Understanding through Discussion


Welcome! You are not logged in. [ Login ]
EvC Forum active members: 80 (8898 total)
Current session began: 
Page Loaded: 03-25-2019 5:56 PM
24 online now:
edge, Meddle, PaulK, Percy (Admin), Tangle, vimesey (6 members, 18 visitors)
Chatting now:  Chat room empty
Newest Member: WookieeB
Post Volume:
Total: 848,642 Year: 3,679/19,786 Month: 674/1,087 Week: 43/221 Day: 14/29 Hour: 0/0


Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
  
1
2Next
Author Topic:   Life on other planets
Teapots&unicorns
Member (Idle past 2967 days)
Posts: 178
Joined: 06-23-2009


Message 1 of 29 (522058)
08-31-2009 6:27 PM


Hi everyone.

I've realized that most religions (notoriously "fundies") are centered on a strong anthromorphic principle. i.e. There is a reason we are here/"Here" is what it is because of us/God. In other words, the universe exists because/for us and God(s). But, what if we found (intelligent) life on other planets? I'm going to count out all of the pertinent relating arguments such as why God didn't send a Messaih/prophet/bible to every human. So, what if we found intelligent life and they had no christianity, judaism, islam, etc. or no religion/god(s) at all?

What do you think? Remember, this is all hypothetical, so no trolling with comments like "life is only here because god said so."


“I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”
- Stephen Roberts

“I'm a polyatheist - there are many gods I don't believe in”
- Dan Foutes

"In the beginning, the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has widely been considered as a bad move."
- Douglas Adams


Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by AdminNosy, posted 08-31-2009 9:20 PM Teapots&unicorns has acknowledged this reply
 Message 4 by Straggler, posted 08-31-2009 9:37 PM Teapots&unicorns has acknowledged this reply
 Message 16 by tuffers, posted 09-02-2009 4:05 AM Teapots&unicorns has responded
 Message 28 by Otto Tellick, posted 09-10-2009 10:20 PM Teapots&unicorns has not yet responded

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


Message 2 of 29 (522065)
08-31-2009 9:18 PM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Life on other planets thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
AdminNosy
Administrator
Posts: 4754
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Joined: 11-11-2003


Message 3 of 29 (522066)
08-31-2009 9:20 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Teapots&unicorns
08-31-2009 6:27 PM


One promoted, one on hold
Someone else may promote you branes proposal but I think you can spend time on this one first. This isn't much of an OP so I am giving you a pass on this.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Teapots&unicorns, posted 08-31-2009 6:27 PM Teapots&unicorns has acknowledged this reply

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10284
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 4 of 29 (522067)
08-31-2009 9:37 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Teapots&unicorns
08-31-2009 6:27 PM


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

What do you think?

I think a more interesting question for me as an atheist would be what if alien intelligent life had a concept of god very similar to human concepts?

Would this imply that evolved intelligence is prone to inventing such things? Or would it imply that actually there might be something to this whole god thang after all?

More investigation would be needed..........

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


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

Replies to this message:
 Message 5 by Perdition, posted 09-01-2009 10:27 AM Straggler has not yet responded

  
Perdition
Member (Idle past 1318 days)
Posts: 1593
From: Wisconsin
Joined: 05-15-2003


Message 5 of 29 (522125)
09-01-2009 10:27 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by Straggler
08-31-2009 9:37 PM


Re: God Thang
Perhaps more interesting, from a sociological point of view, but maybe more dangerous from a holy-war perspective, is if the aliens have a concept of some creator that is wholly different from any of those believed in by humans.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by Straggler, posted 08-31-2009 9:37 PM Straggler has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 6 by NosyNed, posted 09-01-2009 12:40 PM Perdition has responded

    
NosyNed
Member
Posts: 8839
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 6 of 29 (522143)
09-01-2009 12:40 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Perdition
09-01-2009 10:27 AM


God concepts
One could argue that a social alien species would have some underlying god concepts similar to many of ours. It would be the underlying explanation for not yet understood things and it would probably suggest a golden rule type law.

There is even some possibility of some of the local variants suggesting a sacrifice as this honours altruism.

However, what is astronomically unlikely is any reference to a Jesus like figure formed in the image that is more like us than the aliens (in the image of the true god). This would indeed be interesting and require some pretty hard thinking to explain.

I'd suggest that the right similarities without enough would support the idea that religions are evolutionary by products or advantageous to societies.

This would all have pretty much zero effect on our religious thinkers. They've all managed to ignore any part of other religions lots of times except there they could conjure up some support for their views (e.g., flood myths).


