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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 11:56 am 
I've been trying to work this out for a long time, and I'm afraid I don't have the background to speculate properly. After reading the evolution thread, I thought I might be able to get some feedback here.

I apologize to Howard if this is an intrusion on his forum. Please feel free to delete if so... but I can't resist trying to tap into the brainpower here.

Howard knows that last year I wrote a novel that I've been trying to get published (actually, at present, trying to write decent query letter and chapter synopsis, which is harder than writing the story itself). He also knows that if I do get published I'm dedicating the book to Kaff Tagon... because, you know, duh.

But anyway. A minor issue in the book, something I included mostly because I thought it was an amusing, minor joke, has been stealing more and more of my attention in the vein of how would this actually work?

SO here it is:

Picture a very generic science fiction concept: hundreds of thousands of years ago a hyperintelligent race seeded the galaxy. They took species that were developing on four planets (one of them earth) and scattered them about, terraforming planets so they would support life, and genetically altering some samples of the races, some in minor ways and some in ridiculously major ways, to create new breeds that were better adapted to the planets they were "building."

One of the results of this is that, hundreds of thousands of years later, knowledge of geology and biology are hopelessly screwed up.

The Terrans are pretty much OK -- they had been developing their theories based on how they observed their planet, a naturally evolving world, change over time. But on the majority of planets in the galaxy, this didn't happen. The races were placed, pretty much fully formed, on a world that was created to support them. There are not layers upon layers of fossils that connect the dots between the sentient races and less evolved creatures, because there wasn't enough time for that to happen. There isn't a lot of planetary evidence of gradual climate changes and development, either, and changes that occurred were much faster than if they happened on their own.

These other races (some of which aren't actually other races, but transplanted humans) aren't stupid by any means -- but their point of reference is completely skewed. If all your major scientific advances that led to space flight occurred on an artificially created planet, why would you believe they were artifically created? You'd come up with theories to explain how it could all occur naturally, and those theories would be *wrong*.

But then you invent space flight and meet other species, some who are biologically identical to you, and some who aren't, and some who are similiar but not identical. And they all have pretty much the same experience you do! So your theories on development of life on other worlds, while not identical, are going in the same direction. Eventually you have the biological and geological theories that are the equivalent of orbit epicycles -- the theory is wrong but the math seems to work.

Then you meet the Terrans.

Those "earthies" are different -- they have this weird planet with all these layers and the remains of an alien civilization on Mars (one city -- one part of one city -- completely dead, no evidence of life). They seem to have these extinct species that are *similiar*, but not quite like, humans themselves. There seem to have been species that existed long before any other planet shows any record of life. The planet, in other words, violates all known laws of science.

The Terrans look around at all these other planets and say "hey -- you guys are living on engineered worlds! All you humans couldn't have evolved there, you must be descendents of some of our ancestors!"

The other human civilizations reply "your world is extremely strange. Obviously *you* guys were the ones who were engineered."

The Terrans are right, of course -- but most of the reasonable scientific community doesn't believe them in the slightest, because the evidence they point to can be found on only four inhabited worlds. Terran science champions the "Promethian Theory," which claims those four worlds are the origin worlds, which the "Promethians" used to seed everything else. Everyone else considers them scientific aberrations, and thinks the terrans are a just a bit arrogant. (Even some of the other origin races side with the transplant races, simply because it's too difficult to concieve of *how* so many planets in the galaxy could have been *engineered* rather than developed on their own.)

So all that out of the way... what would the transplanted civilizations ideas of biology and geology be *like?* I get as far as deciding that they would probably believe in some form of evolution, because they would be able to observe it on a small scale simply from observing species interact with their environment, but that there is a certain level of entrenchment that prevents them from accepting it on a bigger, long-term level. Other than that, I have no clue.

Thoughts?

Again, if this is an abuse of forum space, I apologize. You guys just seem to like to speculate is all...

Oh, and since there are no new ideas, this is probably already dealt with in a novel somewhere. Can anyone refer me to one?


