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

  1. #571
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grant Hatch View Post
    Really... delusions, pseudoscientific crankdom? Seems your mind is made up.... you are cavalierly dismissing both people you call "cranks", as well as a thoughtful response to the question of the OP
    My views were evidenced in the Wiki links I posted. They were thus anything but 'cavalier dismissals'.
    My answer to the OP question is that the 'Fermi Paradox', itself, arises only because its base unevidenced and unstated assumption of 'civilisation-building intelligent life exists elsewhere' always was nothing more than a (testable) belief in the first place.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grant Hatch
    I think that statistics alone lends credence to the notion that intelligent life besides our own is out there....
    I have no problems with your belief in 'statistics' lending credence to such a notion. Unfortunately, 'credence' doesn't rise to the level of producing objective reality in this case.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grant Hatch
    My answer to his question is "it's simple", either we aren't looking for ET properly given the vastness of the field and the limits placed on the search, or they aren't ready for "us" to find them.... Or Both... far and near....
    Understood .. and my 'simplest explanation' arises by acknowledging that the FP's unevidenced and unstated assumption of 'civilisation-building intelligent life exists elsewhere' is, and always was, simply a belief in the first place .. so there really isn't any real paradox to answer.
    Whilst science can nonetheless proceed leisurely with testing this as an hypothesis, until positive results are produced, it remains simply as an hypothesis under test (along with all the rest) and there is still no 'scientific truth' beyond Earth's civilisations underpinning it. We don't know anything about the rarity or otherwise of Earth's civilised life beyond the Earth instance.
    I think that's about as fundamental as it gets as far as scientific reasoning (and statistics) goes, no?

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    Quote Originally Posted by eburacum45 View Post
    Habitable moons of gas giants would be quite unlike Earth in many ways, such as their rotation characteristics, tides, and high radiation levels in space around the primary.
    But none of those are barriers to life, at least as far as we know. For instance, we are very hopeful that life currently could exist on 2 of those moons right now (Europa and Encaledus), despite them being very different from Earth. So, if the rational here is something like "Once the metalicity gets above a certain point, life isn't possible because of the gas giants", then that is what I am disagreeing with since we are pretty sure that gas giants are actually pretty good places to look for life.

    That might not make the emergence of life impossible, but the resulting species might be very different to the species that have evolved on Earth.
    I'm sure it would be, yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by kzb View Post
    Well hang on no-one has proven that intelligent life can arise on a Jovian moon.

    The only system known to have evolved intelligent life is a possibly atypical planetary system around a relatively uncommon type of star.
    Very true, but I think the scientific consensus is that we are expecting that at least single cell life would be possible on the 2 moons I mentioned above. And so I'm comfortable operating under the assumption that life would be just as common on a gas giant moon as it would be on a terrestrial planet (though whether that makes it common or rare is tbd). Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong about that though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grant Hatch View Post
    Why not simply say you think we are the only intelligent life in the universe?
    I'll say it, I think we are the only intelligent life in the universe. I believe this as it's the only solution to the Fermi Paradox that makes sense to me. As you yourself say:

    I think that statistics alone lends credence to the notion that intelligent life besides our own is out there....especially given our relatively late appearance on the scene.
    And so given our late appearance on the scene, that means there has been PLENTY of time for intelligent space faring civilizations to have spread out and colonized every single star in their galaxy. In fact, there's been plenty of time for this to have happened several thousand times over, and we have a few hundred billion galaxies for it to happen in, yet we've never seen a single shred of evidence for this even once.

    Why "we" haven't found evidence of it yet is a far more interesting subject..... clouded by inherent and palpable prejudices in part.....
    How would prejudices "cloud" things to the point that we wouldn't notice a galaxy with zero star light, but MASSIVE infrared signatures to the point that the entire galaxy is glowing in infrared but invisible in all other wavelengths? Or prevent us from seeing a normal galaxy, but with the left 20% of it having disappeared? (These are all examples of what a Dyson Swarm would do.) Yet everywhere we look, we see a universe that looks exactly like it would look if there was no intelligent life present at all. I don't see how someone's prejudices could effect this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave241 View Post
    But none of those are barriers to life, at least as far as we know. For instance, we are very hopeful that life currently could exist on 2 of those moons right now (Europa and Encaledus), despite them being very different from Earth. So, if the rational here is something like "Once the metalicity gets above a certain point, life isn't possible because of the gas giants", then that is what I am disagreeing with since we are pretty sure that gas giants are actually pretty good places to look for life.



    I'm sure it would be, yes.



    Very true, but I think the scientific consensus is that we are expecting that at least single cell life would be possible on the 2 moons I mentioned above. And so I'm comfortable operating under the assumption that life would be just as common on a gas giant moon as it would be on a terrestrial planet (though whether that makes it common or rare is tbd). Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong about that though.
    We are talking about intelligent and technological life, not just bacteria.

    I am referencing theories on the galactic habitable zone in what I say. The GHZ is the galactic zone within which Earth-like planets could exist, and the extent of the GHZ is governed partially by the metallicity being in the right range. It doesn't take into account habitable gas giant moons, may be it should, but I don't think it does at present.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave241 View Post
    I'll say it, I think we are the only intelligent life in the universe. I believe this as it's the only solution to the Fermi Paradox that makes sense to me. As you yourself say:
    .
    This is pretty much my position as well. Other explanations are possible but they all have difficulties.
    It's possible the universe, contrary to expectations, has only just become habitable very recently, and so we are one of the first on the scene. This theory also makes sense, or it would do if people could think of a reason the universe was not conducive to intelligent life before this point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kzb View Post
    We are talking about intelligent and technological life, not just bacteria.
    Oops! Sorry, you are correct I was getting those mixed up. It's something I try to make a point to keep the topics of "life existing" and "technological life existing" as 2 separate topics, and here I go mixing them up! My bad.

