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Author Topic: There's no one out there!  (Read 57992 times)

justboatonic

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Re: There's no one out there!
« Reply #175 on: January 19, 2010, 12:31:32 PM »

Let us put a few hypothetical figures down to illustrate the points.

It is comparatively easy to detect a big planet close to a sun. In this position it occludes the sun well, and causes the maximum gravitational wobble. Our telescope systems have scanned many star systems and found a few planetary systems - mainly HJs.

Now we have a new, more powerful system, which may pick up habitable zone earths. It will take 3 years to do so, for reasons I explained earlier. But it can detect HJs much faster, in the order of a week or so.

We have pointed it at, let us say, 100 systems. Out of these, we confirm 10 HJs. It is possible that there are 50 habitable Es in the data as well, but we won't know for 2-3 years.

We have confirmed the HJs, so we announce them. They get added to the pile of already-detected HJs, so it looks like we are only detecting HJs. But this is because:

- our early detection could only detect HJs (being simplistic)
- our current detection will detect HJs first

If you knew how many systems had been scanned to detect the 10 HJs, you could make some comment about possible earths. For instance, if only 10 systems had been scanned, and all had an HJ, it would be reasonable to say that habitable Es look as if they might be rare, since we assume a habitable E cannot co-exist with an HJ. But I do not know this figure. Do you? Because it is important for your argument, and you seem to have left it out....


A few condescending comments in there DG. Im aware of how difficult it has been to detect exoplanets and that many stars have been been searched. However, the people searching for exoplanets do not do so blindly (sic) as you appear to suggest. They 'target' particular star based on a range of criteria. The notion the exoplanet seekers just point their telescopes at any old star in the galaxy wouldnt be an accurate one if that is what you subscribe to.

However, it is not quite the numbers game you make out either.

It is correct that hot jupiters were and are easier to detect. However, even before keppler came on line, smaller planets were starting to be detected. Keppler will make the detection of earth size planets easier but it wont make it the b all and end all in finding them. Advances in techniques make smaller planet detection easier too. The point Im making is; should keppler and current techniques continue to find exosystem containing hot jupiters, then the chances of earth size planets in the habitable zone dramaticly decreases. And, even if there are earth size planets in such systems, they will eventually according to the models be ejected from that system before multicellular life can develop. That is the thrust of my original post. Intelligent life may only exist here right now in this galaxy.

But here is another reason why, probably, we are the only intelligent lifeform in the galaxy. A magnetar is a type of neutron star which can extinguish life at distances of tens of thousands of light years.

On 27 December 2004, the radiation from an 'earthquake' type event on the surface of the magnetar designated SGR 1806-20 reached Earth. This magnetar is 50,000 light years from Earth. This event release so much energy that it affected the earth's ionosphere and did so in one-tenth of a second, ie more than our sun has released in 100,000 years. A similar event within 10 light years would have destroyed earth's ozone layer.

There are estimated to be 30 million inactive magnetars in the galaxy. It goes without saying that if any planet has such a magnetar roughly 10 light years away and experiencing such a event, then whether that planet is in the habitable zone or not, the probability of intelligent life surviving it would be rare. Yet another example to support the rare earth hypothesis.

As I have said previously, its not one hypothesis that tends towards us being potentially the only intelligent civilisation in the galaxy right now but, many.
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dodgy geezer

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Re: There's no one out there!
« Reply #176 on: January 19, 2010, 01:21:54 PM »

A few condescending comments in there DG.

Sorry if you felt that - There was no intention.

However, it is not quite the numbers game you make out either.....
 The point Im making is; should keppler and current techniques continue to find exosystem containing hot jupiters, then the chances of earth size planets in the habitable zone dramaticly decreases. ... That is the thrust of my original post.

And the point I am making is that we expect to continue to find HJs, and HJs only, for the next year or so. We cannot possibly find a habitable E using the occulting technique in less than 1-2 years - 3 for confirmation. So finding HJs and not finding Es is expected.

If you found an HJ in EVERY system you checked then your point that HJs rule out Es would be valid. If you found an HJ in 50% of the systems you could say the chances of Es is 'dramatically decreased'. if you found an HJ in 1% of systems checked, that would be no big deal. That is why I asked if you knew how many systems had been checked - your point depends on this figure.


But here is another reason why, probably, we are the only intelligent lifeform in the galaxy. A magnetar is a type of neutron star which can extinguish life at distances of tens of thousands of light years....There are estimated to be 30 million inactive magnetars in the galaxy...

The incident you mention is by no means the most violent GRB ever detected - collapsars falling into a black hole would generate much more intensive beams. Some bits of space are quite energetic! But I should note that magnetars are only operational for a very short time, around 10k years, and inactive ones are not dangerous at all. There are many causes of GRBs around - and we have survived them all quite happily for 4bn years, so I don't see why someone else should not...

