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Author Topic:   Life on other planets
tuffers
Member (Idle past 3351 days)
Posts: 92
From: Norwich, UK
Joined: 07-20-2009


Message 16 of 29 (522245)
09-02-2009 4:05 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Teapots&unicorns
08-31-2009 6:27 PM


Hi T&U

I think it is highly unlikely that we would find a species on another planet that believed in any kind of god for 3 reasons:

1) No species would have ever evolved with sufficient intelligence to contemplate such a thing.

2) Some species may have evolved with sufficient intelligence to contemplate a god but would have destroyed themselves as a direct consequence.

3) Some species may have avoided destroying themselves but would now have advanced beyond the lazy, hazy, crazy state we humans currently enjoy.

But in the 3rd example it is virtually certain that they would find us first and put us out of our misery (I certainly would if I were in their position).

But whatever state of religious belief/non-belief any alien species were found, you can bet your bottom “In God We Trust” dollar that religionists here on Earth would claim that it is entirely compatible with the ramblings of the Bible, Qur'an, etc.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Teapots&unicorns, posted 08-31-2009 6:27 PM Teapots&unicorns has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 17 by hooah212002, posted 09-02-2009 6:05 AM tuffers has not yet responded
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hooah212002
Member
Posts: 3183
Joined: 08-12-2009


Message 17 of 29 (522251)
09-02-2009 6:05 AM
Reply to: Message 16 by tuffers
09-02-2009 4:05 AM


Glad to know you think humans/earthlings are so special in this tiny universe as to be the only beings like us.

Albeit, I do recognize the chance is slim for there to be another species like us, I can't bring myself to say that there IS NOT. Space is just too vast.

Edited by hooah212002, : No reason given.


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caffeine
Member
Posts: 1600
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 18 of 29 (522259)
09-02-2009 7:12 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by NosyNed
09-01-2009 3:16 PM


Different images of God
For example, unless the aliens are very much "in our image" their god will not look like the Christian god.

But what, exactly, does the Christian God look like? I was raised Christian (Catholic specifically), and I was taught that God is immaterial. The bearded bloke in the sky is just a traditional pictorial representation and nothing to do with the reality, and the 'in our image' is speaking in a metaphorical, spiritual sense.

An alien race who worshipped a creator represented as having purple tentacles would only pose a problem for a very theologically-immature Christianity, not the one any Christians I know believe in.


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Teapots&unicorns
Member (Idle past 2963 days)
Posts: 178
Joined: 06-23-2009


Message 19 of 29 (522359)
09-02-2009 6:32 PM
Reply to: Message 16 by tuffers
09-02-2009 4:05 AM


The Point
Sorry tuffers for not expressing this. My OP was just hypothetical and I apologize if you did not completely get that. I basically was asking what would happen if we found an alien species wit those specifications.
This message is a reply to:
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tuffers
Member (Idle past 3351 days)
Posts: 92
From: Norwich, UK
Joined: 07-20-2009


Message 20 of 29 (522371)
09-03-2009 3:24 AM
Reply to: Message 19 by Teapots&unicorns
09-02-2009 6:32 PM


Re: The Point
Hi T&U

I think I understood your OP, I just prefaced my main point with a slightly irrelevant view on what sort of life we might find.

My main point in my last paragraph, which I think answered your hypothetical OP, is that whatever we find you can be sure that Bible bashers will claim their is nothing inconsistent with their beliefs (look how so many of them have absorbed evolution, the Big Bang, etc into their creation story). Even those who don't accept evolution etc will probably come up with some excuse that God must have created these life forms on another planet and he just hasn't decided to reveal himself to them yet. Or they'll claim that he once did reveal himself but they've chosen to reject him - the vile alien heathens! That's the great thing about religion, you can just make it up as you go along - just make sure you're always slightly vague or metaphorical so as your story can fit any unfolding scenario.