    I am referencing theories on the galactic habitable zone in what I say. The GHZ is the galactic zone within which Earth-like planets could exist, and the extent of the GHZ is governed partially by the metallicity being in the right range. It doesn't take into account habitable gas giant moons, may be it should, but I don't think it does at present.
    That's interesting, I didn't think that the metalicity of the gas clouds would have that much of an effect, but perhaps it does. Do you have any link for some info on this? Sorry if you already posted one previously.

    It's possible the universe, contrary to expectations, has only just become habitable very recently, and so we are one of the first on the scene.
    I seem to recall a science fiction story from a long time ago that was about this. We were starting to meet other species, and we where discovering that they were all of roughly the same age as us. The cause of this was a big mystery in the story, but I can't recall what it was. I think they also all came from the same 2,000 light year wide bubble within our galaxy, which only furthered the mystery (but I may be getting my stories mixed up at this point).

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    Dave241:
    Rats! Now I'm going to go nuts trying to remember what that story was.
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    Lets turn the question around. Would we be able to detect our own civilization from a few tens or hundreds of light years away? The hypothetical Kardashev scale could be a fantasy feeding the notion that we should be able to detect other more advanced civilizations due to their "harnessing" the energy of a whole planet, solar system, galaxy etc. Really?? How many unsupported and fantastical presuppositions does that entail?

    Speaking of detection, most of our broadcasts are quickly becoming undetectable to anyone but the desired recipient. Additionally, those which are generally recievable (propagating in all directions) are of an energy level which would be difficult if not impossible to recieve at any great distance. The notion that alien broadcasts are propagated outward in all directions and of sufficient strength for to us have the ability to "listen in" is unwarranted and absurd.

    As far as other older civilizations having had enough time to colonize the whole Galaxy, or Universe for that matter, perhaps they have. Still doesn't mean we'd be aware of them. I can think of any number of scenarios.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grant Hatch View Post
    Lets turn the question around. Would we be able to detect our own civilization from a few tens or hundreds of light years away? The hypothetical Kardashev scale could be a fantasy feeding the notion that we should be able to detect other more advanced civilizations due to their "harnessing" the energy of a whole planet, solar system, galaxy etc. Really?? How many unsupported and fantastical presuppositions does that entail?

    Speaking of detection, most of our broadcasts are quickly becoming undetectable to anyone but the desired recipient. Additionally, those which are generally recievable (propagating in all directions) are of an energy level which would be difficult if not impossible to recieve at any great distance. The notion that alien broadcasts are propagated outward in all directions and of sufficient strength for to us have the ability to "listen in" is unwarranted and absurd.

    As far as other older civilizations having had enough time to colonize the whole Galaxy, or Universe for that matter, perhaps they have. Still doesn't mean we'd be aware of them. I can think of any number of scenarios.
    Could you tell us what those scenarios are?

    One that I think is possible is that there really isn't a galaxy-spanning civilization. While there may be a far-flung group of settlements/colonies from a common origin, the difficulty and expense of interstellar travel could render anything resembling traffic between two places non-existent.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grant Hatch View Post
    Lets turn the question around. Would we be able to detect our own civilization from a few tens or hundreds of light years away?
    Nope. I seem to recall that someone calculated that we would be able to "hear" ourselves from a distance of about a light year, though that was a while ago so with modern equipment it's probably a bit more, though I'd guess still less then 10.

    The hypothetical Kardashev scale could be a fantasy feeding the notion that we should be able to detect other more advanced civilizations due to their "harnessing" the energy of a whole planet, solar system, galaxy etc. Really?? How many unsupported and fantastical presuppositions does that entail?
    To my knowledge, zero. As far as I am aware it's possible for humans to build a Dyson Swarm around our own star right now, using today's technology and materials. It will just take several hundred thousand years. New technology will of course make it easier to build and speed it up, but it's not an impossibility. Someone put it very nicely by comparing building a Dyson Swarm to building the Great Wall of China. It's a feat of engineering and industry, not of technology. Give us humans about 100,000 years and even without inventing a single new piece of technology we can have a Dyson Swarm built.

    In fact, you could even say that we've already started building it. After all, a Dyson Swarm is just taking pieces of a planet, deconstructing it and rebuilding it into an orbital space habitat for humans which is gathering sunlight and using that energy to provide for the humans occupying it. I believe I just described the ISS. While having 1 piece of your 100 quadrillion piece Dyson Swarm may not sound very impressive, the only difference is a matter of scale.

    Speaking of detection, most of our broadcasts are quickly becoming undetectable to anyone but the desired recipient. Additionally, those which are generally recievable (propagating in all directions) are of an energy level which would be difficult if not impossible to recieve at any great distance. The notion that alien broadcasts are propagated outward in all directions and of sufficient strength for to us have the ability to "listen in" is unwarranted and absurd.
    Perhaps, but it's still worth it to listen. After all, maybe they will send a directional signal our way, something that we humans have done to several star systems around us just to see if anyone is listening. Those are quite a bit stronger then the "radio leak" you are talking about. At the very least, this will create an upper bound on the amount of radio chatter that could exist without us detecting it. But if we don't even bother to listen, we won't even know that. Now we do.

