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We're Probably Alone in the Galaxy *

MrVan
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5/24/2015 5:00:23 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
The universe is estimated to be between 12 to 14 billion years old. One would assume that within that time frame any number of alien civilizations just as advanced as we are, progressing at the same rate, would be able to colonize the galaxy. They wouldn't even need any magical faster-than-light warp drives or even nuclear propulsion to do it. So how come we don't see any evidence of any intergalactic civilizations when we look up at the sky?

A lot of people have different ideas and theories explaining the Fermi Paradox; that there's some kind of Great Filter or that the aliens are hiding (either from us or other extraterrestrials). The more conspiracy-wary might even believe that they're among us now, mutilating our cows and maybe even trying to breed with us for reasons. I would argue, however, that intelligent life as we know it is more rare than we would like to think.

Consider our own planet and civilization. It took nearly 4.54 billion years before anything resembling 'human' intelligence became an evolutionary factor for survival, and thousands or years of cultural development before anybody walked on the moon. If intelligence was the inevitable end product of evolution, wouldn't it have already arisen multiple times throughout our planet's long history - as opposed to our species very short existence?

Why should we assume that there is any recognizably intelligent life out there? At least, anything remotely close or within warping distance of us. Fantastical speculation aside, the hard facts seem to indicate that we are alone.
Otokage
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5/24/2015 7:15:47 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/24/2015 5:00:23 AM, MrVan wrote:
The universe is estimated to be between 12 to 14 billion years old. One would assume that within that time frame any number of alien civilizations just as advanced as we are, progressing at the same rate, would be able to colonize the galaxy. They wouldn't even need any magical faster-than-light warp drives or even nuclear propulsion to do it. So how come we don't see any evidence of any intergalactic civilizations when we look up at the sky?

Hi Van, while the universe might be 12-14 billion years old, stable star systems that have planets with appropiate characteristics for the arise of life, might be younger. As you can see, 3.8 million years of evolution still were not enough to solver the star traveling issue, and maybe there's a lot of alien civilizations that, like us, are stuck on their stars and galaxies.

A lot of people have different ideas and theories explaining the Fermi Paradox; that there's some kind of Great Filter or that the aliens are hiding (either from us or other extraterrestrials). The more conspiracy-wary might even believe that they're among us now, mutilating our cows and maybe even trying to breed with us for reasons. I would argue, however, that intelligent life as we know it is more rare than we would like to think.

I think life is pretty common on the universe, but human-like life might be rare.

Consider our own planet and civilization. It took nearly 4.54 billion years before anything resembling 'human' intelligence became an evolutionary factor for survival, and thousands or years of cultural development before anybody walked on the moon. If intelligence was the inevitable end product of evolution, wouldn't it have already arisen multiple times throughout our planet's long history - as opposed to our species very short existence?

But it did arise multiple times. Intelligent species are all around you. Intelligence is indeed a trait highly supported by evolution. Most apex predators are also the most intelligent species on their respective ecosystems.

With your reasoning, we would have king cobras wondering why not all animals have a venom capable of killing humans with just one drop. "wouldn't it have already arisen multiple times throughout our planet's long history - as opposed to our species very short existence? " <- They would think.

Why should we assume that there is any recognizably intelligent life out there? At least, anything remotely close or within warping distance of us. Fantastical speculation aside, the hard facts seem to indicate that we are alone.

Well they do not indicate that we are alone anymore than they indicate we are surounded by aliens. They indicate life on the universe is possible, as evidenced by our own existence. They also indicate Earth-like planets do exist. But they indicate nothing more.
R0b1Billion
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5/24/2015 9:10:22 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
If we don't know how life is created, we can't guess at how often it occurs.

I suppose the one exception to this is that life is never created; it simply moves around. At some point a rock from Earth will be catapulted out of our atmosphere and solar system, and it will contain microorganisms which can procreate when and if they land on another habitable planet.

If this is true, and I have to admit it's the only theory that has any merit at all, then the last place life came from is probably long-dead, and the next place is probably either not even started yet or in its infancy.
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dee-em
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5/24/2015 10:22:57 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/24/2015 5:00:23 AM, MrVan wrote:

The universe is estimated to be between 12 to 14 billion years old. One would assume that within that time frame any number of alien civilizations just as advanced as we are, progressing at the same rate, would be able to colonize the galaxy. They wouldn't even need any magical faster-than-light warp drives or even nuclear propulsion to do it. So how come we don't see any evidence of any intergalactic civilizations when we look up at the sky?

I don't think you can claim the whole 13.7 billion years. The early universe consisted almost entirely of hydrogen and helium. Our kind of life requires rocky planets with a wide spread of elements (eg. carbon). Before rocky planets could form, several generations of stars were needed to die in novas and supernovas to seed their galaxies with heavier elements. That's about where we are in the evolution of the universe.

If intelligence was the inevitable end product of evolution, wouldn't it have already arisen multiple times throughout our planet's long history - as opposed to our species very short existence?

An evolutionary biologist might say that intelligence was an inevitable product of evolution. However, I don't think any would claim that consciousness was inevitable. The Earth got by without conscious beings for most of its history. We are a lucky accident by all indications.

Why should we assume that there is any recognizably intelligent life out there? At least, anything remotely close or within warping distance of us. Fantastical speculation aside, the hard facts seem to indicate that we are alone.