This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by Perdition, posted 09-01-2009 10:27 AM Perdition has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by Perdition, posted 09-01-2009 12:43 PM NosyNed has not yet responded
 Message 8 by Straggler, posted 09-01-2009 2:27 PM NosyNed has responded

  
Perdition
Member (Idle past 1318 days)
Posts: 1593
From: Wisconsin
Joined: 05-15-2003


Message 7 of 29 (522146)
09-01-2009 12:43 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by NosyNed
09-01-2009 12:40 PM


Re: God concepts
Very true. However, we're looking at it from a anthropocentric frame of mind. They may have a god-concept that is totally alien to us. They may consider themselves to be gods, that they create the world as they look at it, and if they were to die out as a species, the world would end, for one idea that I could come up with off the top of my head.

As to Jesus, I'm sure they wouldn't have a figure that looked like our concept of Jesus, but it may very well have a figure who sacrificed himself to save them in some way.

Either way, I look forward to the day this becomes more than just an academic exercise.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by NosyNed, posted 09-01-2009 12:40 PM NosyNed has not yet responded

    
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10284
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 8 of 29 (522153)
09-01-2009 2:27 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by NosyNed
09-01-2009 12:40 PM


Re: God concepts
I'd suggest that the right similarities without enough would support the idea that religions are evolutionary by products or advantageous to societies.

And I would agree. But is that just our atheistic bias shining through? What similarities would we consider supportive of an evolutionary answer?

This would all have pretty much zero effect on our religious thinkers.

I suspect that some here would cite any similarities as being evidence of there being "something" out there. Something that is not just the product of human invention. I suspect they would consider our attitude to an evolutionary answer as akin to that of the religious you refer to.

So how can we hope to differentiate? Are there any clear predictions that an evolutionary answer could claim with regard to potential alien god concepts?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by NosyNed, posted 09-01-2009 12:40 PM NosyNed has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by NosyNed, posted 09-01-2009 3:16 PM Straggler has responded
 Message 10 by Teapots&unicorns, posted 09-01-2009 3:23 PM Straggler has not yet responded

  
NosyNed
Member
Posts: 8839
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 9 of 29 (522157)
09-01-2009 3:16 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Straggler
09-01-2009 2:27 PM


Predictions of God Concepts
So how can we hope to differentiate? Are there any clear predictions that an evolutionary answer could claim with regard to potential alien god concepts?

I think we could separate the evolutionary answer from any specific religious answer. For example, unless the aliens are very much "in our image" their god will not look like the Christian god.

I gave examples of what similarities we would expect above based on similarities between our society and theirs. One can conjecture that a non-societal alien race (non-tribal) would not even develop a religion at all since there isn't an evolutionary advantage.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by Straggler, posted 09-01-2009 2:27 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 11 by Straggler, posted 09-01-2009 4:34 PM NosyNed has not yet responded
 Message 18 by caffeine, posted 09-02-2009 7:12 AM NosyNed has not yet responded

  
Teapots&unicorns
Member (Idle past 2967 days)
Posts: 178
Joined: 06-23-2009


Message 10 of 29 (522160)
09-01-2009 3:23 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Straggler
09-01-2009 2:27 PM


Re: God concepts
Has anyone ever read the Ender series by Orson Scott Card? In it, the main characters discover an alien species, nicknamed "piggies," who already have their own beliefs- nothing to do with religion and are later proven to be evolutionary fact. Of course, the Catholic bishop in the story says that the piggies must be preached to and brought the word of god, even though Jesus doesn't say anything about strange, alien, infidel, pig-like, multi-lived, creatures, from another planet... i.e., what the heck was going through Jesus' mind with that?? Any responses? (This is just fantasy, but compare it with what our religions would in that scenario.)
This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by Straggler, posted 09-01-2009 2:27 PM Straggler has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 12 by Blue Jay, posted 09-01-2009 5:27 PM Teapots&unicorns has acknowledged this reply

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10284
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 11 of 29 (522184)
09-01-2009 4:34 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by NosyNed
09-01-2009 3:16 PM


Re: Predictions of God Concepts
Straggler writes:

So how can we hope to differentiate? Are there any clear predictions that an evolutionary answer could claim with regard to potential alien god concepts?

I think we could separate the evolutionary answer from any specific religious answer. For example, unless the aliens are very much "in our image" their god will not look like the Christian god.

I wasn't thinking of any "specific religious answer". I was thinking of the more generalised (deistic?) argument that the commonality of spirituality across human cultures is evidence of "something".

If discovered in alien cultures too the argument between evolutionary origins and an actual indication of some sort of "spiritual" reality would be an interesting one. IMHO.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by NosyNed, posted 09-01-2009 3:16 PM NosyNed has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 13 by Blue Jay, posted 09-01-2009 5:34 PM Straggler has responded

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 777 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 12 of 29 (522195)
09-01-2009 5:27 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Teapots&unicorns
09-01-2009 3:23 PM


Re: God concepts
Hi, T&U.

Teapots&unicorns writes:

Has anyone ever read the Ender series by Orson Scott Card?

Great series. Orson Scott Card is a Mormon, and a personal acquaintance of a friend of mine.

