PDA

View Full Version : One Little Comment on Scientific Accuracy



Saerain
25th Aug 2011, 16:26
I realize that this is a universe in which such things as unrealistic as the Illuminati exist, so my expectations of realism in some aspects of the world are not high; but the scientific accuracy so far has been generally so exceptional for this genre that I think this little tidbit really stands out:

There's an e-mail you can read somewhere very early in the game (I think it was actually Megan's terminal at the very beginning, but I'm not certain) that talks about a breakthrough in 'predicting the future of human evolution,' which really gets my goat. Evolution is just the accumulation of whatever mutations are best at surviving selection (either by being beneficial or just failing to be deleterious and sneaking along with something beneficial), and the selective pressures placed on us at this point in time are directly observable and obvious, so it seems really silly to treat the prediction of the results of that selection as an arcane discipline to be discovered. At best, it's ignorance of the fact that selective pressures on us are obvious; at worst, it's suggesting that evolution describes something other than the survival of mutations under selective pressures, even that it acts independent of those pressures.

Predicting the future of human evolution is as simple as looking at what traits are preventing people from having children—be it by dying too young or by failing to attract a mate—and what traits are being especially helpful to these ends.

If what the e-mail meant was that we're now able to predict which mutations will occur in a specific couple's offspring, that's astronomically awesome, but it's not 'the future of human evolution,' it's one person's usually deleterious mutations, which would be useless to the end of predicting evolutionary trends. All you need is to know is the pressures.

Or, if your aim is to direct evolution, all you need to know is what you want the subjects to be able to survive. Subject one generation to it, let the survivors procreate—rinse, repeat.

ghostnineone
25th Aug 2011, 17:04
I dont think thats what she meant, i think she meant "the future of evolution" because whatever she was working on would basically allow us to control evolution and shape our species (and others) however we want. (instead of inbreeding or something to get a desired trait, being able to modify the genetics of someone would be easier than having to wait multiple generations to try and get the desired effect)

Lady_Of_The_Vine
25th Aug 2011, 17:32
Please be considerate of others browsing this thread and add spoiler tags when discussing specific details found in the game, thank you.

JCpies
25th Aug 2011, 17:48
The Illuminati is unrealistic?

tZer
25th Aug 2011, 18:09
The Illuminati is unrealistic?

Just wanted to say the same thing ;)

Saerain
25th Aug 2011, 18:37
I dont think thats what she meant, i think she meant "the future of evolution" because whatever she was working on would basically allow us to control evolution and shape our species (and others) however we want. (instead of inbreeding or something to get a desired trait, being able to modify the genetics of someone would be easier than having to wait multiple generations to try and get the desired effect) This wasn't the sort of context it was in, though. Megan and David talk about it in that context, and I get that, but this wasn't from either of them.

Here, I just found it. It is, indeed, from Megan's desktop in the prologue. An e-mail from Rebecca Downey:

Hey Megan,

I know you had some questions about the files I sent. Sorry about all graphs earlier, but that sample was nothing short of groundbreaking and I got excited. I don't suppose you could tell me where you got it?

The short answer to the original breakdown I sent is this... yes, the DNA samples are remarkable and we were unbelievably lucky to catch the reason why. We've been working with Versalife's new Chaos Model Genomatrix, which is trying to apply fractal mathematics to the study of genetic mutation. In essence, we've been trying to predict the future of human evolution using past mutations stored in the database of our mitochondira (which is passed uninterrupted from ancestral Eve through our mothers; it gives us an accurate and universal roadmap for our common past).

The thing is, the sample you sent fits one of our evolutionary models of the future. We're talking about someone who is ahead of the genetic curve by one step, maybe two. Do you know what this could mean for medicine alone? You have a living, breathing Nobel Prize on your hands!

The thing is... I can't tell you if this is a natural leap in evolution, or something done to the mother while the baby was in vitro. But I do know that this persons' mother had no-such mutations... the mitochondria don't lie.

Rebecca


Please be considerate of others browsing this thread and add spoiler tags when discussing specific details found in the game, thank you. Blast. I thought something from literally the very first room would be as unspoilery as it got. :o Sorry!

ghostnineone
25th Aug 2011, 19:01
Here, I just found it. It is, indeed, from Megan's desktop in the prologue. An e-mail from Rebecca Downey:

Hey Megan,

I know you had some questions about the files I sent. Sorry about all graphs earlier, but that sample was nothing short of groundbreaking and I got excited. I don't suppose you could tell me where you got it?

The short answer to the original breakdown I sent is this... yes, the DNA samples are remarkable and we were unbelievably lucky to catch the reason why. We've been working with Versalife's new Chaos Model Genomatrix, which is trying to apply fractal mathematics to the study of genetic mutation. In essence, we've been trying to predict the future of human evolution using past mutations stored in the database of our mitochondira (which is passed uninterrupted from ancestral Eve through our mothers; it gives us an accurate and universal roadmap for our common past).

The thing is, the sample you sent fits one of our evolutionary models of the future. We're talking about someone who is ahead of the genetic curve by one step, maybe two. Do you know what this could mean for medicine alone? You have a living, breathing Nobel Prize on your hands!

The thing is... I can't tell you if this is a natural leap in evolution, or something done to the mother while the baby was in vitro. But I do know that this persons' mother had no-such mutations... the mitochondria don't lie.

Rebecca


i think that makes sense, it seems like they want to map out future generations by looking at the genes of past generations and that way they can control what happens to future ones (like getting rid of congenital illnesses or illness passed through genes), i think they are referring to patient x and that makes sense because if they use his or her genes then they can modify the genes of all future generations to match, and that would be easier than looking at past mutations and trying to compensate for new changes in them when you essentially have the genes of someone that have already evolved to match one of the models.

VectorM
25th Aug 2011, 19:16
The Illuminati is unrealistic?

You think they are realistic?

nathanj
25th Aug 2011, 19:52
why are you guys reading other peoples emails..........thats just plain rude.

JCpies
25th Aug 2011, 20:34
You think they are realistic?

Secret societies are more realistic than a man surviving ten shots to the head in Call of Duty Mr.Kotick.

Saerain
25th Aug 2011, 23:22
ghostnineone,

Sure, but that's not predicting evolution, it's predicting mutation in order to better direct evolution.

Anyway, this is just something that caught my attention and stayed on my mind because I'm a nerd. Not trying to say it throws a wrench in any aspect of the story or anything. It's one e-mail among seemingly hundreds, after all.

In general, I'm really grateful that EM didn't just go the technobabble route. Practically all of the scientist and technician chatter I've encountered has been coherent and meaningful.