I tend to agree with you. Biologic intelligence may inevitably lead to machine intelligence. If that is the case, we should have discovered some evidence of that by now. The Milky Way is quiet. SETI has discovered nothing. However, the galaxy is big. Really big. Who knows?
philochristos
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5/24/2015 8:47:08 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/24/2015 5:00:23 AM, MrVan wrote:
The universe is estimated to be between 12 to 14 billion years old. One would assume that within that time frame any number of alien civilizations just as advanced as we are, progressing at the same rate, would be able to colonize the galaxy. They wouldn't even need any magical faster-than-light warp drives or even nuclear propulsion to do it. So how come we don't see any evidence of any intergalactic civilizations when we look up at the sky?

I don't see why we should expect to. What would other civilizations in the galaxy see if they looked toward us? Well, we've only had radio technology for a little over 100 years, so the farthest any of our radio waves could've traveled by now is 100 light years away. Yet the galaxy is 100,000 light years away. If anybody living more than 100 light years away looked at us, they wouldn't see any evidence of intelligent life. So the fact that we can't see any intelligent life anywhere doesn't tell us whether there is any or not. The galaxy could be teaming with intelligent life, and we wouldn't know it.

I would argue, however, that intelligent life as we know it is more rare than we would like to think.

I suspect it is rare, but I don't think we can know that just by looking into space. The farther away we look, the farthest into the past we see. It took billions of years for us to emerge. If other civilizations emerged around the same time we did, we couldn't know it because they are too far away and haven't made their presence evident yet.

We can barely see planets in other solar systems that are in our immediate vicinity. We detect them by looking at the movement of the stars and how their light gets dim and bright periodically. With that being the case, why think we should expect to see any evidence of intelligent life even if there were out there? Would anybody see us if they lived hundreds or thousands of light years away? I doubt it. We're a pretty small planet, and the signals we were sending out a hundred years ago were very weak.

Consider our own planet and civilization. It took nearly 4.54 billion years before anything resembling 'human' intelligence became an evolutionary factor for survival, and thousands or years of cultural development before anybody walked on the moon. If intelligence was the inevitable end product of evolution, wouldn't it have already arisen multiple times throughout our planet's long history - as opposed to our species very short existence?

Not necessarily. Consider the Neanderthals. They likely became extinct because they couldn't compete with us. It may be that intelligent species can't emerge because they can't compete with other intelligent species. If not for competition, other branches of the primate family tree might've become more intelligent.

Why should we assume that there is any recognizably intelligent life out there? At least, anything remotely close or within warping distance of us. Fantastical speculation aside, the hard facts seem to indicate that we are alone.

One reason to suspect there might be other intelligent civilizations out there is just because of the enormous probabilistic resources out there. Supposing, hypothetically, that the probability of one intelligent species emerging on any random planet was something like 1 in a billion, if there are a billion planets, there's a good chance there'll be at least one intelligent species out there.

Not only are there something like 100 billion stars in our galaxy, most of which probably have multiple planets, some of which with multiple moons, but there are billions of years in which an intelligent species could emerge. Those are enormous probablistic resources. The probability of an intelligent species emerging on any given planet would have to be extremely small to not be overcome by the probablistic resources available in the galaxy.
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philochristos
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5/24/2015 8:48:22 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/24/2015 8:47:08 PM, philochristos wrote:
Yet the galaxy is 100,000 light years away.

100,000 light years across, I mean.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
dee-em
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5/24/2015 9:23:55 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/24/2015 8:47:08 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 5/24/2015 5:00:23 AM, MrVan wrote:
The universe is estimated to be between 12 to 14 billion years old. One would assume that within that time frame any number of alien civilizations just as advanced as we are, progressing at the same rate, would be able to colonize the galaxy. They wouldn't even need any magical faster-than-light warp drives or even nuclear propulsion to do it. So how come we don't see any evidence of any intergalactic civilizations when we look up at the sky?

I don't see why we should expect to. What would other civilizations in the galaxy see if they looked toward us? Well, we've only had radio technology for a little over 100 years, so the farthest any of our radio waves could've traveled by now is 100 light years away. Yet the galaxy is 100,000 light years away. If anybody living more than 100 light years away looked at us, they wouldn't see any evidence of intelligent life. So the fact that we can't see any intelligent life anywhere doesn't tell us whether there is any or not. The galaxy could be teaming with intelligent life, and we wouldn't know it.

It's unlikely that ordinary radio broadcasts could be picked up outside of our solar system. The signal would be too weak. I think the OP would be referring to a deliberate attempt at communication via a high-powered beacon of some kind. Your argument about the size of the galaxy is not relevant if we assume a civilization older than ours (> 100,000 years). I don't think that is too unreasonable.

I would argue, however, that intelligent life as we know it is more rare than we would like to think.

I suspect it is rare, but I don't think we can know that just by looking into space. The farther away we look, the farthest into the past we see. It took billions of years for us to emerge. If other civilizations emerged around the same time we did, we couldn't know it because they are too far away and haven't made their presence evident yet.

See above. The OP was referring to our own galaxy, not other galaxies.

We can barely see planets in other solar systems that are in our immediate vicinity. We detect them by looking at the movement of the stars and how their light gets dim and bright periodically. With that being the case, why think we should expect to see any evidence of intelligent life even if there were out there? Would anybody see us if they lived hundreds or thousands of light years away? I doubt it. We're a pretty small planet, and the signals we were sending out a hundred years ago were very weak.

Agreed. You would have to want to be seen.

http://www.universetoday.com...

Having said that, we do have some technology emerging for detecting the presence of life (not necessarily intelligent) on exo-planets via chemical signatures in the atmosphere.

http://www.bis-space.com...

Consider our own planet and civilization. It took nearly 4.54 billion years before anything resembling 'human' intelligence became an evolutionary factor for survival, and thousands or years of cultural development before anybody walked on the moon. If intelligence was the inevitable end product of evolution, wouldn't it have already arisen multiple times throughout our planet's long history - as opposed to our species very short existence?