    As far as other older civilizations having had enough time to colonize the whole Galaxy, or Universe for that matter, perhaps they have. Still doesn't mean we'd be aware of them.
    We'd be aware of some of them. Unless you are proposing that zero aliens will ever choose to build Dyson Swarms, then we would certainly be aware of the ones that did build them.

    I can think of any number of scenarios.
    Scenarios which prevent the building of Dyson Swarms? I too would like to hear some examples if you don't mind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grant Hatch View Post
    Lets turn the question around. Would we be able to detect our own civilization from a few tens or hundreds of light years away? The hypothetical Kardashev scale could be a fantasy feeding the notion that we should be able to detect other more advanced civilizations due to their "harnessing" the energy of a whole planet, solar system, galaxy etc. Really?? How many unsupported and fantastical presuppositions does that entail?

    Speaking of detection, most of our broadcasts are quickly becoming undetectable to anyone but the desired recipient. Additionally, those which are generally recievable (propagating in all directions) are of an energy level which would be difficult if not impossible to recieve at any great distance. The notion that alien broadcasts are propagated outward in all directions and of sufficient strength for to us have the ability to "listen in" is unwarranted and absurd.

    As far as other older civilizations having had enough time to colonize the whole Galaxy, or Universe for that matter, perhaps they have. Still doesn't mean we'd be aware of them. I can think of any number of scenarios.
    I agree with you about the Kardashev Scale and radio detection.

    But I can't accept that I am living in a billion-year old galactic civilisation without being aware of it. This is the real Fermi paradox.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave241 View Post
    ... To my knowledge, zero. As far as I am aware it's possible for humans to build a Dyson Swarm around our own star right now, using today's technology and materials. It will just take several hundred thousand years. New technology will of course make it easier to build and speed it up, but it's not an impossibility. Someone put it very nicely by comparing building a Dyson Swarm to building the Great Wall of China. It's a feat of engineering and industry, not of technology. Give us humans about 100,000 years and even without inventing a single new piece of technology we can have a Dyson Swarm built.

    In fact, you could even say that we've already started building it. After all, a Dyson Swarm is just taking pieces of a planet, deconstructing it and rebuilding it into an orbital space habitat for humans which is gathering sunlight and using that energy to provide for the humans occupying it. I believe I just described the ISS. While having 1 piece of your 100 quadrillion piece Dyson Swarm may not sound very impressive, the only difference is a matter of scale.
    ...
    We'd be aware of some of them. Unless you are proposing that zero aliens will ever choose to build Dyson Swarms, then we would certainly be aware of the ones that did build them.
    ...
    Scenarios which prevent the building of Dyson Swarms? I too would like to hear some examples if you don't mind.
    Dyson Swarms (DS) are a science fiction solution looking to satisfy a unique requirement for which there must exist no simpler solution.
    And so, the above post now offers the search for DSs as a research pathway for sustaining the Fermi Paradox's initial posit, (which is clearly held as being true), that intelligent aliens exist, and thence might build Dyson Swarms.

    Aliens building Dyson Swarms is prevented because:
    - of the demonstrable fact that the notion of intelligent aliens, always was only ever a belief in the first place. (Which is now further evidenced here by the need to sustain the initial posit of the FP) and;
    - there is no evidence of the existence of the objective requirement for which Dyson Swarms are uniquely (solely) designed to meet.

    I offer the above as yet another explanation for the non-paradox known as the 'Fermi Paradox'.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim View Post
    Dyson Swarms (DS) are a science fiction solution looking to satisfy a unique requirement for which there must exist no simpler solution.
    Science fiction? Did you mean that seriously? Because they were not proposed as a science fiction plot point but were proposed quite seriously in real scientific discussions about alien life. Tell me, why do you think that building space habitats is science fiction? You do realize we humans do this as part of actual reality, right? No fiction involved?

    And so, the above post now offers the search for DSs as a research pathway for sustaining the Fermi Paradox's initial posit
    Well of course searching for them is a research pathway, as we would expect a space faring civilization to build such structures. So yes the search for these structures should be (and is) a current research pathway. Since so far we have found 0 dyson swarms, this is one piece of evidence that no space faring civilizations exist right alongside us having found no radio transmissions is a piece of evidence that no space faring civilizations exist.

    Aliens building Dyson Swarms is prevented because:
    - of the demonstrable fact that the notion of intelligent aliens, always was only ever a belief in the first place. (Which is now further evidenced here by the need to sustain the initial posit of the FP)
    Erm.....I think you may have typo'd here, because it sounds like you are saying that DS are impossible to build.....because aliens are only a belief? I don't see how aliens being only a belief would prevent the construction of DS. Did you mean something else?

    and;
    - there is no evidence of the existence of the objective requirement for which Dyson Swarms are uniquely (solely) designed to meet.
    This you will have to explain a bit more. What is the objective requirement that you think DS are designed to meet? As far as I'm aware, they are only good for 2 things: Greatly expanding the living volume for your species, and gather the energy your star produces to harness for your civilization. And there is plenty of evidence that we do need 1) more living space and 2) more energy. So I don't think I am understanding this objection either.

    Can you please explain further what you think is preventing the construction of DS? Remember, DS are possible to build right now with our current technology, and there is plenty of motivation for a species to want to increase both it's living volume and it's available energy resources.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave241 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SelfSim
    Dyson Swarms (DS) are a science fiction solution looking to satisfy a unique requirement for which there must exist no simpler solution.
    Science fiction? Did you mean that seriously? Because they were not proposed as a science fiction plot point but were proposed quite seriously in real scientific discussions about alien life. Tell me, why do you think that building space habitats is science fiction? You do realize we humans do this as part of actual reality, right? No fiction involved?
    Is the requirement for building the 'space habitats', which you say is 'part of actual reality', identical to the requirement for building DSs, or are the 'space habitats' you mention, a simpler solution?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave241 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SelfSim
    And so, the above post now offers the search for DSs as a research pathway for sustaining the Fermi Paradox's initial posit
    .. Since so far we have found 0 dyson swarms, this is one piece of evidence that no space faring civilizations exist right alongside us having found no radio transmissions is a piece of evidence that no space faring civilizations exist.
    I would think the aphorism: 'Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence' would apply here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave241 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SelfSim
    Aliens building Dyson Swarms is prevented because:
    - of the demonstrable fact that the notion of intelligent aliens, always was only ever a belief in the first place. (Which is now further evidenced here by the need to sustain the initial posit of the FP)
    Erm.....I think you may have typo'd here, because it sounds like you are saying that DS are impossible to build.....because aliens are only a belief? I don't see how aliens being only a belief would prevent the construction of DS. Did you mean something else?
    No typo .. I used the word 'prevented' here and not 'impossible' .. In other words, last time I checked, an unevidenced belief (ie: civilisation building intelligent aliens) does not implement 'things' which then necessarily exist in science's tested objective reality .. in fact, their status as an unevidenced 'belief' would prevent that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave241 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SelfSim
    and;
    - there is no evidence of the existence of the objective requirement for which Dyson Swarms are uniquely (solely) designed to meet.
    This you will have to explain a bit more. What is the objective requirement that you think DS are designed to meet?
    Its not really a matter of what I think this may be .. It is a question of where is the requirement objectified? .. because: I've never seen it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave241 View Post
    As far as I'm aware, they are only good for 2 things: Greatly expanding the living volume for your species, and gather the energy your star produces to harness for your civilization. And there is plenty of evidence that we do need 1) more living space and 2) more energy. So I don't think I am understanding this objection either.
    If these were present day requirements, then I'd expect that we'd have already a DS of our own. We haven't .. thus there must be no such present requirement. (I get that futuristic sc-fi fans may not envisage things this way .. however, such futurisms are just more untested beliefs and different people always hold different beliefs, especially when it comes to the future).

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave241 View Post
    Can you please explain further what you think is preventing the construction of DS? Remember, DS are possible to build right now with our current technology, and there is plenty of motivation for a species to want to increase both it's living volume and it's available energy resources.
    If there was sufficient motivation, then there would be an objective requirement for one which I could look at right now. (I can't) .. We certainly don't have a DS now.
    I can deduce from these that there must be no (envisaged) requirement available.

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    If these were present day requirements, then I'd expect that we'd have already a DS of our own. We haven't .. thus there must be no such present requirement.

    Actually, they are present day requirements, we are just currently meeting them by easier methods than a DS.
    We may or may not run out of easier methods but still have the requirements at a future date.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mazanec View Post
    ... Actually, they are present day requirements, we are just currently meeting them by easier methods than a DS.
    We may or may not run out of easier methods but still have the requirements at a future date.
    Then in order for 'space habitats' to be successful, the requirement for them must not be the same as the (missing) one for a Dyson Swarm.

    I find it amazing that so many folk believe that an objective requirement exists which would drive the production of a Dyson Swarm .. but no one can produce it for everyone to look at.
    Where the unique difference for DSs is claimed as being 'only a matter of scale', engineering one cannot possibly happen without first quantifying this scale. So where is it? Because without it, DSs are just as fictional as the belief in the existence of civilisation building aliens which gives rise to the non-paradox called the Fermi Paradox.

    I'll bet there's an extensive objective requirement which led to the production of the ISS, by way of comparison .. and I'll bet it has nothing to do with 'Greatly expanding the living volume for {our} species, and gathering the energy {our} star produces to harness for {our} civilization'.

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    Well....I may have mentioned this a few hundred posts back but IMHO any intelligent civilization (really intelligent) would realize that it makes more sense to limit its population growth towards a more easily sustainable number rather than go to the extremes of constructing a DS via a monumental use of limited resources. All for trillions of inhabitants?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim View Post
    Is the requirement for building the 'space habitats', which you say is 'part of actual reality', identical to the requirement for building DSs, or are the 'space habitats' you mention, a simpler solution?
    Pretty much. All a Dyson Swarm is is a bunch of space habitats around a star. You can have other things too, such as mirrors to focus the suns beam on solar sail ships and offer essentially a free ride to other star systems. Or for really advanced tech you can focus the suns energy into a point and make a kugleblitz black hole, again for free since it's just redirecting the suns energy. But the majority would be space habitats. Going off of memory, I believe that you can get a few billion Earths worth of living space in a fully constructed DS.

    I would think the aphorism: 'Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence' would apply here.
    Why? I've never really understood why that quote is used so often, because I don't agree with it. If you search for something, and don't find it, that actually is one piece of evidence that the thing is absent from where you have searched. How could it not be?

    Based on our current technology, we can say with a reasonable degree of certainty that there are no DS in the Milky Way, and no K2 or K3 civilizations in the observable universe. We could not, however, detect our own civilization.

    No typo .. I used the word 'prevented' here and not 'impossible' .. In other words, last time I checked, an unevidenced belief (ie: civilisation building intelligent aliens) does not implement 'things' which then necessarily exist in science's tested objective reality .. in fact, their status as an unevidenced 'belief' would prevent that.
    Ok.......I'm still struggling with what you mean here, but I think we agree. I too don't think that there is any alien intelligence out there, so if you want to call that an "unevidenced belief", ok. So I also agree that we wouldn't see any of those mega structures. Which means that yes, there being no intelligent aliens in the cosmos would prevent DS from being built, but this is exactly the point I was trying to make before since this also seems to be what we see. However, in relation to the Fermi Paradox it kind of goes without saying that if there are no aliens, it's not possible for there to be any evidence of their presence. Are you trying to say something different?

