"Are We Alone?" The Great Debate


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Profile Bruce
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Message 1046996 - Posted: 8 Nov 2010, 4:28:46 UTC - in response to Message 1027704.

The recent BBC article and interview with Seth Shostak is interesting because, among other things, it questions whether we're looking for the right kind of signal. Any civilisation following a similar technological path to our own will only be detectable by our radio telescopes for a limited period whilst they're using high-power omnidirectional radio to communicate around their planet. If they follow our path, then within 100 years they will switch to using lower-energy more efficient point-to-point communications, or they'll use fibre-optic. If true, that greatly lowers the odds of finding them by using a radio telescope.

Ham Radio Operators, CB'ers, and Broadcasters all depend on something other than point-to-point communications and I don't see any of these radiators of RF not being used in the foreseeable future.
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Message 1047025 - Posted: 8 Nov 2010, 10:31:21 UTC

contacting space craft like the shutle would be hard to do with optic fiber, i think radio transmision will stay even microwave ovens radiate but the distants for other planets that have life, is in 100's of years at light speed so thats the time in will take for the signal to reach us and the life form will have developed in that time.

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Message 1047050 - Posted: 8 Nov 2010, 14:34:57 UTC - in response to Message 1047025.

Anyone remember the original "Battlestar Galactica" TV program? The one episode where Starbuck had discovered the old, no longer used observation bubble? Just as they were leaving, a message came in on the radio. " One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind"..... Too bad they had already left and no one was listening.
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Message 1047404 - Posted: 10 Nov 2010, 14:20:20 UTC - in response to Message 1047050.

Anyone remember the original "Battlestar Galactica" TV program? The one episode where Starbuck had discovered the old, no longer used observation bubble? Just as they were leaving, a message came in on the radio. " One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind"..... Too bad they had already left and no one was listening.


Some people compare it with a christmas tree decoration:
On every branch there is a lightbulb hanging and each and everyone is connected to the net but whenever one lightbulb gets to shine, the others have just turn off or will turn on later, but you will never see the tree with all the lightbulbs shining at the same time.
Life is so rare and distances are so vast that it makes it very unlikely to ever see a christmas tree. But this is a point of view based on what we know today and we know that what we know today is different of what we will know tomorrow.
So far nothing is discarded.
Maybe let´s have a look to who is in charge of the fuse box...!

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Message 1047411 - Posted: 10 Nov 2010, 14:49:39 UTC
Last modified: 10 Nov 2010, 14:49:58 UTC

Maybe let´s have a look to who is in charge of the fuse box...!


I'd be more interested in who pays the electric bill!
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Message 1048251 - Posted: 13 Nov 2010, 23:36:52 UTC - in response to Message 1046996.

mabye seti can turn its hears to signals given off by a craft, probes, setalites launched by an intelligent civilization. An advanced civilization might be able to capture signals given off by the Voyagers probes and Galileo probe. What about scaning for signals given off by probes that might be orbiting a star similar to the sun, (Sol), any thoughts on that.

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Message 1048301 - Posted: 14 Nov 2010, 3:16:12 UTC - in response to Message 1048251.
Last modified: 14 Nov 2010, 3:17:03 UTC



Maybe they could give off signals, but I guess it would be like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

That's why they turn their arrays to galaxy's and clusters.

I believe SETI would be using some sort of sky mapping software.
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Message 1048651 - Posted: 15 Nov 2010, 19:25:32 UTC

I believe life is the natural progression of the universe.

The universe started out with simple hydrogen, and it became more complex in stars, then stars went nova and created solar systems with planets, and like the sun, things became more complex on these planets and life was created, and then more complex life. Things keep getting more and more complex. This will continue to happen. It has happened.

I also believe that we are not the life, but the Earth itself is the life. I believe the Earth is alive and is conscious on a level, and is healthy. We are not individual life, we are the Earth and the Earth is us.

Is Earth alone? No. It is not alone because of the natural progression of the universe.

I believe life is the universe becoming aware of itself.

