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The Fermi Paradox

PetersSmith
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4/8/2016 3:09:39 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
"If there are, as various arguments suggest, many other sentient species in the Universe, then where are they? Shouldn't their presence be obvious?"

A classic paradox with several solutions being posited. These solutions include:

1. The Zoo Hypothesis (They Are Here): Earth is a planetary zoo, for whatever reason, they"re observing us from afar, or that they"re studying us for scientific purposes. Aliens are essentially here.

2. Radio Silence (They Exist But Have Not Yet Communicated): It"s possible that everyone is listening, but no one is transmitting. Active SETI is not scientific research. It is a deliberate attempt to provoke a response by an alien civilization whose capabilities, intentions, and distance are not known and possibly dangerous.

3. All Aliens Are Homebodies: An advanced ETI, upon graduating to a Kardashev II scale civilization, could lose all galactic-scale ambitions. Once a Dyson sphere or Matrioshka Brain is set up, an alien civilization would have more action and adventure in its local area than it knows what to do with. The rest of the galaxy would seem like a boring and desolate place.

4. The Great Filter: The development of a civilization that can colonize a galaxy is a unique, maybe once in a universe event because of the many exceptional barriers to life along the way. If each transition (the nine filters) is sufficiently uncommon, humans may be the only life-form in the galaxy that ever reaches step 8. Or we may just be the first ones.

5. The Phase Transition Hypothesis: The conditions to support advanced intelligence have only recently fallen into place. Gamma-ray bursts prevents the rise of intelligence until the mean time between bursts is comparable to the timescale for the evolution of intelligence. In other words, gamma-ray bursts are too frequent, and intelligent life is constantly getting wiped out before it develops the capacity to go interstellar.

6. They Do Not Exist Because... (A Choice of Catastrophes): e are the first in the galaxy. Life is new to the galaxy and evolution takes time. We are the first intelligent civilization. Problem: the Sun being an average star, if other stars formed a million years ahead of us, then they would be a million years ahead of us technologically speaking. Planets with the right conditions are rare. Habitable zones, proper orbit for liquid water are rare. The galaxy is a dangerous place (asteroid impacts, gamma-ray bursters, etc). The Earth/Moon system is unique (large tides needed for molecular evolution). Life is rare. Life's genesis is rare. etc.

7. The "Rare Earth" hypothesis: There"s something special, or at least rare, about Earth, that allowed complex to form and thrive on its surface. Perhaps life needs a planetary solar system with gas giants far from the sun and rocky planets closer in. Maybe plate tectonics and volcanoes are necessary to create suitable atmosphere for life. Evolving life may need a large moon that cause tides, a specific temperature or a planet with a stable orbit.

8. Directed Panspermia: Aliens spark life on other planets and then leave. We are aliens or at least their our ancestors.

9. The Youngness Paradox: Each universe likely has only one advanced civilization. Cosmic inflation spawns an infinite number of pocket universes at an extraordinary rate, thus we can assume that young pocket universes vastly outnumber older universes. In other words, the average universe is remarkably young.

10. We Can"t Read the Signs: Now, it"s totally possible that the signs of ETIs are all around us, but we just can"t see them. Either we"re too stupid to notice, or we still need to develop our technologies to detect the signals. According to the current SETI approach, we should be listening for radio signatures. But a civilization far more advanced than our own might be using a different technique entirely.

11. They"re All Hanging Out At the Edge of the Galaxy (They Live in Unlikely Places): The outer regions of the Galactic disk are the most likely locations for advanced SETI targets. The reason for this is that sophisticated intelligent communities will tend to migrate outward through the Galaxy as their capacities of information-processing increase. Why? Because machine-based civilizations, with their massive supercomputers, will have huge problems managing their heat waste.

12. Self-Imposed Quarantine: Extraterrestrials have the potential to be dangerous. ETI"s may have collectively and independently decided to stay the hell at home and not draw attention to themselves.

13. The Whack-a-Mole Hypothesis: ETIs are hovering over us with a giant hammer ready to smack it down should it suddenly not like what it sees.

14. The Simulation Hypothesis: We haven"t been visited by anyone because we"re living inside a computer simulation " and the simulation isn"t generating any extraterrestrial companions for us. There really isn"t a true universe out there, it just appears that way to us within our simulated bubble.

So, what do you think is the most logical solution to the Fermi paradox? Which ones do you think have merits and which ones do you think are completely ridiculous? Do you have your own solution? If so, what is it? Discuss.
Empress of DDO (also Poll and Forum "Maintenance" Moderator)

"The two most important days in your life is the day you were born, and the day you find out why."
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Chaosism
Posts: 2,674
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4/8/2016 7:12:33 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 4/8/2016 3:09:39 AM, PetersSmith wrote:
"If there are, as various arguments suggest, many other sentient species in the Universe, then where are they? Shouldn't their presence be obvious?"

A classic paradox with several solutions being posited. These solutions include:

<snipped>

14. The Simulation Hypothesis: We haven"t been visited by anyone because we"re living inside a computer simulation " and the simulation isn"t generating any extraterrestrial companions for us. There really isn"t a true universe out there, it just appears that way to us within our simulated bubble.

So, what do you think is the most logical solution to the Fermi paradox? Which ones do you think have merits and which ones do you think are completely ridiculous? Do you have your own solution? If so, what is it? Discuss.

Where the one where it is speculated the it is the fate of intelligent life to destroy itself (i.e. mass war, destruction of the environment), or just "the universe is unfathomably BIG..."?

All of the above are speculative and imaginative rationalizations, so it would be hard to gauge them at all. However, I find #14 particularly useless and worthy of nothing more than total disregard.

Because they are possible, the so-called "Fermi-Paradox" relies on the assumption that all such alternatives as false; or, we don't see them, so they must not be there. Also, we have but one instance of life to examine, so relying on this one instance to generate overall probabilities seems ridiculous. Analogously, if you draw one single blue marble out of a bag, what are the odds of drawing another blue marble?
PetersSmith
Posts: 5,859
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4/8/2016 7:15:59 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 4/8/2016 7:12:33 PM, Chaosism wrote:
At 4/8/2016 3:09:39 AM, PetersSmith wrote:
"If there are, as various arguments suggest, many other sentient species in the Universe, then where are they? Shouldn't their presence be obvious?"

A classic paradox with several solutions being posited. These solutions include:

<snipped>

14. The Simulation Hypothesis: We haven"t been visited by anyone because we"re living inside a computer simulation " and the simulation isn"t generating any extraterrestrial companions for us. There really isn"t a true universe out there, it just appears that way to us within our simulated bubble.

So, what do you think is the most logical solution to the Fermi paradox? Which ones do you think have merits and which ones do you think are completely ridiculous? Do you have your own solution? If so, what is it? Discuss.

Where the one where it is speculated the it is the fate of intelligent life to destroy itself (i.e. mass war, destruction of the environment), or just "the universe is unfathomably BIG..."?

Read closer. I'm pretty sure one suggests the former and two the latter.
Empress of DDO (also Poll and Forum "Maintenance" Moderator)

"The two most important days in your life is the day you were born, and the day you find out why."
~Mark Twain

"Wow"
-Doge

"Don't believe everything you read on the internet just because there's a picture with a quote next to it."
~Abraham Lincoln

Guide to the Polls Section: http://www.debate.org...
Chaosism
Posts: 2,674
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4/8/2016 7:24:45 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 4/8/2016 7:15:59 PM, PetersSmith wrote:
At 4/8/2016 7:12:33 PM, Chaosism wrote:
At 4/8/2016 3:09:39 AM, PetersSmith wrote:
"If there are, as various arguments suggest, many other sentient species in the Universe, then where are they? Shouldn't their presence be obvious?"

