HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » So, intelligent, non-host...
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 07:54 PM

So, intelligent, non-hostile aliens land on earth...

They're taken to an elementary school for a tour and shown a globe of the earth one would find in many classrooms.

"What are these lines on the land masses?" they ask.

"Oh, those... those are lines denoting separate countries."

"Why are there separate countries?" they ask, puzzled.

"Because there are many religious and ideological differences between humans, and in many instances the lines were drawn as a necessity to separate those who disagree so they won't kill each other."

Stunned, they respond; "You're species has been on this planet for 200,000 years and you STILL have boundaries between each other? WTF!!!???"

55 replies, 3380 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 55 replies Author Time Post
Reply So, intelligent, non-hostile aliens land on earth... (Original post)
Comatose Sphagetti Jan 2013 OP
LongTomH Jan 2013 #1
freshwest Jan 2013 #2
whistler162 Jan 2013 #10
PCIntern Jan 2013 #25
awoke_in_2003 Jan 2013 #29
siligut Jan 2013 #32
awoke_in_2003 Jan 2013 #33
siligut Jan 2013 #34
awoke_in_2003 Jan 2013 #36
siligut Jan 2013 #37
a geek named Bob Jan 2013 #3
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #4
Kalidurga Jan 2013 #5
SheilaT Jan 2013 #6
muriel_volestrangler Jan 2013 #14
SheilaT Jan 2013 #35
muriel_volestrangler Jan 2013 #39
hfojvt Jan 2013 #50
Warpy Jan 2013 #7
jeff47 Jan 2013 #8
JoePhilly Jan 2013 #21
jeff47 Jan 2013 #46
whistler162 Jan 2013 #9
kaboom15 Jan 2013 #11
Posteritatis Jan 2013 #12
Turborama Jan 2013 #16
Posteritatis Jan 2013 #17
Comatose Sphagetti Jan 2013 #31
TlalocW Jan 2013 #13
loose wheel Jan 2013 #15
JoePhilly Jan 2013 #24
Coyotl Jan 2013 #18
Taitertots Jan 2013 #20
Posteritatis Jan 2013 #23
Taitertots Jan 2013 #28
muriel_volestrangler Jan 2013 #40
Taitertots Jan 2013 #45
sibelian Jan 2013 #47
Nye Bevan Jan 2013 #19
zbdent Jan 2013 #22
napoleon_in_rags Jan 2013 #26
SirRevolutionary Jan 2013 #27
petronius Jan 2013 #30
Buns_of_Fire Jan 2013 #44
RC Jan 2013 #53
Rosco T. Jan 2013 #38
Scuba Jan 2013 #41
hobbit709 Jan 2013 #42
RC Jan 2013 #54
aandegoons Jan 2013 #43
sibelian Jan 2013 #48
aandegoons Jan 2013 #55
RomneyLies Jan 2013 #49
NoOneMan Jan 2013 #51
ZombieHorde Jan 2013 #52

Response to Comatose Sphagetti (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 07:57 PM

1. "A primitive and paranoid culture!"

As Admiral James T. Kirk warned:

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to LongTomH (Reply #1)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 08:00 PM

2. +1

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to LongTomH (Reply #1)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 08:34 PM

10. And there is a actual alien in the scene!

William Shatner - Canadian

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to whistler162 (Reply #10)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:13 PM

25. Yes...and I see two Jewish guys out for a walk...

As a kid I was always amazed at who was Jewish...my fave: Jill St.John!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to LongTomH (Reply #1)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:33 PM

29. Too much LDS. Nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to awoke_in_2003 (Reply #29)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:43 PM

32. Did you mean Mormons or did you mean LSD?

Some Mormons are paranoid, but . . .

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to siligut (Reply #32)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:50 PM

33. In that movie...

they came back to the 80s. When explaining Spock's strange dress and actions, Kirk said it was due to "too much LDS" in the 60's.

http://m.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to awoke_in_2003 (Reply #33)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:52 PM

34. That's funny

Thanks, I didn't remember that.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to siligut (Reply #34)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 11:45 PM

36. Truthfully..

I think it was an underhanded shot at Mormons, while being able to claim comedic effect

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to awoke_in_2003 (Reply #36)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 11:50 PM

37. What I know about Mormons . . .

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Comatose Sphagetti (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 08:03 PM

3. it must be nice to live in your world... n/t

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Comatose Sphagetti (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 08:03 PM

4. I think the gun strapped to the teachers waist might be a bit harder to explain

No, no, it's not for disciplining the students, it's for protecting them.





Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Comatose Sphagetti (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 08:07 PM

5. More likely indifferent rather than non-hostile.

I don't think us mere humans would be anything more than an amusement if we are lucky. Or we might just be in the way of their colonies at worst.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Comatose Sphagetti (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 08:13 PM

6. Actually, the idea that aliens would not themselves

have different cultures and languages on the same planet is a bit bizarre.

Imagine, instead, we -- meaning this country -- develop FTL travel and visit other stars, find planets with obvious intelligent life, such as cities, clear evidence of technology and so on. How would we figure out where exactly to land, and who to contact? How long would it take us to decode their languages, figure out the politics on that planet, even at the most superficial level.

Indeed, think of it the other way. A benign and benevolent race of aliens starts observing us. How in the world would they even begin to figure out which cities or areas are the most important? We might think it's obvious, but that's only because we are already here and we understand the political set-up of this planet.

Now throw in the many changes that take place, either through peaceful means like elections, or less peaceful means. How would you figure out at what point it's even safe to make contact? Let's say you've been sending observers to this planet for about five thousand years, and it's obvious that the place with the large pyramids represents the oldest civilization on the planet, and so clearly that's the place you want to go to first.

Yeah, right.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to SheilaT (Reply #6)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 09:15 PM

14. Some of what you say would be pretty easy to figure out, for us

They'd be able to pick up a lot from TV transmissions. I suspect an alien would have the concept of vision, even if not necessarily in the same spectrum (but that doesn't matter, because any spectrum could be reconstructed from the signal). If they can hear, or if that's common with other animals on their planet, they may pick up the sound quickly too; if not, subtitles are on a lot of transmissions too. Then it's a bit of code breaking to associate what happens on the screen with the sound/text. And that give them the language. Politics might be more difficult, because there could be concepts involved that they just haven't gone through, and abstract terms. But include some biologists used to studying other species, and you'd probably pick most things up.

You figure out which are the 'most important' cities or areas, if you need to, by observing the number of people living there, and the transport in and out. Elections are not a problem; a non-aggressive advanced species would probably have a concept of democracy too. And war would look like a more aggressive species changing pack leaders.

Why would a species assume that nothing changed in the order of development in 5000 years? A short observation would show them the rate at which things can change here.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #14)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 11:24 PM

35. If they are so different that they see in a different spectrum,

then I suspect our TV transmissions could not be made to make sense for them.

And if they are really, really alien, all of their concepts and assumptions would be so vastly different from ours that I'm not sure they could possibly correctly interpret ours. Besides, just on this planet alone, different cultures can have vastly different ways of interpreting reality. Just think about in this country, the Republican interpretation of certain things, compared with the Democratic one. And don't even try to judge the different interpretations.

And what if their species is very long-lived, and little changes in thousands of years for them. We may be an unusually rapidly changing species, especially with our technology.

Harry Turtledove wrote an entire series in which aliens scout this planet about five hundred years ago, and when they return, they expect to walk in and conquer us with ease, because we're pre-industrial, and in that species' experience, no one goes from pre-industrial to highly technological in that length of time. Boy, are they surprised when we're able to almost fight them to a draw.

What I'm trying to say, is that because we try to imagine how we'd behave if we were to encounter our planet as aliens, then that's how they'll be. I'm betting we can't even begin to guess what they'll be like, and that they will be vastly different from anything we can imagine.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to SheilaT (Reply #35)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 05:34 AM

39. The frequencies used for the spectrum don't really matter

We get astronomical telescopes to take pictures in infra-red, or X-rays, or radio waves, and then produce the results in the visible spectrum. All they have to do is realise there's a two-dimensional picture encoded in the signal - easy with analog TV, since the lines repeat regularly, harder, I'd think, with digital, since you have to work out the compression techniques as well. But these are beings who have managed interstellar travel - they're intelligent. It's really reverse engineering, which people on earth manage all the time. And compression techniques are part of mathematics, and so pretty much a universal concept for an advanced mind.

All they'd have to do is look at the Earth to get a quick idea of progress - large cities with lights at night, radio waves being broadcast, large parts of the planet used for agriculture. You can do all that from millions of miles away. With that as a clue of the technical level, then you can look for more specific things - whether there are any artificial satellites, the existence of air travel, and so on.

Any interstellar traveller would be prepared to study species that have some significant differences from themselves. It's what biologists do all the time, and they'd be prepared for things from the level of bacteria up to the same level of complexity as themselves.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to SheilaT (Reply #35)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:12 PM

50. that's the Howard Campbell meme

which is found in much science fiction.

Asimov was writing about it, that Campbell was editor of some sci-fi magazine and one of his main themes was "there is something special about the human race compared to other alien races".

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Comatose Sphagetti (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 08:14 PM

7. More like 3 million years

but who's counting? Math has such a liberal bias, after all.

