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Thread: Intelligent Life In The Galaxy Define Intelligent

  1. #1
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    How would you define intelligent life in the galaxy?

    For example intelligence could be definded by the ability to leave your planet and travel into deep space.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    The beings that can survive under different condition, such as higher/lower temperature.

  3. #3
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    For example intelligence could be defined by the ability to leave your planet and travel into deep space.
    Your definition may be too restrictive. The people of ancient Sumer, Egypt, Israel, Rome, Greece, and all civilizations prior to 1900 were intelligent but not capable of space travel. But they were on a technological improvement journey that led them to becoming capable of traveling through space.

    It is the nature of evolution to produce technologically adept critters in each environment wherein it is not prohibited by that environment and at different rates as a function of the environment. The process is way too complex to be predictable with the tools currently at our disposal.

  4. #4
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    How about... beings who have the ability to build on the knowledge and experiences of others (whether they be contemporaries, ancestors, or another species).

  5. #5
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    Here is more discussion on this subject.

    How about... beings who have the ability to build on the knowledge and experiences of others (whether they be contemporaries, ancestors, or another species).
    Right on!! That's us. Also search on the Drake equation here in the forum.

  6. #6
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    Here is a reference to a modified ersion of the Drake equation.

  7. #7
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    I agree with Gourdhead that a specific technological achievement is not a measure of intelligence.

    I'd say that intelligence is shown by anything aware of, and able to interact with, its environment.

    Given enough time, anything that can manipulate its environment can evolve into a sophisticated species with the potential for reaching space. (Of course, whether they have the desire to is another question.)

  8. #8
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    Birds can survive under different conditions, many other species also, and without artificial help as humans require. Perhaps that should be a addendum to that criteria.

    I understand the arugment of ancient civ's being signs of intelligence .. to us .. we are their product. Implied in my question is that we either are in a position to travel to other planets and observe other creatures, or observe them in other ways, such as, imagining the surface of a planet telescopically. Would we be able to recognize signs of intelligence? Turn the question around a bit, aliens orbit Earth, sees the cities, sees trains, planes, and cheese puffs, and says we have ants (or the alien equivalent) that do that much ... pppffff!! NEXT!

    Ants, termites, birds, etc., construct habitats but can it be said they are "intelligent."? Yes they sense their surroundings, interface with it, and shape it BUT are they conscious? To aliens we may be seen as no more than termites, sophisticated termites we would like to think, but termites just the same. A SURE sign, to an alien, of consciousness and hense intelligence is the ability to travel in space, intersystem or interstellar. Space travel would require a conscious effort since the idea of space/space travel is not likely to occur to a species not capable of abstract thought beyond its immediate (if then) surroundings.

  9. #9
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    A SURE sign, to an alien, of consciousness and hense intelligence is the ability to travel in space, intersystem or interstellar. Space travel would require a conscious effort since the idea of space/space travel is not likely to occur to a species not capable of abstract thought beyond its immediate (if then) surroundings.
    I believe we are in close agreement. I was trying to distinguish between intelligence in general and technology development toward a specific end such as interstellar travel to which intelligence is subservient.

  10. #10
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    I would have to say that intelligence is relative, and we can only judge things relative to us. We are more intelligent than birds, yet they are more intelligent than a centipede. Dolphins are considered "the second most intelligent" lifeform on earth. Where does basic intelligence start? is it the difference between a lifeform always following instinct, or going against its insticts to reach a specific goal.

  11. #11
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    Intelligence can be defined as consciousness, itself, but in highly developed stage. The ancient empires of the world were intelligent, but they were in a transition phase, that is they were not sufficiently developed to carry out space exploration. They were too busy in capturing territory and making battles to give attention to scientific research which would benefit the whole of mankind. I call a species intelligent when they are the rulers of their home planet(like humans are of Earth), they are sufficiently well developed to make colonies on other planets their whole race is united for only 1 purpose:- to explore the universe, and develop scientifically.

  12. #12
    xXxDarkSkyNitexzxXx Guest
    beings who have temper. But will attack when provoked for example the terrorist, i don't know if did we good peoples ever provoked them. WE humans deep down our heart are kind. Everyone does not born out bad its the enviroment they are in, the way they are nutured. Human are sometimes selfish do the things they love. Human are intelligent able to invent things to help us do the things we can't. Like flying, travelling under and on water at fast speed. Now we can even go to space isn't it cool. If human can learnt not to be selfish and love everyone with an open heart we will be perfect and more things can be accomplish. Maybe we can even travel at the speed of light??

