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Thread: What do you think is the most likely explanation for the Fermi paradox?

  1. #301
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    Came across this interesting paper that looks at the background assumptions many people make when thinking about SETI and the Fermi Paradox. Will step on toes but worth the read whether one agrees or disagrees with it.

    https://arxiv.org/pdf/1708.05318.pdf

    Visions of Human Futures in Space and SETI

    Jason T Wright, Michael P. Oman-Reagan (Submitted on 17 Aug 2017 (v1), last revised 20 Aug 2017 (this version, v2))

    We discuss how visions for the futures of humanity in space and SETI are intertwined, and are shaped by prior work in the fields and by science fiction. This appears in the language used in the fields, and in the sometimes implicit assumptions made in discussions of them. We give examples from articulations of the so-called Fermi Paradox, discussions of the settlement of the Solar System (in the near future) and the Galaxy (in the far future), and METI. We argue that science fiction, especially the campy variety, is a significant contributor to the "giggle factor" that hinders serious discussion and funding for SETI and Solar System settlement projects. We argue that humanity's long-term future in space will be shaped by our short-term visions for who goes there and how. Because of the way they entered the fields, we recommend avoiding the term "colony" and its cognates when discussing the settlement of space, as well as other terms with similar pedigrees. We offer examples of science fiction and other writing that broaden and challenge our visions of human futures in space and SETI. In an appendix, we use an analogy with the well-funded and relatively uncontroversial searches for the dark matter particle to argue that SETI's lack of funding in the national science portfolio is primarily a problem of perception, not inherent merit.
    There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
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  2. #302
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    SETI's lack of funding in the national science portfolio is primarily a problem of perception, not inherent merit.
    The same is true of almost anything related to space except satellites. And for that matter, almost anything ecological or climate related, "pure" science, or indeed beneficial to humans in any way other than in business; if it can't make money or war, it's not taken seriously.

    Don't mind me, I'm in a bad mood today.
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  3. #303
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    Quote Originally Posted by alromario View Post
    There is no paradox, and I expect first contact will be much less rewarding than we could ever believe. Joke, Iím sure it will go well.
    I'd predict that first contact (if and when it comes) it will be a gradual process. Indirect evidence becoming stronger until we're almost certain that a particular planet or system is inhabited by smart beings, but we'll still know nothing much about what they are like... It will be like Galileo's discovery of the 4 biggest moons of Jupiter. He didn't know anything about them except how bright they are and how they orbit, and it was centuries until anyone found out more...

  4. #304
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Robinson View Post
    I'd predict that first contact (if and when it comes) it will be a gradual process. Indirect evidence becoming stronger until we're almost certain that a particular planet or system is inhabited by smart beings, but we'll still know nothing much about what they are like... It will be like Galileo's discovery of the 4 biggest moons of Jupiter. He didn't know anything about them except how bright they are and how they orbit, and it was centuries until anyone found out more...
    I think if we get reasonably clear evidence of ETI somewhere, current humanity will attempt to send a signal of some kind to them if possible.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  5. #305
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    I think if we get reasonably clear evidence of ETI somewhere, current humanity will attempt to send a signal of some kind to them if possible.
    Perhaps we would, although there would inevitably be concerns about dangers.

    Sending radio signals would certainly be easier than trying to develop an interstellar space probe, and arguably safer too. Throwing a fast-moving object at them could be interpreted as a hostile act...

    But a program of passive long-distance observation would be safer than either a signal or a space probe.

    If we did send them a signal, the light-speed factor would mean a serious wait for any reply they might send...

  6. #306
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Robinson View Post
    Perhaps we would, although there would inevitably be concerns about dangers.

    Sending radio signals would certainly be easier than trying to develop an interstellar space probe, and arguably safer too. Throwing a fast-moving object at them could be interpreted as a hostile act...

    But a program of passive long-distance observation would be safer than either a signal or a space probe.

    If we did send them a signal, the light-speed factor would mean a serious wait for any reply they might send...
    I doubt safety would be a major concern. If we can see them, and they have any capacity to actually reach us, then they can almost certainly already see us by then.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  7. #307
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    I doubt safety would be a major concern. If we can see them, and they have any capacity to actually reach us, then they can almost certainly already see us by then.
    Another reason to suppose that we probably will send out a signal is that many countries would have the capability to do so, and it's hard to stop something from happening when many people can do it. There would have to be a consensus to stop it--absent such a consensus, it could easily happen.
    As above, so below

  8. #308
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    Another reason to suppose that we probably will send out a signal is that many countries would have the capability to do so, and it's hard to stop something from happening when many people can do it. There would have to be a consensus to stop it--absent such a consensus, it could easily happen.
    And if we are close enough the signal is already sent and possibly received, so to speak. If they are already advanced enough to detect even the faintest of signals and are looking then they might already have found us before we find them.

  9. #309
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    Maybe if they are nearby, THEY are not sending signals because they're afraid of US. And TBF we are a pretty scary bunch.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  10. #310
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    Quote Originally Posted by alromario View Post
    There is no paradox,
    This is pretty much my attitude.

    I saw a show once where, to demonstrate the flaws in this "paradox", the host laid out everything at his home for a lobster dinner... except the lobster. Boiling water, drawn butter, nutcracker, etc. He called from his doorway, "Here lobsters!" When no lobster appeared, he opined, "If lobsters exist, where are they? It's a paradox!"
    Last edited by Noclevername; Today at 12:22 AM.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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