Not necessarily. Consider the Neanderthals. They likely became extinct because they couldn't compete with us. It may be that intelligent species can't emerge because they can't compete with other intelligent species. If not for competition, other branches of the primate family tree might've become more intelligent.

Why should we assume that there is any recognizably intelligent life out there? At least, anything remotely close or within warping distance of us. Fantastical speculation aside, the hard facts seem to indicate that we are alone.

One reason to suspect there might be other intelligent civilizations out there is just because of the enormous probabilistic resources out there. Supposing, hypothetically, that the probability of one intelligent species emerging on any random planet was something like 1 in a billion, if there are a billion planets, there's a good chance there'll be at least one intelligent species out there.

Not only are there something like 100 billion stars in our galaxy, most of which probably have multiple planets, some of which with multiple moons, but there are billions of years in which an intelligent species could emerge. Those are enormous probablistic resources. The probability of an intelligent species emerging on any given planet would have to be extremely small to not be overcome by the probablistic resources available in the galaxy.

That it is an extremely low probability seems indeed to be the evidence so far.
MrVan
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5/28/2015 1:20:22 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/24/2015 7:15:47 AM, Otokage wrote:

Hi Van, while the universe might be 12-14 billion years old, stable star systems that have planets with appropiate characteristics for the arise of life, might be younger. As you can see, 3.8 million years of evolution still were not enough to solver the star traveling issue, and maybe there's a lot of alien civilizations that, like us, are stuck on their stars and galaxies.


I don't disagree. I think that things could have been a lot more bleak for the prospects of our existence if a few small events didn't occur over Earth's history, such as a mass extinction. I can concede that our technological prowess is the result of millions of years of evolution, but I don't think that means evolution ultimately leads to that kind of intelligence. I agree that there could be extraterrestrials stuck on their home worlds, much like us, but I don't think we'll ever meet them.

IF we do ever meet extraterrestrials, I'm pretty sure they'll either be, like Arthur C Clarke puts it, apes or angels. If there are any aliens out there that are at similar technological levels as us, it's pretty unlikely they'll be anywhere near us.


I think life is pretty common on the universe, but human-like life might be rare.


I'm sure life is common, its alien life advanced enough to form space faring civilizations that I think is rare. Even civilizations at our technological level could be rare, considering the millions of years it took our brains to evolve and then the thousands of years it took us to advance to where we are today.


But it did arise multiple times. Intelligent species are all around you. Intelligence is indeed a trait highly supported by evolution. Most apex predators are also the most intelligent species on their respective ecosystems.

With your reasoning, we would have king cobras wondering why not all animals have a venom capable of killing humans with just one drop. "wouldn't it have already arisen multiple times throughout our planet's long history - as opposed to our species very short existence? " <- They would think.


When I said intelligence, I was referring to intelligence as advanced, or more advanced, than that of humans. Sorry, I should have made that more clear when originally posting. Civilization has been around for an extremely short span of time here on Earth, and even in the span of our species existence. Given that, I think its pretty silly to assume that there are any extraterrestrials anywhere near us who have formed something akin to 'human' civilization. Again, sorry for my vague wording.


Well they do not indicate that we are alone anymore than they indicate we are surounded by aliens. They indicate life on the universe is possible, as evidenced by our own existence. They also indicate Earth-like planets do exist. But they indicate nothing more.

I'll stick to Clarke's 'apes and angels' argument; odds are any extraterrestrials relatively close to us are probably either extremely advanced or extremely primitive. Probably the latter, considering we can't see any signs of warping, nuclear exhaust from spaceships, or god-like meddling from star fetuses. I just don't think the odds are stacked in favor for civilization at an evolutionary perspective.
MrVan
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5/28/2015 2:11:16 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/24/2015 10:22:57 AM, dee-em wrote:

I don't think you can claim the whole 13.7 billion years. The early universe consisted almost entirely of hydrogen and helium. Our kind of life requires rocky planets with a wide spread of elements (eg. carbon). Before rocky planets could form, several generations of stars were needed to die in novas and supernovas to seed their galaxies with heavier elements. That's about where we are in the evolution of the universe.


Your argument makes perfect sense to me! Still, I think that leaves plenty of time for civilizations to grow, advance and ultimately die several times over. The fact we don't see any signs of space faring civilizations out in the stars in pretty bleak. You'd think that if civilization was a common product of evolution, we'd see more blatant signs of it beyond earth.


An evolutionary biologist might say that intelligence was an inevitable product of evolution. However, I don't think any would claim that consciousness was inevitable. The Earth got by without conscious beings for most of its history. We are a lucky accident by all indications.


Peter Watts' sci-fi made a pretty interesting case for consciousness being a fluke, rather than an inevitable product of evolution. Maybe extraterrestrials aren't responding to us because they are unable to care and have no sense of self?


I tend to agree with you. Biologic intelligence may inevitably lead to machine intelligence. If that is the case, we should have discovered some evidence of that by now. The Milky Way is quiet. SETI has discovered nothing. However, the galaxy is big. Really big. Who knows?

If civilization was a common byproduct of evolution, we would have seen it time and time again in our planet's history. There's no reason to assume that the same isn't true for any other planet which might harbor life.
MrVan
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5/28/2015 2:56:28 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/24/2015 8:47:08 PM, philochristos wrote:

I don't see why we should expect to. What would other civilizations in the galaxy see if they looked toward us? Well, we've only had radio technology for a little over 100 years, so the farthest any of our radio waves could've traveled by now is 100 light years away. Yet the galaxy is 100,000 light years away. If anybody living more than 100 light years away looked at us, they wouldn't see any evidence of intelligent life. So the fact that we can't see any intelligent life anywhere doesn't tell us whether there is any or not. The galaxy could be teaming with intelligent life, and we wouldn't know it.


