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Mr Q
2014-Mar-11, 04:24 PM
Over the years, I have read a lot of comments on this subject - should we advertise our existence to other "beings out there"?

My initial thoughts were, sure, why not? Then after thinking about it, I then decided that doing so would probably not be such a good idea. The way I see it is that unless we can benefit in some way from them, why take the time to locate and communicate with them? Of coarse if they are very much more advanced than we are, I feel the chances are great that they would take advantage of us or not bother with our existence.

So, to me, there is a narrow span of intelligence that somewhat matches ours' that we should only respond to. And that means not wasting our time/resources on those "under us" and avoiding those much more advanced than we are...just in case.

I guess my point is it's better to be safe than sorry when it involves other "intelligent" beings somewhere out there. But somehow, knowing about our human nature and curiosity, we may some day make the fatal mistake in contacting the wrong group.

Sure, knowing that we are not alone is nice to know in fact but is knowing this worth the price we may pay ? :rolleyes: Or maybe I have spent too many decades watching sci-fi movies/ TV series on the subject :doh:

Noclevername
2014-Mar-11, 07:36 PM
At present, AFAIK, no one's actually trying to advertise our presence.

SETI only searches for incoming signals, it doesn't transmit. After a light-year or two our current radio transmissions become an unintelligible jumble lost in the background noise. It would take a deliberate effort to send a recognizably artificial message to even the nearest stars.

redshifter
2014-Mar-11, 07:45 PM
I don't know that anyone 'out there' with the technology and culture such that they'd be ready, willing, and able to destroy, exploit, or otherwise 'take advantage' of us would need to wait around for us to make an announcement of our existence before they were aware of us. I'm not convinced advertising our existence would have any effect on that scenario either way.

geonuc
2014-Mar-11, 09:48 PM
How would we advertise our existence in ways we aren't already doing?

cjameshuff
2014-Mar-11, 10:34 PM
Firstly, yes, there's certainly something to gain. Trade of information could be of extreme benefit to both sides, even if one is far more advanced in general. Apart from the aliens themselves and information about life on another world, a system of science and technology developed entirely independently by alien minds could be extremely revealing of blindspots and flaws in our own. Cross-pollination of knowledge and ideas could be of great mutual profit.

Hostility is unlikely, simply for economic reasons. Interstellar travel appears to be extraordinarily difficult and expensive. An invader would be at an enormous disadvantage in the force they can deploy across interstellar distances, and there's little motivation for doing so...what do they gain? Our planet is unlikely to be useful to them due to its alien biosphere, they're better off seeking lifeless worlds that don't have intelligent species laying claim to them. Or if they just don't like us, it'd be far easier and vastly cheaper to simply ignore us.

And if they're technologically superior enough to just come over in overwhelming force and stomp us out on a whim...what makes you think not actively advertising our existence will do us any good?

Amber Robot
2014-Mar-11, 11:08 PM
At present, AFAIK, no one's actually trying to advertise our presence.

SETI only searches for incoming signals, it doesn't transmit. After a light-year or two our current radio transmissions become an unintelligible jumble lost in the background noise. It would take a deliberate effort to send a recognizably artificial message to even the nearest stars.

And yet this is exactly what SETI is searching for. Isn't it a little arrogant to expect to receive a signal that we ourselves aren't putting out?

Colin Robinson
2014-Mar-11, 11:46 PM
At present, AFAIK, no one's actually trying to advertise our presence.

Not right now, as far as I know, but a few deliberate signals have been sent out over the years. A recent one was called A Message from Earth (AMFE) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Message_From_Earth), which was directed to the Gliese 581 system, and sent out in October 2008 from a radar telescope in Ukraine. The main scientist involved was Alexander Zaitsev.

Colin Robinson
2014-Mar-12, 12:05 AM
And yet this is exactly what SETI is searching for. Isn't it a little arrogant to expect to receive a signal that we ourselves aren't putting out?

Very good point.

The SETI strategy of listening for information without sending any is logically flawed.


Over the years, I have read a lot of comments on this subject - should we advertise our existence to other "beings out there"?

