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Are We Alone?





Dennise
Does anyone sense an almost overwhelming need to know if we indeed are alone in the universe?

One the one hand, consider if we knew that we are actually are alone. Would this knowledge serve to unite mankind and serve as an enormous and critical impetus and responsibility to save ourselves from destruction however we can?

But, on the other hand, should we learn we are NOT alone, would knowing this also unite mankind but in a different - perhaps more malevolent way - i.e. we'd all pull together in an 'us against them' way and cling to our own common life-form interests while finally ignoring our petty differences. Might such knowledge finally stop wars here on earth?

In other words, the 'knowledge' - either way - might save us from our own self inflicted demise.
ocalhoun
Dennise wrote:

But, on the other hand, should we learn we are NOT alone, would knowing this also unite mankind but in a different - perhaps more malevolent way - i.e. we'd all pull together in an 'us against them' way and cling to our own common life-form interests while finally ignoring our petty differences. Might such knowledge finally stop wars here on earth?

In other words, the 'knowledge' - either way - might save us from our own self inflicted demise.

It might stop wars here on Earth (or it might make even more wars on Earth), but it would replace those wars with one against an extraterrestrial foe... Which -- unlike Earth-only wars -- actually would have the potential to end the human species.

It's a sad commentary on the state of human society that only external impetus can (possibly) prevent it from being self-destructive.
Indi
It's a little absurd to think that if we were to find extra terrestrial life, that we would be the least bit inclined to fight it. Space is big. Space is big. Even if our two species detest each other, there is simply no rational reason to fight them when it would be so much easier to just walk away from them and ignore them. Unlike on Earth, there is no need to share limited resources, so we don't even have to try to get along if we don't want to.

i want to find other intelligence in the universe, but i don't know if i would call it an overwhelming need. It would be fascinating to see the universe through truly alien eyes, and i can't even imagine what it would do to humanity culturally or scientifically. But i'm not suffering in any way because it hasn't happened yet, nor is it likely to in my lifetime.

i seriously doubt it will be the kind of civilization changing event that it gets played out to be in stuff like Star Trek. Look at it in parts. To scientists and thinkers: they will be thrilled, and crazy excited, but seriously, none of them would be surprised (they might be surprised that it actually happened, given the cosmic scales of distance and time involved, but they won't be surprised that it could happen; it won't change their view of the universe in any way). To the average person on the street: it really won't change their lives in any real way, at least not until alien cultural and technological artifacts start to filter into the society, but in a way that's happening now due to the rapid pace of technological advancement, and the shrinking of the global village. To those who hold dear to doctrines that depend on humans being unique in the universe: they will do what they've always done, deny deny deny until their denials are completely idiotic, then deny some more, then abruptly embrace a movement that changes their claim to "not only did we know all along, this is because of us". But to the vast majority of humans, those living in third world countries without a concept of the vastness of the external universe, their response is just going to be: LOLWUT? They won't know how or even if to react to the news. They will react in whatever way their leaders tell them to react, which - given the current state of affairs - will probably be the deny deny deny guys.

In a very real way, humanity is having "first contact" drills even today. Technology is changing so fast, and nothing is sacred anymore - anything once thought to be "obviously true" is open to challenge - and differing cultures are spilling into each other at a pace never seen before in our history. And just look around now - there is no "self-inflicted demise" on the horizon. There are fewer wars active in the world now than there have been at any other time in history, and far fewer likely wars. Other than a handful of troublemakers, who are getting disproportionate attention given their numbers, the likelihood of a major international conflict in most areas is slim to none. And just consider they way we handle troublemakers now: in the past we wouldn't hesitate to genocide an entire civilization out of existence just to get their land... now we have people openly spewing hate and murder against us, and we're trying to reach out to them to defeat them without unnecessary violence.
Crinoid
Do you know, by any chance, what happened to extraterrestrial life search programs, decades ago? Apart from lack of funding Smile
ocalhoun
Crinoid wrote:
Do you know, by any chance, what happened to extraterrestrial life search programs, decades ago? Apart from lack of funding Smile

They're still running, being ignored because they aren't finding anything.
Bluedoll
We are and have never been alone in the universe. I am not sure however that we need to think ‘us or them’ to unite but rather knowledge can be used to benefit all.
Bikerman
Bluedoll wrote:
We are and have never been alone in the universe. I am not sure however that we need to think ‘us or them’ to unite but rather knowledge can be used to benefit all.

Errr...what are you talking about?
Unite? With whom?
This sounds like some new-age hippy drivel.
Bluedoll
Bikerman wrote:
Bluedoll wrote:
We are and have never been alone in the universe. I am not sure however that we need to think ‘us or them’ to unite but rather knowledge can be used to benefit all.

