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Could Earth Survive An Alien Attack?

Idealist
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11/8/2013 10:27:31 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Okay, so I saw a couple of shows on National Geographic and the History Channel in which various scientists and other thinkers postulated the outcome of an attack on Earth by an alien species, and now I'm intrigued. Do you think that a species advanced enough to travel to Earth would have conquest in their sights, and if so, what strategies do you think they'd deploy? What could we do to effectively defend ourselves, if anything at all?
Bullish
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11/9/2013 2:25:24 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Yeah, they could probably do whatever the f*** they want if their technology makes conquering a puny planet like earth from light-years away worthwhile.

If they're in it for the resources, they can just blow earth up and take what's left. They can't possibly need human labor, because they probably have fusion powered robots or something else more advanced and reliable than humans.
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Debaterpillar
Posts: 113
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11/9/2013 5:50:00 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 11/8/2013 10:27:31 PM, Idealist wrote:
Okay, so I saw a couple of shows on National Geographic and the History Channel in which various scientists and other thinkers postulated the outcome of an attack on Earth by an alien species, and now I'm intrigued. Do you think that a species advanced enough to travel to Earth would have conquest in their sights, and if so, what strategies do you think they'd deploy? What could we do to effectively defend ourselves, if anything at all?

I also saw a 'documentary' (at least that's what they called it...) about this yesterday, and it's indeed an interesting topic.

I don't think that any sufficiently advanced alien society would attack us to begin with, as I guess they'd reach a 'pleasure singularity', meaning that if they have the technology for interstellar travel, then they would likely also have the technology to put themselves into an ongoing state of highest pleasure (by drugs, manipulation of their own reward systems, virtual realities, etc.). And I think it is this state, every intelligent species will reach well before conquering other planets, so if there are advanced alien civilizations out there, they wouldn't even care about the rest of the universe and just sit at home 'being stimulated'.

Judging from the time scales of the universe, alien civilizations might be technologically millions of years ahead of us, so I doubt we could do anything to defend ourselves should any alien civilization choose to conquer Earth. Eventually it all comes down to 'Resistance is futile'.
"Me fail English? That's unpossible." Ralph Wiggum.
SCHUMAN8R
Posts: 42
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11/9/2013 7:59:50 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I don't think that we would unite as a planet in order to defend ourselves. I think the planet would be in different groups and we would only look out for our allies. I think the earth would get conquered and we would have no chance. If they can bring themselves to earth from light years away they can destroy us.
Can't touch this!
Idealist
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11/9/2013 8:10:32 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 11/9/2013 2:25:24 PM, Bullish wrote:
Yeah, they could probably do whatever the f*** they want if their technology makes conquering a puny planet like earth from light-years away worthwhile.

If they're in it for the resources, they can just blow earth up and take what's left. They can't possibly need human labor, because they probably have fusion powered robots or something else more advanced and reliable than humans.

I can't imagine what resources we have that they would want, unless it was water, air, or life itself to use for food. I mean, all the minerals are scattered everywhere throughout the universe. I like the movies they make about alien invasions, but I agree with you that the outcomes they show aren't very likely.
Idealist
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11/9/2013 11:22:52 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 11/9/2013 5:50:00 PM, Debaterpillar wrote:
At 11/8/2013 10:27:31 PM, Idealist wrote:

I also saw a 'documentary' (at least that's what they called it...) about this yesterday, and it's indeed an interesting topic.

I don't think that any sufficiently advanced alien society would attack us to begin with, as I guess they'd reach a 'pleasure singularity', meaning that if they have the technology for interstellar travel, then they would likely also have the technology to put themselves into an ongoing state of highest pleasure (by drugs, manipulation of their own reward systems, virtual realities, etc.). And I think it is this state, every intelligent species will reach well before conquering other planets, so if there are advanced alien civilizations out there, they wouldn't even care about the rest of the universe and just sit at home 'being stimulated'.

