Recommended Posts

1 hour ago, damnthing said:

Well here ya go[...] I stand by my initial point(s) that ET would have no interest in our philosophies, would not be able to understand them and probably would only see us a a barely evolved species not worthy of their attention and something to be swept out of the way if they are here to mine earthly resources. We could ultimately be a good source of protein, or calcium or whatever they might require and achieve in the eating of our bodies. Does this help at all?

 

Have you ever owned a dog...? Even if they are a different species, and there is no formal way of communication, every (good) dog owner will tell you he "talked" with (not only to, but with) his dog. So - although both species are mammals - let's just for the sake of argument pretend ET would be kind of interested in us (other than for harvesting purposes). And the ET would also kinda be able to "understand" us (like for us a dog is ultimately an hedonistic creature which will go for his own pleasure most of the time but still be highly devoted to his "human")...

 

I'd say; at least ask ET what he's (here to be) doing...? If he's here for harvesting, I'm sure the response will be crystal clear too...) But our first impressoin still is our own choice, isn't it?

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, damnthing said:

Well here ya go, ET wouldn't have a clue about us, even if it were student of humans. I very much doubt an alien species 'could' understand us. We have no idea what whales or dolphins or great apes think (well maybe a bit, with Koko) and we are biologically related. I suspect that any ET that landed here would either be AI, in which case communication would probably be next to nil or, it would be a lot like us trying to communicate with apes, or dolphins, or whales. And THAT is assuming that ET is a bilaterally symmetrical organism that likely shares distant DNA (panspermia). On the other hand it most likely would be a life form so alien that its cognitive reasoning would be beyond anything we could comprehend. I'm thinking, 10 year old boy with a magnifying glass, and ANTS (spoiler, we're the ants).

 

However not to be a total downer, the upside could be that we are either the last intelligent organism in the galaxy or...the first. In either case there's not a lot we're going to be able to learn. So to answer your question, if there IS and alien species, and it CAN get here, based on what I've already said, there's really nothing we, at BEST as species of naked ape with cognitive abilities would be able to teach, or enlighten ET. In my opinion any species that eventually develops the technology  to travel the galaxy will have long left behind any magical thinking, if for no other reason than, by traveling to other stars they will have realized there is no place, nor need, for a god, although it's easy to see how they could be mistaken for a god, or gods by lesser cultures.

 

I don't think I gave you the answer you were looking for but I think I gave you an answer that explains why. But maybe what you were asking (or I inferred) is, what philosophy would an alien race/culture have that might bear some semblance to something here on earth. If so then again I will disappoint and say, none. Even though we are hundreds of thousands of years away from the first migration out of Africa, everything up to that point were essentially culturally shared experiences which shaped us as Homo sapiens (ultimately). But the evolutionary path, the shared experiences of an alien race would almost certainly be vastly different even if it followed darwinian evolution.

 

Look at the cephalopods, eight legged organisms with a large brain and a disturbing level of intelligence (or at least, problem solving), blue blood and an ability to change color and texture of their skin to not just blend in but as mating displays as well as a display of emotions. But because these creatures are short lived (around 2 -5 years) they have no time to pass on learned experiences or to develop a culture. They are capable of learning as they go along but take it all with them when they die. They are about as least like us as you can find on this planet while still possessing some cognitive abilities. And these are organisms that evolved on our planet. And if one could rewind and start over, life on this planet would look very different (Stephen Jay Gould,  Wonderful Life). In fact we could very well be little more than cephalopods to an alien race.

 

But imagine a planet vastly different from ours, where silicon and carbon are rare and other minerals take their place. Greater, or lesser gravity, a different type of star for a sun, longer or shorter days, one, none or a multitude of seasons. All which would affect the development of life, probably through evolution but, there could be something else at work out there that, while the end results may be similar the process itself could be very different. So I stand by my initial point(s) that ET would have no interest in our philosophies, would not be able to understand them and probably would only see us a a barely evolved species not worthy of their attention and something to be swept out of the way if they are here to mine earthly resources. We could ultimately be a good source of protein, or calcium or whatever they might require and achieve in the eating of our bodies. Does this help at all?

 

 

Not really.  I agree with you that first contact could be with A.I.  Beyond that?

 

Anthropology students, are always looking for isolated cultures to study.

