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Mad Poster
#26 Old 22nd Nov 2018 at 5:18 PM Last edited by simmer22 : 22nd Nov 2018 at 11:24 PM.
Quote:
Matthew 10:14 (KJV)


^ Can't say that quote is much helpful, or even in any way relevant to the thought experiment put forward in the first post.

I'm not here to deconvert you (at least, I don't have any reason to believe I'll be successful), I'm merely trying to point out some flaws in your reasoning, whether you see them or not - but you're obviously here to try to convert me (failing miserably, by the way) and whomever else should happen upon this topic.
Test Subject
#27 Old 23rd Nov 2018 at 12:04 PM
Can we not keep religion/hatred of all religion out of an obviously non religious debate? Talk about off topic and boring AF, although I cant be sure if it is totally off topic because, who but the two 'evangelists' quoting each other, has time to read posts as long as a granny's titty!
Mad Poster
#28 Old 23rd Nov 2018 at 12:25 PM Last edited by simmer22 : 23rd Nov 2018 at 3:30 PM.
^ Jezzie - actually, I agree with you (except that I'm not an evangelist, I'm just a science geek who is tired of religion getting mixed up in science, particularly as a substitute for morals/ethics). Tried multiple times to steer the conversation back to the question at hand, but the only answers Thril1 posted were religion-related, and all they were interested in discussing (and for the matter, mostly off topic). I tried the "can you just for one minute imagine religion wasn't part of the problem?" route a few times, just to see if they were actually interested in the topic at hand, but at my last try I got the "no salvation for you *door in the face*" answer, so I guess not.

Looks like thril1 got tired (which kinda was what I hoped for), so I'm all for getting back on topic now. Preferably with just the situation, science and ethics in mind, possibly a little bit of general philosophy.

Re-posting some of my "if you don't want to read most of the page 1 discussion, you can read this (slightly edited) version" below, since it's pretty much buried underneath all the religion stuff by now. Most of the rest I wrote were variants of this, anyway. I've also gone back and spoilerized most of my direct (or mostly irrelevant to anyone who's just interested in the actual question) answers to Thril1 on the previous page, so no need to read that any longer (can't spoilerize their posts, unfortunately).

Quote:
If you get a case of foot fungus or any other variant of bodily fungus, you'd most likely get treatment for that. If the fungus was taking over your body, I'm pretty sure you'd also want to get rid of it no matter if it was sentient or not (unless we're talking some kind of mostly beneficial cartoon-like mutation.

As for whether the fungus was sentient, I'd be even more worried if that was the case. Unless it was a siamese twin or a human baby, I don't think it would be in any way comfortable to know that something sentient (and probably not on the level where communication was possible) was living in or on you. Most likely the other lifeform would be more interested in using your body for its benefits, or even getting rid of you, than whether or not you could coexist happily together.

One can argue that animals are sentient and functioning more or less on the level of a child of so-and-so years. Animals are still killed for sport, for food or for safety (invading predatory animals like wolves). One can argue if it would be equally bad to get rid of that sentient plant/fungus-like thing as it is to kill another animal for sport, food or safety (I'd say this would go under safety). Most animals show some level of intelligence and have compassion for their younglings and fellow pack members, but all run on instinct first. Pets see their owners as part of their pack, they get used to you and may even come to care about you. If you'd happened upon a wild, predatory animal, they may see you as food if they're hungry. Small and non-predatory animals would see you as a threat, and either flee or attack through biting, kicking, venom, or other defense mechanisms. I'm pretty sure that this new, sentient lifeform that sprouted out of you wouldn't immediately be your friend. It would most likely see you as either a threat or a food source.

If the fungus hadn't yet developed sentience, but potentially could do so, maybe getting rid of it before it knew what was happening might be the best option. I think the thought experiment is sort of boarding on the discussion of whether or not abortion is right or wrong. A lump of cells wouldn't be sentient, but a few months later the previous lump of cells can exist on its own, and a couple of years later there's a human that hugs you and talks to you and you've probably developed a close relationship to it. There's also the question of whether you should get rid of a parasite (a baby is in a way a type of parasite) or a bacterial infection or any sort of infiltrating matter in your body.