Judging from the time scales of the universe, alien civilizations might be technologically millions of years ahead of us, so I doubt we could do anything to defend ourselves should any alien civilization choose to conquer Earth. Eventually it all comes down to 'Resistance is futile'.

Do you think that's what humans will do if they survive to develop the right technology - to just put themselves in a permanent stasis of peace and pleasure? I used to wonder about that, but I think our minds would reject that after a while. We get sick of anything we do to extreme, and we have too much curiosity to remain static. I don't see how being advanced would make a species any less aggressive. We should expect them to be pretty much like us - a predatory species prone to conflict, which is why they would have risen to control their own planet. I think Stephen Hawking was right when he talked about the danger of the SETI project. It's like sending an invitation to dinner to someone you probably wouldn't like to come, because our planet might be the main course. I could be wrong, but why take the chance?
Idealist
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11/9/2013 11:30:44 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 11/9/2013 7:59:50 PM, SCHUMAN8R wrote:
I don't think that we would unite as a planet in order to defend ourselves. I think the planet would be in different groups and we would only look out for our allies. I think the earth would get conquered and we would have no chance. If they can bring themselves to earth from light years away they can destroy us.

When Reagan first met Gorbachev he asked him jokingly if we wouldn't unite, even as enemies, to defend our planet from an alien race. Gorbachev was surprised, but agreed that we would. Of course, those are just words. Why don't you believe that our desire for survival of the species would prompt us to cooperate in a united effort at defense? I agree we likely wouldn't have much success. Some of the scientists whose opinions they gave said that our best chance would be asymmetric warfare, but in the end it might come down to a risky roll of the dice, using a technique that employs nuclear weapons to send large chunks of metal flying into space like a giant shotgun blast toward the alien ship(s).
Subutai
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11/9/2013 11:33:11 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 11/9/2013 7:59:50 PM, SCHUMAN8R wrote:
I don't think that we would unite as a planet in order to defend ourselves. I think the planet would be in different groups and we would only look out for our allies. I think the earth would get conquered and we would have no chance. If they can bring themselves to earth from light years away they can destroy us.

While I agree that if a civilization has the capacity to have manned flights that travel in light years would most certainly overrun us, humans tend to cooperate with each other when under pressure from an outside force. It's the "us vs. them" idea all over again. No matter how different Middle Easterners are from Westerners, they are alike compared to aliens. To quote an Arabian proverb, "I against my brothers; I and my brothers against my cousins; I, my brothers, and my cousins against the world". You can see how this could be extended one more into the Earth vs. the invaders.
I'm becoming less defined as days go by, fading away, and well you might say, I'm losing focus, kinda drifting into the abstract in terms of how I see myself.
cybertron1998
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11/9/2013 11:46:36 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 11/9/2013 8:10:32 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 11/9/2013 2:25:24 PM, Bullish wrote:
Yeah, they could probably do whatever the f*** they want if their technology makes conquering a puny planet like earth from light-years away worthwhile.

If they're in it for the resources, they can just blow earth up and take what's left. They can't possibly need human labor, because they probably have fusion powered robots or something else more advanced and reliable than humans.

I can't imagine what resources we have that they would want, unless it was water or life itself to use for food. I mean, all the minerals are scattered everywhere throughout the universe. I like the movies they make about alien invasions, but I agree with you that the outcomes they show aren't very likely.

