Deer Crossing

I just don’t know what to say (but I’ll probably bitch and moan for a few paragraphs).

Biology fail – hint: deer can’t read (including symbolic language)

If a person can’t figure out that deer can’t read and move to a traffic corridor that safer, then how in the name of the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars can they make useful judgements about things like… oh… voting for example.

But this also highlights the anthropocentrism that infects modern humans.  Just because someone else in your species invented cars, symbolic language, roads, cities, newspapers, etc… doesn’t mean that you (or any humans) are the center of the freaking universe.

Get a clue here.  The dinosaurs were the dominant species on this planet for almost 180 million years.  Humans have been in existence (counting all species of Homo ) for almost 7 million years and modern humans for less than 50,000 years.

We exist on a tiny ball of rock surrounded by nothing.

If the above video doesn’t make you think about how truly insignificant we are, in the grand scheme of the universe, then you are too far gone to reach.

It’s truly depressing to think about how important a $3000 set of rims are to some people, when you realize that they aren’t even trying to take over a small portion of that pale, blue dot… just try to impress a few, also insignificant specs on that dot.

So, yes, pretend that deer can read and follow your desire to get them out of the way of your $85,000 luxury car.  Keep believing it until you are dead an buried and only this memory of you exists.  This may well be how our ancestors remember you… and us as humans for that matter.

And they will wonder, “Was that really our ancestor? How did we survive?”

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17 Responses to Deer Crossing

  1. Eugen says:


    Just a thought experiment. If there is not one mind in the universe would universe exist?

  2. Eugen says:

    Who could confirm?

  3. OgreMkV says:

    Physics. The universe existed for almost a billion years before even protons could form… let alone a mind capable of observing the universe as such.

    This is just like the “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a noise?” Of course it does, the physics states that the tree falling will transfer energy, some of that energy will be transferred to air molecules which will form a compression wave that we interpret as sound.

    Same with the universe. There could be an infinite number of universes that we can’t detect. If they all have slightly different properties, then there will be an infinite number of universes where no life can form, yet they are still there. Just as our universe existed in that very long period of time before atoms could form, much less a mind, those other universes may very well exist even without minds being present. (And yes, there actually is an experiment going on to detect those universes, so it’s not total speculation or belief.)

    If you are thinking that there must then be a entity that can sense all of these universes (and observe them), then where did the entity come from?

    Regardless, there is no help for us as a species now… and none likely in the future. It is up to us to save ourselves… for only then will we be worth saving… oh, there’s a blog post in that one!

  4. Eugen says:

    I was thinking about this post during morning commute – about our (human) significance. I understand about the”tree in the forest”, that is a good point but…

    … since this is thought experiment let see one more possibility. If there is not one mind anywhere ever, would anything exist?

  5. OgreMkV says:

    Again, I don’t see why not. The processes that we know as the laws of physics and the like existed without any minds… again, barring the existence of a mind that can actually create a universe… which has so many issues with it, it’s nearly inconceivable on a practical level.

    Just out of curiosity, are taking a tact from Schrodinger here?

  6. Eugen says:

    Yes there’ll be some quantum mechanics – tomorrow, it’s getting late for me.

  7. Eugen says:

    Quantum mechanics gives us an idea of how important mind is for understanding of reality. Young’s double slit experiment as an example. When scientists set up instruments to find which slit photon goes through, act of measuring (detecting) alone doesn’t change photon’s wave like property. Detector is active and in place but its output is erased so photon will behave as a wave,spread out in space.

    Everything changes when detector output is not erased so the scientist can gain knowledge of the photon’s path. Behavior changes and photon shows property of a particle. So the only difference is our choice whether to gain or not to gain knowledge of the photon’s path. Our wish to know somehow changed reality instantaneously. In the case of delayed choice quantum eraser, our whim of what to do now changes reality in the past. The most mind boggling is Wheeler’s delayed choice experiment, highly recommended to look up online.

    All in all, there are some clues that our mind can have weird but limited effect on reality ie. universe.

    Man, it’s hard to think on Sunday morning.

  8. OgreMkV says:

    The question to me is, Is the mind important in this or is it an artifact of this?

    Consider the double slit experiment. What is doing the measuring? The mind is not doing the measuring. Do the electrons stop interfering with each other if the experiment is running but a sentient mind is not observing them?

    What actually causes these quantum fields to break down? I don’t believe that it is the ‘mind’ that causes it. Basically, this line of thought implies that the mind is so powerful, it can affect 6.01X10^23 particles nearly instantly. The mind can control them to the point that they stop behaving in one way and start behaving in another way. That, to me, is epic levels of human hubris.

    Do quantum events happen without human influence? The must or the universe woudn’t exist. The stars, galaxies, and black holes wouldn’t exist.

    There is some kind of phenomenon going on, but I honestly don’t think we know enough about quantum physics to understand exactly what is going on.

    Again, if you want to imply a mind that created a universe, then that’s a totally different story.

  9. EEGiorgi says:

    Just wanted to say that I love the “pale blue dot” by Sagan. It’s like a silent, pagan prayer to keep at the back of our minds. Thank you!

