The episode "Distant Origin"

Discussion in 'Voyager' started by oddsigve, Sep 19, 2013.

  1. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Some of Christopher's novels claim that time is folding-over spitting out duplicate Earths all over the galaxy (a gross oversimplification), mean while the preservers have no faith in Earthlings and keep transplanting them to safe havens galaxy wide expecting the core bunch to die out but they never do.

    Is it possible that the preservers still "steal" a few thousand people every time Earh is confronted with an extinction level invent, even the most recent and modern extinction level events, like the Dominion War, for just in case?

    This sounds like somehting the Magestic 12 or Section 31 would be charged with glossing over to avoid mass hysteria.
     
  2. Yanks

    Yanks Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    [​IMG]
     
  3. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Hodgkins Law of Parallel Planetary Development.. covers physical similarities but I don't think this includes actual DNA.
     
  4. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    So, let me get this straight...

    You think that NOTHING Humans have ever built or ever will build can rival the staying power of bones, eggshells and shit (that's right, we have fossilized dinosaur shit). You are telling me that a piece of dinosaur shit is able to last for millions of years, a feat which nothing ever produced by Humanity will ever be able to do? For all our technological advances, if we want to send a message to the scientists of 50 mikllion years from now, we'd better write it on a leg bone, or an eggshell, or mould it into shit, because that's the only way it will last?
     
  5. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    Boy, you're awfully testy about this subject. Any clue why you're so upset?

    Think about it this way. We have tax records and receipts from ancient Sumeria, written in cuneiform on clay tablets. They're still readable today after 5000 years.

    We have printed books that are over 500 years old and still readable now.

    The computer punch cards from 50 years ago are worthless pieces of junk now.

    The "floppy" disks from 20 years ago are just pieces of worthless plastic now.

    The zip drives and VHS tapes from 10 years ago aren't useful anymore; you can't even give them away!

    The fact is, the more advanced the technology, the less likely it is to last across the ages. If anything of our civilization survives across millions of years, it'll be the least advanced pieces of technology, not the most. Sure, the Moon landing equipment will be there for a long time, but even it may break down faster than I thought. I didn't account for the endless thermal cycling it will experience which should eventually break them down, too.

    But everything on Earth is going to be fighting the elements, and the Earth always wins in the long run.
     
  6. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    My problem is that you seem to be of the opinion that everything that Humanity has made will be destroyed. All traces of human civilisation - every single thing we've ever accomplished - will be lost to the depths of time.

    I'm asking you how you can say this when we know for a fact that something as delicate as an eggshell, or footprints in wet mud can last for millions of years.

    Yes, I am fully aware that the vast majority of eggshells, footprints not to mention bones, teeth, etc from back then have been lost. But the fact that these delicate things survive for millions of years is proof that things that would appear to have no chance can actually survive through deep time. So if the idea presented in the episode is true, that dinosaurs had a culture, then we would see some of that today.

    In any case, we see things that could NOT be if the episode's idea was true - namely dinosaur nests. I doubt that a species that is advanced enough to develop spaceflight is going to think that the best place to raise children is from piles of dirt in an open field. And yet we've found plenty of dinosaur nests.
     
  7. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    Everything? No. The vast majority? Yes. Furthermore, what survives will probably be the least advanced and the most common, not the most advanced and most rare.

    Pure, unadulterated, completely blind, luck. Nothing else but that is responsible for preservation of eggshells and footprints. Whatever we leave behind will be a matter of luck, too.

    Where would we see it, and how would we recognize it? Besides, how can you safely assume that an alien culture (and a dinosauroid culture would be just as alien as anything from another planet) would have the exact same technologies we have? What if intelligent saurians mainly used wood and clay to construct their cities, rather than steel and glass? What if the dinosauroids had advanced computer technology like silicon chips, but preferred (culturally) to live in hobbit-holes? What can we safely assume about an alien culture? Nothing, I say. Nothing is necessarily the same between radically different cultures - not the same technology, or the same pace of development or the distribution of technology. And after 65 million years, what would their remains look like? Almost nothing would remain, and anything that did would be unlikely to be stumbled over, and anything that did survive and was found might not be recognized as an artifact from an advanced alien culture.

