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Thread: Would we know if we were in a "Startrekverse"?

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    Like I said, we cannot detect a human-level civilization at Proxima unless they're deliberately sending radio signals at Earth at a great enough duty cycle to be noticed.
    'Duty cycle'??
    Of all the reasons pertaining to noticeability, what makes duty cycle so special?

    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee
    Leaping from "we can't detect it" to "it can't exist" when the methods available are unable to detect a [hypothetical, probably non-existent] civilization functionally identical to us on the closest possible extra-solar planet is logically unsupportable.
    No more logically unsupportable than saying "we can detect it" and then leaping to "it does exist".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim View Post
    'Duty cycle'??
    Of all the reasons pertaining to noticeability, what makes duty cycle so special?
    I think the intended meaning was, suppose that they are transmitting to a number of different places, and they give us 1% of the time. And then suppose that we are only monitoring that part of the sky 1% of the time. Then the chance of us picking up their signal gets very small.


    Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim View Post
    'Duty cycle'
    No more logically unsupportable than saying "we can detect it" and then leaping to "it does exist".
    Yes, they are both logically unsupportable. The only think that is logically supportable is, "we have detected it, and thus it exists." If we haven't made any detection, then there is nothing you can say one way or the other.
    As above, so below

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    I think the intended meaning was, suppose that they are transmitting to a number of different places, and they give us 1% of the time. And then suppose that we are only monitoring that part of the sky 1% of the time. Then the chance of us picking up their signal gets very small.
    Ok .. thanks.
    Still don't see why this particular aspect is a more significant determining factor than the myriad of other factors associated with other scenarios, which 'may' also be said as leading to 'detection of a human-level civilisation at Proxima'?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jens
    Yes, they are both logically unsupportable.
    I disagree. They are both as equally logically supportable, or unsupportable, as eachother. The point is that logic cannot resolve the matter.

    They are both entirely dependent on one's starting beliefs about whether or not there is anything to be detected, (or that it is detectable).
    For instance, when the starting assumption invokes the existence of 'human-level civilisations' (etc), a consistent logical argument will only ever, at best, lead straight back to that starting assumption.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jens
    The only think that is logically supportable is, "we have detected it, and thus it exists." If we haven't made any detection, then there is nothing you can say one way or the other.
    Yes .. however, I would say: existence starts with an observation.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim View Post
    They are both entirely dependent on one's starting beliefs about whether or not there is anything to be detected, (or that it is detectable).
    Well, I'm not sure how it could be logically possible to make an assumption on that. I can't see how you can make an assumption one way or the other. I personally find it somewhat plausible that there are other living things out there and likely even sentient beings, but I would never assume that to be true.
    As above, so below

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Does a Startrekverse even need to be proved false?
    Surely it's the sort of extraordinary hypothesis that requires extraordinary evidence before we accept it as a possibility, and can safely ignore in the meantime.

    Grant Hutchison
    The laws of physics would have to be a lot more friendly to spaceflight--to match the speed of plot.

    If antigravity and such were that easy--someone with a powdered wig would have found it a long time ago.
    I can just see the tinkerers in my head--shades of Monty Python. "Row the bloody thing!" Over teakettle they go--splitting pantaloons on the way down...

    I blame Newton. It's the other thing of Hooke he burned with his portrait.

    You won't defeat my gravity thou swine!
    Last edited by publiusr; 2017-Apr-29 at 08:07 PM.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim View Post
    Ok .. thanks.
    Still don't see why this particular aspect is a more significant determining factor than the myriad of other factors associated with other scenarios, which 'may' also be said as leading to 'detection of a human-level civilisation at Proxima'?



    I disagree. They are both as equally logically supportable, or unsupportable, as eachother. The point is that logic cannot resolve the matter.

    They are both entirely dependent on one's starting beliefs about whether or not there is anything to be detected, (or that it is detectable).
    For instance, when the starting assumption invokes the existence of 'human-level civilisations' (etc), a consistent logical argument will only ever, at best, lead straight back to that starting assumption.



    Yes .. however, I would say: existence starts with an observation.
    I'm responding to you, but not strictly to you; indeed, I'm largely agreeing with you: logic cannot answer the question, as, with current technology, nothing other than a nearby civilization actively trying to be detected can be observed. I would, however, disagree with the last statement: existence is independent of observation, but I think what you meant to say is that knowledge starts with observation.

