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Success Is Not Objective.
in Science

By Dr_MaybeDr_Maybe 88 Pts

What is the most successful animal on earth? I don't know, but I do know that the dinosaurs where on earth for about a hundred and sixty five million years. The dinosaurs will be more successful than we are if we kill ourselves off in under a hundred and sixty five million years.

Then people will say things like well we are more technologically advanced than any other species on earth. Under that metric sure that would be true, but we will fail at many more metrics than we are successful in.

Concepts like success, advancement and progress are human ideas and while we can use them the rest of the universe does not care one bit about them. It only exists in the brains of people. I'm having trouble concisely defining what I want to talk about here. If you understand what I am getting at, kindly explain it to me.


AlexOlandMayCaesarGeoLibCogScientist



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  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 1935 Pts
    I suppose there are many different forms of success. You are right that the dinosaurs have existed for a very long time, but does this really impact the individual dinosaur in any way? A stegosaurus that is being killed by a t-rex hardly finds any consolation in the fact that his species has been around for 100 million years: its life is still miserable, and its success is finished.

    Humans have not been around for a very long time, but we have accomplished a lot, and the life of the average human individual today is arguably higher quality than that of any member of any species at any point in the Earth's history prior to emergence of humans. I believe that this is a stronger evidence of success than the raw lifespan of the species.
  • Dr_MaybeDr_Maybe 88 Pts
    MayCaesar said:
    I suppose there are many different forms of success. You are right that the dinosaurs have existed for a very long time, but does this really impact the individual dinosaur in any way? A stegosaurus that is being killed by a t-rex hardly finds any consolation in the fact that his species has been around for 100 million years: its life is still miserable, and its success is finished.

    Humans have not been around for a very long time, but we have accomplished a lot, and the life of the average human individual today is arguably higher quality than that of any member of any species at any point in the Earth's history prior to emergence of humans. I believe that this is a stronger evidence of success than the raw lifespan of the species.
    No, that's not what I am saying. It's not an argument about who beats who, it's more about the human frame of reference.

  • AlexOlandAlexOland 307 Pts
    @Dr_Maybe

     Well, "success" at what? "success" is the accomplishment of an aim. What is the "aim" we are talking about? Dinosaurs were succesful at surviving for a long time, as you said. Here the aim is "to survive for a long time". 

     So when you ask "what is the most successful species?" my reply is "successful at what?". 

     ---

    "Then people will say things like well we are more technologically advanced than any other species on earth. Under that metric sure that would be true, but we will fail at many more metrics than we are successful in."

     Therefore I agree with this statement. Unless you specify what the aim is, you cannot decide on what species is the most "succesful". 

    ---

    "Concepts like success, advancement and progress are human ideas and while we can use them the rest of the universe does not care one bit about them."

     Well, why do we have to care about the fact that the universe does not care about them? It is fine to have abstract ideas as long as they are defined properly. I think you meant to say that it is a mistake to associate "success" with "advancement or progress in technology". If so, I agree with you.

     A lot of people just say that humans are the most succesful species because they are the ones who made the most advancements. But these people, without realizing, accept the "aim" as "making advancements". If we have another aim, humans can even turn out to be the least succesful species.
    Plaffelvohfen
  • WinstonCWinstonC 115 Pts
    @Dr_Maybe Success is defined relative to a goal, so if you define an achievable goal you can define success relative to that goal. As for the success of organisms it would appear nature has already defined what success is: survival of their genetic code.
    Plaffelvohfen
  • John_C_87John_C_87 209 Pts
    Humans are a success based species. A new level of elimination has already been set by nature and by people one that surpass that of the dinosaur it is labeled global extinction. You are asking where should a united state focus effort to create a constitutional expansion of humanity when addressing this truth.  
  • The act of measuring things can be objective, but the topic we are measuring is always subjective, as is whether we are perceiving the measurements correctly, except perhaps my own thoughts. As a subjectivist, I view everything as subjective except the existence of my thoughts. But that existence is subjective to everyone else, assuming others exist. My reasoning is this: for us to be aware of whether something exists depends on one of our many senses. I'm not aware of any way to prove my senses accurate except by using them, and that's circular reasoning, a logical fallacy. (i.e some people may say hearing from others will prove if you're perceiving that chair correctly, but you're assuming the stuff you hear(which is a sense in itself) from others is accurate. Some say you can rely on science and scientific experiments. Again, it depends on whether you're sensing/perceiving those experiments correctly. Everything boils down to if we perceive things correctly and there's no way to prove to oneself that the self is or isn't.)

    At any rate, success is a topic we need to more clearly define. As other have asked: "successful at what?"

    If you're leaving it open-ended, then the correct assumption would be to assume overall success in literally all possible matters of the universe. This is something we can't answer at all given that no one is omniscient, and there are far more possible topics we know nothing about than topics we do know about.

    The Lexico dictionary as offered by Oxford University defines success as "The accomplishment of an aim or purpose."[1]

    Hence your question is rather open-ended. There are possibly an infinite possible aims humans and dinosaurs or anyone for that matter, have. We don't know all of them, so it is literally impossible for us to say someone or some species is more successful than another.

    Additionally, as an absurdist, I'd argue there is no intrinsic purpose to human life, even though we are seeking one. If there is no purpose to our life, one could argue there's no such thing as success or failure. Of course, we could limit it to a person's "aim", but that's still subjective. What if one person's aim is different from another's? My aim in my life is to be satisfied with the effort I'm giving to accomplish the goals I have. I currently am satisfied with the effort I'm giving. So, by my standard, I'm extremely successful. But if someone else thinks my aims in my life should be different, then they would likely not view me with the same amount of success I view myself as having.


    Sources:
    [1] https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/success



    "Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal."
    -Albert Camus, Notebook IV
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