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Old 10-03-2017, 09:22 AM
 
Location: Falls Church, Fairfax County
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark S. View Post
I don't think aliens helped humans build the pyramids, simply because we know how and why humans built the pyramids. There is no Unsolved Mystery there.
^^^^^^^^
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Old 10-03-2017, 10:24 AM
Status: "Future SC resident" (set 24 days ago)
 
Location: Naperville, Illinois
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark S. View Post
I don't think aliens helped humans build the pyramids, simply because we know how and why humans built the pyramids. There is no Unsolved Mystery there.

But to say that aliens would never do such a thing ... ? No. We have no way of knowing why aliens might do anything. It's an assumption for which we have no evidence other than our own experience --- and our own experience teaches us that humans will do all sorts of illogical things. Why do little kids enjoy ant farms and pet lizards? Why do we teach parrots to talk? Why do we teach dogs to fetch? Why do we pander to housecats when they serve to good purpose whatsoever?

For all we know, aliens might enjoy building mud buildings for the same reason an accountant might enjoy building a birdhouse.
Here's my take on it.

The behavior of organisms is shaped by natural selection - it appears that is true of social behavior as well as individual behavior, and social behaviors that are learned as well as those with a genetic basis. A couple of examples: the Heaven's Gate crowd believed that by killing themselves they could join the aliens who were in a giant ship behind the Hale-Bopp comet. The Shakers believed in celibacy for all members so their only growth was through adoption or conversion. Neither of these belief systems is going to lead to a stable, long-lasting society. Which is what you need for a society to last long enough to travel to Planet Earth from God knows how far away. Long lasting societies have developed strategies for growth and retaining members.

The other factor is cost versus benefit of a behavior. A behavior that is costly or dangerous but has little survival value will be selected against; a behavior that is costly or dangerous but contributes to survival will be selected for. Behaviors that are cheap but are neutral with regard to survival may or may not be passed on. Ant farms, teaching parrots to talk, teaching dogs to fetch, pandering to housecats fit in the neutral survival impact category.

So my guess is that alien behaviors that are totally incomprehensible to us are highly unlikely; for someone to come a hundred light years here for a visit would require a huge payoff - and that payoff will have survival value and the benefit to the society would be greater than the cost. That's why I think we haven't seen aliens: it's too d@mn costly to get here for whatever payoff they would get from it. Incomprehensible behaviors don't make a lot of sense from an evolutionary perspective.
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Old 10-03-2017, 10:38 AM
 
Location: Maine
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Originally Posted by Vasily View Post
Incomprehensible behaviors don't make a lot of sense from an evolutionary perspective.
Which is why evolution cannot explain everything. Evolution is not a Unified Field Theory of Everything.

There is no good reason this should have evolved, but it did:

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Old 10-03-2017, 10:54 AM
 
Location: Falls Church, Fairfax County
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark S. View Post
Which is why evolution cannot explain everything. Evolution is not a Unified Field Theory of Everything.

There is no good reason this should have evolved, but it did:
You do not understand evolution if you think everything that is evolved survives, thrives or reproduces.

Plus this looks like it is from some kind of wrestling performance, thus entertainment, so this person may be doing much better than you, it is hard to tell if they are acting or playing a character.


That is like saying you have no idea how this evolved but it did:

http://i.imgur.com/M01zDFH.jpg

That is an actor, playing a role, and I believe the actor is doing pretty well for himself, probably better than you.
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Old 10-03-2017, 11:13 AM
 
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There seem to be a lot of hockey jerseys for a wrestling event.
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Old 10-03-2017, 11:18 AM
 
Location: Maine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Guard View Post
You do not understand evolution if you think everything that is evolved survives, thrives or reproduces.

Plus this looks like it is from some kind of wrestling performance, thus entertainment, so this person may be doing much better than you, it is hard to tell if they are acting or playing a character.


That is like saying you have no idea how this evolved but it did:

http://i.imgur.com/M01zDFH.jpg

That is an actor, playing a role, and I believe the actor is doing pretty well for himself, probably better than you.
I don't disagree, but that's not the point. The point is that we cannot even begin to grasp what might be going through the psyche of an alien intelligence --- or if they even have psyches. We can't assume human motives on non-human actors.

But even human actions cannot all be chalked up to cost/reward factor of evolution. Why does a man kick a pebble as he walks along the sidewalk? Why does he whistle? Why do little boys tear the legs off grasshoppers? Why do windows in abandoned houses beckon to be broken? Why do nerds spend hours arguing with strangers about aliens over the Internet?

