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starship-design: It's a bad, bad world out there
I just read a book yesterday that many of you might find interesting. It is
a work of science fiction written by a scientist (Charles Pellegrino)
called "The Killing Star".
It covers several philosophical matters that we have recently discussed in
this group and he and his co-author George Zebrowski do a much better job
of elucidating the arguments than we did. It includes a lot of REAL quotes
from several think tank sessions by various physicists, researchers, and
authors including Isaac Asimov.
Here is one especially relevant section from pages 114-115:
"...all that we knew boiled down to three simple laws of alien behavior:
1) THEIR SURVIVAL WILL BE MORE IMPORTANT THAN OUR SURVIVAL. If an alien
species has to choose between them and us, they won't choose us. I t is
hard to imagine a contrary case; species don't survive by being self
2) WIMPS DON'T BECOME TOP DOGS. No species makes it to the top by being
passive. The species in charge of any given planet will be highly
intelligent, alert, aggressive, and ruthless when necessary.
3) THEY WILL ASSUME THAT THE FIRST TWO LAWS APPLY TO US."
They came to pretty much the same conclusion as I did regarding the
proximity of other intelligent species, there are no intelligent space
faring species currently within our detection range, but they did inject a
new idea. We automatically ASSUME because of our own built in prejudices
that an intelligent, tool using, space faring species must come from a
terrestrial type planet in a liquid water zone. They point out that it is
quite feasible for them to come from an aquatic planet which may be OUTSIDE
the liquid water zone as we currently define it. A large moon orbiting an
outer jovian planet for instance. And these planets probably outnumber the
terrestrial planets two or three to one....
Pick up a copy if you have the chance.
Up the airy mountain,
Down the rushy glen,
We daren't go a-hunting
For fear of little men;
William Allingham, Ireland, 1850