archive: Re: SETI Why would anyone look forward to sharing this galaxy?

Re: SETI Why would anyone look forward to sharing this galaxy?

jerry and judy ( )
Tue, 6 Oct 1998 12:01:02 -0600

>In a message dated 10/5/98 10:13:28 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
> writes:
>> >But Jerry, in fact we share this world with billions of other creatures
>> of
>> >all types including wolves, lions, tigers, bears and all sorts of
>> We don't share!, tigers will be gone soon, then probably the wolves. Bears
>> and lions are already pretty much confined to parks and preserves (for
>> economic profit in the final analysis).
>Do you actually believe the bears woudn't eat us for dinner?

Bears will do what bears have always done, without making a value judgement
or feeling guilt, if I understand the question.

>What are you
>going on about?

I hope you understand the value of not killing bears just because we can,
and even though they might prey upon 'us' given the chance, their viable
populations and behaviorisms are much more valuable than the dead
scientific records and batches of DNA that we will be left with after their
'critical density' for extinction has been reached.

> We are the winners of Darwinism, or if you are a creationist,
>then God put us here in charge of the world. Either way, we didn't create
>survival of the fittest,

I never thought of it that way, so you're saying that we are not
responsible for whatever type of world we cull and shape?

> and we didn't put ourselves on top by being wicked,
>but by being successful.

Successful, what? because we were in the right niche and location when the
climate changed? Believe me, there was no volition or planned foresight
involved, we just survived day by day, year by year, we didn't 'put'
ourselves anywhere.

> We all inherited this world as it is.

But we've changed it irreparably, whether or not it's a good thing, and the
pace of irreversible change is stepping up.

>> We had better study our behavior
>> in this, because this will probably be the reaction of any ET race towards
>> us.
>I respectfully disagree. Any ET's will clearly recognize the difference
>between us and worms. They may not care, but they will know that we are not
>worms, and have acheived sentience.

Oh, like whales and chimps, please I don't want us to be treated with that
sort of 'accommodation'. It still comes down to how close the separate
potentials are (or are perceived to be). Two races with worries about
eachother, will at best arrive at an uneasy and undependable truce. Two
races that are widely separated in their powers and capabilities (which is
what we can reasonably expect considering the extreme variables and the age
of the galaxy) will co-exist (or not) in a way that only needs to be
acceptable to the more advanced race.

>> I assume any intelligence, any one that we will recognize anyway, will
>> be as far ahead of us as we are ahead of the social predators (wolves and
>> lions etc.).
>Why do you discount the possibility of sentience making us able to
>communicate? No matter how they communicate, they will in fact need to
>communicate. And we can communicate, one way or the other.

All animals communicate that which is important to them, but the question
is does that communication long affect our attitudes or plans??

>The difference
>between 2 sentient beings communicating, and the way man communicates with the
>animals, is likely to be significant. We are not worms. And we will not be
>worms no matter how advanced any civilization is. The difference being
>sentience, self awareness, stored up knowledge, ability to educate, just to
>name a few off the top of my head.

Good points. But I'm wondering what category of nonsense these would add
up to as compared to the achievements of an advanced, multi-million year
old, highly technological civilization. I'm not saying that you're wrong,
but elephants have a keen self awareness, stored up knowledge, and the
ability to educate and to be educated. Do we even consider making them
minor partners in deciding the future plans for our planet? Of course not,
because we already know what they would want and it might conflict with our
grandiose needs! Would an alien race be any more sympathetic and
accommodating? IMO, they will have pressing concerns too, that they will
be just as reticent to advise us of, for whatever reasons. Maybe we
wouldn't understand, about their enemies, for example, or about their
'religious' views or otherwise derived imperatives.