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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 12:13 pm 
ok so terrans meet other aliens - both say that the other is a crafted species...

sounds like fun


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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 2:08 pm 
I suspect that much of their science would be the same. They might not accept evolution resulting in new species though. Geology (assuming that you need active planets to sustain life, no clue how reasonable that is) would probably be just about the same, except the only thing in the rocks is rock.

They would probably assume that bodies decompose into base (non carbon!) elements though. Well, actualy, into whatever the rock is made out of to be more specific.


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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 3:47 pm 
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I think we'd see lots and lots of creationism. The theory of "intelligent design" would hold water.

We might also see radical theories involving crashlanded space-arks, teleported primitives, etc. It's very unlikely that geology or evolutionary biology, as disciplines, would exist the way we know them.

--Howard

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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 4:29 pm 
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Read Terry Pratchett's book "The Darks side of the sun"
concept that you have is somewhat similar to that in the book


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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 4:50 pm 
I definitely agree that we'd see creationism. I suspect it'd be further bolstered by meeting other spacefaring races with similar experiences, who are biologically similar... the conclusion being "Ah, $CREATOR must have done the same thing on other planets."

On the other hand... given enough time (you'd need at least ten thousand years, I think), they may notice the trends of evolution emerging. They may realize that evolution happens, start tracing backwards, and realize that the evolutionary record only goes so far. I doubt they'd be able to conclude from that that different organisms share a common evolutionary ancestor, though, since that would require observing a single species diverging into two clearly separate species, and even that requires a jump to conclude that all organisms evolved from the same ancestors.

Their notion of biology and medicine may be different, too... medicine, not by much, though. (In terms of medical research on non-sentients being extrapolated to conclusions about the sentient species, they may not think it's a valid conclusion, due to not having an explicit link between the two. On the other hand, I don't believe the lack of an explicit link prevented human doctors from doing that sort of thing pre-Darwin... the similarity of structure was enough. But I don't know much about the state of medical research prior to the acceptance of evolution (yes, I know it's still not fully accepted...))

Of course, having met similar species on other planets, then if they found some artifacts of the hyperintelligent precursors, then they may arrive at the conclusions of uplift and/or transplant.

(I've been reading Brin's Uplift saga and playing Star Control 2 recently. This is familiar ground for me...)


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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 5:20 pm 
I remember reading an old science book -- from a time before we knew much about plate tectonics. There was a section about the creation of mountains and oceans on a forming earth, and the theory it described had something to do with the still molten earth cooling and contracting and solidifying at different speeds depending on what elements were concentrated in the specific part of whatever was cooling. The areas with elements that cooled faster and contracted faster eventually became our oceans... the ones that took longer became mountains.

This was from a time when scientists generally believed that the earth was basically a solid piece of rock with a molten core, instead of a bunch of rocky plates floating on a molten core. Or whatever it is these days.

Yeah, lots of variants of creationism will be there, but I suspect there would also be people trying to find scientific explanations for everything, and those explanations would be similiar to the ones I read in that old book... hypotheses that sound rational but that just aren't true.

I just can't stretch my head far enough to figure out what those explanations would be like.

Edit: and so far the only solid indication an alien civilization has been a partial ruin of a city on Mars. No other traces of the "Promethians" have been found so far.


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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 5:27 pm 
I'd have to agree with Howard. And the best place you could look for a rough outline of how the other races would beleive, would be to look at pre-darwinian science of our own world.

That would be before we had any real evidence ourselves, and the alien races would have no evidence to discover.

Now, I'm assuming some sort of terraforming happened on the planet prior to seeding. That means you'd have about 5 or 6 thousands of years worth of geology and archeology showing a slow, steady change... then a huge change... then a slow, steady change. True, carbon dating won't be effective, but deeper is older would be.

I'd go with strong creationism, which of course also means strong religions and probably a tendancy to theocracy and/or very politically powerfull churches- It's not a coincidence that the Church opposed Darwin, and it's not a coincidence they declined in power afterwards. Cue interspecies religious war, intensified because the aliens they are fighting are (in some cases) very similiar looking- Can you beleive these guys, they claim to be God's Chosen, but are short and have gills! Cue arrival of earth on the scene... and cue earth claiming that no, god didn't create you, you evolved on our planet and were seeded from there. In effect, both denying the very existance of God and claiming to be god in the same statement.