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Tanndarr
Member (Idle past 3258 days)
Posts: 68
Joined: 02-14-2008


Message 21 of 29 (522509)
09-03-2009 6:02 PM
Reply to: Message 20 by tuffers
09-03-2009 3:24 AM


Re: The Point
We can look to world history for real examples of what people do when contacting a new culture:

Religions send missionaries to teach the heathen how to pray to the right imaginary figure.

Scientists protect the new found cultures and study them for clues to understanding our own past.

There are still numerous uncontacted peoples in places like New Guinea and Brazil. If what you said were true then why aren't the biologists down there now teaching them about Darwin? The only thing keeping the missionaries away are reputations for cannibalism and headhunting as well as more enlightened governments run by people with their own history of being colonized and converted.


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Replies to this message:
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tuffers
Member (Idle past 3351 days)
Posts: 92
From: Norwich, UK
Joined: 07-20-2009


Message 22 of 29 (522579)
09-04-2009 5:59 AM
Reply to: Message 21 by Tanndarr
09-03-2009 6:02 PM


A missing link?
Hi Tanndarr

I don't see any incompatibility between what I said and what you say about how missionaries and scientists approach previously uncontacted peoples.

And I've no idea what link there is between what I said and your question about why aren't biologist teaching Darwinism to such uncontacted peoples.

Please could you re-explain your point.

Thanks


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Tanndarr
Member (Idle past 3258 days)
Posts: 68
Joined: 02-14-2008


Message 23 of 29 (522760)
09-04-2009 6:00 PM
Reply to: Message 22 by tuffers
09-04-2009 5:59 AM


Re: A missing link?
Sorry Tuffers,

The point is that we don't have to imagine what the Bible thumpers will do when they establish contact with another culture, we have examples from history that show they will attempt to convert them to their own religion. They do not, historically, bother to show how new-found religions fit into their own dogma. I can think of no examples that show otherwise.

The point about biologists is just to show that the desire to force these newly found cultures to our own point of view can be resisted. We don't have to take up the white man's burden.


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tuffers
Member (Idle past 3351 days)
Posts: 92
From: Norwich, UK
Joined: 07-20-2009


Message 24 of 29 (522918)
09-06-2009 10:41 AM
Reply to: Message 23 by Tanndarr
09-04-2009 6:00 PM


Re: A missing link?
Hi Tanndarr

Thanks for your explanation. I have nothing more to say except I agree with you entirely.


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PetersDenial
Junior Member (Idle past 3389 days)
Posts: 4
Joined: 09-09-2009


Message 25 of 29 (523377)
09-09-2009 8:23 PM
Reply to: Message 16 by tuffers
09-02-2009 4:05 AM


If you approach self-destruction, or your wife is dying or your children are missing and you just can't handle it anymore, that's the moment people start preying. It strikes me that, as a pressure valve god is useful. In one form or another belief in the supernatural will exist on other worlds. It is a useful evolutionary trait.
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tuffers
Member (Idle past 3351 days)
Posts: 92
From: Norwich, UK
Joined: 07-20-2009


Message 26 of 29 (523437)
09-10-2009 8:45 AM
Reply to: Message 25 by PetersDenial
09-09-2009 8:23 PM


Hi

You're probably right to some extent, although I would like to think that it is possible to develop better methods for dealing with terrible problems, and that we already have some.


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AdminNosy
Administrator
Posts: 4754
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Joined: 11-11-2003


Message 27 of 29 (523438)
09-10-2009 9:14 AM
Reply to: Message 26 by tuffers
09-10-2009 8:45 AM


Topic
This is off topic.

The topic is life on other planets please.


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Otto Tellick
Member (Idle past 406 days)
Posts: 288
From: PA, USA
Joined: 02-17-2008


Message 28 of 29 (523528)
09-10-2009 10:20 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Teapots&unicorns
08-31-2009 6:27 PM


Teapots&unicorns writes:

So, what if we found intelligent life and they had no christianity, judaism, islam, etc. or no religion/god(s) at all?