-----

Teapots&unicorns writes:

Of course, the Catholic bishop in the story says that the piggies must be preached to and brought the word of god, even though Jesus doesn't say anything about strange, alien, infidel, pig-like, multi-lived, creatures, from another planet...

And, when the bugger queen (the other alien species in that series) tried to talk science with the converted piggies, the converted piggies said to her, "Maybe you evolved, but we were created."

Boggles the mind, don't it?


-Bluejay (a.k.a. Mantis, Thylacosmilus)

Darwin loves you.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by Teapots&unicorns, posted 09-01-2009 3:23 PM Teapots&unicorns has acknowledged this reply

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 777 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 13 of 29 (522197)
09-01-2009 5:34 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by Straggler
09-01-2009 4:34 PM


Re: Predictions of God Concepts
Hi, Straggler.

Straggler writes:

If discovered in alien cultures too the argument between evolutionary origins and an actual indication of some sort of "spiritual" reality would be an interesting one. IMHO.

You would have to find a larger amount of common ground between religious humans and religious aliens than between religious and non-religious humans. Otherwise, species would better explain the convergence than spirituality.


-Bluejay (a.k.a. Mantis, Thylacosmilus)

Darwin loves you.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by Straggler, posted 09-01-2009 4:34 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 14 by Straggler, posted 09-01-2009 5:42 PM Blue Jay has not yet responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10284
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 14 of 29 (522199)
09-01-2009 5:42 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by Blue Jay
09-01-2009 5:34 PM


Re: Predictions of God Concepts
You would have to find a larger amount of common ground between religious humans and religious aliens than between religious and non-religious humans. Otherwise, species would better explain the convergence than spirituality.

OK.

How about aliens that believe that there is a "non-empirical" realm (i.e. spiritual by any other name) that indicates a higher purpose and meaning to life that transcends mere physical existence?

Would that not at least chime with human notions of spirituality to the extent that the commonality was suggestive of "evidence"?

Jeez - I cannot believe that I am the one arguing the pro-spiritual case here!!

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by Blue Jay, posted 09-01-2009 5:34 PM Blue Jay has not yet responded

  
AZPaul3
Member
Posts: 3815
From: Phoenix
Joined: 11-06-2006
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 15 of 29 (522214)
09-01-2009 8:07 PM


No time to do this justice, or be verbose, as I am want.

First, I assume two items:

1. Panspermia from a single source did not occur. Life here and there are two separate “home-grown” events.

2. The evolution of simple chemicals to complex organisms.

Regardless of chemistry, genetic make-up, form, function, color or texture, evolution here, there and everywhere must occur in the same manner: competition for scarce resources, prey-predator relationships, parasitic/symbiotic relationships and, especially since we are talking about a world with “intelligent” life, a high diversity of kingdoms, phyla, classes, etc. The time periods involved would make this a necessity.

To evolve “intelligent” life and have it survive and dominate a species takes the same evolutionary processes as any other trait ... necessity. Intelligence would mean nothing and would not advance if it did not convey a survival advantage over the competition. With intelligence comes curiosity, planning, complex symbol manipulation and the like, all of which would not survive in a placid environment. Only the crucible of deadly evolution could grow and strengthen those abilities needed to survive long enough to develop the mental strength to ponder their own existence and develop the knowledge and skills necessary to communicate over vast reaches of space. I cannot due this point justice in this short message and must leave this as given.

The development of “societies” must have, as we have experienced here, begun with small groups which leads to competition among these groups. It makes no difference what the species actually is, the crucible of evolution requires survival through competition as individuals, then small family groups, then tribes, then whatever the alien equivalence of “village” might be.

Intelligence denotes curiosity and a search for answers. Absent the sophistication of millennia of accumulated knowledge the “answers” must of necessity be explained by the great powers evident in their world. I would be very surprised if an emerging intelligence did not attribute to these great powers the same “spirit” they themselves felt as a result of their own consciousness. Spirituality is, IMHO, a necessity of emerging intelligence. The step from there to “beings” possessive of this “spirit” is, again IMHO, an inevitability. The gods are born.

We know that the eventual personification of the gods took place within our species due to the great tribal leaders being “deified” in the centuries after their reign. We might expect the same in an emerging intelligent species anywhere.

We can expect that as alien societies were scattered over a planet, as ours were, over the millennia a cornucopia of deities would emerge and die away along with their respective rites and dogmas. Religious specifics would be as vast and varied as we see here.

I would not expect any alien intelligent society to be sans religious history. A history of scattered hodge-podge sects, as we have here, would be expected and, I would further expect a strong, if not a majority, of atheistic tendencies in this alien society as the knowledge-base grows in depth and sophistication.

No more time. I’ll post this half-baked anyway and be gone a few days. Sorry.


  
1
2Next
Newer Topic | Older Topic
Jump to:


Copyright 2001-2018 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

™ Version 4.0 Beta
Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2019