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Old 10-22-2008, 04:59 PM   #61
blane
Deep Space Operator
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I've been lurking in this thread for a while now and I'm still missing
some considerations which I think are very essential.

First, I probably would be considered as someone who rather sides with
people who claim that there is intelligent life out there in our
galaxy, probably much more than we would imagine. On the other hand,
same kind of people might be disappointed by my rather loose
conception of "intelligent life out there".

To the risk of annoying some of you, but it's utterly neccessary to
define some things on the semantic level first, because without that
actually every statement about the probability of extra-terrestrial
life is meaningless. In the least we would need the definition of
"Life" and "Intelligence" (everything else, like "Civilization" can be
derivated from that rather straight forward).

"Life" is being easier to define in my opinion, although I would think
that most people (that includes most scientists, which I am not, btw)
would disagree with my definition, because they have a more
conservative view.

We all agree that everything that is part of the flora or fauna (i.e.
plant or animal) is alive. Furthermore most will probably agree that
entities like viruses and bacteria could be considered "life".

However, let's not forget that we can apply this only to Earth (simply
because we have not yet found any extra-terrestrial life, not even
bacteria so far) to compare. Therefore, to speculate about life on
other planets let alone in other stellar systems we would need a more
generic definition. I would suggest something like the following:

1. The entity has a life cyclus. (i.e. it will be "born" and will
"die". (Though I actually am not sure whether that is an
requirement but a limited span of life seems intuitive to me).

2. The creation/birth of the entity can be and is being reproduced.

3. The entity converts engergy in some way or another (which just
means that a life form needs some kind of metabolism)

There is probably more to add but I think these are the most important
attributes. But if we consider only those we can easily see that stars
and even planets meet all the criteria, too).

I think it's perfectly fine to say that our sun is a living being. But
is it intelligent?

This is far more complicated to define; we only have one value of
comparison which is human intelligence. But it would be arrogant to
claim that this is the highest or even only form of intelligence.

On our own planet we find forms of intelligence which are so alien to
us that we haven't even begun to understand them. The "collective
intelligence" of ants (even better: termites) are a good example. We
have no idea how the actual intelligence works there, but by
observation we can't deny there is one. What we don't understand is
their communication (as with most animals). And it seems
clear to me that the type of communication is a direct consequence
of the type of intelligence.

So if we wanted to verify whether stars are intelligent or not we
would need to figure out how their intelligence works. Or we could
even try to figure out how they communicate. But how can we possibly
do that, if we're not even able to understand ants?

See the perspective here -- if we consider ants as the lower life
form, stars would be a much higher life form and therefore possibly
completely out of our reach in means of understanding. Would it be a
boisterous to assume that solar flares are simply communication
signals?

This concludes my excursion to semantics and if I apply all this, I
must strongly consider that there could be intelligent life out there
-- even very close -- but we simply don't recognize it as such. Who
says that every intelligent life form will cast out "human-compatible"
radio waves?

We don't even need to reach as far out as stars; quite an amount of
scientiest speculate that life form on silicon is possible (or maybe
even other elements). I don't dare to imagine how intelligince and
communication of such entities might differ from ours.

Finally, and regardless of anything I wrote above a completely
different point I am not sure was mentioned in this context:

Even if I do believe that there is "human-compatible" (that is:
detectable), intelligent life in out galaxy, even as a "Civilization"
(actually this term required more semantics, but for the sake of
readbility I'll leave it now), I don't see it as an requirement to be
able to detect them at all.

Our galaxy is almost as old as the universe, something over 13 billion
years (in our frame of refernce). Humans being here let's say 1
million years give or take. But being "detactable" only for a decade
or so.

I don't believe a civilization has to remain "forever". I think it's
quite possible that humankind exists, let's say another 10.000 or
100.000 years (or even 1M years, it does not really matter) -- and
then "extincts". Important: Extinction does not neccessarily mean
annihilattion, but so many factors we don't know have a play in here.

What happens to humans that live on a different planet, a moon with
low-G or even an astoroid for 10, 100, 1000 generations? Will they
still be human? Will they still have "human-compatible" intelligence
(by our standards now). Will they still communicate in the classical
sense?

All this can be reasonably doubted. And if we define a rather lenient
window of "human-detactable" civilization level of let's say 1 million
years, that is still only a 1/13000 of the time our galaxy exists. So,
to detect another civilization on this level (providing it is human-
detactable in the first place!), we would need to hit the same time
window, too.