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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 5:28 pm 
Howard Tayler wrote:
I think we'd see lots and lots of creationism. The theory of "intelligent design" would hold water.

We might also see radical theories involving crashlanded space-arks, teleported primitives, etc. It's very unlikely that geology or evolutionary biology, as disciplines, would exist the way we know them.

--Howard


crashlanded space-arks and teleported primitives... did someone say "Board of accidental tourism" ?


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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 6:16 pm 
ubersoft wrote:
One of the results of this is that, hundreds of thousands of years later, knowledge of geology and biology are hopelessly screwed up.


Hundreds of thousands of years is enough for evolution to occur, even in intelligent beings with civilization.
At first, scientists on the original four planets would talk about convergent evolution. Even when the lack of a fossil record was discovered there would be plenty of scientists fighting acceptance of intelligent design and uplift theories.

Also, on these seeded planets, is all the rock metamorphic and igneous or do these planets have similar quantities of sedimentary rock to what we have?


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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 6:28 pm 
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FutureMerc wrote:
Hundreds of thousands of years is enough for evolution to occur, even in intelligent beings with civilization.


Not really. Much of the evidence Darwin looked at, observing living species that appeared closely related, was generated millions of years in the past.

A terraformed "garden" planet, with transplants from four different evolutionary biologies, pruned to fit the planned niches, would evolve, yes, but the evidence of that evolution would only start to appear consistent after several million years had passed. Sure, things would be evolving long before then, but the explanation of "evolution through natural selection" would not be extended on any sort of global basis. Depending on politics, it might be little more than a pet theory to explain a couple of similar species of rodent found on opposite sides of a very large, fairly recent desert.

--Howard "No, Chris, really... let me tell you how to write your book" Tayler

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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 6:49 pm 
webkilla wrote:
crashlanded space-arks and teleported primitives... did someone say "Board of accidental tourism" ?


Good call. I've been wondering for a while what the legends/history books are going to say on that world.


I agree with many of the others that you're likely to see a significant number of intelligent design theories.

You also could get an extreme form of the "Punctuated Equilibrium" theory. It would probably be something like this:

Quote:
The conditions in which self-organizing bodies form from the primordial ooze also spur rapid mutation and change. Thus within a few centuries life as we know it evolved. At some point the conditions changed and evolution slowed to the current pace. There are many theories as to what conditons could cause rapid evolution and which could also cease being effective within a few decades but none of them have been demonstrated to generate rapid evolution under laboratory conditions. It is truly unfortunate that no undisputable traces of transitional forms of life have been found, but given that they only existed actively for a short time and quite possibly only in a small geographic area we cannot rule out the possability that they were destoryed in some geological catastrophy.


Of course that theory would fold flat as soon as they found some indisputably unnatural geology on thier planet or a greeting card encoded in thier genetic material.


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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 7:21 pm 
Howard Tayler wrote:
Not really. Much of the evidence Darwin looked at, observing living species that appeared closely related, was generated millions of years in the past.
--Howard "No, Chris, really... let me tell you how to write your book" Tayler

Look to how much man has evolved in twenty thousand years. Hundreds of thousands of years may not be enough for major evolution, but it is enough to seperate species by a goodly amount. This can be especially true in the case of an extreme climate change(ice age or global warming - in the Archean and Proterzoic eras these climate changes happened in short time spans) Enough for some people to claim convergant evolution, especially if those people are evolution fanatics. (like me :) )


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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 7:50 pm 
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This all hinges on how much the planets were altered prior to colonization. Are we talking about early Homo sapiens being transplanted? Would they have enough sense of history and oral tradition/cave drawings to keep alive the memory of being "taken" by the gods and brought to a new land? (There's a Garden of Eden story for ya!)

If the planets weren't wiped clean and drastically altered, then the fossil record would show "normal" evolution up until a cataclysmic event (meteor impact, anyone?) drastically altered the global environment, at which point the humans appeared, then things proceeded apace.

