An article designed to abolish the insect stereotype and explain the Caste/Cowl debate.
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The Aliens Are Not Insects Project or better known as Project AANI is a special article designed to abolish the insect stereotype set upon the Aliens. For over a year I have struggled to remove the stupid notion that Aliens are in fact insects in outer space. Many agree with me, but I'm afraid this struggle is far from over. There are several things that contribute to this growing plague upon our Alien community, I have taken the liberty of pointing them out and dissecting them before your eyes so you can see that they are in fact very superficial and have no true foundation. Although I have no intention of forcing my views on anyone, rather I wish to show people the true nature of the Alien/Insect relations and hopefully persuade them to cross over. The article in its entirety is based on the movies alone, the only true-form of canon. Read the article with an open mind and don't forget to enjoy it.
Part 1 : Aliens & Insects; Relation None
At first glance no one could deny that Aliens are somewhat similar to insects, they have the exoskeleton, the queen that lays eggs etc. But upon closer inspection Aliens are quite different from our terrestrial insects. Many have made some connections between the two, establishing that both species have hives etc. In reality of course, these connections are false because for one, they are not the same thing. Of course our information regarding the Aliens is limited to what we see on screen, so there might be some speculation. I have listed below the ideas that relate Aliens to Insects and examined them closely and reached the end conclusion.
Its true, both Aliens and Insects have what you can call "hives"; The Alien hives most resemble those of termites which are constructed by using saliva to stick the grains of sands together into a gigantic structure, which is hardened by the Sun. Aliens do the same, by secreting resin presumably from the mouth onto an environment to make it more suitable to theirs. The difference of course being that Termite hives are incredibly complex, more than Alien hives. They have ventilation systems and an intricate set of passageways; Termite hives also supply their own heat, which is needed to incubate the eggs. Termite Hives and all insect hives are a set of various chambers. Aliens on the other hand as far as we know have the Queen's chamber, which is surrounded by eggs and host cocoons. Alien hives may or may not require heat to incubate the eggs; this maybe true because the A2 hive was constructed near the reactor which is hot, but this may be false because Aliens seem to live normally and with no problem at all away from heat (The Aliens on the Derelict). We are yet to know the true purpose of resin, as far as we know it may be used to strictly cocoon hosts since the A:R Hive had resin practically only on the cocoons. But there is reason to believe that resin is used to construct a place for the individual Alien to live in, when not doing anything. In Aliens, it was apparent the Aliens used the resin to go into some sort of camouflaged hibernation; lets not forget that the resin provides an excellent place to hide. But how is the resin meant to protect the Alien hive the same way the grains of sand protect the termites? The hives of both Aliens and Insects are similar but have different purposes and a different way of functioning. Just because the Alien habitat is called a "hive" doesn't mean it is one.
Aliens and Insects both some form of exoskeletons, so do shellfish. The insect exoskeleton is always made up of 3 parts - the head, thorax, and abdomen. This is the case for all insects, beetles, ants, spiders etc. Insect exoskeleton also grows by shedding various layers like the Alien exoskeleton. What we must not forget is that the Alien for one is alien, its exoskeleton may not be carbon based (speculated to be silicon based). The Alien exoskeleton is also not made up of 3 parts and is flexible to a degree; Aliens also have various ligaments and tissue between joints, such as the jaw tissue and the joints between their fingers (something insects lack). The Alien exoskeleton is also one of the most resilient ever, withstanding astonishing levels of heat and cold, not like insects. Something that needs be noting is that in "Predator 2", we see an Alien "skull" - it was white and slightly different from the Alien head. This brings me to the conclusion that Aliens also possess an endoskeleton, like us. That makes Aliens very unique since they have both types of skeleton. Some speculate that Aliens don't have an exoskeleton, but rather an endo-exoskeleton, and that Aliens in fact shed skin rather than old layers of their exoskeleton. We come to this conclusion because other than the head and chest, Aliens are somewhat fleshy, especially the lower torso area and the arms and legs which appear muscular; also the neck which is flexible. The ribs that are on the chest could be bones inside, but because of the lack of meat in that area, the ribs protrude and appear on the outside. Its possible that Aliens are a combination of both types of terrestrial skeleton, unlike the insects, which are strictly exoskeleton. May I add all insects have 6 limbs, Alien only have 4 - which automatically means Aliens are not insects.