Thankfully, evolution doesn't work like this, so there's very little chance a lifeform with no previous sentience outside of being good enough at surviving its usual environment would develop sentience in the span of days to a few years. The only times this happen is through the normal cell-to-adult delvelopment coded in the DNA of a lifeform when they get offspring. Evolution from one lifeform to a different lifeform take a lot longer (usually several thousands to millions of years). You couldn't go from fungus to sentient lifeform in the way the thought experiment above presents itself.


Various views for further ethical discussion:

Quote:
You can view the case from the scientist's point of view. He'd want to survive. Could he? What if the lifeform turns out to be dangerous? The lifeform might be nice, but before they know, nobody knows. It's a brand new lifeform. It could be predatory, could "eat him from the inside" like fungi and other parasites sometimes do. It could also be able to live a harmless symbiotic life together with him, but who knows? And what about his family? Would they be able to live with a half-man, half-plant father? Could the lifeform be contageous, or in other ways dangerous to his family? Would his health be at risk? Could the lifeform have the same effect as a cancerous tumor, gradually making the man sicker?

From the viewpoint of other scientists, the questions could be different. Is the lifeform contageous? Would they have to isolate this scientist from other people? They would probably want to study the lifeform and how it affects the man. Is it right to make the man or the lifeform into a test subject? Would it be ethically right to remove the lifeform if they suspected the lifeform would die from the procedure? Is it really ethically right to let them live in a symbiotic relationship, with unknown consequences? If the man wants to remove the lifeform from his body, and one scientist is for the removal, but another is against, does the scientist who doesn't want to remove the lifeform have the right to stop it from happening?

And considering the lifeform, it would probably want to stay alive - but how long does it take before it becomes scentient? Does it feel pain? Is it right to experiment on it and do tests, and if it's scentient enough to take decisions, is it right to perform experiments on it without its conscent? Is it righ to try to remove it if the scientist wants to do so? And is it safe or even ethically right to let this lifeform come out in the world, whether it's harmless or dangerous, or should it be kept safe from other people in a lab?

Not to mention when the public hears of this. Do people who neither have scientific background, nor know the man, really have an opinion when they start with their protests of "save the lifeform" or "get rid of the lifeform" or "his choice, not yours!" or whatever else they might protest? Which rules and regulations would be put in place? If the lifeform was somehow contagious or genetically transferrable but otherwise harmless, would it eventually become illegal to remove the lifeforms? And if so, what about those people who didn't want another lifeform living on their body? Would they have a say? Maybe they'd secretly search out treatments or surgery, and risk a life in prison? Or would they have the right to decide over their own body? (Yup, the parallels to abortion are there). Or maybe it would become illegal not to remove the lifeforms, and what about those who didn't want to take the risk of undergoing that procedure? What about those who became affected, but sided with the lifeforms and didn't want to remove them?

These (and many more questions) would be things the scientist/lifeform and the other scientists may have to consider.


If all biological and more or less sentient life should be considered of equal value (for one reason or another), then it may be considered bad to stay alive for pretty much all non-plant organisms, because all biological life that's developed some form of a mouth or another way to gain nutrients that don't come directly from the sun, air, ground or water (as in not photosynthesis or similar - fungi usually use some form of digestive enzymes to consume nutrients) essentially need to consume or take advantage of other biological forms to stay alive and/or procreate. Even some plant life wouldn't be entirely "innocent" (there's insect-eating plants, for instance - and some plants may hinder other plants from growing because they take most of the nutrients or sunlight). Would the life of the lifeform, in the eyes of a human, be just as important as another human being? Would the wellbeing of the human be important to the lifeform, and would it bemore important than staying alive? In many ways, a question of equal value may be invalid in itself. It depends on which side of the discussion you stand (are you the human, the lifeform, or an outsider?) and what's in your "life backpack", so to speak. As far as we humans know, we're the only organism on this planet that can consider these things. Would we have different opinions if the same lifeform settled down on for instance a pet dog or a wild monkey? Would be interesting to hear some thoughts on this matter.

And some other questions - would the lifeform in essence be a more or less sentient plant or fungus? And how could we know how sentient it was, and even if it was sentient at all? Would it have some kind of way to communicate? If it wasn't some kind of plant or fungi, what else could it be?
Lab Assistant
#29 Old 24th Nov 2018 at 2:36 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by simmer22
"Looks like thril1 got tired (which kinda was what I hoped for), so I'm all for getting back on topic now. Preferably with just the situation, science and ethics in mind, possibly a little bit of general philosophy."