It would be a waste if there was this universe for nothing to enjoy it or to even know it is here.

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Message 1048769 - Posted: 16 Nov 2010, 1:38:30 UTC

Remember the ending in the Men in Black movie,, Who know how far it goes, every time we think we have reached our limits we find that we just did not set our limits far enough. How big is the universe or how small is it, we are just a tiny piece of something that is so much bigger than we can imagine.
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Message 1051828 - Posted: 29 Nov 2010, 8:41:22 UTC

I do hope we are not alone. Although it might prove our undoing (meeting another intelligent specie from another world) i sencirely think that such an "encounter" would really help us get our feet of this planet.

But, unfortunatly, i do believe this is not the case. Life is pretty abundant in the universe, this i am pretty sure of, as in the last decade it seems that life only needs a liquid environment and some basic components (pretty common) to get started, and a source of energy. Life can, and will evolve in the most harsh environments. We have only begun to scratch the surface as we find more and more extreme environments that life colonised and, what a surprise, it seems to even thrive (extremly hot or cold places, extreme preasure, no sunlight, highly radiation exposed places and the list can go on). Even more, there seems to be even more than just one evolution on our planet, as scientist recently uncovered colonies of simple bacteria, cut off from the rest of the world in some remote extreme environment (i believe it was a cave or something - no oxygen, no light).

The thing is that the more complex life gets, the more and more neccesities it has (pretty much like society), which is quite logical. From this point of view, it is quite improbable to have life evolve to any level of intelligence unless the environment is very, and i mean very generous.

Moreover, we are biased into thinking that life favours intelligence, which is not the case. Even if we accept whales, or cimpanzees or many more other species as having some shread of intelligence, that still leaves more than 99.999999...% of all species on this earth as non-intelligent life. Life favours fast reproduction. The faster an organism has offsprings, the better the specie will fare in changing conditions. Intelligence somewhat offsets this as an intelligent specie has the limited capability of changing the environment, instead of biologicaly adapting to it (through reproduction coupled with mutations). But, in the end, intelligence can do so much. Intelligence is simply not going to be able to cope with certain extreme conditions changes, no matter how much we'd like to think that it would.

Take some of the worst case scenarios: nuclear war, ELE, extreme climate change, gamma ray bursts and so on and so forth. Complex life will all but perish, while most simple life forms (bacteria for example, but even multicelular life forms like sertain insects) will not only survive but even thrive in the left-over environment (no longer occupied by complex life forms). Sure, most probably complex life will once again evolve, but it's existence is somewhat conditioned, pretty harshly i might say, by certain environmental conditions. Take that away and we'll have "another" complex life form reset on our hands. This is one of the strongest arguments of Mars or even other planets colonisation. Don't keep your eggs in the same basket theory - if we wish to be a lot safer as a specie, and help ensure human specie survival. And one of those days, when we'll have to face such an event, will come. Don't know when, but it will come, this is cosmic certanty. I just hope we're gonna be prepared.

Back on topic. Even if life does evolve towards complex life forms and intelligence, the environment itself might just not permit the risal of intelligence that we are able to recognise.

Everything i've said previously had one false, i do believe, assumption. Intelligence can change the environment, intelligence can do this, intelligence can do that. So i presumed that intelligence equals technology (i simply fail to see how artistic intelligence, for example, would fare good at such a test, unfortunatly). Did you even raise an eyebrow? I think not, and i'm not surprised. Humans strongly tend to associate intelligence with technological prowless.

Who was more intelligent? Einstein or Picasso? Oppenheimer or Mozart? We have a very vague definition of intelligence. We are most proficient into recognizing technological (and sometimes artistic) intelligence, but this is pretty much it.

I, for one, find it pretty amazing that some people marvel and spend more than ten seconds looking at Juan Miro (just an example, please don't get offended if you like it) paintings. I certanly do not recognize his artistic intelligence, and i am pretty sure that a debilitated earthworm (with some turbo "system" of course) could produce hundreds of those paintings each day.

