Probability Alien Life Watching Us Cannot be Determined

Discussion in 'Science' started by FlamingLib, Sep 29, 2018.

  1. FlamingLib

    FlamingLib Well-Known Member

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    This is my gut feeling as well, but I have absolutely nothing to base it on, other than a feeling that Earth isn't really that special. If Earth isn't special, then the conditions for life will be found in a lot of places and life itself will be found in a lot of places.

    The problem with the above is that we might indeed be very special when it comes to life. The odds might be ten trillion to 1, and we just happen to be one of the ten trillion. We have no way of determining the probability space because we're working with a sample size of one when it comes to life: Earth.

    Yes, the odds would stretch, but from what to what? 90% chance alien life exists to 5% chance they're actually observing us? 99.99% chance alien life exists and 90% chance they're observing us? Which of those do we use?


    Not quite yet. There are some telescopes coming online in a few years that might allow us to look at atmospheres of exoplanets. But for now, we can't image these planets directly (I think there are a couple exoplanets we've collected a few photons from?

    When I meant "decent sized", I meant for an alien race that's more advanced than us. Say, telescopes 100X the size of the ones we have.

    By observing the atmosphere of a planet closely enough, one could infer to a high degree that life exists.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2018
  2. FlamingLib

    FlamingLib Well-Known Member

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    Our atmosphere has contained telltale biosignatures for hundreds of millions of years. At the very least, an advanced enough race would want to know more about this goldilocks planet, and like I said, probes are cheap.
     
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  3. HonestJoe

    HonestJoe Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    As I said, there are large margins of error but experts in the field can reach some kind of conclusion.

    I don't think you're giving the scale of the question enough credit. You're leaping from there having been some kind of alien life somewhere in the universe right through to intelligent life, a developed society, having the desire and ability to obverse the universe to the extent we're talking about and then them being in the same tiny section of the entire universe to be anything like close enough to do so. I can't say what the odds are but we're talking about dividing down multiple times.

    This would be about so much more than raw size of telescopes. There's a whole range of science and technology that would be required for this.

    They'd be able to infer life may have existed at some point in the distant past. Again, the scales of distance and therefore time are almost unimaginable.
     
  4. Derideo_Te

    Derideo_Te Well-Known Member

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    Agreed to all of the above!

    SETI is a search for a needle in a universe sized haystack and unlikely to ever produce results IMO.

    The most logical means of interstellar communication would be via Quantum Computing Entanglement. In theory two entangled quantum computers can exploit the properties of their entangled particles to transmit information across interstellar distances faster than the speed of light.

    We are still very much in the earliest experimental stages for this kind of functionality and it may never be practical but if it can be made to work then we could send a probe to a check out a planet 1000 light years away and get back real time information once it arrived. However we would still have to wait for it make the journey and that will probably take several millennia.
     
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  5. tecoyah

    tecoyah Well-Known Member

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    In my opinion, any extraterrestrial communication will take a form we do not yet understand and will be tied to mental manipulation and the Akashic field or something along those lines. We must bypass the physics we know and delve into the consciousness of the universe at large...yes, this sounds all granola foo-foo but there it is. Spacetime I believe is holding many secrets our minds are not open to...yet.
     
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  6. Derideo_Te

    Derideo_Te Well-Known Member

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    Yes, there is a lot more that we have yet to learn about our Universe. In some respects I am envious of future generations who will learn of these wonders that we are only just becoming aware of their existence.
     
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  7. OldManOnFire

    OldManOnFire Well-Known Member

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    Distance and time, coupled with our limited technology, are the challenges...
     
  8. OldManOnFire

    OldManOnFire Well-Known Member

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    We don't yet know much about our own Solar system and after 40+ years Voyager(s) still have not left our Solar system. Once they exit it will still take 70-80K years to reach the nearest star. Unless we experience exponential increases in our knowledge and technology there's not much more we can do. And, it's getting more difficult to obtain even minimal space exploration funding...
     