This place is not my rest.
Everything that anyone needs to know about my previous contributions to the little thought experiment on biological life or sentient life regarding the scientist and the fungus is well written within the context of my posts.

It is wise to shun profane and vain babblings. They will do nothing more than increase unto more ungodliness.
You very well stated that you do not follow the Bible for your own personal reasons. That choice is yours alone to make. I just hope that you choose right, not wrong.

The word science simply means "To Know" or "To See into Things".
God is all knowing. Scientist know that God is the higher power. Thus, they try to obtain the Godhead, all striving to achieve the mastery that God wields, but never coming to the knowledge of the truth.

Even the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
The Petri dish breaks because the scientist gets clumsy. According to the topic, man’s thinks that he is clumsy after he goofs up and breaks on of the Petri dishes.

A man's goings are of God, how can a man then understand his own way? Thoughts about how to proceed pop into the man's mind, and he ponders on them. Failing to realize that it is God who is directing his steps. Setting all events, actions, consequences, and repercussions in order.

God caused the man to clumsily break one of the Petri dishes. He is trying to show the man something important. How could the man know what to do next if he does not understand the path that he must walk? When we encounter new experiences in life, there are many distractions. Even when we ponder upon subjects of thought. This is merely a result of the lack of insight that we possess, because we have not followed the truth.
Mad Poster
#30 Old 24th Nov 2018 at 4:47 AM Last edited by simmer22 : 24th Nov 2018 at 6:01 AM.
^ Again, none of that is even remotely relevant to the question, and not even a little bit interesting (to me, anyway - my bullsh*t detector acts like an adblock/antivirus/firewall combo and skips over all the obvious god talk, while the science filter takes care of the little that's left).



Topics that veer into the whole religious debate thing tend to get locked after a while. Unless we can get a proper debate going, surrounding the actual scientific and ethical problems in the situation, then maybe that would be best - because right now we're pretty much at a standstill unless someone else joins in with any interesting arguments.
Lab Assistant
#31 Old 24th Nov 2018 at 3:36 PM Last edited by thril1 : 24th Nov 2018 at 5:29 PM.
Quote:
Originally Posted by simmer22
^ Again, none of that is even remotely relevant to the question, and not even a little bit interesting (to me, anyway - my bullsh*t detector acts like an adblock/antivirus/firewall combo and skips over all the obvious god talk, while the science filter takes care of the little that's left).

It takes knowledge and wisdom to be able to connect the dots.
You speak vulgar words because of the oppression that you have experienced, and in wrath do you hate.
Because you show a disbelief in His Word, you take to slander, as if there is a favorable reward to be gained. As a man sows, so shall he reap.

Quote:
Originally Posted by simmer22
yet another long answer, and quite frankly can we please get back to the actual discussion now instead of the empty preaching?

The words that I bring forth are words of truth because there is light in me. Your works are evil. Therefore, you love darkness rather than light, and hate the Light of the world. This is why you cannot accept the words that I have committed unto the topic of discussion. Which on their own accord create a direct correlation to the very nature of the topic in the "Debate Room" forum itself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by simmer22
How do you know? Or rather, how could you know? Nothing in the question posed suggested a supernatural agent of some sort was acting in some way, so why do you keep insisting on this as if it's a fact?

Biological or Sentient are two words that involve living organisms. Because of the fact that we exist in the world around us, and the stars in the sky above us with the moon and sun also. These are facts wrought of an immaculate conception. The scientist in the topic who clumsily broke one of the Petri dishes is a historical fact that exists in this topic of discussion because it was written to be so. This is no mere short sight to be overlooked. Just as the blind lead the blind. In the end they will both fall into a ditch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by simmer22
You're imposing a supernatural agent is at hand (which is equally scientific as yelling out "FAIRIES DID IT!!!"), and if your opinion is that this agent knows everything, does everything, makes everything happen - then what, exactly, is the point of joining the thought experiment? You're basically saying that whatever happens to the scientist is the will of said agent, what the scientist does isn't of his own free will, and that his opinions are invalid because the word of the agent is the law. If the scientist is just a mindless puppet, his thoughts on the matter would pretty much be invalid anyway.