So, while the "God Created Man" meme is certainly reinforced in this case, setting him apart from the beasts, evolution *may* be perceived as something that happens to the animals, but not man. It all depends on whether the aliens only brought humans to the new worlds, or also brought other creatures; how drastic the terraforming was; and the state of life (how far had the indigenous lifeforms evolved) of the planet pre-terraforming.

So, short answer: Not enough data to provide you with an opinion.


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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 8:26 pm 
I agree that we'd see a lot of creationists. The type of people who become skeptics and atheists here would be creationists on those planets due to the evidence. That wouldn't change the fact that the evidence wouldn't say much ABOUT the creator, such as laws to live by and such. I would expect some seriously unholy holy wars to break out when these people start meeting each other.

Seriously, I would expect religions and religious organizations to be more powerful on those planets since they would be able to point to evidence of a creator. I would be surprised not to see a few outright theocracies.

How long are the Terrans really going to be allowed to spout their arrogant opinions about this "Evolution" stuff before the other worlds wipe them out for their hubris and blasphemy against $CREATOR or @CREATORS?

I honestly believe that we wouldn't have risen to the top of our food chain without a capacity for violence, so I would expect the races from the other original planets to be as bad as us when it comes to warfare. Peace while Terrans say such offensive things seems unlikely.


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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 8:41 pm 
Hmmm. This kind of reminds me of a video game I played a long while ago - Xenogears, by Squaresoft. In that (if memory serves) the transplanted humans had at least one man who had concluded that they were in fact not native to the planet.

See, he had gathered fossils of all kinds, and seen an evolutionary change in other creatures that went back much farther than human remains. By comparison, the fact that human skulls showed little to no change and appeared suddenly with no sign of having evolved from other species implied to him that humans could not be from the planet they were on.

Maybe not a good suggestion for how the transplants would feel right away, but it would be a valid way to prove the Terrans right in the end. I mean, there must be some kind of natural lifeforms on these planets, right? Humans still need to eat things and wear things, after all.


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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 9:02 pm 
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FutureMerc wrote:
Look to how much man has evolved in twenty thousand years. Hundreds of thousands of years may not be enough for major evolution, but it is enough to seperate species by a goodly amount.


In some cases, yes. I'm not disputing that. What I'm pointing out is that the more obvious cases of species divergence, the stuff Darwin observed, would not be there in Chris' fictional setting, and would be offset by lots and LOTS of critters that just appeared to spring out of nowhere.

The changes may not be subtle by OUR standards, but evolution by natural selection is an established principle for us.

--Howard

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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 9:05 pm 
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I don't think things would be much different. Every mythology, including science<sup>*</sup>, has a creation myth. Something to answer the question of "where did we come from"?

Creationism on those worlds would hold sway for a long time. "Where's your evidence, Mr. Science Man?" But just as documented evidence would force their religious geocentrism to give way to scientific heliocentrism, eventual accumulation of data would give rise to scientific theories about the Genesis.

You could still discover genetics, and from them, genetic drift; Scientists would have to wonder why the fossil record doesn't exist, and eventually carbon dating would reveal the existence of a major planetwide geologic event, which changed the chemical makeup of the atmosphere, and after which life sprang forth highly developed.

Natural selection could still be observed, and while a proper theory of evolution might not develop, genetic drift would be observable. Eventually science would say, "Well, we can document genetic drift right back to the Event, but we don't have anything before that".

Lack of a theory of evolution doesn't prove creationism, either; it is probable that it would have little effect on religion on those worlds. You'd still have atheists and agnostics just like you do here.

A theory of "transplantation" would likely develop, but, having no real way to test it other than to start a SETI program, it would be treated much like any other religious tenet: until proven, it requires faith.

<sup>*</sup> Oh, relax. Put down your torches and slide rules. I'm not calling science a myth. A mythology is a system of traditions and beliefs we use to inform our worldview. Technically, science isn't even that: science is just the outward practice of the beliefs found in the mythology of rationalism. So no, I'm not saying science is a myth<sup>**</sup>.

<sup>**</sup> Because, as a system of practices founded in a mythology, it's actually a religion<sup>***</sup>.

<sup>***</sup> See, aren't you glad you waited? NOW go get your torches and slide rules.