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sheerline

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Re: There's no one out there!
« Reply #177 on: January 19, 2010, 04:18:42 PM »

May I just say, despite my jocularity aimed at Wullie, this is one of the best in depth and enlightning discussions I have witnessed on here. It is not an area in which I am knowledgeable but it makes fascinating reading..... great stuff.
It's this level of discussion which makes this Mayhem site unique. Most excellent!
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malcolmfrary

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Re: There's no one out there!
« Reply #178 on: January 19, 2010, 04:29:17 PM »

I'll go along with that, sheerline.
If a magnetar is inactive, I assume that it must at some time past have been active, and thus purging the locality of life.  Next question is.....could life evolve around there after that kind of wipe?
These HJs that are being found (sort of a nearly binary system?).  Would we be talking about a nearer 30 year spell to find a Jupiter like ours?  Would a planet like ours need gas giants (cue old gag, Uranus is a gas giant) in its system to allow a similar evolution?
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dodgy geezer

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Re: There's no one out there!
« Reply #179 on: January 19, 2010, 07:16:16 PM »


If a magnetar is inactive, I assume that it must at some time past have been active, and thus purging the locality of life.  Next question is.....could life evolve around there after that kind of wipe?


Magnetars seem to generate soft Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs) which are lower energy than some of the big releases - look at the wiki for GRBs and collapsars, which really push out the energy. But the first point to make is that this energy does not come out uniformly and expand as a sphere - it is concentrated in two narrow beams along the poles. So you can be quite close to such an ejection and be perfectly safe.

If you were unlucky enough to be in line with the ejecta jet then your atmosphere might be damaged at ranges up to about 3000 light years (though you could detect the jet at intergalactic distances). Stars are close together in the middle of a galaxy - further apart out where we are there would not be that many systems that close along the very narrow beam that comes out. I suspect there are rarely any that would be close enough and in the right position to be 'cooked'.

If you are looking for a spherical spread of energy, you should be looking for a hypernova. If you are within 10-30 light years of a big one of those you may be damaged. Such an explosion may take out about 40 systems if the density is like the density around the Local Group. But there is nothing that close to us that is massive enough to go up....

These HJs that are being found (sort of a nearly binary system?).  Would we be talking about a nearer 30 year spell to find a Jupiter like ours? 

If you are looking for a brightness variation as a planet crosses a star, then the shortest time for a confirmed detection would be the orbital period - around 12 years. That assumes you have a detection the first time you look, then a confirmation 12 years later. In practice, you really need three crossings - giving you 24 years - close enough to your 30 year estimate.

Of course, we can only use this technique for the small fraction of systems which are properly aligned for us to see. There must be many more that we can't examine at all at present...
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justboatonic

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Re: There's no one out there!
« Reply #180 on: January 22, 2010, 04:25:33 PM »

OK, let's put all this into perspective. To start with, I have always believed there has been, is now and will be in the future, other intelligent civilisations in the universe. I used to be unshaken in the belief that our galaxy had many intelligent civilisations right now, a kind of 'Star Trek' universe where intelligent life is out there, a mere few light years away. I still hope that is the case.

But, if one starts to look objectively at all information and evidence, I am now coming to the conclusion that we are probably the only intelligent civilisation in the galaxy right now. That does not mean I do not think there is microbial life out there. I actually think the galaxy is teeming with that. I also think plant life and perhaps animal life exists in the galaxy but to a far lesser extent.

If we cast our minds back to my first post on this subject, I mentioned Fermi's Paradox. The question that if the galaxy is teeming with intelligent civilisations, where is it? Even in a galaxy where we may find it difficult to comprehend its size, intelligent life is either 'teeming' as Fermi stated or it is not ie it is less frequent.

If, it is accepted the galaxy is not 'teeming' with life then, defacto, we are on the road to accepting the paradox as being correct and do not really need to consider it further.

However, if we hold onto part of Fermi's Paradox that the galaxy is teeming with intelligent life, we must ask as did Fermi, where are they?

In essence, the paradox could be dismissed if we saw evidence of this teeming intelligence throughout the galaxy. We should be able to easily detect their communication signals such as radio or light beams. It is suggested that aliens may be using some other medium to contact each other that we do not yet have access to. But, is it reasonable to assume that every other intelligent civilisation that exists has discovered this 'other' medium? Is it reasonable to assume no other intelligent civilisations would still be using radio or light \ lasers for communication?

Besides this, the most common element in the universe is hydrogen. Any intelligent civilistion would recognise this. Should any intelligent civilistion want to attract or listen out for other developing civilisations in the galaxy, one radio frequency they would surely listen out on is 1420mhz, the frequency of hydrogen. SETI has listened to this frequency for over 40 years. No verified credible lighthouse signal from another civilisation has been detected at this frequency. WOW! and signal SHGb02+14a are interesting but both enigmatic. Both are discounted by SETI. SETI also monitors millions of other radio frequencies, there is also optical SETI albeit far newer and still no verifiable candidate has been proven.

