Is It True That The More Technologically Advanced A species Is, The More Benevolent They Are?

There is an assumption, which is made a lot in science fiction. A Technologically advanced aliens species is either extremely malevolent or indifferent to other beings in the universe, or extremely benevolent.

Some think there is a direct link between the advancement of an intelligent species and how benevolent they are.

Even with ourselves, some consider the more technologically advanced country to be the more civilised place to be. Some would strongly disagree and claim that there is a prejudice in that assumption.

What do you think is more likely to be the case? I am withholding judgement for the time being because i would like to know what you think.

Do you think technological advancement has any reflection on the moral status of a species.

Good question. And off the top of my head I would say it’s true but…post hoc ergo propter hoc.

1 Like

Okay, but why do you think it’s true?

I think that we could use any number of examples. But we’d need to define what is ‘better’ or more ‘civilised’. I think that there is an increase in what we generally perceive to be moral behaviour. But that leaves me open to someone suggesting that there is some moral absolute to which we are heading.

Which is a reasonable position but one with which I would disagree.

I think different vices and virtues emerge under different circumstances.


There’s only 1 species that’s “technological”: humans.

You do not have other empirical examples (at hand).

[Except if you count crows and monkeys using tools to crack nuts. But that counts as tools, not technology.]

It’s not a species that is moral. Morals is both divinely inspired and a construct of reason.

New technology can spring moral issues prompting moral reflection. However, moral guidelines are unchanged by technology - morals are a separate field in itself. E.g. A medical invention prompts change in deonthology but it is deonthology itself that updates. Our derivation of morals can evolve, but the underlying catholic dogmas are essentially unchanging.

You also use two words @IWantGod:

Status/Reflection need defining. A species has no “moral status”, humanity is endowed with moral because humanity is endowed with reason. And moral reasoning can be completely wrong. Morals isn’t politics or culture, thus independent of moral thought you can speak of predominant social values and cultural practices at a given point in time.

Reflection would have to be taken as an action. Action of technology on morals. But action implies a Verb and reflection remits to the grammatical voice of the verb which could be Reflexive, Passive or Active. Thus it can be fair to say (for example) that cloning(or invitro) caused deontological/moral thought and the product of that deontological/moral thought in turn influenced/guided/conditioned the technology and its course.

Thus technological advancement taking the regressive derivation of the verb “to advance” can be taken as conceptually reflexive although NOT grammatically.

On the side of the moral dimension and moral action of a group of humans (a social subset) you can say they suffer the action Passive and in turn act Active however it is not Reflexive in terms of morals because they didn’t simultaneously suffer the action they took (there is one subject and one object separated in the sentence.)

It has been stated (not merely suggested.)

It might be the case if the advancement leads to an abundance of energy and resources.

No, it isn’t true.

This is a forum. Meant for discussion. Why isn’t it true?

None whatsoever .

Not according to the hamburgers…

Nazi Germany would seem a counter example.

1 Like

Many of you are looking at it backwards. It is not that technology makes us benevolent. Rather it is that certain kinds of benevolence are necessary in order for a species to develop technology.

Honesty – respect for the truth. A rocket engineer who is dishonest, covering up his mistakes or making exaggerated claims about his inventions, will probably hinder his species leaving the planet. Likewise a supplier who waters down the rocket fuel, or a manager who substitutes a less expensive adhesive for the heat shields.

Cooperation: The rocket will never get off the ground if the engineers are secretly sabotaging each other’s work or withholding information from rival colleagues.

Non-aggression, or peaceful coexistence: A war-loving species that develops ever more powerful weapons will probably not survive long enough to leave the planet.

Good stewardship, care for future generations: The future will be limited for a species that destroys the natural resources of its planet.

On these last two points, there is reason to doubt our own prospects.


There is no reason to doubt. The rich and powerful will protect their interests, including becoming more rich and powerful. There is some evidence to indicate that more money is being spent on research so that disease will gradually be eliminated. Technology, like all things humans make, can be used for good or evil. Peace is desirable up to a point.

I’d say the less desperate a society is, the more benevolent they tend to be.

Wealth and advancement can result in either greed or benevolence. Living in poverty can do the same. I think it comes from individual capacity for empathy.

We might assume an alien race is a warlike people or a benevolent people because we are assuming the group we hypothetically meet represent the entire species when they do not.


When you look at the wars of the 20th Century and see the industrialized scale of murder used in the Soviet Union, Japan, and Germany during WWI and WWII, and in other places such as China, Cambodia, etc., I see evidence that technology doesn’t make culture more virtuous, if anything it gives a depraved culture access to ever greater tools of destruction.

1 Like

Don’t they tend to focus on short-term gains?

“Boss, we’re proposing a new product that will double our profits and quadruple our stock price within a quarter, but it will kill off the human race before year’s end.”

“Excellent. We won’t have to pay taxes. Let’s roll!”

1 Like

The people in charge of the most advanced weapons need complete safeguards regarding the technology. Look up the global arms market. Look at who is selling what. It is unlikely anyone will find out where the money is coming from.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit