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Re: "Evolution" in sci-fi
Date: 5/31/13 4:49 pm
In Response To: "Evolution" in sci-fi (Dervish)

: There's a lovely article on i09 today about the nonsensical ways that
: "evolution" works in sci-fi. 343's Halo fiction has been
: particularly guilty of this as of late (certainly 1, 2, 3, 4, 7 and 10 in
: that article), and it's been driving me up the wall.

: A few examples: -Librarian can apparently plan the course of evolution over
: many generations. There is in fact no roadmap to evolution, and no way for
: there to be one without invoking divine power. Populations of organisms
: change over time in response to their environment, with characteristics
: that improve survival being more likely to be passed down. But since
: populations are adapted for their specific environmental circumstances,
: there is no such thing as being higher or lower evolved. There is only
: ideal adaptation to a particular environment, and environments change all
: the time. So unless Librarian is manipulating climate conditions on Earth
: or something, her guiding of evolution is nonsensical. I certainly don't
: see how "guiding" evolution would let her plant the idea to
: invent Mjolnir and Cortana, which she implies in Halo 4.

: -Librarian can "accelerate" the Chief's evolutionary journey. I
: don't know what an evolutionary journey is, but evolutionary changes do
: not occur on the level of an individual within their
: lifetime...incremental changes that prove beneficial are passed on to
: offspring. Changing something in the Chief instantly to make him immune to
: the Composer isn't biology, it's magic.

: -All the ancestral humans are white dudes, both in Legends and the Halo 4
: terminals. The archaeological record clearly shows that humans originated
: in Africa, and that for most of the species' history, all humans would
: have looked like people of African origin. Lighter skin and fuzzy faces
: are relatively recent adaptations of populations that migrated to northern
: Europe. Portraying ancestral/original humans as white doesn't just raise
: all sorts of problematic social concerns, it's straight-up historically
: wrong.

: -Halsey calls spartans "humanity's next step, our destiny as a
: species." This nearly ruins the otherwise awesome opening scene to
: Halo 4 for me, because it means absolutely nothing and makes Halsey sound
: like a crazy Dr. Science. The spartans were augmented, but if Halsey is
: implying they could somehow pass that augmentation to offspring, she's
: fallen off the Lamarckian cliff. Or does she think that all humans in
: the future should be augmented? Her attitude toward the Spartan IVs later
: on would suggest otherwise. Basically, this line is dumb.

: Evolution is a well-established fact of nature, but politicization and
: misrepresentation mean that less than half of Americans accept that it
: exists, and fewer understand how it works. And understanding evolution is
: important not only to understand ourselves and world around us, but to
: understand important issues like medicine, disease, genetically-modified
: food, etc. So when we have popular entertainment throwing around the term
: "evolution" in a wanton way that has no bearing on the real
: biological process, it only confounds the problem. *Full disclosure: I'm a
: science teacher, and it's important to me that people have some basic
: science literacy.*

: 343, I beg of you, if you want these plot contrivances to happen, please call
: them magic, not evolution. But I think you can do better, regardless.

I think most if not all of these implication hinges on the concept of evolution culturally and evolution in science are quite disparate. It's almost certainly a buzz word in many cases (Combat Evolved?)

The rest is very typical sci-fi space magic. Honestly you can take it as a story element or ignore it. How humans were devolved or whether the repopulation of humans has any bearings on race or true origins from africa, another world, space, etc. is semantics. It's definitely a depiction of the civilization, but like the Librarian predicting generational evolution, there are too many variables to take it seriously.

Unless something like that resonates with you... then it becomes an important plot device, but nothing more.

Messages In This Thread

"Evolution" in sci-fiDervish5/31/13 3:29 pm
     Re: "Evolution" in sci-fipadraig085/31/13 4:49 pm
           Re: "Evolution" in sci-fiDervish5/31/13 6:05 pm
                 It's not sci-fi, it's the Victorians.Leviathan6/1/13 11:48 am
     Re: "Evolution" in sci-fiscarab5/31/13 7:57 pm
           Re: "Evolution" in sci-fiQuirel5/31/13 10:24 pm
                 Re: "Evolution" in sci-fiGeneral Vagueness6/1/13 2:20 am
                 Re: "Evolution" in sci-fiscarab6/1/13 4:17 am
                       Re: "Evolution" in sci-fiQuirel6/3/13 1:33 am
                             Re: "Evolution" in sci-fiCHa0s6/4/13 2:43 am
                                   Re: "Evolution" in sci-fiGeneral Vagueness6/6/13 12:15 am
                                         Re: "Evolution" in sci-fiGeneral Vagueness6/6/13 12:40 am
                       Re: "Evolution" in sci-fiGeneral Vagueness6/5/13 11:24 pm
     Agreed *NM*RC Master5/31/13 7:59 pm
     Re: "Evolution" in sci-fiscarab5/31/13 8:03 pm
           Re: "Evolution" in sci-fiSEspider5/31/13 8:41 pm
     Re: "Evolution" in sci-fiSEspider5/31/13 8:32 pm
           Re: "Evolution" in sci-fiStephen L. (SoundEffect)5/31/13 8:50 pm
                 This *NM*CHa0s6/1/13 11:32 am
                 Re: "Evolution" in sci-fiCody Miller6/2/13 4:24 pm
                       Re: "Evolution" in sci-fiStephen L. (SoundEffect)6/2/13 4:47 pm
           Re: "Evolution" in sci-fiDervish5/31/13 9:55 pm
           Wow...RC Master6/1/13 9:13 am
                 Re: Wow...scarab6/1/13 11:03 am
           Re: "Evolution" in sci-fithebruce06/3/13 11:40 am
                 Smells like a logical fallacyscarab6/3/13 4:36 pm
                       Re: Smells like a logical fallacyscarab6/3/13 5:12 pm
                             Re: Smells like a logical fallacyMacGyver106/3/13 5:58 pm
                       Re: Smells like a logical fallacythebruce06/3/13 6:00 pm
                             Re: Smells like a logical fallacyuberfoop6/3/13 6:07 pm
                                   Re: Smells like a logical fallacythebruce06/3/13 8:08 pm
     Re: "Evolution" in sci-fiQuirel5/31/13 11:10 pm
     Re: "Evolution" in sci-fiAndrewSS026/1/13 4:43 am
           Re: "Evolution" in sci-fi *NM*AndrewSS026/1/13 4:49 am
           Re: "Evolution" in sci-fiscarab6/1/13 5:52 am
     Re: "Evolution" in sci-fiCHa0s6/1/13 12:06 pm
     I would like to emphasize the "sci-fi"serpx6/1/13 12:44 pm
           This :) *NM*thebruce06/3/13 11:52 am
           Re: I would like to emphasize the "sci-fi"Quirel6/4/13 1:35 am
                 Re: I would like to emphasize the "sci-fi"scarab6/4/13 1:41 pm
     A couple of partial defensesArithmomaniac6/2/13 1:02 pm
           Re: A couple of partial defensesRC Master6/2/13 4:00 pm
                 Re: A couple of partial defensesCody Miller6/2/13 4:19 pm
                 Re: A couple of partial defensesArithmomaniac6/2/13 7:38 pm
           Re: A couple of partial defensesCody Miller6/2/13 4:17 pm
                 Re: A couple of partial defensesGrimmire6/4/13 6:22 am
                       Re: A couple of partial defensesthebruce06/4/13 9:44 am
                       Re: A couple of partial defensesGeneral Vagueness6/6/13 12:38 am
     He added his email in the genome?!?CHa0s6/5/13 11:50 am

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