    As to Proxima:
    I was placing a hypothetical and, as far as I know, completely fictitious human-level civilization on a planet orbiting Proxima as that's the second nearest star to the Earth, there's pretty solid, but not completely incontrovertible, evidence of a planet1 that may be in the range where liquid water at 101 kPa pressure is possible orbiting it. There have been a number of people posting here stating that our RF noise can't be detected at more than 2.5 or 3 light-years; combining these leads to the conclusion that we could not detect an ETI equivalent to humanity, so it is fallacious to conclude that non-detection means non-existence. Indeed, I think it's likely that any civilization that doesn't deliberately transmit high-energy, obviously modulated signals, will be undetectable unless it's very close to Earth, that is within a few dozen light-years. In other words, unless somebody is deliberately trying to be found, they won't be noticeable.

    As to the OP's question about whether we live in a "Trek-like" universe, with large numbers of space-faring, humanoid (in society, physiology, and appearance) aliens? Here, my answer is basically "I don't think so." I just don't have any observational data to support my opinion. I am, however, looking forward to eating my hat on the [very unlikely] day a Culture General Systems Unit (or its functional equivalent) shows up to ask us to join The Culture (or its analogous civilization).






    1 Well, it's not a planet as far as the IAU's definition is concerned.
    Last edited by swampyankee; 2017-Apr-29 at 11:36 PM.

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  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee
    I'm responding to you, but not strictly to you
    Understood .. Likewise, for me too:

    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    ... with current technology, nothing other than a nearby civilization actively trying to be detected can be observed.
    Where/what is the objective evidence behind that claim?
    For example, there are hypothetical scenarios where observations of significant concentrations of purely synthethic exo-atmospheric gases (civilisation byproducts) would be a fairly clear indicator. I personally wouldn't be making bold statements which specifically rule out hypothetical scenarios, purely because they seem 'unlikely'. This has always been my point. Once one opens the pandora's box of what is 'possible', (ie: the existence of hypothetical scenarios), one then automatically opens merely opinion-based 'reasons for ruling them out, (or advocating them), too.
    Can't allow one, without allowing the other, (logically speaking).

    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee
    Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim
    Yes .. however, I would say: existence starts with an observation.
    I would, however, disagree with the last statement: existence is independent of observation,
    And how do you objectively demonstrate that without an active mind of some sort making an observation?
    I haven't a clue as to how that could be done, other than by means of pure opinion.

    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee
    I would, however, disagree with the last statement: existence is independent of observation, but I think what you meant to say is that knowledge starts with observation.
    Consider that a creature of pure instinct, which displays no outward signs of possessing knowledge, (or memory), can still demonstrate reactions to stimulii. The experimenter makes that observation.
    The experimenter then says the creature reacted to the existence of that stimulii.
    The experimenter gains knowledge through the experience, but the creature displays no outward signs of having acquired that same knowledge.
    The existence of the stimulii declared by the experimenter, was made by observing (and recording) the creature's reaction.

    Note I am not arguing that the experimenter's knowledge was not acquired from the observation.
    The existence of the stimulii however, in this case, commenced with the experimenter's observation of the creature's reaction.
    (Ie: I meant what I said originally).

    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee
    As to Proxima:
    I was placing a hypothetical and, as far as I know, completely fictitious human-level civilization on a planet orbiting Proxima as that's the second nearest star to the Earth, there's pretty solid, but not completely incontrovertible, evidence of a planet1 that may be in the range where liquid water at 101 kPa pressure is possible orbiting it. There have been a number of people posting here stating that our RF noise can't be detected at more than 2.5 or 3 light-years; combining these leads to the conclusion that we could not detect an ETI equivalent to humanity, so it is fallacious to conclude that non-detection means non-existence. Indeed, I think it's likely that any civilization that doesn't deliberately transmit high-energy, obviously modulated signals, will be undetectable unless it's very close to Earth, that is within a few dozen light-years. In other words, unless somebody is deliberately trying to be found, they won't be noticeable.
    I don't have any issues with 'it is fallacious to conclude that non-detection means non-existence' (ie: I agree). Ie: When there is no objective evidence, one cannot rule out existence. However, in general, one cannot declare existence, without an objective observation by some active mind.

    However, the hypothetical observation of artificial exo-atmospheric gases, (the scenario mentioned above), disallows ruling out 'noticeability' (logically speaking). Ie: under certain conditions, it would be noticeable.

    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee
    As to the OP's question about whether we live in a "Trek-like" universe, with large numbers of space-faring, humanoid (in society, physiology, and appearance) aliens? Here, my answer is basically "I don't think so." I just don't have any observational data to support my opinion.
    There is however, evidence for concluding that a 'Trek-like universe' is a complete fictitious fabrication in the first place (because a 'Trek-universe' is).

