2018-09-23 19:26:05 UTC
Which unrealistic science fiction tropes annoy you the most? Why?
“That animal is herbivorous, therefore it is not dangerous.” Herbivorous
animals attack all the time. The most dangerous large land animals on
Earth (excluding humans) are herbivorous.
“Our culture is post-scarcity. We have outgrown the need for primitive
concepts such as “money”.” There is no such thing as “post-scarcity”.
Personal services are never in unlimited supply, people’s desires expand
to match their supply and I want my own personal starship. Also
replicators violate conservation laws.
“Evolution has a predestined outcome and we have a moral obligation to
help reach it.” No, it doesn’t, and no we don’t. We are no more
obligated to “help” evolution than we are obligated to “help” gravity.
Nor are we constrained to avoid interfering in either of those things.
And no, we aren’t destined to become more and more intelligent until we
turn into balls of light.
“Alien intelligent life would look and think nothing like humanity” OK,
sure, pasting a few appliances on a human actor’s face or painting them
blue or green isn’t a realistic way of portraying an independently
evolved lifeform. But at the same time the general human body plan, an
upright bilaterally symmetrical biped with a head is actually really
likely for an advanced tool-user. Advanced tool use requires
manipulative members and locomotion. Efficient locomotion under gravity
requires limbs with bones or at least an exoskeleton. Placing your
ranged sensory organs and your pie-hole at the front of a horizontal
body makes so much sense that it would probably be extremely unlikely
for any other arrangement to evolve and means a head at the top when
they transition to an upright posture. And probably with a neck because
being able to turn your sensory organs is a huge advantage.
It’s the same thing with alien intelligent life thinking nothing like
humanity. Just defining them as “intelligent life” means they already
would have a lot in common in humanity. And being shaped by the same
basic survival needs that humanity is means that alien advanced tool
users would actually have a lot in common with the way we think.
Yes, there would be differences, in form and in thought. But when people
declare that that aliens would all be utterly bizarre in form and
incomprehensible in action…well that’s just overcompensation.