It stretches credulity that all this teeming intelligence is using some other communications medium while totally ignoring the technologies a developing intelligence we ourselves would start out with.

Searching for means of communication isnt the only method whereby an intelligence would show themselves. In a galaxy 10+ billion years old, we are newcommers on the block. There has been plenty of time for all this teeming intelligence in the galaxy to reach out and travel to the stars. Even at sub light speed, a single civilisation could colonise the galaxy from one end to the other in a few million years. Estimates put this at between 5 million and 50 million years, a blink of an eye compared to the age of the galaxy. Yet again, the paradox comes into play when we ask where is the evidence of a colonising civilisation? They either colonised the galaxy and therefore should have left behind evidence of this or they did not.

The lack of evidence must mean either they did not colonise the galaxy or, there has been no one capable of colonising the galaxy.

So we are led to believe in a galaxy teeming with intelligent life, none have even tried to colonise it. Surely then, we should see evidence that at least some of this teeming intelligence would explore some of the galaxy either in person or by other means?

As surely as we have cast the Pioneer and Voyager probes out to deep space, others more intelligent would do something similar. von Neumann or Bracewell probes would have been sent out to gather information and indirectly communicate with other civilisations they fell upon. Attempts have been made to activate any such probes in and around our solar system. This has been unsuccessful.

And what of a civilisations growing demands for energy? Dyson spheres or variants of them, should surely be common amongst more intelligent civilisations? We, at our level have explored the possibility of such constructs. Whether they be solid surface constructs or merely a ring of satellites, even Dyson himself suggestted the effect such a construct on a parent star would make it stand out and be a beacon of an intelligent civilisation. Yet we see none.

It is also proposed by some, that we couldnt possible communicate with alien civilisations because we'd be so different. But would we? Would every intelligent civilisation in this galaxy supposedly teeming with life all be totally so different that communication would not be possible? Its akin to saying that stone in your garden is alive but not in a sense that we recognise. In those circumstances communication may be impossible with that rock or that alien. But every other intelligence is the same?

Then there is the 'zoo hypothesis.' The idea that for some reason, the galactic federation has decreed that developing civilisation such as ourselves be left alone until they reach a certain development. This is fatally flawed however. For one, it depends on some form of federation to agree to and abide by the rules. If the galaxy is teeming with intelligent civilisations, they would have to be as one in agreeing to leave well alone. Even then, the chances are that one or more would break the 'prime directive' for some reason or other.

The zoo hypothesis doesnt work especially if all intelligence isnt benevolent. Its safe to assume that if the galaxy is teeming with intelligent life, some would undoubtedly be peaceful but equally, some would not. They would not hold with keeping to the hypothesis.

Perhaps finally, there is the rare earth hypothesis. Essentially, this hypothesis argues that a series of fortuitous circumstances must occur for multicellular life and therefore intelligence, to develop.

The Rare Earth Hypothesis dictates these circumstances to be the galactic habitable zone, a central star and planetary system having the requisite character, the circumstellar habitable zone, the size of the planet, the advantage of a large satellite, conditions needed to assure the planet has a magnetosphere and plate tectonics, the chemistry of the lithosphere, atmosphere, and oceans etc.

In order for a small rocky planet to support complex life, the Rare Earth Hypothesis argues the values of several variables must fall within narrow ranges. Although the galaxy is vast and could contain many Earth-like planets, the fortuitous circumstances that potentially led to intelligent life here may not be repeated elsewhere.

In short, no one single dataset can point to the fact that we are probably alone as the only intelligent civilisation in the galaxy right now. But, when all are taken and considered together, the likelihood is that we are, alone.
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bosun

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Re: There's no one out there!
« Reply #181 on: January 22, 2010, 04:55:51 PM »

Hy Justboatonic
That was a very impressive piece of penmanship, and an excellent explanation / summing up of this whole fascinating thread
Great Stuff
Bosun
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dodgy geezer

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Re: There's no one out there!
« Reply #182 on: January 22, 2010, 07:08:13 PM »

The argument is made that we see:

- no radio or lasers
- no evidence of colonisation/exploration
- no dyson spheres

and that therefore the chances are that we are alone.


Now, I just can't see that these statements constitute a foolproof case for no alien intelligence. There is no reason these things should even exist - they just represent what we can imagine doing with our current technology. It is as if a jungle tribe were to discount intelligent life in the suburbs of a western town because they could hear no drum beats...


You should also remember that we are at the very beginning of even looking into space - we really know very little about what is out there. We have few telescopes capable of looking for evidence of things like radio or lasers, and apart from SETI, NONE are actually looking for this evidence.

