Author Topic: If advanced, benevolent space aliens visited Earth...  (Read 2104 times)

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Offline daniel1948

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Re: If advanced, benevolent space aliens visited Earth...
« Reply #45 on: January 09, 2017, 04:54:59 PM »
Nah bud, my main problem is that I don't think your conclusion follows from your premises.  I don't agree with your premises, but even given that I did, I don't come to the same conclusion about what your benevolent aliens would do.

Fair enough.

... Remind me not to vote you in as representative to another planet filled with life.

Thank you. I can think of few things worse than being sent to another planet. I hope to remain on this one for as long as I possibly can.


Benevolent doesn't necessarily mean that they share our opinion of our own importance. Nor does it mean that they would enable us to do to other planets what Europeans have done to other continents. I think of it as meaning that they would not want to destroy our ecosystem in order to replace it with their own. That they would intervene in ways likely to prevent one species from destroying all the rest. At present, humans are doing our best to destroy all the rest. Benevolent space aliens are likely to be benevolent toward the whole ecosystem, not just toward the one species that is using its advantages to exterminate all the others.

I guess I'm in the minority in believing that our superior intellect does not give us the right to run roughshod over all the species we regard as having inferior intellect.

I imply no importance if I did I would think that they would treat humans different than any other species. If we as humans went to another plant and we noticed one plant that was overgrowing the world and killing off all other plants I wouldn't want us to cull that plant. I would want us to allow the natural order of things to take effect. It would be fascinating to watch. Would a small portion of species survive and then evolve under the pressure to thrive? Could it be a case of Saturn's children? I don't know.


And yet, ever since there've been humans, we've done our best to exterminate anything that annoys us, including rival humans, and breed everything that pleases us. And in so doing, we've created conditions likely to end with the collapse of our civilization and the descent into barbarism of the few survivors.
Daniel
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Offline Jeremy's Sea

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Re: If advanced, benevolent space aliens visited Earth...
« Reply #46 on: January 09, 2017, 06:05:47 PM »
well ,to that point, hopefully we won't be sending the Duck Dynasty/Trump supporters there and will be sending thoughtful astronauts and scientists.
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: If advanced, benevolent space aliens visited Earth...
« Reply #47 on: January 10, 2017, 09:52:37 AM »
well ,to that point, hopefully we won't be sending the Duck Dynasty/Trump supporters there and will be sending thoughtful astronauts and scientists.

First we'll send astronauts. Then we'll send the military under the command of the President. That's how we've always done. Explorers go first, and the conquistadors follow. Then the missionaries who provide the moral justification for pillaging the "heathens" because we are "civilizing" them and giving them the "true" religion.
Daniel
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Offline seamas

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Re: If advanced, benevolent space aliens visited Earth...
« Reply #48 on: January 10, 2017, 11:19:58 AM »

Benevolent doesn't necessarily mean that they share our opinion of our own importance.

Right.

And the benevolent alien wouldn't regard all the species of Earth as equally important.

They would observed some species temporarily gaining advantage of many of the others--why they would regard that as unnatural or of needing correction is the premise you aren't addressing.
I just don't see how they would conclude they need to take action.


Offline Shibboleth

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Re: If advanced, benevolent space aliens visited Earth...
« Reply #49 on: January 10, 2017, 11:24:10 AM »

And yet, ever since there've been humans, we've done our best to exterminate anything that annoys us, including rival humans, and breed everything that pleases us. And in so doing, we've created conditions likely to end with the collapse of our civilization and the descent into barbarism of the few survivors.

I said that "I wouldn't want" not that that would necessarily happen. It really depends on if we are looking for resources or if we are just doing scientific exploration. There are tribes and places in the world that we do intentionally avoid and isolate. Hopefully we are able to do that on a grander scale if we can ever travel to other worlds.
common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.

Online Ah.hell

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Re: If advanced, benevolent space aliens visited Earth...
« Reply #50 on: January 10, 2017, 11:30:48 AM »

And yet, ever since there've been humans, we've done our best to exterminate anything that annoys us, including rival humans, and breed everything that pleases us. And in so doing, we've created conditions likely to end with the collapse of our civilization and the descent into barbarism of the few survivors.

I said that "I wouldn't want" not that that would necessarily happen. It really depends on if we are looking for resources or if we are just doing scientific exploration. There are tribes and places in the world that we do intentionally avoid and isolate. Hopefully we are able to do that on a grander scale if we can ever travel to other worlds.
That decision isn't without controversy, it does treat those tribes somewhat paternalistically.   Who are we to decide for some stone age tribe that they can't enjoy the benefits of modernity. 

well ,to that point, hopefully we won't be sending the Duck Dynasty/Trump supporters there and will be sending thoughtful astronauts and scientists.