>> >I doubt we will ever exterminate the snake or black widow or termite
>> >or the flu or ... some creatures we can and have exterminated it is
>> >true but not all creatures ...
>It is survival of the fittest. If we are the fittest, then so be it.
>> If you ask the average person "would you exterminate all termites, for
>> example, if you only had to press a button?" what do you think the average
>> person would say?
>I think the average person would not push the button. I think the average
>person knows full well the ecological conseqences of reckless specicide (is
>that the right word?)
>> Now if they're as far advanced of us as we are the rattlesnakes or sharks,
>> then we might be safe - unless we inadvertently expand into their comfy
>> 'homes or rec areas', in the analogy. This will probably become as
>> unavoidable for us in the future, as it is becoming for rattlesnakes and
>> sharks today.
>Again, the difference is sentience. We have the conscious ability to avoid
>their living room, as long as we know they are there.

You might be right, wolves know where we are and try to avoid us, but most
snakes are not as aware, and they don't associate human constructions with
almost certain death (because human constructions haven't been around long
enough). Aliens will see us as intelligent snakes with the potential to
'infest' more and more of the Local Arm in due time.

>And we can ask them
>simple questions like "why?".

It might be irrelevant for them to even answer.

>An animal cannot ask why.

Yes, that has long been the philosopher's refuge for why with humans - it's
different this time, but doesn't this also apply against us in any
lop-sided extraterrestrial relationship??

>> >We share this world with them --- so too we may find ourselves
>> >sharing the universe with many other creatures in the Galaxy. There is
>> >no need to exterminate them or they us ...
>> I don't how you can think that. Look at the history of life on earth, look
>> at man's short history, there's been an acceleration. We should learn from
>> these dynamics and relationships which are repeated throughout the animal
>> and plant (and human on human) worlds. There's no doubt about the
>> direction of 'progress' on this planet, and are we unique? is the Earth
>> that special in this regard?
>I doubt it. Evolution seems to depend on Darwinism.
>> We should also get it through our heads that we are an 'infant', stumbling
>> and powerless race at this point and any venture out of our secluded
>> playpen will be fraught with danger,
>Come on now, the metaphor breaks down here. We are not infants by any stretch
>of the imagination.

Oh really?

>Again, we have achieved sentience, and all the psychology
>that goes along with it.

right... Again, our achievements only have value in comparison to the ET.
Although, there probably is a definite upper limit to the degree of
sentience that can arise from organic evolution alone, technology will take
over and rapidly exacerbate the differences between older and younger

>No other species on Earth has achieved such
>sentience. We can now look outside the playpen, and understand what we see,
>even though we may not be ready to leave it.

We will need confidence like yours in the facing of the unknown (of the
ET). (grin)
But I can't forget that recent evolution has only 'prepared' us for life
on the savannah, and nothing beyond it! not even the big city with our
other human beings! Besides ponderously slow trial-and-error evolution,
the rest is unproven cultural evolution and ill-fitting technology! and
futhermore, up until this century, any alien coming here would have known
far more about us than we even knew for certain about ourselves! Until
Darwin, Freud and others, we only 'knew' what religions had surmised and
constructed (according to their own agendas)! Are we so much smarter now?
now that we know that the wider universe cannot be adequately described in
super human/supernatural terms. Hollywood has given us an image of the
noble human overcoming the ET by some clever, unexpected trick in the final
reel, but is this a realistic scenario?? The way I see it, the day that
'they' know that we are here and that we have a potential of interfering
with 'them' and 'theirs', that will be the last day of our innocence.
There are many scenarios diverging from that point, some good but most very
bad! And we know that they are not going to think that we're cute and
cuddly! they having had a very different origin.

>> if the range of probabilities are even
>> close - a tech/civ every 3000 cubic LYs only gives us a few thousand years
>> to mature, that's if we don't make a lot of 'noise' (and the aliens, which
>> would already be spanning a few hundred light years, don't explore even
>> more efficiently).
>> Thanks for taking the time, I look forward to any replies, corrections,
>> similar or very different opinions,
>> Jerry
>> >Al
>Well, I hope I didn't flame anyone too badly. Sorry if I did.

No, you were well behaved and rational (rational's good!).

Thanks a heap,
>John Marcus.