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

  1. #241
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    I have the same issue with the berserker argument as the paranoid alien argument: If they were going to kill us, why wait? I would expect they would long ago made Earth uninhabitable if they existed.
    How would they know Earth had a dangerous civilization until now? We didn't emit much coherent radio during the Carboniferous.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    How would they know Earth had a dangerous civilization until now? We didn't emit much coherent radio during the Carboniferous.
    And how dangerous would they consider us to be? We are currently only dangerous to ourselves and a portion of life on our own planet. We are no threat to anything beyond our own planet.
    Last edited by cosmocrazy; 2019-May-17 at 08:00 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmocrazy View Post
    And how dangerous would they consider us to be? We are currently only dangerous to ourselves and a portion of life on our own planet. We are no threat to anything beyond our own planet.
    A longer lived, smarter, less empathetic, or coldly pragmatic society might plan for the long term. Any species with industrial tech is a potential spacefaring rival or enemy someday.

    In military strategy you can't go by motives, you go by capabilities. Motives are personal and notoriously fickle; your subject might change leadership or just change their mind.
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  4. #244
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    How would they know Earth had a dangerous civilization until now? We didn't emit much coherent radio during the Carboniferous.
    Iím not sure why you are bringing up the Carboniferous. Unless you are talking about a different thing, that was millions of years ago. Why are you bringing up such an ancient era?


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  5. #245
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    I’m not sure why you are bringing up the Carboniferous. Unless you are talking about a different thing, that was millions of years ago. Why are you bringing up such an ancient era?


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    Because for most of its existence, Earth was indistinguishable from a lifeless world by any known means of remote observation that work over light-years of distance.
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  6. #246
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    A longer lived, smarter, less empathetic, or coldly pragmatic society might plan for the long term. Any species with industrial tech is a potential spacefaring rival or enemy someday.

    In military strategy you can't go by motives, you go by capabilities. Motives are personal and notoriously fickle; your subject might change leadership or just change their mind.
    I agree, so its unlikely that we pose a threat at the moment but could quite possibly be on the brink of doing so within this century. Would they preempt this now and once they discover us, via radio decide to wipe us out now before we evolve further?
    Is this something we would consider if faced with the same scenario in the future? Or would be nurture and encourage / educate the more primitive beings? We are facing this in a way at the moment, with the increase of A.I advancements do we continue to develop more advanced technology that may not eventually share our morals or empathy and decide that humans are insignificant now and should be made extinct to ensure its own survival.

    There are thousands of assumptions and scenarios that are as viable as each other and I'm sure many more we can't even dream of. Its fun to imagine and scary as well.

  7. #247
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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmocrazy View Post
    I agree, so its unlikely that we pose a threat at the moment but could quite possibly be on the brink of doing so within this century. Would they preempt this now and once they discover us, via radio decide to wipe us out now before we evolve further?
    Is this something we would consider if faced with the same scenario in the future? Or would be nurture and encourage / educate the more primitive beings? We are facing this in a way at the moment, with the increase of A.I advancements do we continue to develop more advanced technology that may not eventually share our morals or empathy and decide that humans are insignificant now and should be made extinct to ensure its own survival.

    There are thousands of assumptions and scenarios that are as viable as each other and I'm sure many more we can't even dream of. Its fun to imagine and scary as well.
    Prisoner's Dilemma. The choice of self preservation above all others, may be the most dangerous.

    Suppose they do want to eliminate us. THey send a Relativistic Kill Vehicle to ram our planet. With light lag and travel time, by the time they detect and reach us we might have developed into something spread into a multi-planet or non-planet civilization capable of surviving one attack. So their attempt to get us out of the picture, will only trigger revenge. They've now made us truly dangerous to them.
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  8. #248
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Because for most of its existence, Earth was indistinguishable from a lifeless world by any known means of remote observation that work over light-years of distance.
    I think weíre all aware of that, thank you.

    I think the point we are discussing is that we have been putting out radio waves for at least a half a century, and have started to foray into space, and yet they havenít gotten us. Now it may just be that they are slow, but in that case there is always a chance that, fearing their possible arrival, we can set up a secret base somewhere in the solar system that they will miss. Or itís possible that they know we are here, but donít see us as dangerous yet. Iím happy to discuss those, but please donít imagine that I or anyone else here does not realize that we didnít have artificial radios millions of years ago. We are not that ignorant....


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  9. #249
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Your expected results are also the expected results for most of the other hypotheses.
    Well Ok I'll give you that one. But other explanations are unsatisfactory for other reasons.

    With the berserker concept, we can indeed have many planets evolving civilisations over billions of years, as we expect.

    The Great Filter occurs at the point radio waves or other signs of technological civilisations emerging. Shortly after that point they are killed off.