First we'll send astronauts. Then we'll send the military under the command of the President. That's how we've always done. Explorers go first, and the conquistadors follow. Then the missionaries who provide the moral justification for pillaging the "heathens" because we are "civilizing" them and giving them the "true" religion.
Somewhat ahistorical account really, as the expansion of humans and tribes has all occurred piecemeal and in different fashion in different locations and times.   Some places and times the first to show up were merchants, refugees, missionaries, even diplomats on occasion. 

For reasons Daniel generally is the first to cite, military conquest of alien worlds is absurd. 


Offline Shibboleth

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Re: If advanced, benevolent space aliens visited Earth...
« Reply #51 on: January 10, 2017, 11:36:25 AM »
That decision isn't without controversy, it does treat those tribes somewhat paternalistically.   Who are we to decide for some stone age tribe that they can't enjoy the benefits of modernity. 

I agree but I believe in most cases the people have actively rejected contact.
common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.

Offline daniel1948

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Re: If advanced, benevolent space aliens visited Earth...
« Reply #52 on: January 10, 2017, 12:08:44 PM »

Benevolent doesn't necessarily mean that they share our opinion of our own importance.

Right.

And the benevolent alien wouldn't regard all the species of Earth as equally important.

They would observed some species temporarily gaining advantage of many of the others--why they would regard that as unnatural or of needing correction is the premise you aren't addressing.
I just don't see how they would conclude they need to take action.



"Temporarily gaining advantage" over other species is a far cry from causing the wholesale extinction of other species. And if they are far more intelligent than we are, they would not be likely to regard our meager intelligence as making us more important than other species. We generally rate other species by how cute we find them, rather than by how intelligent they are. Supposedly pigs are more intelligent than dogs. But in the U.S. most people eat pigs and have no concern that they are being slaughtered by the billions for this purpose, but let somebody kill and eat the family dog and there will be a national outcry. The aliens might decide that porcupines are more important than humans because they find them visually pleasing, or they might decide that skunks are more important because they like the smell.

I see no reason to imagine that benevolent space aliens would see humans as anything other than a species that has overpopulated to the point of endangering the rest of the biosphere.

Environmental groups like Audubon or the Sierra Club generally want to protect the individuals of endangered or threatened species, while expressing no opposition to the hunting of abundant species, and even supporting the hunting of species that have gotten out of control due to the absence of natural predators. As deer are to the environmentalist, so we would be to the space aliens. They might even issue hunting licenses to cull us for the good of our own species.
Daniel
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"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think long and hard before starting a war."
-- Otto von Bismarck

Offline Shibboleth

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Re: If advanced, benevolent space aliens visited Earth...
« Reply #53 on: January 10, 2017, 12:27:42 PM »
Daniel, I am curious. If humans traveled to another world and saw that one plant was significant to the point that it was going to kill off most of the other plants over time should we as a species intervene and kill back a portion of that plant to allow the others to thrive if at least for a time? This isn't a question about what humans do today or what they have done but if you think they should on another planet.
common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.

Offline seamas

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Re: If advanced, benevolent space aliens visited Earth...
« Reply #54 on: January 10, 2017, 01:14:39 PM »



I see no reason to imagine that benevolent space aliens would see humans as anything other than a species that has overpopulated to the point of endangering the rest of the biosphere.

Why would they regard that as anything but the natural order of the Planet?

They would not be benevolent if they decide arbitrarily that we are "over populated"



Environmental groups like Audubon or the Sierra Club generally want to protect the individuals of endangered or threatened species, while expressing no opposition to the hunting of abundant species, and even supporting the hunting of species that have gotten out of control due to the absence of natural predators. As deer are to the environmentalist, so we would be to the space aliens. They might even issue hunting licenses to cull us for the good of our own species.
Now you are talking about HUMAN responses to Human endeavors. Why would a benevolent alien be doing the same as humans?

Offline daniel1948

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Re: If advanced, benevolent space aliens visited Earth...
« Reply #55 on: January 10, 2017, 03:01:28 PM »
Daniel, I am curious. If humans traveled to another world and saw that one plant was significant to the point that it was going to kill off most of the other plants over time should we as a species intervene and kill back a portion of that plant to allow the others to thrive if at least for a time? This isn't a question about what humans do today or what they have done but if you think they should on another planet.

If we went to another world without sentient life, and saw that one plant was about to eliminate all others, then in the interest of diversity, I believe that, yes, we should attempt to reduce the numbers of that plant and restore balance. In my garden (back in North Dakota) there were times when I had to plow down all or part of a crop because it was spreading too far and taking too much space. Once every 2 or 3 years I had to rototill a good 2/3 or more of the width of my raspberry patch. After planting jerusalem artichokes one year I had to plow down the volunteer shoots for the next several years because they came back too vigorously. And when I planted zucchini I had to chop off the vines mercilessly to prevent them from invading the neighboring veggies.

FWIW, I don't believe that we're ever going to reach another planet outside our solar system, and I think any life we find on bodies other than Earth within our solar system will be microscopic.

I see no reason to imagine that benevolent space aliens would see humans as anything other than a species that has overpopulated to the point of endangering the rest of the biosphere.

Why would they regard that as anything but the natural order of the Planet?

They would not be benevolent if they decide arbitrarily that we are "over populated"

Environmental groups like Audubon or the Sierra Club generally want to protect the individuals of endangered or threatened species, while expressing no opposition to the hunting of abundant species, and even supporting the hunting of species that have gotten out of control due to the absence of natural predators. As deer are to the environmentalist, so we would be to the space aliens. They might even issue hunting licenses to cull us for the good of our own species.
Now you are talking about HUMAN responses to Human endeavors. Why would a benevolent alien be doing the same as humans?

My use of "benevolent" was intended to mean that they want to preserve the indigenous biome of Earth. To do this it would be necessary to intervene to prevent any one species from destroying all the rest. You are free, of course, to posit space aliens with other interests and motives. I don't think space aliens are ever going to come here, so it's all just a thought game.
Daniel
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"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think long and hard before starting a war."
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Offline SnarlPatrick

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Re: If advanced, benevolent space aliens visited Earth...
« Reply #56 on: January 11, 2017, 08:57:58 AM »
It's interesting, but you are placing so many of your own biases in the minds of these aliens. Who's to say that they value biodiversity so highly, or that they have any interest in maintaining an ecological balance here? It depends entirely on their intentions. They may want to strip the planet of resources. They may want to colonise, in which case there might be advantages to biodiversity but they would likely bring their own species as well. They may "come in peace" hasten our scientific progress, but care little for other species. Or they may turn out to be green party aliens that want to keep the earth in some state of ecological harmony involving culling or sterilising most of us... Without any data, we can imagine radically different scenarios.
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: If advanced, benevolent space aliens visited Earth...
« Reply #57 on: January 11, 2017, 11:17:52 AM »
It's interesting, but you are placing so many of your own biases in the minds of these aliens. Who's to say that they value biodiversity so highly, or that they have any interest in maintaining an ecological balance here? It depends entirely on their intentions. They may want to strip the planet of resources. They may want to colonise, in which case there might be advantages to biodiversity but they would likely bring their own species as well. They may "come in peace" hasten our scientific progress, but care little for other species. Or they may turn out to be green party aliens that want to keep the earth in some state of ecological harmony involving culling or sterilising most of us... Without any data, we can imagine radically different scenarios.

That's why I put "benevolent" in the title. My scenario is specifically IF advanced BENEVOLENT space aliens visited Earth. Obviously, the likelihood of any aliens visiting us is as near zero as makes no difference, and in the vanishingly unlikely event that they did, they would almost certainly not be benevolent towards Earth. But my thought game was about benevolent aliens, which I define as wanting to preserve the biome of Earth.

More likely, aliens would either eat us, grind us up for fertilizer, or burn us off the Earth so they could use the planet for their own reasons. Probably not very original, but I once wrote a short story where an alien came to Earth to collect ocean water, because salt water was valuable where he came from. Maybe aliens would just steal all the water from Earth and leave it dry.
Daniel
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"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think long and hard before starting a war."
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Offline SnarlPatrick

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Re: If advanced, benevolent space aliens visited Earth...
« Reply #58 on: January 11, 2017, 11:29:09 AM »
But don't you see that you are including a high valuation of biodiversity into your definition of benevolent? And benevolent towards who?

Our interests and the interests of various other species are often at odds... and we would generally prefer the aliens to take our side, and if they did, perceive that as benevolence, rather than preference. Whereas if they showed a preference for say, insects, or viruses, such that they destroyed our civilisations, we might infer malice that may or may not be there.

What if the aliens came, identified strongly with humans, and gifted us with all sorts of advanced technologies... a new industrial revolution that met all our needs easily, but required significant changes to the biosphere, such that, for example, species diversity was cut in half.

If an alien species intervened to destroy Kudzu and other aggressive invasive species apart from humans from the face of the earth, would that be benevolent? Not from the point of view of Kudzu.... we would lose a species, but gain in net biodiversity.

On a side note, did you read any of the sequel's to Ender's Game. In it, there is a planet that has a completely homogenous and biosphere, with only one species of grass, of tree, of piglike animal, and one other thing, I can't remember. They live in "balance" but with no diversity. They are all host to the "Descolada" virus which keeps everything in harmony. Surely it is a human aesthetic preference to have diversity for its own sake... perhaps aliens would value fewer, well designed and harmonious moving pieces in their ideal biosphere.

« Last Edit: January 11, 2017, 11:33:42 AM by SnarlPatrick »
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Offline Shibboleth

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Re: If advanced, benevolent space aliens visited Earth...
« Reply #59 on: January 12, 2017, 10:55:51 AM »
Artificially removing an environmental pressure an an ecosystem in which you live I believe is the actual definition of unbalanced. Biodiversity ebbs and flows and there are going to be low points and high points and I think that if we are not the cause or directly part of an environment we should not intervene.
common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.

 

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