Errr...what are you talking about?
Unite? With whom?
This sounds like some new-age hippy drivel.
This sounds like harassment! I post something and Bikerman jumps on my me with sneers and sarcasm. When are you going to get it Bikerman? You are asking me what I mean! I don’t care that you don’t understand me and don’t have to explain it to you Bikerman! I don’t care to read your stupid sarcasm that is always pointed at someone else’s post either.

“It sounds like . . .” this sounds like your opinion!

Why don’t just state your own opinion and keep off my back? If I want to post my opinion, I will and you can’t bully me out of doing that. Do you get this Bikerman? I will do my thing here and you can do your thing here on Frih as well. Why don’t you just post your views and opinions and write what you want and stop harassing me and other people that post on this forum by just posting and not always quoting someone else and making negitive comments about what they write? Why don't you just post what you think and not always directing your negitive energy to other posts?

Important: Please make note here that the latter comments are not in reference to moderating or forum rules but these strong words are in line with how Bikerman comments on what other people write in general and how that makes me and perhaps other people feel.

Yes, I can do this! I can read something and feel something and make comments on how a post makes me feel. No one can take that away from me and I will continue the practice. Bikerman your posts give me a feeling of a bully not satisfied or secure with his own beliefs.

What I write is not hippy drivel!

In this particular post if you had taken the time to read the original post you would have understood Bikerman that my post was perfectly inline with the topic that Dennise started.

“i.e. we'd all pull together in an 'us against them' way and cling to our own common life-form interests”

Uniting in my post is in reference to Dennise’s “pull together”

Why don’t read the original post Bikerman and then you might understand the comments being laid down afterwards?

____________________


“Cheery O”
Bikerman
I did. I decided to let it stay depending on how the thread went. I considered moving it to philosophy but thought I would see if any intelligent SCIENCE debate came from it. There is lots of potential for a discussion on the science - whether the chances of finding such life, or the psychological effect.

The OP wanted to examine whether discovering there was other intelligent life would bring humans together or drive them apart. A fair question.
Your response, if I read it correctly, is that we don't need to think 'us and them' and that knowledge benefits all.
I repeat, it sounds to me like hippy drivel. The first is clearly impractical and the second is trite.

Just HOW do you think you can avoid thinking 'us' and 'them' with a completely alien lifeform? Most of the animal life on this planet is closer to us than any conceivable alien (unless you believe that there is something special about the particular encoding used by our DNA that means it would be likely to repeated on other worlds).
Do you think of the similarities between you and a dog? Or you and a tuplip? Both are very genetically similar.
As for knowledge benefiting all...the whole point of the question is that people will react in different ways to this knowledge. Many deeply religious people will find it disturbing (to put it mildly). The military minded will remind people that in our own history, the lesson is clear - whenever a more advanced and less advanced culture meet it ends badly.

If you throw your toys out of the pram when someone criticises your point (not you, note), then you will have an increasingly miserable time. I do not target you (or any poster). I post and 'look after' the science forums and the philosophy forum as a general rule, and I don't much intervene or post in others (occasionally politics). If you post in these forums then you are going to come across replies from me regularly and where I think the point is non-science, bad science or wishy-washy then I will attack it. I make no apologies, and if you can't handle that dispassionately then I'm sorry, but that is your problem, not mine.
Bluedoll
Bikerman, it is your conduct where you make such a error and it has nothing to do at all with the category a topic is placed under.

Bikerman wrote:
Your response, if I read it correctly, is that we don't need to think 'us and them' and that knowledge benefits all.
I repeat, it sounds to me like hippy drivel. The first is clearly impractical and the second is trite


What is the point of doing this? If you have something to say, just say it. Some people read all the viewpoints anyway and can make up their own mind as to which is valid. Instead you would rather argue and debate rudely over other peoples points that in some cases have only a minor connection with yours. You assume that the only other possible life form in the universe could possibly be alien. You are very wrong in making that assumption but it is your blunder to make.

You said, “if you post in these forums” duh! I can only laugh at that one! I will post in the forum because I am a member of Frih and write very happily what I wish, the way I like and in a way I see fit with as much passion as I desire.

Bikerman wrote:
If you post in these forums .. then I will attack it.


Hum, well that speaks for itself! My point is that you are lacking what it takes to post your points clearly without attacking. It couldn’t be put much simpler and I will not waste any more of my time on this with you!
Bikerman
I have decided to close this thread because I am getting dragged in as a moderator, and I don't like to mix that up with my postings.
In the interests of fairness I have removed my response to the previous posting, before I speak as moderator.

MODERATOR -
General information. Any point posted on these science forums will probably be attacked to see if it stands up to scrutiny. If you have a problem with that then it may be better to post in another forum.
Science is adversarial in nature. It relies on peer-review, which is a tough discipline - people try to demonstrate that your theory is a load of rubbish, and they try very hard.
Anyone who cannot see the difference between that and a personal attack will probably be unhappy when it happens. They should not be - it is not personal, and one should not see it that way.
Regards
Bikerman
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