Re: flying saucer

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. <>
Date: Fri Sep 17 2004 - 01:13:45 EDT

On Thu, 16 Sep 2004 15:24:24 -0400 "Alexanian, Moorad"
<> writes:
> I posed this query in another list and got no answer. I was wondering
> if
> I could do better in this list.
> "Suppose a flying saucer arrives to earth with a living animal in
> it.
> The animal is quite distinct from anything we have ever seen on
> earth.
> How can we tell whether that animal was the result of natural
> selection
> that took place in a far away planet or that it was designed by the
> aliens in that planet?"
> Moorad
I don't think we can, but there can be something that might indicate a
difference. I recall the claim that one cannot by observation tell the
difference between the results of magic and a sufficiently advanced
culture--that is, is it power outside of "nature" or a very sophisticated
manipulation of natural laws far beyond our understanding. So there is a
further question beyond Moorad's alternatives.

Assuming that Moorad's alternatives are sufficient, we might look at the
structure, down to the deepest level of control. This would be easiest
were the genetics DNA, which we understand to a degree. If the structure
had a relatively simple, straightforward control without apparently
irrelevant excess stuff, it would be more likely to be rationally
designed. I'm thinking in terms of good engineering practice. On the
other hand, if there were parts that seemingly had no structure,
repetitious stuff piling up, it would more likely be the product of
natural selection. The proviso, of course, is that "junk" may have
functions more subtle than we have understood at any given time.
Received on Fri Sep 17 01:45:12 2004

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