The implications of other intelligent species?

The more one studies evolutionary biology, the more it becomes apparent that Homo sapiens were not the only candidates for true “intelligence” as we would recognize it today. Even among our own genus, up until very recently our kindred was simply one among many upright, tool-using East African Plains Apes. Truth be told, even around us today we behold many, many different lineages that exhibit intelligence like unto our own.

The elephants know themselves within a mirror. The corvids and octopi can do that and also use tools with an uncanny proficiency. Parrots bestow upon their children unique “names.” Even our kinsmen the Chimpanzees appear to be at the dawn of their own Stone Age, of all things. These lineages, had humanity not appeared among the apes, may have proved equally capable of producing a representative “worthy”(as much as that word can even be said to apply here) of the Image of God.

Or perhaps they are on that track even now.

Which brings me to my discussion topic: what would the theological implications be of another species attaining to human intelligence and behavioral complexity? What would our duties to them be, the scriptural precedents? Could these new beings be our spiritual equals, our inferiors, or even - while in Edenic innocence - our superiors? Would mankind be required to take on the role of Israel among the gentiles, to be a “light to the nations?” Or would our role be that of a quarantining power, to keep these new species in innocence for as long as possible, so the curse of the Serpent would not be given to us? My thanks for any involvement with this topic.

Great questions! This is actually one of the top performing articles right now on our website: What would life beyond Earth mean for Christians? - Articles - BioLogos

and here was the original discussion for it: New Article: What would life beyond Earth mean for Christians?

Hope that gets you started! I know your question is about other earth creatures, but I think a lot of the theological implications may still apply!


On the earth? That would simply extend humanity to a larger genetic diversity.

Same as our duties to all children.

On another planet isolated from human influence they might be. But here on the earth they would absorb the same inheritance of the mind that we all have.

Yeah we would have a parental role to help them realized their potential as best we can – blind guides that we are.

Like I said, that would only work if they were on a another planet with an edict against human interference. And even then this is a dubious proposition, denying them as much as we are protecting them. Remember that our species lived much the same for a million years or two without much change and this would likely condemn them to the same. Some would ask if we are really doing that for their sake or only for our own selfish interests.

Isolationists have often worried that getting involved with other people could easily make us responsible for their choices and actions – sucking us into the misery of the hell they have made their portion of the world into.

Oh… the curse of adversary when A&E blamed the serpent for their own mistake? Yeah we see something similar in the contact between cultures. Some immigrants are grateful for the opportunities while others choose to blame the natives for their problems and promote an adversarial relationship. Perhaps with a good dose of films/tv-shows addressing the topic (like Alien Nation) they might avoid that error.

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Once any other Earth organism or meta-organism shows intentionality by accumulating culture, we’ll have to protect them. We means the minority WEIRD world. The trouble is the species won’t be isolated like the North Sentinelese. It will be a nightmare as 80% of humanity won’t have the moral development necessary.

We have much larger fish to fry. Have you read or heard what the Chinese are doing to develop AI?

They will fail miserably. And succeed beyond our wildest nightmares. Because they’re in the 80%

As a go player, I am well aware of the developments which has inspired the Chinese to see this as the key to the future. Deepmind basically proved that with AI, computers can be smarter than any human being… at just about anything. Thus it is not difficult for me to understand why the Chinese have made this leap for a technology with the potential to surpass anything which human beings have yet accomplished. In addition, their efforts to define ethical boundaries for its use look extremely sensible to me.

China surpassed the United States in 2007 as the world’s largest producer of doctoral degrees in natural sciences and engineering (excluding social and behavioral sciences) and has remained in the lead ever since. In 2015, China awarded 32,000 doctorates in these fields and the United States awarded 30,000.

In July 2017, China’s State Council released the country’s strategy for developing artificial intelligence (AI), entitled ‘New Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan’ (新一代人工智能发展规划). This strategy outlined China’s aims to become the world leader in AI by 2030, to monetise AI into a trillion-yuan (ca. 150 billion dollars) industry, and to emerge as the driving force

P.S. I kill at “Stop”. Turned pro at 6 years, 2 months.

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