  9. Nightmare515

    Nightmare515 Ragin' Cajun Staff Member Past Donor

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    Says who? We may be interesting or we may not be and even if intelligent alien life exists nearby that doesn't necessarily mean they follow a similar evolutionary scale as humanity.

    We only have one planet to study in regards to evolutionary timelines, ours. And even so, remember that humanity only kicked into high gear in regards to technology over the past 100 years or so although we've been here as "humans" for hundreds of thousands of years. A lot of things fell in to place for us humans very recently.

    We don't know if we are special or not. We believe we are because we are human but who's to say we actually are? There could be a full blown Type II civilization living in the Alpha Centauri system that knows full well we are here and has zero interest in us.

    We humans have a very "human centric" view of ourselves and our place in the cosmos, we always have. We believe that hey we are here, if anybody else is nearby and they are looking around the cosmos then they MUST have seen US, we are Earth, we are special and if they've seen us then they MUST have taken a keen interest in us sitting over here. Maybe....maybe not.

    We could be extremely special with aliens all staring at us in fascination with their telescopes. Or we could be so technologically outclassed that our theoretical alien neighbors don't even care about us enough to acknowledge our presence. The same way we all walk by ant hills on a daily basis and don't stop and pay any attention to them because they are just ants.

    What I believe personally is that the Milky Way, and the Universe itself, it teeming with life both rudimentary and advanced yet the laws of physics are real and we are all just sort of stuck where we happened to evolve. I believe that aliens somewhere out there are likely doing what we are doing and scanning and cataloging the cosmos and wondering "does anything live on any of those planets in the Sol system?" I believe that some civilizations have outpaced us and evolved to colonize their own star systems and some are well behind. Many have likely evolved and died off long ago as well.

    But who knows? We could be part of a full blown Romulan Star Empire and have no idea because our overlords made our entire Solar System a protected off limits site to the galaxy because the little oxygen breathing 4 limbed carbon thingy's on that water planet are cute and harmless and should be left alone. They may glance over at us every once and awhile to see how we are doing or something. We humans do that here on Earth. There are a few uncontacted tribes living on Earth that "civilization" protects and leaves alone on their own little island and we just fly a helo or something over there every few years to see how they are doing but leave them alone out side of that.

    I don't believe aliens have ever come here. I think most of that is just folklore and human imaginations running wild coupled with our belief that we are special so if aliens are out there they must have come to our special little planet to visit at some point. You will notice that aliens seem to have stopped visiting us after the invention of HD photography and video lol....Same with Bigfoot and the Abominable Snowman, for some reason all of these things lost interest in us humans once 1080p became widespread throughout our society lol.
     
  10. Mamasaid

    Mamasaid Banned

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    I hear this a lot, aven from the most brilliant people on the planet. But I think it is complete nonsense. We recognize the special case of introspective self awareness, and so would any other,similarly sentient species. The more knowledge we gather, the more we understand the acute awareness of the suffering of creatures, and the difference between ants and, say, cows. I find it exceedingly hard to believe that a civilization at least as advanced as ours will not have this same development.
     
  11. Nightmare515

    Nightmare515 Ragin' Cajun Staff Member Past Donor

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    Well they may but they may not. We humans believe that another civilization would certainly take at least some interest in us because that's how WE operate as humans. As I said, we only have one sample from which to deduce "characteristics" which comes from our lifeforms here on Earth.

    We would be interested in aliens even primitive ones or single celled ones so surely aliens would be interested in us. Perhaps, if they have similar human neurological characteristics. Aliens may be very technologically advanced yet have the same characteristics as an ant colony or something to where they don't even have the cognitive ability to recognize the fact that we live here. They just colonize things. Sort of like construction, when construction begins on a new development nobody stops and thinks about the millions of ants that just got displaced when the bulldozers arrived to lay the foundation.

    Or like the Borg from Star Trek lol. The Borg would board a ship and just walk right by people and start messing with the equipment. "What is it doing? It's not responding to us talking to it?" "He's not interested in you, he doesn't even acknowledge your existence he's interested in your star ship" LOL.