My initial thoughts were, sure, why not? Then after thinking about it, I then decided that doing so would probably not be such a good idea. The way I see it is that unless we can benefit in some way from them, why take the time to locate and communicate with them?

By the same line of reasoning, unless they can benefit in some way from us, why would they take the time to locate and communicate with us?

DaveC426913
2014-Mar-12, 12:37 AM
The SETI strategy of listening for information without sending any is logically flawed.

No it isn't. It is highly unlikely we would be able to pick up a signal from a civilization no more powerful than our own. What we expect to find is signals from civilizations powerful enough to be heard.

Van Rijn
2014-Mar-12, 12:42 AM
And yet this is exactly what SETI is searching for. Isn't it a little arrogant to expect to receive a signal that we ourselves aren't putting out?

There was a short story many years ago that made that point. It starts out with a SETI search at a radio telescope where they check a star a bit dimmer than their sun, then finding nothing, move on. Then it switches to the point of view of ETs that were doing a similar search who check a lone star a bit brighter than theirs, and finding nothing, move on to nearby system that has two stars similar to the lone one . . .

Van Rijn
2014-Mar-12, 12:52 AM
No it isn't. It is highly unlikely we would be able to pick up a signal from a civilization no more powerful than our own.

We would be unlikely to pick up regular radio similar to our own, but a deliberate signal would be another matter. Arecibo could pick up another Arecibo at thousands of light years.

cjameshuff
2014-Mar-12, 01:40 AM
The SETI strategy of listening for information without sending any is logically flawed.

Nonsense. We are sending incidental emissions, have sent deliberate transmissions, and in the future we may make a more extensive effort. Other civilizations may similarly be emitting something detectable, deliberate or not (and it needn't be clearly receivable, merely detectable as possibly artificial). There is no logical flaw in looking for such emissions.

TrAI
2014-Mar-12, 01:57 AM
Well, It seems to me that it would be hard to say anything of an intelligent species capabilities unless we are in contact with them in some way or other. Also, it seems to me that it might not be as simple as a species being more or less advanced than another...

It's easy to think about technology as something rather tree-like, you begin with a few basic tools and then you will go through certain steps, branch out, and pursue all branches to the end, but I suspect that is not exactly how it works, for example an alien species might have strong taboos or instinctual aversion to contact with sick, dying or dead individuals, so they have had very slow progress in the medical sciences for their sort of life compared to us, but in others they may be ahead. Or perhaps some species would live in an environment favoring or preventing certain types of technologies. Perhaps there are species that, while very advanced from our point of view, are unable to pursue space travel due to dependence on some hard to reproduce aspect of their worlds environment etc.

Still, it's very likely that the differences would generally be more in amount of development or adaptation due to different conditions rather than any totally different basic basic technologies, the universe would be rather likely to work the same where they live, after all.

As for what we should do, well, I suppose it depends on how contact is made. If we just get some transmission by chance or an hello universe type message, we would probably discuss it for a long time, but in any close range encounter with a technological species it would be very likely that some sort of contact would occur, if we can detect them, they would probably detect us. But how things would proceed from there is hard to say.

Colin Robinson
2014-Mar-12, 02:16 AM
The SETI strategy of listening for information without sending any is logically flawed.Nonsense. We are sending incidental emissions, have sent deliberate transmissions,

It's true that a few deliberate transmissions have been sent. But it's been a small effort in comparison with the listening project. Moreover, sending of messages has been actively discouraged by prominent scientists (such as Stephen Hawking) and exponents of SETI (such as David Brin).


and in the future we may make a more extensive effort.

The question is whether or not that would be a rational thing to do?


Other civilizations may similarly be emitting something detectable, deliberate or not (and it needn't be clearly receivable, merely detectable as possibly artificial). There is no logical flaw in looking for such emissions.

What I see as logically flawed is a strategy of listening for deliberate signals while refraining from sending deliberate signals out.

Cougar
2014-Mar-12, 02:19 AM
The way I see it is that unless we can benefit in some way from them, why take the time to locate and communicate with them?