    Its not really a matter of what I think this may be .. It is a question of where is the requirement objectified? .. because: I've never seen it.
    Requirement? DS are more a natural consequence of expanding into space and building space habitats for your civilization, I think "required" is a bit strong.

    If these were present day requirements, then I'd expect that we'd have already a DS of our own.
    How could we have a DS of our own? They take 100,000+ years to construct.

    We haven't .. thus there must be no such present requirement.
    Or the present methods we have to meet those requirements are satisfactory. Or the time it would take to construct a DS is far in excess of the time available thus far.

    If there was sufficient motivation, then there would be an objective requirement for one which I could look at right now. (I can't) ..
    I'm not sure I understand your use of the word "required". It wasn't "required" that we go to the moon, but we did anyway. It isn't "required" that we launch space probes to explore the planets, but we do anyway. Also, it's possible to have the motivation to build a DS but not yet have the means.

    We certainly don't have a DS now.
    We also haven't had time to build one.

    I can deduce from these that there must be no (envisaged) requirement available.
    Again, I'm confused by your use of the word "required".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacedude View Post
    Well....I may have mentioned this a few hundred posts back but IMHO any intelligent civilization (really intelligent) would realize that it makes more sense to limit its population growth towards a more easily sustainable number rather than go to the extremes of constructing a DS via a monumental use of limited resources. All for trillions of inhabitants?
    Sorry to ask you to go through it again, but why would it make more sense to limit your population growth? As an example, if there were 2 groups within the same species, one which wanted to limit their number (say, less then 10 billion) and the other which wanted to grow their number as much as possible, consider what would happen after a few million years.

    You will have one group that will remain small and stay based on one planet. It may visit other stars, but it won't set up colonies around them because that will grow it's population to over 10 billion. Any resources they wanted to exploit would have to be done with a manual labor of less then 10 billion (so if they needed 1 billion people to accomplish some task, that's 10% of their population), and that includes any energy requirements. Speaking of energy, they will have saved 0 energy resources by having a small population since the sun will produce the same amount of energy regardless of how many humans are around.

    The other group however, will set up colonies around other stars. They will build a DS in their home star system. They will expand their population into the quintillions. If they needed a manual labor force of 1 billion people to accomplish some task, that's only 0.000001% of their population. They aren't using up energy at an unsustainable rate either since they also are simply using the energy that the sun was going to be producing anyway, so no strain on their society for having such a large population.

    Why would it be beneficial to have the smaller population with fewer resources?

    Also, you have to consider what to do if within your population, a small group says "Eh, we don't want to live with you anymore, so we are going to start our own colony and grow as much as we are able to". Do you go to war to stop them from leaving? If you don't, then very quickly the small group that doesn't care to limit their population will grow far larger then the group that did want to limit themselves and your species is essentially that group that splintered off, since they outnumber you by so much. On the other hand, if you do go to war to stop them from leaving are you going to be 100% successful every time? What happens when someone successfully runs away and starts growing?

    All for trillions of inhabitants?
    Only trillions? That wouldn't even fill up a small part of 1 DS around 1 star. You are underselling it by several orders of magnitude.

  20. #590
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    Sorry to ask you to go through it again, but why would it make more sense to limit your population growth? As an example, if there were 2 groups within the same species, one which wanted to limit their number (say, less then 10 billion) and the other which wanted to grow their number as much as possible, consider what would happen after a few million years.
    I don't mind, especially since we're all just speculating on the possibilities. What would happen or what might happen? Predicting what would happen after a few million years is fruitless.

    You will have one group that will remain small and stay based on one planet. It may visit other stars, but it won't set up colonies around them because that will grow it's population to over 10 billion.
    Setting up colonies in other star systems wouldn't put a strain on the home planet's resources so expanding their population in that manner is fine. I was only referring to the home star system for population limits.

    Why would it be beneficial to have the smaller population with fewer resources?
    The smaller population would have the same resources as an unlimited population.

    Also, you have to consider what to do if within your population, a small group says "Eh, we don't want to live with you anymore, so we are going to start our own colony and grow as much as we are able to". Do you go to war to stop them from leaving?
    No, no war, let them go wherever they wish to go, it's a big universe out there. If a war over population size erupts (at any stage of development) then that species is self destructive and probably would eventually wipe itself out over other issues involving bad decision making.

    This is an interesting exercise in predicting how might intelligent civilizations would plan ahead, I'm just not sure if quantity over quality of a species would be that critically important. Spreading out would seem to be a safer bet on preservation of the species rather than concentrating the population within one's home star system.

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    Has anyone even thought about where we would get the materials required to build a dyson sphere from?? Especially one sufficiently large to totally surround a star and cut it's visible light off? The asteroid belt? I suspect if all the matter in our system within a tenth of a light year and not in deep gravity wells were gathered together and formed into a sphere the proper distance from our sun it would be far less than a millimeter thick
    Last edited by Grant Hatch; 2019-Dec-15 at 04:06 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacedude View Post
    Setting up colonies in other star systems wouldn't put a strain on the home planet's resources so expanding their population in that manner is fine. I was only referring to the home star system for population limits.
    Ok, gotcha. That does change things a bit. So you seem to be talking about a civilization that is ok with populating the surface of a planet to whatever it's reasonable limits would be (10 billion is a nice round number), but not going to the extra effort of constructing space habitats in any meaningful number. Something like that? So if they do expand to another star system, they would only colonize it if it already had an Earth like planet there, but should they find that then they would expand their population on that planet to 10-ish billion. So they would still expand through the galaxy in that manner, just in a much slower fashion. Let me know if I got anything wrong there.