  13. #13
    Victoria Guest
    Glad to respond. h34r: As my 'right' side would say, intelligence is inherited; though my 'left' side may sway; intelligence, comes from the heart.

  14. #14
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    Greetings

    Intellegence: Self Aware, Manipulates Environment, Communicates, Can See the Stars (????? and wants to go there), Has an Emotional Reaction to Its Environment, Learns from Experience, Can Programme a VCR. Can Read an Analog Watch.

    Sorry to be trite. Ants are highly structured in their behaviour. Very successful at manipulating their environment, co-operate to a common goal, etc. But I don't think they are considered intellegent.

    The Turin (?????) Proposition of Computers & Robots is, broadly speaking, if their communications and reactions are indistinguishable from that of humans, then they can be said to have achieved "Intellegence". {If memmory serves}

    Dogs are pretty smart and can be taught a great deal. Are they "more intellegent" than an Octopus? An Octopus can, on its first encounterd with a Crayfish in a caulked glass jar, workout how to get at its dinner.

    "Intellegence" is a function of Nature, Nurture and Inclination. Humans have these factors in abundance, as a species, (Some Individuals are a challenge to identify with true Intellect) which have resulted in OUR place in the Web of Life. But in each domain in the biosphere of planet Earth there are scales of achievement that place a given species at the top of the "tree", (Submarine Lava Bome, whatever).

    Maslo's Hierarchy of Needs defines 5 levels of Physical Needs, Security Needs, Affiliation Needs, ?? Recognition Needs and Self Actualisation.

    I think it is the awareness of the last 2 Levels, and Our ability to seek and achieve them, that satisfies what WE would most likely call Proof of Intellegence.

    Therefore, any other species that exhibits this Behaviour is Intellegent.

    How's that sound?

    Regards

  15. #15
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    I think it is the awareness of the last 2 Levels, [ Recognition Needs and Self Actualisation] and Our ability to seek and achieve them, that satisfies what WE would most likely call Proof of Intellegence.
    Most multicellulars with an immune system can satisfy recognition needs. I'm not familiar with Maslo; what does "self actualization" mean? I must be completely out of the ball park in terms of context for understanding these allegations. Help me.

    I think our ancestors exhibited intelligence 100,000 years ago and it has been a long hard slog from then to where we are today with intelligence increasing in microsteps as our accumulated knowledge grew over time. I hope we will respect the "critterhood" of such should we encounter them when we start exploring the galaxy.

  16. #16
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    COURDHEAD

    This is a quick reference:

    http://web.utk.edu/~gwynne/maslow.HTM

    Appologies, I got it slightly wrong. The Needs Are:

    "Physiological" "Safety" "Love" "Esteem" & "Self-Actualisation"

    Response to stimulii can appear to be an expression of awareness of ones environment. However, I don't think you would catagorise the closure of the Venus Fly Trap's "jaws" as an Intellegent response.

    Chimpanzees, arguably Dolphins and Us demonstrate an awareness of self.

    Quote: <The need for self-actualization is "the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming.">

    I think that We have expressed our respect for other critters by crashing a probe into Jupitor to avoid contaminating one of the noons. But then we have behaved pretty damned badly in respect of our atitude toward a broad range of Things on Earth, which doesn&#39;t bode well for "Close Encounters", down the time line a bit.

    Educational Psychologists have enough trouble defining Intellegence (IQ) let alone agreeing upon what to measure and, then, how valid it is. (Not to mension a distinct discomfort about publishing the results anyway.)

    Interesting how we are generally quite happy to measure everythingelse we do, with great elacrity & minute precision, (Higher, Farther, Faster).

    How about we just treat everything with wonder & respect, including ET.

    Regards

  17. #17
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    Intelligence can be said to consist of

    1) Conscoiusness. But the 35000 yer old humans had it too, can we say they were intelligent?
    2) Invention ( or the ability to do so). This is clearly true for all inteligent biengs. A 2000 year old emperor may not have been scientifically advanced, but since he could invent war techniques, he clearly was intelligent.

    3) An additional factor that may be added to distinguish between &#39;potential&#39; inteligences ( like the emperor) and advanced intelligences is that their inteligence is engaged in a pursuit of the right path ( possibly, us).
    Who wants to define &#39;right path&#39; ? Scientific pursiut or artistic? Metaphysical or moralistic?

  18. #18
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    Quote: <The need for self-actualization is "the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming.".....How about we just treat everything with wonder & respect, including ET.
    Here are some ideas of mine excerpted from other threads that point to intelligence as a continuum. We should apply differing levels of respect as appropriate to such other critters as we run into them.

    Consciousness immensely affects the universe&#33;&#33; It&#39;s almost like a force unto itself. It&#39;s the universe attempting to get control of itself.

    Consider the proto-stellar cloud in semi-stasis with collapse being initiated by a compression wave from a nearby explosion from a supernova. At first the controlling forces are those attributable to gravity, electricity, and magnetism (for now thermodynamics is considered to be a manifestation of the latter two interacting with gravity). Sometime later molecules with special electric charge controlled affinities for each other and being cast about in the mess form special conglomerates that eventually lead to living organisms (either in the cloud or, later, on the planets or moons).

    These special conglomerates in the mess do not represent a new force, rather they introduce a special organizing process both causing and being dependent upon sets of strange attractors within the mess (directing the degree of order in the chaos) to produce a "quasi-discriminating" effect favoring the building of ever more complex carbon based molecules leading eventually to self replication. This causes the three dominant forces to be applied to the mess in a more orderly way and different from what was happening prior to the exercising of the affinities. Normally, we do not ascribe consciousness to this level of organization, but this prerequisite has put us on our way first to microbes thence to multicellulars thence to consciousness.

    Sometime later (much, much later by human standards) some of the conscious critters develop technology and begin to mold the universe into configurations of their liking including the building of planets, the moving of stars, the unwrapping of black holes, configuration control of clusters of galaxies, managing cosmological expansion, etc.

    It may be useful to consider that choice is enabled by consciousness in order to reduce the effects of chance (chaos) and to promote a tendency to order.

    Consider humanity as an organism where each individual human is the equivalent of a cell in a multicellular organism and is loosely coupled to the total of humanity via "collective consciousness" (CC). CC is not being used here in any metaphysical sense though there is an influence from the practitioners of metaphysics. Until the proliferation of the internet, CC was fueled primarily by print media, radio and television and to a lesser degree by rabbis, priests, ministers, etc. Now the internet has provided a quantum leap in tightening of the cross-coupling of each human with a small subset of humanity consisting of close acquaintances and to a lesser degree to all of humanity. This provides a strong tendency to drive the thinking of each human toward a mean (average) set of premises and ideas with ever smaller deviations on the part of each human (less freedom via constructive brainwashing).

    Consequently we can each arrive at a commonality of acceptance of the nature and severity of problems and the likelihood of the effectiveness of proposed solutions. This allows us to become increasingly aware of and agree on problems and to set priorities for their solutions in ever higher degrees of agreement. Our drive to survive and protect ourselves from the vagaries of the universe will propel us off the planet and on to the road to controlling the expansion of the universe and shaping its other characteristics as we discover them.

    All this began when the effort of prokaryotes to eat each other ended in a tie producing eukaryotes leading to the multi-cellulars. Since there is no known uniqueness to our solar system (earth/moon distance and mass ratio notwithstanding), itís reasonable to expect that this is happening throughout the universe.

    Intelligence has survival value and to the extent that it leads to technological development it has proportionally enhanced survival value. Competition among species on earth has led humans to develop technology which has increased productivity enough to allow the additional technology development for contemplating the universe and the principles of physics that constrain, transform, and propel it. Programmed into our DNA is the drive to survive at each the individual and the species level which compels us to continuously search for more and more truth at ever increasing levels of completeness and accuracy over ever increasing fields of inquiry. Thus we are forced to know the truth and to the extent that we succeed, we shall achieve an ever increasing level of freedom.

    The enormity of the effect of consciousness on the universe may be comprehendable; surely it is not currently so. Let&#39;s not fail to consider the effect of competition amongst whichever sentients may be loose in at least the Milky Way.

    Metaphysical forces/concepts, except as a natural (not supernatural) attribute of consciousness do not exist. Darwinís dangerous idea (see author Daniel Dennett) is more powerful than Darwin probably (we have no direct access to his mind) ever knew. Even now we have trouble grasping its range and depth. Consciousness has resulted from the mindless, purposeless, incessant fumbling of the evolutionary process as a collateral benefit to its possessors. Nature did not have to produce it; rather it was allowed (not prevented) to occur. Having occurred, it has become its own champion creating the feedback loops through technology that both cause and assist it to order the universe, sustain itself, and grow ever more complex. Yet another level of symmetry breaking comes to mind.
    I am not asserting that the universe (indeed, not even humanity) is, or will become, alive in the sense of a single integrated unit; rather I assert that ever larger percentages of the mass within the universe will become incorporated into conscious critters and it, including them, will be subjected to their perception of order. Letís hope their perceptions are sound and safe. There is no skyhook; it&#39;s cranes all the way down...and up.