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim View Post
    Understood .. Likewise, for me too:



    Where/what is the objective evidence behind that claim?
    For example, there are hypothetical scenarios where observations of significant concentrations of purely synthethic exo-atmospheric gases (civilisation byproducts) would be a fairly clear indicator. I personally wouldn't be making bold statements which specifically rule out hypothetical scenarios, purely because they seem 'unlikely'. This has always been my point. Once one opens the pandora's box of what is 'possible', (ie: the existence of hypothetical scenarios), one then automatically opens merely opinion-based 'reasons for ruling them out, (or advocating them), too.
    Can't allow one, without allowing the other, (logically speaking).



    And how do you objectively demonstrate that without an active mind of some sort making an observation?
    I haven't a clue as to how that could be done, other than by means of pure opinion.


    Consider that a creature of pure instinct, which displays no outward signs of possessing knowledge, (or memory), can still demonstrate reactions to stimulii. The experimenter makes that observation.
    The experimenter then says the creature reacted to the existence of that stimulii.
    The experimenter gains knowledge through the experience, but the creature displays no outward signs of having acquired that same knowledge.
    The existence of the stimulii declared by the experimenter, was made by observing (and recording) the creature's reaction.

    Note I am not arguing that the experimenter's knowledge was not acquired from the observation.
    The existence of the stimulii however, in this case, commenced with the experimenter's observation of the creature's reaction.
    (Ie: I meant what I said originally).


    I don't have any issues with 'it is fallacious to conclude that non-detection means non-existence' (ie: I agree). Ie: When there is no objective evidence, one cannot rule out existence. However, in general, one cannot declare existence, without an objective observation by some active mind.

    However, the hypothetical observation of artificial exo-atmospheric gases, (the scenario mentioned above), disallows ruling out 'noticeability' (logically speaking). Ie: under certain conditions, it would be noticeable.


    There is however, evidence for concluding that a 'Trek-like universe' is a complete fictitious fabrication in the first place (because a 'Trek-universe' is).
    Some of these -- like detection of chlorinated fluorocarbons -- would strike me as highly indicative of a technological civilization, although I've been rebuked about the reliability of that method as, insofar as I found, CFCs do not get produced in significant quantities by natural processes, apparently some posters have found that such processes can exist.

    As for living in a "Trek-like universe?" Obviously, it's a fictional universe. The OP wasn't asking if we lived in Star Trek; they were asking if we're in something analogous.

    I will, however, hold to my contention that RF detection with current technology is something like looking for lost keys under a streetlight: getting spectra of extrasolar planet atmopheres is quite difficult and it's not unlikely that it's not feasible except for especially large, nearby ones. Is anybody trying to get the spectrum of Proxima's exoplanet?

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  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    Some of these -- like detection of chlorinated fluorocarbons -- would strike me as highly indicative of a technological civilization, although I've been rebuked about the reliability of that method as, insofar as I found, CFCs do not get produced in significant quantities by natural processes, apparently some posters have found that such processes can exist.

    As for living in a "Trek-like universe?" Obviously, it's a fictional universe. The OP wasn't asking if we lived in Star Trek; they were asking if we're in something analogous.

    I will, however, hold to my contention that RF detection with current technology is something like looking for lost keys under a streetlight: getting spectra of extrasolar planet atmopheres is quite difficult and it's not unlikely that it's not feasible except for especially large, nearby ones.
    For current technology (in this sense of what is already built and deployed), it may be unfeasible to do much exoplanet spectroscopy. But it is exciting how fast the technology is developing. New generations of space telescopes are being designed to get a good look at exoplanets by blocking out other light sources close to them. One of the reasons for this is to do more exoplanet spectroscopy. See New Worlds Mission in WP.

    Is anybody trying to get the spectrum of Proxima's exoplanet?
    I haven't seen specific information, but it would have to be on the agenda.
    Last edited by Colin Robinson; 2017-Apr-30 at 09:52 PM.

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    I read somewhere (last year, I think?) that biosignature hunter extraordinaire, Sara Seager, somewhat light-heatedly tipped that two signs of alien life would be found within the next ten years .. (she was expecting a laughing response from the audience).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim View Post
    I read somewhere (last year, I think?) that biosignature hunter extraordinaire, Sara Seager, somewhat light-heatedly tipped that two signs of alien life would be found within the next ten years .. (she was expecting a laughing response from the audience).
    Well, the Jodcast, in their April podcast, has said that a major politician is calling for a wall to keep out illegal ETIs. The Galactic Senate will be paying.....
    Last edited by swampyankee; 2017-May-03 at 01:05 AM.

