Re: Deux ex machina? Was RE: seti@home is SORTA WORKING

Robert J. Bradbury (
Sun, 11 Jul 1999 20:49 PDT

> "O'Regan, Emlyn" <> writes:
> I don't think you can dismiss the "superintelligent aliens are all around
> us" argument out of hand. I certainly don't think that you can discount the
> possibility (and high probability according to some) of Super Smart Guys
> (SSGs, also Super Smart Gals) - messing aroung in our local vicinity.

Note -- the evidence doesn't stack up for them messing around in our local vicinity. [They may be observing, but they aren't interfering [regligious miracles & alien abductions excepted]. The evidence as I read it, best says, once evolved, a "stand-off-ish" position is adopted that allows them to inexpensively observe further evolution. Not too different from the human approach to the birds & the bees. [Note, that if the Universe as we see it is a TV screen, then all bets are off.]

> Seriously of course, you cannot work on that basis. Occam's razor remains
> the only viable way to interpret measurements of our environment. So we need
> to progress on the assumption that no one is out there messing with the
> works.

You can argue for an increase "intervention" but then you have to "bend the Razor" since it requires more thought/energy/ships, etc. Bending the razor would seem to require that you make an argument that "SSGs" derive some benefit from interfering that exceeds the cost.

> Homogenous thinking leads to tyrany - eliminating idiocy breeds new,
> stronger forms of stupidity (meme version of the antibiotics problem?)

Good analogy. What I've been trying to do is to get people to really engage in the logical consequences of evolution & natural selection (everyone understands natural selection on a planetary scale, but few poeple have extended it to a galactic scale).

> B5 fans - legions of SSGs orbiting the visible galaxy - does this sound like
> the "beyond the rim" where the old ones go? Spooky. I think JMS might just
> be an alien plant...

B5? JMS? You lost me. Tie-downs please...

> Is anyone familiar with Larry Niven's short story "The Locusts"?

No, but the subsequent discussion encourages me to read it.

> "Master, I detect a disturbance in the Force"

You've got that right. As we better understand the the capabilities of SSGs, the Death Star begins to look appealing.