    I'm not saying there was some kind of alien dinosaurian culture that lived and died over 65 million years ago. I'm saying that if something like that had happened, it would be incredibly unlikely to be recognized and/or found. The odds are against it.

    :wtf: OK, now you're just being obtuse. I don't think the implication was that all dinosaurs were members of an intelligent, tool-using, highly-advanced culture that happened to lay eggs in the dirt. That's not even implied in the episode. What Chakotay was (wildly) speculating on was the greatest of a society that lived and managed to survive among some rather terrifying creatures, some of whom deposited eggs in dirt mounds. Not that the intelligent ones did that. Of course, they could have done that...they would be alien after all, and aliens do weird things....
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2013
  8. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    In that we are agreed.

    Again, we are agreed. However, I must point out that this same luck which allows an eggshell to survive for 70 million years could also let a metal watch band survive for 70 million years.

    It wouldn't be exactly the same. But we would expect to have some things in common, such as the wheel.

    Possible, but such a civilisation would not be the one suggested in Distant Origin. Any culture that is able to develop spaceflight to the degree that they can travel across the galaxy is unlikely to be one using primarily wood and clay. The need to develop sophisticated and precision objects would require them to move beyond wood and clay tools.

    Technology does not exist in a vacuum. Technology developed for one thing will find its way into other areas of life.

    Then how can you know they even had a culture? I know, I'm being difficult, but the point is that just the act of you assuming they have a culture is you assuming something about their culture - an act you said was impossible.

    One would think that we would at least have something like, "Our analysis of this bone shows it was broken in five places and then healed. The animal could not have survived by itself while it healed, therefore it had other individuals helping it." And that's even if we can't get the, "This break was healed by some kind of advanced technology."

    And this is where I disagree with you. Culture is something that pervades all areas of life, and it is almost impossible for evidence of a culture to vanish like that. For example, in 50 million years, when future scientists find evidence of Humans, how likely is it that they'll also find evidence of dental work? Or people who have metal plates attached to their bones? Even if the metal has gone, the bones will still show some evidence. yes, I know that only a small percentage of the population will fossilise, but we have several factors working in our favour. First, the sheer number of us. Secondly, the fact we tend to bury our dead rather than leave them on exposed riverbanks like dinosaurs. Thirsdly, the fact that lots of people have evidence on their skeletons which could conceivably last for millions of years.

    No, I'm not being obtuse. The episode stated that the Voth were descended from hadrosaurs (not a suggestion, it states it outright), and we have found hadrosaur nests. How is this being obtuse?
     
  9. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Did it occur that both of you guys aren't too far apart from each other? You both concede that bones survive over 65 million years, you both concede that some of our materials will survive over 65 million years. You both concede it'll be the vast minority of those things.

    The only difference is of opinion is would we connect the dots if we did find something created by the Voth. Being how different they are and all they may well have a different set of tools with those three fingered hands of theirs and all. I'm inclined to think at the very least any artifacts we found from the Voth would raise red flags, even if we couldn't figure them out today. Though it might give the alien intervention folks something new to rail on. ;)
     
  10. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    But he only conceded that recently!

    *Has temper tanty*:guffaw:
     
  11. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    There's no "concession" that bones will survive over 65 million years. For one thing, fossils aren't bones. I've already explained that. For another thing, Tiberius seems to be under the impression that our civilization will leave huge buildings and other impressive artifacts intact across millions of years, so that non-human intelligences would be able to recognize our existence. That's just not going to happen. I would recommend he watch a show called Life After People to get a sense of how fast human-made structures decay without maintenance.

    A metal watch band? No. Didn't I point out that metal oxidizes?


    What would those wheels be made out of, though? Wood? Metals and rubbers? Neither material would survive. Maybe if a wooden wagon wheel off a Voth wagon were petrified somehow... but what would the odds of that be?

    What? We possess a high-tech society, yet some of the most coveted homes are built of wood. The rich and famous of today love their rustic log cabins. And you can make incredible structures out of wood and clay. People in the southwest United States still build adobe homes now. I'd say that having an advanced technology in one area doesn't mean they have to be advanced in all areas, certainly not all the same areas we are "advanced" in.

