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Author Topic: The Shofixti threat  (Read 27178 times)
Azzizi
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Re: The Shofixti threat
« Reply #45 on: March 05, 2003, 12:37:05 pm »

On a serious note regarding the discussion, I just want to point out two things that I didn't see raised-- apologies if I missed seeing them raised.

Now, it's already been pointed out that the Shofixti are sentient beings, not animals. Which means they have the ability to control their birth rate by methods not important, but nonetheless effective. The other piece that needs to be underlined, is the setting in which the game places the facts regarding Shofixti reproduction.

The Melnorme is no doubt accurate in his statements regarding the speed at which the species can re-populate. No argument there. Of course, he said that in the context of the game's current events: We have an outnumbered force going up against a much larger, better-armed, and more established  force. there's a reason it's referred to as the Ur-Quan Armada. So we have the Alliance, trying to build a fleet so they can take on not one, but *two* Ur-Quan armadas, which fly some of the best ships in space, plus all those battle thralls. And while the Kzer-ka and the Kor-ah are fighting it out, either one will gladly ignore the other to smack down an uppity race.

Thus, the Alliance, while gaining strength, is in one of the worst tactical positions imaginable. They're desperate, and one of their biggest needs is *manpower*. With more people, they can solve the lack of resources, ships, crew, etc. manpower is the key. But sources are limited. Under that circumstance, which I'm sure the Shofixti are fully aware of, they're going to breed as fast as their feet can carry them from bedroom to bedroom. We're not dealing with the species' natural reproductive rhythm. We're dealing with a maximium reproductive ability born out of extreme desparation. I think it's reasonable to assume that, back when they lived on their homeworld, with no greater need facing them as it does in the game, the population remains manageable.

As to the sphere of influence being as large as it is, the sphere doesn't represent the area of space in which the race in question lives-- it represents that area in which they exert influence. Which is partially controlled by the presence of colonies or whathaveyou, but more dependant on where you can expect to see their ships flying around. They don't have to live anywhere but the homeworld to have a sphere that size. They just have to be patrolling five systems out or whatever to exert that influence.I think it's reasonable to assume that however much planetary real estate the Shofixti commanded before they were all but annihilated, they maintained a defensive patrol line a fair ways outward from their physical territory. It's the smart thing to do, and that's what, realistically speaking, the spheres of influence represent. Not as important to the discussion as the first point, but a point I thought worth raising in reference to the statements made about their sphere being as large as it is.

There are also cultural and xenopsychological considerations and arguments one can make for the Shofixti not having population problems, but they've been pretty well covered already, and, I think, probably less of a determining factor than the first of my points. the second point, in a nutshell, is intended to lend weight to the idea that historically, the population of Delta Gorno wasn't a problem, so there's no reason there should be any in the future.

Kudos to Lukipela, by the way, for a nice observation that's spawned such an interesting and let's face it, largely thought-provoking discussion. It isn't easy.
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Re: The Shofixti threat
« Reply #46 on: March 05, 2003, 06:30:37 pm »

Well observed, Azzizi!
Although sentient, the Shofixti are mammals after all (if I'm not mistaken) and there are many examples in Terra's wildlife for a maximum breeding capacity when a species is put under immense stress and/or threat. Rabbits for example can reproduce a lot faster when threatened by a lot of predators!
Thanks for that post - I think we missed that so far...
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Re: The Shofixti threat
« Reply #47 on: March 06, 2003, 12:47:07 am »

Back to reality eh? I'd like to point out that the question of birth rate control isn't as assured as you think. Look at us, we are a highly evolved technological civilization, and we still can't seem to do it. The shofixti are a more tribal society, who was uplifted, and thus haven't gone through the normal trial-and-error procedures that other spacefaring civilizations have. so while they may well be trying to control the birth rate of their species, it still remains and open question wether they are having any success with it.

The spehere of influence point is very good, the shofixti may not have lived anywhere else than on their homeworld, and had a presence in the other systems for strictly startegic and mining purposes. however, doesn't this already give an idea of poulation numbers? First off ,you need a fleet to patrol the systems and the hyperspace between them. Then, if you are a mining five systems, doesn't this indicate that there is a fair amount of building on consuming going on in the homesystem? To need that much raw material, there must be quite a few Shofixti using them. Rememebr, that when the Yehat arrived, they were living in "crude mudhuts" or some such, so they can't have mined their entire planet out in a few years, can they? Of course, it could be resource poor.

And also (restating myself yes, but it applies here), that hte population of Delta Gorno has not been a problem historically does not prove much. As a primitive species on their own world, the Shofixti could have fallen prey to larger predators, they can have had large famines in the past, or they could (and probably did) have had some massive wars, population control at it's finest.

Supporting this is the fact that, as GM reminds us, rabbits can reproduce in much larger numbers when they are threatened by many predators. If the Shofixti have the same ability, then surely they must have a evolved it due to similar conditions? So what happened before spaceflight doesn't really matter, the setting was completely different by then. The question is, what happens now that they are out of their natural habitat, without the factors that kept their numbers in check previously?
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Re: The Shofixti threat
« Reply #48 on: March 06, 2003, 02:02:50 am »

Again the rabbit example could prove helpful.