Around the world there are perhaps a hundred high-class telescopes run by research councils looking at specific phenomena in space, and these will rarely coincide with the evidence requirements for extra-terrestrial civilisation. There are very few in the southern hemisphere. SETI is now part-time and unfunded - it only ever covered the sky for a few degrees either side of the ecliptic -  their ARGUS project has barely begun - we have not even looked away from the Earth in all directions with simple detectors at one wavelength yet!

So, given that we haven't looked hard for things that might well not be there, I'm not surprised that we haven't found anything yet.
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Jimmy James

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Re: There's no one out there!
« Reply #183 on: January 22, 2010, 10:23:28 PM »

D.G.
A very good summary... Also the fact that we live in a rather isolated area of our Galaxy seems to be generally over looked... But who's to say we haven't been visited before?
 Myths and legends around the globe are full of stories of mystical people or god's who rode in Ships, Charrotes,Clouds on Giant Birds or Dragons etc: that sailed the sky's... I have found in my reading and research over the years that the Old Folk Tails, Myths and Legends often have a solid base of truth if you look at them carefully enough ... Even in modern times many UFO sightings have to my lights never been completely disproved ( Before everyone starts throwing bricks I know some are hoax's, others mistaken or misinterpreted objects)--- but can you honestly tell me that every trained pilot, lookout, radar operator, policeman, farmer and thousands of other people around the world that have seen these UFO have really seen weather ballons, a star or is perpetrating a hoax ????  {:-{I find the odds of that a bit far fetched----- I think I shall keep an open mind, and not even discount some of the wilder sightings ---OK  Time to stowe the soap box is going away for the night {:-{ {:-{ :embarrassed:
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dreadnought72

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Re: There's no one out there!
« Reply #184 on: January 22, 2010, 11:11:00 PM »


...we are probably alone as the only intelligent civilisation in the galaxy right now.

Great summary and some great replies ... but there are two points worth bearing in mind:

The first intelligent species to get to go colonising - and to survive long enough! - will naturally have already occupied the galaxy. So they, as effective "controllers" might impose zoo-hypotheses on other species, or, indeed, instigate the eradication of other species about to "go interstellar". Anything they wish, really, which sways the "surely by now a species would've..." argument down to the particular decisions of this first one.

Secondly, the phrase "only intellligent species right now" needs to consider both the average lifetime of an intelligent species, and the speed of light. If, for example, an intelligent species last on average for a couple of hundred years, tend not to colonise other star systems, and are placed perhaps a few hundred to a few thousand light years apart, then there's every chance that right now there ARE other intelligent species in the galaxy, but we'll never communicate with them (they're not in our light cone) and therefore we'll never know of them - except by their artifacts should we ever explore other systems...

Andy
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justboatonic

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Re: There's no one out there!
« Reply #185 on: January 22, 2010, 11:35:41 PM »

The argument is made that we see:

- no radio or lasers
- no evidence of colonisation/exploration
- no dyson spheres

and that therefore the chances are that we are alone.


Now, I just can't see that these statements constitute a foolproof case for no alien intelligence. There is no reason these things should even exist - they just represent what we can imagine doing with our current technology. It is as if a jungle tribe were to discount intelligent life in the suburbs of a western town because they could hear no drum beats...


You should also remember that we are at the very beginning of even looking into space - we really know very little about what is out there. We have few telescopes capable of looking for evidence of things like radio or lasers, and apart from SETI, NONE are actually looking for this evidence.

Around the world there are perhaps a hundred high-class telescopes run by research councils looking at specific phenomena in space, and these will rarely coincide with the evidence requirements for extra-terrestrial civilisation. There are very few in the southern hemisphere. SETI is now part-time and unfunded - it only ever covered the sky for a few degrees either side of the ecliptic -  their ARGUS project has barely begun - we have not even looked away from the Earth in all directions with simple detectors at one wavelength yet!

So, given that we haven't looked hard for things that might well not be there, I'm not surprised that we haven't found anything yet.

No one is claiming its foolproof that there is no intelligent civilisation(s) out there DG. However, if I may respectfully point out you do not take into consideration a couple of very important and valid points.

First is the age of the galaxy. At 10+ billion years, there has been plenty of time for other civilisations to appear. Not just a single or handful of civilisations but many many of them as postulated by Fermi's Paradox ie the galaxy is teeming with intelligent civilisations, (where are they?). If we start to now say, there may only be one or two or a very small number of civilisations, given the age of the galaxy this presents other problems.

At 10+ billion years, if there are \ have been only a handful of civilisations, it is very unlikely they would all appear at the same time since their small number would point to intelligent life being rare. The scale of time and probabilities would virtually prohibit them all appearing at the same time. In any event, if we argue there has been or even now, are only a handful then, defacto, Fermi's Paradox stands since intelligence isnt common and the galaxy isnt teeming with life at all.

