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Aliens as missionaries

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
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Re: Aliens as missionaries

Post by Alias » November 29th, 2018, 12:06 pm

Belindi wrote:
November 29th, 2018, 11:10 am
Alias, The Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world has counterparts among the many good men who raise humanity from our basic amorality. Real individuals alive and dead and in all walks of life have embodied the virtues of which The Lamb of God is the icon. I could understand if you quarrel with the unavoidable corollary of Christianity , that there is no good without suffering. However I'm surprised if you don't see layers of meaning in the allegory of the Lamb of God.
The lamb taketh away sin by being killed. It's the firstling of the flock, pure and without blemish, brought to God as a guilt offering. You wash your sinful hands in the blood of the lamb - if you're Christian. If you're Jewish, you have to make sure every drop of it is spilled on the ground before you burn the flesh of the lamb. That's how it was transposed to the new religion (probably the same night God abolished the old dietary laws so Peter could eat with the Romans.)
There are no layers. God is mad. God needs appeasement. Kill something valuable.
And that's if you just stick to the ovine imagery.
You really can't get around the saviour and redeemer by complicating the icon.
Those who can induce you to believe absurdities can induce you to commit atrocities. - Voltaire

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Re: Aliens as missionaries

Post by Belindi » November 29th, 2018, 12:41 pm

Well Alien, Whatever dogmatic literalists claim I'm free to interpret poetic texts as metaphor or allegory.

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Re: Aliens as missionaries

Post by Eduk » November 29th, 2018, 12:49 pm

Whatever dogmatic literalists claim I'm free to interpret poetic texts as metaphor or allegory.
You are absolutely free to do so. It does not mean however that the original authors meant any metaphor or allegory or that your interpretation matches their intent (if they did actually have one) or, furthermore, that you are reasonable to do so. Not that you are by necessity unreasonable to do so, it is just that you have to quite a bit of work to justify your personal interpretation over and above the multitude of contradictory personal interpretations out there.
Unknown means unknown.

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Re: Aliens as missionaries

Post by Alias » November 29th, 2018, 1:02 pm

Belindi wrote:
November 29th, 2018, 12:41 pm
Well Alien, Whatever dogmatic literalists claim I'm free to interpret poetic texts as metaphor or allegory.
Absolutely, you are. Christian missionaries are not.

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Re: Aliens as missionaries

Post by Steve3007 » November 29th, 2018, 6:04 pm

This topic has moved on massively since last I looked at it, but, for now, I'll pick this on which to comment:
Greta wrote:Generally, I would not judge aliens by our limitations. Firstly because they seem to only exist in our imaginations (but I would desperately like to be proved wrong). Secondly, as laboured over earlier, if aliens have interstellar skills then they will have a ton of other abilities. Thirdly, if we do encounter aliens and they turn out to be organic then I will eat someone's hat (I don't own any because, with my hair, they make me look like wicked witch).
On point three: What exactly do we classify as "organic"? With our current level of technology we have what appears to be a clear distinction between gooey, evolved, carbon and water based life and clean, clinical semiconductor based "life". But will that distinction be eroded in the future? Will it be possible to clearly tell whether any hat consumption is required?

Given the immense distances and hostile environments involved in space travel, it seems likely to me that whatever entities make that journey, they won't be the original entities that evolved on the home planet. They'll be designed for space travel. We're already moving that way ourselves. The first Earth-origin inhabitants of Mars (the most recent of which landed last Monday, to the relief of its peanut-eating senders) are semi-intelligent creatures that were designed for the environments of the journey and the destination. We experience their experiences vicariously, just as we would if they were human; just as we did with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. It seems to me to make sense to continue on that road and send ever more intelligent designed creatures, rather than evolved creatures, as our emissaries.
Basically, they would be like this :)
That was a very striking picture that hit me as I scrolled down.

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Re: Aliens as missionaries

Post by Alias » November 29th, 2018, 7:52 pm

Eduk wrote:
November 29th, 2018, 1:06 pm
Christian missionaries are not.
Surely they are equally as free to do so as anyone else? As evidence I present all the Christian missionaries from various denominations with contradicting claims.
...every one of which is an article of faith for the members of that denomination. To question it is to court disrobement (whatever their particular equivalent is to defrocking a Catholic priest) or even excommunication. You don't get free to interpret anything until you shed the church itself... or rise to top prelate and have the power to publish your own bulls (or whatever executive orders are called in each denomination.) Another way you can be free to make up your own version is to break away (schism) from a denomination and open a branch office or rival sect. (Sometimes those get massacred after protracted enhanced confessionation, but sometimes they can be finessed into a nifty tax dodge with concubine benefits.)

