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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default "They Would Cut You Up" The trope - how realistic?

    It's something we see in movies. Yes, we know governments do shady ****.

    But what about for ghosts, supernaturals, fairies, werewolves, wizards, and psychics? What about them? Do you think the government would cut them up, hire them, or just do some MRIs? What do you think of the trope in and of itself?

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Lord Raziere's Avatar

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    Default Re: "They Would Cut You Up" The trope - how realistic?

    Depends on how dangerous the thing is, but leaning unrealistic.

    generally, if a scientist wants to study a living thing, its best they keep them alive and just ask about their experiences and observe them while they are functioning rather while they are non-functioning. sure you can learn things by dissecting a corpse, but say you encountered an elf you wanted to learn about, there is no way your getting any good information about their culture, psychology, social cues, beliefs or anything like that if they are dead on the operating table. the brain is one of the best sources of information you can draw from and the only interface for that is good old fashioned talking, and not even being threatening as generally you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

    however if the life form is dangerous and shows aggression enough to the point where it threatens peoples livelihoods without being able to be talked down, thats where harsher methods would probably come in. but even this might not mean immediate death, there are still things you can learn from capturing a lifeform alive and interrogating them, even if they are hostile. no different from a criminal or wartime situation: a living enemy soldier can be still be useful for learning about the enemy.

    if however capturing proves too dangerous or if fighting it renders it dead in the process of capturing it, then you could start cutting it open and rooting around its inside to learn this and that. but its kind of last resort, and at a certain point you can only learn so much from corpses: it would generally be safe to assume that any members of the species you cut open would have basically have the same biology and while there is always genetic differences, they would follow the same basic body plan and thus once you meet one corpse you've probably met all of them. sure scientific rigor, repeat experiments to see if its consistent and so on and so forth, but generally you can tell that they all work the same way once you got the pattern down.
    Last edited by Lord Raziere; 2021-01-18 at 08:11 AM.
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  3. - Top - End - #3
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: "They Would Cut You Up" The trope - how realistic?

    I think Lord Raziere has neiled the answer, i would only add, that everything dies, so kiling an alien limit "live" reserch you could do, and then you can cut-it open later.


    On the other hand this is True for 1 specimen, becouse if there was a small sociaty kindaping few aliens for reserch could have a point, but again Just cuting it open would be less productive then testing the limit of the alien body, like what will happen if trown out of the window..
    And then you could cut it open
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  4. - Top - End - #4
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Forum Explorer's Avatar

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    Default Re: "They Would Cut You Up" The trope - how realistic?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    Depends on how dangerous the thing is, but leaning unrealistic.

    generally, if a scientist wants to study a living thing, its best they keep them alive and just ask about their experiences and observe them while they are functioning rather while they are non-functioning. sure you can learn things by dissecting a corpse, but say you encountered an elf you wanted to learn about, there is no way your getting any good information about their culture, psychology, social cues, beliefs or anything like that if they are dead on the operating table. the brain is one of the best sources of information you can draw from and the only interface for that is good old fashioned talking, and not even being threatening as generally you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

    however if the life form is dangerous and shows aggression enough to the point where it threatens peoples livelihoods without being able to be talked down, thats where harsher methods would probably come in. but even this might not mean immediate death, there are still things you can learn from capturing a lifeform alive and interrogating them, even if they are hostile. no different from a criminal or wartime situation: a living enemy soldier can be still be useful for learning about the enemy.

    if however capturing proves too dangerous or if fighting it renders it dead in the process of capturing it, then you could start cutting it open and rooting around its inside to learn this and that. but its kind of last resort, and at a certain point you can only learn so much from corpses: it would generally be safe to assume that any members of the species you cut open would have basically have the same biology and while there is always genetic differences, they would follow the same basic body plan and thus once you meet one corpse you've probably met all of them. sure scientific rigor, repeat experiments to see if its consistent and so on and so forth, but generally you can tell that they all work the same way once you got the pattern down.
    More or less this. Biology has come a long way from dissecting something being our first instinct to learning about it, and we've got a strong sense of how irreplaceable a specimen could be. In fact, these days we've got a bunch of technologies to allow us to inspect the interior of something without killing it, be it x-rays, or micro cameras.

    That being said, it would likely be very uncomfortable for the specimen, because even with the best efforts to reduce the discomfort of this sort of thing, it still is uncomfortable. Oh, and they would eventually dissect whatever it was, but they would just wait until it died of natural causes to do so.
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  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: "They Would Cut You Up" The trope - how realistic?

    You generally don't want to destroy a specimen you can't replace, so they wouldn't cut you up unless they were sure they cpuld put you back together afterward.

    They might, however, LOCK you up, for largely the same reasons.
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Asmotherion's Avatar

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    Default Re: "They Would Cut You Up" The trope - how realistic?

    Realistically, all of the above.

    I mean, the "disecting" part is very dependent on the scarcity of the entity in question (For example, depends heavily on "did we find only one of those, or an entire village of them?"), and also it's potential substance (kinda hard to disect a ghost).