    The smaller population would have the same resources as an unlimited population.
    Would they though? I don't think you can just assume that, unless you are suggesting they would still construct a Dyson Swarm (or something similar), but just not inhabit it? Or construct a DS out of only solar panels and nothing else? Remember, a DS means they have access to the entire solar output of a star. I have a hard time imagining a species that limits themselves to only 1 planet, yet also being able to encompass their star in artificial constructs. Or if they do choose to do this, I can't see why they wouldn't also construct a massive number of space habitats to go along with it since it doesn't seem like that much more of an effort.

    Also, resources isn't just things you can pick up. People count as a resource too, and having more people does mean that you can accomplish more things.


    No, no war, let them go wherever they wish to go, it's a big universe out there.
    Then I will suggest that over a long enough time scale, constructing DS is inevitable. That means that even if your species starts off as one that only limits themselves to colonizing the surface of planets, the small faction which breaks off to construct Dyson Swarms will quickly outnumber the original population to the point of irrelevancy. Which means it's more or less impossible (or incredibly unlikely) to have a species which will actually stick to only planets. And that's my objection to this, that once a species has access to interstellar travel, they also have access to living in space permanently with permanent space habitats, and that will inevitably lead to them having a DS. Which brings us full circle right back to the Fermi Paradox.

    If a war over population size erupts (at any stage of development) then that species is self destructive and probably would eventually wipe itself out over other issues involving bad decision making.
    Are you speaking about humans?

    This is an interesting exercise in predicting how might intelligent civilizations would plan ahead, I'm just not sure if quantity over quality of a species would be that critically important.
    What if you didn't have to choose quantity OR quality, but instead could have both? I know that the image which comes to mind of a population that high is people living shoulder to shoulder, crammed into as small a space as you possibly can. But the available volume goes up so dramatically that you find that the space per person actually goes UP in a DS, not down. What limits your DS is the available energy from your star, not the available space around it.

    Spreading out would seem to be a safer bet on preservation of the species rather than concentrating the population within one's home star system.
    I agree. And if your civilizations primary form of living space is space habitats, then you can spread out to any and every star around you. If you limit yourself to planets already like the Earth, you will probably only have a few systems to spread out to. As an example, there probably aren't any inhabitable worlds around Proxima Centauri that you could colonize, but you could certainly set up orbital space habitats around it. Whereas the closest Earthlike planet could be 100's of light years away at best for all we know.

  23. #593
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grant Hatch View Post
    Has anyone even thought about where we would get the materials required to build a dyson sphere from?? Especially one sufficiently large to totally surround a star and cut it's visible light off? The asteroid belt? I suspect if all the matter in our system within a tenth of a light year and not in deep gravity wells were gathered together and formed into a sphere the proper distance from our sun it would be far less than a millimeter thick
    It certainly has been thought of, and in my opinion it's one of the coolest parts of a DS. You get the materials from: planets! Thats right, you deconstruct entire planets to build your DS. So for instance it's been estimated that the planet Mercury plus the asteroid belt probably has enough material to construct a DS around our star, though some estimates show you'd need a good chunk of Venus too. But don't freak out too much, it's done in small steps over very long periods of time. Hundreds of thousands of years. And it's not like with building a bridge, where you can't use it until it's all done. A DS is a gradual construction that can be used as it's built, each piece is just a new space habitat for a few thousand people, and then after you do that a few trillion times you have your Swarm and all the asteroids are gone. Simple, right?

    An equivalent thing might be telling an ancient caveman that we are going to cut down his entire 10 million acre forest to build houses. The scale might seem impossible to him, but we don't first cut down every tree and THEN start building houses, we gradually take lumber out of the forest and build houses people can live in, over and over and over again. But after a few hundred years, the forest is gone and we have millions of houses. Scale this up to taking rocks and metals out of planets and building space habitats, and scale up hundreds of years to hundreds of thousands of years, and boom you have your Dyson Swarm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave241 View Post
    Ok, gotcha. That does change things a bit. So you seem to be talking about a civilization that is ok with populating the surface of a planet to whatever it's reasonable limits would be (10 billion is a nice round number), but not going to the extra effort of constructing space habitats in any meaningful number. Something like that? So if they do expand to another star system, they would only colonize it if it already had an Earth like planet there, but should they find that then they would expand their population on that planet to 10-ish billion. So they would still expand through the galaxy in that manner, just in a much slower fashion. Let me know if I got anything wrong there.
    Yes that's mainly what I meant, an intelligent civilization at a sustainable population, plus terraforming/colonizing any planets and moons as technology advances but also at a long term sustainable level.

    Would they though? I don't think you can just assume that, unless you are suggesting they would still construct a Dyson Swarm (or something similar), but just not inhabit it? Or construct a DS out of only solar panels and nothing else?
    That's just it, if the population of a solar system levels off at a long term sustainable level there wouldn't be need of a massive DS, but of course using the star's free energy for any and all possible purposes to benefit that population.

