Avoid Making Aliens Familiar

A common pitfall I see in this forum is to assume that features that only apply to their own society and species are generic traits that should appear everywhere

One example I’ve noticed is racism: looking at history, we see that race and racism are rare beliefs that only appear from rather specific circumstances, and without such an environment nothing more than ethnic discrimination will emerge

Another thing is currency and money. While it seems this will be widespread across different species, it would be remarkably common for a species, or even a single society, to do without completely

Yet more is in fire. While all evidence I’ve seen shows this force is understood only by hominin apes and Australian raptors, many people here assume it as a basic fact of intelligent life

I hope this inspires you to inspect the facts of any traits you think of as natural parts of society, and to ensure we all have a truer grasp of what intelligence does and does not entail

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I agree with the first 2, as both of those psychological in nature,
but I vehemently disagree with the fire point, fire is a physical phenomenon of the universe that any advanced aliens would have had to mastered to make anything more advanced than basket weaving.

Not to mention, in human evolution, fire literally made us more intelligent, by being pressured into niche that required intelligence, and receiving a source of practically free energy, this is noticible in the brain case of the skull, as it has noticibly grown over the course of a million years using fire.

Also, you’ve made a point of “what about elephants?” in regards to intelligence before, but elephants, even if quite smart, are not at the needed level, even the most intelligent animals are only as smart a 6 year old human; I don’t think you can reach civilization level intelligence if you are just eating excluvisely raw food, or there would have been civilizations on earth before, whom didn’t need to use such a ‘familiar’ method as fire, visible in fossil record, my hypothesis is that most species considered intelligent are already as smart as their niche allows.

Any way, back on topic, how do you think important issues that humans don’t face will be handled, hard to represent them if we don’t know much about them?


Sure, but there’s no reason to say they’d understand it anymore than we understand that the faint wandering star we call ‘Mars’ is a physical planet like Earth

How do you know that this isn’t just because humans are just the smartest, or that humans are simply the ones doing the test?

Because fire is a reaction that occurs anywhere in the universe, and abundantly generates heat, a fundamental property of it, that is needed, where as mars is 1 planet that is only in the solar system

Also because humans are the one’s making advanced technology, I’m not about to argue semantics over terms everyone should already understand. (Edit: misunderstood part of the argument, sorry, the reason is because austrolopiths were not as capable of making tools, and they were the ancestors to humanity, being less intelligent before the invention of fire)

I’m going to stop replying for now, I don’t like long winded arguements that go nowhere.

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I’m not trying to argue semantics, I’m simply bringing up the possibility of bias in testing. You’ve provided no evidence to say that human intelligence is caused by fire, as opposed to any other factor


Homo erectus:

Home sapians:

Notice the size of the braincase, homo erectus is after fire*;
I do see some merit in your point, the earliest absolute evidence of humans using fire is ~MYA and homo erectus is ~2MYA, but there are claims it goes as far back as ~1.5 MYA, while this has more nuanced than I expected, I would say it is still obvious that homo sapiens evolution and fire are still tightly married.

Aliens aren’t Homo sapiens, nor are most species or even most intelligent species. Do you have any evidence of stagnation within fireless types of animals?

Even so, how would we model such a preadaptation for fire? Do you have any evidence in this area for how this would work?

It’s extremely hard to say, but I find it doubtful that a species could reach civilization without fire, by merit of efficiency, since fire can make near inedible foods like grasses on earth into full meals, a civilization without fire could not live sedentary due to poor yields, as such would constantly moving, rendering civilization moot, since no permanant large community could exist.

As for preadaption to fire, just be in the niche for intelligence, and get lucky I guess? It’s how we did it.

I only bring up humanity so much because it us the only evidence we have of civilization as we know it, as such the only one we can get useful data from;
I guess you could consider ants a ‘civilization’ but not an intelligent one.


Being efficient isn’t the same as being required. There’s also game design to consider: Expecting a player to ‘get lucky’ won’t make for a good game

I’d go even further. Racism is simply a form of pattern recognition (among other things). Pattern recognition is a keystone for intelligence, so I find it pretty likely that racism in some form or another would exist in other alien species.

I also think some form of currency existing would be highly likely if not a certainty. In order for a society to grow, it needs to find a way to abstract value. This one isn’t necessary, just hugely beneficial.

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Dear lord, first underwater civilization now land.

though most of your opinions may stake true, they are incredible obsolete.

your thought of civilizations without fire is utter bs.

without fire there would be so sustainable source of heat and energy, meaning that they would be stuck in the stone age forever, I don’t quite get what you want this to be, as there are many certain milestones that are uniformly across the universe, fire is one of them, your lack of intelligence makes me want to go back to the stone age to reverse your birth.

Thats maybe a little harsh


Yea lets be respectful
Please dont let this be the third time you make people mad

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What is your evidence that fire is a milestone, rather than the odd adaptation it seems to be?

Are you seriously acting like a species can get to space without discovering/using fire?

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No, but they won’t need fire from day one

What is your point? This thread contributes nothing.

I think that weshould instead operate under the assumption that fire is necessary, and we need to prove it unnecessary. Also, what is the point of this thread if you agree that these things will happen eventually? I think it has already been established that discovery of technology wont strictly be locked to a human-like path.

Should we take this stance for all of the other human traits? Do you expect me to compose an argument that an intelligent species doesn’t strictly require a 150g spleen?

What? Fire is one of the core building blocks of human civilization, and, as far as i can see, completely necessary to advance. A 150g spleen isnt necessary. In fact, im willing to bet that most people dont have a spleen that is 150g. Why not go all the way and question whether or not intelligent life needs a brain?