    Yeah, so? How does that impact the survival of technology across deep time? I love my iPad, but it's not going to be around in 65 million years.

    What? :confused:

    Animals help each other all the time. What makes you think we could distinguish animal from intelligent being based on a bone that healed? :wtf:

    I'm unconvinced. Yes, we bury our dead, but in vaults that keep the elements out. I have no idea what will be preserved in these modern (Western) burial chambers that we use, but I'd not be surprised if people from "less advanced" (non-Western) cultures were the dominant ones that become fossilized, while our advanced attempts to preserve the body after death just end up back-firing. (Say, why do we go to so much trouble to preserve bodies that we seal up in the ground and never look at again?)

    It's obtuse because "hadrosaur" is a family of dinosaurs, not a particular species. And those "hadrosaur" nests could be from the pre-intelligent Voth ancestors, or from contemporary cousins.

    Hell, the whole discussion of the episode wasn't what interested me. I was interested in discussing the real potential of artifacts from our time surviving millions of years. It's clear to me that some people have no clue how fragile our modern structures and materials are, and how fast they'll decay away. It's also clear that some people have no clue how long a million years is, much less 65 million years.
     
  12. Yanks

    Yanks Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I agree with this. (as I posted earlier)

    I also like the idea someone else posted.

    We know the Voth do NOT under ANY circumstance want to acknowledge that they were a race that fled a planet, didn't have a home, etc...

    So to me it's very plausable they returned to Earth and removed any and all physical evidence.
     
  13. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    That's not what I am saying. I am saying that traces of human civilisation will last. I've never been under the impression that buildings will survive much as they are today.

    There are plenty of environments that could protect it. We've seen these sort of environments protect human remains. My point was that the same luck that protected dinosaur eggshells for millions of years could also protect traces of our civilisation.

    Probably about the same that we'd have fossilized dinosaur shit. :p

    And yet we don't see wood and clay being used for skyscrapers, nor for the buildings that are used to develop our high technology. If the Voth (or their ancestors) developed a spacefaring civilisation on Earth, then they didn't do it with wood and clay huts.

    What I just said.

    You said that we cannot assume ANYTHING about an alien culture, yet you are assuming that aliens even HAVE a culture. You are making an assumption yourself!

    Are you even reading what I write?

    I was very clear that we could use the broken bone to determine that the animal was aided by others. You agree with me here. If we see an animal with an injury that renders it incapable of finding food and yet the animal survives, then we know it must be getting food some other way. Other individuals helping it is the most likely reason.

    However, I NEVER said that this would allow us to determine that the animals were intelligent. I said that if we examine the healed injury we might be able to determine if it healed naturally or not. And if we find that the bone healed in a way that would not have happened without advanced medical aide, then we can determine that the animal was intelligent (or at the least was operated on by an intelligent veterinarian).

    Please read what I actually write, not what you think I write.

    Well, it seems to me that at the worst, the modern, sealed crypts would just fail and then any bodies within them would decay just like bodies exposed to the elements like those in non-sealed crypts. And if the vaults DON'T fail, then what would happen to the bodies? Would they be MORE likely to decay to nothing?

    And two things are clear to me.

    Firstly, that you have not provided a single shred of evidence to support your position that all modern indications of Human civilization will decay to nothing despite the fact that we know for a fact that eggshells can survive for millions of years.

    Secondly, that you do not read what I say, because i never once claimed that buildings will survive intact. My claim has always been that some trace of modern civilisation will survive. You are the one that leaped to the conclusion that I meant a rusty car being dug up in 60 million years or something.
     
  14. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    You thought the Chernobyl sarcophagus would be intact in 50 million years. You've never made it clear to me what you think you mean by "traces of human civilizations". I'm thinking maybe a trace element enrichment in some rocks; are you thinking an entire concrete sarcophagus or a stump of the pyramids will be around in 50 million years? Our definitions of "trace" may be very different.

    Human remains and metals don't react to the same environment in the same way.