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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 9:11 pm 
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Chalain wrote:
<sup>*</sup> Oh, relax. Put down your torches and slide rules. I'm not calling science a myth. A mythology is a system of traditions and beliefs we use to inform our worldview. Technically, science isn't even that: science is just the outward practice of the beliefs found in the mythology of rationalism. So no, I'm not saying science is a myth<sup>**</sup>.

<sup>**</sup> Because, as a system of practices founded in a mythology, it's actually a religion<sup>***</sup>.

<sup>***</sup> See, aren't you glad you waited? NOW go get your torches and slide rules.


Man, if this were V&S...

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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 9:30 pm 
Jeremiah Smith wrote:
Man, if this were V&S...

You'd set about proving his point by trying to refute it, right?


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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 9:32 pm 
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Kazriko wrote:
Jeremiah Smith wrote:
Man, if this were V&S...

You'd set about proving his point by trying to refute it, right?


Oh?

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Mit Beton gießt du es aus, das Fundament vom Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, da ist noch Platz, da paßt noch wer rein.
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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 9:34 pm 
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Okay, end hijack. Fork this thread to V&S if you really need to.


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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 9:43 pm 
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Chalain wrote:
Okay, end hijack. Fork this thread to V&S if you really need to.


viewtopic.php?t=12729

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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 10:42 pm 
ubersoft wrote:
SO here it is:

Picture a very generic science fiction concept: hundreds of thousands of years ago a hyperintelligent race seeded the galaxy. They took species that were developing on four planets (one of them earth) and scattered them about, terraforming planets so they would support life, and genetically altering some samples of the races, some in minor ways and some in ridiculously major ways, to create new breeds that were better adapted to the planets they were "building."

One of the results of this is that, hundreds of thousands of years later, knowledge of geology and biology are hopelessly screwed up.

The Terrans are pretty much OK -- they had been developing their theories based on how they observed their planet, a naturally evolving world, change over time. But on the majority of planets in the galaxy, this didn't happen. The races were placed, pretty much fully formed, on a world that was created to support them. There are not layers upon layers of fossils that connect the dots between the sentient races and less evolved creatures, because there wasn't enough time for that to happen. There isn't a lot of planetary evidence of gradual climate changes and development, either, and changes that occurred were much faster than if they happened on their own.

These other races (some of which aren't actually other races, but transplanted humans) aren't stupid by any means -- but their point of reference is completely skewed. If all your major scientific advances that led to space flight occurred on an artificially created planet, why would you believe they were artifically created? You'd come up with theories to explain how it could all occur naturally, and those theories would be *wrong*.

But then you invent space flight and meet other species, some who are biologically identical to you, and some who aren't, and some who are similiar but not identical. And they all have pretty much the same experience you do! So your theories on development of life on other worlds, while not identical, are going in the same direction. Eventually you have the biological and geological theories that are the equivalent of orbit epicycles -- the theory is wrong but the math seems to work.

Then you meet the Terrans.

Those "earthies" are different -- they have this weird planet with all these layers and the remains of an alien civilization on Mars (one city -- one part of one city -- completely dead, no evidence of life). They seem to have these extinct species that are *similiar*, but not quite like, humans themselves. There seem to have been species that existed long before any other planet shows any record of life. The planet, in other words, violates all known laws of science.

The Terrans look around at all these other planets and say "hey -- you guys are living on engineered worlds! All you humans couldn't have evolved there, you must be descendents of some of our ancestors!"

The other human civilizations reply "your world is extremely strange. Obviously *you* guys were the ones who were engineered."

The Terrans are right, of course -- but most of the reasonable scientific community doesn't believe them in the slightest, because the evidence they point to can be found on only four inhabited worlds. Terran science champions the "Promethian Theory," which claims those four worlds are the origin worlds, which the "Promethians" used to seed everything else. Everyone else considers them scientific aberrations, and thinks the terrans are a just a bit arrogant. (Even some of the other origin races side with the transplant races, simply because it's too difficult to concieve of *how* so many planets in the galaxy could have been *engineered* rather than developed on their own.)