Not only do rabbits mate like crazy when they are threatened - they also do that when they are introduced to a very supporting new environment (like Australia).

The Shofixti - if the same biological phenomenon applies - could not only be reproduce like madmen when restricted to their own homesystem. Now the whole galaxy is their mating ground (and I bet they really like to as well just looking at Tanaka's comments).

As for us humans - we are the only animal (and mammal) to which non of the natural restrictions seem to apply... Sooner or later we will find out that the whole system (world) is gonna collapse because the ressources do not support our way of breeding...
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Re: The Shofixti threat
« Reply #49 on: March 06, 2003, 04:09:37 am »

Some very good points. I think it's reasonable to assume that the natural-rhythm birthrate would be quite lower, but the problem with a xenobiology question like this is that we really only have terrestrial data to extrapolate from. The only sentient life we're familiar with is human, and the only non-human life we're familiar with are terrestrial animals, which means that they've developed in similar environments to our own, moreso than we can realistically expect in the case of the Shofixti. (I realize, of course, that the context they were placed in is a game designed with a decidedly, and unavoidably homo-centric view, but we seem to be speculating along realistic lines for the sake of discussion). the point of saying this is to point out that human history only applies as a reference to a point. We fail miserably at population control. However, and alien culture developing in an alien environment may not have trouble at all. Sure, we can say things like "the tendency is for sentient races to act like so:" in support of the Shofixti eventually becoming a problem, but all of our ideas about how intelligent life behaves is based on our experiences. Which is to say, us, and to a lesser extent, other terrestrial lifeforms with a high degree of intelligence, like dolphins and so on.

All of which means that we can't really say that realistically speaking, the Shofixti would behave as you're saying they would, given a lack of limiting factors. However, I'd have to admit, that if taken in the context that they were created by a human mind from a human-derived societal and species archetype, you're likely right.

In which case, I'd have to say that I don't think there'd be a lack of limiting factors necessarily. Historically, the Yehat uplifted the Shofixti, and afterwards lent a guiding hand to their development, that I doubt they'd be likely to abandon, and would very likely result in the placement of externally-imposed limiting factors, put in place by the Yehat. The only real question to my mind there, is whether after the civil war and integration of Pkunk with Yehat, the resulting society would still be inclined to shepherd the younger race along. My inclination, based on my impressions of the Pkunk and Yehat in the game, would be that yes, it could continue to take a guiding hand. And if that's the case, I feel that the population growth issue would be noticed and addressed, resulting in eventual equilibrium.

Of course, that's not exactly a definitive answer, so let's look at the other side of the coin. One thing I've heard a lot of is that eventually, you run out of room for anyone to expand. Well, maybe you run out of room on the *starmap*, but that's not the boundary of the universe, either. There's a lot of space to work with and expand into, and I'm sure more than one race in the game will eventually make more room for the others. Either by dying out, or by doing like the precursors, and moving off into another region of the galaxy, or even on past to other galaxies entirely. Then there's even more options than that, as well. What's to keep, say, the Chmmr or humans or someone from taking the Arilou or Orz approach, and trancend up through the dimensional barriers? Space, especially with the added layers of hyper/quasi/etc-space parallel realities, is impossibly huge, so as to make the notion of 'running out of room' unlikely at its most plausible.

And that's not taking into account other realistic limiting factors to a culture's size. Eventually, the spread through space gets to the point where society can't support its own weight, fragments up into smaller chunks, which very well might fight among themselves. Perhaps a better point to make, though, is that with a birthrate like the Shofixti have, *evolution* is greatly sped up as well. Usually, that's not even a concern, but we're talking a long period of time, here. Long enough that evolutionary progress gets a say. One of the things about evolution, is that elements no longer necessary to survival have a way of disappearing. Humans don't need a tail. At some point, we lost having them. (assuming that bit at the end of the spinal column is, indeed, a vestigal tail as believed) Likewise, with a high birthrate no longer necessary to survival of the species, it's reasonable to assume it will gradually settle down into something more sustainable, or at least, much less worrisome.

I don't know, at this point, if I've addressed everything I originally intended to. But I'm done for now anyway.

Added: On a side note, I think it's very likely to think humans will eventually follow the Arilou's path, since the Arilou seem to have a marked interest in encouraging humans along that path, for whatever reason, and to a lesser extent, the Orz seem to rather like mankind as well, and think it'd be *happy time* if we could come hang out in the *playground*, or whatever. Wink
« Last Edit: March 06, 2003, 04:15:44 am by Azzizi » Logged
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Re: The Shofixti threat
« Reply #50 on: March 06, 2003, 08:26:29 pm »

Actually, humans are very good at not reproducing too much when they are prosperous. It's when they're in societies which treat women as chattel, the men get drunk every day, and the average investment in a child is about the amount needed to feed them...
The average woman in, say, Nigeria, doesn't want to have more than 2 or 3 kids, but due to circumstances the fertility (average children per woman) is 7 or so.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2003, 08:33:22 pm by Death_999 » Logged
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Re: The Shofixti threat
« Reply #51 on: March 07, 2003, 04:18:09 pm »

Considering the Yehat-Punk thing. I'm sure they'd be happy to lend a guiding hand. But would the Shofixti want it? The Yehat betrayed them, they failed them. Also,the peaceful Pkunk-Yehat coexitence probably does not appeal much to honourbond Shofixti.