  10. Eugen says:

    Puzzling is that if scientist wants to record path, photon will act as a particle. If scientist doesn’t want to record the path, photon spreads out as a wave. Same instruments, only difference is the choice to (or not to) record event to gain path knowledge. Again, delayed choice experiments deal with this and they are well documented online. My favorite is Wheeler delayed choice experiment, which pushes this issue to the extreme.
    Considering insignificance of the “pale blue dot” and assuming us humans, why not bring it little further. Lets see how latest science is helping us understand oldest questions asked for thousands of years by philosophers, astronomers, alchemists, wise men etc.
    What are we (humans), what it means to exist, what is reality… Boy, would they ever be disappointed. They would learn that we are sitting on some round thing flying through space at speed of 400 km/s against cosmic microwave background (according to main WMAP dipole). Direction is constellation of Leo. That helps a lot?
    Next thing would be more disappointing. We and everything else are nothing more than very small impurity in a pure vacuum. Label on our backs should say – Ingredients: pure vacuum. Warning: may contain less than 0.00000000000001 % impurity. To stick another nail, we are not even impurity but rather agglomerate of energy bundles, disturbance in pure vacuum. Would wise men feel even more insignificant by findings of modern science than Sagan says?
    Surprisingly sometimes patterns in the disturbances in vacuum create thoughts, mind and self-awareness.

  11. OgreMkV says:

    A man said to the Universe,
    “Sir, I exist.”
    “However,” replied the universe,
    “That does not instill in me
    a sense of obligation.”

    You are still looking at it from a human perspective. The universe doesn’t care about us. It can’t. There is no cosmic purpose.

    If you (or any human) chooses to create a purpose for yourself, that’s fine. Go for it. Other than that, we just are. Do you find that disappointing? I don’t, I find it amazingly liberating. I have no ones expectations to live up to, but my own. I have my goals, shallow though they may be to the rest of the universe… but then I can’t affect the universe, only the miniscule portion that I interact with.

    We’re definitely getting into philosophy, which is not my strong suit by any stretch. Personally, I find much of philosophy wearying. Do great thinkers honestly spend decades wrestling with the questions of the ages (like, if a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound) or do they spend 40 hours writing a book that claims to wrestle with the questions of the ages? It may be shallow of me to think so. And I recognize that, in some areas (morals, ethics, and the like) it may be good to have a philosophical point of view. Not all things can be reduced to logic… notably those things that are human centric (ethics, morality, etc).

    In terms of the double split experiment, no one still understands why it happens. Is their some mysterious force called ‘observation’ that can affect the paths of electrons (or photons)? How would this force be transmitted? How does this force affect the paths? Where does the energy for this force come from?

    Of course the other possibility is that the objects we use for detecting (photons and electrons) actually do have an impact (literally) on other photons and electrons.

    We can only observe at this level through the use of nearly equivalent sized objects. It would be like identifying the path of a planet by bouncing other planets off of it. Once that first one bounces, then the target object is changed.

    This can occur whether a mind is present or not. Of course, we don’t notice it because we aren’t observing it in places other than our experiments.

    I don’t know.

    Surprisingly sometimes patterns in the disturbances in vacuum create thoughts, mind and self-awareness.

    Evidence please.

  12. OgreMkV says:

    You might this interesting… or you may know about it already.

  13. Eugen says:

    “Surprisingly sometimes patterns in the disturbances in vacuum create thoughts, mind and self-awareness.”

    Sorry I wasn’t clear. We (humans and everything else) are nothing but disturbances in pure vacuum. Special patterns are our minds. It is definitely surprising that some pattern of energy can be self aware.Other than that I’m not good with philosophy either.

    Thanks for the link. That’s one of many.There are lots of videos online,too. It’s easy to setup experiment with laser and few polarizers on clothes pegs.
    Briefest point would be: based on our whim now, photon will change its behaviour even in a distant past to fit our experiment. Here is link:

    “We are participators in bringing into being not only the near and here but the far away and long ago. We are in this sense, participators in bringing about something of the universe in the distant past and if we have one explanation for what’s happening in the distant past why should we need more?”

    All the best on Scientopia.

  14. OgreMkV says:

    I’m not saying that it’s wrong. I think my point is how does the ‘mind’ influence this system… and more importantly, is the system influenced by non-mind events in a similar manner.

    Obviously, the double slit is a highly contrived experiment to show a particular quantum effect. But what is actually causing the collapse of the probability wave? Is it the mind? or how we measure the event itself? Hmmm… how would we separate the two? Which is a serious issue with quantum mechanics experiments.

    I’d disagree slightly with your ‘disturbances in pure vacuum’. Regardless of the state of the majority of the universe, out minds developed in a system that was not pure vacuum. That being said, I do think sentience is an emergent property of particularly complex systems.

  15. Eugen says:

    There are more questions than answers.

    Neils Bohr said: “Every sentence I utter must be understood not as an affirmation, but as a question.”

    Most physicists are practical about quantum mechanics: their theory helped develop 1-micron transistor , who cares about weirdness.
    D’espagnat'Espagnat among others is one those who have guts to go further and investigate implications. It’s an unthankful job.

  16. Jim Thomerson says:

    Back to the deer problem. It is, in fact, a communication problem. We need to some how get deer to understand the following: (1) Look both ways before crossing the street and use the marked walkways. I have recently seen deer looking both ways. There was a post a while back about a lab in California (I think, maybe) There is a herd of mule deer on the grounds. and they use the same crosswalks that people do. (2) Do not eat these plants which I have planted, and (3) Thinning the herd is a good thing.

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