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Thread: Why still there is no Alien contact ?

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    Why still there is no Alien contact ?

    There are 70 sextillion stars in the universe. Universe has been there for 13.7 billion years and solar system has been 4.5 billion years. Human civilisation has been there for few thousand years.

    Why an Alien civilisation which may have evolved before the formation of the earth hasn’t still made any contact with us ? Is the main reason, the long distance and expanding Universe ? However, stars from Milkyway and Andromeda galaxy are not moving away from earth, then why there is still no contact ? One can come to a reasonable conclusion, among these many stars there will be some advanced civilisations in Mikyway, Andromeda galaxies and the rest of the Universe !
    Last edited by canopuss; 2009-Dec-11 at 03:39 AM. Reason: typo

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    Likely reason number 1? Interstellar travel is sufficiently hard that nobody has been doing it long enough to be seen.

    Possible reasons?

    > There are no aliens, at least at present (I view this as unlikely, but not impossible).
    > There are aliens, but they're too far away to notice.
    > There are aliens, and they're keeping us in a very well insulated "zoo." I view this one as extremely unlikely.

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    What would aliens get out of contacting us? What's in it for them?

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    Quote Originally Posted by canopuss View Post
    There are 70 sextillion stars in the universe. Universe has been there for 13.7 billion years and solar system has been 4.5 billion years. Human civilisation has been there for few thousand years.

    Why an Alien civilisation which may have evolved before the formation of the earth hasnít still made any contact with us ? Is the main reason, the long distance and expanding Universe ? However, stars from Milkyway and Andromeda galaxy are not moving away from earth, then why there is still no contact ? One can come to a reasonable conclusion, in this many stars there will be some advanced civilisations in Mikyway, Andromeda galaxies and the rest of the Universe !
    Enrico Fermi asked the same question. There abound many threads here on the topic. enjoy.

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    there are a lot of proposed solutions to the fermi paradox...
    but i think they can be broken down into 4 catagories:
    1) life is very rare in the *reachable universe
    2) sentient life is very rare in the reachable universe
    3) advanced space-faring sentient life is very rare in the reachable universe
    4) the will to contact us is very rare in the reachable universe
    (by "reachable universe" i mean the combined factors of distance & journey time).

    either:
    1) we find a lot of planets but all are barren.
    2) we find a lot of planets with life but it isn't sentient.
    3) we find a lot of planets with sentience but it isn't going up to space.
    4) we find technological space faring civilizations but they aren't communicative.

    1, 2 & 3 mean the galaxy is our oyster.
    4 means we are someone else's oyster.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronald Brak View Post
    What would aliens get out of contacting us? What's in it for them?
    Assuming that intelligence begets curiosity, they would want to contact us for the same reason we would want to contact them.

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    Why are you assuming lifeforms that are comparable to us in terms of intelligence would be advanced enough to reach us?

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    Quote Originally Posted by traceur View Post
    either:
    1) we find a lot of planets but all are barren.
    2) we find a lot of planets with life but it isn't sentient.
    3) we find a lot of planets with sentience but it isn't going up to space.
    4) we find technological space faring civilizations but they aren't communicative.

    1, 2 & 3 mean the galaxy is our oyster.
    4 means we are someone else's oyster.
    We ourselves are in group 3. The piddling bit of near Earth space travel we do is meaningless on an interstellar scale. And there is no reason to expect that humans will ever travel to the stars.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yoshikage Kira View Post
    Why are you assuming lifeforms that are comparable to us in terms of intelligence would be advanced enough to reach us?
    Are you talking to me?

    I'm not assuming this. But if intelligent beings have the same intellectual curiosity we do, they would want to communicate with other intelligent life just as we do. They may not be any more capable of achieving their desire than we are.

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    For all we know there could be dozens of alien civilizations in our galaxy, none of which have even developed radio yet, or even any level of industrial technology. Or, they could be far beyond radio technology, and haven't bothered to contact us; either because they aren't interested, or don't even know about us. Or anywhere in between. Maybe we're getting some sort of cosmic silent treatment. There are a vast number of possibilities.

