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Thread: Should we try to contact other possible lifeforms

  1. #1 Should we try to contact other possible lifeforms 
    Forum Masters Degree organic god's Avatar
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    I was thinking about this recently.

    Surely the point of discovery or research is to increase our knowledge of how the universe works.
    Now if we try to contact another alien civilisation and we succeed our technology will be more advanced as we discovered them and made contact before they discovered us. and so we will gain nothing from contact with them.
    However you could argue that we may contact a more advanced civilization, however any civilization that is more advanced than us will be closer to discovering the required communication technology and therefore will make contact with us before we make contact with them.

    So my argument is that any space communication we could benefit from will come to us, we have no need to go looking for it.


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    If you assume FTL travel as impossible, any meaningful communication between races is going to be extremely limited anyway. It would take hundreds or thousands of years (depending on how close the civilizations are) for a simple back-and-forth.

    Any species capable of communicating across space is going to be doing it with light of some sort. That implies a minimal level of technology, something in the early 20th century. So as a minimum we aren't likely to talk to anyone much less advanced than we are.

    More advanced civilizations are largely unimaginable. If there was a race 200 light years from Earth, and we sent them a signal, by the time we got a response our technology would be indistinguishable from magic

    Of course if some FTL communication device were possible, this might change things. You could imagine an alien race broadcasting the technology specs for FTL communication using light. Once some race taps into the galactic internet, they're a huge new market for alien intellectual property.


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  4. #3 Re: Should we try to contact other possible lifeforms 
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    The questions to ask are:
    1) Is the civilisation likely to be hostile, friendly, or neutral.
    2) Could this hostility be expressed merely through the communicated information. (e.g. provide knowledge that seems beneficial, but leads eventually to the destruction of the biosphere.)
    3) Could friendy intentions inadevetetly lead to damage and disaster. (And analogy: giving children chocolates may seem to be a friendly gesture, but not if it is done excessively and leads to dental problems.)

    In short, we should be very careful about any form of contact wtih aliens. In response to your pricipal point, a civilisation might be very advanced in communication skills, yet primitve in other regards.
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  5. #4  
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    No civilisation is likely to be hostile towards us.... to start with.

    We don't have anything they couldn't find easier, probably within their home system. We also don't pose a threat, if they are capable of FTL travel.

    But once communication has been established, think of them as another country, and the same politics and problems will probably apply.
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  6. #5 Re: Should we try to contact other possible lifeforms 
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt
    The questions to ask are:
    1) Is the civilisation likely to be hostile, friendly, or neutral.
    The question is whether they're expansionists. If they are, then they might be totally peaceable at first, until the next 2 or 3 population growths put them beyond the limits of their natural resources. Then they'll all of a sudden start finding things wrong with us.

    If they're non-expansionists who hate all expansionism, then we might be unable to abide by their moral expectations, and they'll want to either contain us (prevent us ever going into space), or kill us off (*really* prevent us ever going into space)

    2) Could this hostility be expressed merely through the communicated information. (e.g. provide knowledge that seems beneficial, but leads eventually to the destruction of the biosphere.)
    If they're expansionists, then I'm pretty sure they'll want our biosphere intact.

    If they're not expansionists and don't like the thought of having to deal with our expansionist tendencies, then they certainly might try to kill us off that way.

    3) Could friendy intentions inadevetetly lead to damage and disaster. (And analogy: giving children chocolates may seem to be a friendly gesture, but not if it is done excessively and leads to dental problems.)
    Like if they shared a technology that's just as dangerous in the hands of terrorists as a nuclear bomb would be, but it could be built in your garage using materials you buy from Radio Shack?




