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Re: Chapter 01

Posted: 12 Aug 2009 12:49
by A Thing of Eternity
HoryThory wrote:I assume that Quantum theory was in its infancy then?

Thanks and Thanks. :D


Quantum physics was old news by the 50s my friend! Never stops being amazing though, and there are constantly new developments and experiments to prove/disprove old ideas.

Re: Chapter 01

Posted: 12 Aug 2009 12:57
by Apjak
Keeping in mind that in the 60's we knew DNA was responsible for heredity but for how much more than physical traits, we were unsure. At that time behaviour was still believed to be hereditary. Although not to the level it was believed in Eugenics' hayday. Meme theory didn't exist. I think the OM idea was more plausible then than it is now. FH'd be the first to say, well science has come further, but the idea can still make a compelling story.

Re: Chapter 01

Posted: 12 Aug 2009 13:00
by A Thing of Eternity
Apjak wrote:Keeping in mind that in the 60's we knew DNA was responsible for heredity but for how much more than physical traits, we were unsure. At that time behaviour was still believed to be hereditary. Although not to the level it was believed in Eugenics' hayday. Meme theory didn't exist. I think the OM idea was more plausible then than it is now. FH'd be the first to say, well science has come further, but the idea can still make a compelling story.


Of course, at the time OM was, if not plausible, at least not disproven. If someone wrote the same thing now, they'd have to incorperate magic, or some realllllly silly quantum BS - they couldn't just write it and expect people to buy it. That's one of the only things that really dates Dune in my opinion.

Re: Chapter 01

Posted: 12 Aug 2009 14:25
by HoryThory
A Thing of Eternity wrote:
Apjak wrote:Keeping in mind that in the 60's we knew DNA was responsible for heredity but for how much more than physical traits, we were unsure. At that time behaviour was still believed to be hereditary. Although not to the level it was believed in Eugenics' hayday. Meme theory didn't exist. I think the OM idea was more plausible then than it is now. FH'd be the first to say, well science has come further, but the idea can still make a compelling story.


Of course, at the time OM was, if not plausible, at least not disproven. If someone wrote the same thing now, they'd have to incorperate magic, or some realllllly silly quantum BS - they couldn't just write it and expect people to buy it. That's one of the only things that really dates Dune in my opinion.


I don't think I agree that this dates Dune. Other memory is still pretty hot. Jean Auel mentioned a version of it in Clan of the Cave Bear where people were born with "the memories and knew the clan way." Granted Clan of the Cave Bear isn't "new" but it came after Dune. I still think OM is relevant today. As are a lot of the themes in the original Dune book.

Re: Chapter 01

Posted: 12 Aug 2009 14:29
by Apjak
You're talking about instinct. Which we would use something more like Meme theory to describe today. The idea that those predilictions are passed on, not actual memories stored in teh DNAs.

Re: Chapter 01

Posted: 12 Aug 2009 14:51
by Serkanner
A Thing of Eternity wrote:
Apjak wrote:Keeping in mind that in the 60's we knew DNA was responsible for heredity but for how much more than physical traits, we were unsure. At that time behaviour was still believed to be hereditary. Although not to the level it was believed in Eugenics' hayday. Meme theory didn't exist. I think the OM idea was more plausible then than it is now. FH'd be the first to say, well science has come further, but the idea can still make a compelling story.


Of course, at the time OM was, if not plausible, at least not disproven. If someone wrote the same thing now, they'd have to incorperate magic, or some realllllly silly quantum BS - they couldn't just write it and expect people to buy it. That's one of the only things that really dates Dune in my opinion.


Or your name is KJHackerson.

Re: Chapter 01

Posted: 12 Aug 2009 14:59
by A Thing of Eternity
HoryThory wrote:
A Thing of Eternity wrote:
Apjak wrote:Keeping in mind that in the 60's we knew DNA was responsible for heredity but for how much more than physical traits, we were unsure. At that time behaviour was still believed to be hereditary. Although not to the level it was believed in Eugenics' hayday. Meme theory didn't exist. I think the OM idea was more plausible then than it is now. FH'd be the first to say, well science has come further, but the idea can still make a compelling story.

Of course, at the time OM was, if not plausible, at least not disproven. If someone wrote the same thing now, they'd have to incorperate magic, or some realllllly silly quantum BS - they couldn't just write it and expect people to buy it. That's one of the only things that really dates Dune in my opinion.

I don't think I agree that this dates Dune. Other memory is still pretty hot. Jean Auel mentioned a version of it in Clan of the Cave Bear where people were born with "the memories and knew the clan way." Granted Clan of the Cave Bear isn't "new" but it came after Dune. I still think OM is relevant today. As are a lot of the themes in the original Dune book.


That one's from the 80's? I think that even then OM might have been not entirely out of question, but I'm not totally up on when we learned what about genetics.

