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noz92

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Everything posted by noz92

  1. noz92

    What is "alive"?

    If you are trying to come up with a scientific definition of life, then it is all about science. If you are trying to come up with a philosophical definition of life, then it is all about philosophy. It can be assumed that we are trying to get a scientific definition of life, as this discussion is on a website called scienceforums.net.
  2. Something I've noticed is that most video game characters, having no personality and no intelligence other than a basic programed survival instinct, are very easy to kill from an emotional standpoint. I'm a pacifist who is opposed to any form of violence, recognizing that the person on the other end of the gun is a human too, and as such, that person has a life away from your gun, and has a personality just as I do, and so I have a problem with hurting, much less killing, him in any way. Realizing that a video game character does not die (if you restart the game, there he is with not even a scar from the last time you blew his brains out), and doesn't even have a personality or a life, he is much easier to kill. I have no problem killing a video game character, but even thinking about killing another human being sickens me. Unless that character is a major character in the game, and therefor has a personality, and clearly expresses a desire to live, I have no problem killing him (I actually do sometimes have a problem killing characters in role playing games, but I ultimately am able to when I realize that that character is not in any way sentient, nor will he disappear). Blaming video game violence on real world violence is somewhat naive, as I, and so I assume most others as well, do not see them as the same thing at all.
  3. If you are going to rehearse something like that, why not simply go to a shooting range, or something? That would certainly seem more useful to the shooter than a video game.
  4. http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=babies-sex-linked-to-mothers-breakfast-calories&sc=DD_20080428 I just saw this article, which says that there may be a correlation between a mother's diet and the gender of her child. This seems strange--whatever happened to the father giving the baby an X- or a Y-chromosome?
  5. Well, I meant in general--not necessarily referring to "hostile aliens" (which I still doubt can exist, but will admit the possibility of), but any alien listening in. It would also seem somewhat uneconomic to send manned warships about the galaxy without having a particular destination, so I think they would, if they are smart (which, to have an interstellar empire, they would have to be) either send out probes or listen in on our communications (which is what I'm questioning--could an alien listen in on our communications?).
  6. How long would our radio transmitions remain distinguishable from noise when broadcast into space? I doubt the intensity of the wave would be detectable for more than a few light years (if even that far) away from Earth. If an alien can't detect our signals because we are too far away, I doubt that any aliens would even know we are here (unless there are some very close by).
  7. While I do not think any violent space faring civilizations exist, if they were, and if they were to invade, I doubt that you would be able to adequately fight them anymore than all the animals in a forest would be able to adequately fight us with our bulldozers capable of totally demolishing their home.
  8. That's true, but I wonder if the idea of shooting someone is the same as actually seeing someone shot. I also wonder if controlling the character in a video game has the same effect as watching it happen (such as in a movie)?
  9. I tend to think of violent video games as the modern version of "Cowboys and Indians", or "Cops and Robbers", where children actually pretend to shoot each other. Who's to say that shooting your best friend with a pretend gun would not callus you to the idea of shooting your best friend (or anyone else, for that matter) with a real gun? Of course, there are obvious differences (such as "Cops and Robbers" doesn't actually make "cops" or "robbers" drown in their own blood--assuming you're playing it right), but the idea of shooting someone remains.
  10. I think that a race capable of building spacecraft capable of traveling the light years to reach Earth would not have achieved that level of technological advancement without being able to work with each other to learn how to build these, not to mention the prospect of spending the years, or, in most cases, generations in the vast emptiness of space together (with the same people for your entire lives) without killing each other before they reach Earth. They would almost have to be peaceful in order to us to find them.
  11. Maybe any correlation between violence and video games is not on how violent it is, but rather on how difficult it is (and how good at the game the player is). Obviously a game is much more stressful when you're not doing well, and the people most affected by this stress are the people who are probably most attracted to violent media (for the same reason that stressed people are attracted to "stress balls" and punching bags--it helps to relieve some of the violent feelings you have to actually do it).
  12. noz92

    What is "alive"?