 

Zoology students might also be interested.  Jane Goodall spent years studying Gorillas and Chimpanzees.  

 

Entomologists spend years studying ants.  Also, bees and other social insects.

 

On Earth, people make serious studies of whale song.  In like manner, ET might be interested in our art or music.  A linguist might find our languages interesting.  Our blood chemistry could be of interest.

 

A social scientist might care about our thoughts.  They wouldn't need our thoughts.  You know.  Science.

 

Then again, technological sophistication does not mean cultural sophistication.  The Western world likes to search out "authentic" spirituality.  Think of the Westerners in India, in search for a guru.  Or in South America, looking for a real shaman.

 

:mellow:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Jonathan H. B. Lobl

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, RevBogovac said:

 

Have you ever owned a dog...? Even if they are a different species, and there is no formal way of communication, every (good) dog owner will tell you he "talked" with (not only to, but with) his dog. So - although both species are mammals - let's just for the sake of argument pretend ET would be kind of interested in us (other than for harvesting purposes). And the ET would also kinda be able to "understand" us (like for us a dog is ultimately an hedonistic creature which will go for his own pleasure most of the time but still be highly devoted to his "human")...

 

I'd say; at least ask ET what he's (here to be) doing...? If he's here for harvesting, I'm sure the response will be crystal clear too...) But our first impressoin still is our own choice, isn't it?

I have a dog and yes there is communication between the two of us. But it's possible because dogs evolved with humans from a likely scavenging wolf-like animal but lacking the strong flight response. Over 50,000 years or so the dog evolved to not just get along with man but, through observation could predict some behaviors. Dogs are dogs because they evolved from a hunter to a house pet so that we can, on some level communicate with them because it was in their best interest to and, using their senses (all more acute than ours) they actually know us better than we can ever know them.

 

But I stand by on what I wrote earlier. I still believe that any alien is going to be just that, so alien as to be (almost/mostly) incomprehensible to us and us to them as insignificant as cephalopods, if that.

Share this post


Link to post
22 minutes ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

 

 

Not really.  I agree with you that first contact could be with A.I.  Beyond that?

 

Anthropology students, are always looking for isolated cultures to study.

 

Zoology students might also be interested.  Jane Goodall spent years studying Gorillas and Chimpanzees.  

 

Entomologists spend years studying ants.  Also, bees and other social insects.

 

On Earth, people make serious studies of whale song.  In like manner, ET might be interested in our art or music.  A linguist might find our languages interesting.  Our blood chemistry could be of interest.

 

A social scientist might care about our thoughts.  They wouldn't need our thoughts.  You know.  Science.

 

Then again, technological sophistication does not mean cultural sophistication.  The Western world likes to search out "authentic" spirituality.  Think of the Westerners in India, in search for a guru.  Or in South America, looking for a real shaman.

 

:mellow:

 

 

 

 

 

 

But you appear to be assuming that aliens will be little more than brothers from another mother-sun, exhibiting typical human (or humanistic) behaviors. I'm positing that it's more likely that will not be the case because of where they come from and how they evolved and from what they evolved and from how they are constructed. They may replicate far differently than us, something not DNA (viruses are about as close to an alien life form as we are probably going to get), the whole idea of sexual reproduction may be secondary if at all and they could be hive-like creatures (yes, I know, borgs. But still...)

 

I (kinda) get the vastness of the universe, more so the vastness of our own galaxy (100,000 light years across) and the potential for life to exist throughout the galaxy/universe, but sentient life may be a bit harder to come by. And we could be the most advanced life form in the galaxy/universe, it's certainly as feasible as an alien visiting us as a kind of student exchange program.

 

But see, these are my beliefs, subject to change with additional evidence, nothing carved in stone but at this point in time, no real way to test any of this. But I 'believe' in science and biology (and some other ologys) which for me are stronger and more...logical than a belief in an old white, bearded man in the clouds. So I am comfortable in believing that alien life will probably be very different  and possible our worst dreams come true but it won't be because it's divine, just more advanced, far, far more advanced than us.

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, RevBogovac said:

 

Have you ever owned a dog...? Even if they are a different species, and there is no formal way of communication, every (good) dog owner will tell you he "talked" with (not only to, but with) his dog. So - although both species are mammals - let's just for the sake of argument pretend ET would be kind of interested in us (other than for harvesting purposes). And the ET would also kinda be able to "understand" us (like for us a dog is ultimately an hedonistic creature which will go for his own pleasure most of the time but still be highly devoted to his "human")...