Secondly, to dismiss the lack of signals, constructs and evidence of colonisation as being a purely human trait and therefore aliens would not follow. This is flawed because to be successful, it means every intelligent civilisation is so alien the next cannot recognise it. As I previously stated, this line of thinking is the equivalent of having the reasoning a rock in your garden is alive but not in a sense that we recognise.

Now, that may be correct for some aliens in a galaxy teeming with intelligent life but it will not be that way with all. If that were the case (that all alien life is so alien to each other) then no alien civilisation would recognise any other life and be able to communicate with each other. In these circumstances again defacto the Fermi Paradox still holds for if all alien life is so alien to each other and cannot recognise the other as life and communicate, each 'life' is alone in the galaxy.

Another flaw with the alien is so alien that we wouldnt recognise it or it us, is that in a galaxy teeming with intelligent life the sheer number should ensure that some are like us in some way of conception of other life. That intelligence that is like us, it would not be beyond reason that accepting the universal laws of physics, mathematical laws (prime numbers, pii etc), their thinking and reasoning wouldnt be totally different from us ie wanting to explore the cosmos, wanting to contact other species etc etc.

Third, the Rare Earth Hypothesis appears to have been excluded. It is unlikely due to the severe radiation in the galactic bulge that this area of the galaxy would be habitable for intelligent life. Likewise, moving too far out into the galactic suburbs would see insufficient material to form suitable stars and solar systems. In otherwords, not only has a planet to be in the habitable zone of its parent star but, the planet star and whole solar system must be in the habitable zone of the galaxy.

Although 10% of the stars in the galaxy are reckoned to be Sun like, as much as 50% or more of these are not in the galactic habitable zone. And that is before we start considering such things as magnetars or other phenomena that is not condusive to life never mind intelligent life.

In any event, Ocams Razor tells us that given all explanations, the simplest explanation is likely to be correct ie we are probably alone.

We have had the technology to search the sky for dyson sphere constructs for at least 100 years. Dyson himself stated such constructs would be an ideal way to spot such intelligent civilisation due to the effect the construct would have on the star. SETI has been searching for over 40 years yet nothing has been detected. The rotation and orbit of the earth around the Sun means all the sky is covered and the supposed lack of suitable telescopes in the southern hemisphere doesnt really hold up to scrutiny.

Although many people may want to believe UFO's are visitors from space, I think even Carl Sagan had difficulty with the fact that some member(s) of an intelligent civilisation(s), would travel tens of light years across the galaxy for a fleeting visit without setting foot here and saying 'hello.'
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justboatonic

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Re: There's no one out there!
« Reply #186 on: January 22, 2010, 11:55:06 PM »

Great summary and some great replies ... but there are two points worth bearing in mind:

The first intelligent species to get to go colonising - and to survive long enough! - will naturally have already occupied the galaxy. So they, as effective "controllers" might impose zoo-hypotheses on other species, or, indeed, instigate the eradication of other species about to "go interstellar". Anything they wish, really, which sways the "surely by now a species would've..." argument down to the particular decisions of this first one.

Secondly, the phrase "only intellligent species right now" needs to consider both the average lifetime of an intelligent species, and the speed of light. If, for example, an intelligent species last on average for a couple of hundred years, tend not to colonise other star systems, and are placed perhaps a few hundred to a few thousand light years apart, then there's every chance that right now there ARE other intelligent species in the galaxy, but we'll never communicate with them (they're not in our light cone) and therefore we'll never know of them - except by their artifacts should we ever explore other systems...

Andy

I dont think the zoo hypothesis holds up though. The zoo hypothesis really only looks possible if there are only a small number of colonies. A small number of colonies would be relatively easy to impose a will on although having said that, if the colonies are spread out over the 100,000 light year expanse of the galaxy, it could prove difficult to maintain the line. Again this would prove Fermi's Paradox since the galaxy wouldnt be teeming with said life.

If there are many colonies in the galaxy, then again sheer numbers would make it difficult to hold the line of none interference as some colonies bording potential developing civilisation may want to make contact. in any event, this contact may be inadvertent as some signal transmission could be detected by the developing civilisation ie us.

The light cone theory is a possibility but again, it depends on a small number of civilisations existing at the same time. In a way this again proves Fermi's Paradox since there needs to be only very small number of civilisations in existence.

The more civilisations evenly spaced 1000 LY's apart would probably evolve at different times. The more 1000 LY units are spaced between more civilisations ie the first and last, would mean those civilisations further 'down the line' would stand a chance of detecting signals from a preceeding civilisation.
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Wasyl

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Re: There's no one out there!
« Reply #187 on: January 22, 2010, 11:55:35 PM »

All,that has been said on this subject,..is supposition,I question everything,we,re told the Galaxy is 10+ billion years old,..how do they know,...how did they come up with that figure,..its all guesswork,if you want to ask anything,ask yourself this,...Who am I,..Why am I here,Where am I going,...

