In ancient societies, leaders and elites gained legitimacy in the minds of the masses via impressive displays of clothes, music, furniture, food, buildings, parades, etc., which made more plausible their claims to actually be a higher class of creatures. Religions also gained legitimacy by claiming to represent even higher classes of creatures, i.e., gods, with which they also associated impressive luxury displays. The masses worshipped and obeyed these leaders and gods, and deferred to their judgment.
> false images
That's a really good point I hadn't thought of. I'll have to rethink lots of things. Thanks!
Having lots of children with low amounts of education is currently a more successful strategy in the first world than the opposite. Nobody starves to death or is too malnourished to be fertile because they weren't educated enough.
I agree with most of this. (And incidentally have read various similar observations from UFO writers elsewhere in the past, though not all these points.)
they aren’t remaking the universe much around here, or anywhere we can see, yet such remaking would have happened naturally unless they had coordinated strongly to prevent it. Thus they must have a strong “world” government which enforces a policy of preventing mass colonization and remaking of the universe.
I don't think this follows. As posted in more detail in reponse to your latest article, I think alien civilisations (or smaller groups big enough to do such things) might well all independently decide not to do anything visible for fear of attracting predators, viz. other alien civilisations, who might destroy them e.g. as a potential competitor.
We’d also be more inclined to limit our physical and tech expansion, as the aliens seem to have also done this. We’d be more willing to slow down our rates of innovation and change, as aliens seem okay with this in their society.
I think it's likely that many/most humans would give up innovating on the different grounds that there's no point reinventing the wheel, as aliens are millions of years ahead, have apparently long since solved all tech & other problems, and might sooner or later tell us how. Cf humans often lose the motivation to pursue a project once they realise someone else is already doing it far better than they ever could. (And not only if they regard them as a competitor.)
That said, I agree with another poster that governments might well secretly research and try to emulate alien technology/science, especially if it reveals previously unconsidered possibilities, e.g. anti-gravity.
I see your point. My argument is more in line with the observation that usually having a high number of children who cannot all receive the same education and other parental benefits isn't as effective a strategy, in an advanced technological society, compared to having a small number of children with a high level of parental attention invested in them. But yes, thinking more about that this seems to require a W.E.I.R.D. culture, which isn't (still?) shared by everyone.
Understood. Well, I think that provides for a reasonable alternative to dark forest options: send probes everywhere and keep tabs on other developing civilizations; if any of those releases an aggressive VN swarm, wipe it, and then wipe them.
Such an active filter would provide for a reasonably mostly-safe-for-everyone cosmic economy.
Edit: Incidentally, that might also explain why probes would allow themselves to be seen. It'd be a good way to gauge how a civilization reacts. Do they react in a prudent way? Keep keeping tabs. Do they become paranoid and decide to pre-emptively wipe other life-forms? Wipe them. Are they lazy or disorganized enough that they allow one of their own unsupervised, unrestricted access to VN-capabilities? They cannot be trusted, so wipe them. Etc.
Every star and every galaxy we can see, in every direction, looks as though its negentropy is not being harvested, and has never been harvested. And if dark matter is aliens, then they have formed a negentropy-ignoring halo around every galaxy we've checked, including distant ones in opposite directions in our sky. It's very hard to imagine how dark-matter aliens could be so ancient and pervasive and anisotropic. They would have had to have evolved absurdly early in the history of the universe, probably before supernova nucleosynthesis made life possible.
Robin's new (Covid-fevered!) research this past winter describes a way to estimate when the nearest expanding bubble of grabby alien colonization will become visible to us: on the order of half a billion years.
I hesitate to make this argument because I don't see how it's falsifiable, but: how do we know that they're not "remaking the universe much around here"? Or more accurately that they haven't done so in the past? We observe the distant universe at time T, through telescopes, but the Milky Way is only ~100k light-years across. We don't have any direct way to observe its state at, say, time T - 100m years. If things were significantly different from their natural state (analogous to, say, the difference between a primeval forest and recently reforested parkland), would we notice?