    I'd surely hope that if aliens are nearby they would have least taken some interest in us. But at the end of the day we have no real idea either way. If we apply human traits to them then sure they would at least acknowledge that we are here if they see our planet at all. But who's to say they even have human traits? Or even cognitive thought? Or brains at all? For all we know our theoretical alien neighbors could be a super advanced race of parasites without the ability to even comprehend that anything else is "alive".

    Plus we may not want them to have human traits that take interest in other species like us. We humans have a terrible track record when it comes to "discovering" and "studying" things. Aliens show up one day to say hello and accidentally infect the entire planet and kill us all, sort of like our explorers tend to do from time to time. Or show up and say hey we see you guys are started to become space faring, we don't trust you, stay on your on planet and never leave or we will kill you all. Ya know, sort of like how we humans treat each other.

    Remember, "scientists" tend to be respectful and careful such as throwing probes into planets to make sure we don't accidentally contaminate other worlds, and sharing discoveries, etc. "Humans" are a species that drains our own planet of resources without mercy, contaminates it without mercy, and have been systematically slaughtering one another for millennia and spends much of it's research and finances figuring out more effective ways to do that.

    I'm not too sure I'd want an alien race with human traits to be "interested" in Earth...If I were an advanced alien race having watched the Earth for generations I would conclude that the Earthlings are irresponsible psychopaths that need to be kept in their own little corner of the galaxy at any cost and prohibit them from ever even making contact with anybody else until they learn how to act right.
     
  12. Mamasaid

    Mamasaid Banned

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    All very well said. But I think that, just as any cooperative society will need to possess introspective self awareness in order to form the cooperation projects required to detect or travel to other world's, they will take this interest in each other. Therefore, they will be interested in us.
     
  13. Nightmare515

    Nightmare515 Ragin' Cajun Staff Member Past Donor

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    Hope so, half of me remains optimistic believing that if aliens are out there and they follow even something resembling our own evolutionary path then by the time they reach interstellar space travel they will have hopefully made peace with themselves and united as a species for a common goal. And would be friendly or at a minimum cautiously interested in knowing more about us.

    The other half of me hears the echoes of Stephen Hawking's belief that broadcasting our existence over here on our technologically primitive little world may not be the best of ideas. He believed that because he too was nervous that our possible alien neighbors might actually hold some of our own terrible human traits. It is indeed a huge gamble for us to start waving welcome signs to the cosmos, we never know who might actually answer us and the consequences for us could be dire if the wrong folks end up picking up the phone.

    Plus recently I read the premise for a book that went something like "After decades of humanity broadcasting to the cosmos, SETI finally received a rather unexpected reply: "Be quiet! They will hear you!"

    I thought that was pretty cool, hopefully they actually write that book I'd like to read that.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2018
  14. Mamasaid

    Mamasaid Banned

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    And I think Stephen hawking is full of it on this. JMHO
     
  15. tecoyah

    tecoyah Well-Known Member

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    If an alien race knew of us and was aggressive, we would be extinct by now. Likely no one knows or cares about the creatures on Earth, and if they do we are a curiosity worthy of an exhibit at best.

    Simply put folks...we ain't all that.
     
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  16. OldManOnFire

    OldManOnFire Well-Known Member

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    And don't forget about The Prime Directive; This conceptual law applies particularly to civilizations which are below a certain threshold of technological, scientific and cultural development; preventing starship crews from using their superior technology to impose their own values or ideals on them...Earthlings will certainly be in this category...
     
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  17. cerberus

    cerberus Banned Donor

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    OP

    I believe there is 'life out there' and that we're being studied. In fact I believe that crop circles were all about observing our reactions; I don't mean the ones made with a pole and a length of string, I mean those which were so sophisticated they're almost three dimensional. I don't believe any human hand could have done them during a few hours of darkness.
     
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  18. yasureoktoo

    yasureoktoo Banned

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    We're probably better than cable.
     