    In short, we should be very careful about any form of contact wtih aliens. In response to your pricipal point, a civilisation might be very advanced in communication skills, yet primitve in other regards.
    Yeah, it depends on a lot of things. On the one hand, I'm thinking most technically advanced civilizations aren't going to need any help finding us. On the other hand, ... . we have to wonder whether the benefits really outweigh the risks.
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  7. #6  
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    One thing to point out is that it is highly unlikely that an alien would be able to live on Earth without some sort of environment suit. Even if it's a carbon and water based lifeform, the differences in biochemistry would mean that, while there's probably nothing toxic here, there's also probably nothing edible either. Water isn't rare enough to warrant them trying to take it either. Really, the only thing of interest would be us.
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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagiMaster
    . Really, the only thing of interest would be us.
    Not if they have convergently evolved to a pseudo-artiodactyl phenotype.
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagiMaster
    One thing to point out is that it is highly unlikely that an alien would be able to live on Earth without some sort of environment suit. Even if it's a carbon and water based lifeform, the differences in biochemistry would mean that, while there's probably nothing toxic here, there's also probably nothing edible either. Water isn't rare enough to warrant them trying to take it either. Really, the only thing of interest would be us.
    That's actually a really good point. If nothing else, they'd have to adapt to our diseases, and I'm sure that would be a bigger jump than just the immunization shots an American has to take if they want to visit Afrika.

    One possibility would be to bio engineer themselves to be similar enough to us to live here, but why would they want to have to do that to themselves?

    If they want resources like Uranium, the smart thing to do is send just a few down in disguise, use their greater intelligence to play the stock market, and simply buy whatever they want out of our existing economy.
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  11. #10 Re: Should we try to contact other possible lifeforms 
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    Quote Originally Posted by organic god
    So my argument is that any space communication we could benefit from will come to us, we have no need to go looking for it.
    Using that logic, most, if not all civilizations would never send out communications to make contact. The probability of making contact goes to near nil.

    To increase the probability of making contact, if that is indeed the intent, is for those civilizations to send out communications their best current technologies will provide.

    The latter is most likely to occur, yet we haven't found a single signal.

    Of course, we're not sending them either.

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  12. #11  
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    @kojax, Actually, the smart thing to do would be to just drop by the asteroid belt and pick up what they need. Also, I don't think our diseases would have any effect on them, just like human diseases don't affect monkeys or fish or vice versa (well, it's rare anyway).

    @Q, There's also the chance that they are broadcasting, just in such a way that we can't pick it up with our current level of technology. Similarly, we are sending signals, but they're not really strong enough to be clearly detectable beyond a fairly limited range, and may not be the kind of signals aliens are interested in.
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  13. #12  
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    Can we even imagine a means by which they'd likely be a threat to us? On the order of tens of light years I think they'd know about us already- our admittedly weak radio transmissions should still be detectable on that order of range. So we have to assume that they're very far away indeed. Hundreds if not thousands of light years at least. And although I like to remain optimistic about the possibility of FTL, I gather this is viewed by physicists as something that in all probability will never be even vaguely practical or even possible.

    I'd have to question the value of attacking any planet too. A civilisation capable of interstellar travel surely needs neither the resources nor real estate our world would provide. And a space-faring race is not going to be all that interested in a big old gravity well either way. If you've got a star and you've got dwarf planet and asteroid mining, then what need to you have of planets? You can just build space habitats till the cows come home.
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagiMaster
    @Q, There's also the chance that they are broadcasting, just in such a way that we can't pick it up with our current level of technology. Similarly, we are sending signals, but they're not really strong enough to be clearly detectable beyond a fairly limited range, and may not be the kind of signals aliens are interested in.
    Are we even really broadcasting that much any more? Since most of our communications are now by fibre optics and the like? Dunno do satellite broadcasts really escape to space in a big way either. If the hypothetical species are advanced enough to talk to us, I don't know would we expect to pick up unintentional transmissions from them.
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  15. #14  
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    Can we even imagine a means by which they'd likely be a threat to us? ........I'd have to question the value of attacking any planet too. ....... You can just build space habitats till the cows come home.
    Humans and locusts are examples of living organisms that just don't understand that there can be too much of a good thing. Resource utilisation rises exponentially. Every asset is potentially valuable.

    Would you choose to live in a cardboard box, sorting through rubbish to make a living, with the smell of decay all around? If that is your only option then you would. Don't be surprised if some embittered and exiled space aliens decide the Earth is a suitable garbage dump to settle in.
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  16. #15  
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    Let's just hope the space community has rules about creating exiles. (The rule being that you can't exile your bad citizens, only kill or imprison them.)

    Which is another interesting question for me. If we suppose that interplanetary contact is possible, could we not assume that some civilizations have already contacted each other, and began some kind of relationship?

    Maybe they've formed an intergalactic UN already?