However, being a Martian is a great intellectual exercise, looking at a question as if you'd just landed from Mars and it was the first time you'd been exposed to the idea.

Not much makes sense under that sort of condition, I'm afraid.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Comatose Sphagetti (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 08:31 PM

8. Why do you assume such aliens wouldn't have political boundaries?

I'm well aware that lots of sci-fi assumes species-wide unification when they get technologically advanced....but there really isn't much of a reason for them to do so.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to jeff47 (Reply #8)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:07 PM

21. Because the US and the Russians have collaborated in Space exploration already.

Deep space collaboration, over the long term, would require a planet that is not at war with itself.

Lacking that, our space travels will be rather limited.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to JoePhilly (Reply #21)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:13 PM

46. Not really - you're going to quickly stop getting resources from the planet

Why boost stuff into orbit instead of using materials that are already up there - mine the moon or asteroids.

Which means you aren't limited to the resources of a single country on the planet.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink



Response to Comatose Sphagetti (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 08:43 PM

11. Best to run

 

and hide. They may have a death ray

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Comatose Sphagetti (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 08:54 PM

12. Hypothetical alien threads make for the best cliched misanthropy. (nt)

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Posteritatis (Reply #12)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 09:38 PM

16. It's actually the complete opposite of misanthropy

If you think about it...

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Reply #16)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 09:43 PM

17. Nah. Standard "we all suck (except possibly me), the aliens in my head say so" thread. (nt)

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Posteritatis (Reply #17)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:36 PM

31. Nah. The thread arose from a philanthropic viewpoint. Standard pessimistic response.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Comatose Sphagetti (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 08:58 PM

13. That's silly

The aliens wouldn't even make it to an elementary school until we had discovered whether they taste good on a sesame seed bun.

Credit to 9 Chickweed Lane for that observation.

TlalocW

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Comatose Sphagetti (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 09:16 PM

15. What if...

 

The aliens that show up, while intelligent and not necessarily hostile are so different that we can't even begin to imagine the differences in their make up.

Let's say it's a race of insects similar to ants. Maybe the queens came to some sort of a notion on how to raise offspring and divide labor in their ancient past so that each queen has a colony that performs a certain function. It would be difficult to even toalk to them.

How about a race of beings that in a time period similar to our age of exploration ran across another, hostile intelligent race, on their planets other continents and a massive generations long war ensued. The result being that this race is extremely xenophobic and catloging our weakness is as much apriority as contact.

Or a race derived from squid like beings that had taken to land.

I could go on, but the variety in the universe is likely to surprise us.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to loose wheel (Reply #15)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:10 PM

24. If they arrive HERE first, the free market would dictate, no???

And if they were *GASP* socialists, Glenn Beck would lead the attack, thus getting all the rest of use killed.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Comatose Sphagetti (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 09:54 PM

18. They talk to all the animals and agree to kill the humans to save the other species

They were, afterall, a just and fair species of aliens.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Coyotl (Reply #18)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:04 PM

20. That is probably the most thoughtful and introspective response anyone could have to the OP

Would an alien be able to look at humanity with anything but disgust for how we treat that animals and the earth?

Especially when we consider the chance that aliens could be photosynthetic or some other form that doesn't require consuming other living creatures.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Taitertots (Reply #20)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:09 PM

23. They 'could' be metallovores, extremophiles, or obligate cannibals for all we know.

The sample size really isn't big enough to provide a useful soapbox to sermonize from.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Posteritatis (Reply #23)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:26 PM

28. "Sermonize"...Are you really going to defend humanities treatment of the living being on earth?

Even if we exclude all activities related to eating, humanity has treated the earth and the living being on earth in a fairly reprehensible way.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Taitertots (Reply #28)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 05:39 AM

40. I'm really going to say calling "kill the humans" "thoughtful and introspective" was absurd

No, it wasn't in the least thoughtful or introspective. It was a knee-jerk "oh woe is us, humans are all bad" one-liner. It's the idiotic reaction of whoever wrote the bit in Genesis where God decides to wipe out all life except the stuff on the ark.

Do you really think that you, personally, deserve to die, right now? That your personal treatment of the planet means you should be killed, at once, without any appeal on your behalf? Because that's what it would be, to 7 billion individuals, whatever their age, whatever their nationality, whatever their actions.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #40)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 11:17 AM

45. It was thoughtful and introspective...

I'm not saying it should happen, but the idea that aliens would support what we have done is absurd.

Are you trying to defend humanities treatment of the earth and the living beings on earth? Or are you just butt sore that someone doesn't think independent observers would love you as much as you do?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Taitertots (Reply #45)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:35 PM

47. Your position rests on the assumption that your independent observers are nicer than us.


Which needn't be the case.

