We, humans, are an arrogant lot. We trundle throughout our days thinking we are intelligent. We (well most of us) value our perceived intelligence. We look around at our fellow Earthicans and can readily see that we humans are the smartest creatures around. We have come a long way since we climbed out of the primordial ooze. We have come a long way since bronze knives and bearskins were cutting edge. But really who are we to say that we are intelligent.
We define ourselves to be intelligent in ways no other Earth creature can rival. What do we credit that intelligence too? You look at the genome and take the chimpanzee which is a really close relative of ours. We have 98.5% identical indistinguishable DNA which both humans and chimps have in common. The chimp does not build the Hubble telescope, does not compose symphonies, and does not create iPhones for example. So we must then declare that everything we say about us that is intelligent is found in the 1.5% difference in DNA.
Now let’s invert that question, if the genetic difference between humans and chimps is that small, maybe the difference in our intelligence is also that small. Chimps can perform rudimentary things like stacking boxes, reaching for a banana, throwing poop, or whatever else rudimentary things that a chimp does, the kind of things that the primatologist rolls them forward and boasts about. Which of course our human toddlers can do. Maybe the difference between that and the Hubble telescope is as small as that difference in DNA.
I pose the question, suppose an alien intelligence that in that same type of vector of 1.5 % difference as we are to chimps, suppose they were 1.5% different from us. What if they are 10% smarter, they might see on mice level of intelligence. What if they are 100% smarter…Archaebacteria level of smarts. 1000% smarter, we would be indistinguishable from the background dirt.
The Aliens could roll the smartest of us out in front of their humantologists. They roll out Professor Steven Hawking which is our greatest mind at this time. They would say that this one is slightly smarter than the rest of them because he can perform astrophysics calculations in his head, just like little baby Gorignac over there.
I wonder if we are just blithering idiots in the presence of even a trivially smarter species than us? So, therefore, who are we even to assert that we are intelligent. We look for others at least as intelligent as us in the Universe for us to talk to. There are no other species on earth that we can talk to. Can we have a conversation with a chimp? Even though we share nearly identical DNA? We can’t ask them to go see a movie or go grab some Tapas. Yet somehow we believe, we want to believe that an alien on another planet that is not even based on DNA (and even if it is it is nothing like us) that we could communicate with it.
We all have walked passed an earthworm that has just come to the surface, have you ever thought about what the worm was thinking? Of course not, we are so more advanced that it would be a non-sequitur. Any alien race that can traverse the endless void of space and time and travels here may not have any interest in communicating with us. May not even perceive us as a life form at all. We may not even be able to perceive them as intelligent as well.
I propose it could be no other way.
Any life that advanced to get here will see us no more advanced as we think of earthworms, or even less. The human-created fantasy that they are infiltrating our politics are shape-shifting reptilian humanoids bent on our planetary subjugation is completely laughable. Or at least it would be if not so many people believed it. That is a product of unimaginative humans anthropomorphizing their narrow view of the Universe. The slice of Universal life that we meet will be more wondrous and indifferent to us than we can imagine.
We, humans, are truly in the special Olympics category of intergalactic intelligences. We have had Science for only a couple of hundred years. Which is nothing when you ponder deep time. We are just hairless apes dreaming of superiority. We are nowhere near the top of the intelligentsia food chain. We have not yet begun to climb the rungs of intelligence.
I will never ask you, dear reader, to believe anything, it will only ever be about how compelling the evidence is to you.
Science is the poetry of reality… Think or Sink.
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