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Science writer: Space aliens might have different values from ourselves


Hey, it’s the New Year’s Weekend – no need to be totally serious. So how about space aliens:

””It is 100% possible that our cosmic neighbours might have no empathy at all, hunt us for sport, have tribal wars, regular duals to the death or ritualistically kill foreign organisms for religious reasons.”

Lockett doesn’t say we shouldn’t explore; it’s more of a warning

We could, he suggests, meet, do whatever the equivalent is of shaking hands and return, knowing that we aren’t alone… but safe… the distance keeps us safe.

News, “Science writer warns: Contact with aliens might not turn out like we think” at Mind Matters News

Now that is an interesting question: Would they have different values from ourselves or do all enduring civilizations end up having similar values?

Since the very existence of aliens is speculative, then one may speculate about what they are like. Assuming a technologically advanced species of some sort, then one can be fairly certain that cooperation among themselves is essential. Similarly, there must be some way to collect and transfer knowledge among members of the species and between generations. It seems to me that some form of empathy is therefore needed to help the young learn and grow. Also, some form of sharing or trading to enable doing large-scale projects together would be needed. Finally, some sort of sharable curiosity and enthusiasm for trying new things or taking risk would be helpful. Some of the Star Trek aliens always seemed unlikely to me because they appeared to lack some of these traits. The Klingons, for example, were all about honour and were always fighting among themselves - not the best scenario for developing advanced tech and space faring. Of course they may have stolen it, but without slaves or kidnapped scientists, they would not go far with it. Similarly the Vulcans were all about logic and seemed averse to risk and weird hypotheses, so how could they have invented warp drives, among other things? In short, I imagine any alien species would need to be have empathy to some degree in order to advance to the point of space travel. On the other hand, there is no assurance that empathy would be transferable to us, who might only be seen as "other", "stranger" and therefore, "evil" or "enemy" regardless of our intent. In that we have lots of experience just within our own experience. Fasteddious
I'd guess that it depends on the planetary situation. Here on earth, endurance requires some degree of empathy and balance, because energy and resources are finite. Constant crime and imperial expansion ends badly for the criminal and capitalist along with everyone else. Sooner or later there's nothing left to steal or destroy. Other planets may have different situations, with different sources of nourishment. If the "cultured" creatures run solely on photosynthesis, they can expand and steal without limit. polistra
Mahuna Sub-Saharan Africa covers a lot of countries, including Nigeria. Nigeria is the economic powerhouse of Africa, having recently surpassed South Africa, another Sub-Saharan African nation. Nigeria is about a decade away from putting a Nigerian into space. Their Constitution is a modern day miracle that was not supposed to last more than three years, has been in place since 1999. BobRyan
Perhaps it is 100% likely there are no galactic neighbors at all. Leave the aliens to the science-fiction writers, since no sign of alien life, intelligent or not, has ever been witnessed. Without witnessing something, it is hypothesis, which is the basis for fiction. To treat aliens as if they exist without evidence is no different than Darwinists treating evolution as if it exists without being witnessed. BobRyan
”It is 100% possible that our cosmic neighbours might have no empathy at all, hunt us for sport, have tribal wars, regular duals to the death..." "100% possible"? Is that how statisticians weasel? And those "duals" to the death--sounds nasty. EDTA
"... do all enduring civilizations end up having similar values?" Well, gee, NO. In the modern, industrialized, Europeanized world, if part of your society wants to make piles of money trading with the USA and Western Europe, you have to at least UNDERSTAND how a business transaction works amongst us folks. But one of the reasons that Sub-Saharan Africa is so IRRETRIEVABLY screwed up is because the Bantu culture has NOTHING in common with The West (or even the Chicoms). I assume, as a Geographer, that the only solutions are: 1) USA adopts Bantu culture (not bloody likely), or 2) SOMEBODY (e.g., the Chicoms) expunges Bantus from the face of the Earth. It worked with American Indians. So it can work with Bantus. Note that more than a decade ago the King of the Zulus signed a "peace treaty" with the Boers. This didn't make any sense until I understood that the Zulus ALSO hate Bantus. Unfortunately, it appears that having pretty much wiped out the Boers, the Zulus moved up the Bantu short list of "people we do NOT like". So I'd guess that the Romulans would find SOME Earthlings to ally with, at least until Western Culture was wiped out. After that, the Romulans might announce that the best use of Bantus is in sandwiches. mahuna

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