Something has to account for all that dark matter, right? ;-)
Your comment is not on the topic of this post. Please don't try to turn every even distantly related conversation into one on your fav topic.
Add on: Should the Pentagon leak an oblique story that the US military has made contact with UFOs? And then later leak a video of an advanced weapon system vaporizing airplanes?
Should the US also create false images on Russian and Sino radar---images that zip around much faster than even military aircraft? Images that return to US airspace and disappear?
"This paper describes the theory, design, implementation, simulation, and testing of an ASIC capable of generating false target radar images for countering wideband synthetic aperture and inverse synthetic aperture imaging radars. The 5.5 × 6.1 mm IC has 81632 transistors, 132 I/O pins, and consumes 0.132 W at 70 MHz from a 3.3-V supply. An introduction to the application and operation of the ASIC in an electronic attack system is also presented. The false target image is fully programmable and the chip is capable of generating images of both small and large targets, even up to the size of an aircraft carrier. This is the first reported use of all-digital technology to generate false target radar images of large targets"---IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits 2002
OK, not to be a spoil-sport, but evidently the ability to project false images onto radars is a thing. I dunno about thermal images.
This leads me back to wanting a verifiable, optical image of a UFO.
I am not discounting the possibility of alien origin. I have no status anyway, so I do not risk status by believing, or not believing, in UFOs.
I think intelligent life in our galaxy, much more advanced than our own, is almost a certainty. Can they get here?
Please, let us mount webcams on commercial and military jets. They are cheap.
You're fixated on the average/median/modal behavior -- about which I don't doubt that you are correct.
But to understand the exponential phenomenon of grabbiness, you have to focus on the extreme tail end of the grabbiness spectrum. Don't think Amish having large families. Think Elon Musk doing a vanity rocket launch, but instead of a Tesla, he launches a self-reproducing inter-stellar probe.
All of our shared agreements about "cultural, social, political, ideological, and rational choices" mean literally nothing(*) here unless they result in Borg-like foolproof coordination against anyone ever launching a Von Neumann probe, from anywhere, for any reason, ever.
(*) I'm assuming that it's far easier to release interstellar cancer than to extinct it once released. That is why I find alien UFOs only plausible if they are zookeepers with Borg-like policing against development/release of VN cancer.
Even pre-modern humans are FAR more technologically advanced than chimpanzees. This enabled Polynesians to travel vast distances to colonize islands. Under your theory, human population should grow much slower than other species of ape. But that's entirely wrong, and humans dominate the planet. There is no necessary connection between technological advance & a decline in fertility. In fact, developments in agriculture often caused booms in populations. And you might be fooled by the high fertility of the Amish into thinking technology is the reason for reduced fertility, but ultra-Orthodox Jews manage to have high fertility rates without comparable prohibitions on technology.
To your point, I cannot think of an animal case of 'refusing to communicate' that involves something akin to respect. A female rejecting a male's attempt to reproduce would be an example supporting your point.
However silly it is to imagine, though, if I saw Bill Gates occasionally from my office window, but only managed to take grainy unverifiable pictures of him, I would still see it as a sign of interest bordering on respect. That idea of respect would drop dramatically with the social status of the individual engaging in that behavior.
"as long as any subset of the population reproduces at a higher rate, they will eventually come to dominate the population of the future"
True, but then there's the question of how technologically articulated that group remains for interstellar grabbiness to become a thing. Among humans, which is our one data point, socio-technological advance and high-reproductive rate seem to move in opposite directions, and since technological prowess seems to be needed for interstellar grabbiness, a grabby humanity doesn't seem likely.
The alternative is a very unlikely combination of a highly reproductive group inheriting space-travel technology from the self-extinguishing other side of humanity, then growing slow enough to be able to move into space and from there towards other planets without first exhausting the natural resources that'd be needed for moving into space and then going through a Malthusian reduction.
Now, what I find quite interesting in this discussion is how much weight comments put on irrational biological drives atop and above cultural, social, political, ideological, and rational choices. That's not really how humans actually function.