The mere knowledge of their existence would be a significant benefit. There may be other benefits unimagined.


Of coarse if they are very much more advanced than we are, I feel the chances are great that they would take advantage of us or not bother with our existence.

Do you think advanced civilizations will still have territorial animal instincts?

Oh, I think you hit it with your last comment:


Or maybe I have spent too many decades watching sci-fi movies/ TV series on the subject :doh:

Yes, Klingons are a plot device. :rimshot:

Cougar
2014-Mar-12, 02:45 AM
What I see as logically flawed is a strategy of listening for deliberate signals while refraining from sending deliberate signals out.

Well, you might argue that it's a "poor" strategy, and give your reasons, but it's not a "logically flawed" strategy. There may very well be less timid extra-terrestrials who both listen and transmit, so the current "strategy" is not necessarily futile, as the term "logically flawed" seems to suggest.

cjameshuff
2014-Mar-12, 03:29 AM
What I see as logically flawed is a strategy of listening for deliberate signals while refraining from sending deliberate signals out.

If they exist, they may be emitting...we ourselves have demonstrated this. That people are questioning whether we should is quite irrelevant. Sending signals of our own is not going to make it any easier to detect them if they are, at best it'll lead to a response some decades later. If we don't look, we certainly won't find them, even if we are transmitting. So exactly how is it logically flawed to look?

Colin Robinson
2014-Mar-12, 03:42 AM
If they exist, they may be emitting...we ourselves have demonstrated this. That people are questioning whether we should is quite irrelevant. Sending signals of our own is not going to make it any easier to detect them if they are, at best it'll lead to a response some decades later. If we don't look, we certainly won't find them, even if we are transmitting. So exactly how is it logically flawed to look?

The question to consider is whether it is rational for a technological civilization to advertise its existence by sending out deliberate messages?

If the answer is no, that is not only an argument against METI (Messaging to ETI), it is also an argument against the likely success of SETI, in the sense of searching for deliberate messages from ETI. Because if it is not rational for a technological civilization to advertise its existence, that would mean that SETI will only have a positive result if the ETIs are less rational than we are.

Mr Q
2014-Mar-12, 05:34 AM
I believe it was in the early 1970s that the SETI antenna in P.R. did also send a message in the direction of the globular M13 in Hercules as well.

In a strange way, it amuses me that so far most of the responses are based on how we think. Who can tell how other beings think? The only way is to communicate (in some way) with them and if it works out in our favor, nice. If not, it could be a big problem for us if they wanted to cause us problems, for whatever reason.

In any case, my comment on our radio/TV transmissions was meant as a toung-in-cheek statement since these signals are not tightly beamed enough to travel such vast distances, never mind the powers concerned.

As for the vast distance problem, if they are capable of harming us, I'm sure they would do it from here (inside our Solar System), having superior technological advantages over us that would allow interstellar travel.

And yes, I have watched way too many sci-fi movies during my lifetime and I have always wondered if those movies tainted my intelligence or not. I think so but after all, they were thought up by my fellow inhabitants of this planet so I'm "off the hook". :D

snowcelt
2014-Mar-12, 06:10 AM
And yet this is exactly what SETI is searching for. Isn't it a little arrogant to expect to receive a signal that we ourselves aren't putting out?

Good thinking.

snowcelt
2014-Mar-12, 06:29 AM
The Choice.

All thinking beings assume (have thought of) the worst. Acted on ...

Mr Q
2014-Mar-12, 03:27 PM
The Choice.

All thinking beings assume (have thought of) the worst. Acted on ...

We can't help it - its wired in our brains from long ago when fear not only ruled or thoughts but our survival as well. For this reason, when we hear a "noise in the bushes" (alien communications whether we understand it or not), we think, "Is it something we can eat or control to our advantage or is it something that will do the same to us?"