A classic paradox with several solutions being posited. These solutions include:

<snipped>

14. The Simulation Hypothesis: We haven"t been visited by anyone because we"re living inside a computer simulation " and the simulation isn"t generating any extraterrestrial companions for us. There really isn"t a true universe out there, it just appears that way to us within our simulated bubble.

So, what do you think is the most logical solution to the Fermi paradox? Which ones do you think have merits and which ones do you think are completely ridiculous? Do you have your own solution? If so, what is it? Discuss.

Where the one where it is speculated the it is the fate of intelligent life to destroy itself (i.e. mass war, destruction of the environment), or just "the universe is unfathomably BIG..."?

Read closer. I'm pretty sure one suggests the former and two the latter.

Which ones do you think suggest these, specifically? I read through it twice before I posted those, and again afterwards...
v3nesl
Posts: 4,505
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4/8/2016 7:30:48 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 4/8/2016 3:09:39 AM, PetersSmith wrote:
"If there are, as various arguments suggest, many other sentient species in the Universe, then where are they? Shouldn't their presence be obvious?"


Eh, I'm not sure their presence should be obvious. Would our presence be obvious to anybody else? It's a mighty big haystack out there.

On the other hand, the fact remains that there is precisely zero evidence of life outside of earth. There is evidence that other places are barren, no evidence of life any where else.
This space for rent.
PetersSmith
Posts: 5,859
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4/8/2016 8:00:43 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 4/8/2016 7:24:45 PM, Chaosism wrote:
At 4/8/2016 7:15:59 PM, PetersSmith wrote:
At 4/8/2016 7:12:33 PM, Chaosism wrote:
At 4/8/2016 3:09:39 AM, PetersSmith wrote:
"If there are, as various arguments suggest, many other sentient species in the Universe, then where are they? Shouldn't their presence be obvious?"

A classic paradox with several solutions being posited. These solutions include:

<snipped>

14. The Simulation Hypothesis: We haven"t been visited by anyone because we"re living inside a computer simulation " and the simulation isn"t generating any extraterrestrial companions for us. There really isn"t a true universe out there, it just appears that way to us within our simulated bubble.

So, what do you think is the most logical solution to the Fermi paradox? Which ones do you think have merits and which ones do you think are completely ridiculous? Do you have your own solution? If so, what is it? Discuss.

Where the one where it is speculated the it is the fate of intelligent life to destroy itself (i.e. mass war, destruction of the environment), or just "the universe is unfathomably BIG..."?

Read closer. I'm pretty sure one suggests the former and two the latter.

Which ones do you think suggest these, specifically? I read through it twice before I posted those, and again afterwards...

" They Do Not Exist Because... (A Choice of Catastrophes)", The Youngness Paradox, and the Phase Transition Hypothesis.
Empress of DDO (also Poll and Forum "Maintenance" Moderator)

"The two most important days in your life is the day you were born, and the day you find out why."
~Mark Twain

"Wow"
-Doge

"Don't believe everything you read on the internet just because there's a picture with a quote next to it."
~Abraham Lincoln

Guide to the Polls Section: http://www.debate.org...
Chaosism
Posts: 2,674
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4/8/2016 8:32:39 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 4/8/2016 8:00:43 PM, PetersSmith wrote:
At 4/8/2016 7:24:45 PM, Chaosism wrote:
At 4/8/2016 7:15:59 PM, PetersSmith wrote:
At 4/8/2016 7:12:33 PM, Chaosism wrote:
At 4/8/2016 3:09:39 AM, PetersSmith wrote:
"If there are, as various arguments suggest, many other sentient species in the Universe, then where are they? Shouldn't their presence be obvious?"

A classic paradox with several solutions being posited. These solutions include:

<snipped>

14. The Simulation Hypothesis: We haven"t been visited by anyone because we"re living inside a computer simulation " and the simulation isn"t generating any extraterrestrial companions for us. There really isn"t a true universe out there, it just appears that way to us within our simulated bubble.

So, what do you think is the most logical solution to the Fermi paradox? Which ones do you think have merits and which ones do you think are completely ridiculous? Do you have your own solution? If so, what is it? Discuss.

Where the one where it is speculated the it is the fate of intelligent life to destroy itself (i.e. mass war, destruction of the environment), or just "the universe is unfathomably BIG..."?

Read closer. I'm pretty sure one suggests the former and two the latter.

Which ones do you think suggest these, specifically? I read through it twice before I posted those, and again afterwards...

" They Do Not Exist Because... (A Choice of Catastrophes)", The Youngness Paradox, and the Phase Transition Hypothesis.

Hmm... I think that would take a squeeze to fit them there. The reason I brought those up is because I've seen two places that break those two out as their own hypotheses because of their significance. Wiki does this: (https://en.wikipedia.org...)
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,254
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4/8/2016 8:56:04 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
I've never really perceived much of a paradox to be honest. If information can't be transmitted faster than the speed of light, then it's hardly a mystery why we haven't been contacted by aliens yet.
TBR
Posts: 9,991
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4/8/2016 10:21:55 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 4/8/2016 3:09:39 AM, PetersSmith wrote:
"If there are, as various arguments suggest, many other sentient species in the Universe, then where are they? Shouldn't their presence be obvious?"

A classic paradox with several solutions being posited. These solutions include:

1. The Zoo Hypothesis (They Are Here): Earth is a planetary zoo, for whatever reason, they"re observing us from afar, or that they"re studying us for scientific purposes. Aliens are essentially here.

2. Radio Silence (They Exist But Have Not Yet Communicated): It"s possible that everyone is listening, but no one is transmitting. Active SETI is not scientific research. It is a deliberate attempt to provoke a response by an alien civilization whose capabilities, intentions, and distance are not known and possibly dangerous.

3. All Aliens Are Homebodies: An advanced ETI, upon graduating to a Kardashev II scale civilization, could lose all galactic-scale ambitions. Once a Dyson sphere or Matrioshka Brain is set up, an alien civilization would have more action and adventure in its local area than it knows what to do with. The rest of the galaxy would seem like a boring and desolate place.

4. The Great Filter: The development of a civilization that can colonize a galaxy is a unique, maybe once in a universe event because of the many exceptional barriers to life along the way. If each transition (the nine filters) is sufficiently uncommon, humans may be the only life-form in the galaxy that ever reaches step 8. Or we may just be the first ones.

5. The Phase Transition Hypothesis: The conditions to support advanced intelligence have only recently fallen into place. Gamma-ray bursts prevents the rise of intelligence until the mean time between bursts is comparable to the timescale for the evolution of intelligence. In other words, gamma-ray bursts are too frequent, and intelligent life is constantly getting wiped out before it develops the capacity to go interstellar.

6. They Do Not Exist Because... (A Choice of Catastrophes): e are the first in the galaxy. Life is new to the galaxy and evolution takes time. We are the first intelligent civilization. Problem: the Sun being an average star, if other stars formed a million years ahead of us, then they would be a million years ahead of us technologically speaking. Planets with the right conditions are rare. Habitable zones, proper orbit for liquid water are rare. The galaxy is a dangerous place (asteroid impacts, gamma-ray bursters, etc). The Earth/Moon system is unique (large tides needed for molecular evolution). Life is rare. Life's genesis is rare. etc.

