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Thread: Possible explanation for lack of alien contact

  1. #1
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    Possible explanation for lack of alien contact

    There is a theory that suggests that, due to the age of the universe and the relatively quick rate with which an advanced civilization can develop (using our development as the model), if there is other intelligent life in the universe with advanced technology we should see signs of it already, or it should at least be aware of us.

    But what if industrialized, technologically advanced civilization is not sustainable? This theory proposes just that: http://dieoff.org/page125.htm

    Could it be possible we haven't discovered alien life because the industrialized civilization and technology that would make that contact possible can't be sustained?

    What do you guys think? Plausible? Ridiculous?

  2. #2
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    Well, we're in the middle of an experiment to find out. Check back in a couple hundred years.
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

  3. #3
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    I read the link provided and don't agree with it. If we had irrefutable evidence of "cycles" where this has happened in our past then the argument would have some foundation outside of the unique interpretations of Mr. Duncan. Even then that wouldn't necessarily mean that our current cycle was doomed nor that the model would apply to an alien variant.

    IMO lack of alien contact is more likely the product of hypothetical ET not being close enough to detect (and visa versa). The universe is a big place. It's also possible that initiatives like SETI are going about it wrong.

  4. #4
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    Re: Possible explanation for lack of alien contact

    Quote Originally Posted by Saorsa
    But what if industrialized, technologically advanced civilization is not sustainable? This theory proposes just that: http://dieoff.org/page125.htm
    From the link: "His soft-spoken proposal seemed incredulous [sic], bizarre, preposterous"

    Hoyle's proposal is incredible, I'm incredulous.

    He said, apparently, "With coal gone, oil gone, high-grade metallic ores gone, no species however competent can make the long climb from primitive conditions to high-level technology." That ore didn't evaporate, or burn up. And talk to glom about other possibilities.

  5. #5
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    Actually the probibility is good for a few other advanced species out there. (I think the number is like 3 to 4 with intersellar travel capabilities, and around 4 to 30 at similar level of development as us).

    The real issue comes down to communications. A species that can travel FTL somehow, would also have developed a mean to communicate FTL.

    Would they even bother scanning for sub light RF after some hundreds of years of FTL Communications? Probably not at large distances.

    There are many other reason why we humans at our development level, would not by noticed by an FTL Species, but communications is the main one.

    Even if two species developed comperable technologies (say in EM spectrum), who can say that the information sent over them would even be distigishable as that? We use the radio portion of EM spectrum, where an alien species might -see- in RF, so thier radios are in the UV, IR or light portion of the spectrum.

    Many many variables that could prevent two species from knowing that the other even exists.

  6. #6
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    There is a theory that suggests that, due to the age of the universe and the relatively quick rate with which an advanced civilization can develop (using our development as the model), if there is other intelligent life in the universe with advanced technology we should see signs of it already, or it should at least be aware of us.

    But what if industrialized, technologically advanced civilization is not sustainable? This theory proposes just that: http://dieoff.org/page125.htm
    The fact that since the 1973 oil crisis weve been making a more efficient use of energy has utterly escaped the guy. The "decline" in energy use per capita can be explained by new attitudes (and technologies) towards energy resources. Probably were only using less energy to do the same work.

    In fact, Id be worried if those lines on his graph were still climbing.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgavin
    Actually the probibility is good for a few other advanced species out there. (I think the number is like 3 to 4 with intersellar travel capabilities, and around 4 to 30 at similar level of development as us).
    Why 3 or 4 and not 3 or 4 trillion? And what is the physical means of this interstellar travel?

  8. #8
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    If we can manage to build a space elevator before we completely run out of energy, then our civilization will basically be secure forever (in terms of energy, we could still kill each other or destroy the environment). The reason for this is simple, with a space elevator we would have easy access to all the rest of the solar system. We could for example, cover the moon with solar panels.