Besides, paranoia is good when the world is out to get you :D

Solfe
2014-Mar-12, 04:40 PM
Analog had this great story about the only warning of an alien attack was a bussard ramjet missile that missed Earth. The aliens thought they hit, so the protagonists on Earth were weighing the advantage of the technological gift of the attack vs. the idea of shooting back. The gift portion of the attack was knowing that a bussard ramjet would work despite the fact that we decided it wouldn't plus backtracking the missile allowed them to crack the alien language and internal communications.

They sat on their hands and just became a lot quieter while fanning out so another attack wouldn't wipe out humanity.

profloater
2014-Mar-12, 04:55 PM
Is it possible or acceptable to spell it existence, in the title? It is causing me pain to keep seeing ance, sorry, I did refrain from mentioning it all day.

Spacedude
2014-Mar-12, 10:07 PM
Should We Advertise Our Existance?

Well, looking at this from an obtuse perspective :) --- and redefining "our existence" --- if a not too distant, advanced ET had already evolved 4.5 billion years ago they may have noticed our new born yellow star ignite in their night sky, quite an advertisement.

Van Rijn
2014-Mar-12, 10:31 PM
Analog had this great story about the only warning of an alien attack was a bussard ramjet missile that missed Earth.

Do you remember the issue that was in?

marsbug
2014-Mar-13, 12:46 PM
Intelligence does not automatically mean rationality - witness: Human history to date. Nor is it a given that a high level of technological ability goes hand in hand with overcoming baser natures, whatever those baser natures may be. We should be cautious, but without knowing anything about alien intelligences we cannot rule anything out in their behavoir - even things that might seem hugely counterintuitive or nonsensical to us. It's worth listening for a signal, deliberate or accidental, although we should do so knowing it is unlikely we'll find anything soon. Advertising our presence is a gamble, yet perhaps there are safe (er) ways to do it.

Mr Q
2014-Mar-13, 02:46 PM
Is it possible or acceptable to spell it existence, in the title? It is causing me pain to keep seeing ance, sorry, I did refrain from mentioning it all day.

In my "pocket" digital dictionary, the spell checker displays "tance" and "tence" as misspelled. Noting your location, perhaps it's spelled differently there? I have run into this problem a lot when on any U.K. forums, especially curse/swear words there but not so here in the U.S. :doh:

Mr Q
2014-Mar-13, 02:54 PM
Well, looking at this from an obtuse perspective :) --- and redefining "our existence" --- if a not too distant, advanced ET had already evolved 4.5 billion years ago they may have noticed our new born yellow star ignite in their night sky, quite an advertisement.

But that's assuming all G2 stars of our Sun's mass will have inhabited life forms evolving in orbiting planets. Just how common is our condition is the big question.

profloater
2014-Mar-13, 03:24 PM
In my "pocket" digital dictionary, the spell checker displays "tance" and "tence" as misspelled. Noting your location, perhaps it's spelled differently there? I have run into this problem a lot when on any U.K. forums, especially curse/swear words there but not so here in the U.S. :doh:actually you may be right and it is just me because extant is an ant, so I withdraw my objection, I usually prefer US spellings as being closer to how they sound. I was having a bad day. But then I found "Dictionary.com
dictionary.reference.com/browse/existent‎
Origin: 1555–65; < Latin existent- (stem of existēns), present participle of existere to exist; see -ent. Related forms. quasi-existent, adjective. unexistent, adjective." ...but unexistent! horrible.:(

Solfe
2014-Mar-13, 09:51 PM
Do you remember the issue that was in?

I can look for it tonight. I think it was from 2 or three years ago.

CaptainToonces
2014-Mar-15, 11:08 AM
"should we advertise our existence?"

of course not. that would be colossally stupid.

DaveC426913
2014-Mar-16, 12:15 AM
of course not. that would be colossally stupid.

Thanks fer playin' :rolleyes:

Mr Q
2014-Mar-17, 03:04 PM
"should we advertise our existence?"

of course not. that would be colossally stupid.

Could you elaborate a little? I'm wondering if you mean that its better not to because of some negative outcome?