The simple fact is that OM is impossible without adding magic (given current physics), and certainly impossible to be contained in DNA. This is fine, it doesn't hurt Dune - but no author of FH's calibre would be likely to create OM now that we know more.

OM is central to Dune, without it the entire thing falls apart, which is fine - Dune is not hard-SF, FH doesn't need to apologize for stretching it with his science.

If a modern author was writing about OM, they would have no choice but to "blame" it on some weird metaphysics, if they said it was genetic they' be laughed at.

Re: Chapter 01

Posted: 12 Aug 2009 17:45
by SandChigger
Apjak wrote:You're talking about instinct. Which we would use something more like Meme theory to describe today. The idea that those predilictions are passed on, not actual memories stored in teh DNAs.

Hmm. I'd be careful equating instinct and memes. Some stuff is hardwired in. ;)

Re: Chapter 01

Posted: 12 Aug 2009 18:37
by HoryThory
I'm just not sure if you can separate/delineate the two so easily. I think part of OM IS genetic memory due to the BG breeding program. Without the proper genetic make-up, I don't think the BG would have had such abilities nor been able to hone them so well. Perhaps I'm completely full of shit, though, too.

Re: Chapter 01

Posted: 12 Aug 2009 20:04
by A Thing of Eternity
HoryThory wrote:I'm just not sure if you can separate/delineate the two so easily. I think part of OM IS genetic memory due to the BG breeding program. Without the proper genetic make-up, I don't think the BG would have had such abilities nor been able to hone them so well. Perhaps I'm completely full of shit, though, too.


OM goes back to the beginnings of humanity though, so they themselves are not a product of anything BG, only the ability to access them, which is certainly training, but mostly the water of life / spice poison etc - if it relied entirely on BG training or genetics, there could be no such thing as wild rev mothers.

Also, the whole concept of OM is vastly different than that of instinct. OM is memories from each person's life stored in DNA, instinct is behavioral tendencies selected for and amplified by natural evolution, no memory from any creature's life is passed on to the next generation, only certain behavior predispositions (not sure if I worded that well).

Re: Chapter 01

Posted: 12 Aug 2009 20:12
by SandChigger
We'll have to get a verdict from loremaster. :D

HoryThory wrote:I'm just not sure if you can separate/delineate the two so easily. I think part of OM IS genetic memory due to the BG breeding program. Without the proper genetic make-up, I don't think the BG would have had such abilities nor been able to hone them so well. Perhaps I'm completely full of shit, though, too.

No, you're completely right: in the books Other Memory IS genetic memory. That just means the Duniverse differs from our real universe in one more respect. (There are others: many of the stars FH put planets around cannot possibly have planets in our universe, because they've turned out to be binaries or multiples, etc. Canopus, Arrakis's sun, is a super giant whose lifespan will be measured in mere hundreds of millions of years, instead of the billions a smaller star like our sun will last; it probably does not have planets, and even if it does, the system will not last long enough for any life to arise. That of course actually works out nicely for FH's bit about the sandtrout having been brought from elsewhere.)

We're just saying that OM = genetic memory doesn't work in the real world. It's one of the things you just have to accept and put out of your mind when you are reading the books. And it's one of the things that dates them. :)

Re: Chapter 01

Posted: 13 Aug 2009 01:45
by Schu
I also disagree that OM dates Dune. It just moves it slightly away from the "hard sci-fi" area.

Re: Chapter 01

Posted: 13 Aug 2009 11:24
by A Thing of Eternity
Schu wrote:I also disagree that OM dates Dune. It just moves it slightly away from the "hard sci-fi" area.


I dissagree with your dissagreement. :D It doesn't just remove Dune from hard-sf. Even a soft-SF author righting the same book nowadays would make some changes to OM, they would likely attribute it to QM, or metaphysics. They would have to be seriously amature to say that the memories are stored in the DNA, because it's common knowledge that it doesn't work that way.

It's not the fact that characters have ancestral memories that dates Dune, it's the fact that these memories are coded in DNA.

(Oh, and off topic, but I do plan to get you those freqency numbers soon, I wrote them out in excel, and excel does not transfer to posts here very easily, it gets all jumbled up)

Re: Chapter 01

Posted: 13 Aug 2009 13:48
by Freakzilla
"Let me make it clear," she said. Briefly, she explained how she had
awakened to Reverend Mother awareness before birth, a terrified fetus with the
knowledge of countless lives embedded in her nerve cells -- and all this after
the death of her father.

Re: Chapter 01

Posted: 13 Aug 2009 13:53
by HoryThory
Freakzilla wrote:"Let me make it clear," she said. Briefly, she explained how she had
awakened to Reverend Mother awareness before birth, a terrified fetus with the
knowledge of countless lives embedded in her nerve cells -- and all this after
the death of her father.