I took out air because the probabilty of another planet with oxygen breating creatures is next to nothing.
Epsilon: There are so many stories where some brave hero decides to give their life to save the day, and because of their sacrifice, the good guys win, the survivors all cheer, and everybody lives happily ever after. But the hero... never gets to see that ending. They'll never know if their sacrifice actually made a difference. They'll never know if the day was really saved. In the end, they just have to have faith.
Debaterpillar
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11/10/2013 11:30:01 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 11/9/2013 11:22:52 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 11/9/2013 5:50:00 PM, Debaterpillar wrote:
I don't think that any sufficiently advanced alien society would attack us to begin with, as I guess they'd reach a 'pleasure singularity', meaning that if they have the technology for interstellar travel, then they would likely also have the technology to put themselves into an ongoing state of highest pleasure (by drugs, manipulation of their own reward systems, virtual realities, etc.). And I think it is this state, every intelligent species will reach well before conquering other planets, so if there are advanced alien civilizations out there, they wouldn't even care about the rest of the universe and just sit at home 'being stimulated'.
Do you think that's what humans will do if they survive to develop the right technology - to just put themselves in a permanent stasis of peace and pleasure? I used to wonder about that, but I think our minds would reject that after a while. We get sick of anything we do to extreme, and we have too much curiosity to remain static.
Yes, I definitely think that extrapolating into the future, humans will either go extinct or reach the 'pleasure singularity'. If the aliens (or we, respectively) had the technology to also alter their minds in a way that they won't get used to the stimulation, then I see no reason why they would get sick of this. It's not that people usually get sick of not feeling pain either ;- ) .
Curiosity is indeed an argument, but maybe the aliens already discovered everything worth being discovered. Additionally, as the happiness the 'pleasure singularity' would bring would likely be the highest amount of happiness possible (super-technology acting directly on the mind should be pretty effective), I don't think it could be outweighed by any another interest after all.

I don't see how being advanced would make a species any less aggressive. We should expect them to be pretty much like us - a predatory species prone to conflict, which is why they would have risen to control their own planet. I think Stephen Hawking was right when he talked about the danger of the SETI project. It's like sending an invitation to dinner to someone you probably wouldn't like to come, because our planet might be the main course. I could be wrong, but why take the chance?
I totally agree with your position on aliens being potentially aggressive, but only if they see a point. Consider a hardcore gamer being busy with his favorite new game. He would be so thrilled, that I doubt he would leave the game to kill a small insect sitting on the window. Equivalently, I doubt aliens beyond a certain level of intelligence would even bother to attack us.
"Me fail English? That's unpossible." Ralph Wiggum.
Debaterpillar
Posts: 113
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11/10/2013 11:53:36 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 11/9/2013 11:46:36 PM, cybertron1998 wrote:
At 11/9/2013 8:10:32 PM, Idealist wrote:
I can't imagine what resources we have that they would want, unless it was water or life itself to use for food. I mean, all the minerals are scattered everywhere throughout the universe. I like the movies they make about alien invasions, but I agree with you that the outcomes they show aren't very likely.

I took out air because the probabilty of another planet with oxygen breating creatures is next to nothing.
I would say quite the opposite. From the three known terrestrial planets endowed with an atmosphere one has oxygen breathing life and two have atmospheres mainly composed of carbon dioxide (and formerly water). From there I guess the most likely organisms to arise would convert carbon dioxide to oxygen via photosynthesis, which leaves a useful oxygen atmosphere and life to evolve to use it.

I'd actually say oxygen breathing creatures are thus the most likely to gain intelligence. Whether they'd stay breathing oxygen, or they'd 'upgrade to robots' is another question though...
"Me fail English? That's unpossible." Ralph Wiggum.
MysticEgg
Posts: 524
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11/10/2013 1:51:43 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
My X-Com game proves we can.
So do my Halo games.
And my Mass Effect games. :P

Seriously, though, I think it depends. To be honest, it depends. Contrary to popular adaptations, I don't think you equip science research teams or scouting probes with point laser technology capable of razing cities. You don't make first contact by sending in the mother of all tanks.
Idealist
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11/10/2013 2:20:36 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 11/9/2013 11:46:36 PM, cybertron1998 wrote:
At 11/9/2013 8:10:32 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 11/9/2013 2:25:24 PM, Bullish wrote:
Yeah, they could probably do whatever the f*** they want if their technology makes conquering a puny planet like earth from light-years away worthwhile.

If they're in it for the resources, they can just blow earth up and take what's left. They can't possibly need human labor, because they probably have fusion powered robots or something else more advanced and reliable than humans.