Spacedude
2014-Mar-17, 09:09 PM
The expression "advertise" seems wrong to me, esp the "we" part. Look at it this way. NASA is working on a project that will eventually be able determine the atmospheric make up of other planets beyond our solar system. If we find a good candidate then that will probably be our first port of call. If there are ETs out there who are on our level they would probably do the same searching as us (we're already assuming that they use radio waves right?). They'd look closer at planets for water vapor, O2, CO2, NH4, and eventually other bio signals, etc. Now let's say that these ETs existed during our age of the dinosaurs - they're surely be here by now. Detecting radio waves would be very very interesting but finding another earth-like planet would do just fine too. My point being, our Earth is a big enough bill board all by itself and has been for a very long time.

Mr Q
2014-Mar-18, 03:15 PM
Maybe "advertise" and "we" were probably bad choices of words and should have been "announce" and "Earth"?

What I was thinking in the OP was two things: Should we bother? (since any nearby beings at our level most likely would have done so by now). Secondly, is it possible to contact (in some way) anyone within a reasonable distance of say, 100 LYs? Because the answer to both questions (I think) is no to the first and maybe to the second, I think we should not go out of our way to "announce" our presence or (within the above range) attempt to search out others since the likelihood of any success would be very low.

If any life (as we know it) is out there within our grasp, whether forming, or traces of past activity, the distances between us and "them" are not yet within our technological reach. Look what we have accomplished in just the last 50 years. Perhaps in the near future we will succeed in finding other intelligence nearby but for now? Our imaginations will have to do:rolleyes:

Spacedude
2014-Mar-18, 09:15 PM
Einstein once said:

"The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination."
&
"Imagination is more important than knowledge"

But then, he was heavy into thought experiments :)

The more known dots we have to connect, the more our imagination tends to connect the anticipated dots.

DaveC426913
2014-Mar-19, 12:56 AM
Should we bother?

Yes.

I may not agree with some of the strong reasons for keeping silent, but I think they are categorically more valid than 'why bother'.

The question of whether we are alone haunts us humans. You might as well ask why we bother seeking answers about the Big Bang, or anything else.

Van Rijn
2014-Mar-19, 01:09 AM
I agree with some of the others who pointed out that there's no real choice here. A species that's advanced enough to attack Earth, would want to, and is deliberately looking around would notice us regardless.

Mr Q
2014-Mar-19, 02:46 PM
All good points indeed but who knows how an advanced species, much more advanced than we are, actually thinks - will they have all of our emotions, curiosity, etc. or none at all? Until we get to such an advanced level, there is no way to know for sure. Since there is no way to know for sure, perhaps we should be very cautious in seeking out other species more advanced than we are now. If we do, its a gamble whether we "win" or "loose", which our survival rests on that outcome.

Part of me says to be very cautious in such matters while another part says to go for the gamble - curiosity is indeed a strong driving force for us but for other "civilizations" out there, how can we be even reasonably sure they think the same way as we do?

This is the reasoning I use - better be safe than sorry. Besides, IF another species like our own is more advanced than ours, I feel confident that they will seek us out first anyway, then study us from a distance to satisfy their curiosity, if they have such emotions. Otherwise, who can guess the outcome of such an encounter - good or bad for us?

Van Rijn
2014-Mar-19, 09:51 PM
This is the reasoning I use - better be safe than sorry.


But, again, it makes no difference. The only way they're going to hear us in the first place is if they're looking. And if they're looking, big space telescopes are easy technologically compared to the technology to attack over interstellar distance.


IF another species like our own is more advanced than ours, I feel confident that they will seek us out first anyway, then study us from a distance to satisfy their curiosity

Or attack us, if that's their interest. But, if they want the planet, why would they wait until now? Or if they're paranoid about other technological species, same thing. Unless planets with complex life are really common (which seems very doubtful), the easy method for a paranoid species is just to wipe out the ecosystem of the planets they find with life.

Steven
2014-Apr-11, 05:59 PM
We are as detectable as any other thing we're looking for.