    Quote Originally Posted by MagiMaster
    @kojax, Actually, the smart thing to do would be to just drop by the asteroid belt and pick up what they need. Also, I don't think our diseases would have any effect on them, just like human diseases don't affect monkeys or fish or vice versa (well, it's rare anyway).
    True, but Aids is one of those rare examples.



    @Q, There's also the chance that they are broadcasting, just in such a way that we can't pick it up with our current level of technology. Similarly, we are sending signals, but they're not really strong enough to be clearly detectable beyond a fairly limited range, and may not be the kind of signals aliens are interested in.
    Yeah, it seems to me that, after a certain distance, we can't even be confident a single photon from the signal per year will be hitting their detector.
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  17. #16  
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    You all seem to be assuming that some sort of FTL is possible. Using conventional science it's going to be centuries after first contact before any aliens can get to Earth to conquer it, trade with it, settle on it, or whatever.
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  18. #17 Re: Should we try to contact other possible lifeforms 
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    Quote Originally Posted by organic god
    So my argument is that any space communication we could benefit from will come to us, we have no need to go looking for it.
    This of course is assuming that this presumed civilization would be eager to tell us anything. Just like we just can't wait to explain quantum mechanics to ants.
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  19. #18  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Numsgil
    You all seem to be assuming that some sort of FTL is possible.
    Wuh? I'm not.
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Numsgil
    You all seem to be assuming that some sort of FTL is possible. Using conventional science it's going to be centuries after first contact before any aliens can get to Earth to conquer it, trade with it, settle on it, or whatever.
    1. I'm not.
    2. If first contact arises out of a visit, what then.
    3. If humanity is to be wiped out/enslaved/stomped on, does it make a lot of difference it occurs two hundred years in the future or five hundred years in the future?
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  21. #20  
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    Let's say you want to trade with humanity. Your planet is 150 light years away. The soonest you could detect humanity in all liklihood is 150 years after the invention of radio and TV. That places your detection of us at something like 2050 or later. You load up your fastest spaceship with trade goods and head to Earth at .99 light speed. The journey takes you another 150 years. When you get to Earth, Earth has had 300 years to advance in technology since when you first detected it. Whatever trade goods you brought with you are likely totally worthless Earth now, because we've happened to achieve the technological singularity in the mean time and is now ruled by AI or super evolved humans tinkering with their own genome.

    Now instead of trade lets say your mission is conquering. Earth will have had 300 years to advance in technology since you first detected it. That's a huge military unknown. Even if you're a super advanced alien civilization, you're not going to wage a war without proper intelligence. You could show up at Earth and find it way more advanced than your planet was when you left.

    Plus, your fast spaceship will have been visible for the last 150 years coming towards earth because its exhaust will be as bright as a star. Earth will know how massive your ship is and how fast it's traveling.

    And then on top of that, the sheer unlikelyhood that any alien civilization will be even remotely close to us in technology. Any meaningful human civilization has only existed for something like 6000 years. That's a blink of the eye as far as the time the planet has been habitable. And 6000 years from now humanity will probably be post singularity living in a distributed computing network across the stars, or something else equally wild. This is the apes or angels dilemma.

    Light lag plus the apes or angels dilemma make any meaningful interaction between aliens and humans extremely unlikely.
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  22. #21  
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    Quote Originally Posted by drowsy turtle
    No civilisation is likely to be hostile towards us.... to start with.

    We don't have anything they couldn't find easier, probably within their home system. We also don't pose a threat, if they are capable of FTL travel.