Wullie
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justboatonic

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Re: There's no one out there!
« Reply #188 on: January 22, 2010, 11:58:24 PM »

All,that has been said on this subject,..is supposition,I question everything,we,re told the Galaxy is 10+ billion years old,..how do they know,...how did they come up with that figure,..its all guesswork,if you want to ask anything,ask yourself this,...Who am I,..Why am I here,Where am I going,...

Wullie

Wullie, you old / young cynic! This may help http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milky_Way#Age
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dreadnought72

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Re: There's no one out there!
« Reply #189 on: January 23, 2010, 12:30:04 AM »

I dont think the zoo hypothesis holds up though. The zoo hypothesis really only looks possible if there are only a small number of colonies. A small number of colonies would be relatively easy to impose a will on although having said that, if the colonies are spread out over the 100,000 light year expanse of the galaxy, it could prove difficult to maintain the line. Again this would prove Fermi's Paradox since the galaxy wouldnt be teeming with said life.

I'm not so sure.

From the top: intelligence/sentience isn't a "natural" outcome of evolution. It happened for us, but it didn't happen during the previous 100 million years of mammalian existence. Indeed, it needn't have happened at all. It's not a "given" for evolution, it's a random artifact, and our species who's got it has somehow managed to survive until the development of technology. (Which, for Model Boat Mayhem, is handy, not least for us as individuals being here right now, and not when we were chipping flints...  ok2)

For those worlds with life (some small fraction?) where intelligence arises (few, at best?), and which develop technology (why should they?) and which become space-faring (is there a need?) and which go on to colonise other systems (it's very expensive?) and take over the galaxy (why, at the end of the day, bother?) there's every likelihood that there's only a short period before the biological sentience is put in a big alien-PC and the wetware gives over to the hardware - not least because it'll always take centuries to travel between the stars.

From that point on, we have no idea what the "rules" are for society and for "will". The sentience quotient may well mean "they" are utterly alien to our ways of thought, as much as I am with regards to communication with my herb garden. They have, after all, the potential to be billions of years more advanced, and they may/must be (?) just the one, doing what they know is best.

Andy
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justboatonic

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Re: There's no one out there!
« Reply #190 on: January 23, 2010, 01:25:31 AM »

I'm not so sure.

From the top: intelligence/sentience isn't a "natural" outcome of evolution. It happened for us, but it didn't happen during the previous 100 million years of mammalian existence. Indeed, it needn't have happened at all. It's not a "given" for evolution, it's a random artifact, and our species who's got it has somehow managed to survive until the development of technology. (Which, for Model Boat Mayhem, is handy, not least for us as individuals being here right now, and not when we were chipping flints...  ok2)

For those worlds with life (some small fraction?) where intelligence arises (few, at best?), and which develop technology (why should they?) and which become space-faring (is there a need?) and which go on to colonise other systems (it's very expensive?) and take over the galaxy (why, at the end of the day, bother?) there's every likelihood that there's only a short period before the biological sentience is put in a big alien-PC and the wetware gives over to the hardware - not least because it'll always take centuries to travel between the stars.

From that point on, we have no idea what the "rules" are for society and for "will". The sentience quotient may well mean "they" are utterly alien to our ways of thought, as much as I am with regards to communication with my herb garden. They have, after all, the potential to be billions of years more advanced, and they may/must be (?) just the one, doing what they know is best.

Andy

Not necessarily. A number of creatures on Earth have been shown to be self aware ie sentient. Tests such as putting a blob of paint on the forehead of a 3 year old child produce the same reaction in many of primates and even magpies. OK they dont have the intelligence we have but it does show sentience is not limited to humans by any stretch.

I have great problems with the theory that aliens would be so alien we wouldnt recognise it or it us for a couple of reasons. One, I think it is extreme thinking at the very least. Second, it may well be that some alien intelligence may indeed be like this. But, again if the galaxy is teeming with life, then all outcomes statistically are possible ie some aliens 'too' alien, some (thinking) like us and some in between.

The same thing applies to technology and space exploration etc by intelligent civilisations. If the galaxy is teeming with life then statistically a number of civilisation would fall into each bucket ie some would develop their technology only so far while others would continue to expand it exponentially, Same with exploration, some wouldnt develop it, some would expand out into their solar system, some would expand out to the stars. In any event, the need to meet a civilisations growing energy demands may force some to venture out and beyond their solar system.

Likewise I dont hold for the sci fi view point that all intelligent civilisations would retreat into some sort of pc generated (or similar) artificial reality. Taken statistically if there are many intelligent civilisations out there, then some may go down this route. But for every one that did there would be another that did not.