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    Hmmm... Number of dolphins we try to communicate with vs. the number of dolphins we kill in tuna nets... Not a pleasent ratio.

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    Quote Originally Posted by traceur View Post
    1, 2 & 3 mean the galaxy is our oyster.
    4 means we are someone else's oyster.
    3 is a bit tricky. It doesn't necessarily mean the galaxy is our oyster. One of the likely reasons IMO is simply that interstellar travel (not LEO!) is impractical for any civilization. So we would face the same constraint. It would mean that the earth is our oyster.
    As above, so below

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    Quote Originally Posted by canopuss View Post
    There are 70 sextillion stars in the universe. Universe has been there for 13.7 billion years and solar system has been 4.5 billion years. Human civilisation has been there for few thousand years.

    Why an Alien civilisation which may have evolved before the formation of the earth hasnít still made any contact with us?
    There are many explanations, but the simplest is that even if they're pretty nearby, there's no compelling reason for them to have contacted us yet.

    With known physics, the most practical method of communicating over interstellar distances is narrow beam radio. However, we have only been making radio wave transmissions for the last few decades and during this time we have made extremely few narrow beam transmissions powerful enough to be noticeable over interstellar distances.

    As such, there are at best hundreds and more plausibly less than a dozen star systems which could have detected radio transmissions from us yet.

    It's plausible that no alien civilizations would bother making radio transmissions to us on an ongoing basis until after they had detected evidence that we have some technological capability to receive the signal. They might have detected evidence of life on Earth billions of years ago--but why bother continuously sending radio signals at us for billions of years? If we haven't replied in the last billion years...what's the point? They might send us a "hello" every few million years, just in case, but we'd be lucky if the 20th century just happened to coincide with one of these random "hello there" shout outs.

    Of course, if they had detected life on Earth maybe they sent a mission to do some research on Earth's life forms. But that could have been millions or billions of years ago. Our ancient ancestors might have been "contacted" alien life, but there's no reason to expect we'd have seen any evidence of it.

    So basically--even if they're out there, and even if they're the sort of aliens who'd like to contact us, there's no particular reason to expect them to have contacted us yet. And even if aliens had visited Earth in the past, there's no particular reason to expect us to have found evidence of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by canopuss View Post
    There are 70 sextillion stars in the universe. Universe has been there for 13.7 billion years and solar system has been 4.5 billion years. Human civilisation has been there for few thousand years.

    Why an Alien civilisation which may have evolved before the formation of the earth Hans’t still made any contact with us ? Is the main reason, the long distance and expanding Universe ? However, stars from Milkyway and Andromeda galaxy are not moving away from earth, then why there is still no contact ? One can come to a reasonable conclusion, among these many stars there will be some advanced civilisations in Milkyway, Andromeda galaxies and the rest of the Universe !
    You have some of your answer within your question - 70+ sextillion stars, 13.7 billion years, 4.5 billion years, a few thousand years.
    Take a look at the figures and equate them into the likelihood of contact.

    1,Start with the amount of stars, there are more stars in the universe than every grain of sand on all the beaches on the earth combined, find just one grain with a dust spec orbiting it? And thats assuming you know what your looking for and in what direction to look. Thats how insignificant the Earth is in comparison.
    2, Distance, nearest star to us approx 4.25 light years, so any communication exchange would require extreme patience over a very long time period.
    3, Relative time scale, man's extra terrestrial communication technology 100 years or so.. a mere nano second in comparison to the universe's 13.7 billion years age.
    4, existence simultaneity, any E.T would have to exist at the same time as we do, give or take a few thousand years. Again this would be a very small window of opportunity in comparison to the age and scale of the universe.

    Conclusion, we have not been shouting long enough to likely have been detected yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by centsworth_II View Post
    Are you talking to me?

