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What to do if you meet an alien

You guys take a humor thread far too seriously :-P

Consider that our technology- in just a hundred years- has evolved to space travel, it's feasible to believe Aliens that got here don't have weapons much more advanced than ours....isn't it?

What if they only popped on over from Mars?

Originally Posted by Ikul View Post
I've explained already. One of them is omnipotent, omniscient, and transcendent. The other is not.
To provide another example of a difference: one is biological (of some nature), the other is not.
To provide a third: one of them would have traveled here from a distant star, while being bound by the same laws of physics we are, whereas the other would be omnipresent.

There are differences. Any two things that have at least one difference are 'different' by the definition of the word 'different'. Therefore, these things are demonstrably different.
Yet you still haven't answered the question presented. They may be different in physical and/or biological makeup, but we can't know that for sure at this point, can we? Again, I state:

1. There is no concrete proof that either exists; AND
2. People all over the world have faith that they do exist.

Their physical differences aside, the belief in either one is the same as the belief in the other. You cannot prove they do/don't exist, yet you have faith that they do. So how is it you can defend not having proof of God but believing in him, but be against not having proof of alien life and believing in them?

And let's take it one step further, here. Where do our beliefs in a supreme being come from? Ancient man's attempt to make some sense out of life, from what I've been told. But what if his belief in a supreme being came from an encounter with extra-terrestrial life? How do do YOU....know that what we believe in with God isn't just the descendancy of ancient man's encounter with, and subsequent worship of, alien life? Without being able to prove it one way or the other, how can you be so sure that they aren't the same?

Originally Posted by TanaNari View Post
I'm honestly far more impressed by the bible. Leviticus. If you pay attention when reading that- those laws were written by someone who understood disease in ways that modern science didn't figure out until after World War 1.
Care to elaborate for someone that does not read the bible nor has one currently on hand?

Eh. All kinds of places in the books Exodus and Leviticus (which may as well be titled "Exodus, part 2"). There's rules in it specifying that certain things are
which means "unclean", even if it sounds like something quite a bit more dire... latin is just one of those languages that makes everything sound scary and/or awesome- in hebrew, there's several words that all get translated to mean abomination, but are often very different forbidden things- some can mean "evil"- but most just mean something close to 'forbidden' like the word taboo means in its origin language (but english has adapted to mean something akin to 'perverse'
abomination. A rather long and complex list of things you're not allowed to touch- including blood, dead things, another person's genitals, or an object/individual that is already unclean. And things you're obligated to do- like ritual care in food preparation. As well as things you're not allowed to *be*- like ill from disease.

Those who are abomination "shall be put to death"- which is often mistranslated as "are to be executed", but it's a passive phrasing in the native tongue. It means that they *are going to die*- but it's not instructing anyone to make it happen. For that you need something that translates closer to "make war against". As written in leviticus, this puts the responsibility of selecting a time and place for their death in God's hands... and *His ALONE*.

That line, incidentally, shows up in leviticus referencing gay sex. Or, specifically,
psych-literal translation: "to bed as a man would bed another man" -again with the whole linguistics thing-
anal, there's no reason it can't be interpreted as male-on-female. Still- it's an act that is "unclean". I can't say I disagree... no problem with homosexuality (I've been known to dabble in it, myself), but no one's ever going to convince me that the backdoor is somehow "not dirty". Not that THAT has ever stopped me. Sex is only dirty when you're doing it right.

Fun fact... in order to no longer be abomination, one must perform
Another fancy latin word- tevla is the hebrew word
ablution to cleanse themselves- the concept would eventually evolve into baptism and is origin of the word "absolution". Keep in mind, this part of the bible was written for people spending a generation or so wandering about the middle east somewhere. It was likely less desert than it is today, but these people *used their own urine as a washing agent*. And they did so for a reason. Namely- it was a rarity for them to have water enough to drink, bathing was a rare luxury.

Taken together- it means don't touch dead things, don't touch *any* kind of blood (or numerous other fluids- including sexual discharge, saliva, vomit, and fluids from sores), don't touch genitals, and don't stick your penis in any buttholes... and if you do, you had better take baths, or you will die... and if you are currently abomination, then anything you come in contact with also becomes abomination until it is cleansed. The exception to this is food- once "tainted", the only way to make it clean is to burn it until it is ash.