We have no rules about what intelligent civilisations would or wouldnt do but, we should not limit ourselves to thinking only what would humans do. There are many creatures on this planet that go out and 'explore' beyond their immediate habitat. They may not be driven by the same forces or needs as humans but they still explorer for food sources, territory or places to live. Their thought process even at a basic level show that even though they are in a way alien to us, they nonetheless exhibit to some degree similar things that we do.
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Wasyl

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Re: There's no one out there!
« Reply #191 on: January 23, 2010, 01:33:43 AM »

Wullie, you old / young cynic! This may help http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milky_Way#Age
Oldish, {-)I would,nt say i,m cynical,.its just i always wonder who comes up with all these figures/names etc etc e.g.beryillium...? why beryllium,was it just a thought that popped into whoevers head,..it sounds as bad as Carpenters Unobtainium, {-) all these weird and woderful names,i question them all,and wonder at them,...just think of me as A C Clarkes, Moon Watcher,..there,s not a day goes past,that i don,t look to the heavens, and think,...there has to be something,...maybe it,ll be the ray of light when i,m popping my Clogs, %%

Wullie  
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Wasyl

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Re: There's no one out there!
« Reply #192 on: January 23, 2010, 01:42:08 AM »

As for all these Aliens that are, or are not among us,..well i have some knowledge on that topic,,
" my late Father was an Alien"and I have his Certificate of Registration,to prove it,...Alien Order 1920.A305602 %% %% {-)

Wullie
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Colin Bishop

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Re: There's no one out there!
« Reply #193 on: January 23, 2010, 10:32:43 AM »

As far as animal sentience is concerned I think that almost all higher level species have some degree of sentience. It's not alway obvious to us as it is geared to what they are and what they need which may well be 'alien' to human thought processes.

The refusal to acknowledge this probably has something to do with religious beliefs which postulate that humankind alone has a "soul". The thought that sentience is not a simple yes/no and in fact is a matter of degree is profoundly upsetting to a lot of people as the way animals are treated tends to assume they are simply 'dumb beasts' with all that entails. Yet those who work closely with animals or who have pets know perfectly well that individual animals have their own "personalities" and traits.

Colin
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Roger in France

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Re: There's no one out there!
« Reply #194 on: January 23, 2010, 10:48:09 AM »

Well said, Colin.

For example, my dog has the great sense to know when it is essential to obey me and when I can safely be ignored!

Seriously, if anyone is blind to the look in the eyes of the higher animals then they are bigots who deny facts to support their own limited view of life. Of course an animal's sentience is limited but then not all humans are equally aware. I have witnessed animals which love, hate fear, trust, respect etc.

I also think dogs in particular are able to use their senses in ways we little understand and certainly do not replicate ourselves. For example, my dog knows several minutes before me when my wife or daughter is about to arrive. She also senses my moods and will be playful when appropriate and calm at other times. I think many animals retain abilities, or hone abilities, which we have long since discarded if we once had them. Just as their hearing and sense of smell far exceeds ours. I think we have replaced some of our sense of smell with superior eyesight. My dog clearly cannot see a rabbit or hare if it remains motionless, I can. However, the dog knows something is there from scent which I cannot appreciate.

I do not think my dog has a soul, just as I do not think I have a soul. It is a huge religious conspiracy to engender guilt and aid the brainwashing called "belief".

Roger in France
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justboatonic

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Re: There's no one out there!
« Reply #195 on: January 23, 2010, 02:19:16 PM »

Oldish, {-)I would,nt say i,m cynical,.its just i always wonder who comes up with all these figures/names etc etc e.g.beryillium...? why beryllium,was it just a thought that popped into whoevers head,..it sounds as bad as Carpenters Unobtainium, {-) all these weird and woderful names,i question them all,and wonder at them,...just think of me as A C Clarkes, Moon Watcher,..there,s not a day goes past,that i don,t look to the heavens, and think,...there has to be something,...maybe it,ll be the ray of light when i,m popping my Clogs, %%

Wullie  

There is a convention to naming elements. The point however is that you should only think of these names as 'tags.' What we call the elements is rather immaterial since other species, if they exist, out there will know of them to a greater or lesser degree. Other intelligences would know these elements as something else.

Any civilisation, even one say 100 years less technically advanced as us would probably know that the element we call hydrogen is the most common 'element' in the universe. They would also know that helium, oxygen, carbon, neon etc etc by whatever means they describe them, are amongst the most common elements in the universe. Only the level of their intelligence would likely limit their knowledge of other elements know to us.
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dodgy geezer

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Re: There's no one out there!
« Reply #196 on: January 23, 2010, 04:55:02 PM »


 However, if I may respectfully point out you do not take into consideration a couple of very important and valid points.



I understand your points to be these?