7. The "Rare Earth" hypothesis: There"s something special, or at least rare, about Earth, that allowed complex to form and thrive on its surface. Perhaps life needs a planetary solar system with gas giants far from the sun and rocky planets closer in. Maybe plate tectonics and volcanoes are necessary to create suitable atmosphere for life. Evolving life may need a large moon that cause tides, a specific temperature or a planet with a stable orbit.

8. Directed Panspermia: Aliens spark life on other planets and then leave. We are aliens or at least their our ancestors.

9. The Youngness Paradox: Each universe likely has only one advanced civilization. Cosmic inflation spawns an infinite number of pocket universes at an extraordinary rate, thus we can assume that young pocket universes vastly outnumber older universes. In other words, the average universe is remarkably young.

10. We Can"t Read the Signs: Now, it"s totally possible that the signs of ETIs are all around us, but we just can"t see them. Either we"re too stupid to notice, or we still need to develop our technologies to detect the signals. According to the current SETI approach, we should be listening for radio signatures. But a civilization far more advanced than our own might be using a different technique entirely.

11. They"re All Hanging Out At the Edge of the Galaxy (They Live in Unlikely Places): The outer regions of the Galactic disk are the most likely locations for advanced SETI targets. The reason for this is that sophisticated intelligent communities will tend to migrate outward through the Galaxy as their capacities of information-processing increase. Why? Because machine-based civilizations, with their massive supercomputers, will have huge problems managing their heat waste.

12. Self-Imposed Quarantine: Extraterrestrials have the potential to be dangerous. ETI"s may have collectively and independently decided to stay the hell at home and not draw attention to themselves.

13. The Whack-a-Mole Hypothesis: ETIs are hovering over us with a giant hammer ready to smack it down should it suddenly not like what it sees.

14. The Simulation Hypothesis: We haven"t been visited by anyone because we"re living inside a computer simulation " and the simulation isn"t generating any extraterrestrial companions for us. There really isn"t a true universe out there, it just appears that way to us within our simulated bubble.

So, what do you think is the most logical solution to the Fermi paradox? Which ones do you think have merits and which ones do you think are completely ridiculous? Do you have your own solution? If so, what is it? Discuss.

It is a very big universe, and has been around for a long-enough time for species to come and go.

If we are "listening" and we know how faint radio singling would be, and accept speed of light etc. the chances of every knowing or contacting is very very low.
MrVan
Posts: 82
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4/11/2016 7:08:07 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 4/8/2016 8:56:04 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
I've never really perceived much of a paradox to be honest. If information can't be transmitted faster than the speed of light, then it's hardly a mystery why we haven't been contacted by aliens yet.

I'm not so sure about this.

A civilization could theoretically colonize the entire Milky Way using slower-than-light propulsion in between 5 to 50 million years according to Winchell Chung's Atomic Rockets website. Over the course of the Milky Way's 13.21 billion year life, it would only take - one - civilization to accomplish this. So assuming that civilizations are commonplace, or even a rare occurrence, we should be able to see the signs of empires spanning our stars. So where are they?
autocorrect
Posts: 432
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4/11/2016 7:46:40 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
The answer is simple. We are technologically retarded. Every other civilization in the galaxy embraced science and technology when scientific method was discovered. They didn't waste five hundred years decrying every slight scientific advance as 'playing God.' Consequently, they didn't spend a hundred years broadcasting radio and TV signals to the rest of the galaxy. They built computers and linked them together via fiber optic cable, skipping over broadcast media all together.
dee-em
Posts: 6,490
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4/11/2016 8:13:50 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 4/8/2016 3:09:39 AM, PetersSmith wrote:
"If there are, as various arguments suggest, many other sentient species in the Universe, then where are they? Shouldn't their presence be obvious?"

A classic paradox with several solutions being posited. These solutions include:

1. The Zoo Hypothesis (They Are Here): Earth is a planetary zoo, for whatever reason, they"re observing us from afar, or that they"re studying us for scientific purposes. Aliens are essentially here.

2. Radio Silence (They Exist But Have Not Yet Communicated): It"s possible that everyone is listening, but no one is transmitting. Active SETI is not scientific research. It is a deliberate attempt to provoke a response by an alien civilization whose capabilities, intentions, and distance are not known and possibly dangerous.

3. All Aliens Are Homebodies: An advanced ETI, upon graduating to a Kardashev II scale civilization, could lose all galactic-scale ambitions. Once a Dyson sphere or Matrioshka Brain is set up, an alien civilization would have more action and adventure in its local area than it knows what to do with. The rest of the galaxy would seem like a boring and desolate place.

4. The Great Filter: The development of a civilization that can colonize a galaxy is a unique, maybe once in a universe event because of the many exceptional barriers to life along the way. If each transition (the nine filters) is sufficiently uncommon, humans may be the only life-form in the galaxy that ever reaches step 8. Or we may just be the first ones.

5. The Phase Transition Hypothesis: The conditions to support advanced intelligence have only recently fallen into place. Gamma-ray bursts prevents the rise of intelligence until the mean time between bursts is comparable to the timescale for the evolution of intelligence. In other words, gamma-ray bursts are too frequent, and intelligent life is constantly getting wiped out before it develops the capacity to go interstellar.

6. They Do Not Exist Because... (A Choice of Catastrophes): e are the first in the galaxy. Life is new to the galaxy and evolution takes time. We are the first intelligent civilization. Problem: the Sun being an average star, if other stars formed a million years ahead of us, then they would be a million years ahead of us technologically speaking. Planets with the right conditions are rare. Habitable zones, proper orbit for liquid water are rare. The galaxy is a dangerous place (asteroid impacts, gamma-ray bursters, etc). The Earth/Moon system is unique (large tides needed for molecular evolution). Life is rare. Life's genesis is rare. etc.

7. The "Rare Earth" hypothesis: There"s something special, or at least rare, about Earth, that allowed complex to form and thrive on its surface. Perhaps life needs a planetary solar system with gas giants far from the sun and rocky planets closer in. Maybe plate tectonics and volcanoes are necessary to create suitable atmosphere for life. Evolving life may need a large moon that cause tides, a specific temperature or a planet with a stable orbit.

8. Directed Panspermia: Aliens spark life on other planets and then leave. We are aliens or at least their our ancestors.

9. The Youngness Paradox: Each universe likely has only one advanced civilization. Cosmic inflation spawns an infinite number of pocket universes at an extraordinary rate, thus we can assume that young pocket universes vastly outnumber older universes. In other words, the average universe is remarkably young.

10. We Can"t Read the Signs: Now, it"s totally possible that the signs of ETIs are all around us, but we just can"t see them. Either we"re too stupid to notice, or we still need to develop our technologies to detect the signals. According to the current SETI approach, we should be listening for radio signatures. But a civilization far more advanced than our own might be using a different technique entirely.

11. They"re All Hanging Out At the Edge of the Galaxy (They Live in Unlikely Places): The outer regions of the Galactic disk are the most likely locations for advanced SETI targets. The reason for this is that sophisticated intelligent communities will tend to migrate outward through the Galaxy as their capacities of information-processing increase. Why? Because machine-based civilizations, with their massive supercomputers, will have huge problems managing their heat waste.

12. Self-Imposed Quarantine: Extraterrestrials have the potential to be dangerous. ETI"s may have collectively and independently decided to stay the hell at home and not draw attention to themselves.