The existence of supernatural beings is something people believe, not something people know as a fact. If the existence of a god could be scientifically proven, it would be a science fact. But it's not, so again - how could you be absolutely certain that a god was behind it all? And that's why I keep stressing that putting supernatural beings, gods, fairies, unicorns, spirits, ghosts, or anything else into a discussion about science and ethics is a waste of time, because if there is no scientific evidence they exist, they probably don't, and therefore they rarely, if ever, have a place in proper science.

Not difficult to see where science justifies the acknowledgement of God. All scientist are lovers of His works in one way or another. Do scientist not partake in scientific/technological advancements? Expounding upon thoughts and hypotenu that justify certain processes of advancement necessary to achieve the outcome of success? Yet God is eternal, and rides upon the clouds of heaven in His majesty. With thousands of spacecrafts unanimously in His control at a whim. All knowing and all powerful. A great and terrible God to be feared, who is not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Even then, will you not be afraid? The scientist who comes in contact with a harmful substance worries in the moment, because there is no longer a hedge of protection from the corruption that is evident in sight.

If the scientist contracted inordinate amounts of pathogens resulting from contact with the fungus, will they not betray the succors which reason offers to achieve a solution that changes the present situation at hand? People today will tell you that they hope to maintain a life where they can enjoy the fruits thereof but hate to give credit to God when and where credit is due. God created the heaven and the earth. How do you love the fruits of His works, but hate the tree that the fruit is coming from? These sorts of men are ignorant by nature and smitten with madness. Given over to a reprobate mind void of reasoning and understanding. Being deceived by their own vain opinion, following after serpents void of understanding, who cannot see past their own brow.

The earth was created to be inhabited. Everything works toward the good of man who commit themselves unto living error free. How else will you continue to live if error exists and the paths thereof lead to death in the end? Why would the scientist need to use a petri dish? The way of life is error free in its paths. Death enters in to the equation because error has transpired at some point in the process of time. Why else does man need to eat food, drink water, and rest? Has this not been appointed among the ordinances of righteousness that sustain the life thereof?

Be not deceived by men who heap up silver as the dust. Possessing in abundance the apparels of the chief things in life, as much as there is an abundance of dirt in the earth. Yes, they possess knowledge, but not to benefit all of mankind. The men, women, and children who have proper knowledge and understanding to discern between the will of right and wrong will ensure that their affairs in life are established with proper discretion upon the Earth. That is the reason why the scientist understood to place the fungus in the Petri dish.

Without knowledge of who you are, how can you know where you are going? There is a history that has transpired in the process of time upon the Earth. Just like the scientist who clumsily broke the Petri dish. Without knowing that they were the one who broke the Petri dish, how should they proceed? Should they wait for another to clean up their mess? Should they act as if nothing even occurred and suffer the obvious consequences. Or should they seek out what was committed unto them from the start? A path of knowledge and understanding to walk upon in order to remove the error brought about in the process of time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by simmer22
But it's not, so again - how could you be absolutely certain that a god was behind it all?

I am certain that it is a higher power that has established the ordinances that exist today. Just like it was a higher power that conceived you into this world. Overshadowing the prior engagements necessary to produce your being that you were subject to in the process of time. Or else, you would not exist. God is working his plan through man. Scientists can only manipulate the tangible things which God has committed unto them to manipulate. The powers (support) that be are ordained of God. Just like the limitations that the scientist in this discussion faces due to their lack of knowledge, but must acquire by means of experience in the process of time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by simmer22
If you for one moment could imagine a godless experiment, there would be no one to guide the hands of the scientist but the scientist himself (and his clumsy tendencies) - and the interesting thing is what would be the ethics surrounding how to put biological life up against sentient life, and other scientific implications.[

At what point do you begin to draw the line between the two? Biology is virtually the study of life and living organisms. Sentient life forms are defined as a functioning organism with the capacity to feel, perceive or experience subjectively.

Quote:
Originally Posted by simmer22
I've already understood that your answer to everything is "god".

The answer to everything is not god. The answer to everything is the right answer. By doing that which is right there can be found no error in your ways, ultimately omitting death, bloodshed, strife, sword, calamities, famine, tribulation, and the scourge. Everything was created with a purpose. Just like the Baker who bakes a cake takes the time to consider what type of cake he will bake. Then gathers the ingredients and puts those ingredients through the process necessary to bake a cake. He already has the end result in mind before he starts to make the cake. The same is with the creation of heaven and the earth, and the scientist and the clumsy breaking of the Petri dish to inconveniently come in contact with the fungus. Does the beater not vigorously stir the ingredients together? Where, in the end, the finished product is glorious to behold?

