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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2010 > Oct > Oct 6

Re: Shostak's Search Shift?

From: Gerald O'Connell <goc.nul>
Date: Wed, 6 Oct 2010 03:17:42 +0100
Archived: Wed, 06 Oct 2010 07:31:49 -0400
Subject: Re: Shostak's Search Shift?

>From: David Rudiak <drudiak.nul>
>To: post.nul
>Date: Mon, 4 Oct 2010 10:23:23 -0700 (PDT)
>Subject: Re: Shostak's Search Shift?


>So why shouldn't at least some aliens resemble basic human form?
>The big point here is that not everything goes when it comes to
>form for an intelligent space-faring race. We shouldn't expect
>alien starfish or sea urchins or dolphins to emerge from UFOs,
>because they would never be capable of building a technological
>civilization, much less space-flight.

At an intuitive level I have to agree with this, but I'm still
left with a nagging doubt. There's a series of deeply-buried
assumptions in it all that bothers me. Our entire evolution has
been locked into the particular set of conditions that is
peculiar to our planet. Those conditions start from the
biochemistry of life as we conceive it, and run right on through
the evolutionary trail to the specifics of our culture,
civilisation and technology, determining what will and what will
not work in our environment.

It is easy to assume that these conditions form the unique set
of parameters within which life, sentience and intelligence can
occur. I like to think of this as the 'terracentric conceit',
and I believe we need to shake this off a little in order to get
a sophisticated view of what might be possible.

Our thinking is still at a stage where these key terms - 'life',
'sentience' 'intelligence' - are loaded with all sorts of
baggage, scientific superstitions not least amongst them. These
phenomena might best be viewed simply as various manifestations
of complexity. The truth is, however, that we currently have no
way of knowing how many wildly differing sets of environmental
conditions might support these manifestations of complexity. If
this is so, then we might also be advised to approach with some
humility the issue of how some further manifestations of
complexity like 'culture', 'civilisation' and 'technology' might
arise. We just don't know enough to be able to know what could
or could not happen.

I'm definitely not putting forward a case for intelligent sea
urchins from Alpha Centauri here, but, having said that, if
evolution has any sense of humour, the day might come when our
exopoliticians will face the daunting task of establishing
diplomatic relations with a race of hyper-intelligent starfish.
Doubtless Dr. Greer will offer an expensive three-day cultural
orientation course that covers sensitive issues like the
importance of keeping echinoderms off the menu when entertaining
their dignitaries at state banquets.... --

Gerald O'Connell

Listen to 'Strange Days... Indeed' - The PodCast



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