    Wrong. You're off by orders-of-magnitude.

    Why would Voth necessarily build skyscrapers? You don't need a skyscraper to launch rockets into orbit.

    Of course I'm making assumptions. Are assumptions bad? No, as long as they're clearly laid out. So, I apologize for not clearly stating that I assume an intelligent, tool-using civilization would have culture. :rolleyes:


    Yes, I am. If I weren't, I wouldn't do you the courtesy of responding. Are you making yourself clear? I'm very intelligent. If you're not making yourself clear, the failure of communication is on you, not me.

    Arm-waving. Nothing to see here but pointless arm-waving.

    I do read what you write. Are you writing what you think?

    That many? I'm impressed! But you shouldn't brag - it's not polite.

    What evidence would you like? I'm not interested in digging through the relevant scientific research literature to post research articles that would be above your head anyway, particularly since I doubt you'd read them. Even if you would read them and understand them, it's far more work than I have time to do. You've not made clear to me what you would consider "evidence" anyway, and I did implicitly ask earlier in the thread. Let me know what you think would constitute evidence and I'll maybe see what I can do. No promises.

    Don't accuse me of not reading. If I didn't read your posts, I'd not bother responding to them. If you're not making yourself clear to me, then perhaps you need to communicate better. Your "Chernobyl sarcophagus" question, and subsequent incredulity that it would not be intact in the far future, made it seem to me that you thought it would last 50 million years. It won't.

    Besides, you've posted earlier

    Have we really designed anything to last a "really long time"? What structures would those be? And what is a "really long time" to you?

    The pyramids, the Great Wall, dams, building foundations, none will survive intact or even recognizable over millions and millions of years. How could they? What would make them special enough to last? The pyramids and the Great Wall are just rocks, and if whole mountains can erode over millions of years, what's going to leave those intact? And what would be a recognizable trace of them? How would someone tell a rock from the eroded pyramids from a rock that was never part of the pyramids? Why should building foundations be preserved when even things underground are subject to geological processes that will destroy them?

    Ponder those questions, and consider what assumptions you're making.
     
  15. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    I saw Life After People, and it was one of the most depressing things I've ever seen. I hadn't realized what would happen if all humans suddenly disappeared and there was nobody around to maintain the nuclear reactors, etc. Never mind the skyscrapers rusting and falling apart - the lack of any way to make sure that radiation wouldn't cause widespread death to the remaining life is what got me.

    There is quite a difference in how organic and inorganic (ie. metal and plastic) react chemically and how relatively strong they are.

    Maybe in time we will discover a way to preserve Our Stuff in such a way that it would last longer than the oldest known human artifacts, but we don't know how to do that yet. As the documentary said: if we humans disappeared tomorrow, it wouldn't take long for there to be very little, if any, trace of our civilization.

    Chemistry and geophysics would do the rest.
     
  16. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well you can't put too much stock into the History channel these days when one of their few active shows that isn't reality tv based is about aliens coming to Earth and interacting with the primitives. ;)

    I watched a couple of episodes of Life After People and it was interesting. The only thing I shrugged at is anything big enough to wipe all of us out is probably going to level any structures we have anyways. That doesn't mean that all -evidence- that we were here is going to be gone.

    Yes pavonis, we all know the difference between bones and fossils. You don't need to nitpick pointing it out when we use the terms interchangeably considering the topic of discussion.
     
  17. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    The History Channel in Canada offers better (more intelligent) programming than the one in the U.S.
     
  18. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I like the history channels that play really old TV like Three's Company.
     
  19. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    Of course not, but I have no idea what else Tiberius may have access to. Perhaps a library? Do people (other than me) still carry library cards?

    Do "we"? Because calling a fossil "bone" is like calling petrified wood "a tree". They're not the same thing, and being incredulous that "bones" survived millions of years isn't a sign of understanding the situation. Rocks and minerals survive millions of years; bones survive only thousands of years, unless they get fossilized. There's a fundamental difference between "fossil" and "bone", and using the words interchangeably is sloppy communication.
     
  20. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Wow, you're just determined to nitpick this issue. :p
     

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