That assumes that the other intelligence out there hasn't been around that long either though. If the universe really is teaming with intelligent life, one would think that civilization should have spread throughout the galaxy several times over by now.


I suspect it is rare, but I don't think we can know that just by looking into space. The farther away we look, the farthest into the past we see. It took billions of years for us to emerge. If other civilizations emerged around the same time we did, we couldn't know it because they are too far away and haven't made their presence evident yet.


Like I said, there's no reason why civilization shouldn't have already arisen before our species even evolved here on earth. We can only really speculate about extraterrestrial life, however, based on our own planet's history it seems like civilization might have been a fluke. If civilization is an inevitable product of intelligence, it should have happened much sooner in our species' short existence. If human-level intelligence is an inevitable product of evolution, it should have happened much sooner in our planet's history.

We can barely see planets in other solar systems that are in our immediate vicinity. We detect them by looking at the movement of the stars and how their light gets dim and bright periodically. With that being the case, why think we should expect to see any evidence of intelligent life even if there were out there? Would anybody see us if they lived hundreds or thousands of light years away? I doubt it. We're a pretty small planet, and the signals we were sending out a hundred years ago were very weak.


Well, if there are any other civilizations out there that are relatively close to us, it's not likely that they'll be anywhere near the same technological level as we are. It's more likely that they'll either be more primitive or extremely advanced. Assuming they're not primitive, I'd at least think we would see exhaust from nuclear or anti-matter powered spacecraft - or at least signs of artificial satellites circling whatever planet we're observing.

It might be in our best interests to look out for possible extraterrestrials who can travel at relativistic speeds.
-http://www.projectrho.com...


Not necessarily. Consider the Neanderthals. They likely became extinct because they couldn't compete with us. It may be that intelligent species can't emerge because they can't compete with other intelligent species. If not for competition, other branches of the primate family tree might've become more intelligent.


One reason to suspect there might be other intelligent civilizations out there is just because of the enormous probabilistic resources out there. Supposing, hypothetically, that the probability of one intelligent species emerging on any random planet was something like 1 in a billion, if there are a billion planets, there's a good chance there'll be at least one intelligent species out there.


I agree, but intelligence doesn't necessarily guarantee the eventual creation of civilization. You can't even equate intelligence with self-awareness. There's no reason to believe that, had our species gone extinct, any other ape would have been able to form civilizations and technologies like ours and eventually walk on the moon. There are just too many variables to consider.

...and considering how long it took for a species like us to come along, plus how long it took us to start forming civilizations, one could make a compelling argument that it was more a fluke than an inevitable product of evolution.
Otokage
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5/28/2015 6:08:13 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/28/2015 1:20:22 AM, MrVan wrote:
At 5/24/2015 7:15:47 AM, Otokage wrote:

Hi Van, while the universe might be 12-14 billion years old, stable star systems that have planets with appropiate characteristics for the arise of life, might be younger. As you can see, 3.8 million years of evolution still were not enough to solver the star traveling issue, and maybe there's a lot of alien civilizations that, like us, are stuck on their stars and galaxies.


I don't disagree. I think that things could have been a lot more bleak for the prospects of our existence if a few small events didn't occur over Earth's history, such as a mass extinction. I can concede that our technological prowess is the result of millions of years of evolution, but I don't think that means evolution ultimately leads to that kind of intelligence. I agree that there could be extraterrestrials stuck on their home worlds, much like us, but I don't think we'll ever meet them.

IF we do ever meet extraterrestrials, I'm pretty sure they'll either be, like Arthur C Clarke puts it, apes or angels. If there are any aliens out there that are at similar technological levels as us, it's pretty unlikely they'll be anywhere near us.


I think life is pretty common on the universe, but human-like life might be rare.


I'm sure life is common, its alien life advanced enough to form space faring civilizations that I think is rare. Even civilizations at our technological level could be rare, considering the millions of years it took our brains to evolve and then the thousands of years it took us to advance to where we are today.


But it did arise multiple times. Intelligent species are all around you. Intelligence is indeed a trait highly supported by evolution. Most apex predators are also the most intelligent species on their respective ecosystems.

With your reasoning, we would have king cobras wondering why not all animals have a venom capable of killing humans with just one drop. "wouldn't it have already arisen multiple times throughout our planet's long history - as opposed to our species very short existence? " <- They would think.


When I said intelligence, I was referring to intelligence as advanced, or more advanced, than that of humans. Sorry, I should have made that more clear when originally posting. Civilization has been around for an extremely short span of time here on Earth, and even in the span of our species existence. Given that, I think its pretty silly to assume that there are any extraterrestrials anywhere near us who have formed something akin to 'human' civilization. Again, sorry for my vague wording.


Well they do not indicate that we are alone anymore than they indicate we are surounded by aliens. They indicate life on the universe is possible, as evidenced by our own existence. They also indicate Earth-like planets do exist. But they indicate nothing more.

I'll stick to Clarke's 'apes and angels' argument; odds are any extraterrestrials relatively close to us are probably either extremely advanced or extremely primitive. Probably the latter, considering we can't see any signs of warping, nuclear exhaust from spaceships, or god-like meddling from star fetuses. I just don't think the odds are stacked in favor for civilization at an evolutionary perspective.

I see Van. I understand your argument and I agree to an extent, for example with the point you have made that intelligence is by no means unavoidable on the evolutionary process.