Embedded in cells. Sounds genetic to me. I know that it's not necessarily "real world" science but I'm not so sure what the future of humanity will be. Will we have the ability to tap into such reservoirs of knowledge? Show a cave man a microwave and I'd bet he'd think you were a fantasy. :Adolf:

Re: Chapter 01

Posted: 13 Aug 2009 14:18
by A Thing of Eternity
It would require extensive (extensive beyond our imaginations) genetic research and engineering to alter our DNA enough to build in some kind of memory storing function, and how would the memories get from our brains to our gonads? And how would our cells accomodate the gigantic strands of DNA it would take to store this information after a few generations? I know the whole "who knows what we might come up with" idea is cool, but this is one of the most far out possibilities I can think of, even with high technology. It is certainly not something that could be bred in.

It's not impossible that we could come up with something like this someday, but only if we also admit that it's possible we're in the matrix right now, or god is real, or some other extremely improbable thing.

I do know what you're saying though, and trust me, I don't think that OM hurts Dune.

EDIT: I just realized we would never engineer this in the first place, because it would be much easier to just record everyone's lives to "disk" and implant everyone with the ability to tap into the central database of life memories.

Re: Chapter 01

Posted: 13 Aug 2009 18:02
by SandChigger
And even if you could create something like that, the "Other Memory" would only extend backwards as far as the first generation equipped with the new tech. You wouldn't be able to get back to life memories of Adam & Eve.

Unless you faked them. ;)


Sound familiar, Thang? An alien race that creates their own afterlife/Heaven? ;)

Re: Chapter 01

Posted: 13 Aug 2009 18:14
by A Thing of Eternity
SandChigger wrote:And even if you could create something like that, the "Other Memory" would only extend backwards as far as the first generation equipped with the new tech. You wouldn't be able to get back to life memories of Adam & Eve.

Unless you faked them. ;)


Sound familiar, Thang? An alien race that creates their own afterlife/Heaven? ;)


I can't QUITE remember which one you're talking about, maybe something from the Culture?

Re: Chapter 01

Posted: 13 Aug 2009 20:42
by SandChigger
A Thing of Eternity wrote:I can't QUITE remember which one you're talking about, maybe something from the Culture?

:D

Let's hear it for "critical darling" Ian M. Banks! :clap: :clap: :clap:

(You've read all of them now, right? I hope I didn't just spoil something for you. :? )

Re: Chapter 01

Posted: 14 Aug 2009 00:20
by Schu
A Thing of Eternity wrote:
Schu wrote:I also disagree that OM dates Dune. It just moves it slightly away from the "hard sci-fi" area.


I dissagree with your dissagreement. :D It doesn't just remove Dune from hard-sf. Even a soft-SF author righting the same book nowadays would make some changes to OM, they would likely attribute it to QM, or metaphysics. They would have to be seriously amature to say that the memories are stored in the DNA, because it's common knowledge that it doesn't work that way.

It's not the fact that characters have ancestral memories that dates Dune, it's the fact that these memories are coded in DNA.

(Oh, and off topic, but I do plan to get you those freqency numbers soon, I wrote them out in excel, and excel does not transfer to posts here very easily, it gets all jumbled up)


(cool, I'd wondered what had happened with them :) )

Well, I stand by it - I don't think it's specifically mentioned that it's DNA in any part of Dune, and I think a soft-SF writer would be happy to just say "it's hereditary" and leave it at that, no need to ascribe it to quantum mechanics or anything like that. Frank, after all, did not describe the exact way that ancestral memories are tapped, beyon saying "it's in the cells", and even then, Duncan has memories that are NOT in his cells, so whatever idea he might have had, it was not completely rigid.

Re: Chapter 01

Posted: 14 Aug 2009 02:06
by SandChigger
They might be children in flesh, but they were ancient in experience, born with a totality of genetic memory, a terrifying awareness which set their Aunt Alia and themselves apart from all other living humans.

If it's genetic, it's in the DNA. (You can quibble nuclear for male side and mitochondrial for female if you like.) ;)

And Duncan is a special case.

Re: Chapter 01

Posted: 14 Aug 2009 16:18
by SandChigger
He can't stand any of the "critical darlings" of the world because they can write. :)

(Just felt like stating the obvious. :P )

Re: Chapter 01

Posted: 16 Aug 2009 02:40
by Schu
Dammit, I hate when a position I take becomes untenable :(

Re: Chapter 01

Posted: 23 Jan 2010 03:51
by nampigai
I was just thinking - has anyone noticed that Mohiams eyes aren't described as blue in blue?

Re: Chapter 01

Posted: 23 Jan 2010 06:15
by inhuien
Didn't Reverend Mothers normally wear contacts when going abroad.