intelligent response
Saying I'm thick?
I have choosing not to give you an intellectual debate because I've learned to keep my mouth shut..

Posted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 5:35 pm
by delta
i said that as you had clearly chose to post a 'joke' response, rather than attempt to debate it seriously.

Posted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 5:53 pm
by Meph
jumping the gun a little.

Posted: Thu Sep 25, 2008 9:04 pm
by Mataeus
delta wrote:...Barely a single part of our planet remains untouched or unaltered by humankind...
An interesting concept, however I have to disagree with the part above. Sure, there are lots or areas we've 'remade' in our own vision, with six billion people there's going to be, but there are millions of square miles of land that we haven't done anything to, not to mention the vastness of the oceans and the extremes of places like the North Pole and the Sahara. Yes, you could argue that there are people who brave those places and indeed exist there long-term, but the fact remains they remain largely untouched. You mention that countryside can sometimes be seen as false, but I think it makes perfect sense - for a race of beings with the intelligence to do anything, common sense often prevails and lines have been literally drawn across the landscape: Dry stone walls, national parks, areas such as the Peak District, the Grand Canyon, the Outback... All of these have at some point been interfered with by human hand, but not necessarily in a bad way. We exist, we must live, and there are countless examples in thousands of towns and villages where we have co-existed with nature instead of destroying it. To realise that you have species of birds, animals and plants living around you that shouldn't be destroyed and to make their homes a national park is something that SHOULD be done, to protect them from the wrath of those that don't care

So, whilst I do agree with you for the most part that we have the power to do anything - in fact, I think that's undeniable - we still have, for the time being at least, the power to retain what is natural and see the importance of keeping things under control.

The thing is, depending on where and how you live, you'll have a different perspective. The people living in the Kenyan slums for example will do just to survive, they have no concern for the Ozone layer or protected animal species. But we, sat here with taken-for-granted electricity, power, the ability to have information at our fingertips thanks to the wonders of Broadband Internet Browsers can see in retrospect where we have gone wrong and where we are going wrong... and put it right.

Ah, I waffle now, but I guess my point is that whilst we shape the world we live in to meet our needs, I think for the most part it is done in a way that keeps people in cities (habitats if you like), close together, whilst the natural wonders of the planet can live out their lives in endless acres of space.

You could argue that we affect them adversely and indirectly through global warming, large carbon footprints etc but mother nature herself has caused at least five mass extinctions over the millenia, and each time life has found a way to come back better designed, stronger, and to last longer.

Evolution happens in everything, from grass roots to blue whales. It is driven by the environment and the populace... I'm sure that, whilst we alter the world with our machines and our products, either we will find a way to co-exist in harmony with the natural elements of the planet or Earth will evolve around us, hopefully in a way that is best for all, lest there be a sixth extinction as a final way to get rid of us.

Posted: Thu Sep 25, 2008 9:08 pm
by Mataeus
DizzyFanUK wrote: Medical advances have not been able to unlock the key to long life. On the whole people may be living longer, but they are also living unhealthier lives for longer. The benefits of an ageing population for example have yet to be socially and economically realised.
I think this is an excellent point. There are so many age-related illnesses because the body is outliving the mind. Every single person I know has / had a grandparent with Alzheimer's or some other terrible 'disease' thanks to this. What's the point in living for 90 years instead of 70 if you're going to spend 20 as a vegetable?

Posted: Thu Sep 25, 2008 10:23 pm
by DizzyFanUK
Actually - it is a common misconception with dementia - It is not statistically proven that every older person - should they all live to be 100 would develop alzeihmers/dementia.

But other conditions affecting health may be more likely to occur due to longer lifespans. For example hearing or sight loss, stiffening of joints, weakness of bones, reduced organ function, cancer etc, etc.

What is happening around the world - for seemingly the first recorded time - is that people (mainly in rich countries - (although i believe India was recently home to the worlds oldest man) - are living longer - Possibly because of better diet, exercise, vaccinations, better healthcare etc.

But it is a fact that the longer one lives for, the more health related conditions one is likely to develop over time including conditions especially connected to old age. These conditions are just as likely to be physical or sensory as well as organic mental impairments (such as dementia).

Coming back to the 'God/immortality' question:
Treatments given to people as they get older may well - 'fix' the person to continue living longer - eg hip replacements or cataract removal.
But the point remains that the older one gets the more unhealthier ones life becomes - due to the increased likelihood that conditions occur and the increased need to treat them - and that the quality of life decreases as health deteriorates.

The debate about realising the benefits of an ageing population comes down in the end to one of perceived value (or cost): ie do older people cost the population more because of increased healthcare, social care and pensions. Or are they adding substantial value to the population by having more time to impart their exeriences to the younger generations, or giving more time to take a more active role in family/childcare support, or contribute more to the economy by taking more lowpaid/voluntary jobs for longer that are vital to society and that many younger people would refuse (eg volunteering for charity/community work, working on restoration projects or even staying in paid and taxed work long past retirement age).

But this is a debate that politicans have been having for years - although the subject group seems to change depending on the fashion of the time...


Back to the pub - methinks
Whose round is it now?
I think Delta should get the beers in - having started this lively topic... :v2_dizzy_cheers: