We are alone

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EdithKeeler
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We are alone

Post by EdithKeeler » Mon Mar 04, 2019 8:52 pm

I've been into TED Talks lately, and yesterday I listened to this one:
https://www.ted.com/talks/stephen_webb_ ... anguage=en

I'm surprised, but this guy convinced me; I'm no longer certain that there are aliens out there, and the numbers and variables are certainly against it. I've been a most avid reader of sci-fi over the years, as well as some harder science, and for some reason, I find this idea a little depressing, this idea that we're probably "it" in the universe. I wanted there to be aliens and we could discover their cool technology and travel the stars and find more aliens, and more cool technology.... I'm also depressed because well, if we're "it" we're probably FUCKED because humans seem to be screwing up everything lately. If the universe is our playground, our oyster, and we're spending our time and money on Keeping up the Kardashians and filling our landfills with dirty diapers and Starbucks cups instead of mining asteroids and exploring the galaxy... well, I just don't see how we get there from where we are NOW. I think we're going to have to get the dolphins on board, at the very least.

But at the same time, it's sort of cool to think that the whole universe might just be OURS to explore and colonize and whatever. As he points out, there may not be another perfect planet where life started... but humans are hardy and could make it work in a not-so-perfect environment. I mean, if we tried. And gave up Starbucks and cat memes and Kardashians. And could figure out how to feed everyone.

Anyway. Random thoughts. Curious to see if you buy this guy's theory, or think we are NOT in fact, alone. And if we're NOT alone--are we at the top of of the chain in the universe, or at the bottom, or somewhere in the middle? If we're not alone, it's crazy to think that we could be the MOST advanced life form and society in the universe with the most advanced technology...

intellectualpersuit
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Re: We are alone

Post by intellectualpersuit » Mon Mar 04, 2019 9:00 pm

Well we probably won't get to experience the fulfillment of human potential, unless it is killing ourselves off.

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prognastat
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Re: We are alone

Post by prognastat » Mon Mar 04, 2019 9:10 pm

Thing though is just like he can add barriers I can subtract them.

Just because we happen to require a planet in the goldilocks zone that earth inhabits, doesn't necessarily mean life elsewhere couldn't.

Now I have no proof that this is possible, but he has no proof that his barriers are actual barriers either.

CS
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Re: We are alone

Post by CS » Mon Mar 04, 2019 9:11 pm

We are a random object found on the side of the road, almost squished under some car's tire.

Seriously, our timeline is in 100ks of year. The dinosaurs were in tens of millions. Our very substance is made from the ashes of the first round of stars (hard to make humans out of hydrogen and helium alone, yo).

We are most certainly, at least not statistically, alone. We might be alone in our utter stupidity, but that is a whole other story. Believe it or not, our society is getting less violent. At this point, it is an arms race of our brains in solving conflicts versus, well, our brains in killing ourselves off. If we pass this hurdle, we might go on for a long time... or we die in nuclear death, or the robots get rid of the obviously unstable elephant in the room (us).

So no, I don't even need to go to the link to say we are not alone. My background in astrophysics and common sense tell me that. Think of it from the other side - if you found 'us', would you bother to say hi? Probably not. We are some unstable assholes.

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Kriegsspiel
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Re: We are alone

Post by Kriegsspiel » Mon Mar 04, 2019 9:39 pm

A theory that seems most plausible to me:

Essentially, the way life evolved on Earth produced a quirk that, for millions of years, resulted in a shit ton of starlight being captured and stored in their dead bodies (fossil fuels). Maybe one another planet somewhere hydrocarbons were created similarly. Maybe on another one a bunch of nuclear material like uranium was created. If you had a bunch of stars shooting their energy at you, you might be able to utilize the flow, instead of a stock. But AFAIK stars can't exist too close to each other, so a planet is going to be relying on one nearby star, or two weaker stars in a binary system. So you need to capture the stars energy in order to eventually organize the atoms necessary to escape Type I status.

The filters then would include something like
- The planet in question has to have avoided being obliterated by an asteroid long enough for whatever process that creates the store of energy to begin.
- Ditto for it going on long enough to create the all the energy the society will use for development and achieving Type II/III status.
- The power source has to resist entropy long enough to be utilized by an intelligent species.
- The planet can't have a solar flare or whatever disturb the progress of said civilization after they've consumed so much of their stored energy that they won't have enough left to get past Type I status.
- Not exhausting the store of energy prior to becoming Type II (which is what I think we will do).
- The planet's star can't reach the end of its life and engulf the planet.

Come at me bros.

Mister Imperceptible
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Re: We are alone

Post by Mister Imperceptible » Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:00 pm

If we are the the only fortunate creatures we must seize our destiny and become the only Divine Creators.

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vexed87
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Re: We are alone

Post by vexed87 » Tue Mar 05, 2019 6:52 am

Before we ask a question of such significance, in order that we are all singing from the same hymn sheet, first we have to carefully define the question. I'll leave that up to EK as it's her thread. But I suggest we first think if we are interested in life in all its forms, or just 'sentient' 'intelligent' humanoid shaped beings? How are we defining the intelligent or sentient beings?

Systems thinking can be applied widely, so why are biological life systems any exception? Given the seemingly unquantifiable size of the universe, I would be highly surprised if in the past, present or future some non-earth originating replicating molecular life forms have not come to being through sheer chance in a proverbial primordial soup. From there, life could take any direction, as it has on our own planet. If sentience is simply the ability to be aware of one's surroundings, any organism that responds to environmental stimuli could be considered sentient, if you go further and stipulate human experienced sensations, it becomes much less likely that such conditions exist, because those sensations are unique and forged by our own planetary environment, the only sensible question that remains then, is how unique is the earth and its properties?

For me, it's far more interesting and revealing to consider why our culture obsesses with the possibility of human-like space civilisations in the first place. We are very egocentric, and to consider the pecking order/advancement of one's tools/tech as the yardstick of civilization says more about us than comparing ourselves with the unknown ever could.

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Re: We are alone

Post by jennypenny » Tue Mar 05, 2019 6:59 am

I, too, am fascinated by this topic. Most have always felt like CS that the universe is teeming with intelligent life, and humans are stuck behind some galactic velvet rope waiting until they advance far enough to join the party. Some people I respect believe in Bostrom's simulation theory, making the whole discussion moot if we're the product of some future high schooler's science fair project.

It's plausible that we're alone or close to it. A planet abundant in life might not develop the intelligent, technologically-advanced, self-aware life forms necessary for advanced technology. Think of the earth without humans ... still full of life -- some with intelligence and communication skills -- but no prospects for interstellar communication or travel. The universe might be full of life yet human-level intelligence/awareness is extremely rare.

Maybe humans are the summer civilization to which Webb is referring?

EdithKeeler
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Re: We are alone

Post by EdithKeeler » Tue Mar 05, 2019 8:12 am

. I'll leave that up to EK as it's her thread. But I suggest we first think if we are interested in life in all its forms, or just 'sentient' 'intelligent' humanoid shaped beings? How are we defining the intelligent or sentient beings?
Oh, this is a free-ranging discussion—no definitions from me and no rules except no politics or discussion about low carb diets! 😁

I was thinking specifically about aliens of the Mr. Spock/Jar-Jar Binks/ Dariens variety—ie, aliens we could communicate with and share technology with. Or even one of those pre-warp / pre-industrial civilizations that the crew of The Enterprise was never supposed to mess with but always did.

I certainly think it’s possible that there are beings out there that are the equivalent of rabbits or dogs or dolphins, etc. And forms of life that might be pretty incomprehensible to us. And Webb doesn’t rule those out, but makes a convincing point (to me, anyway) that the chances of the peculiar mix of factors that made humans happen here are very unlikely to exist elsewhere. Or in sufficiently large enough quantities to have a Universe teeming with spaceships.

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TheWanderingScholar
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Re: We are alone

Post by TheWanderingScholar » Tue Mar 05, 2019 10:35 am

My personal opinion on the matter:
Considering current suggestions for the death of universe is 10^100 years, and the universe is currently only 13 Billion years old, with humans have only existed for a couple hundred thousand years, and we have just been able in the last half century started trying to contact other species, means two things.

1)Our existences and attempts at contact have made up very little of the universes space-time continuum, and therefore only reaches a limited space around our planet. It still takes four years for light to reach the nearest object. Radio waves are much slower than light.

2)We might be the progenitor species: Considering how young the universe is, and how long it took for complex life to form, we might the first truly sentient species in the universe. Or at least in the part that matters. That means nothing can talk back to us even if here us, and that we are blazing the path for all sentient life.

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prognastat
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Re: We are alone

Post by prognastat » Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:07 am

Also to keep in mind we have only mapped about 1% of just the observable universe which is the sphere of space where light is able to reach us. So not only is there likely to be much more space in the universe that we can't even observe thus will pretty much always be out of our reach, but could hold life. We've barely even scratched the observable part.

Augustus
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Re: We are alone

Post by Augustus » Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:45 am

prognastat wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:07 am
We've barely even scratched the observable part.
+1

We don't know anywhere near enough to conclusively say anything at this point. The bigger question is, why would we be special? Given the size of the universe and the timescales involved, why would we be so special that life wouldn't exist anywhere else? I am hoping that life is a fairly common, and we are not special. I mean it's possible, but who knows.

EdithKeeler
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Re: We are alone

Post by EdithKeeler » Tue Mar 05, 2019 12:28 pm

We don't know anywhere near enough to conclusively say anything at this point. The bigger question is, why would we be special? Given the size of the universe and the timescales involved, why would we be so special that life wouldn't exist anywhere else? I am hoping that life is a fairly common, and we are not special. I mean it's possible, but who knows.
So not only is there likely to be much more space in the universe that we can't even observe thus will pretty much always be out of our reach, but could hold life. We've barely even scratched the observable part.
Just curious if you watched the TED Talk and what you think of his argument.

EdithKeeler
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Re: We are alone

Post by EdithKeeler » Tue Mar 05, 2019 12:30 pm

2)We might be the progenitor species: Considering how young the universe is, and how long it took for complex life to form, we might the first truly sentient species in the universe. Or at least in the part that matters. That means nothing can talk back to us even if here us, and that we are blazing the path for all sentient life.
I think this is starting to be my take.

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TheWanderingScholar
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Re: We are alone

Post by TheWanderingScholar » Tue Mar 05, 2019 12:44 pm

prognastat wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:07 am
...thus will pretty much always be out of our reach, but could hold life...
I agreed with you everything you said so take that in mind:

If we cannot reach or even observe those places, should we even taken it into consideration for our part of the universe of whether or not we are alone?

IlliniDave
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Re: We are alone

Post by IlliniDave » Tue Mar 05, 2019 1:07 pm

Well, if the probably of us being here is essentially zero, yet here we are, maybe some of the assumptions are incorrect. Using his analogy, we've only been "looking" about for an instant. Give it time before feeling despondent.

And either way, what makes us so special? Likely we will come and go as a species while life on the planet continues for millions of years after we're gone, then stops.

Augustus
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Re: We are alone

Post by Augustus » Tue Mar 05, 2019 1:10 pm

EdithKeeler wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 12:28 pm
Just curious if you watched the TED Talk and what you think of his argument.
I skimmed the transcript, I hate videos for some reason. I mean it all comes down to the drake equation, which hasn't changed in the last 60 years. People pop in different percentage chances of habitable worlds and the chances of life drops or increases. Truth is though we don't know enough to speculate at this point. It is silly to make judgement until the data comes in.

It also implies humans are special instead of commonplace. That has bit us in the past with heliocentric theories, etc. It's illogical to assume we're special right off the bat with not enough data. For all we know radio waves are considered taboo or something, like farting, and that's why no one is broadcasting. We just don't know! Or someone else invented a much more efficient means of communication e.g. faster than light, and radio is considered primitive/vulgar. Or they're just not interested in finding a bunch of stone age chimps. Or there's a war going on and we're about to get clobbered by space nazis for transmitting our location. Or... you get my point.

Jason
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Re: We are alone

Post by Jason » Tue Mar 05, 2019 1:51 pm

There's nothing out there. I think people want to believe there is something out there but there isn't. I know this because if there was, I'd be the type of guy they'd snatch up and do all types of unseemly shit to you.

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prognastat
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Re: We are alone

Post by prognastat » Tue Mar 05, 2019 2:20 pm

TheWanderingScholar wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 12:44 pm
If we cannot reach or even observe those places, should we even taken it into consideration for our part of the universe of whether or not we are alone?
I guess it depends. Even though we can't observe or reach them this might not always be the case. Observing them will pretty much always be the case due to expansion and the speed of light however like one of the things mentioned in the video about slow colonisation of the universe if two species outside one another observable universe were to embark on such a quest eventually they could meet, question is whether this or the eventual heat death of the universe is faster.

Of course it also depends on what value you hold on the potential. Although we might not ever meet them we can't say with certainty they aren't there if we are unable to observe or go there.

Finally of course there is the potential that we don't know the laws of physics well enough yet and things such as travelling through wormholes without them collapsing is achievable etc allowing us to eventually travel to such places despite the limitation placed on us by the speed of light.

Though at this time if it isn't within our observable universe for almost all intents and purposes it might as well not exist. The question though is whether intelligent life exists in our universe(which by default includes the unobservable part) and since we can't observe it we can't rule out that even if the observable universe didn't contain any other intelligent life that the same would go for the unobservable portion.

Jason
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Re: We are alone

Post by Jason » Tue Mar 05, 2019 3:23 pm

People just project anyways. And they do it in extremes, Space people are either all bad or all good. In the 1950's with the Cold War, they are scary. During Reagan, it's all bicycles and candy.

And everyone anticipates they'll be all advanced and shit. What happens if they're not. What happens if they're just fucking annoying. Like all they do is sit around and fucking complain all day like a race of inter-planetary yentas. Or they do nothing all day. Like they come over and just sit there and fart on your new couch. And they have nothing to contribute. No new science, or philosophical insight. Their space ship is like a piece of crap beater that some kid in technical school wouldn't waste his time making. Just a bunch of fucking idiots. Like millions of Tom Arnolds. No one wants to consider that because it ruins the romanticism.

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