The point is that even we lowly humans do all sorts of things for no apparent reward, even if it costs us to do so. How could we possibly know that a species capable of crossing interstellar distances might not find building mudbrick pyramids fun? Or sadistic? Or sad? Or religiously ecstatic? We simply have no way of knowing.
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Old 10-03-2017, 12:54 PM
 
Location: Falls Church, Fairfax County
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nonchalance View Post
There seem to be a lot of hockey jerseys for a wrestling event.
They were at a wrestling match and a hockey game broke out.
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Old 10-03-2017, 04:12 PM
Status: "Future SC resident" (set 24 days ago)
 
Location: Naperville, Illinois
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nonchalance View Post
There seem to be a lot of hockey jerseys for a wrestling event.
A new sport: hockey wrestling! Now that's something I'd watch!
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Old 10-03-2017, 05:53 PM
Status: "Future SC resident" (set 24 days ago)
 
Location: Naperville, Illinois
3,613 posts, read 2,929,633 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark S. View Post
I don't disagree, but that's not the point. The point is that we cannot even begin to grasp what might be going through the psyche of an alien intelligence --- or if they even have psyches. We can't assume human motives on non-human actors.

But even human actions cannot all be chalked up to cost/reward factor of evolution. Why does a man kick a pebble as he walks along the sidewalk? Why does he whistle? Why do little boys tear the legs off grasshoppers? Why do windows in abandoned houses beckon to be broken? Why do nerds spend hours arguing with strangers about aliens over the Internet?

The point is that even we lowly humans do all sorts of things for no apparent reward, even if it costs us to do so. How could we possibly know that a species capable of crossing interstellar distances might not find building mudbrick pyramids fun? Or sadistic? Or sad? Or religiously ecstatic? We simply have no way of knowing.
The generic term for all those behaviors is play, and both mammals other than humans and birds engage in it. Amphibians don't (not clear yet if some reptiles might engage in play). Whether the octopus, the most intelligent invertebrate, engages in play isn't clear yet. Here is a good example of a raven engaging in play behavior:

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q...3&&FORM=VDRVRV

Animals don't evolve specific play behaviors like kicking a pebble or whistling, but they do seem to inherit a tendency to engage in behavior with no immediate payoff. But there are payoffs for play behavior for the individual:

Rehearsal of behaviors (the predator giving living prey to her offspring to practice catching and killing, or the human hunter gatherer children playing at warfare and hunting)

Redirection of aggression that might otherwise harm the social fabric of the community (dogs or cats play fighting)

Bonding (communal dances, card games, rituals)

Relatively safe way for the brain to get the reward of the adrenaline rush that comes from risk taking behavior (like the raven in the video above, or humans skydiving - or gambling).

The closest thing we have to an alien intelligence here on earth, the octopus, appears to engage in play behavior, though this is still controversial.

The cost of the kind of play we see in humans and animals is relatively low (except when a behavior becomes addictive) and has value to the organism as noted above, whereas sending obscenely expensive spacecraft across many light years to build mud brick pyramids on another world has an enormous cost if it's for a bit of "fun".

To say we cannot begin to grasp what might be going on in the "psyche" of an alien intelligence is to claim that understanding aliens would be beyond science and thus beyond human ability to make any kind of sense out of their behavior. I don't buy it (though it's made for some great science fiction: The Stalker and Solaris by Tarkovsky, and apparently the new movie Arrival and its two planned sequels).
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Old 10-04-2017, 08:12 AM
 
Location: Maine
13,999 posts, read 18,769,737 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vasily View Post
To say we cannot begin to grasp what might be going on in the "psyche" of an alien intelligence is to claim that understanding aliens would be beyond science and thus beyond human ability to make any kind of sense out of their behavior.
I make no such claim. I do claim that current science has no idea what goes on in the mind of an alien because we have no aliens to examine. We cannot examine what we do not have. We cannot assume that life on the planet Zardozzobelladonnanikto is anything remotely like life on Earth. It might be. It might not be. We don't know.

Wasn't it St. Thomas Aquinas who was once asked if he would baptize a saytr? He replied, "Show me a satyr, then we'll talk."

I have much the same response when it comes to aliens. Until we have some aliens to examine or ask, it's all speculation and we cannot claim our assumptions as facts.
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