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    Philosophical question on racial hierarchy

    I got a philosophical question for you. And I'm going to have to be careful of my phrasing as not to sound racist.

    So, there is a racial hierarchy to the world. If there is a spider in my presence that I want to get rid of, I could squish it and generally ppl won't mind. I personally know some ppl who would not like me squishing a living thing but I won't get charged with anything. If there is an animal like a stray cat I want to get rid of, killing it will earn me a lot of disapproval. Maybe even an animal cruelty charge. But I won't get charged with murder. If there is a person who i want go get rid of, I would have to leave the premise. Killing the person will get me a murder charge.

    So, racial hierarchy right there with bugs near the bottom then animals, then other humans. And while racists will argue that their race is somehow better, I think we here can all agree that a difference in melanin, the presence or lack of ridges on your skull, or the presence of a snake in your head doesn't make you superior. It's a common thing in scifi to have an alien race trouncing around the galaxy because they think they're better than everyone else when in reality they're not. If an Ancient, an Ori, or Q decides to say 'he who hesitates disintegrates' then decides to Thanos snap someone out of existence, we would say they're not superior and they need to face some form of punishment for murder because super powers don't make you superior.

    So what does? What does an an alien race have to be/possess in order to be undeniably superior to the point that they have a right to view humans as bugs? Is the hierarchy a sliding scale? Whatever we have over the common cockroach the aliens need to have something equivalently superior that humans don't have? Or is the hierarchy more of a line? Those who are above this point are not allowed to stomp on each other.

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    Stargate spin off series: Stargate Millennium
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    #2
    Originally posted by StargateMillennium View Post
    What does an an alien race have to be/possess in order to be undeniably superior to the point that they have a right to view humans as bugs?
    IMO, nobody, or no race, alien or otherwise has that right. "Superior" is subjective, and depends on what way he/she/they are 'superior'
    The winners of Olympic Gold medals are superior to the Silver, Bronze or 'also ran' competitors, and are recognised as such without having to squash the rest as 'bugs'
    And there again they are only 'superior' in their own event.

    A 'superior' alien to me is one that comes along & makes improvements to living conditions, or getting tasks done without trying to wipe out the local inhabitants. They come along, ask what we are trying to do, and then (thinking outside the box) demonstrate an easier & better way to do it.

    IMO they would be the superior ones, but if they go around squashing us all, who are they superior to? Who is left for them to be superior to?
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      #3
      Are you speaking ethically/morally right or practically?

      While that superior attitude may be morally or ethically right or wrong by the standards of our society (it may not be by theirs), in practice, an alien race with special powers or advanced technology can do whatever it wants, we can't stop them. If Q had decided that the Human race was best confined to its own solar system, he/they would have done it, and there is nothing we could have done or said.

      While it may not be "right", in practice all an alien race has to have is the ability enforce their wishes.

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        #4
        Here's what the Encyclopediae Brittanica has to say on the subject: Racism or Racialism

        Quoting the first paragraph

        Racism, also called racialism, any action, practice, or belief that reflects the racial worldview—the ideology that humans may be divided into separate and exclusive biological entities called “races”; that there is a causal link between inherited physical traits and traits of personality, intellect, morality, and other cultural and behavioral features; and that some races are innately superior to others. Since the late 20th century the notion of biological race has been recognized as a cultural invention, entirely without scientific basis.

        The things is that we have, as a human race, never met an alien race from outer space, other than in the fantasy of authors, screenwriters and artists all around. This means those alien races will act the way we want them to act in a certain social manner which is thereby based on what we know, or what we could do as a human race.

        The human race's darkest days have plenty of superiority ideologies which have led to genocide or wars, or discrimination... In fact, these ideology are still very much present in modern day societies.

        You really don't have to look too far for examples of superiority in whatever form...
        Heightmeyer's Lemming -- still the coolest Lemming of the forum
        Proper Stargate Rewatch -- season 10 of SG-1

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          #5
          This sounds more like a species hierarchy than a racial one, and I don't think you'll ever have a philosophical agreement as to what makes one species superior to another.

          Seaboe
          If you're going to allow yourself to be offended by a cat, you might as well just pack it in -- Steven Brust

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            #6
            Originally posted by Seaboe Muffinchucker View Post
            This sounds more like a species hierarchy than a racial one, and I don't think you'll ever have a philosophical agreement as to what makes one species superior to another.
            Some say that all life is sacred -- except that of a mosquito.
            Heightmeyer's Lemming -- still the coolest Lemming of the forum
            Proper Stargate Rewatch -- season 10 of SG-1

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              #7
              In my opinion, it's really as simple as the ''pecking order''. Even vegans must eat lifeforms (plants) to survive.

              Life and death are interconnected. Without death there can't be life, one has to die for the other to survive. Without death life would be meaningless.
              Spoiler:
              I don’t want to be human. I want to see gamma rays, I want to hear X-rays, and I want to smell dark matter. Do you see the absurdity of what I am? I can’t even express these things properly, because I have to—I have to conceptualize complex ideas in this stupid, limiting spoken language, but I know I want to reach out with something other than these prehensile paws, and feel the solar wind of a supernova flowing over me. I’m a machine, and I can know much more.

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                #8
                And suppose there is something to reincarnation? For all we know, our dearly departed loved one may come back as a spider, show up in front of us and we squash it.

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by Annoyed View Post
                  Are you speaking ethically/morally right or practically?

                  While that superior attitude may be morally or ethically right or wrong by the standards of our society (it may not be by theirs), in practice, an alien race with special powers or advanced technology can do whatever it wants, we can't stop them. If Q had decided that the Human race was best confined to its own solar system, he/they would have done it, and there is nothing we could have done or said.

                  While it may not be "right", in practice all an alien race has to have is the ability enforce their wishes.
                  Morally. If I kill a cockroach nobody really cares. If I kill a squirrel, ppl frown, it might be animal cruelty, but it's not considered murder. If I kill a person, it's murder.

                  And in media we see some alien or racist come along, kill a bunch of ppl and claim it's not morally wrong because they are to humans what we are to the cockroach. We then look at them say, 'no you're not'.

                  We have superhero shows in which the supervillain says his superpowers gives him the right to squish ppl. We have aliens who say their knowledge of the universe gives them the right to squish ppl. We have beings on higher planes who think they have the right to squish ppl. And we have the old-fashioned racist who say their [insert body part here] makes them superior and gives them the right to squish those they deem inferior. And in every case we are meant to look at them and say 'no you're not'.

                  So what does an alien or some extradimensional entity have to be for it to be true? Alien X has just appeared from the clouds and kills a person and it's not morally wrong because they are to humans what humans are to cockroaches and that's not just their arrogance speaking but they truly are. So what is Alien X? What does he have that makes it not morally wrong? THat comparing it killing a human to a human killing a cockroach an accurate comparison? Or is this never a case because the hierarchy is not a sliding scale but a line where nothing past a certain point can go killing each other without it being morally wrong?

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                  Stargate spin off series: Stargate Millennium
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                    #10
                    From our perspective the simple answer would be yes. But did you ask yourself, why would an alien species recognize morality at all? Morality is a human construct, not present even in most of our own animals on earth.

                    Say you were able to talk to a female spider who just ate the male after mating, what do you think it would say about morality?
                    Spoiler:
                    I don’t want to be human. I want to see gamma rays, I want to hear X-rays, and I want to smell dark matter. Do you see the absurdity of what I am? I can’t even express these things properly, because I have to—I have to conceptualize complex ideas in this stupid, limiting spoken language, but I know I want to reach out with something other than these prehensile paws, and feel the solar wind of a supernova flowing over me. I’m a machine, and I can know much more.

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                      #11
                      Again, in a real, practical sense, all they have to have is the ability to do it regardless of our objections.

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                        #12
                        Originally posted by StargateMillennium View Post
                        Morally. If I kill a cockroach nobody really cares.
                        buddhists & hindus do
                        I know they're way overboard on that one
                        the argument can be made that not killing it is wrong (if it's a domestic one)

                        Originally posted by Chaka-Z0 View Post
                        Morality is a human construct, not present even in most of our own animals on earth.
                        nor in many humans
                        Last edited by SoulReaver; October 4, 2019, 08:26 AM. Reason: sp

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                          #13
                          Originally posted by Chaka-Z0 View Post
                          From our perspective the simple answer would be yes. But did you ask yourself, why would an alien species recognize morality at all? Morality is a human construct, not present even in most of our own animals on earth.

                          Say you were able to talk to a female spider who just ate the male after mating, what do you think it would say about morality?
                          Well, let's say it in terms of human morality then. Alien X pops his head out of the clouds and kills someone. What does Alien X have to be in order for humans to look at each other and say 'yeah, he didn't do anything immoral cuz him killing a human is like us killing a bug'?

                          sigpic
                          Stargate spin off series: Stargate Millennium
                          https://www.fanfiction.net/u/5580179/StargateMillennium

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                            #14
                            Since we are humans, it is impossible for us to say anything that is not in terms of human morality. Unless some of you are aliens in disguise.

                            Seaboe
                            If you're going to allow yourself to be offended by a cat, you might as well just pack it in -- Steven Brust

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                              #15
                              I think ppl are overthinking my question. Let me rephrase.

                              If I asked you, the individual reading this post, does the color my skin make me superior and that those who do not have it are cockroaches beneath my feet? Most if not all of you will say no.

                              If I asked you, the individual reading this post, does my technology that lets me travel across time and space make me superior that those who do not have it and are cockroaches beneath my feet? Most if not all of you will say no.

                              If I asked you, the individual reading this post, does my telekinetic abilities make me superior and that those who do not have it are cockroaches beneath my feet? Most if not all of you will say no.

                              If I asked you, the individual reading this post, does me living on a higher plane of existence make me superior and that those who do not are cockroaches beneath my feet? Most if not all of you will say no.

                              So under what condition can I ask "does my [insert unique property here] make me superior and that those who do not have it and are cockroaches beneath my feet?" and you, the person reading this post, will say yes? What is that unique property?

                              sigpic
                              Stargate spin off series: Stargate Millennium
                              https://www.fanfiction.net/u/5580179/StargateMillennium

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