Brainy Quote of the Day

Friday, August 26, 2016

ET and Xenophobia...

Image Source: Simon Kneebone – cartoonist and illustrator
Topics: Astrophysics, Cosmology, SETI, Space Exploration, Star Trek

Xenophobia is something we experience among ourselves from others with five fingers, five toes; slight differences in frames and shades of Melanin. We've never encountered - as far as we know - an intelligence beyond our world similar to us due to the laws of physics, chemistry and biology but distinctly: alien.

Whatever we as a species ascribe to as deity for example, MUST by design favor our particular human tribe. We create echo chambers to reinforce our own confirmation-bias about ourselves, in the modern vernacular "creating our own realities." Any news outside this special nurturing bubble is usually opposed with breathtaking, sometimes violent cognitive dissonance to maintain this special nurturing cocoon.

What exactly WILL we do when some species a little older, surviving its own M.A.D. ideology answers our calls in the dark? Our history - both current and documented - doesn't bode well towards a rational or civilized response.

The short-lived Star Trek: Enterprise seemed to be hitting its stride with the episodes Demons and Terra Prime before its cancellation; our current clamor for nationalism and purity makes them both quite prescient. Enterprise showed a humanity at the cusp of establishing a United Federation of Planets. They initially instead showed old prejudices, and our disdain for being put out of our self-appointed special place in the universe, post surviving Trek's fictional human extinction-level events of World War III and war with the Xindi. Before the imagined utopias of Kirk or Picard and the current xenophobia displayed among our own species, we likely still have some growing to do.

We are at a stage in our evolution where we do not yet know if we will ever communicate with intelligent beings that have evolved on other planets, yet we are intelligent and curious enough to wonder about this. We find ourselves wondering about this at the very beginning of a long era in which stellar luminosity warms many planets, and by our best models, continues to provide equally good opportunities for intelligent life to evolve. By simple Bayesian reasoning, if, as we believe, intelligent life forms have the same propensity to evolve later on other planets as we had to evolve on ours, it follows that they will likely not pass through a similar wondering stage in their evolution. This suggests that the future holds some kind of interstellar communication that will serve to inform newly evolved intelligent life forms that they are not alone before they become curious.

Physics arXiv: Odds for an enlightened rather than barren future, David Haussler

No comments:

Post a Comment