Well, that is my 2 cents, for what's it worth.

cheers,
snwcreah
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Old 10-22-2008, 06:22 PM   #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hielor View Post
 I do not subscribe to the "Hippy Police" theory. I was pointing out the possibility of such a thing happening.
I can point to the possibility that quadrillions of aliens are hiding behind the Invisible Pink Unicorn, but it's extremely unlikely.

Quote:
A rational person doesn't eliminate all possibilities and leap to conclusions
And who is doing that? As I said, it's possible that there are other technological civlisations out there; it's just very, very, very, very unlikely.

Quote:
We don't have enough evidence to reach an informed conclusion
Conclusion, no, but working hypothesis, yes. We have a pretty good idea of how fast the galaxy can be colonised and how hard a galaxy-wide technological civilisation would be to miss, and there's precisely zero evidence that they're out there.

The rational working hypothesis is that they don't exist. You are the one claiming that they do, and you have zero evidence for your claim.

Quote:
Yes, it's still a split second on the scale of galactic history, but you absolutely cannot claim that nothing of interest has happened in a hundred BILLION star systems in the course of say 300,000 years.
Where did I claim that? Oh, I didn't.

Quote:
Moreover, assuming that you are somehow special,
YOU are assuming that the human race is 'somehow special', because you're the one claiming an unlikely combination of factors that allow us to exist in a galaxy full of technological civilisations that, for some reason, haven't chosen to colonise the galaxy.

And you don't even realise that.

Quote:
The odds are that you are not special, that you are not the first to do something. Thinking otherwise is just giving yourself a god complex.
Someone has to be first, and the galaxy is small enough that there probably isn't time for a second to arise before the first has colonised the whole thing; or, if they do, they won't stand a chance of stopping them.

And, your own argument relies on us being among the first so that other cultures haven't colonised the galaxy, so you can hardly argue that we can't possibly be _the_ first.

Let me start from the beginning, and explain the argument in simple terms in the hope that you'll finally understand.

Initially the galaxy is empty of intelligent, technological life.

Then, POP! One such culture appears. They then have a few choices:

1. They can become hippies.
2. They can destroy themselves.
3. They can be destroyed by a natural event before they expand far enough to be safe.
4. They can set out to colonise the galaxy.

If they choose option four and are determined, they can colonise the entire galaxy in a million years. If they're really determined they can colonise it at nearly the speed of light, say a hundred and fifty thousand years. If they're lazy, they can colonise it by accident in ten million years, just by wandering from star to star. None of that requires technology that we can't envision today.

If there are thirty-five thousand technological cultures in the galaxy, then the odds against a single one of them having set out to colonise the galaxy are mind-bogglingly minute. If a single one has, then they'd have to have evolved very recently in galactic terms for their actions not to be visible from here.

And an expanding Industrialist culture that controlled the power of thousands or millions of star systems would steamroller over any Hippy culture that tried to stop them.

Quote:
You claim: there are no other civilizations out there, in one hundred billion stars.
Where did I claim that? Ah, I didn't.

Quote:
My claim: there may be another civilization out there, but they are either a) not advanced enough for us to detect or b) too advanced for us to detect, but not so advanced as to make their presence obvious.
Which, if you actually read my posts, you'd see I accepted as a possibility. Just a very, very, very, very unlikely one.

I'm observing reality and drawing logical conclusions. You're claiming that the human race lives in a very special situation which requires numerous unlikely possibilities to coincide. Which is more likely?
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Old 10-22-2008, 07:21 PM   #63
Hielor
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GregBurch View Post
 If you want to read a rigorous analysis of this problem, buckle your seat belts for a little math (after the firs few pages) and read this:

http://64.233.169.104/search?q=cache...ient=firefox-a

Ever since this paper was published, I've felt that it puts a floor of rationality on this subject. If the question really interests you, I highly recommend that you read it.
I'm confused as to how this supports the conclusion that "space is a wilderness, therefore there are no advanced civilizations." Specifically:

Quote:
What does the model in this paper suggest a long-colonized region should look like? Surprisingly, this model allows for lone oases like ours amid large regions apparently devoid of advanced activity, and containing large amounts of unused resources.
According to that paper, just because we don't see advanced activity doesn't mean it's not out there, which unless I missed something, is supporting the possibility that there are in fact advanced civilizations out there.


-----Posted Added-----


Every time I spend more than ten minutes writing something, my computer comes up with a new and interesting way of deleting it. Being used to Emacs, without thinking I tried to use the Ctrl-space (move) Ctrl-W, then Ctrl-Y method of cut/paste. Turns out that Ctrl-W is "close tab" in Firefox. Sigh. Anyway, here goes again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by movieman View Post
 And who is doing that? As I said, it's possible that there are other technological civlisations out there; it's just very, very, very, very unlikely.
Not I, See below.

Quote:
Conclusion, no, but working hypothesis, yes. We have a pretty good idea of how fast the galaxy can be colonised and how hard a galaxy-wide technological civilisation would be to miss, and there's precisely zero evidence that they're out there.
See my previous post, which was apparently posted concurrently with yours. Additionally, you yourself called it a conclusion. (See below)

Quote:
The rational working hypothesis is that they don't exist. You are the one claiming that they do, and you have zero evidence for your claim.
I do not see bacteria, therefore they must not exist.

Quote:
Where did I claim that? Oh, I didn't.
Right here, two or three posts ago:
Quote:
Originally Posted by movieman
 A rational person doesn't make up unlikely possibilities to support their belief, they look at the evidence and pick the most likely conclusion.

Which is that we're alone.
There's no waffling there. You stated unequivocably that the conclusion you have arrived at is that we are alone. At least, assuming that you consider yourself a rational person.

Quote:
YOU are assuming that the human race is 'somehow special', because you're the one claiming an unlikely combination of factors that allow us to exist in a galaxy full of technological civilisations that, for some reason, haven't chosen to colonise the galaxy.
Assuming we are one among many is assuming we are "special," while assuming that we are the first is not? I suggest you look up the meaning of "special" again.

And I don't think the galaxy is "full" of civilizations, I've never said that. Just that there are more than us. Moreover, it is not necessarily that they have not yet chosen to colonize the galaxy, but that they are not yet able to (like us).

Quote:
And you don't even realise that.
Because I know what "special" means.

Quote:
Someone has to be first, and the galaxy is small enough that there probably isn't time for a second to arise before the first has colonised the whole thing; or, if they do, they won't stand a chance of stopping them.
Yes, someone has to be first, but guess what? Only one can be first. Everyone else is not the first. You have a dartboard in which the very center square cm is "first" and the remaining 99 square cm is "not first." Where is that dart more likely to land? (numbers not to scale). Moreover, ten million years to colonize the galaxy is plenty of time for another species to come from primitives without even so much as a language and become a spacefaring society.

Quote:
And, your own argument relies on us being among the first so that other cultures haven't colonised the galaxy, so you can hardly argue that we can't possibly be _the_ first.
It's possible we're the absolute first yes, but "among the first" is a weaker assumption than "the first."

Quote:
Let me start from the beginning, and explain the argument in simple terms in the hope that you'll finally understand.
Oh please do. The simpler the better, because I am not very smart.

Quote:
If they choose option four and are determined, they can colonise the entire galaxy in a million years. If they're really determined they can colonise it at nearly the speed of light, say a hundred and fifty thousand years. If they're lazy, they can colonise it by accident in ten million years, just by wandering from star to star. None of that requires technology that we can't envision today.
Except the "nearly the speed of light" option, but anyway.

Quote:
If there are thirty-five thousand technological cultures in the galaxy, then the odds against a single one of them having set out to colonise the galaxy are mind-bogglingly minute. If a single one has, then they'd have to have evolved very recently in galactic terms for their actions not to be visible from here.
Yes, that's the point.

Quote:
And an expanding Industrialist culture that controlled the power of thousands or millions of star systems would steamroller over any Hippy culture that tried to stop them.
A problem here is that we are both assuming that a society can expand to that size and remain a coherent society/culture. The problem with that is distance. Unless FTL is possible, no society or culture will be able to remain coherent for very long past its home system; the communication delay is simply too long. Even if the center of government were no more than 50,000 light years from any given colony, that's more than 500 (above average) human lifetimes from the time a message is sent until it arrives.

No government would be able to maintain control at such a distance. Moreover, no single culture could control the power of thousands or millions of star systems. If the individuals in the society are comprised of people of equivalent lifespan to modern-day humans, no individual could be expected to visit more than a handful of star systems in their lifetime, and that would be if they spent their entire life aboard ship.

Moreover, if the society is individualistic and not hive-minded (or similar), good luck finding an army of people to spend ten Earth years aboard ship to invade the nearest system, especially when we already know that there can't be a single galactic culture.

Again, this is assuming no FTL communications or drives, which is about as valid an assumption given our current understanding of the universe as we can make.

Quote:
Where did I claim that? Ah, I didn't.
Again:
Quote:
Originally Posted by movieman
 ...pick the most likely conclusion.

Which is that we're alone.
Quote:
Which, if you actually read my posts, you'd see I accepted as a possibility. Just a very, very, very, very unlikely one.
Which led you to the "conclusion" (your word, not mine) that we are in fact alone. When you made that conclusion, you dismissed the possibility.

Quote:
I'm observing reality and drawing logical conclusions. You're claiming that the human race lives in a very special situation which requires numerous unlikely possibilities to coincide. Which is more likely?
You are making assumptions based on very, very incomplete evidence. Moreover, once again you misuse "special," because stating that the situation which brought us to the point we are at now can happen elsewhere is in fact the opposite of "special." Stating that we are alone is assuming "specialness," and is rather blatantly egocentric on a species scale. Homocentric? (as in human, not the slang for homosexual).
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Old 10-22-2008, 07:49 PM   #64
Linguofreak
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hielor View Post
 Assuming we are one among many is assuming we are "special," while assuming that we are the first is not? I suggest you look up the meaning of "special" again.
Well, the problem is this:

Under the assumption that it is fairly easy for an intellegent species to develop the technology for interstellar travel, and that once such technology is developed it is easy to use, the observational evidence suggests that we are the first, otherwise we'd see the civilizations that had developed such technology.

Which is more special, to be first among many, or first among a few?


But I find the assumption that interstellar travel is easy questionable. What if no civilization ever leaves its own star system?
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Old 10-22-2008, 07:55 PM   #65
blane
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Hmm, argueing with the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropic_principle is kind of ... boring.

I mean: Logically there isn't much wrong with it, however, it will usually kill the discussion. It's about the same as "everything is subjective" which is true, and if you go deeper you can question anything and are untouchable by means of arguments.

I actually hoped to get some feedback on my post below
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Old 10-22-2008, 09:53 PM   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snwcrsh View Post
 However, let's not forget that we can apply this only to Earth (simply
because we have not yet found any extra-terrestrial life, not even
bacteria so far) to compare. Therefore, to speculate about life on
other planets let alone in other stellar systems we would need a more
generic definition. I would suggest something like the following:
Alright, go for it.

Quote:
1. The entity has a life cyclus. (i.e. it will be "born" and will
"die". (Though I actually am not sure whether that is an
requirement but a limited span of life seems intuitive to me).
This seems reasonable.
Quote:
2. The creation/birth of the entity can be and is being reproduced.
Reproduced how? Let's take a look at the most popular candidate for abduction, the Grays. Whether they are real or not is beside the point, but consider this: many believe that this race (assuming it is real) has no reproductive organs, but rather reproduce by cloning (hence the need to abduct humans and study them). Would this fall into the category of reproduction?

Quote:
3. The entity converts engergy in some way or another (which just
means that a life form needs some kind of metabolism)
This is reasonable.

Quote:
I think it's perfectly fine to say that our sun is a living being. But
is it intelligent?
Hmmm, this puts a sharp distinction between "alive" and "conscious". The sun has no level of conscious, it is not aware that it exists and is not capable of thinking. So it is certainly not intelligent.

Quote:
This is far more complicated to define; we only have one value of
comparison which is human intelligence. But it would be arrogant to
claim that this is the highest or even only form of intelligence.
Not necessarily. Human intelligence would be the best way to compare other intelligences because it gives a common standard that most people understand.
Quote:
On our own planet we find forms of intelligence which are so alien to
us that we haven't even begun to understand them. The "collective
intelligence" of ants (even better: termites) are a good example. We
have no idea how the actual intelligence works there, but by
observation we can't deny there is one. What we don't understand is
their communication (as with most animals). And it seems
clear to me that the type of communication is a direct consequence
of the type of intelligence.
But on another level, we could say that ants are very unintelligent. As far as we know, they do not think or reason or feel emotions to any great extent. A "hive mind" may be very efficient, but is it intelligent?

Quote:
So if we wanted to verify whether stars are intelligent or not we
would need to figure out how their intelligence works. Or we could
even try to figure out how they communicate. But how can we possibly
do that, if we're not even able to understand ants?
Who is to say that stars communicate though?

Quote:
See the perspective here -- if we consider ants as the lower life
form, stars would be a much higher life form and therefore possibly
completely out of our reach in means of understanding. Would it be a
boisterous to assume that solar flares are simply communication
signals?
How would stars be a higher life form? There is no mind present as far as we can tell. We may only be scratching the surface here, but it would seem that stars are not alive in the strict sense.

Quote:
We don't even need to reach as far out as stars; quite an amount of
scientiest speculate that life form on silicon is possible (or maybe
even other elements). I don't dare to imagine how intelligince and
communication of such entities might differ from ours.
Silicon chains are not complex enough to support the amount of amino acids needed to form complex life forms, ie life forms capable of having intelligence.

Quote:
What happens to humans that live on a different planet, a moon with
low-G or even an astoroid for 10, 100, 1000 generations? Will they
still be human? Will they still have "human-compatible" intelligence
(by our standards now). Will they still communicate in the classical
sense?
A good deal of evolution will happen that would eventually change these humans into a creature altogether different than humanity on earth. Consider Heinlein's writings about colonists on the moon: they changed so much (physiologically and psychologically) that they were no longer really human.

Quote:
All this can be reasonably doubted. And if we define a rather lenient
window of "human-detactable" civilization level of let's say 1 million
years, that is still only a 1/13000 of the time our galaxy exists. So,
to detect another civilization on this level (providing it is human-
detactable in the first place!), we would need to hit the same time
window, too.
Well, we're all just speculating anyway, and much of this discussion enters the realm of science fiction. We may all be wrong.
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Old 10-22-2008, 10:16 PM   #67
blane
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Thanks for the feeback (really). I will likely extend a bit tomorrow, but a few things struck me so hard, I feel the urge to immediately react:

Quote:
Originally Posted by eveningsky339 View Post
 Hmmm, this puts a sharp distinction between "alive" and "conscious". The sun has no level of conscious, it is not aware that it exists and is not capable of thinking. So it is certainly not intelligent.
"Objection! The proscecutor has no valid expertise to judge about consciousness!"

"consciousness" -- I omitted that in the semantics discussion on purpose. Because this is even harder to pinpoint that life, intelligence or civilization.

No doubt: I cannot possibly proof or even claim that stars have a consciousness. But, I know why I can't (and in my previous post I was careful to not explicitely say so). But, for the sake of argument, I take this standpoint.

How can you dare to question that? (Let's say, my reason for believing that is religious): Do you have scientific (empiric!) arguments, let alone proof/observation that a star does *not* have a consciousness?

Please understand: I'm not fleeing here, taking the "religious card" (I'm not very religious in the usual understanding anyway) and I am aware that I have same NIL proof/observations of that.

Personally, I actually do believe that stars are living beings. But I am very aware that this is based on intuition alone and I have no empiric data to back that up in any way. Therefore, I accept if someone doubts this.

But what cannot accept is stating "The sun has no level of conscious, it is not aware that it exists and is not capable of thinking. So it is certainly not intelligent.". --without any reasoning.

Why? Because the sun has no human brain?


Silicon chains are not complex enough to support the amount of amino acids needed to form complex life forms, ie life forms capable of having intelligence.

Here, to be honest, I don't know enough to answer. This was rather a sidekick from me.

A good deal of evolution will happen that would eventually change these humans into a creature altogether different than humanity on earth. Consider Heinlein's writings about colonists on the moon: they changed so much (physiologically and psychologically) that they were no longer really human.

So we might agree here? Isn't it feasable to think that -- if we put colonists on the Mars now (or Alpha Centauri, eherever) -- they would not be able to communicate with "us" (as we are now) if -- say -- 100k years have passed?

Well, we're all just speculating anyway, and much of this discussion enters the realm of science fiction. We may all be wrong.

We definitely afree here. Speculation it is, of course - that's even obvious. And so there is a certain amount of fiction (unless we hit it 100% on the spot. Which I think is unlikely because I think we would "feel" it then, being enlightened or whatever...). And, of course, I hope we are still on a science course here
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Old 10-22-2008, 11:54 PM   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snwcrsh View Post
 Thanks for the feeback (really). I will likely extend a bit tomorrow, but a few things struck me so hard, I feel the urge to immediately react:
Scramble the jets!



Quote:
"Objection! The proscecutor has no valid expertise to judge about consciousness!"

"consciousness" -- I omitted that in the semantics discussion on purpose. Because this is even harder to pinpoint that life, intelligence or civilization.