It also seems to assume consensus on the moral value of humanity's treatment of the earth and it's biosystems, which is not a topic on which many of us on DU, at any given time, are likely to agree. We're alive too. We have to eat something.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Comatose Sphagetti (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 09:57 PM

19. Any "Doctor Who" fans remember "Frontier in Space"?

There was a "President of Earth" at that point. A woman, no less. Who inexplicably wore an evening gown most of the time. Not sure where I'm going with this, or why I thought of it. Could have been the mention of "aliens".

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Comatose Sphagetti (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:08 PM

22. Weren't the Vulcans and the Romulans originally from

the same planet? (along with the Remans ...)

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Comatose Sphagetti (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:21 PM

26. More likely response:

"Ah! So you recognize the value of diversified leadership, refusing to concentrate too much power in too few hands. Good for you".

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Comatose Sphagetti (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:25 PM

27. If the janitors don't open fire first and end your discussion prematurely

you simply explain that we have these boundaries here because we're all so scared scary brown Muslim people hate us because of our freedom and the only thing that stops bad guy with guns is good guys with guns. Then you proudly recite 2A and apply it to any situation while you display your intellectual superiority to the non-hostile aliens

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Comatose Sphagetti (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:34 PM

30. What a naive bunch of aliens - are they edible?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to petronius (Reply #30)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 08:10 AM

44. Or maybe they'd be thinking the same thing about us! nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Buns_of_Fire (Reply #44)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 06:46 PM

53. Depends on whether they have a cookbook entitled "How to Serve Mankind".

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Comatose Sphagetti (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 12:01 AM

38. no, the fundies would get to them....

"first off, man has only been here 6,000 years" as they pull out their assault weapons and mow them down.

The Brookings Report of 1960 said than any knowledge of intelligent extraterrestrial life should be kept from the public if at all possible, since it would destroy most 'major' religions since they would not be able to accept that 'intelligence' existed outside their god.

Proposed Studies on the Implications of Peaceful Space Activities for Human Affairs

http://rr0.org/data/1/9/6/1/04/18/Brookings_ProposedStudiesOnTheImplicationsOfPeacefulSpaceActivitiesForHumanAffairs_NASA/index.html

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Comatose Sphagetti (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 06:57 AM

41. National borders and nationalism are necessary ....

... to ensure profits for the MIC.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Comatose Sphagetti (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 07:16 AM

42. If they were intelligent, they'd have enough sense not to land.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to hobbit709 (Reply #42)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 06:51 PM

54. If for no other reason than our competing microbes would kill both of us off.

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Comatose Sphagetti (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 07:41 AM

43. I have come to the conclusion that.

No aggressive species will ever travel between the stars.

History has shown that the power to destroy life by one person increases as time goes on. It starts off with only being able to kill one person at a time with hand to hand. Then multiples with rocks, spears, swords, guns, bombs, then whole cities with nukes. Heck even today our every day gun nuts need the ability to walk around with weapons designed to kill 20 or 30 people at will.

Reaching the technological level of interstellar space travel simply can't happen. Due to the ability to destroy ourselves ultimately reaches a point where one person can kill an entire population sooner than the will to reach out to the stars encourages us to put the necessary effort into that.

I personally feel it will be the day someone finds a way to set the atmosphere on fire. Someone will find a reason to do it. Be it a gun nut who believes it is his right to target practice with it, or a religious nut, a government, a terrorist, or even by accident. Sooner or later it will happen.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to aandegoons (Reply #43)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:36 PM

48. "someone finds a way to set the atmosphere on fire"


That's unlikely. It would require the atmosphere to be flammable.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to sibelian (Reply #48)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 08:59 PM

55. It could be done with enough energy.

Increasing oxygen and then rapidly releasing the trapped methane. Someone will figure something out sooner or later and poof there we will go.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Comatose Sphagetti (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:44 PM

49. If such a thing actually happened

 

I am certain we would kill them and steal their technology.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Comatose Sphagetti (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:41 PM

51. Why would you assume intelligent aliens would be space explorers?

 

Its a bit humanocentric. A very sapient creature would perhaps not focus on exploration & expansion, but creating life of love, meaningness, happiness and peace. Ironically, perhaps a creature "smart" enough to figure out FTL travel would have no interest in FTL travel, insofar as it diverted resources from improving the condition of its people and planet. Why would a sapient creature exploit its planet (or any other) for the resources to do this (which would invariably cause ecological breakdown and pain).

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Comatose Sphagetti (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 05:02 PM

52. I am almost certain they would be pretty impressed with our

zombie movies.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread