PDA

View Full Version : Episode 24:The Fermi Paradox: Where Are All the Aliens?



Fraser
2007-Feb-19, 04:24 PM
We live in a mind bogglingly big Universe filled with countless stars. We know intelligent life evolved here on Earth. It must be common across the Universe, right? But if there's life out there, how come we haven't been visited by aliens yet? Why haven't we even picked up signals from alien television stations? Where's all the life?<br />&nbsp;<br /><br />
<a href="http://media.libsyn.com/media/astronomycast/AstroCast-070219.mp3"><strong> Episode 24: Fermi Paradox (16.3 MB)</strong></a><br />&nbsp;<br />

Read the full blog entry (http://www.astronomycast.com/astrobiology/episode-24the-fermi-paradox-where-are-all-the-aliens/)

llarry
2007-Feb-19, 07:33 PM
hmm,

Fazer and Pamela, I found this episode to be your most specutlative. Even more so than last week. Even though there was very little astronomy envolved in this discussion, I never the less have enjoyed the show notes. I have to do a little research to understand Dr. Hawkings Lecture but I get the general idea and this is what helps me to educate myself for almost free :)

Thanks Larry

Sticks
2007-Feb-19, 07:52 PM
How about we may be alone in the universe?

LucasVB
2007-Feb-19, 09:16 PM
How about we may be alone in the universe?

(see attachment)

... Yeah... Maybe.

etherdog
2007-Feb-19, 09:53 PM
My view is that we ought to do everything we can to mask our presence in the universe until we understand the nature of any with whom we might come in contact, as if we were in the role of the Vulcans exercising the Prime Directive. We are too easily exploitable, as a species, as we have demonstrated on ourselves all too often. We are probably smart enough to be useful, but not so much so as to avoid being used. Moreover, one might logically postulate that a sentient technologically capable civilization would want to do the same.

I find this song useful:
http://www.jonathancoulton.com/mp3/Chiron-Beta-Prime.mp3

I have long held that Star Trek is very instructive in informing people about the perils of space exploration. While it is fraught with extreme danger, it is part of what drives us. Allowing ourselves to do it (to go into space), to do to the rest of our galaxy what we have done to our planet, is an unsettling question because I do NOT think we have earned the right to be messing around our solar system, let alone the galaxy. (I guess that is the "Q" in me.)

etherdog
2007-Feb-19, 10:00 PM
(My first post got wiped out)

Exposing our presence in space can be very dangerous. We do not have the tools, communicatively or technologically, to defend ourselves against hostile "aliens". Thus, we must do everything we can to shield ourselves from leaking indications of our existence.

I find the following song, "Chiron Beta Prime" at http://www.jonathancoulton.com/songs to be fun, and instructive.

Sticks
2007-Feb-19, 10:23 PM
(see attachment)

... Yeah... Maybe.

Is that the famous Deep Space star field from Hubble?

LucasVB
2007-Feb-19, 10:58 PM
Is that the famous Deep Space star field from Hubble?

Yes, that's the Hubble Ultra Deep Field.

And those are not just stars, they're GALAXIES! :eek:

The Universe is a big, big, BIG place. :surprised:

coindudvd.com
2007-Feb-20, 03:50 AM
How about aliens already here, communicating with gouvernments, but hiding until the general population is "ready". Conspiracy!!!!!!!!!

Seriously, I think that the alien technology would not be the same as ours and we could just miss the message they are sending as they may miss ours. Just hand a 8-track tape to kid and he wouldn't know what it is for unless you tell him.

SolusLupus
2007-Feb-20, 04:15 AM
Exposing our presence in space can be very dangerous. We do not have the tools, communicatively or technologically, to defend ourselves against hostile "aliens". Thus, we must do everything we can to shield ourselves from leaking indications of our existence.

Unless you're not paranoid. :)

I think that assuming that all aliens are hostile is about as fallacious as claiming that all aliens are peaceful. If they're able to come all the way to here easily enough to fight us, there's nothing they can really take from us.

What, slaves? Robots and genetic engineering.
Minerals, metals, and other resources? There's other, unpopulated worlds out there that are better for strip mining.

What else are there that they'd want to come in to attack us for no other reason than because Hollywood claims that they do?

If they want our ideas, they'll find it better to gain it through diplomacy.

If it's habitable worlds, you can't convince me that if they can accomplish easy interstellar travel, that they can't find some worlds to terraform. Plus, it assumes that they can live on our world with no problem.

Like I said, I'm not paranoid. :)

llarry
2007-Feb-20, 05:56 AM
OMG,

Since the nearest star is something like 4 light years away and most are much farther away I think it's safe to assume any culture that can actually get here intact is probably too advanced too be fooled by our trying to hide our location. We've got satellits, unmanned planetary probes garbage on the moon the ISS and tons of space junk in orbit.

It seems to me that due to the vastness of the Galaxy any intellegen entities advanced enough to communicat with us or travel here are too far away or are entirely uninterested in us.

Larry

SolusLupus
2007-Feb-20, 06:57 AM
It seems to me that due to the vastness of the Galaxy any intellegen entities advanced enough to communicat with us or travel here are too far away or are entirely uninterested in us.

Or maybe they just don't feel like contacting us, for whatever reason. Maybe we're part of a science experiment, and they want to predict what we can (or can't) do.

Speculation is fun, but it's hard to really come up with anything concrete.

Himanshu Raj
2007-Feb-20, 12:36 PM
Does Area 51 has any connection to these aliens?

jamini
2007-Feb-20, 01:37 PM
Does Area 51 has any connection to these aliens?
Of course it does! Haven't you seen Independence Day? That's also the place where they staged the moon hoax and plotted 9-11. :rolleyes:

bselcuk
2007-Feb-20, 03:08 PM
Not long ago I watched Carl Sagan’s Cosmos’ Episode 12 – Encyclopaedie Galactica, where Sagan treats both the topics of the Drake Equation and the Fermi Paradox. I think he did this quite convincingly and I suggest everyone interest in this topic should watch it someday. Nevertheless I am not as optimistic as Sagan about the possibilities of alien life in the universe. Of course, space is a vast place, beyond human imagination. So there surely must be some alien life out there, but why should it be intelligent life? I would be happy, if they will find some alien microbes on Mars or somewhere else; this would be one of the greatest discoveries in human history. Besides that, there are quite intelligent beings on earth, which are not human: apes, whales, dolphins. The existence of intelligent life does not necessarily demand the evolvement of technology or space exploration. Only if the given natural conditions are forcing a species to develop in this matter, it will do so. The way humans cope with life is only one of an endless set of different ways of doing so. There might be other technological civilizations, but from an evolutionary perspective, there simply is no need for them to exist.

EvilEye
2007-Feb-20, 07:31 PM
Here's a thought.

When your loved-ones are not near you, are you alone?

If you go to see a movie by yourself, are you?

The point is perspective.

We are a lonely planet. There may have been, or still is, or will be other life out there.

Or not.

The facts are, that is highly unlikely we will ever cross paths, and that is assuming that our paths can even cross. Maybe our nearest intelligent radio-wave using kin evolved and destroyed themselves a short million years ago, and we hadn't developed the satellites in time to catch their transmissions before they raced past us.

It's like fishing.

You have to use the right bait for the right fish at the right time.

MoonMan86
2007-Feb-20, 11:08 PM
When I was listening to the podcast, i noticed that much of the "transportation" that would be used by the aliens seems a bit faulty. If the other intelligent life forms were to conquer the Milky Way in a few million years, would that not require them to travel faster than the speed of light?

eli13
2007-Feb-20, 11:21 PM
This is the first time I've posted on these boards. I just wanted Fraser & Pamela to know that this episode was great.:clap:

Fraser
2007-Feb-21, 12:24 AM
When I was listening to the podcast, i noticed that much of the "transportation" that would be used by the aliens seems a bit faulty. If the other intelligent life forms were to conquer the Milky Way in a few million years, would that not require them to travel faster than the speed of light?

The Milky Way is only 100,000 light years across. So explorers would need to travel at 10% the speed of light to get across the galaxy in a million years. Remember, its exponential exploration. You get to a planet, send probes to all the nearby stars, rinse repeat.

lpgeorge123
2007-Feb-21, 01:43 AM
"The universe is just trying to kill us everyday in new and interesting ways."

That part of the podcast made me laugh. I'm thinking of adding that to my signature. Though it was all speculation, I thought it was a really interesting show. Great job, once again.

EricNau
2007-Feb-21, 05:33 AM
The enhanced version was missing the closing music (and normal accompanying monologue). I'm not sure if this was intentional or not, so I just thought I would mention it.

(I wasn't really sure where to post this: there didn't seem to be a thread dedicated to feedback.)

SingleDad
2007-Feb-21, 03:13 PM
It's my guess "life" is going to surprise us all. I believe there is life in our solar system. The life in our solar system may not be able to fire a death ray and kill us all, but it might be able to infect us like the small pox and Ebola to the Aztecs. Beyond that, I believe it's more of a needle in a haystack. I'll be long dead by the time we run into anything out of our solar system, but I don't believe it will all be what we defined as life. The only thing I have to say about what kind of "life" we will run into, just remember we almost proportionally made up of the same thing as our planet. Just think of what mysteries those hot Jupiters could be holding.

Brian

Galaxy
2007-Feb-23, 11:08 PM
The enhanced version was missing the closing music (and normal accompanying monologue). I'm not sure if this was intentional or not, so I just thought I would mention it.

(I wasn't really sure where to post this: there didn't seem to be a thread dedicated to feedback.)

Thanks for the note, Eric. I can't replicate the issue - I just downloaded the enhanced version and my computer was playing the ending music. Try downloading it again but if you're still having issues, feel free to email us at info@astronomycast.com

-Rebecca
Astronomy Cast Student Worker

jovogt
2007-Feb-24, 01:19 PM
Great show!! Listen to it all the time.

When I enter "http://www.astronomycast.com/podcast.xml" for my rss feed address I get the mp3 version of the show downloaded each time.

Do you have a different address to get the mp4a versions each time??

thanks!

Galaxy
2007-Feb-25, 05:15 AM
Great show!! Listen to it all the time.

When I enter "http://www.astronomycast.com/podcast.xml" for my rss feed address I get the mp3 version of the show downloaded each time.

Do you have a different address to get the mp4a versions each time??

thanks!

Jovogt,

Currently, we're not putting the enhanced version into the feed directly. We'd like to get some feedback from people before we make a switch. Watch for a switch in the next few weeks.

In the mean time, if you go back to the Astronomy Cast episodes on the homepage you'll see links for m4a for each episode.

-Rebecca
Astronomy Cast Student Worker

drage
2007-Feb-25, 07:14 PM
I agree with the more cautious approach in regards to being so keen to make ourselves heard within our stellar neighborhood and beyond. Someone once described it as "shouting out in the jungle". Could be good and might possibly be a big mistake.

Reasons why we havent heard anything yet:

1)We are only now just entering an "intelligence evolution" type stage of the universe and we may be part of the first batch within our galaxy, and hence this is why we dont hear anything yet. Remember we've only just been leaking radio waves not a hundred years, so the farthest our signals could have reached would be a v small sample of stars and planetary systems - and thats assuming our signals wont have become so weak or distorted by stellar/cosmic noise that they are missed.

2) Zoo theory: They know we are here but they are keeping us away from Galactic commnity because of philosophical/cultural reasons.

3) We are in fact aliens, seeded on this far away planet x time ago. I know thats far out but it would explain some things like our sudden evolution into intelligent species. In this case, we should expect a visit or signal soon from our parent species. Or perhaps they destoryed themselves somehow in the intevening millions of years and never made it back here to see how their seed had developed. Believe it or not, with bioengineering and dna splicing, this idea is not that crazy.

Oh well just some fun speculation

lebesgue
2007-Feb-26, 10:51 PM
Just a small notice - Transcript for this episode is wrong - same as for Drake equation :)
http://www.astronomycast.com/transcripts/AstroCast-070212_transcript.pdf

Galaxy
2007-Feb-27, 12:02 AM
Just a small notice - Transcript for this episode is wrong - same as for Drake equation :)
http://www.astronomycast.com/transcripts/AstroCast-070212_transcript.pdf

Thanks Lebesgue. Sorry about the typo. I've fixed it now.

Rebecca
Astronomy Cast student worker

SolusLupus
2007-Feb-27, 01:39 AM
Just a small notice - Transcript for this episode is wrong - same as for Drake equation :)
http://www.astronomycast.com/transcripts/AstroCast-070212_transcript.pdf

Welcome to the forum, Lebesgue!

spent
2007-Feb-27, 04:33 AM
Almost in a scary way with one difference.

I believe. "LIFE IS EXTREMELY RARE BUT COMMON"

I believe Life itself is Extremely rare in that it takes a great deal of lottery type
of odds to find conditions so perfect that life can brew.

But.........

When Life DOES brew. It tends to flourish if the conditions are sustainable.

In the words from Jurasic Park. "Life finds a way"

SolusLupus
2007-Feb-27, 04:35 AM
"LIFE IS EXTREMELY RARE BUT COMMON"

Ow. My brain.

Wonderwmn999
2007-Feb-28, 04:55 AM
I found this episode to be quite interesting. I've had the same discussions with my husband and found myself frustrated with many of the professionals in the field. I find it really hard to believe that Earth is the only planet in the Universe with intelligent life, it just doesn't make too much sense to me. Why have a Universe full of galaxies but with no life in them.

Whose to say that other life forms are just like us? I feel that it would be a one in a billion chance that they would. Different atmospheres bring on different development. They may not breath oxygen, it may kill them, so why would they want to come to a planet that they would be so vulnerable in. Maybe there are aliens out there watching us right now, seeing how we behave towards our own people might be keeping them from showing themselves. Maybe they just haven't reached our planet yet, and maybe we are all on the same wave length and just can't reach other planets in our own systems yet through human space travel. Heck, we haven't even put one person on Mars yet.

Why would there be only us?

SolusLupus
2007-Feb-28, 05:23 AM
Whose to say that other life forms are just like us? I feel that it would be a one in a billion chance that they would.

Please demonstrate evidence for this figure.

For all we know, oxygen might be one of the only requirements for macro-scale organisms. Can a living organism get anything out of nitrogen, or sulfur? I dunno. maybe. But as it is, we simply do not know.

If I'm agnostic on anything, it's on the existance of life. No matter how likely it may seem, you can't just label a figure on it and say, "this is a figure for how likely other lifeforms are and are not!" and not expect someone to roll their eyes and go, "How do you know?"

chigh
2007-Mar-01, 02:38 AM
Not directly related, but I really liked what Michael Shermer said in his book, "Why Darwin Matters", regarding intelligent life. It wasn't necessarily about whether or not there is or isn't intelligent life in the universe, but the rates of technological advancement (compared to ours in the past 50 years) of an intelligent species in relation to evolution and some people's concept of "god".

If an intelligent species evolved eons ago, how far technically advanced would they be if they advanced at the rate we have over the past 50 years? What if they evolved at the same time our species has? It'll be millenia before we hear from them if they use the same radio waves we do.

It was an interesting read and I'm not covering it nearly as well as Shermer did.

Why Darwin Matters p.40 "Shermer's Last Law: ID, ET, and God"

Wonderwmn999
2007-Mar-01, 04:21 AM
No matter how likely it may seem, you can't just label a figure on it and say, "this is a figure for how likely other lifeforms are and are not!" and not expect someone to roll their eyes and go, "How do you know?"


I don't feel I labeled a figure, again it is the way I feel about the subject. I never said it was definetly that way. I roll my eyes when people say that intelligent life can only breath certain elements, can only look a certain way, can only live a certain way. To me that is labeling what intelligent life is.

EvilEye
2007-Mar-01, 04:25 AM
Plants evolved as well, and they don't just "breath" carbon dioxide. They breath Oxygen as well. They just expell more oxygen than they take in. Go to a good horticultural site, and you'll find that plants change their breathing habits according to seasons and times of day.

They don't just "make" oxygen for us from CO2.

I've always wondered though... which came first after bacteria. Plants or Animals? And do we share DNA or only RNA with plants?

WINDIGO
2007-Mar-07, 06:48 PM
Hello, my name is Nathan Carlson, and I am a history/ anthropology graduate student at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.

I have an avid interest in cosmology and amateur astronomy, as well as issues relating to my own field of expertise, the cultures and history of the indigenous peoples of North America. In the course of my studies, I enrolled in a history of Astronomy course, and wrote a paper on the search for Extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI). Using some of the material from my own academic background, discovered some interesting facts pertaining to the search for life on other worlds, and how that search reveals some of our own anthropocentric and technocentric biases. Having listened to the podcast on 'Fermi's Paradox', I thought I would reiterate some of the points I raised in that paper that are of particular relevance to the show:

1. When we speculate on the nature of ETI, we must be very careful not to impose our tacit cultural biases on what we assume other intelligences in the universe must be like. Most prevalent are our own beliefs that ETI would have an imperative to colonize other worlds, and also that ETI's would be bound to develop complex technologies like here on Earth. These assumptions are foremost anthropocentric (human centered) and second, technocentric. If we consider the course of human history, we discern that only for a brief period of our human existence have we possessed complex technology and the motivation to colonize the Earth globally, and even outer space. 500 years ago, most of the human cultures on earth were living in tribal societies with neither complex technologies or imperatives to colonize other lands. To assume that our modern Western civilization is somehow an evolutionary pinnacle to human existence is a highly biased proposition. Western civilization is not solely representative of the human species, and neither is technology, science, or colonization. There is, for example, no relationship between intelligence and technology that has been established. What we assume to be the case for humanity is usually representative for western civilization. Not all humans are interested in building radio telescopes and spaceships, developing science and techniques for discovering ETI, and colonizing outer space, much less our planet. We have to ask whether Tibetans or Apaches would have developed complex, scientific societies given enough time. So we have to be very careful when we speculate on what ETIs might be like, when our assumptions ARE NOT EVEN REPRESENTATIVE FOR THE WHOLE HUMAN RACE, MUCH LESS SOCIETIES ON OTHER WORLDS! Non scientific human cultures, although not as sophisticated or complex as scientific cultures (and here we must determine what we mean by sophisticated) are not any less intellgent. Western civilization and the scientific method attained ascendancy on earth by a series of historical flukes, and by a form of colonization that was not so nice to the rest of the non- technological human societies; to assume that this process was natural or inevitable is very biased and not supported by any historical, sociological, or biological evidence. Thus when we speak of ETIs we must be careful not to assume that they are like people in Western societies.

2. A corrolary of this fact is my second point: When we search for Extraterrestrial civilizations we are really searching for a species LIKE US. This fact has been revealed throughout history time and time again, from Aristotle, to Johannes Kepler's speculations about agrarian civilizations building walled ditches on the moon that would account for the circular craters found there. Perhaps the most poignant example is Percival Lowell's ideas about the little green martians of Mars building irrigation canals to sustain a global agrarian civilization. When he was looking through his telescope, he was imposing his ideas about what he thought ETIs must be like onto his observations. Thus, what was ultimately an optical illusion in his telescope became a vast and wildly speculative theory about civilized creatures on Mars with advanced technology that were modifying their environment (like we do on Earth) to support their culture and civilization. The notion that Martians were as opportunistic and warlike as some human societies led, of course, to the widespread panic following Orson Welle's radio broadcast about Martians invading earth to conquer and dominate humans.
More recently, Frank Drake and the researchers of SETI have turned radio telescopes to the stars in the hopes of finding a society there that is using radio broadcasters to send us a signal. Isnt it strangely coincidental that we are looking for a race with almost identical technology to our own? We assume logically that aliens must be using radio frequencies because it makes sense to use them on earth. Are we really just looking for a human face amongst the stars? Was Frank Drake's radio messages beamed into interstellar space representative of all human societies?

I am not trying to bash SETI, Astronomy, or Science in general. We simply must be careful not to be biased when we speculate about these concepts. How universal is the scientific method? Aren't we being short sighted when we assume that aliens are using similar technologies to us when not even all human societies use them? The universe is an incredibly vast place, and we would do well to assume that there are a vast amount of possibilities about what ETIs might be like. Perhaps we should broaden our horizons and do more than listen for extraterrestrial 'television broadcasts': is that all we can imagine about ETIs? Are they sitting on their couches, munching on McDonald's fries and watching TV while their broadcast signals leech off into interstellar space for us to listen to? Perhaps ETIs are like Dolphins, or like Australian aborigines: intelligent, but knowing well to leave things alone. Or maybe they use some form of communication that we cannot even comprehend, or think in a way that is beyond our understanding. I for one love astronomy, and like to think that some ETIs do too, without the need to colonize, dissect and dominate the universe. Hopefully in the 21st century, we can learn to take care of our own planet without setting our sights on ruining another one, and maybe, just maybe, we can open our minds to the possibility that ETIs, if they are out there (and I think they are), might not do as we do. Fermi's paradox is not a paradox: we just have to start thinking beyond our own self centered sphere and think about why we have not contacted ETIs or why they have not contacted us. Not every human is driving to explore and conquer the universe, or apprise others to our existence and whereabouts; perhaps ETI's are not either. Maybe this is the reason for the 'great silence' in outer space. If we do find other life, I am supposing that we are hoping it will be like us: to whom we are capable of expressing our loneliness for living in a universe incredibly cold and dark, terrifying and beautiful, and vast beyond human comprehension and human intelligence.

Nathan Carlson

nasnme
2007-Mar-09, 07:07 PM
This is my first post. This episode was great and one of the arguments for the existence of aliens in the face of our inability to detect them rang true. We seem to assume that our interpretation of physics is the definitive one. Perhaps it is just one of the infinite interpretations and we operate on a scale, timeline or frequency different from other life forms.

It is a very interesting and thought-provoking topic.

Fraser
2007-Mar-09, 08:27 PM
Hello, my name is Nathan Carlson, and I am a history/ anthropology graduate student at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.

1. I think number 1 goes back to our definition of life. Life on Earth is defined by evolution as shaped by natural selection. Life eventually colonized the entire planet because of natural selection. I think our desire to colonize space is part of our evolution. We seek unexploited environments where we can consume the resources. So, we're assuming that life on other planets would have gone through a similar process of natural selection. Evolution has shown that it can find several paths to the same outcome, for example flight: bats, insects, birds, etc.

So, I think that if life arises through a process of evolution through natural selection, it will be, by nature, expansionistic - not necessarily malicious, but it will still see open spaces. But I think a better way to look at it is to see it as a scale. Some societies will be expansionistic while others aren't. So, why haven't we discovered the ones that do want to expand? It cuts the sample size down by 50%, or maybe 99%, but it still should leave millions and
millions of expanding societies left.

As long as you consider any of these traits on a scale, you're just narrowing your sample size. But even narrowed down, the sample size is still massive. So... where are they?

2. Advanced societies don't need to be like us for us to be able to detect them. Black holes aren't like us, but we can detect them. As long as they're releasing radiation of some variety, we should be able to detect it - assuming we understand the physics of the Universe properly. Whether they're like us or unlike us doesn't really matter. We just need to detect them.

Finding another civilization would be a tremendous accomplishment, as it would give us an understanding that life is common across the Universe. Even if we can never comprehend them, it's still good to know they're out there. It takes the pressure off us to colonize the Universe.

satori
2007-Mar-10, 09:10 PM
It takes the pressure off us to colonize the Universe.


boy, would I feel relieved with this responsability taken from my shoulders...

Anton
2007-Mar-11, 04:35 PM
Pamela and Frazer! Your show is great. Thank you! But frankly, why are you so prone to wild speculation on this particular matter? To me it seems that the obvious question is: How could we even imagine any civilization, however developed, to colonize the galaxy? We have spent 100 years proving Einstein to be right. If the question is: "Why aren't they here?" the most evident answer should be: "There is far too much space between us". It would take the pride of humanity, New Horizons, something like 45 000 years to reach alpha Cen which probably doesn't have planets anyway. Would it not be fair (and more scientific if a bit dull) to at least speculate that the speed limit cannot be overcome and that a few more million years of technology development may not necessarily make it possible to reach even "supernova speed"? And that, if such speeds proved to be possible, colonization would still always mean sending us or other beings to live in space for several generations before reaching an uncertain goal from which they could not give any feedback to the descendants of their origin. What kind of species would want that?

True, science fiction is more fun if Einstein is wrong but why throw away the knowledge that we have? The fact that the aliens are not here is just another evidence to prove that the old man was right: They are not here because, if they exist, we are for ever separated by an unimaginable abyss of spacetime.

Fraser
2007-Mar-11, 08:08 PM
But frankly, why are you so prone to wild speculation on this particular matter?

Because I'm a human being and love to consider all the possibilities of this amazing puzzle. Everything associated with this topic is wild speculation.

Anton
2007-Mar-12, 11:23 AM
Because I'm a human being and love to consider all the possibilities of this amazing puzzle. Everything associated with this topic is wild speculation.

I agree! It's the perfect subject for speculation and we should do it. It's intriguing, exciting and great fun. My point is this: In ADDITION to wild speculation, there is ALSO an obvious answer to the question "Why aren't they here?" that is based on sound, non-speculative science, making it far more probable than any other answer. A facts-based program could say that. It might send a few of us into deep depression but so be it.

But why should I argue with my favourite people on the net?

satori
2007-Mar-12, 04:51 PM
there is ALSO an obvious answer to the question "Why aren't they here?" that is based on sound, non-speculative science, making it far more probable than any other answer

please give me that answer, Anton!
(at least a link)

Ilya
2007-Mar-12, 08:59 PM
1. When we speculate on the nature of ETI, we must be very careful not to impose our tacit cultural biases on what we assume other intelligences in the universe must be like. Most prevalent are our own beliefs that ETI would have an imperative to colonize other worlds, and also that ETI's would be bound to develop complex technologies like here on Earth.
Fermi's Paradox does not require all, or even most ET's to "have an imperative to colonize other worlds" and to "develop complex technologies". All it takes is ONE civilization at some time in the last billion year to have both qualities, and the galaxy would have been populated by now. If you assume that civilizations are common, than their absence requires that NONE were ever much like ourselves. Which I find far less likely than the alternative explanation -- which is that civilizations are extremely rare. In which case, of course, there is no paradox.

satori
2007-Mar-12, 09:40 PM
civilisations are extremely rare!

Anton
2007-Mar-13, 01:26 PM
please give me that answer, Anton!
(at least a link)

Reading my input March 11 on this forum may give a hint. I believe that growing up with Star Trek and Star Wars may easily bring us to think that technology, given enough time, will always overcome any obstacle. Knowing also how often people have been dead wrong about the future by being limited by the “scientific” thinking of their time, we don’t want to make the same mistake. In my eyes, this should not prevent us from using the knowledge we have today, however limited, and say this:

It is quite possible that the speed of light is and will remain the upper speed limit of the universe.
It is quite possible that travelling into a black hole or a worm hole in order to reach other points in spacetime will just prove to be a more violent way of killing yourself than driving straight into the sun, irrespective of your level of technology.
If mass increases towards infinity when approaching the speed of light and when the speeds that we observe in the universe today (like matter travelling outward from a supernova) are closer to 10% than 100% of the speed of light, it would be very fair to say that colonizing would mean living in space for hundreds of years just to reach a suitable planet.


I certainly may be wrong, but in my opinion the facts-based, non-speculative answer being far more probable than any other answer, taking into consideration what we know up to date, would be: “They are not here because, if they exist, they are much too far away.”

After saying this we can speculate as much as we want and have great fun doing so. The problem is that if you say what I just said, you will often stir up a reaction that is similar to what you might have encountered if you had dared to suggest to Percival Lowell that channels on Mars were optical illusions. It kind of takes the excitement away and who wants to be a bore?:sad:

Fraser
2007-Mar-13, 03:03 PM
Okay, how about this? It's scientifically feasible for us to send robotic spacecraft to other stars. A robot could be sent at huge velocities, but even if it takes 10,000 years, it doesn't matter. We almost have the science to do that now. We'll also have the technology soon to make self-replicating robots. Send a robot factory to our nearest star and give it instrructions to build more robot explorers and robot factories. With robots zipping around at only 10% the speed of light, it would only take a million years or so to completely explore the galaxy, sending robots to each and every star.

So, where are all the robots? Once again, it would only take one intelligent civilization in the Milky Way to get the ball rolling. Not using any kind of super exotic technologies.

I'm really not worried about what reactions I stir up, I enjoy the speculation.

EvilEye
2007-Mar-13, 03:10 PM
Star Trek psuedo-technology isn't that far off any more.

Our comunicators are already more advanced than theirs on the show, and we actually have a real ion drive ship. Things aren't totally out of the realm of possibility. We are just too impatient. We want to see results while we're here, not to leave it for someone else hundreds or thousands of years from now.

satori
2007-Mar-13, 04:18 PM
Okay, how about this.....................(my cut).............................................. ......................... sending robots to each and every star.

So, where are all the robots? Once again, it would only take one intelligent civilization in the Milky Way to get the ball rolling. Not using any kind of super exotic technologies.

I'm really not worried about what reactions I stir up, I enjoy the speculation.


no wild speculations on my part

cicilisations spring up exeeeeeeeeedingly seldom

the univ/(cut)........this galaxy is all our's























(much space for.........."us" then)

R.A.F.
2007-Mar-13, 04:26 PM
Our comunicators are already more advanced than theirs on the show...

I must have missed the part in ST where they beamed down all the cell phone towers.

EvilEye
2007-Mar-13, 07:11 PM
I must have missed the part in ST where they beamed down all the cell phone towers.


Who needs a tower when you can have a Satellite phone?

Enterprise = The satellite.

And they had to open theirs to use them. I don't even have touch mine to answer it.

Anton
2007-Mar-14, 10:27 AM
With robots zipping around at only 10% the speed of light, it would only take a million years or so to completely explore the galaxy, sending robots to each and every star.


I’m with you Fraser, all the way!

It’s even quite realistic. A million years sounds like a conceivable time span. In fact, if our species take on this huge challenge (we might be the only ones to do it if Satori is right) I suggest the first robot remain in our own solar system. A real sturdy design should allow it to fulfil it’s one and only purpose: to relay a message in all directions for at least 1.1 million years, reminding all robots to report back. After all, we do want our descendants some 30 000 generations down the line to benefit from our project so they can get on with their colonization. And that’s where we return to square one. Colonization is not for organics unless they are extremely long-lived, not only as individuals but also as a species. Come to think of it, our home base robot may need our advice on how to express himself the day he will have to relay the sad communiqué about our species… you know, something like: “Don’t worry about us anymore guys, we’re all right, I mean, we’ve run out of luck here but you’re all strong and… you’ve still got each other so… keep it up and never ever forget the origin of your existence, as I’ve always taught you since you were little gadgets: Sol-Terra-Fraser Cain! That will give you all the self-respect you need to carry on because now – the galaxy is all yours!!!”


And Fraser, of course you don’t have to worry about the reactions you stir up. I’m the bore here, OK?

mercuri
2007-Mar-18, 11:02 AM
I'm with llarry and Evileye, the distances are just too far. If you think about it, even we "advanced" humans have only been broadcasting (unwittingly) for a little over a hundred years, meaning that our earliest messages from Tesla and Marconi have only gone about a hundred light years out from Earth - not even to the galactic corner store! Sure, there are other intelligent societies out there, anyone who thinks otherwise is just being naive but even if another intelligent (and technology loving) society exists as close to us as 100,000 light years away, for us to detect them they would have to be advanced 100,000 years ahead of us. They would have been at our current level of technological sophistication when we were just losing our overdeveloped brows and jaws! And really, as wonderfully interesting as it would be, would you really want to come across a civilization that was 100,000 years (or more) ahead of us? Scary to say the least.

EvilEye
2007-Mar-19, 03:11 AM
The universe may filled with life.

And maybe... just maybe... we are seperated beyond detecting each other......


............... for a reason.

EvilEye
2007-Mar-19, 03:15 AM
What I meant in the previous post is...

We can't even get our crap together with our fellow humans here on this planet. What makes us belive we should ever have the right to know about another established society until we can shake hands with ourselves?

Fraser
2007-Mar-19, 03:33 AM
Sure, but does every single civilization feel the same way? All you need is just one single civilization to feel differently and make contact with us, or send out that galaxy exploring fleet of robots.

EvilEye
2007-Mar-19, 11:48 AM
Maybe they HAVE sent out that fleet of exploring robots.

Perhaps our problem is that we are so vein that should a robot land right on the whitehouse lawn, we wouldn't ever believe it came from anywhere but here.

Sure there are people that want to believe, but a robot could be made anywhere. A real alien would even have a hard time convincing anyone that he was from another planet. And if it were extremely different, it would be locked up and become a science experiment.

SolusLupus
2007-Mar-19, 12:18 PM
Maybe they HAVE sent out that fleet of exploring robots.

Perhaps our problem is that we are so vein that should a robot land right on the whitehouse lawn, we wouldn't ever believe it came from anywhere but here.

Sure there are people that want to believe, but a robot could be made anywhere. A real alien would even have a hard time convincing anyone that he was from another planet.

Huh?

No it wouldn't. It would be quite obvious if we had an alien contact us.


And if it were extremely different, it would be locked up and become a science experiment.

Evidence? That would be a bad PR campaign for any political body, to harm an alien being without trying to initiate contact.

EvilEye
2007-Mar-19, 03:39 PM
Huh?

No it wouldn't. It would be quite obvious if we had an alien contact us.



Evidence? That would be a bad PR campaign for any political body, to harm an alien being without trying to initiate contact.

I don't know.

If I turned on the television and the President was on there telling us that we had been contacted, I'm not sure I would believe it.

If they land in my yard, then take off again...maybe.

torque of the town
2007-Mar-19, 06:39 PM
Maybe they HAVE sent out that fleet of exploring robots.




I think they where swallowed by a dog......

SolusLupus
2007-Mar-19, 11:02 PM
I don't know.

If I turned on the television and the President was on there telling us that we had been contacted, I'm not sure I would believe it.

So you're saying there could be no scientific evidence? Everything is "because someone told me so"?


If they land in my yard, then take off again...maybe.

So...

Do you believe in the moon? You obviously haven't been there. So you must assume it doesn't exist, right?

EvilEye
2007-Mar-20, 12:14 AM
I'm saying that if it were something we could recognize as life, then MOST people wouldn't believe it came from outer space without having a religious epiphany.

Try to tell my 70 year old father that the internet is a useful tool for his business, and no amount of "proof" or "evidence" will ever convince him.

Try to tell 80% of the world that there is no "higher being" such as a god or gods. You can show them every bit of evidence that suggests you are right, and they will still not believe you.

People have been put in prison for PROVING that the earth went around the sun, and not vice versa.

So yes... it is easy to say that it will be difficult for MOST people to believe in the first real contact.

Fraser
2007-Mar-20, 01:38 AM
Sure, but for every 1000 fake looking aliens, all you need is one building-sized robotic spaceship hovering over a city firing out laser beams to convince people that it might have come from another world.

I'll always go back to this argument. The Universe has a lot of worlds, with a lot of opportunities for life to indendently arise. On each of these worlds, the course of life can take a different direction, leading to different kinds of civilizations. Many civilizations might create robotic exploration spacecraft indistinguishable from bananas. But it just takes one to buck the trend to give us the evidence that there's intelligent life on other worlds.

So where is the evidence?

EvilEye
2007-Mar-20, 02:01 AM
Sure, but for every 1000 fake looking aliens, all you need is one building-sized robotic spaceship hovering over a city firing out laser beams to convince people that it might have come from another world.

I'll always go back to this argument. The Universe has a lot of worlds, with a lot of opportunities for life to indendently arise. On each of these worlds, the course of life can take a different direction, leading to different kinds of civilizations. Many civilizations might create robotic exploration spacecraft indistinguishable from bananas. But it just takes one to buck the trend to give us the evidence that there's intelligent life on other worlds.

So where is the evidence?

I saw a UFO. 7 of them together actually, and from where I was standing, I know that they weren't the Russian craft we were told was re-entering the atmosphere over Florida. (this happened in 1997).

I wont go into details because it's pointless. The only people that would ever be convinced were those that actually saw it.

Yes Fraser... If the ship were like the one that totally covered the sky like the ones in Independance day, I might have second thoughts. But we have so much technology today that we could see tons of wierd things in our sky that are from here, that most people don't notice.... Mainly because we don't tend to look UP in the daytime.

I enjoy this debate with you. Because you are objective. I never once said it wasn't possible. I said that even if it were real, it would still be difficult to convince the masses. It only does take one. But like you said.. "Where is the Evidence?"

My reply is this.

Maybe they HAVE come.. but we don't believe it. Evidence abounds.

Only one?

How many Project Bluebook cases were left "unsolved"?

But we dismiss those because of all the other solved ones.

Anton
2007-Mar-20, 11:34 AM
It all boils down to what you find hardest to believe. If we look for hard evidence, which I do, then it gets at least a little bit easier:

200 billion stars in the galaxy and planet formation quite common:
– I find it hard to believe we are alone.
Millions of people on this planet scrutinizing the skies for centuries and no hard evidence for robots (and I agree, it only takes one such civilization!):
– I find it hard to believe they are already here.
11 stars within a 10 lightyear radius (116 within 20) make a very poor selection:
– I find it hard to believe they are anywhere near us.



I find it easy to believe they are rare.
I find it easy to believe they are not longlived enough, as individuals OR species.
I find it easy to believe the void of spacetime is much too large to be overcome.
I find it easy to believe there is a science fiction buff in most of us, wishing it were otherwise.

mercuri
2007-Mar-20, 05:43 PM
You're absolutely right Anton, I agree with you 100% :clap: :clap: :clap:

clint
2007-Apr-11, 11:50 PM
I find it easy to believe the void of spacetime is much too large to be overcome.


Why is everybody so pessimistic about our ability to develop much faster space travel, at a reasonable cost, relatively soon?
(interplanetary AND interstellar) :question:

Pamela also refers to this (directly and indirectly) several times during the show itself, I quote just one example:
"The further you try and go it gets not just twice as hard when you double the distance, but 20 times harder when you double the distance, or 1 thousand times harder when you try and get to the next star.[/SIZE] :naughty:

Just consider some facts:
1) a trip on an intercontinental airplane today is way cheaper (and faster) than a passage on the Titanic was only a century ago
2) a trip into lower space (see Virgin Galactic) is starting to become easier than the first attempts of transatlantic flight (definitely faster, too)
3) Even a trip to Mars, though maybe at the very limit of our current capabilities, is probably not a greater challenge than Columbus' or Magellan's voyages a few centuries ago (actually Mars might be easier - we know were we're heading and what will be the challenges once we're there, Columbus didn't know either)

:think:

Based on the historical rate of technological evolution
(which is actually still accelerating according to most indicators),
don't we have reason to assume that we might get there relatively soon?

And not even necessarily at such a huge cost?

Is that really such a wild speculation?

Anton
2007-Apr-12, 03:05 PM
Why is everybody so pessimistic about our ability to develop much faster space travel, at a reasonable cost, relatively soon?


Well Clint, if you allow yourself to look at the problem from only one angle and keep out all relevant factors except one (in this case the history of travel), the conclusion may seem simple enough.

Let me give you an example from the world of sports: Men's high jump world record development! It took 29 years to raise the record from 2 meters to 2.10. It took 19 years after that to reach 2.20, another 13 years to reach 2.30 and then 12 years to conquer 2.40. Now based on this, how long would it take to reach 2.50? Well clearly, less than 12 years!

It's been 22 years since Povarnitsyn made 2.40 and we are nowhere near 2.50! The last Olympics was won at 2.36. Why?

Because for many years we were dealing with factors like technique, training facilities, competition and - drugs. Now we are encountering another factor: The limitations of a human body! If through the use of some Chinese wonder drug a human finally makes 2.50, it is highly unlikely that 2.60 will ever be reached (or say 3 meters to make things clear).

If you find yourself in the early phases of development (like high jump in the first 85 years of the 20th century or the first 500 years of exploration after Columbus) you might come to the conclusion that there is no limit. It's just a matter of time!

Sorry, but there are always other factors. The speed of light for one. And now we are facing, again, the human limitation: Our inability and - most probably - unwillingness to live in space for many generations.

John Mendenhall
2007-Apr-12, 05:32 PM
Sorry, but there are always other factors. The speed of light for one. And now we are facing, again, the human limitation: Our inability and - most probably - unwillingness to live in space for many generations.

If you make the ship big enough, it doesn't matter. And the generations born on board won't know a planet anyhow. It's a tough approach, but there's probably no other way. Let's have a straw pole; anybody else willing?

John Mendenhall
2007-Apr-12, 05:39 PM
I find it easy to believe they are rare.
I find it easy to believe they are not longlived enough, as individuals OR species.
I find it easy to believe the void of spacetime is much too large to be overcome.
I find it easy to believe there is a science fiction buff in most of us, wishing it were otherwise.


Oh, too true. And we seem to be having a hard time getting off Earth right now. I think it's pretty clearly established that Space Shuttle type vehicles are not the way to go.

clint
2007-Apr-13, 08:46 AM
Let me give you an example from the world of sports: Men's high jump world record development! ... Now we are encountering another factor: The limitations of a human body! If through the use of some Chinese wonder drug a human finally makes 2.50, it is highly unlikely that 2.60 will ever be reached (or say 3 meters to make things clear).


Thanks for your answer Anton.

Although I accept that there might be natural limits to technological evolution (such as light speed for travel velocity - as far as we know), I don't quite agree with you human body analogy.

Stating that a human body can probably never surpass 3 m in high-jump (or let's say 50m to be even clearer) is like saying that Columbus' ships could never have reached the moon. That's obvious!

However, we can reach the moon (and also can jump 3m (or 50m) high easily - think of bunjee jumping) with the help of new technologies.

I don't see those upper limits (other than the speed of light, for all we know), Ok, space is vast, but so was the American continent before the railway.

And I don't see any reason why the rate of technological evolution should - all of a sudden - slow down.

Anton
2007-Apr-13, 11:52 AM
And I don't see any reason why the rate of technological evolution should - all of a sudden - slow down.

Oh, I can see lots of reasons for the rate of technological evolution slowing down or speeding up for that matter. Remember that the time perspective we are talking about now is hundreds or thousands of years while there are serious questions as to whether the earth can sustain its population 50 years from now. Answers to those questions will definitely affect the rate and direction of technological development.

But - I am not talking about the limitations of technology. In the high jump example, I was trying to compare the technology factor to for instance high jump technique. For decades the development of new technique and training methods was much more important for beating the world record than the limitations of the body. This is no longer the case. We have reached a stage where the human limitation is the main factor. To significantly change that factor (other than with superdrugs) you will have to wait a loooong time for biological evolution to take place.

My point is that for millenia (and for some time yet), technology development has been a main factor for exploration. When we now talk about going to Mars and further into the solar system, we definitely encounter our own limitations in a major way. And, as Pamela suggested, interstellar travel is a new ballgame altogether. Irrespective of technological development, the human factor will be overwhelmingly dominant.

clint
2007-Apr-13, 12:49 PM
Remember that the time perspective we are talking about now is hundreds or thousands of years while there are serious questions as to whether the earth can sustain its population 50 years from now.

I agree there can always happen some major catastrophe - or even just some cultural change of direction - to slow us down or stop us alltogether.
(after the fall of the Ancient Romans, e.g., the rate of technological progress definitely slowed down for about a 1000 years)

On the other hand, the argument that the earth cannot support any more people or any more progress is very old (remember Mathus?) - and so far everybody who argued that way was proven wrong.

clint
2007-Apr-13, 12:57 PM
... interstellar travel is a new ballgame altogether. Irrespective of technological development, the human factor will be overwhelmingly dominant.

Why do you think the human factor will be so much more dominant from now on?
What are you referring too exactly?
Please extend on that!

What biological limitations will stop us from eventually colonizing e.g. Moon and Mars? (other than maybe having to persist for few centuries...)


(great discussion, by the way :) )

Anton
2007-Apr-13, 09:25 PM
Why do you think the human factor will be so much more dominant from now on?

I do believe that the Earth would do fine in supporting its entire population if it hadn't been for us messing it up so badly (and you must tell me about Mathus some time). The reason I mentioned the problems we face on Earth was not to say they cannot be solved but to point out that technology, economy and willpower may need to refocus in a major way - and very soon - in order to save the only planet available where members of the human race can survive without advanced technological support.

Colonization of the Moon and Mars will certainly be good for science and therefore also for our species but for a period much longer than the next 50 crucial years that I mentioned, it will not support more than a few hundred people compared to the soon to be 9 billion that have to share the Earth.

As for the human factor slowly becoming the dominant factor, bear with me if I return once again to suck the last drops of insight from my high jump example. If new, fantastic techniques and training methods will finally add a few more centimetres to the world record, it can be compared to Columbus’ ship being developed not only into the Saturn 5 but also into whatever device we will create to take us to Mars (and beyond?) within say the next 100 years.

But when legs are as long and as strong as they can be, we cease to produce records – the human factor dominates entirely. That can be compared to the fact that the descendants of Columbus some 600 years down the line who have not developed all that much, are now relying more and more heavily on advanced technology each second of their life, even to take a simple breath or to protect against constant life-threatening radiation.

Building a breathable atmosphere on Mars will most probably take thousands of years and when done, it will leave us with an extra planet much smaller than Earth while already today we would need FIVE Earths to sustain the present world population on a level the western civilisation calls normal.

Any astronaut can tell us that living on the ISS for 6 months and returning from there is not an easy thing for any human body to endure. And when considering the 2-3 years needed for a return trip to Mars, it is not so much the lack of proper technology that we discuss as the psychological and medical limitations of a human being. Add the extra years needed to go to a Jupiter moon and you multiply the strains subjected to the same old body and mind.

The sad fact is that while technology rushes ahead and puts Mars within Columbus’ reach, Columbus stays essentially the same!

Delysid
2007-Apr-21, 11:45 PM
Fascinating discussion!

On the one hand, Einstein's stubborn speed of light limit, and the exponential energies needed to achieve even half or a quarter of that speed, do impose a pretty fundamental diminution of the odds of contact with extraterrestrial life any time soon, or possibly at all.

On the other hand, when it comes to speculation about phenomena so far beyond our current knowledge that we can only guess, then an even more fundamental limitation than the speed of light becomes relevant -- namely, our own cognitive capacity.

It may be that there is a way to transcend the light-speed limit, but it may require the evolution of an intelligence as far beyond our own as ours is beyond a cat's. I often think of this when observing my own cat, happily self-assured of the complete sufficiency of his mental grasp of reality, utterly oblivious to his inability to solve practical problems that to us are absurdly transparent.

Even the most impressive achievements of non-human cognitive heavyweights like chimps and dolphins are still distant also-rans in the manipulation of abstract concepts and symbolic communication that human evolution has enabled. And it may be that another hundred-thousand or million years of evolution of human neurocognition is a precondition for transcending the light-speed limit.

But that's assuming that human mental abilities, however advanced, are even the right kind. It may be that we've already branched off along the wrong path of neural evolution, and in fact the only way to slip through the speed of light barrier is via something like telepathy or other advanced neural capacity toward which dolphins may be well on their evolutionary journey. And if that's the case, then alien intelligences evolved along those lines could be clamouring day and night for our attention, or carrying on a lively exchange with dolphins who are to them as chimps are to us, while we are as deaf and blind to their communications as an intelligent rat is to the text printed on newspaper lining its nest.

Or not....

EvilEye
2007-Apr-22, 01:03 PM
Quite possibly the cat is MORE intelligent in his bliss than we are in our grasping of knowlege.

We are so busy trying to figure things out, that the transparent becomes opaque just by asking why.

Cats don't ask why...they just do it.

Not only that, but they have trained us to feed and shelter them for free!

Anton
2007-Apr-24, 04:22 PM
... when it comes to speculation about phenomena so far beyond our current knowledge that we can only guess, then an even more fundamental limitation than the speed of light becomes relevant -- namely, our own cognitive capacity.

Yet another limitation! But really, the original question in this thread was: "Where are all the aliens?". Apart from being a very relevant question, it is also an invitation to untamed speculation. And that's fine with me but I had this notion that in a facts-based show it would also be of intrest to enter a quite probable answer to that question, namely the vastness of spacetime separating us. I am convinced that many listeners to the show have never quite realized what distances we are talking about here.

But this I have noticed before: Since we are still waiting for those cast-iron proofs about the presence of aliens on Earth, it is much more appealing to invent the most fantastic hypotheses explaining why we can't see them though they are already here than to consider a simple fact that might suggest why they are not :)

clint
2007-Apr-25, 02:39 PM
...but it may require the evolution of an intelligence as far beyond our own as ours is beyond a cat's...

Biologically, we're not THAT far from a cat.
We cannot 'hear' radiowaves or 'experience' relativity, etc.

The basic difference is that we ARE capable of inventing ever more advanced technology that gets us beyond our initial biological (and cognitive) limitations.

We ARE already way beyond those limits in every aspect of our daily lives.
And that hasn't slowed down our innovation rate at all - it's still accelerating!!!
:dance:

clint
2007-Apr-25, 02:59 PM
...and you must tell me about Mathus some time...

Sorry, I spelled him wrong: Thomas Robert Malthus, he published several famous hypotheses on population growth and sustainability, in the 1800s.

Rough summary:
Population would continue to grow exponentially (also in the western world), and agriculture would not be able to feed all those people anymore very soon.

Those theories got very famous in the 19th century and sparked much pessimism about the sustainability of our civilization.

What most people did not foresee at his time:
- population growth slowed down very fast in the industrialized world
- agricultural productivity, in turn, did grow exponentially

Not saying our planet will support anything, just saying that it depends (on what technologies you have available and how you deal with them)

Anton
2007-Apr-27, 11:11 PM
Sorry, I spelled him wrong...

We don’t want to repeat Malthus mistakes, do we? And yet, I am under the impression that most people trying to predict the future are proven dead wrong within a few decades. (Ever seen any of those TV-programs from the 1960:ies where scientists and technicians describe what the world will look like in the far distant year 2000?)

Even though I will most probably run into that trap myself, I am just saying that so will you! We may be alone in the galaxy but if we are not a plausible reason for the aliens not being seen lately might just be that their biology has proved to be as limiting to deep space travel as ours may be. Even their robots have obviously run into serious trouble...

timb
2007-Apr-28, 10:45 AM
We don’t want to repeat Malthus mistakes, do we? And yet, I am under the impression that most people trying to predict the future are proven dead wrong within a few decades. (Ever seen any of those TV-programs from the 1960:ies where scientists and technicians describe what the world will look like in the far distant year 2000?)


Yep, in most ways we are way less advanced than almost every set of predictions from the 1930-1980 period: Colonies on Mars? traffic jams a thing of the past as our cars fly to work? huge undersea cities? housework done by robots? energy too cheap to meter? farmland returned to nature as food is grown in vats? Tech nirvana seems a little harder to achieve than we've imagined.



Even though I will most probably run into that trap myself, I am just saying that so will you! We may be alone in the galaxy but if we are not a plausible reason for the aliens not being seen lately might just be that their biology has proved to be as limiting to deep space travel as ours may be. Even their robots have obviously run into serious trouble...

Yeah, obviously... If it's impossible to build a robot that survives in interstellar space, there's a lot about interstellar space we don't know.

The idea that heavy, fragile, short-lived, bio jelly bags (like us) are/have ever been transported across galaxies faster than they die is a big stretch, but why no robots? Why no signals? why no "miracles" (unexplainable astronomical observations). The Fermi paradox is a very serious challenge to SETI.

People plug their guesses into the Drake equation and conclude that our galaxy should have hosted millions or billions of intelligent races before homo first started banging rocks together. And not one of them ever thought it was a good idea to build von Neumann machines? They're all too shy, or their sky is cloudy so they don't realize the universe is there, or they all make some mistake and become extinct. Silly ad hoc explanations abound.

IMHO the only explanations that make sense are that either we're alone or the natural evolution of intelligence always takes it somewhere else (or the beserkers arrive within a decade or two :( ).

mark.myers
2007-Apr-28, 11:08 AM
So, where are all the robots? Once again, it would only take one intelligent civilization in the Milky Way to get the ball rolling. Not using any kind of super exotic technologies.


Maybe they're everywhere! This ties in neatly with something I have been thinking about, ie maybe the best way to colonise the galaxy is to spray DNA around the place. So perhaps the "robots" are not technologically-based but biological. DNA is a self-replicating object that contains information and perhaps it was crafted in an alien laboratory as a mechanism to colonise space. And perhaps DNA also contains a "payload" of extra information. I seem to recall that only a small portion of DNA is actively involved in the process of replication and genetic expression and that geneticists refer to the remaining bits as junk-DNA. Perhaps this is a coded message from the alien that created it with the intention being that if intelligence developed from the seeding process it might one day decipher the code and discover the knowledge contained within. Maybe cryptologists should be working on the junk-DNA! Perhaps SETI should be looking in our DNA rather than in the skys!

Pure speculation of course, but fun!

Ronald Brak
2007-Apr-28, 11:15 AM
People plug their guesses into the Drake equation and conclude that our galaxy should have hosted millions or billions of intelligent races before homo first started banging rocks together. And not one of them ever thought it was a good idea to build von Neumann machines? They're all too shy, or their sky is cloudy so they don't realize the universe is there, or they all make some mistake and become extinct. Silly ad hoc explanations abound.

IMHO the only explanations that make sense are that either we're alone or the natural evolution of intelligence always takes it somewhere else (or the beserkers arrive within a decade or two ).

An easy explanation is that one early species did develop Von Neumann machines and spread throughout the galaxy slash galaxies and they like the universe the way it currently is. They may or may not employ berserkers to keep it that way.

gaffo
2007-Apr-28, 02:36 PM
Lucas - LOVE your "Duck and Cover" turtle avatar! - great video.

I highly recommend Something Weird Video's "Atomic War Bride/This is not a test" collection DVD.

....................

As for alien life (must be technologically advanced) and space travel - one can do both (have to in fact), find alien life and travel at the speed of light!

Simply transmit your DNA via radio............and if some alien has the technology (and interest) to receive it and decode it....................a human will be re-created on the other end.

of course it will be a baby and have no knowledge of Earth - but it would be an effective way to "colonize" (if said aliens allow it/have interest in dumb lower life forms).

very effective - almost free and instantanous contact with advance alien life, and limitless (or as limitless as possible - speed of light).

of course there could be a security risk - transmision of your genome and a homing beacon to boot.

this method seems self evident - that others are not doing it seems "suspicous" to me.

gaffo
2007-Apr-28, 02:51 PM
"Can a living organism get anything out of nitrogen, or sulfur?"

yep.

http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/archaea/archaea.html

..................................

maybe no more advancement was possible - thus the newer life we have today showed up.

Fraser
2007-Apr-28, 05:36 PM
IMHO the only explanations that make sense are that either we're alone or the natural evolution of intelligence always takes it somewhere else (or the beserkers arrive within a decade or two :( ).

I agree. Every time I hear a possible suggestion about cloudy skies and non-expansionist aliens, that's fine, but it only decreases the odds a little bit. Expansion of intelligence would be an exponential increase. It would only take one to completely colonize an entire galaxy within a few million years.

So either we're alone, or there are berserkers. And if there are berserkers, they would have scoured the Earth long ago. So we're alone.

clint
2007-Apr-28, 08:22 PM
So either we're alone, or there are berserkers. And if there are berserkers, they would have scoured the Earth long ago. So we're alone.
Damn, so we're back where we started :(
Let's start sending robots...


most people trying to predict the future are proven dead wrong within a few decades
I subsribe to that one.
Fortunately, nature has amazing ways to prove us wrong all the time
- that's what makes both science AND speculation so much fun! ;)



maybe the best way to colonise the galaxy is to spray DNA around the place
Interesting idea.
Especially because there IS this hypothesis that simple organisms COULD
actually survive in space, travelling inside rocks (after asteroid impacts), right?
Now here's something that would revolutionize our space industry, let's build rock rockets!!! :lol:
Could this actually work with simple DNA, or would we need an entire organism (like bacteria)? Any ideas? :think:


Simply transmit your DNA via radio...

Hey, I know this movie!!! Wasn't that Jeff Bridges (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starman_(film))?
:dance:

mr obvious
2007-Apr-29, 03:08 AM
I agree. Every time I hear a possible suggestion about cloudy skies and non-expansionist aliens, that's fine, but it only decreases the odds a little bit. Expansion of intelligence would be an exponential increase. It would only take one to completely colonize an entire galaxy within a few million years.

So either we're alone, or there are berserkers. And if there are berserkers, they would have scoured the Earth long ago. So we're alone.

I am uncertain that intelligence is some sort of all-overcoming trait. Perhaps the galaxy/universe simply does not contain sufficient potential energy or materials sources for mass colonization. As a result, one might limited in how many places one can travel, even assuming a high level of ingenuity. So these berserkers might exist but feel that it's simply not worth playing the galaxian version of the lottery.


The basic difference is that we ARE capable of inventing ever more advanced technology that gets us beyond our initial biological (and cognitive) limitations.

One of the bigger problems with sustained space travel is that of a zero-g environment. As an example, the bone loss of people on the ISS is rather substantial, even with exercise, and they are not there their entire lives. Unless someone is holding out on an artificial gravity generator, the notion of transgenerational space travel needs to wait a bit. Could advanced technology solve this? Perhaps, but it should come first, before we start designing the racing stripes on this rocket. This is in reference to colonization, by the way. Robotic exploration has its issues but biology isn't likely to be one of them.


Simply transmit your DNA via radio............and if some alien has the technology (and interest) to receive it and decode it....................a human will be re-created on the other end.

Not quite. You are far more than just your DNA - the aliens would need to know how to translate the codons into proteins (they'd need to know what were introns and exons, the non-coding and coding parts of the DNA). They'd also need to know about mitochondrial DNA, the ribosomes, Golgi apparatus, endoplasmic reticulum, cell membrane, and some other tens of thousands of proteins and sugars that would be required just to get one cell alive. Actually, they likely would not even know what the structure of thymine is. I mean, what's the letter 'T' supposed to tell you about it? I am assuming, also that they have an oxygen environment and the pH and temperature are suitable. After all the assumptions they'd have to make, even if they got something alive at the end, it wouldn't surprise me if they stood around wondering how sentience developed in something that is the Earth equivalent of their mushroom.

Ronald Brak
2007-Apr-29, 03:13 AM
I agree. Every time I hear a possible suggestion about cloudy skies and non-expansionist aliens, that's fine, but it only decreases the odds a little bit. Expansion of intelligence would be an exponential increase. It would only take one to completely colonize an entire galaxy within a few million years.

So either we're alone, or there are berserkers. And if there are berserkers, they would have scoured the Earth long ago. So we're alone.

That doesn't follow. If it only takes one species to colonize an entire galaxy in a few million years, then maybe one species did.

EvilEye
2007-May-07, 07:01 PM
Even most bacteria are intelligent enough to NOT kill their host if they wish to continue to exist.

I just heard on another science podacst that our bodies are only about 10% us. The other 90% are independant organisms that we host, and make us the whole we seem to be. Neither of us could live without the other, but it behooves us not to know too much about them.

Fisherman
2007-May-18, 05:51 PM
ET’s on the Earth,
From time to time, the knowledge on earth needs to be enhanced to allow humans to grow in understanding. Throughout history there has been many “ET Beings” was born and appeared on Earth that was very knowledgeable. Renaissance; in that time Leonardo da Vinci was born, Age of Electricity; in that time Nikola Tesla was born, Atomic age; Albert Einstein was born and many others. These individuals had knowledge that was very advanced compared to the rest of humanity. The Earth is just a laboratory for intelligent Beings, for humans the Earth is only home in the universe were can live. Humans do not have any choice but to live in condition set by these Beings and live a life as mice in scientific laboratory.
This planet Earth was created exclusively for the experiment of FREE WILL to see where it will lead man when he is allowed to do anything he wishes on the planet Earth. People believe science will solve all problems but scientific creations are temporary and what kind of obstacles they will create for future generations no one can predict. Too many poisons are in the ecosystem, the breeding ground for all kinds of diseases. Man sees only himself and temporary profits. Man destroys everything that stands in his way and follows the road, which leads to self-destruction.

EvilEye
2007-May-19, 03:15 AM
Sorry Fisherman.

I don't believe the Earth was placed here in a huge universe so we could exist.

I do believe we exist on this perfect planet because we simply can.

timb
2007-May-19, 04:14 AM
Even most bacteria are intelligent enough to NOT kill their host if they wish to continue to exist.

That has nothing whatever to do with intelligence. Many people have been killed by bacteria -- I suppose they were the unintelligent suicidal bacteria?

timb
2007-May-19, 04:16 AM
That doesn't follow. If it only takes one species to colonize an entire galaxy in a few million years, then maybe one species did.

And the explanation for the lack of evidence for this galaxy-wide civilization is...?

clint
2007-May-19, 06:50 AM
...
I don't believe the Earth was placed here in a huge universe so we could exist.
I do believe we exist on this perfect planet because we simply can.

What's more, it took us hundreds of millons of years to find this planet as perfect to live on as we do.
We simply evolved towards being comfortable here.

Fraser
2007-May-19, 03:44 PM
But we have clear evidence that life has been here on Earth for billions of years, and it all shares related DNA. So, we didn't find this planet, we evolved here from single cell organisms.

EvilEye
2007-May-19, 05:15 PM
But we have clear evidence that life has been here on Earth for billions of years, and it all shares related DNA. So, we didn't find this planet, we evolved here from single cell organisms.

Aha, but all other physics are the same throughout the universe. Why wouldn't DNA be the same (or extremely similar) everywhere? If it works, why change it?

Biology is dependent of the laws of physics to work properly. So if the Physics are the same, the biology would work in a similar fashion with the variants being the evolution to conform to their own local habitats.

Ronald Brak
2007-May-19, 06:22 PM
And the explanation for the lack of evidence for this galaxy-wide civilization is...?

No explanation required as we don't know what a galaxy wide civilization looks like. Maybe it looks like that. (Points out window to night sky.)

Ronald Brak
2007-May-19, 06:31 PM
Aha, but all other physics are the same throughout the universe. Why wouldn't DNA be the same (or extremely similar) everywhere? If it works, why change it?

Biology is dependent of the laws of physics to work properly. So if the Physics are the same, the biology would work in a similar fashion with the variants being the evolution to conform to their own local habitats.

If you mean aliens will have DNA very similar to what is on earth, that is very unlikely. There are just too many different ways DNA and other molecules can be used convey information that unrelated life would never use DNA in the same way as on earth unless the universe is infinite. And life does not have to use DNA. Early life on earth did not use it. I think that there is a very good chance alien life will have molecules that are DNAish but no DNA as is used on earth.

clint
2007-May-20, 03:43 PM
If you mean aliens will have DNA very similar to what is on earth, that is very unlikely. There are just too many different ways DNA and other molecules can be used convey information that unrelated life would never use DNA in the same way as on earth ....

Exactly my point:
we often assume that our planet has the perfect conditions for life and that any hypothetical extraterrestrial life would have to be very similar to earth-life (and would need similar conditions)

But then our perspective is - obviously and necessarily - extremely earth-centric.

EvilEye
2007-May-20, 06:59 PM
If you mean aliens will have DNA very similar to what is on earth, that is very unlikely. There are just too many different ways DNA and other molecules can be used convey information that unrelated life would never use DNA in the same way as on earth unless the universe is infinite. And life does not have to use DNA. Early life on earth did not use it. I think that there is a very good chance alien life will have molecules that are DNAish but no DNA as is used on earth.

DNA is a result of evolution. One book full of different chapters with different words, but all using the part that matters... the same relatively few letters of the alphabet to make the words.

Yes. DNA is only one way life may exist.... however we defined what life is, and therefore, we must follow our own design or definition.

If life is anything but DNA resultant, then we must also say the Earth is alive, and that stars are alive, and many other things.

That's all I am saying.

Based on what we know about the way physics work, all life as we would recognize it would have similar DNA structure.

clint
2007-May-21, 10:09 AM
DNA is a result of evolution. One book full of different chapters with different words, but all using the part that matters... the same relatively few letters of the alphabet to make the words.

Yes. DNA is only one way life may exist.... however we defined what life is, and therefore, we must follow our own design or definition.

If life is anything but DNA resultant, then we must also say the Earth is alive, and that stars are alive, and many other things.

That's all I am saying.

Based on what we know about the way physics work, all life as we would recognize it would have similar DNA structure.

It definitely makes sense to first look for life as we know it on earth,
since so far this is the only possible life we DO know for certain can exist.
(carbon-based, DNA, etc.)

For the same reason, it also makes sense to look for conditions that we already know for certain can support this kind of life
(i.e. rocky planets, atmosphere, liquid water, etc.)

I'm just saying that we have to keep an open mind for other possibilities.

Just 2 examples:

1) until quite recently, red dwarf systems would not have been the logical place to look for habitable planets (for the same reasons as above, the reasonable thing would have been to look around Sun-like stars)
However, after the discovery of Gliese581c, we will possibly have to reconsider that
(red dwarf systems just might turn out to be the best place to look for rocky planets in the habitable zone, after all)

2) also until not so long ago, we would not have considered Europa (Jupiter's moon) a viable place for life to evolve (way outside the habitable zone, deep-frozen, no sunlight reaching a hypothetical below-ice ocean, etc).
The discovery of extremophiles around deep-ocean vents on earth, however, has forced us reconsider this, too.

EvilEye
2007-May-21, 11:50 AM
100&#37; agreed Clint.

What I meant is that even those extremophiles share their DNA with us. It's just the most practical solution for life. Therefore it would make sense that it would be universal.

It's like trying to figure out why they built the pyramids the way they did.

They wanted them to be gigantic, and that shape was the most practical with the engineering skills they had at the time. They tried other ways before, and they collapsed.

clint
2007-May-22, 08:51 AM
Interesting point, hadn't thought about that.

The actual reason that those extremophiles (and any other life on Earth) share basic DNA structures with us,
is that we all have some distant common ancestor (who 'invented' this structure) , isn't it?

What might be true, though,
is that life had 'tried' to build more complex structures many zillions of times before the current DNA structure took shape in our common ancestor
(and obviously all those other trials ('pyramids') did not make it, since they are not around anymore)

This would actually explain why it took so long for the first DNA-based life to evolve (several billion years, right?)
- it just took life that many trials to get our extremely complex 'pyramid building plan' (DNA) together.

I wonder if there is any way to prove this hypothesis... :think:

This could lead to a good formula for calculating the minimum time span necessary
for life to evolve independently on any other planet.

Ronald Brak
2007-May-22, 11:02 AM
Based on what we know about the way physics work, all life as we would recognize it would have similar DNA structure.

So if my kitty cat had RNA instead of DNA we wouldn't recognize it as life despite the fact that it looked like a kitty cat, walked like a kitty cat and quacked liked a kitty cat?

That sounds unlikely.

EvilEye
2007-May-22, 12:32 PM
So if my kitty cat had RNA instead of DNA we wouldn't recognize it as life despite the fact that it looked like a kitty cat, walked like a kitty cat and quacked liked a kitty cat?

That sounds unlikely.

If you were looking for a kitty cat, and knew it was supposed to act a certain way, you'd have your answer.

Inversely, if an alien came to our planet, and it was based on totally different "something"....would it recognize us as life according to their understanding?

...or might they even think our robots and computers were alive as well?

Ronald Brak
2007-May-22, 08:49 PM
Not sure quite what you are saying, EvilEye. But before DNA was discovered people recognized things as being alive. It is definitely possible for non DNA life to have characteristics similar to life on earth. If our nanotechnology was advanced enough we could replace all the DNA in a kitty cat with different information carrying molecules than DNA and provided it was done right the kitty cat would still act the same as a kitty cat. Except maybe we could make it immortal if we wanted to. I do agree that it is possible for alien life to be so different from earth life it may be hard to detect.

EvilEye
2007-May-22, 09:41 PM
So... the question remains.

What is the definition of life?

That it can reproduce? That it has emotions? That it moves on its own? All of the above or some or none?

That was my point.

What IS life.

clint
2007-May-22, 09:49 PM
... If our nanotechnology was advanced enough we could replace all the DNA in a kitty cat with different information carrying molecules than DNA and provided it was done right the kitty cat would still act the same as a kitty cat. Except maybe we could make it immortal if we wanted to. I do agree that it is possible for alien life to be so different from earth life it may be hard to detect.

That's a different game, though:
once a life form became capable of changing its own basic physical and biological structure,
pretty much anything would become hypothetically conceivable.

However, it still would have to have evolved somewhere in the first place,
most probably under similar rules and conditions as we have
- and with some basic building plan to evolve into complex life (DNA or similar)

So those rocky planets with liquid water are still a reasonable place to look first

timb
2007-May-23, 08:47 AM
No explanation required as we don't know what a galaxy wide civilization looks like. Maybe it looks like that. (Points out window to night sky.)

Uh so it looks like a complete lack of evidence for extraterrestrial life. No point in SETI then eh?

Ronald Brak
2007-May-23, 12:13 PM
Uh so it looks like a complete lack of evidence for extraterrestrial life. No point in SETI then eh?

Wouldn't say that. There was no evidence that there was oil in Bass Strait until they sunk a couple of test wells. They just knew it was possible.

Of course it is perfectly reasonable to decide that it's such a longshot it isn't worth the resources.

clint
2007-May-23, 08:01 PM
I think it all boils down to this:

if there is a really MUCH MORE advanced civilization out there, we will either:
a) end up bumping into them around every corner, once we start exploring space seriously
b) not be able even to recognize them, ever

In either case, there is not much point in worrying about it.
We cannot do much about it anyway.

For now, we should focus on finding any potential life forms that are less or not much more evolved than everything we know already.

That's why the search for rocky planets, liquid water, oxygen-containing atmospheres, SETI, etc. makes sense
- at least for now, as long as we don't know any other possible forms of life.

damian1727
2007-May-25, 09:55 PM
i think we have to admit the evidence.... that there is no ET here or any place we can see... the galaxy is not full of tech civs

there are many great arguments for why this might be the case in j d barrow and frank j tiplers book THE ANTHROPIC COSMOLOGICAL PRINCIPLE (oxford )


but i find the most compelling

the chance of evolving a human (or et)
a human is made of protiens..each coded by a seperate gene and we have 110 000 genes .



''the odds for assembling a single gene are between 4/-160 and 4/-360
there has not been enough time since the formation of the earth to try a number of nucleotide base combinations even remotely comparable with these numbers.the numbers of bacteria on earth is about 10/27 assuming reproductive time of 1 hour there have been at most 10/40 bacteria in entire past history.....with the order of nucleotide bases per bacterium at 10/7 it has only been possible to try out 10/47 nucleotide combinations...which is 52 orders of magnitude to small(for what ? sorry)


the odds for compiling a human at between

10/-12x10/6 and 10/-24x10/6 ?!!

(i realise i have not been completly clear but its a long essay and a bit complicated the point is BIOLOGY lol)

using these odds in the drake equation they then estimate us/et evolving
on earthlike planets every 10/400 ---- 10/800 light years WOW

so there could be loads of us out there but we wont be able to see them for billions and billions of years as they are further away than the size of the observable universe

but who knows how big the whole thing is ? (maybe pamela)

i like this view personally as it means we have to look after a very rare and valuable thing and maybe treat life with a little respect:lol:

and its up to us to spread the infomation nova and become our own ets

we are near the front after all:whistle:

its a great book a highley recomend it.. they have several other very good arguments as to why there is no et ...to do with how long it would take to colonise a galaxy against the age of the galaxy and hey presto where are they :hand: night night

Ronald Brak
2007-May-25, 10:25 PM
the odds for assembling a single gene are between 4/-160 and 4/-360

I'm scratching my head trying to work out what you mean here Damian. Random mutations DNA are very common. The mutation rate in eukaryotes is in roughly one in a million per gene per generation and one in a hundred thousand for bacteria. Since you have at least 20,000 genes there is more than a 2&#37; chance you are a mutant. This number does not include random changes in junk DNA.

If you are talking about the chances of DNA randomly forming in a puddle, well DNA didn't randomly form in a puddle. DNA resulted from natural selection in early, primitive lifeforms that did not have DNA. In the chicken and egg question of which came first, life or DNA, the answer is life.

damian1727
2007-May-25, 11:13 PM
i wont pretend to fully understand this but i get the point and am
sure that the guys are right i will try to write the full quote and maybe that will help:shifty:

the probability of evolvng a human..
we note that a homo sapien is defined biomechanically by protiens--enzymes and structural protiens--which the human genome encodes for.Each protien is encoded by a seperate gene,and the number of different genes in the human genome is estimated by Dobzhansky to be 110 000,as compared to 83 000 in a cow 7250 in a fruit fly 2500 in the prokaryote escherichia coli and 170 in one of the most primitive bacteria Mycoplasma gallisepticum.Morowitz has obtained a theoretical lower bound of =50 on the number of genes in any cell,no matter how primitive.we will assume most of the protiens coded for are enzymes.
DeLay estimates from experimental evidence that only some 10 to 20 per cent of the amino acids comprising an enzyme are immutable for enzyme activity.the other amino acids can be changed by random mutations without changing the biomechanical effect of the enzyme.this means that if we take an average gene to have 1800 nucleotide bases---the standard estimate--then 180 to 360 nucleotide bases are immutable for each gene.the odds for assembling a single gene are between 4/-180 and4/-360(me now...there is no watchmaker)these numbers are so incredibly small that delay opines that an enzyme arises only once during evolution..there simply has not been enough time since the formation of the earth to try a number of nucleotide base combinations even remotely comparable to these numbers/

then they say the bacteria thing i quoted above...

i guess the general point is that you have to get alot of NATURAL SELECTION going to build a human and if you look the past history of earth in my opinion intelligence does not seem to be a very high on natures list to select then et is not a given ...?

:)

i mean have you seen a 3d picture of an enzyme??!! what are the chances!!..well see above i guess

omho :doh:

basically it is VERY improbable that you are .....

Ronald Brak
2007-May-25, 11:54 PM
If been trying to think of a good anology for you, Damian, and what I've come up with is this. Don't think of human genetics, or the genetics of any life as being like an engineering blueprint or a computer program. Think of it more as a recipe. With a computer program a tiny change in a single bit can cause the computer program to fail. In a TV a change in one electronic component can mean it won't work at all. But in cooking, you can change the ingredients in all sorts of ways and the recipe will still work. Some changes will make the dish better, some make it worse, but usually it is still edible. When people like the changes you made you will change your recipe for the better. When people don't like the changes you will forget about them. And there is no such thing as a perfect recipe. It all depends on the tastes of the customers. As their tastes change, so will your recipe. Basically, things don't have to be exact or perfect to work. The food just has to be edible and then you can make changes to try and improve it.

damian1727
2007-May-26, 12:06 AM
the quote above recognises that fact and even gives the percentage ...
if we are talking about the difference between random and naural selection i will refer you to richard dawkins ,, climbing mount improbable....

the gentlemen i am quoting are fully aware of how this works i assure you

do you not agree that you are a unlikely event ??:sick:

ho ho :):lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:

damian1727
2007-May-26, 12:09 AM
like the whole reciepe idea tho very enterprising...
tho it should be noted that most changes that CHANGE the taste will of course KILL you ...:liar::liar::liar:

Ronald Brak
2007-May-26, 12:20 AM
do you not agree that you are a unlikely event ??

No. I would put the odds of me occuring at one.

damian1727
2007-May-26, 12:23 AM
wierd

Ronald Brak
2007-May-26, 12:30 AM
wierd

This is because I currently exist. If you showed me a newly formed planet orbiting in the habitable zone of a G type star and asked me the odds of me turning up and walking around after 4 and a half billion years I would rate them as very very small.

Anyway, my point was that gene changes are fairly common, you know some mutants. And most of these mutations are not fatal. One reason why is because we have a double set of chromosones. But new mutations are constantly entering the genepool. I was under the impression you might have thought that our genetics had to be "just right" for us to survive when really it's more a matter of whatever works. We are rather shoddily put together. I produce more earwax than I could ever concievably need.

Delysid
2007-May-26, 12:35 AM
''the odds for assembling a single gene are between 4/-160 and 4/-360
there has not been enough time since the formation of the earth to try a number of nucleotide base combinations even remotely comparable with these numbers.the numbers of bacteria on earth is about 10/27 assuming reproductive time of 1 hour there have been at most 10/40 bacteria in entire past history.....with the order of nucleotide bases per bacterium at 10/7 it has only been possible to try out 10/47 nucleotide combinations...which is 52 orders of magnitude to small(for what ? sorry)

Speaking purely as a layperson with no special training in either evolutionary biology or probability theory, I think such probabilistic calculations fail to take into account the constrained randomness that characterizes evolutionary processes, and the emergence of complexity from relatively simple initial conditions and rules.

The limited number of molecules sufficiently small, abundant, and chemically flexible enough to rapidly produce zillions (the technical term, I believe) of combinations in the primeval liquid water soup already imposes a broad but definite constraint on the range of possibilities.

Combinations that can replicate reliably into similar but not necessarily identical versions of themselves further constrain the range of possibilities, restricting the extent of random variability to perhaps mere millions rather than gazillions (approximately the square of a zillion) of options.

As life continues to develop, each organism reproduces within a constrained range of possible random mutation, and each mutation is further constrained by intrinsic and extrinsic factors that allow only a small fraction to survive and reproduce again.

Counting up the mathematically possible number of nucleotide combinations is not terribly relevant except to demonstrate the severe winnowing of that theoretical total by the constraints placed upon the randomness of evolutionary development by environmental conditions and past mutational history.

Life is not the product of pure unconstrained randomness, as the probabilistic statistics cited by damian1727 might suggest. Life is rather a dialectical process emerging from the dynamic interplay of determinism and randomness, two principles which on their own are sterile and static.

This illustrates a paradoxical aspect of the concept of infinity: life is infinitely variable, but within limits. Which I suppose is no more mysterious (and no less) than the infinity of fractional numbers found between zero and one.

None of which detracts from damian1727's excellent point about the value of such speculation in bringing home the miraculousness of life on Earth, regardless of its cosmic rarity or commonness, and the reciprocal obligation owed by giant-brained conscious beings to the biological matrix from which consciousness, and even better things like hoppy beer, jazz, and snuggling, emerged.

damian1727
2007-May-26, 12:41 AM
sweeet!! (i wish richard dawkins was here) you cant argue that intelligent life
is a given if u mix a bit of water and mud....

:)

yes the odds are veery small thats the point ... very very small :)

see we agree after all

lets snuggle!!

Delysid
2007-May-26, 01:58 AM
sweeet!! (i wish richard dawkins was here) you cant argue that intelligent life
is a given if u mix a bit of water and mud....

Actually, I don't think I said anything inconsistent with the gospel of St. Richard. And while I could argue that "intelligent life is a given if u mix a bit of water and mud", my fidelity to scientific method, and the painful memory of my ultimately disproven theories regarding the supernatural provenance of Christmas presents and, even more disastrously, lactococcic lunar ontogeny, incline me to await the results of empirical investigation first.


lets snuggle!!

Call me repressed, but the randomness of my snuggling activity is itself constrained by certain distinct parameters of species, gender, physical appearance, and the ineffable subtleties of personality and pheremones.

In other words, unless you're an attractive female Japanese snow monkey who's into foreign films, entheogenic spelunking, the overthrow of corporate capitalism, and long soaks in natural hot springs under gently falling snow, I'm afraid I'll have to draw the line at a firm handshake and a hearty "hail-fellow-well-met." And maybe some of that hoppy beer.

Nothing personal, of course.

Ronald Brak
2007-May-26, 02:27 AM
...the overthrow of corporate capitalism...

I'm informing my evil corporate minions to be on the lookout for snow monkeys flinging legislation right now. (Not that I think you can do as much damage to capitalism as those who restrict information and those who fail in their duties to stockholders.)

EvilEye
2007-May-28, 03:19 PM
Odds schmodds...

Ask a winning lottery ticket holder what the odds of them winning were before they walked away with the cash, and whether it really mattered.

The fact is... they won.

damian1727
2007-May-29, 10:38 PM
yessss but no one else did.....:cry:

EvilEye
2007-May-30, 01:31 AM
yessss but no one else did.....:cry:

yessss but someone did......:)


Even if ONE planet beats the "odds"... then the odds weren't real to begin with.

When I play the lottery, I play 50/50 for me. I either win... or I don't. Each time it is 50/50. You can't count the other times I play.

I know this is ATM... but What I am trying to say is there is no way to know anything for sure until there is evidence one way or the other.... in any situation.

The rest is odds...which is quantum physics.... and that has nothing to do with anything but math so far. Not real physical things.

damian1727
2007-May-30, 07:02 AM
?huh?:confused:

if you say so

i still maintain that the odds of intelligent life evolving are slight

and so far the evidence supports that view

50 50? i dont think so

EvilEye
2007-May-30, 10:49 AM
How slight? We're here.

I'm not talking about odds before the fact.

If there is I.L. out there.... it already is.

The only thing we have a right to put any kind of odds on is the possibility of it arising from here-on-out.

Sp1ke
2007-May-30, 01:44 PM
Describing the odds as "slight" isn't really meaningful. Let's say the odds of intelligent life occurring are one in a million. That's pretty unlikely. But if there are ten million earths out there in the universe, it becomes quite likely that intelligent life occurs on one or more of them. In fact, it would be unlikely that no intelligent life arose anywhere.

Conversely, if there are only 100,000 potential earths, then there is a fair chance that none of them will contain intelligent life (apart from ours, of course).

Unfortunately, we cannot yet obtain accurate figures of a) the odds for or against life evolving, or b) the number of potential life-bearing planets.

Jerry
2007-Jul-10, 03:33 AM
When I was a kid, and first read about atom smashers, I had this nightmare about nuclear scientists accidently creating a black hole, and sucking the whole solar system and beyond into it...

...which, if every time a civilization reaches a certain level of maturity, before they can go intergalactic they make the same uneducation mistake, and there is no one left to learn from the error.

The proof of this concept is all the black holes...that would not happen, if we quit screwing around;)

Edited to add: Did I actually see Mr. Obvious a couple of pages back?

EvilEye
2007-Jul-10, 06:52 PM
Don't worry. If they do create a black hole...

1. It will be so small, and last for such a short time, it won't have any effect other than something they can observe reacting to it.

2. If they create a black hole that sucks us in, we will never know.