    Then I will suggest that over a long enough time scale, constructing DS is inevitable. That means that even if your species starts off as one that only limits themselves to colonizing the surface of planets, the small faction which breaks off to construct Dyson Swarms will quickly outnumber the original population to the point of irrelevancy. Which means it's more or less impossible (or incredibly unlikely) to have a species which will actually stick to only planets. And that's my objection to this, that once a species has access to interstellar travel, they also have access to living in space permanently with permanent space habitats, and that will inevitably lead to them having a DS. Which brings us full circle right back to the Fermi Paradox.
    I'm not sure what you mean by "
    ...quickly outnumber the original population to the point of irrelevancy."
    Now are you speaking about humans? .
    Are you suggesting that their descendants would eventually return and be hostile to their ancestral home? steal their star?

    I understand the argument for DSs. Those numbers (several orders of magnitude (trillions in population)) would indeed require such immense space structures. I'm just speculating (not assuming by any means) that keeping a sustainable, healthy population intact would erase the need for such a monumental investment of resources. We can still reach out and explore the stars, and create massive space stations for those who wish to live on them. I suppose if we, as an intelligent species, turns our home world into a degraded uninhabitable rock then maybe life on a space station would look good.

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    Based on our current technology, we can say with a reasonable degree of certainty that there are no DS in the Milky Way, and no K2 or K3 civilizations in the observable universe.

    What is the actual observational limit? A K2 civilization is just a missing star. One gigaparsec away, in a galaxy of half a trillion stars, would you even notice that?
    In fact, if there were a DS 5 kiloparsecs away in Sagittarius would we know it, if they did not wish to beam radio or laser signals our way?
    They are certainly not common, but a few K2s per galaxy, or a few K3s in the universe, seems still possible.
    SHARKS (crossed out) MONGEESE (sic) WITH FRICKIN' LASER BEAMS ATTACHED TO THEIR HEADS

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mazanec View Post
    Based on our current technology, we can say with a reasonable degree of certainty that there are no DS in the Milky Way, and no K2 or K3 civilizations in the observable universe.

    What is the actual observational limit? A K2 civilization is just a missing star. One gigaparsec away, in a galaxy of half a trillion stars, would you even notice that?
    In fact, if there were a DS 5 kiloparsecs away in Sagittarius would we know it, if they did not wish to beam radio or laser signals our way?
    They are certainly not common, but a few K2s per galaxy, or a few K3s in the universe, seems still possible.
    Just to say, some years ago, a population of infra-red excess stars was discovered in our own galaxy. We've heard little about this since, and I can't find the paper any more. But it did happen.

    Since then we've had that mystery star with the varying brightness, that's not been properly resolved to my knowledge. Plus it has been found this star is not unique it is just a noticeable example.

    I'm not gone on the DS idea, but then again, perhaps something similar is hiding in plain sight?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacedude View Post
    Yes that's mainly what I meant, an intelligent civilization at a sustainable population, plus terraforming/colonizing any planets and moons as technology advances but also at a long term sustainable level.
    I want to ask you about the bolded part, because you just opened an exception to what you were talking about before. If you allow for the "as technology advances" part, then why would space habitats not be included for types of places people will live? And if you do include that, then I again contend that your civilization will also build and occupy a Dyson Swarm just like the one I am describing.

    That's just it, if the population of a solar system levels off at a long term sustainable level there wouldn't be need of a massive DS, but of course using the star's free energy for any and all possible purposes to benefit that population.
    But how would they use their stars free energy without building a DS? Just staying on Earth will not permit the human race to exploit any meaningful % of our stars energy output.

    I'm not sure what you mean by "...quickly outnumber the original population to the point of irrelevancy."

    Now are you speaking about humans? .
    No, I was merely talking about that portion of the population you said you would allow to break away and start their own colony, one which won't limit themselves to planets and will instead build DS to live in. Going off of memory a full DS can potentially allow for as many as 1 sextillion people (that's 100 billion Earths worth of living space if I remember correctly). So, if you have 2 populations of the same species, one of which is 10 billion in number (or 20 billion if they find another planet they can live on) and the other of which is 1 sextillion in number, which would you think of as the main population? That's why I said the part that breaks off to build DS will vastly outnumber the part that chooses to remain on planets.


    Are you suggesting that their descendants would eventually return and be hostile to their ancestral home? steal their star?
    I wasn't, but now that you mention it this could certainly be a possibility. Remember we are talking about time scales of possibly millions of years, so it's possible if some colony wanders off into the galaxy and looses contact with you when you next encounter them you may not even recognize them as the same species anymore. And if that colony was one that choose to build DS, then your 10 billion population planet is now going to have to figure out what to do against a force that numbers in the sextillions.

    I understand the argument for DSs. Those numbers (several orders of magnitude (trillions in population)) would indeed require such immense space structures. I'm just speculating (not assuming by any means) that keeping a sustainable, healthy population intact would erase the need for such a monumental investment of resources.
    Today it's a monumental investment of resources, but what about when our industry progresses to the point that building space habitats is trivial? Are you saying that even then it won't make complete sense to start populating outer space instead of overcrowding our home planet? Also, to again address the "what if they just don't want to increase their population?" counter argument, my counter point is "what about the small portion that does?". That (initially) small population will build space habitats to live in, and then those space habitats will build more space habitats, which will build more space habitats, ect ect ect and this will eventually lead to a DS, even if they leave their home planet alone.

    To summarize, I don't see DS as something that has to be planned and built, I rather see it as an inevitable consequence of building long term, self sustaining space habitats. As long as this is possible, I simply don't see anyway that a DS WON'T get built.

    We can still reach out and explore the stars, and create massive space stations for those who wish to live on them. I suppose if we, as an intelligent species, turns our home world into a degraded uninhabitable rock then maybe life on a space station would look good.
    That bolded part will lead to a DS. How could it not?