Insects and Aliens both reproduce using eggs, but so do birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish. Insects reproduce by laying eggs, which after a period of time hatch into miniature versions of the parent insect. They lay their eggs in a safe place, so that they are not harmed during incubation. Aliens reproduce eggs that DON'T hatch into Aliens but rather an even more alien parasite, that rapes anything that can walk. The parasite also known as Facehugger inserts an embryo inside a host that will gestate for a short period of time and according to the DNA Reflex theory take on some of the host's features, this means that Alien embryos are a product of both the parent insect and the host itself. Insects are 100% insects from the moment they lay the eggs till the day the insects hatch. Insects don't use parasites to impregnate victims either. Some insects like the tarantula wasps forcefully lay eggs into a host insect, the multiple eggs are not attached to the host, they instead use the host for protection and possibly incubation; once they hatch - they kill the host and feed off its carcass. This sounds familiar doesn't it? But lets not forget the key figure in Alien reproduction, the Facehugger which is a parasite deployed by the Alien Queen to impregnate hosts that range from various potential animals. Bottom-line is that the Alien reproduction is extremely complex to be labeled as "insect".
There is a silly notion, that like some insects (ants, termites) the Aliens lifespan revolves around the queen and without her they don't have much of a chance to survive. To some extent, its true - The Aliens need the Queen cause without her they will eventually die, but how does that bring us to the conclusion that they are hopeless without her? For one, we know for sure that the Adult Alien is smart, smart enough to think for itself - although as far as we know there is no other way the Alien can reproduce. The Aliens do need the Queen greatly but unlike insects, they are able to survive on their own, able to kill and feed (if they need to) on their own. Unlike insects societies who when dispersed have no chance to live as loners. Although it should be noted, the queen bears much greater resemblences to insects that her smaller kin. She has 6 limbs just like insects (although each of the limbs is used for a different purpose), her egg-sac also resembles that of a termite queen, except an Queen Alien's egg-sac is detachable. The Queen herself has a stronger and more apparent exoskeleton, although beneath the cranial crown, some speculate that its soft flesh and skin.
Although I've devoted part 2 to dissecting this notion, I will go through it quickly. Some claim that Aliens live in a hive based society with different Castes. According to some there exists 3 castes; Queen, Worker, Soldier - In an insect hive-based society each caste differs greatly physically, as if they were built for this role. For an example, I will be using Termites, the most complex hive-based society on earth. Termites have 3 castes, the reproductives, workers, and soldiers - each differ GREATLY physically, all castes are also of both genders. Soldiers are larger with bigger heads thus bigger mandibles used for killing. Workers are smaller - they construct the hive, tend to the eggs etc. The reproductives are the only caste in the termite society with wings, they are the ones that become queens and replenish the termite species. When compared to Aliens, the differences are great. For one, Aliens only known castes are the queen and the adult Alien - the Adult Aliens in all 4 movies are extremely similar in size and capabilities. Which makes the caste notion obsolete, since all Aliens are capable of doing each other's duties with equal efficiency. Aliens are too efficient to need castes, which will complicate things even more. We know all Aliens can kill, capture and tend to the hive's needs (moving eggs, construction etc.) - The only similarity I can think of in this category between Aliens and insects is the fact that there is a dominant female that is tended to by her smaller kin.
Complex Aliens, Primitive Insects
Now that we went through the superficial similarities, time to go through the complex differences.
One may consider insects to be the most successful of the animal kingdom here on earth. They have adapted to many environments and evolved greatly. Insects are the largest of all the animal kingdoms; they are basically all over the place. But their achievements here on earth are nothing when compared to the great leaps of evolution and perfection the Aliens have reached. Its apparent, that unlike insects, Aliens have adapted any environment the universe can offer, it may be freezing cold like the harshness of space or boiling hot. Aliens have managed to survive these environments and more. If we were to speculate that the Space Jockies have a different environment than ours, than its safe to say that the Aliens conquered it too. The Alien is the universe's perfect creation, a "survivor" - Simply put, the Aliens are the quintessence of universal adaptation, and insects are nothing like that.
