Would the World be the Same if History Restarted?


#1

Would the world end up in the same place if history restarted? And if so how long would it take to become the same? I’ve asked the same question on other forums and found it is quite a complex question, worthy of much discussion. So I figured I would see what the guys from Stonehearth would say about it.

P.S I didn’t find anyone else discussing this, if there is another post about this can someone tell me?


#2

Are you talking Stonehearth History? Or real life human history?


#3

Real life not Stonehearth history


#4

Well… I would think there would be similarities if anything… if it all followed with the same base things like meteors, volcanic eruptions, and ice ages, when they happened originally, then I can see lots of similarities. I think tech would advance at a similar rate, and in ancient times things repeated constantly… Large swaths of land get conquered, rulers die, corruption spreads, idiots rule, then the civilizations fall, sometimes with a plague, sometimes with an invading army. Not much would change I think… names maybe… languages… which idiots are remembered for screwing it up.


#5

Yeah nuke that’s pretty much my opinion as well. I think the most significant difference would be natural disasters, everything would move at similar speeds. Even though the languages themselves wound’t be the same, how sophisticate they are would probably follow a pattern as well.


#6

The only way it would NOT be the same is if quantum mechanics can have a noticeable impact on the scale of life we humans exist in*. On the scale of human beings, the universe basically runs on clockwork after all.

*People like to throw quantum mechanics around a lot, but in this case, we’re talking about things like probabilities and random events etc. The trouble is… well, suppose that you rewind history, and this time, a photon spontaneously appears at point B, whereas originally it appeared at point A. Congratulations - it’s technically different, but nobody actually noticed. You’d need said photon to, say, be a high-energy gamma ray that hits the DNA of the sperm that fertilises the egg that eventually becomes Napoleon Bonaparte, causing a mutation that leads to a miscarriage… well you get the idea. Given that the probability of this (or similar) happening is, well, low… yeah, there’s no reason to expect any real change by rewinding history.

Of course, if people knew this was a re-run etc, then we’d get a difference, but then that’s just standard alternate history stuff.


#7

Oh man… Imagine the trolls…


#8

Counter-question: Would the world be any different if you didn’t ask this question?


#9

Depends on what we’d have done instead of answering this thread :wink: .


#10

I would venture to guess that no, it wound’t make any difference except maybe to entertain some folks reading the topic.


#11

Universe: Ah blast it. Earth is infected with humans. /format re-install ok I’ll check back in 4 billion years.


#12

4 billion years later “the earth is infected with squid people, who act just like the old humans did”, darnit, /format re-install checks back in 4 billion years.

i suppose it all sort of depends on random chance anyway.
For example if that meteor had missed the earth, since dinos were in fact actively becoming more intelligent, on par with the CURRENT earth creatures, so eventually we would likely have sapient raptors running around, would they act just like us? probbabbly. So it still wouldnt be too different.


#13

Not likely. So far as we’re aware (obviously :stuck_out_tongue: ), human-quality intelligence appeared just once - ie, us, and that’s despite life having around 4 billion years to work on it. Evolution does not have any “direction” after all, that’s just fallacious thinking. If raptors becoming ever-more intelligent means raptors having more babies that survive to propagate their genes… then sure, we’ll see intelligent raptors.

But let’s not forget that intelligence is a very expensive attribute (human brains need a lot of juice to run), has quite a few downsides (giving birth to giant-headed babies, and the helplessness of said babies because, unlike most mammals, they’re STILL born way too early)… oh, and raptors are/were carnivores, which means food scarcity is much more of an issues compared to omnivorous primates (see brain size issues again, also population density issues etc).


#14

intelligence was advantageous, protein helps in brain development (humans in africa ate alot of fish, which helped in the jump in intelligence), it has been investigated quite a bit.

Intelligence was very advantageous for raptors being as small as they were, in the world that they lived in, and raptors ate alot of protien (as far as we know) so intelligence increasing is in fact a very logical way to guess o how they would have developed farther.

Dinosaurs were on par with the current creatures on earth in terms of intelligence. In fact after the extinction event mammels were still just as small as rats, and not very intelligent, but we ended up in this situation (HUMANS), so given a few extra million years of development, It makes sense that intelligence would have arisen among the dinosaur population.


#15

Eventually yes, but there’s a long, difficult road to go from, say, dolphin brains to human brains. If at some point along that rode, the costs outweigh the benefits - ie, fewer kids being born etc - it won’t progress.

Of course it has, but you’re missing the point. A human family on the African savannah half a million years ago will eat meat when available, and lots of fruit & veg in the mean time. A raptor family that tries the same will be in a lot of trouble - they’re not designed to eat other things. So it’s “meat or starve” as opposed to “meat or veg”. This means the cost of a high-powered brain goes up for the raptors.

If we could graft human intelligence onto just about any animal we’d find it to be advantageous for them I suspect. That does not mean it will emerge though, because like I said, evolution does not have a direction, and it is only concerned with passing on genes. Having a brain the size of a planet is of NO use in evolutionary terms unless you can pass it on to enough descendants for it to propagate through the entire gene pool.

Again, you’re assuming evolution has a direction. It doesn’t.


#16

evolution isnt purely random, it DOES have a sort of “direction” it goes in the direction that allows for the best propegation of genes.It goes in the direction that allows individuals to use their characteristics against other individuals in order to survive.
Raptors used their intelligence on a regular basis, to steal eggs, hide from the bigger dinosaurs, hunt and the such, obviously having more intelligence is advantageous in this situation, so if those who have mutated to be more intelligent are able to spread their genes better then the others, they would survive and the intelligence would spread.

Also dolphins are actually very intelligent creatures.

Intelligence would keep being advantageous for the raptor population and therefore it would keep developing until they could no longer support it, assuming they had access to enough meat and protein and nourishment they would have developed farther.

Also there did exist a few dinosaurs that scientists belive were omnivorous.


#17

All of this has happened before and will happen again.

  • BSG

#18

Yes, but the point is that intelligence is an expensive attribute. The human brain requires something like 20% of the energy we get from our food, besides as mentioned the difficulties in childbirth, child-rearing and the like. Now, when life on Earth has existed for the better part of four billion years, yet has only given rise to one truly intelligent species, one must assume that therefore the cost of that intelligence arising is very great indeed, else we would have more intelligent species to show for it.

Remember, it is not enough to say “raptors with human intelligence would do better”, but at every stage between the raptor as animal and raptor as intelligent being there must be a benefit, else the progress towards human-level intelligence will stall.

It’s also tied up with a lot of other things. Humans, with their opposable thumbs and the like, have wonderful means of putting their intelligence to practical use. But with just three or four claws, none of which oppose the others - your raptors have another problem: why invest in a bigger brain when it is useless?

It is not obvious that more intelligence is advantageous, actually. Look at rabbits: not exactly the most intelligent creatures, but they breed like, well, rabbits. “Obviously”, greater intelligence would be useful in enabling them to avoid predators, but they seem to be doing very well without that.

Now consider a situation in which a mutant strain of raptors has much greater intelligence than normal.

-First, they will likely have to guard their eggs for longer, owing to the increased size and complexity of the brains being developed. This hinders their ability to hunt etc.
-Second, they will require more food, but being carnivores, they must thus hunt more. Aside from placing increased pressure on the prey species’ populations, an inability to find enough food can mean they starve to death, owing to the energy demands of their enlarged brains.
-Third, being carnivores they require large ranges to hunt in - larger than human ranges, as humans could also subsist off vegetable matter. Thus it is harder for civilisation to develop - there are no crop farming raptors, but rather shepherds, which also places a deal of strain on the land.
-Fourth, they will find utilising their intelligence hard, owing to the poor design of their claws for tool use.

It’s a nice theory, but I would argue that the proof is in the pudding - in this case, that the evidence we see around us and in the fossil record shows that intelligence is clearly one of, if not the, most expensive attribute in terms of evolution.

I’m sure, but we’re talking about raptors here :wink: .


#19

This . . . is a strange topic to talk about . . .


#20

Yes, I agree.

@Teleros All of your points are entirely correct, and I’m very happy to see that there exist some people who DO know what Evolution actually is.

@untrustedlife The reason humans began to develop bigger brains is probably due to a combination of things:

  1. We walk on two legs, which leaves two limbs open for tool-usage.
  2. We have opposable thumbs, as Teleros mentioned, which means we can actually use said two limbs for tool-usage.
  3. We are very slow, very weak creatures relative to other creatures of similar size to us. Our larger brains were designed to help us make tools. (see #4)
  4. We are easily out-competed by other species, but when we use tools to enhance our physical ability, we become the apex species.
  5. Raptors’ arms and “hands” aren’t meant to use tools, like ours are, so they have no use for increased intelligence beyond extra logical ability for tracking and hunting.
  6. Civilization, by definition, is a group-based, settled-down, city-based population of humans that have several things, including specialization, monumental buildings, and, most importantly, AGRICULTURE. If you are solely carnivorous, then you cannot have a civilization, and thus cannot progress technologically or intellectually.

It is because of these things that humans developed brains and raptors, for example, didn’t. It is quite likely that, if we disappeared, then Chimpanzees would begin to take over as the dominant, apex species of the Earth within 5 million years, as they often use tools, like rocks, to break open nuts for food. In fact, it is very possible that, if left alone, Chimpanzees will become the second superintelligent species to walk the Earth.