So all that out of the way... what would the transplanted civilizations ideas of biology and geology be *like?* I get as far as deciding that they would probably believe in some form of evolution, because they would be able to observe it on a small scale simply from observing species interact with their environment, but that there is a certain level of entrenchment that prevents them from accepting it on a bigger, long-term level. Other than that, I have no clue.

Thoughts?

Again, if this is an abuse of forum space, I apologize. You guys just seem to like to speculate is all...

Oh, and since there are no new ideas, this is probably already dealt with in a novel somewhere. Can anyone refer me to one?



So... relatively speaking, this sounds like the Traveller universe, from what I remember of it. The Ancients grabbed humans and canines from Earth, genengineered the canines into the Vargr, and scattered lots of people all over the place. In the Traveller timeline there are three human empires (Zhodani, Vilani, Solomani), with the Solomani ("Men of Sol") being the Terrans.

You can probably get some other people's thoughts on this by googling "Solomani Hypothesis" - which is the efforts of the future researchers to figure out how the heck we ended up with three groups of humans.

As I recall, the Vilani ended up as the first dominant empire (several thousand years worth), until the Terrans came out of nowhere as the barbarian hordes from Earth, and in a War-of-the-Worlds scenario, managed to conquer the Vilani due to the nigh-stasis social conservatism of the Vilani... and the fact that Terrans had a whole bunch of unplesaant diseases to which the Vilani had no resistance. Sort of the "Native Americans get clobbered by Old World diseases" scenario. Anyway, the Terrans/Solomani took over long enough to pretty much wreck things, followed by an interregnum and the rise of a subsequent empire.

So that aside. I suspect you're talking about humans (etc) being transplanted onto worlds that hadn't developed intelligent life yet? It seems certainly plausible that it could be a "God built this world and then placed it here for our use... we have only been here for 4000 years" set of beliefs. Whether this means God intends them to conquer or to be benign rulers probably depends on entirely different conclusions.

Maybe they'd believe that lesser beings evolve and humans were created directly in the image of hte gods? (This may make for a very diverse pantheon.)

Might make for some especially nasty wars when different groups of mankind first discover one another. Depends on what they manage to come up with before they get interstellar travel.


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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2005 1:00 am 
My first thought was creationists, but then I got to thinking, why not fatalists?

We have no idea how life begins. All evidence shows that the inhabitants of the world just "were" starting xx thousands of years ago. Since we know that the world is older than that, AND statistically it is unlikely that such a "coming into being" event was a random 1-time event that we just happened to be part of, there must be some pattern. We suspect that every xx + 1 thousand years, the sun goes into a cyclical nova, burning everything on our planet and destroying any record. Possibly the sun even expands until our world is "absorbed" into the sun. This, or course, is just speculation, but it would explain why we don't have any fossible records. Then, as the sun cools down, the world is "born" out of the sun. Now, skeptics will say, "But then were does the life come from? It must have been a Creator!" This is, of course, not true. Currently we are doing experiments in two fields that are showing promising results.

First is the parallel universe theory. The idea is that our ancestors BEFORE the event were able to anticipate the nova-cycle and discovered the secrets of how to move themselves and the plants/animals/etc out of our current universe and into an alternate universe until the sun returned to normal size. We have found tantalizing artifacts that some suggest are an actual ship, or ark if you will that could have made the transition. Creationists have their own wacko story of the hand of the creator used this artifact to bring life to the planet. (You see how they take a little bit of science and then twist it around to support their distorted view of the universe.)

The second theory has pretty much fallen out of favor, although some scientists still are pursing work. This theory is the "message in a bottle" or "little-blue-men-from-Balsee-5" theory. The idea is that "someone" on one of the other planets in our system created a ship capable of leaving their own planet. They stocked this ship with all manner of animals, plants and people. The "pod" drifted until it was captured by our planet's gravity well. It broke open on impact and the plants/animals and people "woke up." The biggest drawback to this theory as opposed to the parellel universe theory is that life seems to have appeared everywhere on the planet within the same time period.

Some have even suggested that this "pod" came from outside our solar system but that, of course is impossible and no respectable scientist really believes it.

