posted on Apr, 20 2011 @ 03:36 PM
interesting invitation to reflect.
so let's try and do so by first cleaning out the information a little bit.
Your title refers to aliens as does the first sentence. Only to be attributed at least one aspect: having visited earth, which serves as a logical
vehicle to assume "they" are advanced in that kinda travel, at least.
While I still take the position we don't know for sure if this happens (there are some indications but then again, there's also Occam's razor ;-)
), from a logical perspective the reasoning is solid. Logic after all doesn't tell us about the truth out there, it's just a way to check if the
steps we take are valid or not.
I find the paragraph that introduces the question what would have happened to technological evolution if it wasn't for those catholics and their
tendency to keep people stupid, very stimulating!
However I sense an implicit assumption (I can of course be completely wrong) that technology evolved at a steady pace, smoothly linear. This would be
a pretty skewed image of the way technology so far did evolve.
For starters we should always take a look at the broader picture when trying to understand the emergence of a technology. What were the economic
conditions? Whose practical needs were trying to be tackled by it?
Even today, when society is still open enough (let's hope we can still slow down it's closing tendency) to allocate money to research we call
"fundamental", actually meaning: "doing stuff those who fund it can't yet cash on", most of technological break-tru's are driven by particular
needs particular people with influence and means would like to be addressed.
While we're observing these co-determining external "causes" we shouldn't forget that these cause in their own time are being effected by
technologies. In other words, technologies "pop up" as a result of the particular constellation of circumstances and next impact these
circumstances, giving rise to again a step into a direction.
If I try to translate this into your scenario, it translates into the question whether constellations of external factors would have been such that
our technologies would have been far more advanced. I'm not sure it's a good idea to assume that since the dark ages lasted X years, that
advancement would be X years as well.
For the sake of the reasoning I'll go with the start and end dates you mention (I would argue that the dark ages began after the demise of the
Carolingian dynasty, somewhere after 814. I assume you take the demise of the roman catholic empire as the beginning?). How did the societal
organization look like in 400 AD, let's say in Germany? Oh, that's right, Germany didn't exist in those days. What was the main economical
activity? Was there (I feel uncomfortable using this vague term "there" as it matters where ;-) ) an intellectual climate that allowed for
transmission of information and knowledge?
Although the dark ages did indeed put peoples behind, I think it might be possible that the restrictions on thinking didn't impact "scientists" as
much as it impacted plain people, basically scaring the # out of them with wonderful tales of god. There's quite some documentation on investigative
activities that were taking place. "Alchemists" for example didn't really obey, did they? They just kept it out of view.
Interesting as it is I fear it is pretty impossible to get an idea on the progress of these people if they hadn't to hide it and, much more
important, if the religious ideas weren't basically a solid part of their world view. Would they have raised other questions?
I have to stop :-)
I would like to conclude with the alternative suggestion that probably we would have been totally different people in certain regards if the dark ages
wouldn't have been there. less fearful people, more respectful people? Or is this that ol' idealistic fool hiding in my scientific brain dreaming
thanks for making me come up with this nonsense ;-)