Quote:
Originally Posted by simmer22
That's fine, it's your opinion, stick with it if you want (there's no need to bring salvation to the unbelievers, though).

That is not your call or my call to make. The words of this topic are relevant as they are written. On the discussion of salvation, God dictates who receives salvation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by simmer22
But that dosen't mean it needs to be everyone else's opinion. It's certainly not mine. It also doesn't mean that people have to agree with you (whether the're also religious or if they happen not to be).

The information contributed to the topic is sufficient, as it pertains to the topic. Each person must walk their own path in life. Can the fungus say to the scientist why have you caused me to be thus?

Quote:
Originally Posted by simmer22
Personally, I'm more interested to know what we on a human level could actually do with such a situation. I also don't believe in any supernatural beings (gods, fairies, trolls, demons, spaghetti monsters, etc. included), so all the preachery is pure nonsense to me, so it would be nice if you could put away your holy book for a while and maybe discuss things not in light of your religion, but as if we're all just human beings.

Would the scientist identify himself as a human? If so, why? Where did the term "hu"man come from?
How is it that you can believe in humans but not in gods, fairies, trolls, or spaghetti monsters?
All knowledge expounded upon the Earth today is derived from God. Even a scientist will understand the definition of God to some relative degree of common notion and interpretation. As stated before, a higher Power.

Quote:
Originally Posted by simmer22
Topics that veer into the whole religious debate thing tend to get locked after a while. Unless we can get a proper debate going, surrounding the actual scientific and ethical problems in the situation, then maybe that would be best - because right now we're pretty much at a standstill unless someone else joins in with any interesting arguments.

You do understand that this topic is about a little thought experiment on biological life or sentient life? Which are generally living organisms by classification? What are your thoughts on the initial subject matter brought into discussion? How do you perceive the idea behind this thought experiment to be examined and conducted in the significance of biological life vs sentient life?
Mad Poster
#32 Old 24th Nov 2018 at 4:35 PM
^ more of the same, again...

Lab Assistant
#33 Old 24th Nov 2018 at 5:28 PM Last edited by thril1 : 24th Nov 2018 at 7:37 PM.
I encourage other people to freely contribute any thoughts to the general discussion on the Little thought experiment: biological life or sentient life. It is interesting to learn what perspectives exist to be conclusive about the current topic.
Lab Assistant
#34 Old 24th Nov 2018 at 7:36 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by simmer22
You don't know me, and yet you still think that I'm a hateful, evil person and that I've experience oppression of some kind.
I'd say that's a very hateful and evil view to have of a person.

The recognizable patterns of speech exhibited render sufficient enough evidence to conclude your current disposition toward God and any reconciliation of likeness thereof. My words merely reflect a descriptive analysis of the works that you have produced of the will you wield. They, in no wise take into account the manner of efforts you exhibit within your personal life off forum. It is wise to abstain from personal attacks on people and would rather all men do so likewise in order avoid strife, false dealings, grudges, and all manner of unrighteousness that could bloom unto more ungodliness. Seeing that you stated I do not know you personally. This precludes the response to the statement in its entirety.

The words that I have wrought forth by the glory of God merely disclosed line upon line a series of prose congruent to the debate on little thought experiment: biological life or sentient life. Your flamboyant responses indicate, in lieu of the topic, your open desire to oppose the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of God. Such pride blinds the eye of a man to see no further than shallow interpretations of intellectual dialect based on a series of preclusion conceived of the succors which reasoning offers.

God has granted me to speak as I would, and to conceive as is meet for the things that are given to me. Why? Because it is he that leads man unto wisdom and directs the wise. These are the ways of paths of the Light which if a man lays hold of, shall see everlasting days in the multitude of the congregation of the just. Not darkness void of understanding and reasoning, unaware of what it is they stumble at. When a man's heart departs from God, such a counteraction precludes problems. Which begs the question, could it be possible that the scientist was contemplating certain thoughts that lead him to clumsily break the Petri dish?