No doubt: I cannot possibly proof or even claim that stars have a consciousness. But, I know why I can't (and in my previous post I was careful to not explicitely say so). But, for the sake of argument, I take this standpoint.

How can you dare to question that? (Let's say, my reason for believing that is religious): Do you have scientific (empiric!) arguments, let alone proof/observation that a star does *not* have a consciousness?

Please understand: I'm not fleeing here, taking the "religious card" (I'm not very religious in the usual understanding anyway) and I am aware that I have same NIL proof/observations of that.

Personally, I actually do believe that stars are living beings. But I am very aware that this is based on intuition alone and I have no empiric data to back that up in any way. Therefore, I accept if someone doubts this.

But what cannot accept is stating "The sun has no level of conscious, it is not aware that it exists and is not capable of thinking. So it is certainly not intelligent.". --without any reasoning.

Why? Because the sun has no human brain?
I have no solid proof, I'll give you that. But the notion that stars are living beings... well... I don't know. My gut instinct says no, but that is probably because the notion is so foreign to me.

Have you ever heard about the experiments with plants that a scientist did not too long ago? I can't remember exact details (or even who did the study) for the life of me, but it went something like this: Electrodes were attached to various parts of plants A and B. Plant A was placed in a room with other plants and with classical music playing in the background. The readings from the electrodes were flat. Plant B was placed in a room in which heavy metal was playing and other plants were being torn to pieces-- the electrodes went absolutely nuts.

In short, just because something doesn't have a human brain doesn't necessarily mean that it isn't "conscious". So I would be willing to concede that, perhaps, stars are living beings.

Quote:
Silicon chains are not complex enough to support the amount of amino acids needed to form complex life forms, ie life forms capable of having intelligence.

Here, to be honest, I don't know enough to answer. This was rather a sidekick from me.
I'm not exactly sure if it is possible for complex amino acids to be formed with a silicon base, but I do recall reading that carbon is really the only way to go if you want complexity. Carbon chains are much longer than silicon chains, but the two do have the same number of "attachment points" (that isn't the scientific term, but you get the idea.)

Quote:
A good deal of evolution will happen that would eventually change these humans into a creature altogether different than humanity on earth. Consider Heinlein's writings about colonists on the moon: they changed so much (physiologically and psychologically) that they were no longer really human.

So we might agree here? Isn't it feasable to think that -- if we put colonists on the Mars now (or Alpha Centauri, eherever) -- they would not be able to communicate with "us" (as we are now) if -- say -- 100k years have passed?
Agreed.

Quote:
Well, we're all just speculating anyway, and much of this discussion enters the realm of science fiction. We may all be wrong.

We definitely afree here. Speculation it is, of course - that's even obvious. And so there is a certain amount of fiction (unless we hit it 100% on the spot. Which I think is unlikely because I think we would "feel" it then, being enlightened or whatever...). And, of course, I hope we are still on a science course here
This is all scientifically plausible, if that's what you mean.
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Old 10-23-2008, 12:07 AM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hielor View Post
 I'm confused as to how this supports the conclusion that "space is a wilderness, therefore there are no advanced civilizations." Specifically:



According to that paper, just because we don't see advanced activity doesn't mean it's not out there, which unless I missed something, is supporting the possibility that there are in fact advanced civilizations out there.
The important point is that with this paper, Hanson refined the thinking on the subject in a systematic way that hadn't been done before. He concluded that what we might call "the naive Fermi Paradox" -- that we should see gross evidence of "interstellar colonization" everywhere -- was wrong, but he also concluded that there should be some observable phenomena from "colonization," phenomena we don't see:

Quote:
In summary, this model allows our solar system to have been passed by a colonization wave, and yet be an untouched oasis in a very large region containing much unused resources, and little advanced activity or large artifacts. But the model also predicts a colonization wave observable at some distance, an absence of physically-expected fast-growth resources nearby, possibly replaced by a few garbage artifacts, and perhaps some remains from in-flight seed mortality and propulsion. More careful astrophysical analysis seems required to more directly confront these predictions with observations.
.

As he also notes, we also have not seen any indication of "non-colonizing" behavior, i.e. especially stars that aren't as bright as they should be because their energy is being at least partially intercepted by the artifacts of an advanced civilization. An interesting idea in this regard is that civilizations go from intercepting essentially none of the energy produced by their stars to essentially all of it so quickly that intermediate stages would be unlikely to be detectable.