Well, that does beg the question of what constitutes or defines "intelligent" life. We could take a simple-minded approach and say that "intelligent life" would be any sort of entity that would be capable of communicating with us in some manner that involves a propositional logic or grammar. (Do keep in mind: if there is no basis for communication, it might be because we humans would be too stupid to get it.)

Obviously, if there is no method of communication in terms of statements, questions, etc, there would be no basis for determining whether this other sort of entity has anything resembling a "material/non-material" or "natural/supernatural" dichotomy, let alone what kinds of notions it would have (if any) about non-material, supernatural "things".

Now, there are methods of "communication" that do not involve propositional logic or grammar: predation or other forms of belligerence, avoidance or other forms of shyness/cowardice, and various behaviors and "accessories" (tools and whatnot) that would lead us to infer the level of intelligence of this other sort of entity (and would lead them to infer ours). But in the absence of symbolic and propositional "dialog", it would be hard to imagine how we would infer anything about beliefs involving non-material/supernatural stuff.

Anyway, let's suppose that communication succeeds, and we somehow get to the topic of theology... (... sorry, but I couldn't help giggling ...) Supposing they had none whatsoever, I don't see that as having any effect on the subset of humans that are devoutly religious. It's just another life form that happens to exist outside the community of God's Chosen -- no big deal.

But OTOH, if they just happen to come out with a Bible that is, astonishingly, very much like our own, well, I think we'll have a serious problem on our hands. Each Bible would be designating a particular group as "God's Chosen" -- but then that would mean either that both Bibles are wrong, or that exactly one of them is wrong, because how could they both be right?

The possible outcomes for that scenario are (a) atheism is adopted by one or both sides, (b) violent conflict ensues until one or the other is subdued or obliterated, or (c) both sides somehow manage to turn around, go away and never meet each other again, because maybe the universe is big enough for both to coexist without violent conflict (this might have to happen in combination with (a), if only one side were switching to atheism).

There might be another alternative, whereby one or both sides somehow manage to "reinterpret" their respective sacred texts, in a way that somehow makes them sufficiently "compatible" so that God's Word somehow includes both sides in an all-encompassing "wholeness". But that would require some pretty drastic reinterpretation on our side, for sure.

Or maybe it would just be time for another new portion of the book -- I mean, this sort of thing has been done before, right? Old Testament, New Testament, Totally New Testament -- why not? (And I gather that many people would put the Book of Mormon in there as well, giving us yet another precedent.)

Come to think of it, I wouldn't be surprised if our side or "their side" (or both?) ended up being viewed by the other as being more tightly bound or linked to the supernatural (whether for good or evil), which would probably lead both sides to adopt considerable reinterpretation of their respective scriptures.

I could go on about how the outcome would depend on the two sides' respective assessments of their relative intelligence (and power, and abilities, and predictability of behavior, etc), regardless of whether or not there is symbolic, propositional communication. But that's pretty obvious. With regard to cases where there might be a big difference between sides, we need only look at our own interactions, whether with other species on this planet (other primates, whales, domesticates), or between vastly divergent cultures (19th century Europeans meeting Native Americans, 20th century anthropologists meeting various pre-technical tribal groups, etc). It's actually quite a mixed bag where anything could happen.


autotelic adj. (of an entity or event) having within itself the purpose of its existence or happening.
This message is a reply to:
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tuffers
Member (Idle past 3351 days)
Posts: 92
From: Norwich, UK
Joined: 07-20-2009


Message 29 of 29 (523554)
09-11-2009 5:32 AM
Reply to: Message 27 by AdminNosy
09-10-2009 9:14 AM


Re: Topic
Hi AdminNosy

I understood that this topic was not about whether or not life exists on other planets, but more specifically about what the implications would be to humans, and our religious beliefs, if we found alien life did not have any religious beliefs at all.

Therefore, with all due respect, I do not believe we have strayed completely off topic. We have been discussing what sort of alien religious or supernatural beliefs might exist, or might have previously existed but now become extinct in an advanced society.


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