I can't imagine what resources we have that they would want, unless it was water or life itself to use for food. I mean, all the minerals are scattered everywhere throughout the universe. I like the movies they make about alien invasions, but I agree with you that the outcomes they show aren't very likely.

I took out air because the probabilty of another planet with oxygen breating creatures is next to nothing.

I don't know. It seems to me than we really can't know what the odds are of anything alien, or even the aliens existing. I mean, we don't even know how life began on Earth, so we have no way of deducing the odds that life can happen. If the odds are 200 billion to 1, then we've already achieved that in our galaxy, which has approximately that many stars.
Idealist
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11/10/2013 3:07:13 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 11/10/2013 11:30:01 AM, Debaterpillar wrote:
At 11/9/2013 11:22:52 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 11/9/2013 5:50:00 PM, Debaterpillar wrote:
I don't think that any sufficiently advanced alien society would attack us to begin with, as I guess they'd reach a 'pleasure singularity', meaning that if they have the technology for interstellar travel, then they would likely also have the technology to put themselves into an ongoing state of highest pleasure (by drugs, manipulation of their own reward systems, virtual realities, etc.). And I think it is this state, every intelligent species will reach well before conquering other planets, so if there are advanced alien civilizations out there, they wouldn't even care about the rest of the universe and just sit at home 'being stimulated'.
Do you think that's what humans will do if they survive to develop the right technology - to just put themselves in a permanent stasis of peace and pleasure? I used to wonder about that, but I think our minds would reject that after a while. We get sick of anything we do to extreme, and we have too much curiosity to remain static.
Yes, I definitely think that extrapolating into the future, humans will either go extinct or reach the 'pleasure singularity'. If the aliens (or we, respectively) had the technology to also alter their minds in a way that they won't get used to the stimulation, then I see no reason why they would get sick of this. It's not that people usually get sick of not feeling pain either ;- ) .
Curiosity is indeed an argument, but maybe the aliens already discovered everything worth being discovered. Additionally, as the happiness the 'pleasure singularity' would bring would likely be the highest amount of happiness possible (super-technology acting directly on the mind should be pretty effective), I don't think it could be outweighed by any another interest after all.

I don't see how being advanced would make a species any less aggressive. We should expect them to be pretty much like us - a predatory species prone to conflict, which is why they would have risen to control their own planet. I think Stephen Hawking was right when he talked about the danger of the SETI project. It's like sending an invitation to dinner to someone you probably wouldn't like to come, because our planet might be the main course. I could be wrong, but why take the chance?
I totally agree with your position on aliens being potentially aggressive, but only if they see a point. Consider a hardcore gamer being busy with his favorite new game. He would be so thrilled, that I doubt he would leave the game to kill a small insect sitting on the window. Equivalently, I doubt aliens beyond a certain level of intelligence would even bother to attack us.

Well, I'm not sure I'd consider the lack of pain as something that is. :) They would definitely get tired of pain, along with sex, pie, and even ice cream if they indulged too much. And the aliens may be just discovering their own first "aliens" in us. I believe that some people would become addicted to "virtual reality," but not everyone. It would depend on a person's stock of willpower. As to your second point I totally agree. It is highly unlikely, but a very interesting thought.
SCHUMAN8R
Posts: 42
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11/10/2013 6:50:44 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 11/9/2013 11:30:44 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 11/9/2013 7:59:50 PM, SCHUMAN8R wrote:
I don't think that we would unite as a planet in order to defend ourselves. I think the planet would be in different groups and we would only look out for our allies. I think the earth would get conquered and we would have no chance. If they can bring themselves to earth from light years away they can destroy us.

When Reagan first met Gorbachev he asked him jokingly if we wouldn't unite, even as enemies, to defend our planet from an alien race. Gorbachev was surprised, but agreed that we would. Of course, those are just words. Why don't you believe that our desire for survival of the species would prompt us to cooperate in a united effort at defense? I agree we likely wouldn't have much success. Some of the scientists whose opinions they gave said that our best chance would be asymmetric warfare, but in the end it might come down to a risky roll of the dice, using a technique that employs nuclear weapons to send large chunks of metal flying into space like a giant shotgun blast toward the alien ship(s).