13. The Whack-a-Mole Hypothesis: ETIs are hovering over us with a giant hammer ready to smack it down should it suddenly not like what it sees.

14. The Simulation Hypothesis: We haven"t been visited by anyone because we"re living inside a computer simulation " and the simulation isn"t generating any extraterrestrial companions for us. There really isn"t a true universe out there, it just appears that way to us within our simulated bubble.

So, what do you think is the most logical solution to the Fermi paradox? Which ones do you think have merits and which ones do you think are completely ridiculous? Do you have your own solution? If so, what is it? Discuss.

15. Religion Poisons Everything. Perhaps all intelligent life succumbs to religious beliefs which place no value on science and technology. Eventually they stagnate and die away from polluting their home planet (warring factions, overpopulation, fouling the air and water, extinction of biodiversity, pests, etc). Without having an investment in science, such civilizations have no means to come up with solutions when disaster strikes. It could even be something as simple as a meteor collision. Without monitoring and technology to push meteors aside, a world can be destroyed before it is even aware that there is a problem.
autocorrect
Posts: 432
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4/11/2016 9:47:19 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
All other civilizations have religion - and an idea of God. It's just they avoided the epistemic contradiction between science and religion by the simple logic of an argument, in fact advanced by St Thomas Aquinas here on earth. Most basically, they maintain that if science is true, and if it's true that God exists, there can be no contradiction. Indeed, the more religious elements view science as God's method - and the path to God; and find this view confirmed by the many blessings science bestows upon them. Thus, rather than inhibit scientific advance - religion promotes scientific discovery. Relations between religions and governments vary from civilization to civilization of course, but generally, the business of government is to understand what is scientifically true, and given the facts - work out what's therefore morally right - in the interests of the planet, the species, the environment etc.
MrVan
Posts: 82
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4/11/2016 7:58:51 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 4/11/2016 8:13:50 AM, dee-em wrote:
At 4/8/2016 3:09:39 AM, PetersSmith wrote:
"If there are, as various arguments suggest, many other sentient species in the Universe, then where are they? Shouldn't their presence be obvious?"

A classic paradox with several solutions being posited. These solutions include:

1. The Zoo Hypothesis (They Are Here): Earth is a planetary zoo, for whatever reason, they"re observing us from afar, or that they"re studying us for scientific purposes. Aliens are essentially here.

2. Radio Silence (They Exist But Have Not Yet Communicated): It"s possible that everyone is listening, but no one is transmitting. Active SETI is not scientific research. It is a deliberate attempt to provoke a response by an alien civilization whose capabilities, intentions, and distance are not known and possibly dangerous.

3. All Aliens Are Homebodies: An advanced ETI, upon graduating to a Kardashev II scale civilization, could lose all galactic-scale ambitions. Once a Dyson sphere or Matrioshka Brain is set up, an alien civilization would have more action and adventure in its local area than it knows what to do with. The rest of the galaxy would seem like a boring and desolate place.

4. The Great Filter: The development of a civilization that can colonize a galaxy is a unique, maybe once in a universe event because of the many exceptional barriers to life along the way. If each transition (the nine filters) is sufficiently uncommon, humans may be the only life-form in the galaxy that ever reaches step 8. Or we may just be the first ones.

5. The Phase Transition Hypothesis: The conditions to support advanced intelligence have only recently fallen into place. Gamma-ray bursts prevents the rise of intelligence until the mean time between bursts is comparable to the timescale for the evolution of intelligence. In other words, gamma-ray bursts are too frequent, and intelligent life is constantly getting wiped out before it develops the capacity to go interstellar.

6. They Do Not Exist Because... (A Choice of Catastrophes): e are the first in the galaxy. Life is new to the galaxy and evolution takes time. We are the first intelligent civilization. Problem: the Sun being an average star, if other stars formed a million years ahead of us, then they would be a million years ahead of us technologically speaking. Planets with the right conditions are rare. Habitable zones, proper orbit for liquid water are rare. The galaxy is a dangerous place (asteroid impacts, gamma-ray bursters, etc). The Earth/Moon system is unique (large tides needed for molecular evolution). Life is rare. Life's genesis is rare. etc.

7. The "Rare Earth" hypothesis: There"s something special, or at least rare, about Earth, that allowed complex to form and thrive on its surface. Perhaps life needs a planetary solar system with gas giants far from the sun and rocky planets closer in. Maybe plate tectonics and volcanoes are necessary to create suitable atmosphere for life. Evolving life may need a large moon that cause tides, a specific temperature or a planet with a stable orbit.

8. Directed Panspermia: Aliens spark life on other planets and then leave. We are aliens or at least their our ancestors.

9. The Youngness Paradox: Each universe likely has only one advanced civilization. Cosmic inflation spawns an infinite number of pocket universes at an extraordinary rate, thus we can assume that young pocket universes vastly outnumber older universes. In other words, the average universe is remarkably young.

10. We Can"t Read the Signs: Now, it"s totally possible that the signs of ETIs are all around us, but we just can"t see them. Either we"re too stupid to notice, or we still need to develop our technologies to detect the signals. According to the current SETI approach, we should be listening for radio signatures. But a civilization far more advanced than our own might be using a different technique entirely.

11. They"re All Hanging Out At the Edge of the Galaxy (They Live in Unlikely Places): The outer regions of the Galactic disk are the most likely locations for advanced SETI targets. The reason for this is that sophisticated intelligent communities will tend to migrate outward through the Galaxy as their capacities of information-processing increase. Why? Because machine-based civilizations, with their massive supercomputers, will have huge problems managing their heat waste.

12. Self-Imposed Quarantine: Extraterrestrials have the potential to be dangerous. ETI"s may have collectively and independently decided to stay the hell at home and not draw attention to themselves.

13. The Whack-a-Mole Hypothesis: ETIs are hovering over us with a giant hammer ready to smack it down should it suddenly not like what it sees.

14. The Simulation Hypothesis: We haven"t been visited by anyone because we"re living inside a computer simulation " and the simulation isn"t generating any extraterrestrial companions for us. There really isn"t a true universe out there, it just appears that way to us within our simulated bubble.

So, what do you think is the most logical solution to the Fermi paradox? Which ones do you think have merits and which ones do you think are completely ridiculous? Do you have your own solution? If so, what is it? Discuss.

15. Religion Poisons Everything. Perhaps all intelligent life succumbs to religious beliefs which place no value on science and technology. Eventually they stagnate and die away from polluting their home planet (warring factions, overpopulation, fouling the air and water, extinction of biodiversity, pests, etc). Without having an investment in science, such civilizations have no means to come up with solutions when disaster strikes. It could even be something as simple as a meteor collision. Without monitoring and technology to push meteors aside, a world can be destroyed before it is even aware that there is a problem.

Religion is largely a result of our evolutionary hardwiring, the same hardwiring that makes us feel watched in the dark. Considering just how many variables there are to consider when it comes to biology and the formation of society, I don't think there's any reason to believe the concept of "gods" or religion are common. It's too human, and any civilizations we come across most likely won't be anything like us.
dee-em
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4/11/2016 11:49:47 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 4/11/2016 7:58:51 PM, MrVan wrote:
At 4/11/2016 8:13:50 AM, dee-em wrote:
At 4/8/2016 3:09:39 AM, PetersSmith wrote:
"If there are, as various arguments suggest, many other sentient species in the Universe, then where are they? Shouldn't their presence be obvious?"