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  19. Nightmare515

    Nightmare515 Ragin' Cajun Staff Member Past Donor

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    I think that's the pill that a lot of folks just don't want to swallow. We believe ourselves special, our religious and spiritual beliefs all say we are special, plus we exist and have the cognitive ability to understand that we exist so we think we are special.

    There is nothing about anything around us that's even abnormal or unique. Normal star, normal star system, normal galaxy, random place within the galaxy, etc. A lot of people find that disheartening but I find that fascinating. The fact that the space around us is completely normal and we really are just a random planet in a random arm of a random galaxy makes me appreciate the fact that we even exist more so than I would if our little corner of the Universe was somehow different than the rest of it.

    The fact that the Universe is nature and it doesn't give one iota that we are sitting here on this little blue planet is fascinating. If we blinked out of existence tomorrow, a massive solar flare eradicates us all, then we would simply vanish from the Universe without anything ever having known we existed over here. Or to just speculate on the fact that we humans think we are so smart with our internet and our hybrid cars and jet planes yet there could be advanced civilizations living in the proverbial house next door who look at us and don't even see us as worthy of acknowledgement.

    All of that is humbling to me.
     
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  20. tecoyah

    tecoyah Well-Known Member

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    Yup...we once thought the Earth was everything, the sun revolved around us, we were soooo special and God made us so we must be the awesomenessly superpowered pinnacle of all that is. Then we opened our eyes and noticed we are a speck on the windshield of a car on the freeway going to Disneyland. I also find it all amazing.
     
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  21. Nightmare515

    Nightmare515 Ragin' Cajun Staff Member Past Donor

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    I say we tell SETI to focus our efforts on sending concentrated radio signals to 40 Eridani indefinitely and just annoy the crap out of them until they decide to respond to us. Sort of like when we were children and just called mom's name a thousand times until she just got irritated and paid attention to us so we'd shut up lol.

    Maybe if we throw a temper tantrum long enough the Vulcans will just give us the warp drive blueprints so we'll stop crying lol.

    Most of the Prime Directive civilizations were primitive by human standards, tribal peoples and what not. We have the ability to throw stuff into space and make noise. Those other civ's were like new born babies, we are terrible two's I say we use that and start annoying our parents. We're already destroying our room over here now we need to just start screaming until they give us the cell phone so we can play too lol.
     
  22. OldManOnFire

    OldManOnFire Well-Known Member

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    All joking aside; you're talking about METI...messaging extraterrestrial intelligence;

    The Primary Objectives And Purposes Of METI International Are To:
    • Conduct scientific research and educational programs in Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI).

    • Promote international cooperation and collaboration in METI, SETI, and astrobiology.

    • Understand and communicate the societal implications and relevance of searching for life beyond Earth, even before detection of extraterrestrial life.

    • Foster multidisciplinary research on the design and transmission of interstellar messages, building a global community of scholars from the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and arts.

    • Research and communicate to the public the many factors that influence the origins, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe, with a special emphasis on the last three terms of the Drake Equation: (1) the fraction of life-bearing worlds on which intelligence evolves, (2) the fraction of intelligence-bearing worlds with civilizations having the capacity and motivation for interstellar communication, and (3) the longevity of such civilizations.

    • Offer programs to the public and to the scholarly community that foster increased awareness of the challenges facing our civilization’s longevity, while encouraging individual and community activities that support the sustainability of human culture on multigenerational timescales, which is essential for long-term METI and SETI research.


     
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  23. FlamingLib

    FlamingLib Well-Known Member

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    The principles of evolution are going to be the same on any other planet, and the first lesson any species learns is it's kill or be killed. We are a rapidly progressing technological species that is a potential threat to anyone nearby us. For that reason alone, we are worth keeping an eye on.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2018
  24. cerberus

    cerberus Banned Donor

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    I thought somebody might have responded to mine about crop circles. [​IMG] I find that much more thought-provoking in the tangible sense of the subject than just guessing.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
  25. tecoyah

    tecoyah Well-Known Member

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    There are most certainly aspects and instances of crop circle phenomenon that compel me to believe there is something to it. This one still puzzles me and seems unexplainable.
     
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