I'd say; at least ask ET what he's (here to be) doing...? If he's here for harvesting, I'm sure the response will be crystal clear too...) But our first impressoin still is our own choice, isn't it?

 

I have never owned a dog.  Or lived with a dog.  I have spent much of my life in the company of cats.  Nobody owns a cat.  We can only live with them.

 

:D   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Just now, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

 

I have never owned a dog.  Or lived with a dog.  I have spent much of my life in the company of cats.  Nobody owns a cat.  We can only live with them.

 

:D   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The joke

Dogs have a family

Cats have a staff

Share this post


Link to post
3 minutes ago, damnthing said:

The joke

Dogs have a family

Cats have a staff

 

 

:D  

 

Dog looks around.  "They feed me and pet me and love me.  They must be gods."

Cat looks around.  "They feed me and pet me and love me.  I must be a god."

 

:birgits_giggle:

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
58 minutes ago, damnthing said:

But you appear to be assuming that aliens will be little more than brothers from another mother-sun, exhibiting typical human (or humanistic) behaviors. I'm positing that it's more likely that will not be the case because of where they come from and how they evolved and from what they evolved and from how they are constructed. They may replicate far differently than us, something not DNA (viruses are about as close to an alien life form as we are probably going to get), the whole idea of sexual reproduction may be secondary if at all and they could be hive-like creatures (yes, I know, borgs. But still...)

 

I (kinda) get the vastness of the universe, more so the vastness of our own galaxy (100,000 light years across) and the potential for life to exist throughout the galaxy/universe, but sentient life may be a bit harder to come by. And we could be the most advanced life form in the galaxy/universe, it's certainly as feasible as an alien visiting us as a kind of student exchange program.

 

But see, these are my beliefs, subject to change with additional evidence, nothing carved in stone but at this point in time, no real way to test any of this. But I 'believe' in science and biology (and some other ologys) which for me are stronger and more...logical than a belief in an old white, bearded man in the clouds. So I am comfortable in believing that alien life will probably be very different  and possible our worst dreams come true but it won't be because it's divine, just more advanced, far, far more advanced than us.

 

 

 

For now, it's all speculation.  ET might not exist at all.  If ET does exist -- possibly the differences would preclude even basic understanding.

 

Then again -- on Earth -- First contact was frequently missionaries.

 

Intelligence does not mean tech.  Elephants and dolphins have wonderful, complex brains.  They have no tech.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
8 minutes ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

 

 

 

For now, it's all speculation.  ET might not exist at all.  If ET does exist -- possibly the differences would preclude even basic understanding.

 

Then again -- on Earth -- First contact was frequently missionaries.

 

Intelligence does not mean tech.  Elephants and dolphins have wonderful, complex brains.  They have no tech.

 

 

No tech, no travel. No travel, no ET.

Missionaries are a good example of how badly first contacts can go, and that's within the same species.

Who knows, maybe those ETs will in actuality be their version of missionaries, trying to get us to convert through general help, medicine, technology as well as severe beating and beheadings.

Share this post


Link to post
2 minutes ago, damnthing said:

No tech, no travel. No travel, no ET.

Missionaries are a good example of how badly first contacts can go, and that's within the same species.

Who knows, maybe those ETs will in actuality be their version of missionaries, trying to get us to convert through general help, medicine, technology as well as severe beating and beheadings.

 

 

We can find examples of everything, in Earth history.

  • The Jehovah's Witnesses knocking on my door
  • Medical missionaries to Korea
  • Rice missionaries to China
  • The Jesuit invasion of Japan
  • The Nichiren Shoshu
  • Buddhist monks spreading Dharma
  • The Mormons
  • Mahikari

It could be anything.  Or, maybe they don't exist.  So nothing.

Share this post


Link to post

Who's to say they haven't tried contact before but decided not to engage us after observing? They may have been appalled by our aggressiveness, susceptibility to selfishness, etc.

For them to even have the tech to travel such great distances would require them to have the exact opposite behavior, even as a predatory species, I think.

Or they could have deemed us unworthy of their attention for interaction, possibly as unequal to them both technologically and possibly intellectually.