Quote:
Originally Posted by simmer22
Maybe because human (and all its varous language translations) is the word we've chosen to use in everyday speech for the Homo Sapiens species. Just like we say "dog", but the scienific (latin) name is "Canis lupus familiaris."

As you wish.

Quote:
Originally Posted by simmer
Also, there is no evidence for unicorns or any of the other unseen creatures existed. So what should reasoning for believing them? Believing they exist or the sole reason of believing? iTha doesn't manke sense (not to me, anyway).

Live long enough and you will see all things. Just give it a little time brother. The horn of the unicorn will be exalted. Why do you think that I am here? The sun keeps coming up every day radiantly shining down on all man. It is not in vain. He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness. What happened to the Petri dish in the end is evident enough that it was broken. Brought to naught. A vessel used for nothing more than the process of cleaning and repairing. Not by its own will, but for the purpose of showing by example the power of the hand that had foreordained the purpose to do so.

It took time to create the Petri dish in a manufacturing facility somewhere. A process undoubtedly set in motion by the ordinance of God. That the Petri dish might be made perfect in its ways. With great wisdom and its traffic increased in value. Set up on high because of the value of its glory. Strangers were brought upon the Petri dish, the worst sorts. Ignorant of God, lacking in knowledge, and handicapped in understanding. Thus, defiling its pristine state with the use of various tubular filaments that tainted the vessel. It was perfect until the day of major events transpired which lead to the breaking of the vessel fitted to destruction. Who is the Petri dish to reply against the scientist? Was power not given unto the scientist to break the Petri dish as it was seen fit? And out of the remnant of Petri dishes prepared before time, that they might now be brought forth as vessels worthy of use to the glory of the scientist?
Mad Poster
#35 Old 24th Nov 2018 at 9:35 PM Last edited by simmer22 : 24th Nov 2018 at 10:00 PM.
Quote:
I encourage other people to freely contribute any thoughts to the general discussion on the Little thought experiment: biological life or sentient life. It is interesting to learn what perspectives exist to be conclusive about the current topic.


And here I was, thinking you'd finally come to your senses.

Quote:
next post


I guess I was wrong about that *sigh*.

Be like the 22nd elephant with heated value in space- Bark!
retired moderator
#36 Old 25th Nov 2018 at 12:30 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by thril1
I encourage other people to freely contribute any thoughts

We have no sensible thoughts remaining after reading this thread...
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Lab Assistant
#37 Old 25th Nov 2018 at 2:25 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by simsample
We have no sensible thoughts remaining after reading this thread...

Well keyqueen wrote:

Quote:
Originally Posted by keyqueen
Now let's say (here it's going to get a little out there) that the experiments our good scientist was performing was to create a chemical compound that mutants the organisms causing them to develop intelligence and sentients comparable to a human child of food five years while still biologically belonging to their current species. As he has already successfully performed the experiment multiple times he knows that it in fact works. And spore that has taken up residence in his skin has already been exposed to the chemical.

What outcome do you foresee an organism like fungus developing into a sentient life form and the effects that it would pose on the scientist?
It could be possible for the fungus to become a sentient life form, yielding a non-toxic relationship with the scientist body.
Mad Poster
#38 Old 25th Nov 2018 at 2:25 AM Last edited by simmer22 : 27th Nov 2018 at 10:38 PM.
simsample,




Quote:
Now let's say (here it's going to get a little out there) that the experiments our good scientist was performing was to create a chemical compound that mutants the organisms causing them to develop intelligence and sentients comparable to a human child of food five years while still biologically belonging to their current species.


I don't want to take away your hopes, but for a moment let's ground the experiment in reality (the one we know of, anyway).

This would be very out there, to be honest. On the level of sci-fi, definitely. I can't say that we'll never ever in the distant future manage to do this (because I have no idea if we'll ever be able to do anything such), but under the presumed premises, I'd say it's still highly unlikely, simply because that's not how nature works, at least not on a short timescale (within the working career of a scientist, say 30 years, would most likely be considered a very short timescale for this particular thing to happen in real life). You could tinker with DNA, but it's not like you can start out with plant DNA and grow something with the intelligence level of a mouse. Not yet, anyway. You can splice and dice plant DNA to get a different plant with different properties, because we've been doing that ever since we discovered it was possible to combine properties of two or more plants (further back in history than some people might think). You can't pour some chemicals on one organism and expect it to rapidly evolve into something else.