Although I believe you are understimating the probabilities of human-like species to arise. Remember that as far as we know, evolution already produced at least one human-like species on Earth alone (H.neanderthalensis), and so if you consider that all universe is subjected to the evolutionary process, the arise of other human-like species seems inevitable.

As for civilization, let's take a look at what a civilization is, according to wikipedia: A civilization is any complex society characterized by urban development, social stratification, symbolic communication forms and a perceived separation from and domination over the natural environment.

As far as this definition goes, I can only consider ants and bees civilizations too: they build and live on artificial structures, they are organized into social classes, they have symbolic communication (specialy bees), and they do transform nature to their benefit.

Moreover, I could probably call killer whales' groups protocivilizations, knowing that they have a naming system, language, dialects, a hunting culture, and so on. So my conclusion is that civilization does not need human-like intelligence to be built, and it has appeared more than once on Earth alone, so I expect it to appear more than once also on the whole universe.
Envisage
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5/28/2015 6:36:34 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/24/2015 5:00:23 AM, MrVan wrote:
The universe is estimated to be between 12 to 14 billion years old. One would assume that within that time frame any number of alien civilizations just as advanced as we are, progressing at the same rate, would be able to colonize the galaxy. They wouldn't even need any magical faster-than-light warp drives or even nuclear propulsion to do it. So how come we don't see any evidence of any intergalactic civilizations when we look up at the sky?

A lot of people have different ideas and theories explaining the Fermi Paradox; that there's some kind of Great Filter or that the aliens are hiding (either from us or other extraterrestrials). The more conspiracy-wary might even believe that they're among us now, mutilating our cows and maybe even trying to breed with us for reasons. I would argue, however, that intelligent life as we know it is more rare than we would like to think.

Consider our own planet and civilization. It took nearly 4.54 billion years before anything resembling 'human' intelligence became an evolutionary factor for survival, and thousands or years of cultural development before anybody walked on the moon. If intelligence was the inevitable end product of evolution, wouldn't it have already arisen multiple times throughout our planet's long history - as opposed to our species very short existence?

Why should we assume that there is any recognizably intelligent life out there? At least, anything remotely close or within warping distance of us. Fantastical speculation aside, the hard facts seem to indicate that we are alone.

Maybe. I mean we did go through at least 6 mass extinctions before we got life as we know it today. Moreover it is questionable as to whether or not high intelligence is actually a long-term evolutionary trait that will persist - since we have a tendency of almost wiping ourselves out.

Thus, if highly intelligent civilisations only persist for short timespans before inevitable self-destruction, then it is unlikely that our intelligent civilisation will overlap time-wise with another especially if they are rare (which is one of the variables of the Drake equation).
debate_power
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5/29/2015 3:58:07 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/24/2015 5:00:23 AM, MrVan wrote:
The universe is estimated to be between 12 to 14 billion years old. One would assume that within that time frame any number of alien civilizations just as advanced as we are, progressing at the same rate, would be able to colonize the galaxy. They wouldn't even need any magical faster-than-light warp drives or even nuclear propulsion to do it. So how come we don't see any evidence of any intergalactic civilizations when we look up at the sky?

Assuming sentient aliens with the capability to reach our planet exist, I'd wager that they just haven't got here yet or don't know we exist yet, most likely due to the effects of distance.

A lot of people have different ideas and theories explaining the Fermi Paradox; that there's some kind of Great Filter or that the aliens are hiding (either from us or other extraterrestrials). The more conspiracy-wary might even believe that they're among us now, mutilating our cows and maybe even trying to breed with us for reasons. I would argue, however, that intelligent life as we know it is more rare than we would like to think.

Well, if the aliens are actually breeding with us, they're the same species we are, assuming they're producing fertile offspring.

Consider our own planet and civilization. It took nearly 4.54 billion years before anything resembling 'human' intelligence became an evolutionary factor for survival, and thousands or years of cultural development before anybody walked on the moon. If intelligence was the inevitable end product of evolution, wouldn't it have already arisen multiple times throughout our planet's long history - as opposed to our species very short existence?

There is the very real possibility (however slim) that the only place in the universe in which 'human' intelligence, as you call it, became a factor for survival was Earth.

Why should we assume that there is any recognizably intelligent life out there? At least, anything remotely close or within warping distance of us. Fantastical speculation aside, the hard facts seem to indicate that we are alone.

Well, the hard facts indicate that, as far as we know, we're alone. Nothing more than that, really.
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Saint_of_Me
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5/30/2015 12:14:50 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Well, I am of the opinion that not only our Milky Way Galaxy, but the entire Universe is absolutely teeming with life, including levels of both lower and higher intelligence than us.

Everything about our solar system--the architecture, the size of our Sun, the size of Earth--is very average. So why would not our cumulative intelligence level be as well? What possible reason could anyone here have for thinking we are in any way special?

Hell we may even be below the norm, intelligence wise. This is just as likely as us being above it, and certainly is MORE likely than us being alone.

Look at the numbers: 200 billions stars in just our own Galaxy. Most of them with planets. And then, the Milky Way is just one out of another hundreds-of-billions OTHER Galaxies, each again most likely to include a majority of their stars (suns) having planets orbiting them.

So, along the lines of the Drake Equation, if you plugged in those numbers and did a sort of winnowing process, say: "if one out of million stars had planets and one out of million of THOSE planets had life, and then one out of a million of those life-harboring planets had intelligent life...."

Right. You are left with still, hundreds of millions of Intelligent Civilizations.

We must remember how many a Billion is. The number is tossed around so frequently as to be diminished of its true greatness. It is One Million times One thousand.

A billion seconds ago it was 1959.

A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.

A billion hours ago our ancestors were living in the Stone Age.