    But yeah, my idea would be:

    A) test them, get some DNA out of them

    which leads to...

    B) Mass clone it if possible

    and finally...

    C) Find a way to control it, if it can provide us with any form of unfair advantage; Otherwise, release it, but keep the clones for more experiments.

    I'd say this is a realistic approach to what a modern government would do.
    Last edited by Asmotherion; 2021-01-19 at 05:37 AM.

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  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: "They Would Cut You Up" The trope - how realistic?

    If you're asking about actually dissecting someone, then no, it'd be unrealistic for the reasons given. You only have one, or a small handful, of subjects, so performing vivisection would be cutting up the golden goose.

    But if you're asking about the general concern of the trope. Of how someone abnormal would end up caught and reduced to a prize object with no rights, locked up deep in the bowels of some kind of compound as people try to squeeze the tiniest of fractional advantage out of this mysterious unknown?

    Frankly, I'd say it's extremely likely. Any agency with any sort of power would relish the opportunity of a new, powerful advantage over others, be it a national government, a corporate agency, or anything else. 99 out of a 100 scientists would balk at inhuman imprisonment and treatment of some alien or magical beast, especially if they exhibit clear signs of humanlike intelligence, but you only need to hire that 1 percentwho actually don't care about ethics.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: "They Would Cut You Up" The trope - how realistic?

    Oh I think quite likely.

    But not vivisection per se.

    They would probably want to keep such subjects alive.
    So slicing open to monitor or stimulate various organs etc while displaying whatever "magical" power is on offer would be quite likely.
    Also it depends on who within the power system finds them. Some parts of systems are more attuned to frame "threats" and deal with them as such vs those seeking advantage. Personality and beauracray would matter

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: "They Would Cut You Up" The trope - how realistic?

    Quote Originally Posted by sktarq View Post
    They would probably want to keep such subjects alive.
    So slicing open to monitor or stimulate various organs etc while displaying whatever "magical" power is on offer would be quite likely.
    Also it depends on who within the power system finds them. Some parts of systems are more attuned to frame "threats" and deal with them as such vs those seeking advantage. Personality and beauracray would matter
    Surgery when we don't know anything about its physiology would likely turn into de facto vivisection. We don't know where is safe to cut and are likely to make a fatal mistake. Which, even if we find people who don't care at all about the morality of torture, would mean we lose the chance to learn anything that might be interesting about its biological processes. Never mind what we might learn if we talk to it.

    Of course, if it's properly alien, we have no idea what it biologically needs. We'll likely wind up doing an autopsy when we find out that something in our air/water/food is poisonous to it, or conversely that we aren't giving it some essential element that it needs trace amounts of. We could have smart, dedicated, compassionate scientists and they'd still have the problem of not knowing stuff.

    Which leads to the biggest question of how novel this thing really is. E.T. made sense as something stranded on our world from another one. A werewolf or an elf, if they came from earth, would presumably be one of many. Either these things had some sort of acknowledgements with people already in power (in which case their allies would get them out ASAP and possibly recruit whoever discovered this to whatever secret group liaises with magical creatures), or whatever skills they use to hide themselves would quickly applied to break out whatever specimen you found.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: "They Would Cut You Up" The trope - how realistic?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anymage View Post
    Surgery when we don't know anything about its physiology would likely turn into de facto vivisection. We don't know where is safe to cut and are likely to make a fatal mistake. Which, even if we find people who don't care at all about the morality of torture, would mean we lose the chance to learn anything that might be interesting about its biological processes. Never mind what we might learn if we talk to it.

    Of course, if it's properly alien, we have no idea what it biologically needs. We'll likely wind up doing an autopsy when we find out that something in our air/water/food is poisonous to it, or conversely that we aren't giving it some essential element that it needs trace amounts of. We could have smart, dedicated, compassionate scientists and they'd still have the problem of not knowing stuff.

    Which leads to the biggest question of how novel this thing really is. E.T. made sense as something stranded on our world from another one. A werewolf or an elf, if they came from earth, would presumably be one of many. Either these things had some sort of acknowledgements with people already in power (in which case their allies would get them out ASAP and possibly recruit whoever discovered this to whatever secret group liaises with magical creatures), or whatever skills they use to hide themselves would quickly applied to break out whatever specimen you found.
    Firstly I suspect they simply try to do both. Talk and probe both. And the knowledge that it may die from an unintentional- poison/lack-of-trace-needed-material would simply be more reason to take live biopsies and place monitoring probes inside while having limited time would be reason to take some risks if the target is alien enough. Also it depends on how different they are from human...the OP put the list as " supernaturals, fairies, werewolves, wizards, and psychics" all of which are going to appear human-ish enough that I suspect people will feel comfortable doing the probes. These are all close enough to human that finding how to separate baseline humans from this group.

    Now if they have multiple subjects in a go they may choose to "hire" and talk to some and vivisect the less obviously useful or cooperative.

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