Good point Death. Then again, we know nothing of the current conditions on the Shofixti homeworld, or those that existed in the past. Nor how much they differ from humans society or birthcontrol wise. Nor really anything about their native wildlife. We only know how fast they breed.  Which is why I started this whole topic with a smiley, we can't really prove one way or another. until Starcon 4: The Shofixti Menace comes out anyway.
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Re: The Shofixti threat
« Reply #52 on: March 09, 2003, 08:30:54 am »

What would happen if the Shofixti turned to the humans for guidance?  I mean, the Yehat dishonored the furry rodents by not only surrendering to the Ur-Quan, but giving up hope on their race.  So, maybe the captain can be their new role models.  Imagine that role placed on you...   Grin  Thousands of little Shofixti ready to die for the cause.  Sounds like a recipe for disaster.
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Re: The Shofixti threat
« Reply #53 on: March 13, 2003, 06:33:20 pm »

And I imagine we'd be all too egarer to let them die for our causes... Still, I don't think we could work as the Shofixtis mentors for long. I mean,  the human culture has very little in similar with the Shofixti. We don't believe in honour the same way as they do, we're governed increasingly by greed and self interest. they'd turn away from us in disgust quite soon I think...
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Re: The Shofixti threat
« Reply #54 on: March 15, 2003, 04:14:36 am »

you're forgetting there are many cultures on this planet.. and while things such as honor and other ways of life have been different in the past, they might and will change in the future.

Anyways, I think they'll do alright on their own, those little critters Tongue
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Re: The Shofixti threat
« Reply #55 on: March 23, 2003, 08:48:04 pm »

There are many cultures on this planet yes, but the ones that, at this stage anyway, seem to be the ones closest to achieving spaceflight aren't all that honour bound anymore. I wodner how the differenty human cultures will be represented in a future united human race? I mean, will we necessarily meld into one unificating culture and keep our own cultures inside our homes, or will there be somethi9ng liek the UN, where all the different cultures decide upon things together, and give their views? Only if it's the second way, or if we splinter into several human empitres, will the Shofixiti have any real contact with dfifferent earth cultures.. Unless they overrun us of course : ). But still as you say, they'll probably manage. They have done quite well so far.
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Re: The Shofixti threat
« Reply #56 on: March 23, 2003, 09:16:43 pm »

I would like to express my arguments about that here, but right now I am way too pessimistic to be able to make a neutral or positive statement about a possible version of the world's united future...
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Re: The Shofixti threat
« Reply #57 on: March 25, 2003, 10:28:15 am »

Pardon my Jurassic Park example.... but those dinosaurs switched genders in order to breed.  Hormones dictate that there is only ever one active queen alive in a bee-hive...

There are many ways nature safeguards itself:

1) Overpopulation causes an abundance of airbourne hormones, these cause Shofixti Maidens to produce only male offspring... or only female... or a higer percentage of homosexual / non-breeding offspring.  Or causes them to switch genders like the dinosaurs.. only in reverse.

2) Overpopulation causes shortages in food supply which in turn inhibits the Shofixiti Maiden from concieving... or causes the male to cease cycling and halts arousal.

3) Overpopulation creates a social pressure towards liberal legislation, specifically 'Euthenasia'.., mass cullings ensue.

4) Perhaps the Shofixit have a very limited lifespan.  If they are adult at one year of age... perhaps they are geriatric at ten?
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Re: The Shofixti threat
« Reply #58 on: March 25, 2003, 04:52:34 pm »

Those are very good points! Why didn't I come up with that?

Quote
2) ...or causes the male to cease cycling and halts arousal.


Wouldn't that be a bummer! All the Maidens willing and you just can't, LOL  Tongue
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Re: The Shofixti threat
« Reply #59 on: March 27, 2003, 07:44:36 pm »

Actually, for all the comments people are making about humans, it's worth noting that the current UN Population forecasts have the Earth's population topping out in 2050, and then decreasing thereafter.  This is because the current global fertility rate is around 1.8 children per woman, below the 2.1 replacement rate.  (The extra .1 is to account for children who die before reaching adulthood.)

Western European countries and Japan have particularly low fertility rates, around 1.3 to 1.4.  (Becoming wealthier is generally associated with lower fertitlity rates, as families choose to have fewer children, since each child is less likely to die.)  Of course, fertility rates could always change-- after all, it's their continued decrease that has caused the UN Population Growth estimates to be revised downwards every couple of years.
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