That might just make me ignorant, or whatever you'd like to call me, but the thing is that i honestly do not find any sign of intelligence, by my standards, in his "work". This, in my oppinion (and maybe to justify my ignorance :sigh:) simply shows how relative, or subjective, any other type of intelligence, beside technological is to humans. Even more, many of those people simply pretend to "understand" Juan Miro paintings because otherwise they'd just be called ignorant by the some of their fellows who seem to be more capable at this.

Would we be able to recognise non technological, non-earthly intelligence? I pretty much doubt it. We have serious problems recognising it here, on earth.

Technological intelligence has one huge advantage over any other type of intelligence. It can be cunatified, it can be "broken" into simple "blocks" using a simple "tool": mathematics. And mathematics is universal. Or at least that's what I (and some other people it seems) think. We might be wrong, but so far we have yet to see any profe otherwise.

And there are even more arguments, like civilization timeline, civilization lifetime, cosmic distances and so on and so forth.

But, i'd very much like to be wrong about this. It would be sad to be alone.

As a final word and disclaimer: thank you for your patience in reading this and please excuse any mistakes - english is not my primary language.
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Message 1051837 - Posted: 29 Nov 2010, 10:48:54 UTC
Last modified: 29 Nov 2010, 10:49:50 UTC

FROM MY PROFILE:

Does intelligent, capable of introspection, extraterrestrial life exist? Possibly not.

Despite the vast universe - and vast time - is a stable planet, orbiting a stable star, in a stable part of a galaxy usual? (I disregard 'Drake's Equation' as mere number playing.) Does one need exact combinations of chemicals, combining in exact order, to produce life? If Mars does not have/never had life, what does that mean? If life starts, does one need tides, produced by a 'double planet' (IE Earth/Moon) in order to have creatures evolving in a liquid, transfer to land?

This leads to a more interesting question.

If life is abundant in the Universe. Why would there be an intelligent creature on any planet? I would not include dolphin type, nor non-human ape type creatures. Neither has the capability to advance beyond their environment. If one believes in a deity, one has the answer. If one does not. Why would natural selection produce such a creature?

Despite my many, many reservations, I love this attempt.
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Message 1051876 - Posted: 29 Nov 2010, 17:26:28 UTC - in response to Message 1051837.

ANOTHER THOUIGHT:

Is there intellengent life on Earth?
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Message 1051935 - Posted: 29 Nov 2010, 23:14:09 UTC

Although I love to help with seti crunch numbers I think nothing will ever be found scanning the electromagnetic spectrum do to the performance restrictions of that medium and what it has to offer, my opinion is ET would be using some type of psychometric technology for everything that we would use in the EM range of space but thats just my opinion!:)
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Message 1051979 - Posted: 30 Nov 2010, 3:26:49 UTC - in response to Message 1051935.

Although I love to help with seti crunch numbers I think nothing will ever be found scanning the electromagnetic spectrum do to the performance restrictions of that medium and what it has to offer, my opinion is ET would be using some type of psychometric technology for everything that we would use in the EM range of space but thats just my opinion!:)


So at no point during any civilization's evolution they would have ever used EM communications? If you're right about psychometric tech, what do we know about this and how could we detect an intelligent pattern to distinguish the noise from the communication?

We have to start with what we know and mastered ourselves before we can search for other methods.

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Message 1052123 - Posted: 1 Dec 2010, 2:40:37 UTC - in response to Message 1051979.

Well I don't claim to have all the answers or to be an expert on the long range performance of Human EM technology but with all that is out there to interfere with a physical wave or particle that has no additional energy added to it and the fact those waves are limited to the speed of light or less it doesn't seem like something that could keep it's composure outside of a solar system to be detected by a receiving dish or network. There are too many things to intersect or distort such waves.(sorry I used the word such!)Plus it's almost impossible to predict what would direct the thinking or technological development of an intelligence from another culture! My point of view about psychometric technology is from this planet, even though 99.9% of people that claim to have psychic or remote viewing abilities are nothing but fakes there are some that have real abilities that have been measured by science! If it is true that a gifted person can sit in a room at a table with a pencil and paper and track a target on the other side of the planet then that means there is a measurable science to be learned and the medium of that science would be the psychometric field. If a person can do this than it means a machine can be built to transmit and receive through that medium as well and that medium would have no speed limit nor interference from traveling through normal space. If I were looking for a better solution to radio waves thats where I would look!:)
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Message 1052130 - Posted: 1 Dec 2010, 3:07:34 UTC - in response to Message 1052123.