1 - the galaxy is old - there should be time for civilisations to appear
2 - the idea that humans would not recognise alien signals is flawed because aliens would use similar physical phenomena to us to communicate
3 - there are galactic limitations for habitable planets which limit their numbers
4 - dyson spheres have not been found by seti


Umm. Pause for breath...

1 - the galaxy may be old, but humanity has been searching for a very short time, and has not even looked properly yet. I submit that even in an area teeming with intelligent life, a short untutored glance may notice nothing.

2 - this seems to be a misconception of what I said. I said nothing about technology being unable to be recognised because it was alien. I said it might not be recognised because it was beyond our current technical capabilities. Clarke's third law applies, as does my 'jungle drums' illustration. A human tribe which did not understand electromagnetic wave propagation could not detect radio which other humans understand - we do not understand, and cannot detect, for example, the instantaneous transmission of data through quantum spin manipulation. In fact, since I just made that up, we have no idea whether it makes sense or not, but if it did exist it would be a far superior data transmission method for long distance use, and would be the obvious way of passing inter-system information - radio or light would be thought useless and not used at all...

3 - I know of no suggestion that there are major restrictions on human-habitable areas of the local galaxy. Obviously places where there are strong radiant clusters would be unsuitable - the galactic centre, for instance, but most of the areas in the arms would be fine. Our system is primarily influenced by the heliosphere; the sun is the main driver for habitability. Of course, if there were such galactic limitations, that would go some way towards explaining why we have found little evidence of alien intelligence so far...

4 - This is an odd point to make. Seti is not looking for phenomena associated with dyson spheres, so of course it would never see any. In fact, I can only think of one project which has done any work on looking for these - the 2004  Fermilab IRAS filter-based search - which reported in 2009 that it had found a few candidates but remarked that it was hard to distinguish between natural and artificial shading. The general feeling seems to be that we are right at the start of this kind of investigation, so it is odd for you to say "We have had the technology to search the sky for dyson sphere constructs for at least 100 years" (which I think is an exaggeration - CCDs have been around for less than 30 years). This statement suggest that we have been looking for 100 years, which is certainly not true.

Given the small amount of work that has been done on Dysons, I am surprised that you claim that "The rotation and orbit of the earth around the Sun means all the sky is covered and the supposed lack of suitable telescopes in the southern hemisphere doesnt really hold up to scrutiny.". Any individual telescope can only see a maximum of 1/2 of the sky (more like 1/3 when horizon limitations are taken into account). The earth's rotation and orbit are essentially in the same plane, so northern telescopes cannot ever see southern star systems. And the Arecibo telescope that SETI uses is fixed, and can only scan a 40-degree band of the sky anyway.

As well as these limitations, few telescopes are ever tasked to search for 'extraterrestrial intelligence'. They are too busy with basic research. We may have had the technology to look for a fair time, but the actual history of SETI investigations is best described as 'symbolic', and certainly not comprehensive. Occasionally small projects to examine a restricted set of stars at one radio wavelength have been undertaken - it is unsurprising that these have found little. We are only just now moving into an age of readily-availible computing power which would make large-scale studies practical. Which takes me back to my original point - the most obvious reason for not finding anything is that we have not seriously looked so far....


Oh, and a point for those who see other animals as a 'different' form of life. As far as we can tell, there is only one form of life on this planet (though research in deep sea trenches might throw up something unusual). It's protoplasmic, protein-based and uses DNA to  store, transmit, and duplicate genetic information. (let us leave RNA and viruses for another thread). Sometimes this life exists as a single cell, sometimes cells come together to form a symbiotic relationship. This can result in strange shapes. But they're all the same single lifeform.
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dodgy geezer

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Re: There's no one out there!
« Reply #197 on: January 23, 2010, 05:00:49 PM »

Oldish, {-)I would,nt say i,m cynical,.its just i always wonder who comes up with all these figures/names etc etc e.g.beryillium...? why beryllium,was it just a thought that popped into whoevers head,..it sounds as bad as Carpenters Unobtainium, {-) all these weird and woderful names,i question them all,and wonder at them,...
Wullie  

Wullie may enjoy this little animation of Tom Lehrer's classic hit for chemists.. http://www.privatehand.com/flash/elements.html

 
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The long Build

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Re: There's no one out there!
« Reply #198 on: January 23, 2010, 05:12:37 PM »

They are out there...Somewhere...maybee... :}
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Colin Bishop

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Re: There's no one out there!
« Reply #199 on: January 23, 2010, 05:18:29 PM »

Quote
Wullie may enjoy this little animation of Tom Lehrer's classic hit for chemists.. http://www.privatehand.com/flash/elements.html

He may prefer Julie Felix - a bit simpler: "Fire, Water, Earth and Air". Nice tune too.

DG, I think you borrowed your "Quantum Spin" without acknowlegements - Paul Dirac I think....

Colin
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