    But once communication has been established, think of them as another country, and the same politics and problems will probably apply.
    There's no telling what sort of world view, morality, or thought process aliens might use. They might kill us just because it's trivially easy for them, and they prefer not having us around to potentially make trouble in the future. Thinking of them as "another counter with the same politics and problems" would probably be a huge mistake.
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    Can we even imagine a means by which they'd likely be a threat to us? On the order of tens of light years I think they'd know about us already- our admittedly weak radio transmissions should still be detectable on that order of range. So we have to assume that they're very far away indeed. Hundreds if not thousands of light years at least. And although I like to remain optimistic about the possibility of FTL, I gather this is viewed by physicists as something that in all probability will never be even vaguely practical or even possible.
    It's also entirely possible that they're only a few tens of lightyears away, but don't broadcast like crazy like we do. If they do most of their communications with fiber optics, low power directional broadcasts, or some other subtle technology, we might not know about that. Who knows, they might be sitting 20 lightyears away trying to decide what to do about us. Or maybe they're 50 lightyears away and they detected us and launched some automated weapons to wipe us out 50 years ago, which will be arriving next week. Or maybe they just launched a big quartz soccer ball at nearly the speed of light that's going to hit the planet.
    I'd have to question the value of attacking any planet too. A civilisation capable of interstellar travel surely needs neither the resources nor real estate our world would provide. And a space-faring race is not going to be all that interested in a big old gravity well either way. If you've got a star and you've got dwarf planet and asteroid mining, then what need to you have of planets? You can just build space habitats till the cows come home.
    Like I said, the big concern would be that they would kill us "just to be on the safe side." Any aliens out there might or might not share our notions of morality. About the only things we can be sure of about them is that
    1) they evolved in a competitive environment
    2) they will value their own survival more than our survival
    3) they will assume that the same is true of us

    Given that, they might think it's a good idea to kill now while it's still easy for them, rather than take a chance on us becoming a threat in the future.
    Quote Originally Posted by Numsgil
    You all seem to be assuming that some sort of FTL is possible. Using conventional science it's going to be centuries after first contact before any aliens can get to Earth to conquer it, trade with it, settle on it, or whatever.
    There are 129 stars withing just 20 lightyears of earth. It could easily be in the tens of years, rather than hundreds.
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  23. #22  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Numsgil
    Light lag plus the apes or angels dilemma make any meaningful interaction between aliens and humans extremely unlikely.
    If a farmer sets traps for rats that are eating 'his' grain, is that a meaningful interaction? From the point of view of the farmer it is a decidedly meaningful action. From the point of view of the rat it's rotten bad luck.

    Plus scifor refugee is the only poster so far who seems to be able to look at this without the parochial, terracentric viewpoint that is dogging everyone else. So I second everything he said and top it off with a dash of opposite chirality amino acids.
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  24. #23  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope MagiMaster's Avatar
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    What Scifor says is potentially true, but it leaves out at least one variable. That of morality (or possible religion). For all we know, their morals might make them pacifists. Or it might make them warmongers, or slavers, or any number of other things besides military logicians. Of course, this is something we'd have no way of knowing until it was too late, but it does at least improve our odds a little. (After all, I don't think humanity would follow through with that plan ATM.)
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    I'd guess there is a slightly larger chance of them having morals which favours our continued existence. If they lacked morals and were keen to destroy, chances are they would already have destroyed themselves before they even got to space travel.
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  26. #25  
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagiMaster
    For all we know, their morals might make them pacifists. Or it might make them warmongers, or slavers, or any number of other things besides military logicians.
    They are all aliensThey may not have morals. Of any kind. Jellyfish don't have morals.
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    For my money I think another race might just watch us to asses our capabilities, almost all predatory species on earth do at least a little 'research' before they strike - even if this is only to assess the size of the opposition. As soon as they (back to the aliens) found out we are 'earth bound' they might 'downgrade' our threat potential. - All this and indeed the wole thread so far assumes they 'think' the same way we do, If they can travel or communicate FTL and wanted some resource from earth they might just 'steralise' the planet prior to visiting.

    Personally I think it will turn out that 'intelligent' life forms are far more rare than many people think, my reasoning being that we are not bombarded with signals. Radio has been around now for 100 years or so and from the first transmission to the most recent there has not been superceded with FTL. All of the proposed methods of FTL seem to have arisen from Scifi rather than scifact

    One thing to remember, they may not think or act as humans do, they may not have our emotions, morales etc etc, here on earth most lifeforms seem to be classed as predators or prey, perhaps if they are 'prey' they will keep their heads down, if predators they will probably understand that a greater chance of success is probable where the prey is struck without forwarning, we humans have a second successful method, luring the opposition into a false sence of security....