    There is no need to explode the planet to do this. The signs of an single species on a planet being wiped would be very difficult to detect. In our case a bioengineered virus might be all that it takes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    I think we’re all aware of that, thank you.

    I think the point we are discussing is that we have been putting out radio waves for at least a half a century, and have started to foray into space, and yet they haven’t gotten us. Now it may just be that they are slow, but in that case there is always a chance that, fearing their possible arrival, we can set up a secret base somewhere in the solar system that they will miss. Or it’s possible that they know we are here, but don’t see us as dangerous yet. I’m happy to discuss those, but please don’t imagine that I or anyone else here does not realize that we didn’t have artificial radios millions of years ago. We are not that ignorant....


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    That's easy. The killer probes have not yet reached us.

    It's quite possible it is tens of light years to the nearest listening post. So our broadcasts have only just reached it, and after they do, it will take decades for the killer probes to journey to Earth.

    To devote resources to secret bases we need to be aware this is a serious threat. But this is so nuts to the average person that it won't happen.

  11. #251
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    I think we’re all aware of that, thank you.

    I think the point we are discussing is that we have been putting out radio waves for at least a half a century, and have started to foray into space, and yet they haven’t gotten us. Now it may just be that they are slow, but in that case there is always a chance that, fearing their possible arrival, we can set up a secret base somewhere in the solar system that they will miss. Or it’s possible that they know we are here, but don’t see us as dangerous yet. I’m happy to discuss those, but please don’t imagine that I or anyone else here does not realize that we didn’t have artificial radios millions of years ago. We are not that ignorant....


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  12. #252
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    Quote Originally Posted by kzb View Post
    Well Ok I'll give you that one. But other explanations are unsatisfactory for other reasons.
    Which are...?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Which are...?
    We've been into that extensively on here.

    A large part comes down to the theory of mediocrity coupled with the vast amount of time available.

    I think most people don't grasp the shear scale of the time problem. If theories on galaxy evolution are anywhere near correct, the first civilisations should've arisen 4 billion years ago, and the average civilisation is 1 billion years older than us.

    The Star Trek galaxy is just a fantasy according to this. We don't live in a galaxy with fellow humanoids at similar stage of development.

  14. #254
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    Quote Originally Posted by kzb View Post
    We've been into that extensively on here.

    A large part comes down to the theory of mediocrity coupled with the vast amount of time available.

    I think most people don't grasp the shear scale of the time problem. If theories on galaxy evolution are anywhere near correct, the first civilisations should've arisen 4 billion years ago, and the average civilisation is 1 billion years older than us.
    .
    "Should've", again? Not really a term that fits here. Not only do we have no data except our own existence to judge from, nature is under no obligation to be humanly intuitive. In fact turns out most of it isn't what we expected by a long shot.

    And you already know what I think of the viability of the so-called 'theory' of mediocrity. It's not all we've got, at all.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kzb View Post
    To devote resources to secret bases we need to be aware this is a serious threat. But this is so nuts to the average person that it won't happen.
    It doesn't matter if it is nuts to the "average person," whatever that means. If it is not nuts to a few "superior" people like you and me, and it will also not be nuts to a fairly large number of people, and so it might happen. Should we start working on it?
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  16. #256
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    You asked me to explain why I said that, I explained why I said that.
    I suppose I was maybe being unfair. Swift did in fact say "long ago." I interpreted it to mean "decades ago". But you could well interpret it to mean "millions of years ago," though I suspect that Swift is aware that we weren't putting out radio signals millions of years ago, before we even existed... So I gave him the benefit of the doubt in that case.
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  17. #257
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    I suppose I was maybe being unfair. Swift did in fact say "long ago." I interpreted it to mean "decades ago". But you could well interpret it to mean "millions of years ago," though I suspect that Swift is aware that we weren't putting out radio signals millions of years ago, before we even existed... So I gave him the benefit of the doubt in that case.
    Well, the discussion has brought up civilizations supposedly millions or billions of years old. Not to mention the potential light-lagged detection and physical travel times over unknown, possibly intergalactic distances. So what Earth looked and emitted like then seemed relevant to me.
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  18. #258
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    It doesn't matter if it is nuts to the "average person," whatever that means. If it is not nuts to a few "superior" people like you and me, and it will also not be nuts to a fairly large number of people, and so it might happen. Should we start working on it?
    I assume this is to get me to say no, in which case you can say I don't believe in this theory after all.

    If I say yes I am either a nut or think I am a superior being. Hoist by my own petard.

    I have to say I am unwilling to start a campaign for secret bases in the asteroids because the killer probes are coming. I don't think it will get anywhere to be honest. Definitely I will be classed as a nut.

    Also, it is likely to be futile. Following the logic of the principle of mediocrity, if we set up these bases, then many other civilisations have done also. Yet they have still apparently not overcome the killer probes, because they remain hidden.

