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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Dec > Dec 31

Re: 'Why Would ET Evolve Human-Like Intelligence?'

From: Robert Powell <rpowell.nul>
Date: Sun, 30 Dec 2007 18:49:47 -0600
Archived: Mon, 31 Dec 2007 09:19:41 -0500
Subject: Re: 'Why Would ET Evolve Human-Like Intelligence?'

>From: James Horak <jchorak7441.nul>
>To: ufoupdates.nul
>Date: Sat, 29 Dec 2007 08:37:26 -0800 (PST)
>Subject: Re: 'Why Would ET Evolve Human-Like Intelligence?'

>>From: James Molesworth <jtmol1.nul>
>>To: ufoupdates.nul
>>Date: Sat, 29 Dec 2007 11:37:27 +1100
>>Subject: 'Why Would ET Evolve Human-Like Intelligence?'

>>I've come across a very interesting magazine article regarding
>>the likelihood of the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence
>>(entirely without any reference to any claimed evidence for the
>>hypothesis, or course).

>>The reference is:

>>Lineweaver, Charles. 'Why Would ET Evolve Human-Like
>>Intelligence?' in 'Australasian Science', Vol. 29, No. 1,
>>(Jan./Feb. 2008), pp. 38-9.

>>The magazine link:


>>I have been unable to find any public link to the full text, but
>>have found a  a paper from which the article is derived - a .pdf


>My grattitude to you, Mr. Molesworth, for referencing this
>article to our attention. Although I have no access to the
>periodical in which it appears, I just read the paper from which
>it is drawn, Paleontological Tests: Human-Like Intelligence is
>Not a Convergent Feature of Evolution, by Charles H. Lineweaver.

>Mr. Lineweaver draws his conclusions on fossil evidence and on
>his firm rooting in the conventional view of that record. A
>record, I dare say, that is oblivious to many, both
>paleontological and archeological finds _not_ viewed as

That was a _very_ interesting and insightful article. Lineweaver
makes a very good case that the evolution towards an intelligent
species is not a "given" and uses the development of life on
Earth as evidence of why evolution is not predisposed to the
emergence of an intelligent species.

>However, based on his firm footing in what he views as
>absolutes, he still has the courage to broach the topic and to
>begin discussion on what might very well become increasingly
>significant to earth-based humanity in the years ahead.

>It is understandable that this scientist would come slowly to
>the mix. It is also, that he would take a stance that invited
>reaction. I for one am going to respond and I suggest some
>others might as well, not informally but in kind, with the same
>regard for presentation he has shown.

>We are not dealing with slight issue here. We are dealing with
>something more even than the expanse of space; we are dealing
>with the expanse of mind.

>Can we approach this firmly rooted in absolutes or must we take
>some leaps?

>I would like to take the position we can't and have another take
>its counter. Or others.

Your point that we are dealing with something more than just the
expanse of space, but the expanse of mind, is very valid. Is
intelligence unique to this planet or is it a common feature in
natural development. While Lineweaver has made a very good
argument, my instinct is to shy away from a view whose end
result leaves us with the notion that the development of human
intelligence on this planet is a unique event. Historically, our
theories of uniqueness have usually fallen. Whether it was that
the earth or sun was the center of the universe, or that we were
the only creature on earth with awareness or tool making
ability, or that we were more than just that little blue dot, we
have come to realize that we are not as unique as we have

From a Big Picture viewpoint, life does trend towards higher
intelligence. Lineweaver saw no _continual_ increase in brain to
body weight ratio across the many vertebrates on earth, except
for homo sapiens. This was based on a snapshot of the last 200
million years of life. But if you look at the development of
life across the last 2 billion years, you see life progressing
from single celled organisms to primitive multi-celled organisms
to rudimentary nervous systems acting as a brain to the
development of small brained animals such as the dinosaurs and
finally to the development of larger brained animals such as
mammals. So a legitimate argument could be made that life does
develop towards higher intelligence.

It is now know that the chemicals that gave birth to life are
not unique to our solar system. Ammonia, cyanides, water, and
complex hydrocarbons have been found in other star systems. This
is common, not rare. Planetary systems appear to be the norm,
not the exception. Life would be expected to develop on a planet
that circles a star within a liquid water life zone. So why
would we not expect that life on such a world to ultimately
evolve a species that is intelligent? Do we believe that the
dice rolled favorably for us and no one else? Will this be the
issue where we finally try to hang our hat of "uniqueness"? I
think not.

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