Aliens have shown us in the saga that they unlike all terrestrial beings have a solid grasp of their DNA. As seen in A3, the Alien is a combination of the host's DNA and (mostly) its own DNA - No insect has ever done this. Aliens in A:R have shown the impossible, they assimilated their memories into the gene pool, effectively allowing them to pass down experiences from generation to generation. We know this because Ripley herself has memories, as if she managed to tap in into that side of their DNA. Which means that Aliens learn from past experiences, which is how they knew what guns are and used them to to deceive humans (Elgyn). Insects on the other hand, are far too primitive to fathom such behavior.
Some argue that Aliens are in fact more similar to humans than insects, for one - Aliens like humans have adapted to numerous environmental conditions, although using different methods. Aliens unlike insects and like humans are at the top of the food chain; they are the masters of their destiny. Size of course plays a key role in this, it is impossible for an insect to reach such great sizes here on earth, and it simply is not in them. Aliens physically are similar to humans; both are bipedal (even the A3 Dog-Alien, which can walk on all four or two). Aliens are generally humanoid shape, which plays a big role in their perfection. Aliens also exhibit some form of intelligence, also premeditated thought and reasoning - something a lot of animals lack here on earth. In laymen's terms, Aliens are too similar to humans to be labeled as insects in the first place.
In conclusion of part one, it's not hard to see the shortsighted similarities; Aliens are similar to insects but are VERY different too. Too complex to be regarded as over-grown space ants. While arguing whether or not they are insects, always bear in mind that Aliens are "aliens" after all. We still don't know everything about them to make a final decision on what they are. But from what we know now, its safe to say that Giger's genius creation is not a giant cockroach and hopefully will remain that way.
Part 2 : The Caste/Cowl Debate
The fuel behind the insect stereotype is none other than the Caste Theory, a plague that for some reason appeals to certain fans of the Alien Saga. The Caste Theory alone insures that the insect stereotype stays alive. Many others like myself needed a way to defend our beloved Aliens, to counter the Caste Theory. We manifested the Cowl-Loss Theory, which itself blows a big hole in the Caste System. The Caste Theorists did not tolerate the Cowl Theory, and waged war against its supporters. Ever since that fateful day, both theories having been clashing together in forums all over the Alien Community, until a victor rises to claim its rightful place. In part 2 of Project AANI, I have taken it upon myself to analyze both theories, find as many evidence for and against them and present them in a professional manner below. I will then allow the reader to decide for him/herself which theory fits their beliefs best. As usual, read with an open mind.
The Caste TheoryOverview
The Caste Theory is a product of "Aliens". When the movie first came out, fans were stunned by the Aliens' new look; it had a ribbed cranium and acted differently than the one in ALIEN. The Caste Theory soon developed after that. It suggested that the Aliens in "Aliens" are actually Drones or Workers, same as the ones found in an ant hive or termite nest. The Drones were nicknamed "ridged-heads" corresponding to the differently designed heads of the A2 Aliens. Drones captured hosts, constructed the hive and tended to the Queen's needs such as moving eggs etc. Drones were according to the Caste Theory not built for killing. The smooth-heads or "Warriors" are the Aliens seen in A1, A3, and A4; they are built for killing. Their purpose was to kill threats to the hive and the Queen; they are born incredibly hostile and violent, unlike the "Drones". The Caste Theory as a whole is based on real-life phenomena such as ant colonies etc. The Caste Theory took it upon itself to explain the entire lifestyle of Aliens by simply suggesting that "Ridged-heads" capture and "Smooth-heads" kill regardless of the presence/number of eggs, presence of a queen/hive/other aliens or even the demeanor of the enemy. It labeled Aliens as insects, overgrown cockroaches - something that didn't really appeal to many such as myself. The Caste Theory also states that the Queen controls the hive and the Aliens, she is the strategic mind behind the Alien's assaults and behavior. Like I said, this does not appeal to me.
The "Holy" Theory
The Caste Theory tried to take a big bite, so big it may as well choke on it. It tried to explain the entire Alien social structure, all at once. This left it incredibly vulnerable; thus many people have found "holes" in the theory. This itself made the theory lose respect. The Caste Theory has been nick named "The Holy Theory" because it fails to explain everything without a shadow of a doubt. Read and behold how "holy" this theory really is.