    Since two out of three of these strategies are detrimental to the 'target' I'd say let's keep schtumm and stop transmitting all over the universe.
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  28. #27  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Megabrain
    All this and indeed the wole thread so far assumes they 'think' the same way we do,
    I have been trying, in several posts - obviously without success - to indicate exactly this. I have seen virtually no evidence that anyone posting here really understands what alien means.
    Damn it, aliens will be alien. Perhaps in almost every way. Can you have a meeting of minds with phytoplankton? And we've got a common ancestor.
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  29. #28  
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt
    Quote Originally Posted by MagiMaster
    For all we know, their morals might make them pacifists. Or it might make them warmongers, or slavers, or any number of other things besides military logicians.
    They are all aliensThey may not have morals. Of any kind. Jellyfish don't have morals.
    Morals are most likely necessary for a species to co-operate as large communities. In humans they allow us to tolerate each other, increasing the chance of survival for the species. Then again, we still fight wars with each other despite this.
    "The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair." ~ Douglas Adams
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  30. #29  
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt
    Quote Originally Posted by Megabrain
    All this and indeed the wole thread so far assumes they 'think' the same way we do,
    I have been trying, in several posts - obviously without success - to indicate exactly this. I have seen virtually no evidence that anyone posting here really understands what alien means.
    Damn it, aliens will be alien. Perhaps in almost every way. Can you have a meeting of minds with phytoplankton? And we've got a common ancestor.
    There's one problem with this statement. Plankton are not intelligent. A better comparison would be with dolphins or whales, but even that's not all that accurate. The simple fact that the aliens in question will have some form of technology changes everything. On Earth, there's only one species with the technology to communicate or visit with other planets, so from just that, we can't generalize.

    Anyway, I say they will have morals, because morals can be roughly defined as "the things they're capable of doing, but aren't comfortable with." (Correct me if I'm wrong though.) I don't mean to imply that their morals will be anything like ours. (Even "no morals" would really be a set of morals, if just the empty set.)

    Really alien aliens would probably look at Earth as a worthless ball of wet rock. Almost no matter what, their range of habitable planets would likely exclude Earth. It'd be funny to see aliens show up in the solar system, everyone panics, then they set up shop on Venus or Pluto. (Actually, first contact will probably come through robotic probes.)
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  31. #30  
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagiMaster
    Damn it, aliens will be alien. Perhaps in almost every way. Can you have a meeting of minds with phytoplankton? And we've got a common ancestor.
    There's one problem with this statement. Plankton are not intelligent.[/quote]You see! Right away you are working on the presumption that a species with the capability of interstellar travel has to be intelligent. Alien, damn it! Really alien. Toss out all the ethnocentric, species centric, geocentric, centriccentric notions you have and think alien. Not like us. (Not even like Republicans.)
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  32. #31  
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    I assume that most species that are capable of interstellar communication or travel would be intelligent, since, as fun as they are to imagine, space whales just don't make all that much sense biologically (and I don't just mean carbon/water biology).
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  33. #32  
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagiMaster
    I assume .
    That's my point.
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    No, they may deam us to stupid to perpetuiate, wipe us out to save the universe
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  35. #34  
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt
    Quote Originally Posted by MagiMaster
    I assume .
    That's my point.
    The point was, I was giving reasons for my assumption. What are the reasons for yours?
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  36. #35  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bender
    I'd guess there is a slightly larger chance of them having morals which favours our continued existence. If they lacked morals and were keen to destroy, chances are they would already have destroyed themselves before they even got to space travel.
    I see no reason to assume that an alien race would necessarily be unwilling to attack or destroy other species just because they are unwilling to destroy themselves. It's like the difference between being willing to commit murder and being willing to commit suicide.

    So far humans have demonstrated an unwillingness to engage in civilization-destroying nuclear war, but that hasn't stopped us from driving many other species to extinction, some deliberately. And these were species from our own planet that we actually had some connection to. Who knows how aliens might feel about it?

    I could easily imagine an alien race reasoning:
    1. We should do whatever is best for our race.
    2. It is best for our race if we don't fight each other.
    3. It is best for our race to exterminate other races that might become threats to us.

    Quote Originally Posted by drowsy turtle
    Morals are most likely necessary for a species to co-operate as large communities.
    I will agree with you that they probably have some sort of standardized system of behavior that allows for cooperation etc. But there's no telling whether or not the specifics will involve anything that would make them reluctant to attack another race.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagiMaster
    What Scifor says is potentially true, but it leaves out at least one variable. That of morality (or possible religion). For all we know, their morals might make them pacifists. Or it might make them warmongers, or slavers, or any number of other things besides military logicians. Of course, this is something we'd have no way of knowing until it was too late, but it does at least improve our odds a little. (After all, I don't think humanity would follow through with that plan ATM.)
    I'm not saying that they are likely to attack us, I'm just saying that they're absolutely unpredictable. They might not think anything like us. And even if they do think somewhat like us, there's still a good chance that they could decide to attack using logic that is similar to human logic.