I don't know about you, but sounds like a pretty solid grasp of hygiene and sanitation to me. It deserves notice how westerners- who were, for the most part, Christians- all managed to ignore these rules and got to enjoy such pandemics as
fact- typhoid is another word that sounds scary and impressive due to its historical meaning- but all it actually is... is salmonella- hardly a threat to a human body with a strong immune system and maybe a basic antibiotic- more of the language-culture-history schism that's all over this post
still going strong today, killing dozens of (usually homeless) people in most major cities here in the USA annually
bubonic plague, and
which, like salmonella, is now just called food poisoning unless you get a *really* bad case
dysentery... yeah... it's amazing how basic hygiene takes "the great plague of the century", gives it a new name, and turns it into a mostly ignored annoyance.

There's also rules against eating certain animals. Most of which just happen to be scavenger and/or predator species (rodents, pigs, shellfish, any species of arthropod really). And even those few animals which you ARE allowed to eat must be prepared certain ways (that ensure the drainage of blood from the animal, amongst other things). Speaking as someone with survivalist training- you *very much* want to follow these guidelines in the wild. Some... aren't so big a deal. Camels and horses, for example, are forbidden. There's nothing *dangerous* with either- though I can't say they're on my list of favorite foods- maybe eliminating them as food was good for animal population control... I dunno. Pigs, on the other hand... *shudder*... rat and opossum meat is actually safer in terms of parasites. If you really want to eat worms that badly, I recommend the fish bait variety. Contact with pig's blood can mean death even WITH modern medicine.

There are also specific rules banning utensils used to prepare more than one source of food. Actually, there's rules that expressly forbid- on threat of banishment- the mixing of just about any material with any other material. You keep fibers separated. Your wool is either 100% goat or 100% sheep, your leather works may not also include wool, plant fiber clothes contain no animal hair, you may not eat two different kinds of meat at the same meal- or even day, by some possible translations-, the list goes on and on. This is one of my favorite factoids to use on bible thumping gay bashers. Their *clothing* is a greater crime in the eyes of God than homosexuality.

There's even laws on how one must meet with strangers- including "no touching" rules. Hebrew warriors were expected to bathe before and after any battle.

All that material in those books which look like pointless ritualism to most people... well, once you start thinking in terms of quarantine and the spread of infections... it makes absolute sense. Know all those recent flairups where this product or that have salmonella or ecoli or whatever other disease?

And sometimes it can take upwards of *six months* before anyone figures out just which food product is causing the sickness? They had a big one a few years ago with some kind of mexican style salsa dip. And they never did figure out just where the contamination came from. Could have been peppers. Or tomatoes. Or other kinds of peppers. And it wasn't just one brand that was infected. A lot of people got sick, and some died, because of that.

As opposed to the "kosher" rules put forth in leviticus. If we followed those, that could not have happened. If multiple people started getting sick- they would be able to figure out what batch of wool their clothes came from. What food they ate. Who prepared the food they ate. And it would take maybe ten questions to do so. Interview a dozen people and you probably know the exact cause. There was no ambiguity. Anything that might have been infected was burned.

These people did not have antibiotics. They didn't have good diets, or good hydration, or a large healthy population base with strong genetic diversity spread over a large area. They were a collection of malnourished inbred nomads who didn't even have the ability to stay in one place long enough for the ill to recover. And they desperately needed every man, woman, and child to pull together and work all day, every day, just to keep their tribe alive. If there was a single slip... one decent sized ecoli outbreak (and it's really very easy to have ecoli outbreaks when you get an average of three baths a year)- it could easily have meant the extinction of Moses' people.

It's really quite impressive that *any* people *that* ancient would know to do and/or avoid these things. Especially a population of slaves. The most educated of the greeks might- at the latest period of leviticus' construction (around 500bc) have grasped some this stuff. But the early parts. The parts where the Laws on purity-and-cleansing come from... are well over 3,000 years old.