I don't find the absence of radio signals to be particularly compelling evidence one way or another, BTW, since any communication would be on very tightly-focused beams. Even with the extreme spreading that would happen over interstellar distances, we'd still probably not happen to pass through such a beam.
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Old 04-04-2009, 03:13 PM   #70
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I'm new here and this is actually my first post. But on to something relevent....

As has been discussed, life may or may not exist. Intelligence may or may not exist.
But as far as "industrialization", we are assuming that what modern man does, every one else will do.
Think about when the Spaniards arrived to America, they thought that the Aztecs and Mayans and Incas and all the rest were barbarians and low-level peoples. Come to find out, after a few hundred years of research, the Aztecs were actually more technologically advanced than the Spanish -- just in different areas. The European model is to research things that have to do with war, colonization, and such. It's almost inconceivable that there could be people who just, well, get along.
There are far more areas of research than killing everyone or "industrializing".

As far as being a Type 1 or not, what if what we modernly consider industry isn't the correct path?
We all know that modern technology is incredibly inefficient. What if the way to go on to the next step is to embrace nature? She's certainly more powerful than we are currently (hurricanes, earthquakes and the like). What if the way to become more advanced isn't to combat nature, but become it?
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Old 04-04-2009, 05:41 PM   #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willy88 View Post
You're right. We are a terrestrial civilization.
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Old 04-04-2009, 05:50 PM   #72
Omhra
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...and one of them is not a nickel...
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Old 04-04-2009, 06:34 PM   #73
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Clickypens: Welcome to the forum, and well said!

The Human Conceit makes us tend to look at intelligence in Humanistic terms. We tend to ignore the other types of intelligence. There was a study on plants that I found interesting. Don't remember which Uni did it first, but it's been successfully repeated dozens of times elswhere. If you approach a plant with a clipper it will try to bend away from you, but only if you actually intend to cut. You can't "psych" it out - the plant appears to detect the intention to harm it, not the actions. This shows awareness, and also a telempathic, if not telepathic, ability. if plants were sentient, and could communicate with each other telepathically, would we know? Would even the wisest of Zen masters be able to comprehend the thoughts of a Tree that has so simply existed for hundreds of years?

High intelligence dosen't always lead to high technology. Several aquatic mammals have higher intelligence than humans, but lack the ablitiy to create advanced tools and use them since they live in water and have no hands, etc. They seem pretty happy anyway.

It also makes us assume that Amino Acids are essential for life. That may be true for life that started here, but it may not be true for life which originated under different circumstances. It's an arrogant assumption to claim that the conditions which led to life on Earth are the only conditions under which life can happen.

It's also wrong to assume that an intelligent, even a technological, society would be expansionistic. Expansion is driven by a quest for resources, and if a society can get all the resources it requires locally, it won't expand. Here on Earth, the societies that are more "advanced" have lower birthrates than "third world" coutries. It's possible that a society advanced enough would eventually naturally settle on an average zero population growth. With a highly recyclable technology, the needed mass resources could be harvested from asteroids and other planets for thousands of years without causing a noticable depletion.

And while an individual ant may be dumb, the hive mind is another matter. It's emotionless, but emotions aren't required for (and often war with) intelligence. Insects are far more expansionistic than humans, and have several advantages (high resistance to radiation, can "hibernate" or be frozen and survive, etc) for a spacefaring society.

It is likely that some fragmentation will occur in a species that colonizes other planets and systems. Eventually, they will evolve differently, physically, mentally, and culturally. This doesn't mean the entire society will disintegrate. Even if objects are limited to sub c velocities, communication may not be. Tachyons, or perhaps another particle we haven't found yet, could allow for virtually instantaneous communication between all planets. The central "Government" would have to maintain popular since dealing with a "revolution" would be essentially impossible till long after the fact. Most likely, you'ld get some sort of "federation" that maintained overall order and trade, and local governments would handle the rest.
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Old 04-04-2009, 06:45 PM   #74
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sure, and now this.
http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.../04/03/0049237
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Old 04-04-2009, 06:58 PM   #75
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Quote:
If you approach a plant with a clipper it will try to bend away from you, but only if you actually intend to cut. You can't "psych" it out - the plant appears to detect the intention to harm it, not the actions. This shows awareness, and also a telempathic, if not telepathic, ability.
Quote:
Several aquatic mammals have higher intelligence than humans
Hmm...

Citation Needed.
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