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Wed Feb 28, 2018, 12:21 PM

Bear with me on this: What if we can't find aliens because they are religious?

"Why have we not found aliens? They must be so scientifically advanced! Why can't we find traces of them?"

This is based on the assumption that any civilization eventually advances to a technological level where interstellar communication (signals, probes...) becomes possible.

But what if REACHING that technological level is an extremely rare incident for a civilization?




Back in the Stone-Age, cavemen wondered how the world works. They saw how they, as intelligent beings, shaped the world and they concluded that there must also be somebody out there who is shaping the world on a large scale. That's how religion was born.

But moving away from religion and towards science was an extraordinary feat for mankind. The development of science hinged on ridiculous coincidences:
* It hinged on a philosophy ("Hermeticism" becoming popular where the power to shape the world is not exclusive to gods but where mortals can also do this. This philosophy becoming popular hinged on a mistake where the book (the "Corpus Hermeticum" was misdated twice(!) to be extremely old.
* It hinged on the coincidence that a philosophy that nature is governed by a system of laws was popular roughly at the same time.
* It hinged on the coincidence that massive advancements in mathematics were made roughly at the same time.
* It hinged on the coincidence that a technological level where you could do experiments to test theories (telescopes, microscopes, hydraulics, pneumatics...) was reached roughly at the same time.



My point is:

Imagine a civilization of cave-aliens. What if developing religion is natural for curious, uninformed minds?

Imagine the cultural/philosophical/religious revolution and the many coincidences it would take for these aliens to develop science.

What if we can't find technologically advanced aliens because developing science is a rare thing?

What if we can't find alien civilizations because they are stuck at medieval technology?

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Arrow 15 replies Author Time Post
Reply Bear with me on this: What if we can't find aliens because they are religious? (Original post)
DetlefK Feb 2018 OP
dhol82 Feb 2018 #1
Bayard Feb 2018 #2
TlalocW Feb 2018 #3
NeoGreen Feb 2018 #4
AZ8theist Feb 2018 #5
Freelancer Mar 2018 #6
edhopper Mar 2018 #7
Voltaire2 Mar 2018 #8
edhopper Mar 2018 #9
Pope George Ringo II Mar 2018 #10
edhopper Mar 2018 #11
Pope George Ringo II Mar 2018 #12
DetlefK Mar 2018 #14
edhopper Mar 2018 #15
Bradical79 Mar 2018 #13

Response to DetlefK (Original post)

Wed Feb 28, 2018, 12:23 PM

1. If they are stuck at medieval technology then

they donít have the ability to communicate over vast distances.
Easy peasey.

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Response to DetlefK (Original post)

Wed Feb 28, 2018, 12:51 PM

2. They are following the Prime Directive

No interference in less advanced civilizations.

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Response to DetlefK (Original post)

Wed Feb 28, 2018, 01:24 PM

3. I remember reading a short story in high school

It followed the daily exploits of a young girl as she was preparing to go to an event welcoming aliens from another planet who were landing for the first time. She was super excited, had always loved thinking about traveling to the stars, was wanting her parents to rush things along, upset at her friend who wasn't as excited as she was, etc. They eventually get there, and the aliens' ships land, and they come out and use a device to test the atmosphere to see if it's breathable. As she describes them and the suits they're wearing and taking off (because the atmosphere is safe), you slowly realize that aliens are humans from Earth, and we've been reading about another world's being's day.

It may be us that makes the first step.

TlalocW

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Response to DetlefK (Original post)

Wed Feb 28, 2018, 02:02 PM

4. Could this be another foundational arguement...

...to do our utmost to systematically eradicate religion (specifically the promotion of ideas that have no basis in reality) wherever and whenever it pops up?

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Response to DetlefK (Original post)

Wed Feb 28, 2018, 07:38 PM

5. "What if we can't find alien civilizations because they are stuck at medieval technology?"

hence...
The Republican Party.

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Response to DetlefK (Original post)

Thu Mar 1, 2018, 03:09 AM

6. Yep, the first aliens to land will probably be interstellar religious zealots...

That don't dance. But, in the end, we'll manage to save the world with Rock and Roll.

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Response to DetlefK (Original post)

Thu Mar 1, 2018, 10:58 AM

7. It would appear that

technological advances civilizations are very rare, at least in this galaxy. We have been listening long enough that if they were at all prevalent, we would have seen some kind of radio waves.
But that doesn't mean there isn't alien life. It just might not have evolved intelligence or intelligence in the same way as we did. Think of super intelligent whales, they still would not need to develop technology.

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Response to edhopper (Reply #7)

Thu Mar 1, 2018, 01:53 PM

8. They neednt be rare, they might be brief.

It ends up being the same thing. Our observation window is actually fairly small across time and space. It is quite possible that tech civs flame out quite quickly. Perhaps the environmental challenge is a nearly insurmountable cliff.

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Response to Voltaire2 (Reply #8)

Thu Mar 1, 2018, 03:19 PM

9. The problem with brief

is lightspeed. If they were prevalent and brief there should be enough at different times to reach us from various distances.

Of course we don't know how many and for how long, so brief might enter into it.

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Response to edhopper (Reply #9)

Thu Mar 1, 2018, 04:18 PM

10. Time is still one of the factors in the Drake Equation

And probably the most discouraging one, too.

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Response to Pope George Ringo II (Reply #10)

Thu Mar 1, 2018, 04:59 PM

11. Though since we are a third generation

solar system, you would think we would hear something by now from some where if civilizations were more common.

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Response to edhopper (Reply #11)

Thu Mar 1, 2018, 05:14 PM

12. Frequency is the question, admittedly.

But my understanding is that the end of the second generation (or so) is when stars actually start to produce interesting elements from a biological and technological perspective, so it's likely everybody circles one third-generation star or another, especially if we limit it to technologically advanced societies. Our own window is quite brief, and we're getting better at finding data in the background, but we've really got just the tiniest glimpse at the bigger universe. Okay, maybe we see nearly everything in our little corner, but only as it was for just a brief and variable moment. Heck, we've only been doing serious telescopes for a few centuries, and we're not even two centuries into serious radio reception.

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Response to edhopper (Reply #9)

Mon Mar 5, 2018, 05:46 AM

14. Let's take Proxima Centauri as an example.

The star Proxima Centauri is 4 light-years away, has planets, but none of them is habitable for humans.

Let's say, there was an alien civilization on Proxima Centauri and it stopped sending radio-signals 100 years ago. That means, their very last signals arrived on Earth 104 years ago, in 1914.

We would never know that these signals passed by us, because we weren't listening, despite their home-planet being just around the corner and their civilization going through crisis just a few centuries ago.

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Response to DetlefK (Reply #14)

Mon Mar 5, 2018, 06:20 PM

15. True

but the more civilizations spread across space, the more likelihood that we would catch one, no matter how brief the average one lasts.
I think it is still more a matter of rare than brief.

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Response to DetlefK (Original post)

Sun Mar 4, 2018, 03:34 PM

13. Wouldn't be surprised if that's the case for some

 

We're strugling to survive the actions of those who believe in religion and the supernatural here, and we only recently discovered planets outside our own solar system.

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