    Even if they are total pacifists within their own society, that might just make them all the more revolted and frightened of our violent tendencies, and might push them toward sending a few automated weapons to destroy us.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagiMaster
    The point was, I was giving reasons for my assumption. What are the reasons for yours?
    I have made no assumptions. My position is that we cannot necessarily know the character of any aliens we encounter. It may be that several millenia in the future, having met and dealt with scores of alien species and cultures we shall find that none are as strange as those envisaged by SF authors. Or we may find that we never once appreciated the depth of alieness. I assume nothing.
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  39. #38 Re: Should we try to contact other possible lifeforms 
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    Quote Originally Posted by organic god
    I was thinking about this recently.

    Surely the point of discovery or research is to increase our knowledge of how the universe works.
    Now if we try to contact another alien civilisation and we succeed our technology will be more advanced as we discovered them and made contact before they discovered us. and so we will gain nothing from contact with them.
    However you could argue that we may contact a more advanced civilization, however any civilization that is more advanced than us will be closer to discovering the required communication technology and therefore will make contact with us before we make contact with them.

    So my argument is that any space communication we could benefit from will come to us, we have no need to go looking for it.
    Here is something new for you to think about... what if we are sending signals to an advanced species that is not cute and cuddly like ET? What if the signals we are sending out into spacetime is in fact the bait for some advanced intelligence to come an invade us in the future?
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    Well, you could add to this the fact that they haven't descovered any planets able to support life as we know it anywhere close to us. Tgis means that - say if they were 200 light years away - the information would take 200 years to travel across space - unless you used some paired particles somehow. So it would most likely take 400 years to get a reply, very slow as the original scientist who sent the message would be long dead, along with his/her children, childrens children, and so on. 8 generations down the line they aould hvae most likely lost interest, and move onto the task of finding somewhere closer to contact.

    Anywho, I would say don't bother... but everyone elso in the world would leap at the chance, I suppose. I can't really see any point apart from the fact that you would know we aren't the only ones out there.
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    The day it is made public that aliens have either landed or made contact with us will be the most exciting day of my life. Hell, if they were to kill us, what cooler way is there to die than being killed by aliens!
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
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    Quote Originally Posted by asxz
    Well, you could add to this the fact that they haven't descovered any planets able to support life as we know it anywhere close to us. Tgis means that - say if they were 200 light years away - the information would take 200 years to travel across space - unless you used some paired particles somehow. So it would most likely take 400 years to get a reply, very slow as the original scientist who sent the message would be long dead, along with his/her children, childrens children, and so on. 8 generations down the line they aould hvae most likely lost interest, and move onto the task of finding somewhere closer to contact.

    Anywho, I would say don't bother... but everyone elso in the world would leap at the chance, I suppose. I can't really see any point apart from the fact that you would know we aren't the only ones out there.
    Not completely true, as we have found planets with blue sphere's speculated by scientists to be possible planets with a real atmosphere close to our own. I will find some link or information of the closest planet to us which holds promise.
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope MagiMaster's Avatar
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    Anyway. With no strong basis, other than general optimism, I'd say that I doubt that the odds of us getting wiped out by aliens, even in the long run, are pretty slim. Again, with no strong basis other than general pessimism, I'd say that an eventual war with aliens would be inevitable though. :/

    I just think that, at least at first, we'd manage to at least trade some basic scientific data before we trade weapons. At the same time, I think that it's highly likely that the first few chances for such a conflict would be severely one-sided, in which case, I hope that the stronger party would just treat the weaker one as a curiosity, or maybe just not worth the effort.
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    Quote Originally Posted by drowsy turtle
    Morals are most likely necessary for a species to co-operate as large communities.
    Interesting, a morale is a complex structure however you look at it, I'm not sure that the largest communities on earth have morales, The great barrier reef, Termite mounds, forests, various sea creatures found in large communities.