The Caste Theory does not and cannot explain how Drones or Warriors come into being. All it offers is speculation and assumptions without any basis to support them. They say that Drones and Warriors come from different eggs, yet all the eggs we ever saw are exactly the same. In A3, we find out that the A2 Queen left an egg aboard the Sulaco - the egg was that of a so-called "Warrior" not a "Drone" like all the Aliens we see in A2. The Caste Theory also suggests that the Queen chooses whether the Alien is a Drone or Warrior, yet when the incident of the colony first happened in Aliens, why wasn't there Warriors? There was no queen then to dictate who is what. As seen in ALIEN, the first Aliens are always smooth-headed, just like in A3 and A:R too. So why didn't we see any smooth-heads in Aliens? The Caste Theory fails to fully explain the origins of either Caste.
In the Alien Saga, we realize that EVERYTHING a Ridge-head could do, a smooth head could do the same. Which means that both Castes are equal in abilities, other than physical things such as aesthetics etc. So if both Alien Castes can do the same thing why have Castes in the first place? Why bother to waste resources to create another Caste when the initial one can do everything the other one can? Simple, Caste theory pulled a rabbit out of the hat - the rabbit was the Overlapping Roles theory, which is based on real-world concepts found in insect societies. The Overlapping Roles Theory states that either Caste can do the others duty in times of emergency or when there is no other choice. This doesn't really work for Aliens as well as insects, for one - Aliens can do each others duties with equal efficiency, we the A2 Aliens kill but capture more, we also see the A:R Aliens capture and kill too. Insects on the other hand have unique castes, each Caste is built for its role - a warrior termite is much larger than a drone with large mandibles for killing, while a drone is small and fast, perfect for tending to the hives needs. But Aliens, they are exactly the same, except for the design of the head - all Aliens are the same size and almost the same in design - this means that Aliens can do each other's duties without any trouble. This fact alone means that the Caste System is totally superfluous and obsolete in the Alien Society. In addition to this, Insect societies always have sufficient numbers of ALL Castes present at the same time, yet we do not see this in "Aliens", all we see are so-called "Drones", so where are the warriors? Are Ant Queens smarter than Alien Queens because they keep a few warriors around as a precaution?
Although some argue that the smooth-heads build the hive differently from Ridged-heads, since the A:R hive was different from the A2 Hive. Yet one must take a few things into notice before leaping to conclusions. The A:R Hive is smaller, it is also much younger than the A2 Hive, I'm talking about days if not weeks separating their age. The A:R hive was also constructed by a much smaller workforce and is most likely incomplete, it also houses much less Aliens. We must also comprehend that the Queen was normal until about 3 hours before the Auriga crashed, that's when the hive was constructed, which means by that time the Queen stopped laying eggs and began to change, adding the 2nd cycle cell which gave her a womb.
Ignorance Is Not Bliss
The Caste Theorists have been ignorant to the possibility that maybe other factors exist that may influence the behavior of the Aliens. Instead they seem to enjoy identifying silly patterns and quickly jumping to conclusions, stating that these superficial patterns are undisputed evidence that support the Caste Theory. Of course the reality of the situation is not so. For us humans, we behave according to the conditions presented in an environment, which include the place we are in, the presence of the people around us, the demeanor of the people around us etc. These factors influence our behavior, without us even noticing. Isn't it normal to think that the Aliens themselves may be influenced by the environment around them? Below I have analyzed each of the 4 films, and presented the conditions of the environments in all 4 films and also included a possible explanation to why the Aliens acted that way in that film.
In Alien, there was one Alien - it was stranded aboard the human vessel Nostromo, there was no eggs, no hive, and queen; not even the possibility of getting those. The Alien killed, but it took its time in killing the humans. This probably means that Alien let its hostile nature loose, it had nothing to do but kill the humans at its own pace. Thus my conclusion is, the Alien killed because there was a lack of better things to do not because it was a smooth head. Let us not forget that there is a possibly that Dallas (Brett too?) was captured for whatever reason (eating?).
