Star Child

Philosophy and Skepticism

BRENT SILBY Unlimited (UPT)

Philosophy - The voice of Reason
We have examined arguments for and against the existence of God. The conclusion: none of them are satisfactory. Rationally we ought to remain skeptical (agnostic)

But what about other common beliefs? What is Philosophy¶s role in the every day world? Today, we will discuss reasons why Philosophy is important. We will also discuss getting Philosophy out to the world, and how this may lead to jobs for Philosophers.

Philosophy - The voice of Reason
April 24th 2009 on Breakfast Television [Watch Video]

Philosophy - The voice of Reason
Do you believe it? I hope not, because I think it is false! It was irresponsible to show this on nation-wide television in this way, because they did not address competing explanations. It came across as fact, and I worry that people with no time to question this are now the owners of a false belief: That aliens came to Earth and impregnated a human female.

Philosophy - The voice of Reason
As Philosophers we have an obligation to explore the question rationally. So, what are the chances that Starchild had a non-human father? What if life has emerged on other planets? According to Drake¶s equation, life probably has emerged on other worlds, but Ward and Brownlee (2000) estimate life in the universe as extremely low

Most planets are like this

Very few are like this

Philosophy - The voice of Reason
What if life on another world was DNA based?

It would need to be based on DNA to be compatible with life here. DNA is how it works here, but there are many other possible systems to build life We cannot assume that life elsewhere is DNA based

Philosophy - The voice of Reason
What if genome sequences in alien life are compatible with Earth based sequences? Suppose alien life is DNA based, there is still the requirement that its encoding is compatible with the gene sequences found in life on Earth. There are millions of ways in which DNA can be encoded--even to build the life here on Earth. This is just one way it happened to work out. To assume that DNA based life-form from another world has human compatible genome is a huge leap.

Philosophy - The voice of Reason
What if ET evolved to look human?

Likelihood of this is extremely low Life on Earth evolved through step by step modification in response to adaptive problems. Creatures here suit their niche, but there are many ways it could have turned out. There are millions of possibilities in evolutionary design space.

Philosophy - The voice of Reason
What if ET evolved to look human? Creatures evolving on other worlds would suit their environments. Carl Sagan had interesting examples of this.

Philosophy - The voice of Reason
What if Aliens achieved space travel?

Its possible, but distances are so vast, unless they were close it is unlikely that they would visit. 80,000 years to travel from Earth to nearest star-system with Ion-drive propulsion. Light speed has relativistic problems.

Philosophy - The voice of Reason
What if super-advanced aliens had no moral problems attempting reproduction with another species? We can only guess about possible moral systems in other species, but it is safe to assume that they would be advanced. An alien mating with a human would be the same as a human trying to reproduce with a gorilla. We find this morally problematic, so surely the aliens would also have a problem with it. Perhaps they would reproduce with humans to satisfy a scientific curiousity. But a species that advanced would be able to answer scientific questions by analyzing genes rather than physically reproducing.

Philosophy - The voice of Reason
What if alien was compatible with human and could produce viable offspring? Odds are low. Even if alien was DNA based, and even if its genome was similar to ours, its unlikely that it could reproduce with a human.

Earth species can¶t interbreed--even species that are closely related can¶t reproduce.

Philosophy - The voice of Reason
Why humans?

Why reproduce with a human? Why not a fish or lizard?

Lots of ³What ifs´ listed here. How about this one: ³what if baby¶s are sometimes born with birth defects?´

Philosophy - The voice of Reason
People don¶t have time or the skills to analyze information presented to them. Is this a problem? Yes, because if you do not know how to question knowledge, you will always be at the mercy of other people. This is why we need to get philosophy out to more people.

Philosophy - The voice of Reason
But how do we do this: 1. Website: café philosophy section 2. A real café philosophy night 3. Schools Where are we at with schools? What next? How can students help? Discussion«

Powerpoint by BRENT SILBY www.def-logic.com Produced at UPT Christchurch, New Zealand www.unlimited.school.nz