    I'm not assuming this. But if intelligent beings have the same intellectual curiosity we do, they would want to communicate with other intelligent life just as we do. They may not be any more capable of achieving their desire than we are.
    I think its highly probable that an advanced civilization would almost inherently be curious. Curious minds evolve to find answers for problems. Intelligent minds evolve find answers to problems. Curious minds evolve for the same reason
    intelligent minds do.

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    I personally don't see any reason for aliens to be giddy at the prospect of talking to an infant race that isn't even out of their home planet's orbit yet. Taking into consideration the age of the galaxy, and how much time has passed, it is likely that if there is a living alien race in our galaxy, they are probably vastly advanced on all levels compared to us. I think it should also be taken into consideration that aliens may not be humanoid ex-hunter gatherers, and may have absolutely nothing in common with us or our motivations. The warm and fuzzy idea of having alien friends is, in my opinion, just science fiction. I doubt we will have anything to talk about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Caelus View Post
    I personally don't see any reason for aliens to be giddy at the prospect of talking to an infant race that isn't even out of their home planet's orbit yet....
    We humans are interested in everything, all the way down to the most simple of living organisms. We try to communicate with apes, dolphins, dogs, etc. We try to see if worms and protozoa can learn. I don't think that advanced, intelligent extraterrestrials would be any less intellectually curious about us.

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    Think about the speed of light for a second.

    If your telephone only communicated at less than 1 inch per second
    (yes, ignoring all other forms of communications)
    how would you know if there are any people in China???

    We can barely communicate with our own probes at the edge of our own solar system.

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    Quote Originally Posted by canopuss View Post
    There are 70 sextillion stars in the universe. Universe has been there for 13.7 billion years and solar system has been 4.5 billion years. Human civilisation has been there for few thousand years.

    Why an Alien civilisation which may have evolved before the formation of the earth hasn’t still made any contact with us ? Is the main reason, the long distance and expanding Universe ? However, stars from Milky Way and Andromeda galaxy are not moving away from earth, then why there is still no contact ? One can come to a reasonable conclusion, among these many stars there will be some advanced civilisations in Mikyway, Andromeda galaxies and the rest of the Universe !
    They don't like us?

    Fermi's paradox I think this is called. I don't know the answer. My suspicion is, seriously, that it is because intelligent & sufficently technologically capable life (as opposed to life more generally) is very rare & space is very, very big.

    A couple of quotes spring to mind too :

    “Suppose the nearest civilisation on a planet of another star is, say, 200 light years away. Then some 150 years from now they’ll begin to receive our feeble post-world war II television and radio emission.”
    - Carl Sagan, ‘Pale Blue Dot’ page 388, Headline Book Publishing, 1995.

    Now, suppose the nearest advanced technologically capable life is 10,000 or even 50,000 light years away instead .. I'm not sure if our signals will even reach that far let alone whether the aliens in question will quickly realise and decipher them or care to do so. Would we? Or whether we'll even still be around in 20,000 or 100,000 years time to hear their hypothical "immediate" reply. ('We' here being the Human species not us personally natch.)

    & then there's this to consider on the distances between stars :

    "If you put three grains of sand inside a vast cathedral, that cathedral will be more densely packed with grains of sand than stars are found apart in space."
    - Sir James Jeans, British astronomer, quoted on page 28, 'Skywatching', David H. Levy, Ken Fin Books, 1995.

    Plus one major unknown factor :

    "The triple triumph of the Moon, then, is that it made it possible for man [sic] to exist; it made it possible for him [sic] to develop mathematics and science, it made it possible for him [sic] to transcend Earth and conquer space."- Page 38, 'The Tragedy of the Moon', Isaac Asimov, Mercury Press, 1972.

    Are relatively large moons necessary to stabilise an intelligent species world's planetary axis? Are large moons like ours rare? Seems to me these are questions we can can hardly begin to answer.

    Finally, there's always Monty Pythons lament which went something like - ".. & I hope that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space 'coz there's stuff all down here on Earth!"
    Last edited by Messier Tidy Upper; 2009-Dec-12 at 03:55 PM. Reason: add 'because', add italics, add quotes, add 'seriously' in a post that'm mostly not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JustAFriend View Post
    ....We can barely communicate with our own probes at the edge of our own solar system.
    I have no argument with the difficulty (near impossibility) of detection and communication between widely scattered civilizations.