Do you think that countries such as Iran that have people running the government that hate the United States would cooperate with us? Most likely any country involved with the radical Jihad belief would be against the United States. That sums up a good number of countries don't you think?
Can't touch this!
Idealist
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11/10/2013 7:07:35 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 11/10/2013 6:50:44 PM, SCHUMAN8R wrote:
At 11/9/2013 11:30:44 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 11/9/2013 7:59:50 PM, SCHUMAN8R wrote:
I don't think that we would unite as a planet in order to defend ourselves. I think the planet would be in different groups and we would only look out for our allies. I think the earth would get conquered and we would have no chance. If they can bring themselves to earth from light years away they can destroy us.

When Reagan first met Gorbachev he asked him jokingly if we wouldn't unite, even as enemies, to defend our planet from an alien race. Gorbachev was surprised, but agreed that we would. Of course, those are just words. Why don't you believe that our desire for survival of the species would prompt us to cooperate in a united effort at defense? I agree we likely wouldn't have much success. Some of the scientists whose opinions they gave said that our best chance would be asymmetric warfare, but in the end it might come down to a risky roll of the dice, using a technique that employs nuclear weapons to send large chunks of metal flying into space like a giant shotgun blast toward the alien ship(s).

Do you think that countries such as Iran that have people running the government that hate the United States would cooperate with us? Most likely any country involved with the radical Jihad belief would be against the United States. That sums up a good number of countries don't you think?

Yeah, you've got a good point there, but really, those countries couldn't contribute much anyway with an attack from outer-space. I would think the countries which would do the lion's share of the work would be the US, Russia, China, the other NATO countries, India, and maybe a few others. Do you think the non-cooperation of the "radical countries" would really hurt much?
Idealist
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11/10/2013 7:09:51 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 11/10/2013 11:35:48 AM, AnDoctuir wrote:
I would repel the aliens with my superior philosophy.

I'm all for that! Maybe we could all philosophize them away. :) But what if they turn-off the radio because our philosophizing bores them?
Idealist
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11/10/2013 7:12:33 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 11/10/2013 11:53:36 AM, Debaterpillar wrote:
At 11/9/2013 11:46:36 PM, cybertron1998 wrote:
At 11/9/2013 8:10:32 PM, Idealist wrote:
I can't imagine what resources we have that they would want, unless it was water or life itself to use for food. I mean, all the minerals are scattered everywhere throughout the universe. I like the movies they make about alien invasions, but I agree with you that the outcomes they show aren't very likely.

I took out air because the probabilty of another planet with oxygen breating creatures is next to nothing.
I would say quite the opposite. From the three known terrestrial planets endowed with an atmosphere one has oxygen breathing life and two have atmospheres mainly composed of carbon dioxide (and formerly water). From there I guess the most likely organisms to arise would convert carbon dioxide to oxygen via photosynthesis, which leaves a useful oxygen atmosphere and life to evolve to use it.

I'd actually say oxygen breathing creatures are thus the most likely to gain intelligence. Whether they'd stay breathing oxygen, or they'd 'upgrade to robots' is another question though...

That was always my opinion, too. Oxygen is a very common element, and since it aids chemical combustion and metabolism it serves as a ready source of energy for organisms to use.
Idealist
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11/10/2013 7:15:09 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 11/10/2013 1:51:43 PM, MysticEgg wrote:
My X-Com game proves we can.
So do my Halo games.
And my Mass Effect games. :P

Seriously, though, I think it depends. To be honest, it depends. Contrary to popular adaptations, I don't think you equip science research teams or scouting probes with point laser technology capable of razing cities. You don't make first contact by sending in the mother of all tanks.