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  12. #42
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    The OP asked if trekkie style universe had been ruled up, er, out, (Dang earth languages) wherein many civs exist at roughly the same tech level, possibly explaining lack of Klingon telemarketers.
    Space is BIG, I often say, shamelessly quoting myself. The Voyager lost in the Alpha quadrant may never make it back to the Federation even if left alone and traveling at high warp speed. Perspective. All the civs that the Federation is/was aware of initially existed in a very small part of the galaxy.

    So, in answer, I'll say no. As someone pointed out, you, er, we humans cannot afford to rule out anything, knowing so very little.

    What I DO know is that we won't make first contact until after WW3 and the Eugenics wars when a passing Vulcan vessel spots a warp signature in our system.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hypmotoad View Post
    The OP asked if trekkie style universe had been ruled up, er, out, (Dang earth languages) wherein many civs exist at roughly the same tech level, possibly explaining lack of Klingon telemarketers.
    Space is BIG, I often say, shamelessly quoting myself. The Voyager lost in the Alpha quadrant may never make it back to the Federation even if left alone and traveling at high warp speed. Perspective. All the civs that the Federation is/was aware of initially existed in a very small part of the galaxy.

    So, in answer, I'll say no. As someone pointed out, you, er, we humans cannot afford to rule out anything, knowing so very little.

    What I DO know is that we won't make first contact until after WW3 and the Eugenics wars when a passing Vulcan vessel spots a warp signature in our system.
    The fact that we haven't had first contact so far, is the main reason that the conjecture in the OP seems unlikely. The Vulcans may have a strict policy of not making contact with species as primitive as us, but if there were a technological civilisation on at least one planet of every star, wouldn't we have been contacted by someone? Unless interstellar travel is vastly less feasible (even for a very smart civilisation) than people like Enrico Fermi have supposed...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Robinson View Post
    The fact that we haven't had first contact so far, is the main reason that the conjecture in the OP seems unlikely. The Vulcans may have a strict policy of not making contact with species as primitive as us, but if there were a technological civilisation on at least one planet of every star, wouldn't we have been contacted by someone? Unless interstellar travel is vastly less feasible (even for a very smart civilisation) than people like Enrico Fermi have supposed...
    Seems awful crowded to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Robinson View Post
    The fact that we haven't had first contact so far, is the main reason that the conjecture in the OP seems unlikely. The Vulcans may have a strict policy of not making contact with species as primitive as us, but if there were a technological civilisation on at least one planet of every star, wouldn't we have been contacted by someone? Unless interstellar travel is vastly less feasible (even for a very smart civilisation) than people like Enrico Fermi have supposed...
    The OP scenario is all the worlds at one identical tech level, as I understood it. They have what we have, and we don't have interstellar capability.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    The OP scenario is all the worlds at one identical tech level, as I understood it. They have what we have, and we don't have interstellar capability.
    Checking what the OP says...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mazanec View Post
    On the TV show, every star seems to have at least one planet technologically equal to c2000 AD Earth. If this were reality, would we know it?
    It's a while since I watched an episode of Startrek from start to finish, but I thought a lot of its imagined planets have interstellar capacity... don't they? That's why I read the term "technologically equal" in an approximate sense rather than an exact sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mazanec View Post
    On the TV show, every star seems to have at least one planet technologically equal to c2000 AD Earth. If this were reality, would we know it?
    I have heard it said that our TV shows fade into invisibility within a couple light years. Our DEW radar can be picked up by Arecibo to something like 100 light years, but only if we are looking at that point, on that frequency, at that instant. And even then we would just get a WOW! signal or a TYC 1220-91-1.
    So have we ruled out a Startrekverse? Not that I believe it, but have we looked at the universe deeply enough to PROVE it false?
    I know what you're asking (advocating), whether the data we've gathered is sufficient to rule out any possibilities. I'd so no, because of the varied forms those possibilities might take--we just can't recognize them yet, maybe.

    But I have another question. How did you come to that conclusion about Star Trek? Maybe I haven't watched enough Star Trek, but I don't think there was enough variability in the episodes to come close to "every star".

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    But I have another question. How did you come to that conclusion about Star Trek? Maybe I haven't watched enough Star Trek, but I don't think there was enough variability in the episodes to come close to "every star".
    On the show(s) it seemed that every star had planets of widely varying environments but not all had life forms nor advanced civilizations.

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    I have to point out that the fictional Star Trek universe includes a surprisingly large number of Earth-like environments, what one might call 'shirtsleeve' planets; we now know of more than 3000 exoplanet candidates, and I don't think that a single one of them is likely to have a 'shirtsleeve' environment that would allow an 'away team' to walk around sans spacesuit and encounter entertaining threats.

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    An OUTLAND universe it is then...

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