    That would fall under the common requirement "response to stimuli".
  13. I don't think that any would venture too far away from their home planet without need to specifically do so. Traveling on the interstellar scale is far too slow to have any practical application, assuming there is absolutely no way to travel faster than the speed of light (e.g. wormholes, Alcubierre drive, etc.), as not only would the travel time be too great, but communication between colonies would be almost impossible (imagine trying to communicate with a colony around Proxima Centauri--it would be three to four years before your message is even received, and twice that before you hear a response), so they probably would not want to spread too far out. For aliens to colonize Earth, they would have to be in the right place (the ideal distance) at the right time (assuming they don't want to interfere with our development) and in the right situation (i.e. the need to expand, such as overpopulation or suddenly unfavorable conditions on their home planet), and they would have to develop on a planet with similar conditions to Earth at the time (how much would an alien want Earth a billion years ago? Would it be able to support them? Would it be easily terraformed to fit their life? etc.). If these conditions are not all met, they would probably just send out unmanned probes (assuming, again, that they even have an interest in Earth) to do their exploring for them, and leave the colonization closer to home (they can't be that close to us, or we would probably have detected some trace of them, such as radio signals).
  14. While I have no doubt that life is a common occurrence in the universe, sapient, intelligent life may be much less common (after all, as far as we know, it only developed once on Earth), the distances between inhabited worlds may be much too large to cross at any acheivable speed, especially without actualy having a truly practicle and immediately beneficial reason, and so it's very probable that our existence is not known, and that is the reason we haven't been contacted (although I'm sure many species would follow a sort of "Prime Directive", and I stick with the pacafism argument).
  15. Different people are relaxed by different things. I know that I am "relaxed" by anything which I consider entertaining. I enjoy violent video games (as long as the purpose for the violence isn't for the sole purpose of being violent--that is, as long as it serves to advance the game's plot), but in real life I am a pacafist--I'm totally opposed to any form of violence.
  16. Even so, a species that follows the idea of a "Prime Directive" would probably pick up after itself once it realizes the possibility for more complex life to develop, as our finding an alien artifact would obviously have a very similar effect on our culture to that of actual first contact. It's one thing to sit in a ship for a few months, but how many people do you know who would not only volunteer to spend the rest of his life in a space ship, but the entire lives of his children, and their children, and their children, etc., for 100 000 years? Almost everyone has some desire to explore, but most people don't once that exploration reaches a level of impracticality high enough, and I'm sure their is a limit on everybody (and I'm sure 100 000 years in a ship with the same people far exceeds that limit). It's more likely that they would expand as they need to, and exploration would be done entirely by unmanned probes. (After all, when exploration takes 100 000 years, information on a computer would become lost, pen and paper begin to decay, and facts passed down from one generation to the next quickly become legends--the most efficient means would be to immediately send the data back to civilization, and let the unmanned probe continue its journey of exploration or abandon it (with the former seeming more economic).)
  17. Perhaps they never found Earth, they never saw a use for it, or they had ethical objections for disturbing something that may eventually develop into a sapient species. It's probable that, due to the impossibility of traveling faster than light, the idea of colonizing worlds more than a few light years away would seem impractical. They may have also saw the possibility of life on Mars, for example, discovering them someday (if there was life on Mars, which is entirely possible, though perhaps never sapient), and therefore found colonizing a world so close to Mars a possible violation of the "Prime Directive". Perhaps they did, and the idea of panspermia would be possible; or maybe the did establish colonies on Earth until, for some reason, they were forced to leave. Given only a few thousand years, nature could completely wipe away any evidence of civilization.
  18. That would seem unnecessary. I think that any advanced race must widely develop pacifism in order to survive--if they do not, by the time they reach a certain level of advancement, naturally they would develop weapons that would endanger themselves, and it only takes a small group to use these weapons. As such, natural selection probably only allows compassionate species to become advanced to a certain level. If I'm right, the aliens would probably recognize this and give us a chance to wipe ourselves out.
  19. noz92

    What is "alive"?

    Isn't the actual classification of a virus still disputed among biologists?
  20. Even the game of chess, I believe, was developed to train young squires to think in a strategic, military fashion so they would be more successful in battle as a knight.
  21. And the people in war loving cultures don't need video games to be violent--they have enough militaristic and violent attitudes in other aspects of their culture.
  22. Actually, this is still done. The U.S. Army released America's Army in 2002, which is used as a recruitment tool, so it encourages children to join the army, as well as for propaganda.
  23. To continue on your analogy of the cup and the bucket, the question is whether or not the bucket has a hole in it? That is, if you stop adding water to the bucket, will it drain out until there is nothing noticeable left? Do video games permanently change your attitude towards violence (e.g. do they effect your aggression long enough for you to do anything you would later regret, such as, say, kill a man), or does it only make you more aggressive for a short time, so that by the time you have a chance to actually commit a violent crime, you're already "over the problem"?
  24. I would find it probable that any compassionate alien race (as any capable of interstellar travel and communication must be--otherwise they would probably wipe themselves out when they reached a certain level of technological development) would follow something similar to "the Prime Directive" in Star Trek--that is, every race has its right to its own technological and social development, and as such, members of Starfleet are prohibited from interfering with the development of any primitive culture, even at the cost of his life. Seeing as how meeting an alien would be an enormous culture shock to humanity, most aliens probably wouldn't make contact with us until we were ready. On our method of searching for extraterrestrials--SETI's most common method (listening for radio signals) seems as though it wouldn't work. I assume (I don't have any evidence for this, other than analogy) that, for the same reason that a sound becomes less and less detectable the farther away from its source you are, it would seem as though radio would work in much the same way--if you get far enough away, no one would be able to read your radio signals, or, for that matter, even hear them as something other than cosmic noise, which it would blend in so well with.
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