That's a pretty original-sounding thought. The first ships would be exploratory. So unless we failed to detect them a surprise attack would be unlikely, and we might actually have time to prepare a defense. Would we have the willpower and wisdom to do so, however?
Wren_cyborg
Posts: 241
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11/10/2013 9:09:01 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 11/9/2013 5:50:00 PM, Debaterpillar wrote:
At 11/8/2013 10:27:31 PM, Idealist wrote:
Okay, so I saw a couple of shows on National Geographic and the History Channel in which various scientists and other thinkers postulated the outcome of an attack on Earth by an alien species, and now I'm intrigued. Do you think that a species advanced enough to travel to Earth would have conquest in their sights, and if so, what strategies do you think they'd deploy? What could we do to effectively defend ourselves, if anything at all?

I also saw a 'documentary' (at least that's what they called it...) about this yesterday, and it's indeed an interesting topic.

I don't think that any sufficiently advanced alien society would attack us to begin with, as I guess they'd reach a 'pleasure singularity', meaning that if they have the technology for interstellar travel, then they would likely also have the technology to put themselves into an ongoing state of highest pleasure (by drugs, manipulation of their own reward systems, virtual realities, etc.). And I think it is this state, every intelligent species will reach well before conquering other planets, so if there are advanced alien civilizations out there, they wouldn't even care about the rest of the universe and just sit at home 'being stimulated'.

I have seen nothing in psychology that leads me to believe that such a state can be reached. Humans have all types of drugs to create pleasure - I've taken quite a few of them myself. I can tell you first-hand that a mind cannot be manipulated in the fashion you are explaining. No matter what method, what drug, what pampering or stimulation you give it, the mind will simply create a tolerance and reset its pleasure-level to that state. Rich people, coke-addicts, and home-bodies are not happier than you or I. You and I are not happier than a caveman.
Wren_cyborg
Posts: 241
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11/10/2013 9:17:07 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
If aliens are quite advanced, and disposed to eliminating us (perhaps to occupy Earth for themselves), then their best bet would probably be a biological agent that they are either immune to or have an antidote for. We would be defeated rather easily, provided they introduced it in most of Earth's major cities.
Idealist
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11/10/2013 9:37:50 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 11/10/2013 9:17:07 PM, Wren_cyborg wrote:
If aliens are quite advanced, and disposed to eliminating us (perhaps to occupy Earth for themselves), then their best bet would probably be a biological agent that they are either immune to or have an antidote for. We would be defeated rather easily, provided they introduced it in most of Earth's major cities.

That was one of the scenarios postulated on the show. The aliens could develop microbes lethal to humans and simply seed it into the atmosphere from their place in orbit. The best way would be to infect birds with a lethal respiratory virus, since their respiratory systems are so similar to that of humans. I hope they aren't intercepting our TV shows or e-mails. If they are, we may be giving them some good ideas. lol
Skynet
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11/10/2013 10:38:26 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 11/10/2013 7:09:51 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 11/10/2013 11:35:48 AM, AnDoctuir wrote:
I would repel the aliens with my superior philosophy.

I'm all for that! Maybe we could all philosophize them away. :) But what if they turn-off the radio because our philosophizing bores them?

All this talk about what they MUST be able to do makes me kinda chuckle. As if we would know. The only species we can use as an analogue to an aggressive sentient species is ourselves. And knowing what I know about myself, I can have a decent guess about thought and tactics. Technology is a complete unknown. What we do know is that it takes a tremendous amount of energy to get off the planet, and an incredible amount more to go somewhere else. That's just physics. So in my invasion of the alien world, Earth, I'll have to spend a lot of resources to get there. Once I'm there, I must assume worst case scenario: A united human race of 8 billion. Even if my warp drive or whatever is pretty efficient, why spend more than I need to? No direct attacks, no military attacks if necessary. Learning biology will be useful later, but time consuming.

