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Originally posted by redoubt
reply to post by Astyanax
Aliens Are Like Us
There is a kind of irony possible here because... well, there may be no such thing as aliens at all.
It's an old concept where we have a universe that is whole. That means that every asteroid, every moon, every planet, every sun and solar system... every arm of every galaxy in every corner of an eternal universe, is connected.
But even before we get there, we know that the 'stuff' that makes up our universe is common if not constant. The blueprint of life follows the same trails using the same material in each setting.
Earth is neither unique or alone. The only thing that may make it stand out is a rather unusual satellite (moon) and a species that has risen from the dirt to aim itself back into the same via self-determined-extinction.
There are no aliens. There are no angels. They are one in the same and we... we are an experiment that we are about to fail of our own choosing.
Where is that imagination of yours Astyanax?
How do we compare and rate intelligence?
If necessity is what drives us and also forms us, imagine an environment that required a special kind of intelligence to survive it.
better educated and experienced would (almost) amount to [smarter]
How is it we're here discussing morals at all then? :-)
Benevolence is a figment of our imagination?
So - the humans are freaks. We are weird. We have needs and desires that feel real, that we value, that we treat as valuable. We name these things, examine and work to maintain them - but nature has no need for them. We do - but nature doesn't.
How is cultural evolution separate from biological evolution?
But it seems to me the answers to those questions might change shape depending on the type of entity asking the question, and also that nature would interpose similar obstacles between any thinking entity and the ultimate ground of being—assuming (as I do) that such a thing exists.
I'd have to imagine a special kind of intelligence first. Can you help me there?
Altruism towards conspecifics has selective value, which increases with degree of relatedness. Enlightened self-interest may suggest good reasons for being kind to other species as well as our own. But I do not see why how or why truly disinterested altruism could exist—except at the misdirected prompting of instinct. Which is praiseworthy, I agree, but I don't see how you could call it intelligent.
I doubt, though, that such conditions could prevail for very long; idealism is always a snowball in the Sahara.
Why do you call (the misdirected prompting of instinct) praiseworthy?