Of course, this type of research is very expensive and while the nova-cycle is only a theory, it's accepted by all respected scientists. We therefore need to increase our science budget and prepare ourselves before the sun goes nova again.

(BTW, Chris, no rights reserved. Feel free to use any or all of it if you find it helpful.)

Rodney


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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2005 1:28 am 
Reminds me of Nightfall.


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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2005 2:37 am 
I sort of fast forwarded the last third of posts, so this may have already been covered.

evolution works at coming up with survivers that are better adapted to their environment then their ancestors. this can happen in leaps of a sort (about 40,000 years for humans seems to be the record, it is how long it took the Indian/Pacific oceon islanders to turn into Australian Aboriginals and Maori (who are recogniseably different to polynesian and melonesian ancestors). But it does not always go at a sprint unless there are some real pressure cooker conditions. vastly changing the survival environment, and working with a population low enough that genetic mutations can accumulate rather then be eased and evened out, at the same time as one that is not so small that a calamity will completely result in extinction.
It is a really fine line....And possibly the only lottery that really matters.

But here is the thing that makes all of the above nearly irrelevant.

THAT IS NOT HOW LIFE ON AN ENGINEERED PLANET WOULD GO!

You tailor the world, you tailor (or tayler, if you want a whole species of cartoonists) the life-forms. It is much more of a perfect fit. There is a lot more inherent stability. Therefir visible evolution is retarded and slowed. On earth a million years is enough to make some serious changes to a species of lark. Great.
On one of these hypothetical worlds, the lark equivalent has been contentedly within genetic spitting distance of its earliest ancestors for ten million years and going strong. There are MECHANISMS in place that actually stop both the world and the life on it form devolving and becoming once more incompatible to each other. Not so much radiation form solar flares. Ice ages that if they occur at all, do not approach equatorial regions and totally change the landscape of survivng life forms.

It is a fishtank or museum exhibit type of existence. There is not a lot of time spent "on the edge"...excpet as brought about by the inhabitants ("I'v just invented the plutonium powered drinks blender! I will sell millions, everyone will want one!" and similar bright moments both social and political.)

You might want to investigate (on the topic of plutonium and such), what resources these races had and used in order to become space fairing races...because everything left for them to find appeared on some ancient manifest as a good idea, maybe....

Finally, and this is where we get back to beliefe systems and origin myths, You are making the assumption that in every single case the ancients just left them sitting awake and consious as newborns on a planet, new minted, naked, and with no education or notion of how to interact with their world. If this is not the case then there is a legacy of some sort of mentoring or education. Some time when the Gods Walked Among Us. There are teaching machines or rosetta stones or a big sign floating in the sky saying "THERE IS A TASTY YELLOW FISH WITH RED STRIPES IN THE SOUTHERN OCEAN, DO NOT EAT THE GREY GOOEY BITS INSIDE IT"

Basically there will be some reference point, true or manufactured that will be left in nearly every instance. You might also want to look into why the ancients were doing it and what they hoped to gain by the action.

Of course, the other question is what is the driving and inspiring factor for these races to become space fairers, and whether they notice the similarities (templates of the Engineers) on other worlds. (Your fjords are just like our fjords, and arranged in the same pattern. Hmmm.....)
This is where you get the wildly diverging creator myths worthy of a good jihad. Of course, they are far too civillised for that and the differences just sit as a mild background irritation....until they find terrans, who enjoy critiqueing the religeons of the other races and having a good giggle.
Now things get interesting.

My number one bit of advise on writing sci fi. NO RACE IS A MONOLITHIC CULTURE, unless you decide to make it one, in which case you have opened a new and tougher can of worms and need to write accordingly.


Sasha


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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2005 7:20 am 
I think there is an over-emphasis in "creationism" vs "evolution".

I believe most of these species would believe they were the children of migrating gods (small g) and they'd be pretty much right.


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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2005 4:02 am 
It sounds to me like the prefect breeding ground for religious zealots.
It is fair to assume that these 'transplanted' races, like the 'evolved' races would develop religion. It is also fair to assume that there would be less scientific evidence to contradict the creationist dogmas; in fact there would be a fair amount of evidence to support it. This would lead to a reversal of Earth history (and I am talking European history here) where science flourished while struggling against the existing dogma. The question is: would science be retarded by the various churches as there is little drive to prove the church wrong? Or would the churches embrace science like they didn't in Europe because it supported their texts and dogma?