A classic paradox with several solutions being posited. These solutions include:

1. The Zoo Hypothesis (They Are Here): Earth is a planetary zoo, for whatever reason, they"re observing us from afar, or that they"re studying us for scientific purposes. Aliens are essentially here.

2. Radio Silence (They Exist But Have Not Yet Communicated): It"s possible that everyone is listening, but no one is transmitting. Active SETI is not scientific research. It is a deliberate attempt to provoke a response by an alien civilization whose capabilities, intentions, and distance are not known and possibly dangerous.

3. All Aliens Are Homebodies: An advanced ETI, upon graduating to a Kardashev II scale civilization, could lose all galactic-scale ambitions. Once a Dyson sphere or Matrioshka Brain is set up, an alien civilization would have more action and adventure in its local area than it knows what to do with. The rest of the galaxy would seem like a boring and desolate place.

4. The Great Filter: The development of a civilization that can colonize a galaxy is a unique, maybe once in a universe event because of the many exceptional barriers to life along the way. If each transition (the nine filters) is sufficiently uncommon, humans may be the only life-form in the galaxy that ever reaches step 8. Or we may just be the first ones.

5. The Phase Transition Hypothesis: The conditions to support advanced intelligence have only recently fallen into place. Gamma-ray bursts prevents the rise of intelligence until the mean time between bursts is comparable to the timescale for the evolution of intelligence. In other words, gamma-ray bursts are too frequent, and intelligent life is constantly getting wiped out before it develops the capacity to go interstellar.

6. They Do Not Exist Because... (A Choice of Catastrophes): e are the first in the galaxy. Life is new to the galaxy and evolution takes time. We are the first intelligent civilization. Problem: the Sun being an average star, if other stars formed a million years ahead of us, then they would be a million years ahead of us technologically speaking. Planets with the right conditions are rare. Habitable zones, proper orbit for liquid water are rare. The galaxy is a dangerous place (asteroid impacts, gamma-ray bursters, etc). The Earth/Moon system is unique (large tides needed for molecular evolution). Life is rare. Life's genesis is rare. etc.

7. The "Rare Earth" hypothesis: There"s something special, or at least rare, about Earth, that allowed complex to form and thrive on its surface. Perhaps life needs a planetary solar system with gas giants far from the sun and rocky planets closer in. Maybe plate tectonics and volcanoes are necessary to create suitable atmosphere for life. Evolving life may need a large moon that cause tides, a specific temperature or a planet with a stable orbit.

8. Directed Panspermia: Aliens spark life on other planets and then leave. We are aliens or at least their our ancestors.

9. The Youngness Paradox: Each universe likely has only one advanced civilization. Cosmic inflation spawns an infinite number of pocket universes at an extraordinary rate, thus we can assume that young pocket universes vastly outnumber older universes. In other words, the average universe is remarkably young.

10. We Can"t Read the Signs: Now, it"s totally possible that the signs of ETIs are all around us, but we just can"t see them. Either we"re too stupid to notice, or we still need to develop our technologies to detect the signals. According to the current SETI approach, we should be listening for radio signatures. But a civilization far more advanced than our own might be using a different technique entirely.

11. They"re All Hanging Out At the Edge of the Galaxy (They Live in Unlikely Places): The outer regions of the Galactic disk are the most likely locations for advanced SETI targets. The reason for this is that sophisticated intelligent communities will tend to migrate outward through the Galaxy as their capacities of information-processing increase. Why? Because machine-based civilizations, with their massive supercomputers, will have huge problems managing their heat waste.

12. Self-Imposed Quarantine: Extraterrestrials have the potential to be dangerous. ETI"s may have collectively and independently decided to stay the hell at home and not draw attention to themselves.

13. The Whack-a-Mole Hypothesis: ETIs are hovering over us with a giant hammer ready to smack it down should it suddenly not like what it sees.

14. The Simulation Hypothesis: We haven"t been visited by anyone because we"re living inside a computer simulation " and the simulation isn"t generating any extraterrestrial companions for us. There really isn"t a true universe out there, it just appears that way to us within our simulated bubble.

So, what do you think is the most logical solution to the Fermi paradox? Which ones do you think have merits and which ones do you think are completely ridiculous? Do you have your own solution? If so, what is it? Discuss.

15. Religion Poisons Everything. Perhaps all intelligent life succumbs to religious beliefs which place no value on science and technology. Eventually they stagnate and die away from polluting their home planet (warring factions, overpopulation, fouling the air and water, extinction of biodiversity, pests, etc). Without having an investment in science, such civilizations have no means to come up with solutions when disaster strikes. It could even be something as simple as a meteor collision. Without monitoring and technology to push meteors aside, a world can be destroyed before it is even aware that there is a problem.

Religion is largely a result of our evolutionary hardwiring, the same hardwiring that makes us feel watched in the dark. Considering just how many variables there are to consider when it comes to biology and the formation of society, I don't think there's any reason to believe the concept of "gods" or religion are common. It's too human, and any civilizations we come across most likely won't be anything like us.

Why wouldn't evolution proceed in a similar way for another intelligent species? Early superstitious beliefs were an attempt to explain the complexities of nature by attributing supernatural agency to it. This is a direct progression from learning to suspect agency when dealing with other members of their own species whilst living in groups and tribes. I can easily see this being a universal outcome of evolution when it leads to intelligence. Animism is one such example which was common amongst isolated indigenous communities around the world.
MrVan
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4/12/2016 1:57:38 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 4/11/2016 11:49:47 PM, dee-em wrote:

Why wouldn't evolution proceed in a similar way for another intelligent species? Early superstitious beliefs were an attempt to explain the complexities of nature by attributing supernatural agency to it. This is a direct progression from learning to suspect agency when dealing with other members of their own species whilst living in groups and tribes. I can easily see this being a universal outcome of evolution when it leads to intelligence. Animism is one such example which was common amongst isolated indigenous communities around the world.

Evolution could very well proceed in a similar way, it's just very unlikely considering all of the variables that effect the evolutionary process. Variables such as the kind of compounds that life itself might arise from, the composition of a planet's atmosphere and the kind of environments it sustains, and the number of mass extinctions that occur throughout a planet's evolutionary timeline. Consider how different humans are to octopuses, who are also very intelligent animals in their own right. Now consider that both share a common ancestor and a planet, and you may start to get a picture of just how different extraterrestrials will probably be.

"Civilization as we know it" might not apply to extraterrestrials; hell, our very notion of intelligence might not even apply to them. We could very well run into an empire of non sentient, space-faring drones that just so happened to naturally evolve that way.
MrVan
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4/12/2016 2:06:42 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
Convergent evolution is always a possibility, but that requires that both species evolved under very similar circumstances. The chances of that are very slim, considering where talking about a life form from a whole other planet.

The same is more likely than not true of the circumstances that bring about any kind of civilization - and I use that term - very - loosely.
dee-em
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4/12/2016 6:40:15 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 4/12/2016 1:57:38 AM, MrVan wrote:
At 4/11/2016 11:49:47 PM, dee-em wrote:

Why wouldn't evolution proceed in a similar way for another intelligent species? Early superstitious beliefs were an attempt to explain the complexities of nature by attributing supernatural agency to it. This is a direct progression from learning to suspect agency when dealing with other members of their own species whilst living in groups and tribes. I can easily see this being a universal outcome of evolution when it leads to intelligence. Animism is one such example which was common amongst isolated indigenous communities around the world.