Rather than looking everywhere in all possible ways past SETI searches have used some idea to narrow the parameters of the search. Here's another one:

Take the transiting model and suppose someone was looking at us. We should search that band in the sky of potential systems that could be observing us, finding the properties of our system and Earth in the goldilocks place and condition. They might signal us.

?

Mr Q
2014-Apr-14, 02:19 PM
A lot of non-technical people around the Earth are generally not favorable to our sending any kind of messages out into interstellar space for fear of "them" out there taking advantage of our natural resources (if they need what we have). The scenario they believe is that, just as we will destroy even the simplest forms of life while extracting Earth's natural resources, so would aliens with a higher intelligence and technology than we have, would do the same to us.

Perhaps that's the reason for all the alien sci-fi themes that show Earth being taken over or destroyed by aliens? Our problem is that we allow our hard wired brains from ancient times to fear the unknown. Part of our survival instincts we just can't control ?

redshifter
2014-Apr-28, 07:47 PM
I'm convinced that anything we do to 'advertise our existence' or 'signal E.T.' will be inconsequential to anyone out there advanced enough and with the desire and ability to attack, destroy, take resources or otherwise do us harm. If they're advanced enough to do that, they're plenty advanced to detect us.

Having said that, why would they bother? Vast resources in the Oort cloud, Kuiper belt, asteroid belt, etc. ripe for the taking. Why bother with a bunch of pesky humans? It's not like we could do anything if E.T. started mining trans-Neptunian objects.

Mr Q
2014-Apr-29, 02:37 PM
Good points. Once we understand the problems of interstellar travel, it makes sense that other more advanced beings would pass us by, like we pass by an ant hill - it may be a curiosity to us but we usually don't bother it once we know what it is or better yet, what purpose ants have in our world. Perhaps this would explain those UFO sightings (IF they are truly, space travelers) - they are merely taking a quick look at us, like we would an ant hill.

KABOOM
2014-Apr-29, 06:34 PM
I'm convinced that anything we do to 'advertise our existence' or 'signal E.T.' will be inconsequential to anyone out there advanced enough and with the desire and ability to attack, destroy, take resources or otherwise do us harm. If they're advanced enough to do that, they're plenty advanced to detect us.

Having said that, why would they bother? Vast resources in the Oort cloud, Kuiper belt, asteroid belt, etc. ripe for the taking. Why bother with a bunch of pesky humans? It's not like we could do anything if E.T. started mining trans-Neptunian objects.

"Mining of vast resources". I read this thought on numerous threads but to me it seems wholly impractical given the distances involved. As Jeff Root has mentioned on many a thread, interstellar commerce over large distances doesn't work. The vast amount of equipment that would have to be transported over ~ 1,000 year journeys to drill, extract, refine, containerize, etc. any meaningful quantities of precious metals would require HUGE amounts of energy/resources to get over to our Oort cloud or Kuiper Belt. Again, if we are talking "vast" (instead of souvenior quantities) resources that then are mined, need to be similarly transported back somewhere, again requiring HUGE energy/resources. So unless there is some sort of mobile space station, it would seem to me to fail the "practical test".

redshifter
2014-Apr-29, 08:53 PM
"Mining of vast resources". I read this thought on numerous threads but to me it seems wholly impractical given the distances involved. As Jeff Root has mentioned on many a thread, interstellar commerce over large distances doesn't work. The vast amount of equipment that would have to be transported over ~ 1,000 year journeys to drill, extract, refine, containerize, etc. any meaningful quantities of precious metals would require HUGE amounts of energy/resources to get over to our Oort cloud or Kuiper Belt. Again, if we are talking "vast" (instead of souvenior quantities) resources that then are mined, need to be similarly transported back somewhere, again requiring HUGE energy/resources. So unless there is some sort of mobile space station, it would seem to me to fail the "practical test".

I agree at least for the most part. It was more or less yet one more reason why I don't think advertising our existence will have any effect on whether E.T.s advanced enough and wired such that they would want to do 'bad things' to us even matters. Mining or exploitation, what's the difference? At least as far as moving infrastructure necessary for these activities over many light years is concerned. Either way, it's tough to see this as viable.