X-Message-Number: 14598
References: <>
Date: Mon, 2 Oct 2000 13:06:00 +0200
From: David Stodolsky <>
Subject: Re: Alien humanity, highly doubtful)

>Message #14575
>Date: Thu, 28 Sep 2000 21:38:39 -0400
>From: James Swayze <>
>Subject: Re: Alien humanity, highly doubtful

>  > Message #14556
>>  From: 
>>  Date: Wed, 27 Sep 2000 11:24:28 EDT
>>  Subject: Re: SETI off topic? Maybe not
>>  SETI discussion may have more direct relevance than indicated by 
>>posts I have
>>  read so far.  Considerable thought over the last few years and a passing
>>  knowledge of current SETI activity leads me to this conclusion. I believe
>>  that the very first messages we receive after contact may well tell us  how
>>  to suspend human animation in such a way that reanimation without damage or
>>  loss is certain.   The main reason: it buys us time so that a subsequent
>>  stream of enlightening life-saving messages can be absorbed and implemented
>  > by us in an orderly manner.


>  > [3] there

>>  already exists a universe-wide interconnected intelligent culture containing
>>  millions of worlds which are more advanced than we are right now;
>Again not agreed. First of all, "Universe-wide" communication is not 
>likely possible if indeed even galactic-wide is.

We can agree on this if we include one-way transmission as 

>>  [4] more
>  > advanced human cultures have a highly developed sense of caring for a
>I don't understand this
>popular opinion that advanced society brings altruism. This again is

An advanced society of intelligent beings will likely be "altruistic" 
due to shared kinship (which is understood) and the need for care of 
the young (and others during periods of sickness, etc.). This would 
be evolutionarily driven.
>  We step on ants all the time and hardly are concerned if billions 
>are wiped out in the everyday machinations of our cultural needs. A 
>more advanced alien race may have no more or even less concern for 

Except that they share with us a finite Universe, that is running 
down in terms of energy.

>>  [5]
>>  this collective sense of caring has led to the establishment of powerful
>  > light house beacons located at various point throughout our galaxy; the

Due to the suppressive effects of Gama-Ray Bursts, we are likely to 
find civilizations more than 30,000 years advanced in other galaxies. 
Since, the ones in our galaxy would be on the average 30,000 light 
years away, their stage of development would be the same as ours, 
given the time it takes for a signal to get here.

>  > purpose of these beacons is to bring new cultures into the 
>collective through

>>  the dissemination of their advanced knowledge in a carefully shaped sequence
>>  of messages; and
>In the words of the main character in Hemmingway's "The Sun Also 
>Rises",  "It's pretty to think so".

A misbehaving civilization could cause problems for its galactic 
neighbors by triggering a Gama-Ray Burst. One defense against this 
would be "armor," which would not be available to travellers and new 
colonies. Another would be messages designed to help new 
civilizations develop benevolent cultures. This would be much more 
effective, if it worked.

Solid research suggests that much inhumane behavior is driven by 
death anxiety: http://www.ernestbecker.org
So, dissemination of knowledge facilitating immortalization could be 
enlightened self-interest.

However, this type of knowledge might develop so fast that any 
civilization capable of receiving a message would likely also have 
perfected immortalization. It only took 161 years to go from cell 
theory to the gene map. Effective immortality is probably less than 
50 years away. I guess the question is how many years between the 
ability to receive/decode a message and the development of effective 
immortality. Most likely, electron microscopes, communication and 
information technology, etc. are needed to perfect immortality. Thus, 
message reception capability would always come on-line prior to 
immortalization. But the message format would have to be "easy," if 
there was going to be any impact on the problem of immortality. Have 
there been any studies of dependencies between communication and 
life-science technologies?

Even if a civilization decided to use Gama-Ray Bursts to clear its 
galaxy of potential competitors (by nudging neutron stars or black 
holes onto a collision course), it still could value communication 
with extra-galactic civilizations in dealing with really hard 
problems. The average hostility of intelligent civilizations could be 
tested by measuring the frequency of Gama-Ray Bursts. If Bursts are 
being used in an offensive manner, it should be possible to detect 
that their frequency is above the chance level. Of course, there is a 
complication that galaxies of friendly civilizations would reduce the 
frequency of Bursts, Universe-wide. This, of course, offers another 
reason for galactic cooperation: making sure that potential Bursts 
are avoided by intervention of those nearby. According to recent 
work, a Burst in our own galaxy is overdue, so let's hope we live in 
a friendly one. It looks like any observational tests would take a 
long time, unless the tendency to control Bursts in predominantly 
friendly/unfriendly direction is dominant.

A civilization of immortals would want to eliminate the treat to 
their existence due to the running down of our Universe. We can 
conceive of a communication "network" dealing with this problem, 
since it is unlikely that a solution would only benefit a part of the 

See my next message "Natural Ethics?" for a more speculative view on 
this question.

David S. Stodolsky, PhD    PGP: 0x35490763    

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