Evolution could very well proceed in a similar way, it's just very unlikely considering all of the variables that effect the evolutionary process. Variables such as the kind of compounds that life itself might arise from, the composition of a planet's atmosphere and the kind of environments it sustains, and the number of mass extinctions that occur throughout a planet's evolutionary timeline. Consider how different humans are to octopuses, who are also very intelligent animals in their own right. Now consider that both share a common ancestor and a planet, and you may start to get a picture of just how different extraterrestrials will probably be.

Your point about generalizations being dangerous is taken. However, if we are talking about evolution (random mutations with natural selection) then I don't believe that the factors you have listed are overly important. The process is the issue, not the underlying chemistry IMHO. I assume comparable evolution and a species which is social and forms large co-operating groups. The latter is believed to be a major factor in attaining big brains since it requires the individual to be able to understand and predict the behaviour of large numbers of others. That's when a lot of brain power is needed and why creatures such as the octopus have not reached the brain size of homo sapiens and reached self-awareness. Once that step is taken I don't see it as a leap too far towards animism.

"Civilization as we know it" might not apply to extraterrestrials; hell, our very notion of intelligence might not even apply to them. We could very well run into an empire of non sentient, space-faring drones that just so happened to naturally evolve that way.

Hmmm. Space-faring and non-sentient? I don't think so given the technology requirements. Space is very, very hostile to planet-based life.
MrVan
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4/13/2016 12:41:17 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 4/12/2016 6:40:15 AM, dee-em wrote:
At 4/12/2016 1:57:38 AM, MrVan wrote:
At 4/11/2016 11:49:47 PM, dee-em wrote:

Why wouldn't evolution proceed in a similar way for another intelligent species? Early superstitious beliefs were an attempt to explain the complexities of nature by attributing supernatural agency to it. This is a direct progression from learning to suspect agency when dealing with other members of their own species whilst living in groups and tribes. I can easily see this being a universal outcome of evolution when it leads to intelligence. Animism is one such example which was common amongst isolated indigenous communities around the world.

Evolution could very well proceed in a similar way, it's just very unlikely considering all of the variables that effect the evolutionary process. Variables such as the kind of compounds that life itself might arise from, the composition of a planet's atmosphere and the kind of environments it sustains, and the number of mass extinctions that occur throughout a planet's evolutionary timeline. Consider how different humans are to octopuses, who are also very intelligent animals in their own right. Now consider that both share a common ancestor and a planet, and you may start to get a picture of just how different extraterrestrials will probably be.

Your point about generalizations being dangerous is taken. However, if we are talking about evolution (random mutations with natural selection) then I don't believe that the factors you have listed are overly important. The process is the issue, not the underlying chemistry IMHO. I assume comparable evolution and a species which is social and forms large co-operating groups. The latter is believed to be a major factor in attaining big brains since it requires the individual to be able to understand and predict the behaviour of large numbers of others. That's when a lot of brain power is needed and why creatures such as the octopus have not reached the brain size of homo sapiens and reached self-awareness. Once that step is taken I don't see it as a leap too far towards animism.


The factors I mentioned are important because evolution doesn't inevitably lead to intelligent lifeforms that are capable of forming civilizations. If that were the case, it probably would have occurred time and time again throughout Earth's 4.543 billion year history. A meteorite narrowly missing a planet is all it takes to keep a generation small mammals from eventually evolving into space-faring primates. If animism and religion are a byproduct of how we evolved, then there's no telling if it will effect intelligent life that evolved under different circumstances. And considering we're talking about lifeforms from other planets, those circumstances are likely to be very different than they were for us on Earth.

"Civilization as we know it" might not apply to extraterrestrials; hell, our very notion of intelligence might not even apply to them. We could very well run into an empire of non sentient, space-faring drones that just so happened to naturally evolve that way.

Hmmm. Space-faring and non-sentient? I don't think so given the technology requirements. Space is very, very hostile to planet-based life.

In defense on non-sentient life, it's not as if sentient intelligence is wired for scientific understanding or space travel either. For all we know self-awareness could just be a fluke. The point I was trying to make is that there's no reason to believe that the way human intelligence has arisen will be consistent to that of any alien, and the same can be said of any alien culture.
dee-em
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4/13/2016 2:02:55 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 4/13/2016 12:41:17 PM, MrVan wrote:
At 4/12/2016 6:40:15 AM, dee-em wrote:
At 4/12/2016 1:57:38 AM, MrVan wrote:
At 4/11/2016 11:49:47 PM, dee-em wrote:

Why wouldn't evolution proceed in a similar way for another intelligent species? Early superstitious beliefs were an attempt to explain the complexities of nature by attributing supernatural agency to it. This is a direct progression from learning to suspect agency when dealing with other members of their own species whilst living in groups and tribes. I can easily see this being a universal outcome of evolution when it leads to intelligence. Animism is one such example which was common amongst isolated indigenous communities around the world.

Evolution could very well proceed in a similar way, it's just very unlikely considering all of the variables that effect the evolutionary process. Variables such as the kind of compounds that life itself might arise from, the composition of a planet's atmosphere and the kind of environments it sustains, and the number of mass extinctions that occur throughout a planet's evolutionary timeline. Consider how different humans are to octopuses, who are also very intelligent animals in their own right. Now consider that both share a common ancestor and a planet, and you may start to get a picture of just how different extraterrestrials will probably be.

Your point about generalizations being dangerous is taken. However, if we are talking about evolution (random mutations with natural selection) then I don't believe that the factors you have listed are overly important. The process is the issue, not the underlying chemistry IMHO. I assume comparable evolution and a species which is social and forms large co-operating groups. The latter is believed to be a major factor in attaining big brains since it requires the individual to be able to understand and predict the behaviour of large numbers of others. That's when a lot of brain power is needed and why creatures such as the octopus have not reached the brain size of homo sapiens and reached self-awareness. Once that step is taken I don't see it as a leap too far towards animism.

The factors I mentioned are important because evolution doesn't inevitably lead to intelligent lifeforms that are capable of forming civilizations. If that were the case, it probably would have occurred time and time again throughout Earth's 4.543 billion year history. A meteorite narrowly missing a planet is all it takes to keep a generation small mammals from eventually evolving into space-faring primates.

Sure, but that's a different argument. Mine assumed that intelligent lifeforms have evolved on other planets and went from there.

If animism and religion are a byproduct of how we evolved, then there's no telling if it will effect intelligent life that evolved under different circumstances. And considering we're talking about lifeforms from other planets, those circumstances are likely to be very different than they were for us on Earth.

I didn't say they are just random byproducts of how we evolved. My reasoning is that they are perhaps inevitable given the assumptions of comparable (process of) evolution and a species which is social and forms large co-operating groups. I then went on to make a case for the latter as probably being necessary to reach high intelligence.

"Civilization as we know it" might not apply to extraterrestrials; hell, our very notion of intelligence might not even apply to them. We could very well run into an empire of non sentient, space-faring drones that just so happened to naturally evolve that way.

Hmmm. Space-faring and non-sentient? I don't think so given the technology requirements. Space is very, very hostile to planet-based life.

In defense on non-sentient life, it's not as if sentient intelligence is wired for scientific understanding or space travel either.

Possibly, but that would mean that the species stayed planet-bound and susceptible to events which it had no means to anticipate or control. Yes?

For all we know self-awareness could just be a fluke.

I fail to see how this is relevant to what I said.