    I don't know really. I am simply pointing out that the killer probes theory ticks a lot of the boxes, but I don't want it to be true. I will just fudge the question by saying we need more information first.

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    If advanced civilizations have set up shelters and successfully hid from Berserkers, they'd look dead. And to avoid a return, they'd have to keep looking dead, to the outside Universe. So we wouldn't see them either way. Just sayin'.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    "Should've", again? Not really a term that fits here. Not only do we have no data except our own existence to judge from, nature is under no obligation to be humanly intuitive. In fact turns out most of it isn't what we expected by a long shot.

    And you already know what I think of the viability of the so-called 'theory' of mediocrity. It's not all we've got, at all.
    Yes "should've" does fit here. Otherwise there is basically no sensible discussion.

    According to what we think we know about evolution of the galactic habitable zone, suitable planets for evolution of intelligent life were available many billions of years ago.

    Perhaps this is wrong. In fact I think this is the currently favoured idea amongst the experts. They are saying there were too many GRBs in the past and it is only recently that planets have been left alone for long enough to evolve intelligent life.

    I meant to say the "principle" of mediocrity.

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    Suitable planets for life. Earth life did without our big brains successfully almost all of its existence. It would have done so just fine without us. Even now, almost all life on Earth is not capable of forming a high tech civilization. It is not required by evolution, because evolution doesn't work that way. Our kind of mind is strictly optional. And we have no way to calculate it's commonality or rarity.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    If advanced civilizations have set up shelters and successfully hid from Berserkers, they'd look dead. And to avoid a return, they'd have to keep looking dead, to the outside Universe. So we wouldn't see them either way. Just sayin'.
    Yes this is correct. It might be why SETI doesn't detect anything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kzb View Post
    Yes this is correct. It might be why SETI doesn't detect anything.
    Hasten to add, Berserkers are not required to actually exist in order for this scenario to be true. The civilization merely has to THINK they might exist, and take precautions to hide themselves. Low emissions, no megastructures or big projects, no fast starships. Slowboats hidden in Oort clouds, using just enough power to keep the crew alive.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kzb View Post
    Yes "should've" does fit here. Otherwise there is basically no sensible discussion.
    I'll point out that every other poster on this thread has managed without it. Yet the discussion has gone quite well and ranged widely.

    This is not a nitpick, but a serious point of contention. Expectations are everything, when it comes to how we approach hypotheses.
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    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mediocrity_principle


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropic_principle


    I've said before this Anthropic Principle may have mileage in it.

    The probability of life emerging really is infinitesimal. Even so it is not zero.

    We necessarily live in a universe where ONE example of life has arisen against all the odds. If we weren't here, we couldn't observe it, and the universe would remain virtual.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Hasten to add, Berserkers are not required to actually exist in order for this scenario to be true. The civilization merely has to THINK they might exist, and take precautions to hide themselves. Low emissions, no megastructures or big projects, no fast starships. Slowboats hidden in Oort clouds, using just enough power to keep the crew alive.
    That would work for a time, until a sufficient number of worlds had been surveyed and found to have no evidence of killer probe activity.

    You could even set up experimental transmitters on uninhabited worlds and see if they attract killer probes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    I'll point out that every other poster on this thread has managed without it. Yet the discussion has gone quite well and ranged widely.

    This is not a nitpick, but a serious point of contention. Expectations are everything, when it comes to how we approach hypotheses.
    If should've has been missing from the debate, that is a serious omission. " It should've been included."

    What I am saying is the mainstream science position on it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kzb View Post
    The probability of life emerging really is infinitesimal. Even so it is not zero.

    We necessarily live in a universe where ONE example of life has arisen against all the odds. If we weren't here, we couldn't observe it, and the universe would remain virtual.
    But we don't know the odds of it ever happening again. Say that intelligence arises an average of once in every hundredth galaxy. They'd exist, maybe even be as old and colonize as widely as you say they "should". But they'd still be a hundred galaxies away, and we'd still not likely see them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kzb View Post

    What I am saying is the mainstream science position on it.
    No, it really isn't.

    OK, I'm dropping this futile attempt. Carry on as you will.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    How would they know Earth had a dangerous civilization until now? We didn't emit much coherent radio during the Carboniferous.
    Why wait for a civilization? Why wait for radio? We may start to be able to detect life at interstellar distances in a few decades, and advanced extremely large space based telescope arrays would be capable of much more. They also would have time, so it wouldnít matter if small inexpensive probes took a long time to reach destination stars, so they could follow-up directly.

    For story purposes, you want the Berserkers to wait until there are civilizations, or there will be no story. But it would make more sense for the Berserker to find any planets with an extensive biosphere, and make them uninhabitable.

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