    My argument is with those who say an ET intelligence would ignore us, would not have the intellectual curiosity to find out about us and try to communicate with us.

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    Quote Originally Posted by StevoR View Post
    .....
    "If you put three grains of sand inside a vast cathedral, that cathedral will be more densely packed with grains of sand than stars are found apart in space.".....l:
    Good point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by StevoR View Post
    Now, suppose the nearest advanced technologically capable life is 10,000 or even 50,000 light years away instead .. I'm not sure if our signals will even reach that far let alone whether the aliens in question will quickly realise and decipher them or care to do so.
    No, our signals won't even reach a light year out, except for our handful of purposeful attempts at beaming messages to other star systems (using powerful narrow beam signals).

    See sci.astro FAQ; scroll down to the table of "Detection ranges of various EM emissions from Earth"

    So even if there are aliens in nearby star systems, chances are they haven't detected any signals from us yet.

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    Let's assume there is dozens of intelligent life in the galaxy with the means to contact us with ease. There would still be many reasons to ignore us:

    We aren't technologically advanced enough yet to care about.
    We don't pose any threat.
    We are seen as stupid compared to most intelligent life.
    We kill each other on our own planet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by canopuss View Post
    There are 70 sextillion stars in the universe
    ...One can come to a reasonable conclusion, among these many stars there will be some advanced civilisations in Mikyway, Andromeda galaxies and the rest of the Universe !
    There are 70.000 cities, towns and villages in my country
    ... so one can come to the reasonable conclusion that there will be some invisible elfs in my backyard

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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperKevin View Post
    Let's assume there is dozens of intelligent life in the galaxy... There would still be many reasons to ignore us...
    Maybe political or social reasons, but no scientific reasons. Extraterrestrial scientists would insist on investigating any life capable of signaling its presence, no matter its level of sophistication. I find it hard to imagine a super intelligence existing that lacks scientific curiosity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by centsworth_II View Post
    Extraterrestrial scientists would insist on investigating any life capable of signaling its presence, no matter its level of sophistication.
    When is the last time you tried to communicate with the ants in your backyard, or with the mold colony on your day-old bread???

    Even if we could pulse the entire galaxy in a binary series of dots and dashes, someone three galaxies over might be too busy with their own problems to care...

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    Quote Originally Posted by JustAFriend View Post
    When is the last time you tried to communicate with the ants in your backyard, or with the mold colony on your day-old bread???
    Humanity as a whole has spent quite a bit of research on both of these subjects, actually. We can never have a meaningful conversation with an ant colony or moldy bread slice, but human researchers are very interested in ant pheromones and communication behaviors and with the chemical signals that molds use to direct their growth. Researchers watch bees dance, and make mechanical bees to mimic their dances. Researchers even make robotic simulacrums of birds and burrowing animals and attempt to interact through these devices to better understand their social behaviors.

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    Number of ants we study vs. number of ants we squish as we go about our business...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronald Brak View Post
    Number of ants we study vs. number of ants we squish as we go about our business...
    Because those that study the ants haven't revealed any reason to consider ants sapient.

    It's hard for me to imagine -- and I admit I'm probably guilty of anthropomorphization here -- any alien race that would ignore signs of alien life, even if alien life is more common to them than it is to us. Every potential new civilization that goes uncategorized and not understood, is a potential threat; or at the very least, a possible wasted opportunity. Even the most primitive of civilizations might have figured out how to make use of something that you haven't even thought of before.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JustAFriend View Post
    When is the last time you tried to communicate with the ants in your backyard, or with the mold colony on your day-old bread???
    I'm not a scientist. But there are scientists who devote their professional careers to such things and I enjoy reading popular accounts of their research.

    You will find that humans as a group have spent a great deal of effort studying behavior and, yes, even communication in molds and such. (Yes, ants too.)

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