Employ psychology. Make key people believe I am not the aggressor, pit them against eachother, sow the seeds of pity and acceptance for my cause. Manipulate the gullible and greedy, lure the ambitious. Why waste the entire labor force when I can use it for myself? One unarmed ambassador ship with one clever creature aboard doesn't need much more than means to get here, and a way to communicate. Totally asymmetrical warfare is the thing that would be most effective, and least expected.
One perk to being a dad is you get to watch cartoons again without explaining yourself.
Idealist
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11/10/2013 10:54:21 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 11/10/2013 10:38:26 PM, Skynet wrote:
At 11/10/2013 7:09:51 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 11/10/2013 11:35:48 AM, AnDoctuir wrote:

All this talk about what they MUST be able to do makes me kinda chuckle. As if we would know. The only species we can use as an analogue to an aggressive sentient species is ourselves. And knowing what I know about myself, I can have a decent guess about thought and tactics. Technology is a complete unknown. What we do know is that it takes a tremendous amount of energy to get off the planet, and an incredible amount more to go somewhere else. That's just physics. So in my invasion of the alien world, Earth, I'll have to spend a lot of resources to get there. Once I'm there, I must assume worst case scenario: A united human race of 8 billion. Even if my warp drive or whatever is pretty efficient, why spend more than I need to? No direct attacks, no military attacks if necessary. Learning biology will be useful later, but time consuming.

Employ psychology. Make key people believe I am not the aggressor, pit them against eachother, sow the seeds of pity and acceptance for my cause. Manipulate the gullible and greedy, lure the ambitious. Why waste the entire labor force when I can use it for myself? One unarmed ambassador ship with one clever creature aboard doesn't need much more than means to get here, and a way to communicate. Totally asymmetrical warfare is the thing that would be most effective, and least expected.

Hey . . . it's a game, not a competition! :) I think it's interesting to postulate not only on the question itself, but on how we think technology influences philosophy. Science tackles more abstract questions every day, after all. You say it takes a tremendous amount of energy to get off the ground, but if the aliens are like us then they've probably completed a large space-station/assembly plant by now, negating that constraint. Or maybe they've built forward bases on moons or rogue planets. We really have no idea what things will become most valuable as technology progresses. There may well be some elementary part of Earth life which proves to be very important to alien life, or something else of the kind. I like the idea about asymmetrical warfare. That was my first pick, and was also on the show. In the end, most of the commentators agreed, the aliens would have to descend to Earth for a mop-up exercise. That might be when they are most vulnerable.
chui
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11/11/2013 10:44:02 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 11/10/2013 11:35:48 AM, AnDoctuir wrote:
I would repel the aliens with my superior philosophy.

Finally we have found a use for philosophers!
MysticEgg
Posts: 524
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11/11/2013 3:22:06 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 11/10/2013 7:15:09 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 11/10/2013 1:51:43 PM, MysticEgg wrote:
My X-Com game proves we can.
So do my Halo games.
And my Mass Effect games. :P

Seriously, though, I think it depends. To be honest, it depends. Contrary to popular adaptations, I don't think you equip science research teams or scouting probes with point laser technology capable of razing cities. You don't make first contact by sending in the mother of all tanks.

That's a pretty original-sounding thought. The first ships would be exploratory. So unless we failed to detect them a surprise attack would be unlikely, and we might actually have time to prepare a defense. Would we have the willpower and wisdom to do so, however?

Maybe. We go too much into speculation, but I fear "no", because: politics.
Debaterpillar
Posts: 113
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11/11/2013 5:05:50 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 11/10/2013 9:09:01 PM, Wren_cyborg wrote:
At 11/9/2013 5:50:00 PM, Debaterpillar wrote:
I don't think that any sufficiently advanced alien society would attack us to begin with, as I guess they'd reach a 'pleasure singularity', meaning that if they have the technology for interstellar travel, then they would likely also have the technology to put themselves into an ongoing state of highest pleasure (by drugs, manipulation of their own reward systems, virtual realities, etc.). And I think it is this state, every intelligent species will reach well before conquering other planets, so if there are advanced alien civilizations out there, they wouldn't even care about the rest of the universe and just sit at home 'being stimulated'.