It also seems fairly clear that the majority, at least, really didn't know these things either. Not scientifically. They were handed a long series of religious edicts that made it clear in no uncertain terms that if they didn't obey, then God the Almighty would withdraw His "Holy Presence" and abandon them to a pitiful, lonely death... joined only by those who would seek to shelter them from that fate.

I can't know if they grasped disease and contagion theory intellectually, or to what degree. It is proof that someone, at least, *really* knew what they were doing when they wrote that book. "How" is a question I can't answer, and if someone did know the answer for fact, they couldn't provide any decent evidence that their statement was fact. For all we know, Atlantis was real and had awesome medicine and most people of the time knew these things, but records other than the biblical ones were lost.

Oh, and I'm sure there's probably a couple errors- keep in mind that I'm taking a number of iterations as one, here. I've read the Torah and Quran often enough, along with a number of Christian old testament variants. I'm running off *memory* here. I'd have to sit down with like eight separate 100 page books, as well as four translation guides (since I only barely know enough latin to translate it to english... and not enough arabic, greek, or hebrew to count for anything)... in order to backtrace which ones contain or don't contain which parts of the above materials. I did my best to stick with parts I seem to remember as "universal"... but I can't swear I was 100% successful.

Well, if aliens come over, I could see them wanting to keep us as pets. (Though in broad strokes I agree with Tana that a lot of the biblical laws about cleanliness were a good set of rules for people to blindly follow, until they were largely backed up by germ theory.)

Originally Posted by Scarecrow71 View Post
Their physical differences aside, the belief in either one is the same as the belief in the other. You cannot prove they do/don't exist, yet you have faith that they do.
As I've sad several times already, the difference is that one is transcendent, the other is not. That means that one you cannot prove exists in principle, the other is just too difficult to do practically.

You can prove the presence of an alien: for instance, find one, lock it up in a secret government facility called Area 51, and dissect it.
You can prove the absence of an alien: make a census of all life forms on the planet complex enough to have evolved intelligence. If there are no aliens, then there are no aliens present.

It is, by the definition of the concept 'deity', impossible to conceive of an experiment that would prove or disprove the existence of one.
That's why sentient cheeses, while originally intended to be facetious, are actually a good comparison: finding all cheeses, and test them for sentience, would prove that there is no such things. Finding a sentient cheese and holding it in your hand would prove their existence. Exactly like aliens.
If anything, I should be asking you how belief in the presence of sentient cheeses on Earth is different from belief in the presence of aliens on Earth?

Aliens on earth are more like Tim Horton's coffee in my banks safe: I could, in theory, break into the bank and check, but success is unlikely. However, since there is no Tim Horton's on my entire continent, I know it would also be unlikely that any would have gotten there due to the logistical difficulties.
Similarly, I could, in theory, conduct the mentioned census, but it's unlikely. However, since I know there are no aliens from here and the logistical difficulties of getting from one planet to another, and that it would be difficult to sustain and conceal such a lifeform, I know the likelihood of aliens being present is limited.

Finally, a second fundamental difference between belief in aliens and belief in a deity lies in the fact it's, in fact, a false metaphor: believing or not believing in a deity is believing whether one exists at all.
Believing or not believing in aliens, in this context, is about believing their existence and their presence here and now.

There's a significant difference between what people do believe, and what they ought to believe.

There's a significant difference between what one believes and what one knows.

There's a significant difference between what one is [epistemically] permitted to believe and what one is [epistemically] obligated to believe.

There's a significant difference between absence of evidence and evidence of absence. (A "Noseeum Inference" usually plays a role here.)

Preceding remarks in this thread have generally confused/ignored/conflated these distinctions. As a result, it's difficult to come up with a cogent response to any of it without being open to the accusation of misconstruing the writer's intent.

So...back to ALIENS!

The original graphic identifies modes of communication as an important factor in determining how one ought to respond. Subsequent on-topic discussions in this thread have identified the alien's intent as an important factor (or at least one that might make the manner of human response relevant or irrelevant), but that's not necessarily something that a human could take into account when determining how to act. Are there other obvious factors that would help a human determine the proper way to handle first contact?


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