Either way, this leads to a whole bunch of races getting into space thinking (and being able to prove) that certain elements of their creationist religions are true. Coming across a largely atheist planet of humans believing in heresies like evolution might well spark a war or two. Depending on the embracing or rejection of science by these religions would dictate whether they are technologically superior to the 'evolved' humans or a bit backward.

Technologically advanced space-faring fanatics could lead to an interesting story. The hopelessly out-numbered and out-gunned 'evolved' races ally up in a race against extinction to prove that they are not living heresies.


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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2005 10:22 am 
Well first of all, thanks for your responses. They've given me a fair amount to think about. Though I *think* I disagree with some of the assumptions a lot of you are making, those assumptions would make interesting stories in and of themselves.

The main thing I believe I disagree with is the assumption that these different worlds would lend themselves to religious zealotry. I was surprised that so many of you assumed that would be the case. To my way of thinking, it would be neither more nor less likely for religious zealotry to occur on Planets X, Y, Z than it would for the four origin worlds.

Let's just focus on one of the transplanted human civilizations for a more specific example of how I'd pictured it. These humans are transplanted before anything more than rudimentary communication is developed -- no written language, certainly -- and over the course of history any stories of great lights in the sky and great changes on the planet are lost. We certainly don't have many (any) records concerning *our* early ancestors, I don't see why the humans on Planet X would be more dutiful keeping them.

Science advances there as it does here -- first, through the invention of tools that have practical value, then through inquisitive people trying to figure out *why* the tools work, then through people trying to come up with a way that ties all this stuff together. Religion can be involved -- for a long time, the Catholic Church was a sponsor of the sciences, and it was politics more than zealotry that screwed that up. (The full story of Gallileo's problems with the Church is fascinating). But I don't see why the lack of any indication of evolution would prevent science and religion from parting ways. In our own history the rift between science and the church began long before Darwin published his theories on evolution.

So I don't see anything in the setup that prevents the humans on planet x from setting up a solid understanding of the basic principles of science at all. That said, having a solid understanding of the basic princples will still lead you down the wrong path if someone has tampered with the evidence. If you faithfully applied the scientific method to an engineered world, what would you learn, and what conjectures would you draw from that world?

The idea that the religious zealots would be ruling the roost assumes that they would know there was no possible way for a planet to have been anything but created -- which would assume that they somehow have an instinctive understand that the planet was engineered in the first place. I'm looking at it more from the perspective of someone who looks at his world and assumes there's a natural explanation for everything. There are laws that govern action and reaction, there are laws that govern how the body works, and it must all tie together, right? It's no different than scientists today believing in a grand unification theory, even though they haven't figured out what it is yet.

And when they finally come across four planets that seem to have developed differently, over a longer length of time, which is the more reasonable reaction? To believe that the thousands upon thousands of other worlds are deviations from the norm, or to believe that the four worlds that don't fit your observable data are deviations from the norm?

Anyway, that's how I viewed the situation when I originally came up with the scenario... I didn't see any reason to assume that the civilizations would somehow have become mired in theocracies simply because they didn't have any facts to support evolution. I figured that the races would all have developed socially according to other factors, and that some would be very religious, some would not, some would be a mix... and that the significant thing would be that on a theoretical level, their understanding of biology and geology would be flat-out wrong.

Perhaps I underestimate the importance of evolution as a springboard for scientific inquiry... but I tend to feel that most controversies of that sort are essentially politically and socially motivated, and if it hadn't been _Origin of the Species_ it would have been something else entirely.

So my assumption, in a nutshell, was that these folks were trying to use the scientific method to learn about the world around them, and because the world around them was artificially created, re-engineered, modified, etc. it led them to make completely logical assumptions about how it all came about that were, unfortunately for them, also completely wrong... but there was no way for them to know that, because there was no point of reference to clue them in on that.

After that, I was trying to figure out what those conclusions would be.


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