So...take that number and multiply millions of times. And you still fall short of the likely number of planets in the Universe. This includes the Goldilocks Zone, of course. We can toss in another caveat of only one out of a million planets being in that Zone and our candidate-for-life numbers still dazzle with near-certainty of life.

There is one fact and one fact only why we have not--at least as far as the general public knows; see my Time Travel Thread for more!--come into contact thus far with Intel Life. And that is the vast distances involved here, which are mind-numbing as well.

The nearest star to us--besides our own Sun, of course--is the Alpha Proxima System, which is over four light-years away! With our current propulsion technologies it would take us some 7000 years to reach it. Just think: even going the speed of light at 186,000 mps--fast enough to orbit the Earth 8 times in a second!--it would STILL take you until 2019 to get to Alpha Proxima/Centauri!!

Too..it stands to reason any civilization visiting us for a look-see has far surpassed our propulsion technology, and indeed probably does not even use anything as mundane as propulsion. Most likely they have found a way to fold the STC, or have mastered wormhole-usage in order to shortcut the vast distances.

Such a civilization would prolly not care much about us..it would be like you trying to converse with your goldfish. LOL
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MrVan
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6/1/2015 2:59:02 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/30/2015 12:14:50 PM, Saint_of_Me wrote:
Well, I am of the opinion that not only our Milky Way Galaxy, but the entire Universe is absolutely teeming with life, including levels of both lower and higher intelligence than us.


Then where is everybody? Where's the exhaust from nuclear drives, or the Dyson Spheres, or the O'Neill Cylinders, or the galactic meddlings of Kardashev type-III civilizations? If intelligent life, and advanced civilizations, are abundant, these things should be observable.

Unless they're intentionally staying quiet, of course, which is probably the smartest thing any space faring civilization could do.

Everything about our solar system--the architecture, the size of our Sun, the size of Earth--is very average. So why would not our cumulative intelligence level be as well? What possible reason could anyone here have for thinking we are in any way special?


Our planet, orbiting its perfectly average star in its perfectly average solar system, has been devoid of life for a majority of its existence. It took millions upon millions of years and multiple mass extinctions for our level of intelligence to evolve on Earth. On top of that, it took our species thousands of years to develop civilization, and the fall of multiple empires, for us to finally get where we are today.

Given that, there's no reason to assume that life is common, even in other star systems like ours. Now, if we assume that there is abundant life, there's still no reason to believe that there are any advance or human-level civilizations out there - given our own planet's history. I personally think it's kind of arrogant to assume that human-level intelligence is the ultimate culmination of evolution. If that were true, it would have happened multiple times throughout our planet's evolutionary history.

Hell we may even be below the norm, intelligence wise. This is just as likely as us being above it, and certainly is MORE likely than us being alone.


I disagree. I think primitive life is much more abundant than more advanced intelligent life - especially considering how long it took for human-level intelligence to show up on Earth. If we ever come across extraterrestrial life out there, they'll likely come in the form of very young and simple micro-organisms.

I can concede that, should we ever cross paths with an advanced, space faring civilization, the odds are they'll be gods compared to us.

Look at the numbers: 200 billions stars in just our own Galaxy. Most of them with planets. And then, the Milky Way is just one out of another hundreds-of-billions OTHER Galaxies, each again most likely to include a majority of their stars (suns) having planets orbiting them.

So, along the lines of the Drake Equation, if you plugged in those numbers and did a sort of winnowing process, say: "if one out of million stars had planets and one out of million of THOSE planets had life, and then one out of a million of those life-harboring planets had intelligent life...."

Right. You are left with still, hundreds of millions of Intelligent Civilizations.

We must remember how many a Billion is. The number is tossed around so frequently as to be diminished of its true greatness. It is One Million times One thousand.

A billion seconds ago it was 1959.

A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.

A billion hours ago our ancestors were living in the Stone Age.


So...take that number and multiply millions of times. And you still fall short of the likely number of planets in the Universe. This includes the Goldilocks Zone, of course. We can toss in another caveat of only one out of a million planets being in that Zone and our candidate-for-life numbers still dazzle with near-certainty of life.


We don't know if technological societies last long, or what the odds of life becoming intelligent and forming civilizations are, or even what the parameters for the occurrence of life are.

The problem with the Drake Equation is that it relies on information that we currently don't have; namely, the last four fractions of the equation. Drake himself even conceded that the equation's purpose is to put our ignorance into context, not evaluate the likelihood of intelligent life in the universe. There also may be any number of variables which may hinder intelligent life that the Drake Equation doesn't take into account. Given the Fermi Paradox, that's likely the case.

There is one fact and one fact only why we have not--at least as far as the general public knows; see my Time Travel Thread for more!--come into contact thus far with Intel Life. And that is the vast distances involved here, which are mind-numbing as well.

The nearest star to us--besides our own Sun, of course--is the Alpha Proxima System, which is over four light-years away! With our current propulsion technologies it would take us some 7000 years to reach it. Just think: even going the speed of light at 186,000 mps--fast enough to orbit the Earth 8 times in a second!--it would STILL take you until 2019 to get to Alpha Proxima/Centauri!!

Too..it stands to reason any civilization visiting us for a look-see has far surpassed our propulsion technology, and indeed probably does not even use anything as mundane as propulsion. Most likely they have found a way to fold the STC, or have mastered wormhole-usage in order to shortcut the vast distances.

Such a civilization would prolly not care much about us..it would be like you trying to converse with your goldfish. LOL

Wormholes and warping aside, I agree with you that getting here from anywhere would be extremely difficult, and that any civilization that decides to visit us will likely be extremely advanced compared to us. That only lends credence to the argument that we may very well be alone, isolated from any other life by light-years of space.

