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alt.alien.wanderers: Beliefs *of* aliens

Newsgroups: alt.alien.wanderers, alt.aliens, alt.aliens.they-are-here, alt.atheism
Subject: Re: Beliefs *of* aliens
From: wbt@cbemg.cb.lucent.com (Bill Thacker)
Date: 13 Jul 2000 17:38:10 GMT

In article <Rn4b5.1567$M11.1525@news2-hme0>, Martin Willett <Martin.Willett@cwcom.net> wrote:

Is there anybody out there interested in the beliefs *of* aliens?

I will put the matter of the belief *in* aliens to one side, I am interested in what aliens might believe. Naturally I am assuming that we are only interested in aliens with a level of intelligence comparable or superior to our own. I am particularly interested in any irrational beliefs they may have. This is a theoretical question and I am interested in the theory of it.

OK. We think the way we do because we evolved that way. Our ability to believe in God, I think, is an outgrowth of something that gave us an evolutionary advantage. It was obviously beneficial for our species to be obedient to authority (just as it's beneficial for every other social species), and we evolved the ability to understand some pretty complex subtleties of authority hierarchy. Perhaps this facility gives us the ability and need to extrapolate to an Ultimate Authority - which we fill in to create the concept of God.

Alien thinking would likewise have evolved. To get to Earth, an alien species would also have to cooperate, and that suggests they, too, must have had an instinctive respect for authority. (Maybe not: I can conjecture a species that is perfectly democratic. But I can think of no examples, whereas many species use dominance hierarchies.) And they'd have to be intelligent, so they need the ability to mentally extrapolate patterns. So it wouldn't surprise me a bit if they, too, have notions of an ultimate authority.

But this is all controlled by your genes. Humans don't have interstellar space flight, but we can tinker with genes already, and I'm betting that within 100 years we still won't have left our solar system, but we'll be pretty good at genetic engineering. With genetic engineering, we can re-write the way we think. That's a scary proposition for us now, since our instinctive thinking is that any *other* way of thinking is bad. But eventually I have little doubt that our species will re-program itself significantly. People 200 years from now may be more alien to us than Australopithecus afarensis.

If aliens progressed the same way, then by the time we meet them they have have eliminated any evolved quirks like religion. Or they may have replaced them with something we can't even comprehend, because we still think like animals.

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Bill Thacker gunner@ds.net
Bill's Rail Buggy Page: http://www.ds.net/~gunner/buggy/buggy.html

"Our governor can beat up your governor." - Minnesota bumper sticker


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