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Re: Aliens as missionaries

Post by Greta » November 29th, 2018, 8:56 pm

Steve3007 wrote:
November 29th, 2018, 6:04 pm
This topic has moved on massively since last I looked at it, but, for now, I'll pick this on which to comment:
Greta wrote:Generally, I would not judge aliens by our limitations. Firstly because they seem to only exist in our imaginations (but I would desperately like to be proved wrong). Secondly, as laboured over earlier, if aliens have interstellar skills then they will have a ton of other abilities. Thirdly, if we do encounter aliens and they turn out to be organic then I will eat someone's hat (I don't own any because, with my hair, they make me look like wicked witch).
On point three: What exactly do we classify as "organic"? With our current level of technology we have what appears to be a clear distinction between gooey, evolved, carbon and water based life and clean, clinical semiconductor based "life". But will that distinction be eroded in the future? Will it be possible to clearly tell whether any hat consumption is required?
Good point. It seems there's two ways that carbon and silicon and mix, so to speak. There's the well known cyborgism thought experiment where, if organic body parts are replaced with synthetics one by one, at what point, if any, does the person stop being human and become something else? (Really, any biologist would tell you that if the cyborg can successful mate and reproduce with a human, then he or she is still human, which just goes to show that philosophers would save themselves a lot of time in blind alleys if they paid more attention to biologists). If the cyborg cannot breed with Homo sapiens, then he/she/it is Homo machina - or would it be still in the Homo genus, Machina (hopefully) sapiens?

Another option you may alluded to, where self improving general AI might find a use for some gooey organics.

It's rather hard to imagine any of these doing mission work, though. I suspect they would, with advanced technology, just observe with enough distance to not influence the observed.

Steve3007 wrote:
November 29th, 2018, 6:04 pm
Given the immense distances and hostile environments involved in space travel, it seems likely to me that whatever entities make that journey, they won't be the original entities that evolved on the home planet. They'll be designed for space travel. We're already moving that way ourselves. The first Earth-origin inhabitants of Mars (the most recent of which landed last Monday, to the relief of its peanut-eating senders) are semi-intelligent creatures that were designed for the environments of the journey and the destination. We experience their experiences vicariously, just as we would if they were human; just as we did with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. It seems to me to make sense to continue on that road and send ever more intelligent designed creatures, rather than evolved creatures, as our emissaries.
Agreed. Like the geek joke: Mars is the only planet in the solar system inhabited entirely by robots. Rather than sending a mission to Mars's Yellowknife Bay to check the sedimentary rocks that look very much like structures on Earth built by diatoms and other microbes, we avoid it for fear of contamination. I can imagine intelligent aliens taking that approach with Earth.

After all, once they reveal themselves they lose the opportunity to learn how we might have developed without interference. For all we know, there could be alien political debates - those who want to explore more closely and those with a "tentacles off" policy. However, there are clearly still occasional problems with illegal human DNA poaching in the wide open spaces of the US's rural south where no one can hear you scream ...

Steve3007 wrote:
November 29th, 2018, 6:04 pm
Basically, they would be like this :)
That was a very striking picture that hit me as I scrolled down.
What would be a good form for space travel? Small for reduced resource needs, non pigmented skin, huge scary black boogly eyes to maximise light capture in space. Like birds, they'd be nowhere near ground so they won't need a sense of smell. Not sure why they need mouths - perhaps an energy feed socket placed there because old evolutionary habits die hard? To proselytise??

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Re: Aliens as missionaries

Post by ktz » November 29th, 2018, 11:40 pm

Greta wrote:
November 29th, 2018, 8:56 pm
Steve3007 wrote:
November 29th, 2018, 6:04 pm
This topic has moved on massively since last I looked at it, but, for now, I'll pick this on which to comment:



On point three: What exactly do we classify as "organic"? With our current level of technology we have what appears to be a clear distinction between gooey, evolved, carbon and water based life and clean, clinical semiconductor based "life". But will that distinction be eroded in the future? Will it be possible to clearly tell whether any hat consumption is required?
Good point. It seems there's two ways that carbon and silicon and mix, so to speak. There's the well known cyborgism thought experiment where, if organic body parts are replaced with synthetics one by one, at what point, if any, does the person stop being human and become something else? (Really, any biologist would tell you that if the cyborg can successful mate and reproduce with a human, then he or she is still human, which just goes to show that philosophers would save themselves a lot of time in blind alleys if they paid more attention to biologists). If the cyborg cannot breed with Homo sapiens, then he/she/it is Homo machina - or would it be still in the Homo genus, Machina (hopefully) sapiens?