The point I was trying to make is that there's no reason to believe that the way human intelligence has arisen will be consistent to that of any alien, and the same can be said of any alien culture.

Ditto. I'm not sure what point you are making. Without science and technology how do you get out into space? If your answer is that you can't, then you are giving us another reason for the Fermi Paradox but it doesn't relate to the one I proposed.
RuvDraba
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4/17/2016 12:27:10 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/11/2016 7:08:07 AM, MrVan wrote:
assuming that civilizations are commonplace, or even a rare occurrence, we should be able to see the signs of empires spanning our stars. So where are they?

Colonisation is normally funded by ambitious empires, Mr V, with the expectation of a better return on investment in resources and productivity than they can get in their extant jurisdictions.

I don't see how that return is feasible for humans with sparse, habitable environments of limited resources and slow, amazingly expensive travel technology. Human colonists attempting this would be refugees, not pioneers. If current human biology, technologies and economies are the modelling assumptions for successful interstellar colonisation, I think they're the wrong assumptions.
Mhykiel
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4/17/2016 7:43:42 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/17/2016 12:27:10 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 4/11/2016 7:08:07 AM, MrVan wrote:
assuming that civilizations are commonplace, or even a rare occurrence, we should be able to see the signs of empires spanning our stars. So where are they?

Colonisation is normally funded by ambitious empires, Mr V, with the expectation of a better return on investment in resources and productivity than they can get in their extant jurisdictions.

I don't see how that return is feasible for humans with sparse, habitable environments of limited resources and slow, amazingly expensive travel technology. Human colonists attempting this would be refugees, not pioneers. If current human biology, technologies and economies are the modelling assumptions for successful interstellar colonisation, I think they're the wrong assumptions.

I agree they are the wrong assumptions.

It seems the Fermi paradox is written like so.

If Human like civilizations were around they would colonize the stars and we should see them.

Well other than the, what I would call unique endeavor during the space race, mankind hasn't done much in space exploration that looks outward. The satellites and stuff are all geared about looking downward back on Earth. (sure few exceptions here and there like Japan and Chinese endeavors)

So really if you look at it, Human like cultures would in general result in little space exploration. And are probably more likely to succumb to extinction over time.

Secondly, the discovery of radio signals was accidental. An electrician was trying to eliminate noise from some lines. And postulated the interference came from space. What basis is there that our models would be shared by any other intelligent race, or that our models are even appropriate for space exploration?

Think of the diversity of cultures on Earth. The argument is like saying well Americans are making "I love Lucy" Shows.. and because we haven't detected "I Love Lucy" like shows from Tibet.. no intelligent culture lives there.

An intelligent culture like native Americans, might strive for a biologically stable society. (one driving force of exploration is "scarcity" of resources" An intelligent Alien culture like that may not give off any signs of presence.

An Alien culture may have had the good fortune of discovering Cold fusion around a time similar to our industrial Revolution. And perhaps their signals of presence are in detectable by means we ignore.

We are looking for radio signals that demonstrate a pattern discernible from the rest of the universal noise. Would a space exploring culture use radio waves to communicate?

And as for pattern, we have been culturally raised to look for patterns we are exposed to. This is to say an English speaker listening to a "clicking" language of Africa, might not discern a language there.

And finally Do we want an Alien Space faring culture to see us? probably not. And when they do spot us, Our government will only have one option. Agree to their demands, unconditionally.
RuvDraba
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4/17/2016 8:53:23 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/17/2016 7:43:42 PM, Mhykiel wrote:
At 4/17/2016 12:27:10 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 4/11/2016 7:08:07 AM, MrVan wrote:
assuming that civilizations are commonplace, or even a rare occurrence, we should be able to see the signs of empires spanning our stars. So where are they?

Colonisation is normally funded by ambitious empires, Mr V, with the expectation of a better return on investment in resources and productivity than they can get in their extant jurisdictions.

I don't see how that return is feasible for humans with sparse, habitable environments of limited resources and slow, amazingly expensive travel technology. Human colonists attempting this would be refugees, not pioneers. If current human biology, technologies and economies are the modelling assumptions for successful interstellar colonisation, I think they're the wrong assumptions.

I agree they are the wrong assumptions.

I broadly agree with your reasons, Mhykiel, but even without interstellar colonisation, there are still potential planetary radio transmissions from a homeworld that might be detected -- provided they occurred at the right distance and time.

Humans are capable of discerning information in virtually any medium they can record -- as long as they're looking for it, even if they don't immediately understand what (if anything) it might mean. So if there's a communication medium we share in common with another civilisation (radio being the obvious candidate), and it's capable of reaching us, and the civilisation existed long enough ago that its signals could reach us today, but didn't die out so long ago that we missed it, then we'd have a reasonable chance of recognising information in the signal, and discerning it from other radio-sources.

Our galaxy is about 100,000 light years in diameter, which means that any radio-using civilisation from our galaxy extant 100,000 years ago, should be sending us signals we can recognise today. So technically, we've got the radio-transmission period from today, to 100,000 years ago (Kya) covered in our local region.

Then, our nearest galactic spiral neighbour is Andromeda, about 2.5 million light-years (Mly) away, and larger, at about 220,000 light years across. So signals from Andromeda cover near, radio-using civilisations extant 2.5-2.7Mya. But as I see it, in our local two galaxies, we have a gap from 0.1Mya-2.5Mya that radio can't fill. Or put another way, nearby radio transmissions from the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies cover local civilisations that might have existed for only about 11% of the last 2.7 million years. So in our local region to 2.5Mly out, we're still 89% ignorant of its recent radio-history.

As you extend to other nearby galaxies -- say, Triangulum, which is 2.64Mly away, and only 60ly across -- observational range increases (to 2.72Mya), but it doesn't do much to improve the 11% coverage you had, since it overlaps with the time over which we can observe Andromeda. But as you extend radius, you get more range, but also vastly more galaxies, and the gaps at extreme range should begin to fill in.

So when are the ideal times for radio-tech civilisations to develop, and how long do they last? If they're old (starting hundreds of millions of years ago), long-lived (lasting for tens of thousands of years), and common (thousands per galaxy at any time), then there should be plenty of galaxies revealing source signals. But If they're rare (a handful per galaxy per million years), brief (lasting a thousand years or so) and relatively recent (beginning a few million years ago), then there might be dozens in nearby galaxies that we missed, and millions more in distant galaxies whose signals have yet to reach us.

It seems to me that the sampling significance here is wildly volatile, depending on modeling assumptions -- and we don't have nearly enough knowledge to nail our assumptions down.

This seems like the sort of study that takes millennia, rather than decades, to complete. That's tens of thousands of science careers contributing data and methods without showing significant results, and even assuming the longevity of our current civilisations, I'm not sure our species has the patience for that. :)
Mhykiel
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4/17/2016 9:50:27 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/17/2016 8:53:23 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 4/17/2016 7:43:42 PM, Mhykiel wrote:
At 4/17/2016 12:27:10 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 4/11/2016 7:08:07 AM, MrVan wrote:
assuming that civilizations are commonplace, or even a rare occurrence, we should be able to see the signs of empires spanning our stars. So where are they?

Colonisation is normally funded by ambitious empires, Mr V, with the expectation of a better return on investment in resources and productivity than they can get in their extant jurisdictions.

