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? <snip. >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 http://www.onlyport.com Listen to 'Strange Days... Indeed' - The PodCast At: http://www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/sdi/program/ These contents above are copyright of the author and UFO UpDates - Toronto. They may not be reproduced without the express permission of both parties and are intended for educational use only.
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