Some chemical compounds and radiation can cause gene mutations, true, but these are often random and rarely work as intended. You don't normally get superspeed from having chemicals splashed onto you at the same time you get struck by lightning, or turn into a superstrong but angry green Hulk just because you were exposed to gamma rays. Most of the time mutations caused by these instances would be very bad, even deadly - and if the person somehow survived, it's quite likely their future children would be negatively affected (you see it all the time after incidents with toxic chemicals or after nuclear incidents - kids are born with missing limbs and deformities, more likely to get cancer, etc.)

Technically, the premise of the thought experiment is extremely unlikely to ever occur (I'd even argue you'd need a bit of magic to make it happen, unless you had thousands or millions of years to wait). Evolution and the various forces that drive it (mutations, gene flow, genetic drift and natural selection) usually take a lot more than a few days/weeks to go from one type of organism to a completely different one. You can get some mutations and some slight genetic variation from one generation to the next - but you couldn't go from a plant/fungus/bacteria to a mouse in a generation or two. That would be impossible. Give it some 700 million years, perhaps even a billion years, then maybe we're talking. So for a fungus to develop into some kind of sentient life, it would already have needed to be on the way of developing sentience of some kind, maybe to the point where it no longer could be considered a fungus. It would probably also have needed to develop some form of a nervous system and possibly also a brain. Plants, fungus, bacteria, etc. have some form of sensory system in place so they're able to respond to their environment (and for them it works fine, because they've evolved over millions of years to do what they do), but compared to the level of sentience of various animals and human beings, they'd be considered pretty far behind. The lifeform would also need to develop a way to communicate if we were to assume it was sentient. Not neccessarily through speech, but some kind of translatable body (plant?) language. For instance, we can't talk with a mouse, but if the mouse wriggles and tries to get away, we can assume it's scared. If you swat a wasp, it can get angry/scared and may sting you. If a dog wags its tail, you can assume it's happy. As far as I know, fungus, plants, bacteria, etc. can't communicate in such a way. They may have ways to communicate, but the life of most plants is too slow for us to capture even the plant's own movement without a slow motion camera.

Considering all of this, I think it's highly unlikely a scientist would assume a fungus-, parasite- or plant-like lifeform was sentient, unless it showed clear signs of having a mind of its own outside of what would be considered normal for similar types of organisms. So far we've only seen that kind of thing in various forms of science fiction (note the "fiction"). It's a lot more likely the lifeform - if it started growing on the scientist - would be treated as a very bad case of foot fungus or some such, as is the current norm with anything that doesn't belong on a person's body. If somehow attacked in a detectable way, the first instinct of pretty much all organisms would be to defend itself in any way possible. However, if the lifeform wasn't growing on the scientist, but stayed nicely put in a petri dish or wherever it would be kept considering size, then it would be more likely to survive long enough to after a while start showing signs of sentience, and perhaps even manage to get scommunication of some sort going.

As an example, over a hundred thousand years or thereabout we've somehow bred large, wild wolves (or some form of common ancestor between wolves and dogs, anyway) into domesticated, tiny, fluffy critters you can put in a handbag - and this is mostly through directional selection (breeding for visible or known traits), not natural selection (basically individuals with cetain new traits from various gene mutations being lucky enough to survive until they have offspring that inherits those traits, which also survives long enough to continue the cycle). A chihuahua is still a type of dog, though. Various dog breeds may look and behave different, but they're still all dogs, and have distinctive dog DNA (put very simply, if they can successfully breed, they're within the same species, or at least close enough relatives for their genes to combine). They may end up with varying intelligence level to a point, and different appearances and temperament, sure. But it's not like you can pair two dogs and expect a dog wih superpowers, and you can most certainly not expect a cat. I also don't think any amount of chemicals given to a dog would make it suddenly reach human-level intelligence or some such. This would be true for most organisms/lifeforms.