Aliens was a different situation, there was a NORMAL Queen, with a large STABLE/IMMOBILE hive, almost limitless eggs and a large population of Aliens, more than humans for that matter. At first, its possible that the Aliens killed a few colonists, since the fact stands that we did not see anything close to 150 Aliens, and we only saw 4 cocooned bodies. This hints that there might have been a few kills rather than all captures. We saw all the colonists via their PDTs in the hive, but we don't know if they were cocooned there or simply dragged for other purposes (eating?). The Aliens captured because for once there is a lot of eggs and a stable hive, they also had the advantage of numbers - by overwhelming the heavily armed marines, they could easily capture them, but when dispersed, the Aliens on themselves had no chance against the marines - this means that the bum-rush tactics may not have been stupid after all, since they were the only possible way to even get close to the marines. My conclusion is simple; the Aliens captured cause they had the capabilities and resources to capture almost everyone them came across. They had lots of eggs and lots of Aliens to spare. But don't forget that a ridge-head killed Ferro (and possibly Burke, Spunkmeyer, and Wierzbowski); one of the most violent kills in the saga perhaps. We must not forget that the colonists were all weak, lightly armed if at all; they were easy pickings for the Aliens who needed to capture them for the new hive.
A3 is a very unique case, the Alien was a smooth-head, and it killed everyone it came across but why? There was a Queen, so why not capture inmates as future hosts for the queen? Well the answer is simple; it's not inclined to. The Alien in A3 had some sort of mission, it required it to protect the Queen at all costs, the inmates (some of them) were a threat to Ripley, they had to die. Lets not forget that the Alien killed everyone, even after the inmates allied with Ripley, why? Well if the inmates were not part of the solution, they are part of the problem. They had to die to insure 100% safety of the last Alien Queen. My conclusion is that the Alien killed everyone because it was obligated to insure the safety of the Queen 100%. Everything else is secondary.
A:R at first glance has the most similar conditions to ALIENS but in reality, it too like all the movies offers a totally unique environment. In A:R, there were 42 armed soldiers (heavily), 7 science officers (unarmed) and of course the 6 members of the Betty (armed). There are only 12 Aliens, a very limited amount of eggs and a queen that is a freak of nature. As far as we know 7 cocoons were seen in the hive, which means 7 were captured, I'm assuming the 7 were the 6 scientists and Hillard (Wren was killed). The Aliens killed more because they were outnumbered, and everyone was heavily armed, so of course they will kill them and unfortunately, they don't have the advantage of numbers so they can't overwhelm armed humans. The Aliens in A:R killed but not without reason, I would like to think that Aliens capture whenever they can but sometimes the conditions do not help. Like Christie who I assume was going to be captured, since he was paralyzed using the acid spit and was being pulled. We must also understand that the eggs were limited, most if not all the eggs were destroyed in the ambush scene. We don't see any eggs in the hive at the end, just cocooned bodies. My conclusion is as follows, the Aliens killed more rather than captured because eggs were limited, the queen was abnormal, the hive was unstable and they were outnumbered by heavily armed humans; killing was the best choice for survival.
As you have seen, the conditions presented in each of the films are very unique, there is many reasons to why an Alien may kill or capture. The simple superficial explanation is not always the right one. The Alien species are too complex to be labeled with simple and ignorant notions. They are Aliens after all, its very possible that they have a significant amount of intelligence used for reasoning and premeditated thought, which means Aliens like humans act in accordance to the environment around them.
The Cowl-Loss TheoryOverview
The Cowl Theory as far as we know originated in 1992, in a letter to James Cameron - one fan, David R. Larson asked Cameron if the reason the Aliens in A2 looked different is because they are more mature. Cameron fortunately agreed with him, suggesting that the A1 Alien was immature and if given enough time would mature into a ridged-head. The Cowl Theory is simple, it suggests that the reason the Aliens in A2 have different heads is because they are older. The Cowl theory states that a smooth-headed Alien would remain smooth-headed until AT LEAST 3 days of age, it will then proceed to shed the translucent cowl on its head revealing the intricate ribs on the Aliens head. Although there exists no hardcore evidence that the Aliens do in fact shed their cowl, but there exists a lot of things that suggest that this may be true. In the passing few months, more and more people became aware of the Cowl Theory thanks to the never-ending efforts of people like me, it has gained popularity amongst certain communities. What's good about the Cowl Theory is that it tries to do what its meant to do only, giving room for other theories to lie parallel to it. The simplicity of the Cowl Theory alone give it the edge over Caste, since there is really nothing that contradicts it in the films.