I don't see how that return is feasible for humans with sparse, habitable environments of limited resources and slow, amazingly expensive travel technology. Human colonists attempting this would be refugees, not pioneers. If current human biology, technologies and economies are the modelling assumptions for successful interstellar colonisation, I think they're the wrong assumptions.

I agree they are the wrong assumptions.

I broadly agree with your reasons, Mhykiel, but even without interstellar colonisation, there are still potential planetary radio transmissions from a homeworld that might be detected -- provided they occurred at the right distance and time.

Humans are capable of discerning information in virtually any medium they can record -- as long as they're looking for it, even if they don't immediately understand what (if anything) it might mean. So if there's a communication medium we share in common with another civilisation (radio being the obvious candidate), and it's capable of reaching us, and the civilisation existed long enough ago that its signals could reach us today, but didn't die out so long ago that we missed it, then we'd have a reasonable chance of recognising information in the signal, and discerning it from other radio-sources.

Our galaxy is about 100,000 light years in diameter, which means that any radio-using civilisation from our galaxy extant 100,000 years ago, should be sending us signals we can recognise today. So technically, we've got the radio-transmission period from today, to 100,000 years ago (Kya) covered in our local region.

Then, our nearest galactic spiral neighbour is Andromeda, about 2.5 million light-years (Mly) away, and larger, at about 220,000 light years across. So signals from Andromeda cover near, radio-using civilisations extant 2.5-2.7Mya. But as I see it, in our local two galaxies, we have a gap from 0.1Mya-2.5Mya that radio can't fill. Or put another way, nearby radio transmissions from the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies cover local civilisations that might have existed for only about 11% of the last 2.7 million years. So in our local region to 2.5Mly out, we're still 89% ignorant of its recent radio-history.

As you extend to other nearby galaxies -- say, Triangulum, which is 2.64Mly away, and only 60ly across -- observational range increases (to 2.72Mya), but it doesn't do much to improve the 11% coverage you had, since it overlaps with the time over which we can observe Andromeda. But as you extend radius, you get more range, but also vastly more galaxies, and the gaps at extreme range should begin to fill in.

So when are the ideal times for radio-tech civilisations to develop, and how long do they last? If they're old (starting hundreds of millions of years ago), long-lived (lasting for tens of thousands of years), and common (thousands per galaxy at any time), then there should be plenty of galaxies revealing source signals. But If they're rare (a handful per galaxy per million years), brief (lasting a thousand years or so) and relatively recent (beginning a few million years ago), then there might be dozens in nearby galaxies that we missed, and millions more in distant galaxies whose signals have yet to reach us.

It seems to me that the sampling significance here is wildly volatile, depending on modeling assumptions -- and we don't have nearly enough knowledge to nail our assumptions down.

My other issue with Radio is, Ruv picture Earth from a civilization 2.5 million light years away. Think of the shift given relative motion, the faintest of signal due to propagation over 2.5 million light years, the noise of the radio being multiple radio signals from Earth at the same time (keep in mind bandwidths are empirical not objective so the tuning by an alien would be different wavelength measurements.)..

If there was a civilization exactly like us a million years away from us in light years and in distant past, I have a hard time thinking we would recognize our own reflection.


This seems like the sort of study that takes millennia, rather than decades, to complete. That's tens of thousands of science careers contributing data and methods without showing significant results, and even assuming the longevity of our current civilisations, I'm not sure our species has the patience for that. :)

I don't think we are the model of a Space faring civilization. If there is a Star Trek federation Humans will be the hillbillies not the Picards.
Mhykiel
Posts: 5,987
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4/17/2016 10:03:57 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
I should say i don't think we, the human civilization, even an advanced human civilization is a good model for a detectable intelligent civilization in space.
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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4/17/2016 11:56:37 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/17/2016 9:50:27 PM, Mhykiel wrote:
At 4/17/2016 8:53:23 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
So when are the ideal times for radio-tech civilisations to develop, and how long do they last? If they're old (starting hundreds of millions of years ago), long-lived (lasting for tens of thousands of years), and common (thousands per galaxy at any time), then there should be plenty of galaxies revealing source signals. But If they're rare (a handful per galaxy per million years), brief (lasting a thousand years or so) and relatively recent (beginning a few million years ago), then there might be dozens in nearby galaxies that we missed, and millions more in distant galaxies whose signals have yet to reach us.

It seems to me that the sampling significance here is wildly volatile, depending on modeling assumptions -- and we don't have nearly enough knowledge to nail our assumptions down.

My other issue with Radio is, Ruv picture Earth from a civilization 2.5 million light years away. Think of the shift given relative motion, the faintest of signal due to propagation over 2.5 million light years, the noise of the radio being multiple radio signals from Earth at the same time (keep in mind bandwidths are empirical not objective so the tuning by an alien would be different wavelength measurements.)
Yes, while encoding is an issue, I'm more confident about that because there are only a few ways to make information travel well over radio, but I'd agree that signal degradation is probably the biggest issue.

For comparison, the first of Earth's man-made radio-transmissions have traveled about 110 light-years, but the energy in those transmissions degrades with the square of the distance, so using the technologies we have, virtually all our own domestic signals are indistinguishable from background noise only a few light-years from Earth, where nothing much human-habitable has been observed anyway. So an alien species with comparable technologies on the opposite side of our own galaxy could be receiving faint episodes of I Love Lucy right now, yet be entirely unable to discern them.

So the only way you'd pick up a synthetic radio signal using our technologies as a model, is if someone were beefing it deliberately for interstellar transmission, focusing it to keep it coherent, and aiming it -- however briefly -- toward you. They might do that if they'd worked out your planetary atmosphere at distance (which can be done) and conjectured life, but they might or might not be listening for a reply. Or you could be really lucky and see a transmission aimed at something else, in the same direction as you.

But my point is, that's so pro-active, intentional, coincidence-ridden, and time-sensitive that our galaxy could be peppered with relatively short-lived, high-tech civilisations that had popped up like mushrooms over the last few million years, and we might still have no clue at all.

So I don't spend a lot of time pondering Fermi's Paradox. I think it's constructed from some fairly idealistic premises to start with.

If there was a civilization exactly like us a million years away from us in light years and in distant past, I have a hard time thinking we would recognize our own reflection.
Or even see it. I agree.

This seems like the sort of study that takes millennia, rather than decades, to complete. That's tens of thousands of science careers contributing data and methods without showing significant results, and even assuming the longevity of our current civilisations, I'm not sure our species has the patience for that. :)
I don't think we are the model of a Space faring civilization.
Not in the forseeable future, I agree. I think we'd have a better chance of manufacturing something self-replicating, space-faring, mechanical and half-smart than traveling ourselves. And I'm not entirely clear why we'd do that, who'd benefit, or even if it's ethical to do so.

(And thinking that, I wonder what might happen when a half-smart, self-replicating, space-faring machine constructed from unethical technological idealism, eventually encountered our biosphere. :p)

If there is a Star Trek federation Humans will be the hillbillies not the Picards.
Welcome, y'all Interstellar Nanites!
Set a spell.
Take yer shoes off.

I agree. :)
user13579
Posts: 822
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4/24/2016 3:15:00 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
We aren't blinded by all the stars out there either.
Science in a nutshell:
"Facts are neither true nor false. They simply are."
"All scientific knowledge is provisional. Even facts are provisional."
"We can be absolutely certain that we have a moon, we can be absolutely certain that water is made out of H2O, and we can be absolutely certain that the Earth is a sphere!"
"Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty -- some most unsure, some nearly sure, none absolutely certain."