Another option you may alluded to, where self improving general AI might find a use for some gooey organics.
To add to this, there are scientifically fascinating and philosophically horrifying developments in progress in the biotechnology sphere -- in the decades since cloning Dolly, a Chinese scientist has used CRISPR to genetically modify a pair of human twins, MIT has made biological computers made of e. coli, genome-wide association studies have pinpointed target genetic markers for everything from intelligence, height, weight, and propensity to certain diseases, and beyond our developments in artificial organs future estimates put lab-grown biological organs as attainable less than a decade away,

Steve3007 wrote:
November 29th, 2018, 6:04 pm

That was a very striking picture that hit me as I scrolled down.
What would be a good form for space travel? Small for reduced resource needs, non pigmented skin, huge scary black boogly eyes to maximise light capture in space. Like birds, they'd be nowhere near ground so they won't need a sense of smell. Not sure why they need mouths - perhaps an energy feed socket placed there because old evolutionary habits die hard? To proselytise??
[/quote]

"Excuse me, have you heard of the Church of Latter Day Species?"
You may have a heart of gold, but so does a hard-boiled egg.

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Re: Aliens as missionaries

Post by Greta » November 30th, 2018, 1:23 am

ktz wrote:
November 29th, 2018, 11:40 pm
Greta wrote:
November 29th, 2018, 8:56 pm

Good point. It seems there's two ways that carbon and silicon and mix, so to speak. There's the well known cyborgism thought experiment where, if organic body parts are replaced with synthetics one by one, at what point, if any, does the person stop being human and become something else? (Really, any biologist would tell you that if the cyborg can successful mate and reproduce with a human, then he or she is still human, which just goes to show that philosophers would save themselves a lot of time in blind alleys if they paid more attention to biologists). If the cyborg cannot breed with Homo sapiens, then he/she/it is Homo machina - or would it be still in the Homo genus, Machina (hopefully) sapiens?

Another option you may alluded to, where self improving general AI might find a use for some gooey organics.
To add to this, there are scientifically fascinating and philosophically horrifying developments in progress in the biotechnology sphere -- in the decades since cloning Dolly, a Chinese scientist has used CRISPR to genetically modify a pair of human twins, MIT has made biological computers made of e. coli, genome-wide association studies have pinpointed target genetic markers for everything from intelligence, height, weight, and propensity to certain diseases, and beyond our developments in artificial organs future estimates put lab-grown biological organs as attainable less than a decade away,
True enough, genetic engineering is the logical first step in human upgrades, being less daunting than going under the knife and having pieces of you removed and replaced. That's for those who really need new body parts to replace damaged ones, so that field is moving more slowly. Genetic engineering may well be used to facilitate augmentation with synthetics, which may be used as scaffolds for engineered body parts.
ktz wrote:
November 29th, 2018, 11:40 pm
What would be a good form for space travel? Small for reduced resource needs, non pigmented skin, huge scary black boogly eyes to maximise light capture in space. Like birds, they'd be nowhere near ground so they won't need a sense of smell. Not sure why they need mouths - perhaps an energy feed socket placed there because old evolutionary habits die hard? To proselytise??
"Excuse me, have you heard of the Church of Latter Day Species?"
LOL ... or Xeno will return to Earth to start the Church of Thetanology. Actually, Scientologists sold me a book about "Dianetics" as a teen. I was walking in the city and responded to someone in the street doing a survey. He led me through this tunnel I'd not seen before and was worried about potential rape or robbery until we emerged into the Scientology HQ building (which I knew nothing about). I can't remember how it happened but I ended up in a room, sitting across a table from some bloke trying to sell me a book. It felt like I wasn't getting out of there unless I bought one of their damn books so I bought the cheapest one - five bucks.

I was very naive and impressionable at the time but within a few pages even I couldn't help but notice their unearned and unfounded chest thumping and elitism. I found it nauseating.

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Re: Aliens as missionaries

Post by Belindi » November 30th, 2018, 7:58 am

Eduk wrote: ↑Yesterday, 1:06 pm
Christian missionaries are not.
Surely they are equally as free to do so as anyone else? As evidence I present all the Christian missionaries from various denominations with contradicting claims.
They are not , because they act from faith not reason. Reason should not be enthroned but it is more life enhancing than unquestioning faith.

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Re: Aliens as missionaries

Post by Eduk » November 30th, 2018, 8:08 am

Surely they are equally as free to do so as anyone else? As evidence I present all the Christian missionaries from various denominations with contradicting claims.
They are not , because they act from faith not reason.
This hasn't been my anecdotal experience. Many (if not all) theists and agnostics seem to have an, at least somewhat, unique take on their God/s. Sure there is a great deal of overlap and consensus but consensus is not the same thing as not being free.
Let me try to put it another way. If (insert your God here) did communicate their plan to an individual and then that individual acted upon that communication we could still say they were free to do so. It would also be reasonable.
If (insert you God here) was nothing more than a construct with no objective existence and the communication is entirely imagined then are you still free to act on this? And are you not free to imagine any communication?
I mean, I think I get your argument. High up official in religion X tells subordinate Y to do something. Y is being controlled by X. This is not remotely unique to religion though.
Unknown means unknown.