Share this post


Link to post

At this point there is no more evidence to support a god than there is to support alien life. And as yet there is no indication of anything remotely resembling near light speed propulsion/technology. And there may never be, and there in may lie the rub: so long as the laws of physics are the same throughout the universe (and most likely are) then distance is the one thing that may never be conquered. Any signals from elsewhere will already be tens, if not hundreds or thousands of light years old and any data in those signals will be little more than a confirmation of a past alien race. We may not even ever get that satisfaction, no signal, ever, from anywhere. Just us, on a planet, in a galaxy, that rose, lived and will eventually die and no one ever the wiser.

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, damnthing said:

At this point there is no more evidence to support a god than there is to support alien life. And as yet there is no indication of anything remotely resembling near light speed propulsion/technology. And there may never be, and there in may lie the rub: so long as the laws of physics are the same throughout the universe (and most likely are) then distance is the one thing that may never be conquered. Any signals from elsewhere will already be tens, if not hundreds or thousands of light years old and any data in those signals will be little more than a confirmation of a past alien race. We may not even ever get that satisfaction, no signal, ever, from anywhere. Just us, on a planet, in a galaxy, that rose, lived and will eventually die and no one ever the wiser.

 

 

You're in a mood.  Think how life has changed in the last 500 years.  In the past 100 years.  The future is beyond our imaginations.  Only, that it will be different.  It is for the future to find such answers.

Share this post


Link to post
21 minutes ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

 

 

You're in a mood.  Think how life has changed in the last 500 years.  In the past 100 years.  The future is beyond our imaginations.  Only, that it will be different.  It is for the future to find such answers.

Quote

 

27 minutes ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

 

 

You're in a mood.  Think how life has changed in the last 500 years.  In the past 100 years.  The future is beyond our imaginations.  Only, that it will be different.  It is for the future to find such answers.

Surprisingly good mood here. But when you contemplate the universe, or at least when I do, I'm not at all bothered by the possibility that our existence is as I stated above, we may be a species alone, isolated and who eventually will dissipate into nothingness. And that is perfectly fine with me, I don't have to buy into some loopy afterlife nonsense to make it through every day.

 

I'm not saying we won't leave this planet for another, or that we won't physically explore other solar systems, we might. What I am saying is that, relative to the discussion you started, I just don't think any ET that would actually make it to earth would be interested in the slightest about our philosophies, there would just be too great a difference between two very alien species. What I think you and a lot of people do is to anthropomorphize ET and assume it would have similar interests, similar goals, similar philosophies as us. At best they would show no more interest in us that a potential home buyer would to an ant's nest in the back yard, at worst it would be War of the Worlds.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, damnthing said:

Surprisingly good mood here. But when you contemplate the universe, or at least when I do, I'm not at all bothered by the possibility that our existence is as I stated above, we may be a species alone, isolated and who eventually will dissipate into nothingness. And that is perfectly fine with me, I don't have to buy into some loopy afterlife nonsense to make it through every day.

 

I'm not saying we won't leave this planet for another, or that we won't physically explore other solar systems, we might. What I am saying is that, relative to the discussion you started, I just don't think any ET that would actually make it to earth would be interested in the slightest about our philosophies, there would just be too great a difference between two very alien species. What I think you and a lot of people do is to anthropomorphize ET and assume it would have similar interests, similar goals, similar philosophies as us. At best they would show no more interest in us that a potential home buyer would to an ant's nest in the back yard, at worst it would be War of the Worlds.

 

 

 

 

You could be right.  I'm only speculating.  Unless ET comes here -- or Humanity goes there -- it's likely to stay speculation.

 

:mellow:

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
On 3/22/2020 at 6:20 PM, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

I was trying for an intelligent conversation about ideas.  I'm sorry if I'm coming across as a humorless old grump.

 

Please.  No more ice cream humor.

 

:sigh2:

 

 

 

Sorry Jonathan. One of my weaknesses is a pathological inability to resist a straight line. I didn't intend or expect to derail the thread.

 

For discussion of aliens, I think the best source is SF. Yes, a lot of it is thinly veiled humans or monsters with ray guns, bur there are some authors who have put serious thought into what an alien might be like. There is a good paper on this  here.