Assuming life is abundant, there might be little reason for any advanced extraterrestrials to visit Earth. After all, what interest would we be to gods in a universe where life is everywhere? If the Optimists are right, we'd be better off staying as quiet as we possibly can and restricting our space travel to below relativistic speeds - because that's clearly what everyone else is doing.

If the Pessimists' argument is true, it is very likely that intelligent life is so spread out among the stars that contact may very well be wishful thinking.
Saint_of_Me
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6/1/2015 4:55:05 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Agreed.

I misunderstood your OP, I guess. I thought you were denying the theory that life--even intelligent life--is very probably in the Universe. But instead from your last post it seems you simply agree with me: that it IS out there, in all likelihood, but simply too far away for us to ever have much hope of contact.

I always liked the metaphor my old college Astronomy proff gave: we are like a bacterium on a rock lying on a dirt field, with other bacteria-covered rocks also in the lot, but they are several meters away from us. There are billions and billions of bacterium in that field, but they are bound by their own travelling ability. Or lack thereof, in such a way that they will never contact each other, and erroneously "think" they are alone.
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Iredia
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6/1/2015 6:51:20 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
One thing is clear in all of this. No life has been found outside Earth, hence, my skepticism of extraterrestial life (of any sort) is justified.
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dee-em
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6/1/2015 9:30:11 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/1/2015 6:51:20 PM, Iredia wrote:
One thing is clear in all of this. No life has been found outside Earth, hence, my skepticism of extraterrestial life (of any sort) is justified.

Then you have misunderstood the OP. That conclusion may be valid for intelligent beings at our level or above, where some evidence for their existence should be detectable by us if they were advertising their presence. However, no such statement can be made for life in general. Your skepticism of extraterrestial life is based on a fallacy. No life has been found in our galaxy because we don't have the means for looking for it yet --- the distances involved are just too great. We have to be agnostic on the subject, at the very least. There is a compact sphere of space (within a few dozen light years) which we may be able to scan soon for life. That may give us a small sample size from which we can draw conclusions about the galaxy as a whole.
MrVan
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6/2/2015 1:29:19 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/1/2015 4:55:05 PM, Saint_of_Me wrote:
Agreed.

I misunderstood your OP, I guess. I thought you were denying the theory that life--even intelligent life--is very probably in the Universe. But instead from your last post it seems you simply agree with me: that it IS out there, in all likelihood, but simply too far away for us to ever have much hope of contact.

I always liked the metaphor my old college Astronomy proff gave: we are like a bacterium on a rock lying on a dirt field, with other bacteria-covered rocks also in the lot, but they are several meters away from us. There are billions and billions of bacterium in that field, but they are bound by their own travelling ability. Or lack thereof, in such a way that they will never contact each other, and erroneously "think" they are alone.

Pretty much, and that's a pretty accurate metaphor.

I'm more optimistic when it comes to the possibility of life; extraterrestrial life may be as close to us as microbes in the oceans of Europa. I'm more pessimistic when it comes to the likelihood of civilizations - especially space-faring civilizations - and high levels of intelligence. They may be out there, but considering how long it took for human-level intelligence and civilization to appear on Earth, it's probably extremely rare. Sorry if I was vague.

I tend to side more with Fermi than Sagan, but if Sagan is right we should keep as low a profile as possible - or at least stick to slower forms of space travel. We don't need to be throwing junk around traveling at planet smashing speeds, that may make us potential targets.
Saint_of_Me
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6/2/2015 11:17:15 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Europa might be a good candidate.

Or...................

Maybe we have already found ET life?

http://www.collective-evolution.com...
Science Flies Us to the Moon. Religion Flies us Into Skyscrapers.
DanneJeRusse
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6/2/2015 11:25:33 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/1/2015 6:51:20 PM, Iredia wrote:
One thing is clear in all of this. No life has been found outside Earth, hence, my skepticism of extraterrestial life (of any sort) is justified.

And yet, you are looking at it completely wrong, the fact that there are millions of species of lifeforms on Earth justifies the very high probability of extraterrestrial life.
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dee-em
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6/2/2015 9:21:36 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/2/2015 11:25:33 AM, DanneJeRusse wrote:
At 6/1/2015 6:51:20 PM, Iredia wrote:
One thing is clear in all of this. No life has been found outside Earth, hence, my skepticism of extraterrestial life (of any sort) is justified.

And yet, you are looking at it completely wrong, the fact that there are millions of species of lifeforms on Earth justifies the very high probability of extraterrestrial life.

I'm not sure that's a good argument, Danne. Once life begins, it has the characteristic of adapting and expanding to fill every available niche in the ecosystem. The number of species alone in one ecosystem (the Earth) is not necessarily a good yardstick for the probability of life arising in the first place. I think a better indicator is the rapidity with which life arose on a cooling Earth 4 billion years ago. It happened almost immediately as soon as the Earth became somewhat habitable. To me that is a strong endorsement for the view that life springs up relatively easily under the right conditions.
MrVan
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6/2/2015 9:27:00 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/2/2015 11:17:15 AM, Saint_of_Me wrote:
Europa might be a good candidate.

Or...................

Maybe we have already found ET life?

http://www.collective-evolution.com...

If that's true, either the aliens visiting us are REALLY stupid or every single person who watches the sky for a living - or as a passing interest - are.
MrVan
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6/2/2015 9:35:46 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/2/2015 9:21:36 PM, dee-em wrote:
At 6/2/2015 11:25:33 AM, DanneJeRusse wrote:
At 6/1/2015 6:51:20 PM, Iredia wrote:
One thing is clear in all of this. No life has been found outside Earth, hence, my skepticism of extraterrestial life (of any sort) is justified.

