Given a species that did not rely on the scientific method for discovery, but rather a 100% correct intuition (essentially they correctly guess how the universe works, every time)... under what circumstances do they decide to inquire, or cease inquiry? If they had a limitless hunger for knowledge, obviously they could make discoveries at an essentially infinite rate. So when and why would they choose to self-limit?

  • $\begingroup$ Be careful writing this story. You run the risk of stating religious and political debate positions as being unquestionably correct. If intuition never fails, the outcome of voting behavior is essentially known in advance, probably leading to a smooth running government of any flavor you like, but if you use any hard line rhetoric try to do it some justice. It's one thing to take a position, but it's another to defend it as being the only correct one. $\endgroup$ – Sean Boddy Dec 27 '15 at 9:48
  • $\begingroup$ Honestly, this isn't gonna work. What you are describing is literally a god-like omniscience. $\endgroup$ – Davor Dec 27 '15 at 15:09
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    $\begingroup$ When their intuition told them that further inquiry was unproductive and not entertaining, presumably. If it ever did. $\endgroup$ – keshlam Dec 27 '15 at 16:58
  • $\begingroup$ One way out of that logical trap of omniscience is to have that species lack the freewill (in one way or another) to apply their intuition against anything except that which they are perfect at. Thus, instead of being able to predict the result of a vote, they might instead convince themselves that they cared not what the result of the vote would be, and never gave it a thought. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Dec 27 '15 at 17:29
  • $\begingroup$ Further information required: How does their "intuition" work? Where along the spectrum between "Know the answer to any question they have" and "Instant and complete understanding of anything they encounter" are they? $\endgroup$ – TheSexyMenhir Dec 28 '15 at 8:49

You've devised a species with an alien intellect and mindset and should treat it as such. The problem you're having is one of perspective. Let me explain.

By our definition, inquiry means, "to seek information by questioning; ask." Humans lack the insight to look at a problem and say "Oh, right. That happened because of xyz." Instead, something happens and someone says, "Well, that was weird. What caused that?" Which leads to hypothesis and investigation. The following investigation often leads to other discoveries.

This species, however, doesn't find events to be weird. Maybe unexpected, but then the individual experiencing the event immediately knows what caused it. As a result, they won't be asking the leading questions and, thus, won't be inquiring. In fact, they may not have a word for "inquire" in their language(s). The species would probably careen from discovery to discovery, occasionally wondering (and immediately knowing) what would come from two events interacting.

  • $\begingroup$ Very interesting... $\endgroup$ – the_au Dec 26 '15 at 17:30
  • $\begingroup$ I like this answer and have accepted it, but I also like it combined with @keshlam 's comment above. The species really doesn't "ask", it just "looks" and it knows. And to keshlam's point, it stops looking when it has seen quite enough... the horror! $\endgroup$ – the_au Dec 27 '15 at 19:48
  • $\begingroup$ Another point: Would they even have a classical "drive" system? If they lean further towards omnisciens rather than always being right, any system where two or more predictors with 100% accuracy are involved, would be essentially static (since this would imply beeing able to predict the prediction). Imagine not only knowing that the world is deterministic, but seeing and feeling it all the time. $\endgroup$ – TheSexyMenhir Dec 28 '15 at 8:12

You raise an interesting philosophic question that challenges the words you choose to you. For example, "... make discoveries at an essentially infinite rate" implies a few things. First is that the concept of "discovery" makes any sense to them, and is valuable. Second is that they have the intuition that the universe is infinite (otherwise their intuition would tell them that infinite rates are bad news).

The wordings starts to dig at things like "what does it mean to have a 100% correct intuition. Does that mean that, if you flip a coin, they can call it every time? What if the flipping is done inside a box that they cannot see? The ability to correctly analyze that situation may imply they have a deeper connection to the universe than we can fathom. In such a case, what good is knowledge? What value would they have for it? If you create such an exotic creature, exotic results can come from it.

There is another line of reasoning, which I find particularly fun to play with: they could be "one with the universe." If you think about it, a 100% correct intuition all the time either means they are fully conscious, "knowing" themselves implicitly without any gathering of knowledge, or they only seek to find answers to questions their intuition is right for, or both. Such a being would be frighteningly powerful to us. If they did not want to be harmed, they simply would not be harmed because they would align themselves in a place where they can have 100% intuition, even with strange humans trying to attack them. They could effectively "ascend," using the Stargate SG-1 term for it, ascending to a higher plane where literally none of us can do anything to them they don't want.

If so, the concept of "knowledge" gets truly complicated indeed.

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    $\begingroup$ The more interesting question for flipping a coin in the box: "Was the coin flipped?" $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Dec 26 '15 at 18:01
  • $\begingroup$ Problem with the ascending theory: There first has to exist such a situation where ascension is possible, and reachable. Knowing you will be shot doesn't help, when all possible paths lead to you being shot. $\endgroup$ – TheSexyMenhir Dec 28 '15 at 8:06
  • $\begingroup$ @TheSexyMenhir That is only a problem if you believe a-priori that no such situation exists. If it is in any way plausible, it is reasonable to presume this particular species would find that way if they wanted. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Dec 28 '15 at 15:46

They would quit when it most benefits whatever they value most. (Assuming, of course, that the intuition is applicable to its own use.)

In other words, they wouldn't, really. It's like asking when humans would give up thought. It's going to be fundamental to their mind and continually useful.

Intuitively understanding the universe around you would be huge. Just understanding women would be life changing.

If ET has to "turn their mind's eye" to a problem to use this ability, it would be more limited than if the intuition just feeds them every fact related to what they are working on.

They might need to contain this in-head to make use of it. Forgetting details, then, would mean they would get errors.

It could be like a really nice simulation of the universe running in their head, but need details to function, meaning they can be surprised, but they can explain it after the fact. (E.g. "The light from that star isn't what if should be. There must be life there. I wonder what kind.")

Along those lines, their intuition could always be right, but not always complete. That is, they could need to perform experiments to figure out which of their hypotheses are correct, knowing intuitively that all are possible and that the truth must be one of their list. That would still place then well above humanity and our (comparatively pitiful) science.


Having 100% percent intuition is one thing, but applying it and validating it is another thing.

I guess what ends up happening is like this:

  1. species sees something of interest,
  2. species asks question
  3. species applies flawless intuition,
  4. species validates it against a quick test, makes a prediction
  5. species moves on to cat videos

I suppose if they realized soon enough that they could always get the right answer, they would stop validating. But still, there doesnt seem to be any reason to stop asking; it's just as soon as you ask, you answer.

I think the question's point of interest is: if you can always answer your question, would the concept of a question develop? Its like saying if you have the ability to always develop the perfect approach to solving a puzzle, would there be a puzzle? Well, you'd still gotta solve a puzzle, and so the puzzle would still exist, and wouldn't be obsolete.

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    $\begingroup$ Your cat video point actually underscores a potential hazard: if the race turns their intuition to maximizing pleasure, they might come up with something that distracts them from anything else intentionally. $\endgroup$ – The Nate Mar 15 '16 at 16:48

Humans intuition is actually brains ability to detect patterns and inability to explain such patterns sometimes. So if a species has evolved perfect pattern detections that can work subconsciously. Then such species might have 100% correct intuition. If they have thirst for knowledge then they might try to guess how their intuition might work. If that continues then soon they might develop formal study methods like we do. At this point they might loose their intuition by trying to formalise it or they might never stop.


The Being would only cease to inquire if the Being had to inspire to get a validation.If nobody could answer his questions any-longer due to lack of understanding or knowledge of these new accusations, The Being would start a spark of creativity and advance the species and there technology just by giving the species new ideas.So actually the being could inquire his intuitive thoughts and the species could validate them by proving there possible.

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    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure I totally understand this. Can you edit this answer to add more details? Thanks. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Dec 27 '15 at 14:37

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