  9. #9
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    Then again this could be the only place in the universe where intelligent life has evolved.
    We are the universe looking at itself.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianok
    Then again this could be the only place in the universe where intelligent life has evolved.
    We are the universe looking at itself.
    Now that's scary. I hope the scientists keep it quiet or people will panic! Shh...
    0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 ...
    Skepticism enables us to distinguish fancy from fact, to test our speculations. --Carl Sagan

  11. #11
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    And then - what if there aren't any Ets?? 8-[ 8-[ 8-[ 8-[

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianok
    Then again this could be the only place in the universe where intelligent life has evolved.
    Its hard to say that looking at this picture. Every single pixel is a galaxy.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Argos
    Quote Originally Posted by brianok
    Then again this could be the only place in the universe where intelligent life has evolved.
    Its hard to say that looking at this picture. Every single pixel is a galaxy.
    Maybe not every pixel, just the bright ones... but also, no doubt, quite a few of the pixels that appear black... :wink:

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Argos
    Quote Originally Posted by brianok
    Then again this could be the only place in the universe where intelligent life has evolved.
    Its hard to say that looking at this picture. Every single pixel is a galaxy.
    I disagree. Watch: (01101001 looks at picture.) This could be the only place in the universe where intelligent life has evolved.

    It's easy. Try it.

    ===

    And on another front...

    [hoagland]Yes, but close examination reveals that they're square galaxies, and they only appear at the intersections of a fine-grained grid. Clearly, these are not random, 'square galaxies' -- but evidence of sophisticated, aligned, repeating architectural relief![/hoagland]
    0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 ...
    Skepticism enables us to distinguish fancy from fact, to test our speculations. --Carl Sagan

  15. #15
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    Just more Unabomber Manifesto-type thinkspeak

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgavin
    The real issue comes down to communications. A species that can travel FTL somehow, would also have developed a mean to communicate FTL.
    Not if it's impossible.

    Quote Originally Posted by dgavin
    Would they even bother scanning for sub light RF after some hundreds of years of FTL Communications? Probably not at large distances.
    For the same reason we are? Curiosity if anyone is out there, and study of natural phenominon.

    It does not require FTL to be unnoticed, though. An AM radio won't even detect FM as a signal. An FM radio won't even detect spread-spectrum as a signal. Tight energy-efficient beams will be unnoticed outside the line of sight.

    --John

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgavin
    The real issue comes down to communications. A species that can travel FTL somehow, would also have developed a mean to communicate FTL.
    Quote Originally Posted by John Dlugosz
    Not if it's impossible.
    Well, if you can travel faster than light, you can certainly communicate faster than light. At the very worst, your communication could be "give the message to a courier, who then uses faster than light travel to deliver it in person to the intended recipient", which would still be better than waiting for a radio signal to get there if you're trying to talk to someone light years away.

  18. #18
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    A lot of 'ifs' there. Could you please explain this FTL? I don't know anything in physics that makes it possible. Your idea that communication faster than FTL has to exist if FTL exists has no substance to it.

    If FTL exists then ALL the logic of what we know of matter and energy falls by the wayside. The Universe would no longer have any rational pattern that we know.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donnie B.
    Quote Originally Posted by Argos
    Quote Originally Posted by brianok
    Then again this could be the only place in the universe where intelligent life has evolved.
    Its hard to say that looking at this picture. Every single pixel is a galaxy.
    Maybe not every pixel, just the bright ones
    ops: :wink:

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by fossilnut2
    A lot of 'ifs' there. Could you please explain this FTL? I don't know anything in physics that makes it possible. Your idea that communication faster than FTL has to exist if FTL exists has no substance to it.

    If FTL exists then ALL the logic of what we know of matter and energy falls by the wayside. The Universe would no longer have any rational pattern that we know.
    No, only one if, even though it's a big one. Actually, I rather doubt that it's possible to travel faster than light, myself, but I wasn't the one who introduced the hypothetical. However, if there is some method, that certainly wouldn't cause the universe to dissolve into chaos. Everything we know about the universe would still apply in most cases, but there would be some new physics to learn that would be applicable in certain cases.

    But the details don't really matter, do they? If it were possible to travel faster than light be some reliable method, than it has to be possible to communicate faster than light as well. You just send your message via courier, who uses whatever method you've come up with for travelling faster than light to carry the message in person. You can always communicate at least as fast as you can send physical objects, since you can always just send a physical object with your message on it. Usually it works the other way around, and there are methods of communicating that work faster than we can send physical objects, but the speed of travel is certainly a lower limit.

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