What if Humans Are NOT Earth's First Civilization? - Silurian Hypothesis

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'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


I think that the best argument against such a hypothesis is the abundant deep mining that any technological civilization would have had to engage in. We are mining very old deposits for metals and ore, and many of these would have been depleted by a prior technological civilization. This would surely have been recognized or noticed, scarcities of ore deposits, ancient mine shafts, collapsed mine shaft supports, remains of equipment, etc. This factor would seem to place limits on the development level of a prior civilization, but doesn't entirely eliminate the possibility of some sort of non-technological civilization.

Another thing - at least some very common refractory, very hard technological artifacts would presumably have been preserved even after millions of years and many geological processes. Such as the common ceramic toilet. No such remains have ever been discovered from such geologically ancient formations.

Another artifact of a geologically ancient technological civilization would be certain long-lived isotopes of plutonium, the remains of nuclear fission devices. Such substances do not occur naturally, and would be a sure indicator if detected in ancient sedimentary formations.
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(2023-12-08, 12:55 AM)nbtruthman Wrote: I think that the best argument against such a hypothesis is the abundant deep mining that any technological civilization would have had to engage in. We are mining very old deposits for metals and ore, and many of these would have been depleted by a prior technological civilization. This would surely have been recognized or noticed, scarcities of ore deposits, ancient mine shafts, collapsed mine shaft supports, remains of equipment, etc. This factor would seem to place limits on the development level of a prior civilization, but doesn't entirely eliminate the possibility of some sort of non-technological civilization.

Another thing - at least some very common refractory, very hard technological artifacts would presumably have been preserved even after millions of years and many geological processes. Such as the common ceramic toilet. No such remains have ever been discovered from such geologically ancient formations.

Another artifact of a geologically ancient technological civilization would be certain long-lived isotopes of plutonium, the remains of nuclear fission devices. Such substances do not occur naturally, and would be a sure indicator if detected in ancient sedimentary formations.

I don't know, the video makes it sounds like after enough time most of this stuff is either gone, recycled through the cycle of the Earth's crust, or too hard to disentangle from what would be natural phenomena.

It's kinda of amazing, and maybe even disturbing, to see how the cycling of the Earth's crust can destroy evidence we were here...
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(2023-12-08, 01:30 AM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: I don't know, the video makes it sounds like after enough time most of this stuff is either gone, recycled through the cycle of the Earth's crust, or too hard to disentangle from what would be natural phenomena.

It's kinda of amazing, and maybe even disturbing, to see how the cycling of the Earth's crust can destroy evidence we were here...

If remains of rather delicate bones can survive as fossils over tens to hundreds of millions of years of geological activity, then I would think much more rugged things such as ceramic toilets and concrete and steel mine shaft supports would also occasionally survive, even if only as organized rust traces indicative of machinery and other technological objects. Then there are the large deposits of fossilized Cambrian organisms many of which were soft-bodied, in mudstone-like formations such as the Burgess Shale.
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(2023-12-08, 01:58 AM)nbtruthman Wrote: If remains of rather delicate bones can survive as fossils over tens to hundreds of millions of years of geological activity, then I would think much more rugged things such as ceramic toilets and concrete and steel mine shaft supports would also occasionally survive, even if only as organized rust traces indicative of machinery and other technological objects. Then there are the large deposits of fossilized Cambrian organisms many of which were soft-bodied, in mudstone-like formations such as the Burgess Shale.

Who knows?  Maybe the prior tech surpassed our own and repurposed/recycled the typical engineered items you'd mentioned.  I don't think we appreciate the scale of potential, natural change on these massive timescales.
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(2023-12-08, 11:23 AM)Silence Wrote: Who knows?  Maybe the prior tech surpassed our own and repurposed/recycled the typical engineered items you'd mentioned.  I don't think we appreciate the scale of potential, natural change on these massive timescales.