  28. #598
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mazanec View Post
    Based on our current technology, we can say with a reasonable degree of certainty that there are no DS in the Milky Way, and no K2 or K3 civilizations in the observable universe.

    What is the actual observational limit? A K2 civilization is just a missing star. One gigaparsec away, in a galaxy of half a trillion stars, would you even notice that?
    In fact, if there were a DS 5 kiloparsecs away in Sagittarius would we know it, if they did not wish to beam radio or laser signals our way?
    They are certainly not common, but a few K2s per galaxy, or a few K3s in the universe, seems still possible.
    There may be a difference in definitions of K2 and K3 that we are using. If a K2 is only having complete control of a single star (a Dyson Swarm is a good example of this), and a K3 civ is having complete control of every star in your galaxy (so having a DS around every star), then what do we call a civ that has a DS around 10,000 stars? Remember, it's not like you build a DS around only your home star and then only once it's finished do you start building one around a second star. Once you get to the point that you have any significant portion of your DS built you have probably also started colonies around your closest starts, all of which will be building their own DS that will be at varying stages of being complete. So I think a more likely senario would be one in which our home star is maybe 90% covered, Alpha Centauri is 60% covered, Bernards star is 30-50% covered, and we have hundreds of other stars with colonies around them, all building more habitats and all slowly building up their own DS. By the time your home star gets close to 100% covered, you probably have several dozen other star systems not far behind and hundreds that have started.

    Edited to add: I just realized that this didn't really address your comment, sorry. Yes you are correct that we probably could miss one single DS around only 1 star in a galaxy, however I don't see that situation as very likely. For the reasons I said above, I would think a civilization would either be building thousands of DS at that same time, or none. I don't see why or how any civilization would only build a single DS around only 1 star. So, in regards to us being able to see any K2 or K3 civ in the universe, I may have overstated that a bit. We would certainly notice K3 civs anywhere in the observable universe, but a K2 civ that is only just starting off may escape notice. As they occupy a larger and larger % of their galaxy it becomes more and more noticeable though.

    They are certainly not common, but a few K2s per galaxy.....
    This would result in Star Wars. If there were a few K2 civs in our galaxy right now, we would be surrounded by stars with DS. It only takes perhaps a million years to go from K2 to K3, and our galaxy has had over 10 billion years.

    or a few K3s in the universe, seems still possible.
    But if they are this rare, then that would also solve the Fermi Paradox. The Fermi Paradox says that these things should be common, yet they are not. But then you have to explain why there are so few space faring civilizations. Is it a Great Filter? If so, which one? Just so you know, I too think this is the most likely explanation. There simply haven't been many space faring civs in our universe, and they are so rare that we humans are probably the first ones to appear in our galaxy and probably the first in our local group of galaxies too.
    Last edited by Dave241; 2019-Dec-17 at 04:42 AM.

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    Dave I'll try to be brief and summarize rather than rehash or rephrase what I've already posted. I understand your position on DSs and I can see why it may make sense for aliens to keep constructing endless habitats for an endlessly growing population of inhabitants. My reasoning is that it makes more sense to maintain a healthy viable population on their still sustainable home planet while at the same time explore nearby star systems to also expand and inhabit. Colonies on the local planets and moons and space stations are fine for enhancing these purposes. Keeping it simple would be the "intelligent" thing to do for intelligent beings and a primary step would be to maintain a smaller population in the billions rather than in the mega trillions. This will be my last comment on this topic as my reasoning is pretty simple, but it's always fun to speculate on the possibilities, of which is admittedly difficult to get into an alien's mind on how they might handle their future prospects. How we humans would handle it? that also remains to be seen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacedude View Post
    Dave I'll try to be brief and summarize rather than rehash or rephrase what I've already posted. I understand your position on DSs and I can see why it may make sense for aliens to keep constructing endless habitats for an endlessly growing population of inhabitants. My reasoning is that it makes more sense to maintain a healthy viable population on their still sustainable home planet while at the same time explore nearby star systems to also expand and inhabit. Colonies on the local planets and moons and space stations are fine for enhancing these purposes. Keeping it simple would be the "intelligent" thing to do for intelligent beings and a primary step would be to maintain a smaller population in the billions rather than in the mega trillions. This will be my last comment on this topic as my reasoning is pretty simple, but it's always fun to speculate on the possibilities, of which is admittedly difficult to get into an alien's mind on how they might handle their future prospects. How we humans would handle it? that also remains to be seen.
    Well you keep claiming that this is the intelligent choice and that the reasoning is simple, but I really feel that you are misunderstanding the situation. This isn't the difference between having a population in a country of 100 million instead of 1 billion, where you can comfortably support the 100 million but the 1 billion would be very overcrowded. In that situation, yes of course I agree it makes more sense to have a sustainable population and avoid being overcrowded. However, I am disputing that this is the case you we are talking about.

    Instead I see it more like you have a country that can comfortably support 100 million people, but you are insisting that you limit your population to only 100 people. 100 people cannot fully exploit the resources of an entire country, and so even if they had the same land area there is no way they would be accessing the same amount of resources. And keep in mind those numbers are actually far CLOSER then the difference between a 10 billion person planet and a 1 sextillion person DS.

    Also, like I said before I don't see how you would stop a DS from happening. As long as people are building space habitats (and you said they will), eventually the number of space habitats will grow to the numbers of a DS. How would you stop it? Pass a law declaring that only 100 space habitats can exists in your star system, but you will shoot down the 101st one that's built? It doesn't make any sense.

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