The Plausible Theory
The Cowl Theory is fortunately known to be incredibly plausible, this is a result of a number of things that will soon be explained. Firstly, we know for sure that beneath the cowl, all smooth-headed Aliens have ridges or a ribbed cranium, although slightly different than the ones seen in A2; this may be due of the ridges still developing. We also know for sure that Aliens shed their exoskeleton/skin various times, and we also know that they grow fast too. The Cowl Theory is telling us that the ribbed craniums signify maturity, kinda like how wrinkles signify old age for humans. We don't know exactly when the cowl is shed, but we know its at least 3 days after birth, since the A:R Aliens were 2 days old and still didn't shed the cowls. The A2 Aliens on the other hand, are weeks old - we know this because it takes the Sulaco to reach LV-426 17 days. The Company lost contact with the colony, presumably because of the Aliens, since there was nothing wrong with the transmitter. This means that the bulk of the Aliens are weeks old. Yet the unfortunately, we are still unable to prove that every single Alien is older. But from what little information we have, the answer does point towards a "yes, all Aliens in A2 are older than any of the Aliens seen in any of the films".
The Cowl Theory is also based on the real-world concept of aging, we know that all terrestrial beings age and grow. Humans grow and become complete at 21, Aliens grow and become complete and 3-5 hours old. But after the halt in growth, what happens to the bodies? They start to age, change appearance in time. Since Aliens came from creatures that "age" its very possible that they age after the growth halt too. Nothing contradicts this fact. Personally, no one knows the true purpose of the ribbed craniums, I believe that it signifies how old an Alien is, like the rings in a tree trunk, more ribs = older age. Others speculate, that the reason the cowl exists, is because it is protecting the developing Alien cranium, which changes rapidly, once its fully hardened and ready, the cowl will shed. We know for a fact, that the older the smooth head Alien gets, the more opaque its cowl becomes, as in it becomes very dark that its hard to see the ridges beneath.
One may question why the Queen doesn't have a cowl or why we didn't see a queen shed in the first place. Well I'll offer my personal speculation here, the queen may have had a cowl and she already shed it off. The Queen in Aliens is weeks old, so she probably already lost it. The first time we see the Queen in A:R, she is 3 days old, she maybe already shed it hours before we saw her. Another possibility is that the Queen has a longer lifespan, thus we never saw her shed her cowl because it may still be there, and she may just shed her old cranial crown for a new one soon. Perhaps the Queen herself is born ready and doesn't need to protect her head because the cranial crown does that for her (in regard to the Cowl being protection for the immature Alien head).
So after you read about both theories, its time to analyze them on a scientific level. I have listed below 3 scientific principals used to determine which theories or explanations are better or more likely to be true. I then applied both theories and the results are fascinating. But I'll let you be the judge of that.
Occam's RazorOne should not increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything.
Both Caste and Cowl theory try to explain the differences in heads, each offering different explanations. Yet the Caste theory went beyond what is necessary and tried to explain the entire social structure of the Alien species all at once. Thus making the Caste Theory extremely complicated, unlike the Cowl Theory, which does not go beyond trying to explain the head phenomena. Hence, the conclusion here is the Cowl Theory beats the Caste Theory hands down, because it does not increase beyond what is necessary and is simple in its nature.
Principal of ParsimonyA criterion for deciding among scientific theories or explanations. One should always choose the simplest explanation of a phenomenon, the one that requires the fewest leaps of logic.
Slightly similar to the above principal, but deserves its own paragraph. Its evident that the simplest explanation for the head phenomenon is the Cowl Theory, as it makes the fewest leaps of logic of either theory; being that the Alien changes with age (like all terrestrial animals). The Caste Theory on the other hand like I said is too complicated, it makes a dozen leaps of logic, suggesting that the Queen chooses what type of Alien and the Castes are required even though they are obsolete in the Alien society. My conclusion yet again is Cowl, because it is simple and doesn't chew more than it can swallow. The Principal of Parsimony is also known as the Principal of Simplicity.
Criteria of Adequacy
The Criteria of Adequacy is made of 6 criteria. Below I will apply both the Cowl and Caste Theory to the CAq and see the results.
1- A hypothesis is scientific only if it is testable, that is, only if it predicts something other than what it was introduced to explain.
Caste: The Caste Theory was introduced to explain why differently designed Aliens acted differently, it predicts that if an Alien is a ridged-head it will capture and if its a smooth-head it will kill regardless of the situation.
Cowl: The Cowl-Loss Theory was introduced to explain the differences in Alien heads, it predicts that if an Alien is older than AT LEAST 3 days, it will shed the translucent cowl, indicating it has matured even more.
Conclusion: Cowl wins this one because it predicts something OTHER than what it was introduced to explain. Caste Theory is basically rewording what it was introduced to do as its prediction.
2- Other things being equal, the best hypothesis is the one that is the most fruitful, that is, makes the most novel predictions.
Caste: Caste Theory doesn't make "novel" predictions at all, it predicts that Aliens will act differently because of their heads.
Cowl: Cowl Theory predicts something previously unknown, that Aliens will shed their cowl after a certain period of time.
Conclusion: The word "Novel" here means strange or previously unknown, so "novel predictions" are totally new predictions, something strange and unheard of. I'm inclined to award Cowl theory another point and nothing to Caste, again.
3- Other things being equal, the best hypothesis is the one that has the greatest scope, that is, that explains and predicts the most diverse phenomena.
Caste: The Caste Theory ranges beyond the differences in heads, and tries to explain practically everything about the Alien Social structure.
Cowl: The Cowl Theory basically stops at explaining the differences in heads.
Conclusion: The Caste Theory has a greater scope than the Cowl Theory, so it gets a point here; Cowl gets none.
4- Other things being equal, the best hypothesis is the simplest one, that is, the one that makes the fewest assumptions.
Caste: Caste Theory makes a lot of assumptions, it assumes that the Queen decides what Caste is in the egg, it assumes that Drones and Warriors act regardless of the conditions presented in an environment. It assumes that Drones are better at hive duties and Warriors better at killing etc.
Cowl: Cowl theory assumes that the Alien cranium changes with time, signifying age. -PERIOD
Conclusion: Cowl gets a point here for making the least assumptions and being so darn simple. Caste gets none.
5- Other things being equal, the best hypothesis is the one that is the most conservative, that is, the one that fits best with established (scientific) beliefs.
Caste: Caste Theory is based on the established scientific belief of Castes in insect societies, unfortunately for the Caste Theory - real-life insect societies have unique castes, bred for a certain task which sets them apart from other castes.
Cowl: Cowl Theory is based on the established scientific belief of the change with age. All terrestrial creatures change, as they grow older at (varying speeds from specie to specie).
Conclusion: The Cowl Theory wins this one again, since it fits comfortably with established scientific beliefs MORE than the Caste Theory.
6- We should accept an extraordinary hypothesis only if no ordinary one will do.
Caste: The Caste Theory is extraordinary, it asks us to assume that a Caste System is needed in the Alien Society even though its evident that its obsolete and inefficient.
Cowl: The Cowl Theory is an ordinary hypothesis, it asks us to believe that Aliens like all known creatures change their appearance as they grow older.
Conclusion: We should not accept an extraordinary hypothesis because an ordinary one will do. Thus Cowl wins this one and gets another point, Caste gets none.
Caste Theory = 1 Cowl-Loss Theory = 5
The results are before you ladies & gentlemen, make of them what you will.
In conclusion of Project AANI, I hope you learned much about the true nature of Aliens. I personally am still convinced that Aliens are not and will never be insects. I hope my beliefs influenced you to re-think your decisions regarding the Aliens. We know so little about the Aliens, its hard to come up with a definite answer. Until we do come up with the final conclusion regarding the Alien species, know that you yourself are entitled to making your opinions and theories regarding the Aliens. Most of all I hope you enjoyed the article. The article is somewhat speculatory and is mostly my personal opinion.
Special Thanks to: SM, JA Eyers, Hissing Sid, and all who contributed to the Caste/Cowl Debate
This article is a semi-factual yet a speculative article. My motive is to provide a creative and comprehensive read rather than a stale boring one. Most if not all speculation is personal opinion and interpretations; the reason being is that I'm open to new ideas and theories. Now that that's clear I hope you enjoyed my article.
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