Such a geologically ancient civilization would inevitably have gone through various developmental stages, from steam engines to internal combustion to (?), with massive amounts of engineered waste accumulating in the earth's crust. It seems very unlikely such creatures would go to the trouble of digging up all the detritus left by their previous stages of technological development, to somehow recycle all the ceramic toilets and dishes and countless other engineered items, some of which would inevitably leave traces.
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(This post was last modified: 2023-12-08, 10:45 PM by nbtruthman. Edited 1 time in total.)
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(2023-12-08, 10:44 PM)nbtruthman Wrote: Such a geologically ancient civilization would inevitably have gone through various developmental stages, from steam engines to internal combustion to (?), with massive amounts of engineered waste accumulating in the earth's crust. It seems very unlikely such creatures would go to the trouble of digging up all the detritus left by their previous stages of technological development, to somehow recycle all the ceramic toilets and dishes and countless other engineered items, some of which would inevitably leave traces.
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I can, of course, provide theoretical responses to your points.  We both can do this all day.  Maybe the ancients recycled all of their engineered waste?  Maybe they sent it off planet when they became multi-world inhabitants.  Who knows?

My point was simply that we should be careful of hubris.  The massive time scale being proposed here along with our inability to imagine what an advanced civilization would look like or leave/not-leave in terms of artifacts makes either position impossible to defend.  At least that's my view.
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(2023-12-09, 02:56 PM)Silence Wrote: Who knows? etc etc

I'm still favouring nbtruthman's arguments but that's surely valid, too.
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(2023-12-08, 12:55 AM)nbtruthman Wrote: I think that the best argument against such a hypothesis is the abundant deep mining that any technological civilization would have had to engage in. We are mining very old deposits for metals and ore, and many of these would have been depleted by a prior technological civilization. This would surely have been recognized or noticed, scarcities of ore deposits, ancient mine shafts, collapsed mine shaft supports, remains of equipment, etc. This factor would seem to place limits on the development level of a prior civilization, but doesn't entirely eliminate the possibility of some sort of non-technological civilization.

Another thing - at least some very common refractory, very hard technological artifacts would presumably have been preserved even after millions of years and many geological processes. Such as the common ceramic toilet. No such remains have ever been discovered from such geologically ancient formations.

Another artifact of a geologically ancient technological civilization would be certain long-lived isotopes of plutonium, the remains of nuclear fission devices. Such substances do not occur naturally, and would be a sure indicator if detected in ancient sedimentary formations.

To be honest, I'm not sure I agree with you on this.

I honestly don't trust modern science very far by now. For example, psi presents a challenge to our orthodox orthodox science, and logically you would expect many scientists to be keen to explore this subject. Obviously the reverse is true, and I think something similar applies to the idea of prior civilisations on Earth.

If I think about technology when I was a kid, and compare it with what we have now, I seriously wonder if scientists back then would be able to recognise fragments of our modern technology. Fragments of CD computer disks, memory sticks, computer circuit boards, etc would be very hard to recognise back then, when modern electronics consisted of thermionic valves and chunky resistors and capacitors (I still remember the joy of making things from these - often salvaged from electronic junk of various sorts.)

If a Kindle (say) turned up back then with a flat battery, would anyone ever understand what it was?

Add to that the fact that most of our software arrives on our PC's over the internet, and the manuals are also obtained off the internet!

I'm also not sure other cultures would necessarily use toilets! They might see health advantages in going outdoors - particularly if they did not breed as much as we do.

Incidentally, would fluorocarbons and other exotic chemicals survive that long in a recognisable form? Science has a wonderful way of finding a 'natural' explanation for everything it discovers.

Above all, it would seem entirely reasonable that another civilisation might have harnessed the full potential of psi (which certainly seems to exist) to achieve goodness knows what! The forerunners of electromagnetic technologies were bits of paper being attracted to combs, sparks that sometimes appeared when various materials were rubbed, etc. Would we take such evidence seriously with our modern mindset, or just dismiss them with a shrug?

David
(This post was last modified: 2023-12-12, 12:13 PM by David001. Edited 3 times in total.)
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