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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2010 > Oct > Oct 16

Re: Shostak's Search Shift?

From: David Rudiak <drudiak.nul>
Date: Fri, 15 Oct 2010 20:16:03 -0700 (PDT)
Archived: Sat, 16 Oct 2010 09:00:46 -0400
Subject: Re: Shostak's Search Shift?


>From: J. Maynard Gelinas <j.maynard.gelinas.nul>
>To: post.nul
>Date: Wed, 13 Oct 2010 18:11:42 -0400
>Subject: Re: Shostak's Search Shift?

>>From: David Rudiak <drudiak.nul>
>>To: post.nul
>>Date: Fri, 8 Oct 2010 10:43:39 -0700 (PDT)
>>Subject: Re: Shostak's Search Shift?

>>>From: J. Maynard Gelinas <j.maynard.gelinas.nul>
>>>To: post.nul
>>>Date: Thu, 7 Oct 2010 18:38:57 -0400
>>>Subject: Re: Shostak's Search Shift?

>>The point is again, with similar ecological niches, form follows
>>function. There are a limited number of optimal solutions for
>>survival in particular ecological niches. Another example,
>>predators often have forward-looking eyes (with good binocular
>>vision) while prey have their eyes off to the side to give them
>>a much wider field of view to look for predators.

<snip>

>>But ONLY bilateral symmetry results in streamlining and rapidly
>>moving life forms. Bilateral symmetry is also more energy
>>efficient for motion. Speed and energy efficiency both have
>>highly significant survival value, which is why they were
>>selected for. (Streamlining and energy efficiency is also why
>>nearly all our craft, from canoes to submarines and jet
>>airplanes are bilaterally symmetric--it is an optimal solution.)

>>Those are the primary reasons why all higher and more complex
>>life forms are bilateral symmetric, and it isn't going to matter
>>which star system they evolve in. Bilateral symmetry is going to
>>be king because of basic physics that is the same everywhere.

>Are you really right in these assertions? I honestly don't know.

Again it's a matter of physics, which is the same everywhere.
Speed in various forms is one of the key basic strategies of
survival (there are a limited number), and _only_ bilateral
symmetry of the also limited number of possible symmetries (the
others being spherical and radial) leads to optimum
streamlining, rapid motion, and lowered energy requirements, all
key elements of survival, which leads to strong selection
pressure favoring its development.

In billions of years of evolution on this planet, there is not
one rapidly moving purely spherical or radially symmetric life
form. All are stationary or sluggish. They employ different
basic survival strategies, such as hiding, camouflage, body
armor, or weaponry, such as poison.

Bilateral symmetry also leads to specialization of a head and
tail end and top and bottom (ventral/dorsal). A direction of
travel leads to major senses being up in the leading head end
where the food and probing are, along with a concentration of
nervous tissue to process the sensory information, or a brain.

There are very compelling reasons why all higher animals follow
this very general morphological form, which has nothing to do
with chance.

>However, I'm not sure you're right in these assertions about
>evolutionary biology. But I wonder if computer simulation along
>the lines of an updated version of Richard Dawkin's old Biomorph
>code that shipped within book The Blind Watchmaker might answer
>some of these questions.

Biomorph code is a simplistic computer simulation showing how a
particular morphological form generated by the code will develop
if there is slight selection pressure generated by humans, just
like we do when breeding plants or animals.

But it has nothing to do with survival in the natural world,
where a clear survival advantage of speed and energy efficiency
will inevitably lead to the development of bilaterally symmetric
forms, that also leads to greater complexity compared to
spherical or radial ones.

>I know that you are certain that you are right, but I am not.
>Unfortunately, I don't have a strong argument to counter your
>claims, so I'm not in a position to challenge them directly.
>This time I recognize that evolutionary biology is completely
>outside my field. But I will say that your argument does not
>resemble what several real biologists have said to me in the
>past. Though I admit they were drunk at the time and more
>concerned with munching hors d'oeuvres than debating the finer
>points of evo-bio.

Well, as you say, drunken biologists munching hors d'oerves are
not much of a counterargument.

>I'll think about it and dig. I might come back to this debate
>later after a conversation with a Ph.D biologist (it might take
>a few beers at the pub, but I think I can find someone to chat
>with about the issue unofficially. lol).

If you want to examine very similar arguments as mine on a
discussion forum see, e.g.:

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/archive/index.php/t-272738.html

Also note the additional point raised, like I did, if we are
dealing with a technological race that builds spaceships and
comes here, this puts further restrictions on morphology. Thus
dolphins and octopi may be intelligent, and octopi can even
manipulate things, but they will never become technological, so
don't expect to meet an alien equivalent emerging from a flying
saucer.


David Rudiak



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