    THat's the trouble with humans, we think we are somehow superior to all other lifeforms on earth, and that the qaulities that we say make us superior are required by aliens for them to be equal or better than us. Humans are none other than the worst parasitic plague to ever infest this planet, have only been around for a few hundred thousand years, Crocodiles evolved 200 million years ago, have survived major planet wide extinctions they are a successful species, we are a transient parasite.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Megabrain
    Interesting, a moral is a complex structure however you look at it, I'm not sure that the largest communities on earth have morals, The great barrier reef, Termite mounds, forests, various sea creatures found in large communities.
    To have morals you have to first have consciousness. Thereafter they are probably an expression of kin altruism.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt
    Quote Originally Posted by Megabrain
    Interesting, a moral is a complex structure however you look at it, I'm not sure that the largest communities on earth have morals, The great barrier reef, Termite mounds, forests, various sea creatures found in large communities.
    To have morals you have to first have consciousness. Thereafter they are probably an expression of kin altruism.
    However, what is a moral but a convienient way for us to label specific natures in our own species? Surely such morals can be primarily tagged to the lioness who takes care of her cubs... is that not a type of ''primal moral''???

    :P
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    Did you miss the part where I said 'probably an expression of kin altruism'?
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagiMaster
    One thing to point out is that it is highly unlikely that an alien would be able to live on Earth without some sort of environment suit. Even if it's a carbon and water based lifeform, the differences in biochemistry would mean that, while there's probably nothing toxic here, there's also probably nothing edible either. Water isn't rare enough to warrant them trying to take it either. Really, the only thing of interest would be us.
    It reminds me that of the ''War of the Worlds,'' where the aliens where infected by biological viruses on earth.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manynames
    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt
    Quote Originally Posted by Megabrain
    Interesting, a moral is a complex structure however you look at it, I'm not sure that the largest communities on earth have morals, The great barrier reef, Termite mounds, forests, various sea creatures found in large communities.
    To have morals you have to first have consciousness. Thereafter they are probably an expression of kin altruism.
    However, what is a moral but a convienient way for us to label specific natures in our own species? Surely such morals can be primarily tagged to the lioness who takes care of her cubs... is that not a type of ''primal moral''???

    :P

    Firstly we assign ourselves morals, as we are ashamed to admit that the terms 'genetic coding' or genetic pre-disposition' could possibly apply to such an aloof species as ourselves, since such terms are/can be descriptive of the lowly bacteria.

    Tell me why did I not murder my wife just after getting married, was it morally wrong? was it that it would defeat the very act of marriage, ie to spread my seed?
    was it fear of reprisal from society?

    Fuck the morals, I was simply NOT genetically programmed to murder, the lioness has no 'primal morals' - She like I am not programmed for these actions if we were, our genes would dissappear from the pool.

    Back to the aliens IF they are able to consider the outcome of their actions (and this is surely so by reason they can move between planets which shows a plan ) It will be nothing to do with 'morals'

    Now colonisation, We all love the Polynesians that wonderful race who set out and found all the tiny little islands in the pacific (perhaps having studied birds first) - how many perished through storm or just being unlucky and never sighting land?

    Might Aliens behave in a (similar)way, just spread out and 'hope for the best' ?
    oops - visitors.... (Not I hope, Aliens)..
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    Quote Originally Posted by Megabrain
    Tell me why did I not murder my wife just after getting married,
    We all make mistakes. :?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Megabrain
    Quote Originally Posted by Manynames
    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt
    Quote Originally Posted by Megabrain
    Interesting, a moral is a complex structure however you look at it, I'm not sure that the largest communities on earth have morals, The great barrier reef, Termite mounds, forests, various sea creatures found in large communities.
    To have morals you have to first have consciousness. Thereafter they are probably an expression of kin altruism.
    However, what is a moral but a convienient way for us to label specific natures in our own species? Surely such morals can be primarily tagged to the lioness who takes care of her cubs... is that not a type of ''primal moral''???

    :P

    Firstly we assign ourselves morals, as we are ashamed to admit that the terms 'genetic coding' or genetic pre-disposition' could possibly apply to such an aloof species as ourselves, since such terms are/can be descriptive of the lowly bacteria.

    Tell me why did I not murder my wife just after getting married, was it morally wrong? was it that it would defeat the very act of marriage, ie to spread my seed?
    was it fear of reprisal from society?

    Fuck the morals, I was simply NOT genetically programmed to murder, the lioness has no 'primal morals' - She like I am not programmed for these actions if we were, our genes would dissappear from the pool.