Also, if you decided you want to tinker with the DNA for a species to give it a larger and more evolved brain, it wouldn't be enough to just find the bit of DNA that controlled brain size, and tinker along with that. You'd need to know exactly which parts of the brain to change (a big brain doesn't equal more intelligence - there are creatures who'd be regarded as less intelligent as humans but still have a bigger brain, though perhaps a smaller brain relative to their size), You'd also have to find the gene for making a lager skull, because otherwise the brain wouldn't fit inside. You'd probably have to change a lot of other things as well, for the creature to actually function. Our nearest primate cousins, particularly the chimp (and no, we didn't evolve from monkeys/apes, we shared a common ancestor - just so that's said. We even have the tailbone and fur relics to prove it) have the intelligence level relative to that of a human child (a bit unsure of the age, but I'd guess around 5 or so), and getting from zero to chimpanzee level took quite some time.

If, and that's a big if, the scientist did manage to make such a lifeform, and did so intentionally, I also think there would be large ethical implications. We're no longer considering whether it's bad to take a life - we're also considering if it's alright to tinker with life in such a way that it turns into something else. Maybe even on the level of creating new lifeforms from scratch in a petridish. That's kinda scary, if you ask me. And the scariest thing is, I'm not sure if we're so far away from such a future (perhaps not creating organisms or organic matter completely from scratch, though - I think we'll always need some form of starting point with existing organic matter). We're already on our way to make fully functioning human organs in a lab, and the technology to splice and dice DNA to remove or add certain traits is already in use. We're even on the way to make non-biological, arguably sentient versions of life, and some of those have a relative intelligence level of a human in some ways, though the actual sentience level of humans may take a bit more tinkering (and is also is a little scary to think about, if we ever get to the level of, say Data or the EMH in Star Trek).

In a sci-fi environment, everything goes, though
Mad Poster
#39 Old 26th Nov 2018 at 3:18 PM
I rather think "thril1" is less interested in the original question than in having a forum in which to talk. His grandiloquence reveal a deeper secret; he is not interested in informing the masses about the "Truth of GOD", but rather "Look at ME! I'm so poetic, so eloquent, my words do so drip with the wetness of manna. Surely all shall gather to admire me and wonder at my Saintllness."
Boring...
What was the question again? "...the significance of sentient vs biological life". Please re-phrase. Significance? Do you mean which is more important, more "deserving" (not the right word, either) of life? There are beliefs that a form of life that is physically not able to be sentient is a classic sense (no nervous system at all) still has a sense of self, can communicate, "feel" distress, etc. I vote for the higher evolved over the "rights" of the lesser life forms. And I don't equate this with abortion at all! THAT debate is about the Spirit that is assumed to be present in the unborn, from the MOMENT of conception. It is the "killing" of that spirit that makes people so against abortion. I don't agree with any of this, yet I disapprove of abortion beyond 5 months gestation; an arbitrary and illogical opinion.

Namaste
Mad Poster
#40 Old 26th Nov 2018 at 3:52 PM Last edited by simmer22 : 1st Dec 2018 at 5:07 AM.
Quote:
There are beliefs that a form of life that is physically not able to be sentient is a classic sense (no nervous system at all) still has a sense of self, can communicate, "feel" distress, etc.


Well... in a sense, they can. Most, perhaps all biological life in some way or another sense their environment and react to it in various ways, to one degree or another, so I guess you could theorize their degree of sentience. Most of the mechanisms involved are methods of self-protection, without really showing any sense of caring about anything else. You need to get pretty far up the system (for instance most mammals) to get anywhere close to what we humans would regard as a "self", possibly all the way up to mammals. A lot of animals and insects that live in hives or large groups do share some kind of connection to each other (bees, ants, steams of fish, etc.) so would that be a form sentience in your opinon?

I'm supportive of abortion up to around 5 months too:


By the way, I'm absolutely no baby hater or any of the sort - I love babies! But certain things aren't simply black and white, and in a lot of medical cases there are grey zones, and that's where ethics play an important role*.

Lab Assistant
#41 Old 29th Nov 2018 at 11:10 AM
Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its savor, wherewith shall it be seasoned?

This topic still alive?
Mad Poster
#42 Old 29th Nov 2018 at 12:40 PM Last edited by simmer22 : 29th Nov 2018 at 11:21 PM.
^ You have a bible verse for everything, don't you? Even when the verse is irrelevant to whatever is discussed.
(the meaning of the metaphor in the verse is a bit vague from what I could gather, but sodium chloride (NaCl/basic salt) is very stable and can't lose its flavor, so I'm guessing they didn't know this back then).
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