Plus it's almost impossible to predict what would direct the thinking or technological development of an intelligence from another culture!


That's why we assume they've gone through the expected stages of evolution and at some point used radio waves. Remember that the waves would come from light-years away, so the signal would be old. We're not searching for real-time signals. It doesn't matter if they are using more advanced methods now, we just need to know if they used radio waves in their past.

My point of view about psychometric technology is from this planet, even though 99.9% of people that claim to have psychic or remote viewing abilities are nothing but fakes there are some that have real abilities that have been measured by science!


No, there hasn't. Not by any good scientist anyway. All of them are fakes.

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Message 1052155 - Posted: 1 Dec 2010, 5:33:42 UTC - in response to Message 1052130.
Last modified: 1 Dec 2010, 6:11:42 UTC

First I don't believe an EM wave from a transmitter can maintain enough structure over those distances to be able to tell it apart from other natural emitters at outer solar ranges so in my mind age just makes it more unlikely to hold itself together to get here as a structured signal but again i'm not an expert in long range EM technology! Second I know for a fact from personal sources that the U.S. government has in the past and still has remote viewers on our payroll! Again just my opinions! To everyone in here please give any and all idea's to this forum with a light heart, it's the collaboration of all our opinion's that will lead us to the truth and uphold the sanctity of science! It's what pushes us to understand this beautiful universe we live in!
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Message 1052180 - Posted: 1 Dec 2010, 9:06:52 UTC
Last modified: 1 Dec 2010, 9:08:21 UTC

OK...I'll bite. This may well be a silly enquiry among much learned fellow-participants but it has been nagging in the back of my mind for quite some time and I need to get it out before the neurons have a fit. Please excuse the simple lingo (as in language):- Does the detection process for whatever EM emission variables SETI employ factor in cosmological retardation (as in 'redshifting')?

Touching The Great Debacle er...Debate, "Are We Alone?", well...let me answer that question this way:- If I did not believe that there was even the remotest possibility of some other forms of intelligent life scattered throughout our vast universe I would not allow my computer to be linked into this quest. My mind is kept open without preconceived notions.

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Message 1052211 - Posted: 1 Dec 2010, 13:28:38 UTC - in response to Message 1052155.

Second I know for a fact from personal sources that the U.S. government has in the past and still has remote viewers on our payroll!


Police departments also hire spiritual mediums to solve cases. This is always at the suggestion of the victims of the case or their family. None of them have ever been successful at solving the case, ever.

But it's nice to see our tax dollars going to liars and swindlers who can fool the people into convincing the government that they need to be paid for a job that no real scientist has ever been able to verify.

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Message 1052427 - Posted: 2 Dec 2010, 7:11:18 UTC - in response to Message 1052180.
Last modified: 2 Dec 2010, 7:13:30 UTC

[…] Does the detection process for whatever EM emission variables SETI employ factor in cosmological retardation (as in 'redshifting')?

Any signal we could detect is very unlikely to come from beyond our Galaxy, so the cosmological redshift won't apply. (To be seen from e.g. the Virgo Cluster, just barely distant enough to show a consistent redshift, ET would need a beacon orders of magnitude more powerful than a star, or perhaps very accurately focused on us—it’s hard to imagine either scenario.)

However, a lot of the processing this project does is “chirping” for the kind of frequency oscillations that would be expected from orbital or diurnal motions of a source (and to cancel out those of the Earth): the ordinary kind of Doppler effect. See the old S@h Classic explanatory article What is SETI@home Looking For?

P.S. This subthread really belongs in the S@h Science forum.
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