    Back to the aliens IF they are able to consider the outcome of their actions (and this is surely so by reason they can move between planets which shows a plan ) It will be nothing to do with 'morals'

    Now colonisation, We all love the Polynesians that wonderful race who set out and found all the tiny little islands in the pacific (perhaps having studied birds first) - how many perished through storm or just being unlucky and never sighting land?

    Might Aliens behave in a (similar)way, just spread out and 'hope for the best' ?
    oops - visitors.... (Not I hope, Aliens)..
    A bit of cop-out.
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    Explain cop out - unless of course it's a defense against Genetic pre-disposition...
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  53. #52  
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    Different Earth cultures have different morals, therefore morals are not (entirely) genetic. Besides, reread my rough definition of morals. It doesn't make any mention of where the ideas come from, just that they exist. (It may be that some of what we consider moral is built into our collective genetics, but at least some of it isn't.)

    Any intelligent alien will have morals. It doesn't matter what they are, or why they exist. The nature of intelligence will create a set of moral values. Again, this could be the empty set, or it (most likely) could be something very strange to us, but there will be something.

    Consider some hypothetical examples: What if the aliens considered it immoral to ...
    ... not spread life wherever possible?
    ... kill (anything, not just their own kind)?
    ... dig up the soil?
    ... cut down/build things from (their equivalent of) trees?
    ... not eat the bodies of the defeated?

    Also, there's no real reason to think that intelligence will only evolve once on one planet. What if there were two intelligent species that had evolved together. Such aliens would likely look at alien intelligences much differently that we would.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagiMaster
    Different Earth cultures have different morals, therefore morals are not (entirely) genetic. Besides, reread my rough definition of morals. It doesn't make any mention of where the ideas come from, just that they exist. (It may be that some of what we consider moral is built into our collective genetics, but at least some of it isn't.)

    Any intelligent alien will have morals. It doesn't matter what they are, or why they exist. The nature of intelligence will create a set of moral values. Again, this could be the empty set, or it (most likely) could be something very strange to us, but there will be something.

    Consider some hypothetical examples: What if the aliens considered it immoral to ...
    ... not spread life wherever possible?
    ... kill (anything, not just their own kind)?
    ... dig up the soil?
    ... cut down/build things from (their equivalent of) trees?
    ... not eat the bodies of the defeated?

    Also, there's no real reason to think that intelligence will only evolve once on one planet. What if there were two intelligent species that had evolved together. Such aliens would likely look at alien intelligences much differently that we would.
    I don't need to explain the ''cop-out'' part. This explains it quite well.
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    That reply wasn't really directed at Megabrain. I don't really see how it answers that particular question either. Besides, you're arguing for genetic predisposition, and I'm arguing against it, so...
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagiMaster
    That reply wasn't really directed at Megabrain. I don't really see how it answers that particular question either. Besides, you're arguing for genetic predisposition, and I'm arguing against it, so...
    No. I took point out of your post which made me believe you where referring to his post. Which was my fault. I assumed to much.
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    Actually, wait... It was Megabrain arguing for genetic predisposition... I think... Ok I'm actually a bit lost, but anyway, my earlier post was, I think, actually replying to an even earlier post by Megabrain... ... ... Well, whatever. I'll just say that that post isn't in reply to anyone in specific...
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagiMaster
    Actually, wait... It was Megabrain arguing for genetic predisposition... I think... Ok I'm actually a bit lost, but anyway, my earlier post was, I think, actually replying to an even earlier post by Megabrain... ... ... Well, whatever. I'll just say that that post isn't in reply to anyone in specific...
    Oh i know........ i just used your post as an advantage point.
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    I have not read all four pages of this thread; however, I disagree w/ the original premise that "more advanced aliens would contact us first".

    A more advanced society may have good reasons for not contacting a less advanced society.

    For example, mankind may be in kind of "evolutionary race" between the development of our "conscience" and our scientific expertise.

    If our science evolves faster than our conscience, then we may blow ourselves back to the stone age.

    In one of the Star Trek episodes, the Vulcans had a policy of "no contact" w/ an alien society until the society had developed warp propulsion.
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    ah dedo the post was so promising until you introduced star trek as an argument.
    everything is mathematical.
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