Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A brief thought: Regarded as insects...

I can not recall how many times I've heard a scientist or skeptic on TV say something along the line of "A highly advanced alien race would probably regard humans as nothing, but insects. (sometimes cattle)" Likewise I can not tell you how much I disagree with that. Wait, I can!

Human history is riddled with "civilized" humans encountering other humans that we often consider "savage" or uncultured. For the most part we also disrespected many of these cultures by forcing our beliefs on them or enslaving them. And while today there are some groups and individuals who would still prefer to do the above, we have more regard for cultures that aren't part of the "modern world". In fact we are more curious about them then anything else, but at the same time hesitant to contact them for their good and ours. (Exposure to our diseases which isolated tribes have no immunity to can wipe them out. Some of these tribes aren't exactly the most friendly to outsiders either.)

I feel that an extra-terrestrial culture would probably react to us in one of the many ways mentioned above. If our history as a civilized species in full of it, an E.T. civilization would probably be as well, both the good and bad elements. That also means that they'd probably recognize us as being intelligent (at least to an extent) and would either try to communicate with us (for good or bad) or leave us alone for reasons they view as being good. However, until we have open and regular communication with an E.T. society, the best way to study how one would behave is to study ourselves.

Some related reading/examples:
Incredible pictures of one of Earth's last uncontacted tribes - Daily Mail Online
Article about the same tribe - BBC News
Wikipedia on slavery
Native American Timeline of Events


Interstellar Housewife said...

Great post =)

I think the people who always throw that out there are the Michio Kaku and Sagan tribes - don't get me wrong, I respect them both, especially Sagan, but not every opinion they had was birthed in gold.

Interestingly enough, there are people in the science community who laugh at the idea that Mars may have once housed a civilization, but Carl Sagan thought it was a possibility for at one time (though, now that we know much more about it, the probability becomes less and less). I find it peculiar in some ways that theoretical physicist are treated much the same way everyone treats the 'fringe' communities, yet can turn around and look down on us. So, it is irksome that the attitudes of prominent members of that field, such as Kaku, would smirk at those who believe in alien visitation.

But with the insect argument, I mean, on one hand it's just an embellished illustration of the countless years separating humans from EBEs. I do not under any circumstance think that they would be like "whatevz" in regards to humans. That would seem to be in conflict with their appearance here, especially in the case of experiencers, if contactees are to be believed.

On the other hand, it is a misleading comparison because of how people interpret it (i.e. insects are simple and stupid to us, so humans are simple and stupid to someone else).

Personally, I've used the analogy before, but with my above definition in mind. That on an evolutionary scale we may be as far apart as an ant is to a human, but that says nothing for the areas of intelligence and/or importance. Through us they'd probably recognize their own first steps into existence and the greater universe.

Autumnforest said...

You know, that was a great post! I've always believed similarly that, like finding an ancient isolated tribe, we wouldn't hand them a gun as a gift and force them to wear clothing. We'd study them, find common ground, introduce things slowly. Finding an uncorrupted part of the universe should make aliens protective of us, actually. We're like the baby tadpoles in the pond. We'll become something, but they need to protect us until we show what we can become.

And, maybe we look at aliens completely the wrong way. If we look at an ant that can carry hundreds of time his weight and work for long hours, follow a scent trail and find its anthill again, we might think they're highly advanced. They're simply focused. Like savants. Aliens could be the technologic savants of the universe, great at building things and making them go, but lousy at surviving in hostile worlds, with delicate bodies, and other weaknesses.

Just because their technology is above us, doesn't mean they aren't behind us in other ways, perhaps like spirituality or adaptability...

Keep up this kind of conjecture, it's oh so fun!

Jeff said...

Even if aliens thought of us as insects, that wouldn't necessarily mean they weren't interested in learning more. We have some scientists that get excited over the possibility of finding microbes on Mars. Imagine how excited they'd get if they saw a roach crawling around up there.

Raptor Lewis said...

All Good Points, my friend! ;)

Naveed said...

Once again everyone's comments are appreciated and you had some awesome points to add as well.

Also is it just me or are blog comment sections slowly replacing forums?

Interstellar Housewife said...

Blogs are popular now, as we know, but they went through a sort of dead zone for a few years. Blogging was big in 02-05 then sort of trickled off. Now we see a rather large resurgence.

Blogs and social networking sites such as FB will probably always fade in an out of popularity (though, forums haven't been quite what they were 5 years ago, something that I am deeply saddened by).

Perhaps it's for the best. It cuts down on the number of stupid people saying stupid things.

One bonus of blog comments is that every blog owner is their own admin and can direct anyone they want to the door =) With forums you generally have to be more diplomatic. Generally.

And stuff.

Now back to my wine =)

Raptor Lewis said...

Well....it's true that a lot of forums require more diplomacy and certainly have a lot more flaws than blogs, but I've, fortunately, found a forum, that I NOW am an Administrator, called Dinosaur Home and it is one of the few safe havens of intellectual discussions on the web. Anywho, keep up these discussions, it's the best way to learn! Take Care!

Happy Halloween!!