As noted there, the key thing about aliens is that they are alien. They will cheerfully insist that two plus two is orange.

 

One author not mentioned in that paper who has several times produced good insightful alien stories is Gordon R Dickson. I would particularly recommend The Alien Way for an examination of evolutionary impacts on psychology or The Way of the Pilgrim for alien spirituality.

 

In film, I thought Arrival presented (and then rather skipped over) some real differences in outlook. A good film anyway.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, Seeker said:

 

Sorry Jonathan. One of my weaknesses is a pathological inability to resist a straight line. I didn't intend or expect to derail the thread.

 

For discussion of aliens, I think the best source is SF. Yes, a lot of it is thinly veiled humans or monsters with ray guns, bur there are some authors who have put serious thought into what an alien might be like. There is a good paper on this  here.

As noted there, the key thing about aliens is that they are alien. They will cheerfully insist that two plus two is orange.

 

One author not mentioned in that paper who has several times produced good insightful alien stories is Gordon R Dickson. I would particularly recommend The Alien Way for an examination of evolutionary impacts on psychology or The Way of the Pilgrim for alien spirituality.

 

In film, I thought Arrival presented (and then rather skipped over) some real differences in outlook. A good film anyway.

 

 

 

 

 

The Protestant theologian, C. S. Lewis, wrote a few science fiction stories, to illustrate his theology.  He said that non-human aliens would not share in Original Sin, since they would not be descended from Adam and Eve.  He further speculated that aliens on a distant world, might not be in a fallen state.  Also, that the vast distances between stars, could be God's quarantine.

 

In Childhood's End, by Arthur C. Clarke -- Earth's visiting aliens gave Humanity a gift.  A way to view the past and verify historic events.  Only Buddhism survived.  All other Earth religion perished.

 

Of course, the Twilight Zone, under Rod Serling, made it's own contribution. "TO  SERVE  MAN"  Nothing to do with religion, but impossible to ignore.

 

:mellow:

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post

Yes, from a "biological" stand I would most likely concur with damnthing... and "we" would be so far apart from aliens that this whole discussion would be mute. But...

 

On 3/19/2020 at 12:19 AM, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

For the sake of argument, let us suppose that the spaceship has landed.  ET is trying to find an intelligent Human.  Someone with a religion or philosophy, that wouldn't be a waste of time. [...] there could be a [...] conversation here. [...]

 

And as Malmgren states in the quoted work above:

 

Quote

[...] By staging a confrontation between an alien actant and a terran representative alien encounter SF broaches the question of Self and the Other [...]

 

So I was hoping for a discussion into that direction (as this thread is posted in " Eastern Religions & Philosophies" and more than the "biological" discussion we are having now...).

Share this post


Link to post
42 minutes ago, RevBogovac said:

Yes, from a "biological" stand I would most likely concur with damnthing... and "we" would be so far apart from aliens that this whole discussion would be mute. But...

 

 

And as Malmgren states in the quoted work above:

 

 

So I was hoping for a discussion into that direction (as this thread is posted in " Eastern Religions & Philosophies" and more than the "biological" discussion we are having now...).

 

 

My original intention failed.  I was wondering if any Earth religions were truly culturally -- even species -- neutral.   I was thinking in terms of the Gorilla Project.   Evidently, nobody had such a discussion with Koko.  I suggested the conversation with ET, as a way of bringing that out.  Well, that failed miserably.

 

:mellow:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
3 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

 

 

My original intention failed.  I was wondering if any Earth religions were truly culturally -- even species -- neutral.   I was thinking in terms of the Gorilla Project.   Evidently, nobody had such a discussion with Koko.  I suggested the conversation with ET, as a way of bringing that out.  Well, that failed miserably.

 

:mellow:

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what you were wondering was if any religion on earth was cultural or species neutral and to that I have to say an emphatic NO. They are all derived from human experiences, human wonderings, human wants and desires (I can't speak to any species derived religion except for Homo sapiens). And you were maybe hoping that if there were a culturally neutral religion/belief it then would likely be cosmic or universal one (like our church), sort of a panphilosphia), with which we could debate an alien based on that commonly understood philosophy. If there is one possible cosmic panphilosophy then it has to be found in mathematics (and it's relative, music). So maybe Mozart or Sudoku will be the common ground of understanding...maybe

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.