    Note that entropy applies to a closed finite system isolated from external inputs; I&#39;m not sure the universe qualifies. Did those who coined the second law of thermodynamics fully appreciate the complex interplay between gravity and electromagnetism under the influence of quantum effects....and consciousness?

    If evolution is thought to be the master and us the slaves then revolution is eminent&#33;&#33; The genetic engineers are out of their cage and not all of madness has been gauged much less caged.
    Who wants to define &#39;right path&#39; ? Scientific pursiut or artistic? Metaphysical or moralistic?
    Let me. All of the above and then some.

  19. #19
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    Scientifically we can define intelliget species as any living organism having genetic material and the machinery to use it. It should be an active organism(unlike viruses) whose cells have an alive nucleus.

  20. #20
    StarLab Guest
    In my view, an intelligent species is simply one that deviates from the natural order of things. As an example, we, humans, deviated from the control of Mother Nature; we&#39;ve built buildings, are developing resistance to diseases without altering our own bodies, and most importantly of all, we&#39;ve tamed other creatures. No, it&#39;s not symbiosis. We control them, for the most part.

  21. #21
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    In my view, an intelligent species is simply one that deviates from the natural order of things. As an example, we, humans, deviated from the control of Mother Nature;
    Why do you believe that intelligent species deviate from the natural order? Rather they are a part of the natural order and by creating beneficial feedback loops direct the natural order to their liking. They are products of nature and are capable of fundamentally changing its characterisitcs and paths of progress.

  22. #22
    StarLab Guest
    If you read my entire post, GH, you would understand that&#39;s exactly what I was saying....we are manipulating nature to our liking.
    By deviating from the natural order I meant separating themselves (or ourselves) fromt the original natural system.

  23. #23
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    By deviating from the natural order I meant separating themselves (or ourselves) from the original natural system.
    I thought that is what you meant, and we are manipulating nature to our liking as we should . I&#39;m a stickler for increasing our awareness of being an integral part of nature; sort of an extrapolation into reality from the myths that native (uncivilized) peoples are at one with nature. I&#39;m inordinately fond of oneness, unity....omega = 1. I prefer tangible acknowledgement that we are a natural phenomenon that will change the universe, intentionally as well as unintentionally, as did our anaerobic microbic ancestors change the earth. Change is inevitable; we must decide whether to steer. Either way, we are inseparable from nature.

    The universe does not permit stasis.

  24. #24
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    Some civilisations like the Mayans were very advanced but had not deviated much from nature. Infact, we have, in modern times deviated from the natural path only as a mistake. Unless every intelligent civilisation makes this mistake, &#39;Deviating from nature&#39; will not be a good definition for them.

  25. #25
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    ....SLab: would cows and hogs and chickens miss us more than we would miss them? The controlled soon controll the controller, everytime&#33;

    "If humans became extinct the rats and flies would miss us, but the rats would miss us the most...... h34r:

  26. #26
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    "If humans became extinct the rats and flies would miss us, but the rats would miss us the most
    The cultural dimensions of a concept like "missing" is out of reach to flies and rats especially across several generations.

  27. #27
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    ....OK,how about, our absence from the rats and flies environment would have more of an impact on the daily existence of the rat population than that of the flies, possibly to the extent of having a major impact of unknown proportions on each, respectively......

  28. #28
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    Infact, we have, in modern times deviated from the natural path only as a mistake.
    Nope. Railroads, canals, heat in the winter, roofs to keep out rain, air conditioning, all these things were pretty deliberate.

    Calling a car engine a mistake: you might as well call the Sistine Chapel a "mistake" while you are at it. sheesh.

  29. #29
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    I didn&#39;t mean a mistake in that way. I meant that ecologically, we have made mistakes. It is possible to not deviate from nature ( be &#39;one&#39; with nature), and still use computers and aeroplanes.

    By the way, mistakes are deliberate thing that we do, but which we shouldn&#39;t have. I wouldn&#39;t call forgetfulness a mistake, because it&#39;s natural, and not deliberate.

  30. #30
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    By the way, mistakes are deliberate thing that we do, but which we shouldn&#39;t have. I wouldn&#39;t call forgetfulness a mistake, because it&#39;s natural, and not deliberate.
    I choose to believe that none of us deliberately do things to "foul our nest". Much of what we do and are likely to do has unintended consequences that we are slow to recognize. Due to the time dispersion of how quickly each of us recognizes a detrimental unintended consequence, arguments arise amongst us as to what is the problem as well as what to do about it e.g., global warming. Eternal vigilance is a requirement and objective assessment of each effect is a jewel, if not a joule, of great price.

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