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Re: Aliens as missionaries

Post by Belindi » November 30th, 2018, 8:13 am

Eduk wrote:
High up official in religion X tells subordinate Y to do something. Y is being controlled by X. This is not remotely unique to religion though.
Indeed it's not! Hierarchical social control is typical not only of religions but of all manner of despotic regimes.

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Re: Aliens as missionaries

Post by Greta » November 30th, 2018, 6:06 pm

Belindi wrote:
November 30th, 2018, 8:13 am
Eduk wrote:
High up official in religion X tells subordinate Y to do something. Y is being controlled by X. This is not remotely unique to religion though.
Indeed it's not! Hierarchical social control is typical not only of religions but of all manner of despotic regimes.
Which leads to the big question about our future (and of the nature of more advanced aliens) - what do more advanced societies look like? Are humans destined to effectively become complex ants in a command system, a situation China appears to be trying to create, with Xi or his successor being the "queen bee"? Is there another way to effectively deal with and coordinate such huge populations? I'm not convinced the chaotic Indian approach would be sustainable for those less resilient than Indians (almost everyone else).

With the rise of fascism it seems that western democracy, led by the US, is in the process of breaking down into a command economies like China's as governments become ever more controlled by companies and ever more controlling and ruthless in their dealings with ordinary citizens. Every fear mongering campaign during elections or by the media tightens the net a little more as people become brainwashed to passionately demand more law and order around election time and then completely forget about and deprioritise the matter as soon as the media directs their gaze elsewhere - seemingly usually towards Mulsims, refugees seeking asylum, greens, transgenders going to the toilet or how renewable energy will ruin us all.

If aliens arrived the real fireworks would be in the media. Actually, I'd love to see what kind of negative spin conservative columnists would have to say about this. I think they would be frothing because the arrival of intelligent aliens would challenge the prevailing social order like nothing else.

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Re: Aliens as missionaries

Post by h_k_s » November 30th, 2018, 9:26 pm

Greta wrote:
November 30th, 2018, 6:06 pm
Belindi wrote:
November 30th, 2018, 8:13 am
Eduk wrote:



Indeed it's not! Hierarchical social control is typical not only of religions but of all manner of despotic regimes.
Which leads to the big question about our future (and of the nature of more advanced aliens) - what do more advanced societies look like? Are humans destined to effectively become complex ants in a command system, a situation China appears to be trying to create, with Xi or his successor being the "queen bee"? Is there another way to effectively deal with and coordinate such huge populations? I'm not convinced the chaotic Indian approach would be sustainable for those less resilient than Indians (almost everyone else).

With the rise of fascism it seems that western democracy, led by the US, is in the process of breaking down into a command economies like China's as governments become ever more controlled by companies and ever more controlling and ruthless in their dealings with ordinary citizens. Every fear mongering campaign during elections or by the media tightens the net a little more as people become brainwashed to passionately demand more law and order around election time and then completely forget about and deprioritise the matter as soon as the media directs their gaze elsewhere - seemingly usually towards Mulsims, refugees seeking asylum, greens, transgenders going to the toilet or how renewable energy will ruin us all.

If aliens arrived the real fireworks would be in the media. Actually, I'd love to see what kind of negative spin conservative columnists would have to say about this. I think they would be frothing because the arrival of intelligent aliens would challenge the prevailing social order like nothing else.
Greta my dear friend and fellow philosopher, Intelligent Aliens would have all the same empathies as we have.

They would view us with love and adoration like we do our cats and dogs.

Their love would want to embrace us and protect us and give us care.

And like cat owners they would likely let us have our freedom up to a certain point.

Xi and Trump are poor examples of intelligent anything. They are merely power tyrants.

The ancient Athenians already warned us about tyrants.

But Trump and Xi must be allowed to play out their own power game.

I am surprised that Putin is staying above it all and letting them duke it out.

I guess Putin is more focused on Ukraine is all.

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Re: Aliens as missionaries

Post by h_k_s » November 30th, 2018, 9:29 pm

Steve3007 wrote:
November 22nd, 2018, 9:59 am
I find this story fascinating:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/ ... lare-jesus

A Christian missionary visits an isolated tribe who have lived, almost completely independently from the outside world, for possibly thousands of years. Most visitors to their island are met with arrows. This missionary was no exception, but he was determined to bring to them what he clearly thought was an essential message about Jesus, even if it meant his own death. And it did. They shot him dead.

I wonder if there's a chance that a future alien signal detected by SETI, or an actual alien visit, might be motivated by the desire to spread their own version of "the good news" in a similar way, and I wonder if we'll shoot them with arrows.
And the moral of the story is "mind your own business" and don't try to indoctrinate aborigines tribes with Western/Roman/Protestant Religion.

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