And yet, you are looking at it completely wrong, the fact that there are millions of species of lifeforms on Earth justifies the very high probability of extraterrestrial life.

I'm not sure that's a good argument, Danne. Once life begins, it has the characteristic of adapting and expanding to fill every available niche in the ecosystem. The number of species alone in one ecosystem (the Earth) is not necessarily a good yardstick for the probability of life arising in the first place. I think a better indicator is the rapidity with which life arose on a cooling Earth 4 billion years ago. It happened almost immediately as soon as the Earth became somewhat habitable. To me that is a strong endorsement for the view that life springs up relatively easily under the right conditions.

But that's still only using Earth as a yardstick, which is sadly the only thing we can do when speculating about xenobiology. We still know very little about the parameters from which life arises, so maybe we shouldn't let our optimism get the best of us. There very well could be a number of other variables which helped life on Earth arise that we don't know about, and I'm not talking ancient astronauts or gods.
sadolite
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6/2/2015 10:43:12 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
"We're Probably Alone in the Galaxy' All available "factual and testable eveidence" supports that theory . To say otherwise is pure speculation and conjecture. There is no eveidence to suggest there is. Saying that the odds of probobilty is eveidence is no eveidence because odds are just that odds. No scientific value. In order for there to be life like human life there would have to be another planet exactly like earth with a moon exactly like earth's moon and in a solar system exactly like the one earth is in. Take one thing away and humanity dies.
It's not your views that divide us, it's what you think my views should be that divides us.

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UndeniableReality
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6/2/2015 10:50:07 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/2/2015 10:43:12 PM, sadolite wrote:
"We're Probably Alone in the Galaxy' All available "factual and testable eveidence" supports that theory . To say otherwise is pure speculation and conjecture. There is no eveidence to suggest there is. Saying that the odds of probobilty is eveidence is no eveidence because odds are just that odds. No scientific value. In order for there to be life like human life there would have to be another planet exactly like earth with a moon exactly like earth's moon and in a solar system exactly like the one earth is in. Take one thing away and humanity dies.

There's no scientific value in probability?
dee-em
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6/2/2015 11:17:02 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/2/2015 9:35:46 PM, MrVan wrote:
At 6/2/2015 9:21:36 PM, dee-em wrote:
At 6/2/2015 11:25:33 AM, DanneJeRusse wrote:
At 6/1/2015 6:51:20 PM, Iredia wrote:
One thing is clear in all of this. No life has been found outside Earth, hence, my skepticism of extraterrestial life (of any sort) is justified.

And yet, you are looking at it completely wrong, the fact that there are millions of species of lifeforms on Earth justifies the very high probability of extraterrestrial life.

I'm not sure that's a good argument, Danne. Once life begins, it has the characteristic of adapting and expanding to fill every available niche in the ecosystem. The number of species alone in one ecosystem (the Earth) is not necessarily a good yardstick for the probability of life arising in the first place. I think a better indicator is the rapidity with which life arose on a cooling Earth 4 billion years ago. It happened almost immediately as soon as the Earth became somewhat habitable. To me that is a strong endorsement for the view that life springs up relatively easily under the right conditions.

But that's still only using Earth as a yardstick, which is sadly the only thing we can do when speculating about xenobiology. We still know very little about the parameters from which life arises, so maybe we shouldn't let our optimism get the best of us. There very well could be a number of other variables which helped life on Earth arise that we don't know about, and I'm not talking ancient astronauts or gods.

Sure. The Earth is all we have to go on. I still believe that the speed with which life first appeared is indicative. Otherwise you would have to presume that our planet is a special case. Assuming mediocrity is reasonable. If we are not a special case (playing the odds), then it seems that life arises relatively easily and quickly under suitable conditions. It is true that we don't know exactly what those conditions are in detail since there are several competing hypotheses for abiogenesis. However, the statistical argument takes care of that. No matter what those conditions are, the sheer number of solar systems out there (300 billion stars in our galaxy), will ensure that those conditions will have been replicated thousands or more times.
dee-em
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6/2/2015 11:23:20 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/2/2015 10:43:12 PM, sadolite wrote:
"We're Probably Alone in the Galaxy' All available "factual and testable eveidence" supports that theory . To say otherwise is pure speculation and conjecture. There is no eveidence to suggest there is. Saying that the odds of probobilty is eveidence is no eveidence because odds are just that odds. No scientific value. In order for there to be life like human life there would have to be another planet exactly like earth with a moon exactly like earth's moon and in a solar system exactly like the one earth is in. Take one thing away and humanity dies.

You've made the assertion. Please make your case for why you think this. Cite your peer-reviewed scientific papers which arrive at this conclusion that carbon-based life requires a planetary system and solar system exactly like ours.
sadolite
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6/2/2015 11:32:34 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/2/2015 10:50:07 PM, UndeniableReality wrote:
At 6/2/2015 10:43:12 PM, sadolite wrote:
"We're Probably Alone in the Galaxy' All available "factual and testable eveidence" supports that theory . To say otherwise is pure speculation and conjecture. There is no eveidence to suggest there is. Saying that the odds of probobilty is eveidence is no eveidence because odds are just that odds. No scientific value. In order for there to be life like human life there would have to be another planet exactly like earth with a moon exactly like earth's moon and in a solar system exactly like the one earth is in. Take one thing away and humanity dies.

There's no scientific value in probability?

Well maybe there's a 50/50 chance there is.
It's not your views that divide us, it's what you think my views should be that divides us.

If you think I will give up my rights and forsake social etiquette to make you "FEEL" better you are sadly mistaken

If liberal democrats would just stop shooting people gun violence would drop by 90%