I have seen nothing in psychology that leads me to believe that such a state can be reached. Humans have all types of drugs to create pleasure - I've taken quite a few of them myself. I can tell you first-hand that a mind cannot be manipulated in the fashion you are explaining. No matter what method, what drug, what pampering or stimulation you give it, the mind will simply create a tolerance and reset its pleasure-level to that state. Rich people, coke-addicts, and home-bodies are not happier than you or I. You and I are not happier than a caveman.

As for current psychology I agree, our brains would just continuously adapt the tolerance level when being stimulated by the chemical drugs we know. But 'cannot' is a strong word when referring to aliens whose technology might appear to us like nanotechnology would appear to chimps. Neural adaption is closely tied to how the synapses work, and in my opinion it should easily be possible to circumvent it if the aliens for example made use of mind uploading.
"Me fail English? That's unpossible." Ralph Wiggum.
themohawkninja
Posts: 816
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11/11/2013 5:18:35 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I'm going to say no, and here is why.

There is a paradox, to which I believe in called Fermi's paradox. It states that there is a blatant contradiction between the estimated time to get to space travel, and the number of possible civilizations in the galaxy. There SHOULD be many alien civilizations roaming the cosmos, but there aren't which leads some to think that there may be a "Great Filter" (there was a thread about that not too long ago) that keeps civilization from getting to the point of space travel. That being said, if there is a alien civilization that wants to attack Earth, that would mean that it has the technology to get from their home star system, to Earth in a reasonable period of time with sufficient armament/troops for attack, and still have plenty of resources when they get here to attack, which means that they would also possibly have some element of surprise (chances are we would see them coming, but not perceive it as an alien threat until they got very close to Earth). Therefore they would be so technologically advanced that unless our nuclear arsenal is sufficient (given that the aliens haven't accounted for nuclear weapons in a civilizations' arsenal) that I don't see much hope for the Earth.

Although, maybe there would be the enemies of the aliens attacking us that would jump at the chance to kill their foes while they are distracted (the enemy of your enemy is your friend as is always said), but that is a heck of an assumption.
"Morals are simply a limit to man's potential."~Myself

Political correctness is like saying you can't have a steak, because a baby can't eat one ~Unknown
Debaterpillar
Posts: 113
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11/11/2013 5:27:19 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 11/10/2013 3:07:13 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 11/10/2013 11:30:01 AM, Debaterpillar wrote:
Yes, I definitely think that extrapolating into the future, humans will either go extinct or reach the 'pleasure singularity'. If the aliens (or we, respectively) had the technology to also alter their minds in a way that they won't get used to the stimulation, then I see no reason why they would get sick of this. It's not that people usually get sick of not feeling pain either ;- ) .

Well, I'm not sure I'd consider the lack of pain as something that is. :) They would definitely get tired of pain, along with sex, pie, and even ice cream if they indulged too much.
Fair enough, but the fact that humans get tired of sex and ice cream (I omitted pie because I refuse to live in a world where people would get tired of pie :- ) ) is mainly a biological problem. If mind uploading is possible (and as scientists already ponder it, I think after some million years of technological advancement it should be), then one could just reprogram one's own mind to feel the joy of eating ice cream for the first time - over and over again. Even if it meant to constantly erase your short term memory.

And the aliens may be just discovering their own first "aliens" in us. I believe that some people would become addicted to "virtual reality," but not everyone. It would depend on a person's stock of willpower.
Mentioning willpower makes the pleasure singularity almost sound like a bad thing (be it a virtual reality or just some kind of highly pleasant sleeping state). For willpower to be an issue, there must be the will to not enter the singularity. But since in my opinion everything we do is purely for feeling some kind of happiness, I see no reason why anyone should refuse to enter it, even when after doing so discovering the 'first' aliens would be rather uninteresting.
"Me fail English? That's unpossible." Ralph Wiggum.