Life... in outer space!


  • Admin

    Fuck it, I spent my lunch reading through this post.

    https://getpocket.com/explore/item/the-fermi-paradox-624520141

    Let's have an aliens! do they exist! thread.


  • Pitcrew Banned

    I was asked a similar question by a "student newspaper reporter" doing a survey in high school. My answer has not changed in the 20 years since.

    Q: "Is there intelligent extraterrestrial life out there somewhere?"

    A: "I sure hope so, because there isn't any on Earth."


  • Pitcrew

    @nemesis said in Life... in outer space!:

    I was asked a similar question by a "student newspaper reporter" doing a survey in high school. My answer has not changed in the 20 years since.

    Q: "Is there intelligent extraterrestrial life out there somewhere?"

    A: "I sure hope so, because there isn't any on Earth."

    alt text


  • Pitcrew

    Other organisms, yes. David Attenborough showed me what was at the bottom of the ocean and I believe. I believe.



  • I think it would be an epic waste of all that infinite space if we were the only place in it with life.


  • Politics


  • Coder

    @arkandel said in Life... in outer space!:

    Let's have an aliens! do they exist! thread.

    To misquote Pogo (and Walt Kelly): We have met the alien, and they is us!


  • Admin

    But I mean! From the scenarios described in the Fermi Paradox (the OP link!) which one would you say is closest to what you subscribe to?

    I kind of like the ant-hill theory; you have ants living next to a super highway. How would the ants know to recognize it for what it is or figure out the reasons for which it had to be built? Even if the ones who're building it wanted to communicate, how would they? What would there be to talk about?

    Ants!


  • Pitcrew

    @arkandel said in Life... in outer space!:

    But I mean! From the scenarios described in the Fermi Paradox (the OP link!) which one would you say is closest to what you subscribe to?

    I kind of like the ant-hill theory; you have ants living next to a super highway. How would the ants know to recognize it for what it is or figure out the reasons for which it had to be built? Even if the ones who're building it wanted to communicate, how would they? What would there be to talk about?

    Ants!

    I tend to subscribe to this one too.


  • TV & Movies

    @arkandel I have some issues with the anthill thing. Human explorers may not have stopped to talk to ants, but they knew that they were there, alive, and in some way part of the same existence. Fast forward only a very short while, and we sure try talking to apes, whales... dogs, cats (and some entomologist, probably, yes, ants). At the same time, we scrutinize every grain of dust we recover within our own solar system. We're not just looking for ants, but microbes.

    So where, exactly, in going from type I-II-III does the behavior reverse or cease? Technology solves communication challenges at that point. To get there, you've had some variation of these same kind of discussions and are aware of your own primitive history pre-interstellar exploration.

    To me it only holds up if other life is so exotic as to be utterly unrecognizable as life and/or share none of the same history of evolution, which I'm pretty sure is a different bullet point/metaphor.


  • Pitcrew Banned

    @arkandel said in Life... in outer space!:

    But I mean! From the scenarios described in the Fermi Paradox (the OP link!) which one would you say is closest to what you subscribe to?

    I kind of like the ant-hill theory; you have ants living next to a super highway. How would the ants know to recognize it for what it is or figure out the reasons for which it had to be built? Even if the ones who're building it wanted to communicate, how would they? What would there be to talk about?

    Ants!

    I honestly stopped reading it (or I kept reading but stopped paying it any attention as a legit article) when I came across the "math argument" which is overdone so much it's become a cliche.

    Over 100 years ago Nikola Tesla said: "Today's scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality." That not only hasn't changed but it's gotten worse.

    In this particular case there are just too many unknown elements. Sure, there are (conservatively) 500 billions of billions of sun-like stars and math doesn't lie. That is based on our current knowledge and understanding, which means that the 2018 definition of 'a sun-like star' may or may not represent anything resembling a star that is sun-like in full reality. What if gravitational factors play into the formation of life? What if, for example, the exact distance of our sun from the supermassive black hole at our galactic center and the exact distance of our planet from our sun and the exact distance of our galactic center from the (theoretically plausible) supermassive black hole at the center of the whole universe and even the relative distances of our galactic center from other galaxies (and those galaxies' distance from the center of the universe) all played a part in the formation of life on this specific planet? What algorithm reduces 500 billion-billion plausible sun-like stars to the number of sunlike stars with earth-like planets in Milky Way-like galaxies? So even though the math doesn't lie, we could very well be simply doing the wrong math.

    So we're sitting here passively listening with projects like SETI instead of actively transmitting our own signals in every direction on all those possible communication vectors. Why? I think it's because the people who decided whether we were going to passively listen or actively seek asked themselves these questions:

    Would we even seriously want to be in contact with sentient extraterrestrial life if they were going to turn out to be just like us philosophically but much further advanced technologically?

    Would you broadcast your home address on a HAM radio knowing that the signal might be picked up by a psychotic dictator or religious extremist or bored serial killer in the market for fresh meat?

    Would you really (be well-advised to) trust anyone who deliberately contacted you based on such a transmission?

    I think if there actually were any intelligent life in the universe they'd be passively listening just like we are and for the same reasons. I think debating it is a little bit pointless until or unless we start actively seeking. I think anyone who wants to start actively seeking is suicidally stupid at best and deliberately suicidal/genocidal toward our own planet at worst.

    I don't really believe there isn't intelligent extraterrestrial life in the universe, I just don't at all believe intelligent life would make any attempt to interact with humanity on earth.


  • Admin

    @bored said in Life... in outer space!:

    @arkandel I have some issues with the anthill thing. Human explorers may not have stopped to talk to ants, but they knew that they were there, alive, and in some way part of the same existence. Fast forward only a very short while, and we sure try talking to apes, whales... dogs, cats (and some entomologist, probably, yes, ants).

    That's kind of the point though. To an alien life form capable of reaching out to us in the first place we would be the ants in that scenario, not the apes or dogs and cats.

    At the same time, we scrutinize every grain of dust we recover within our own solar system. We're not just looking for ants, but microbes.

    I would say the chance is very high that we might miss a theoretical life form when we first (or second or third...) encounter it because we are looking for a paradigm similar to our own. It could be anything - and as for any communication, a good example from that OP article was taking ten years to say 'hello'; to us it would sound like white noise.

    I wouldn't so much expect hot blue chicks Kirk would approve of as much as some kind of self-aware wave length or whatever the fuck. Good luck figuring that out, or for the scientist who does, proving to everyone else that he's right about that self awareness.


  • TV & Movies

    @arkandel said in Life... in outer space!:

    @bored said in Life... in outer space!:

    @arkandel I have some issues with the anthill thing. Human explorers may not have stopped to talk to ants, but they knew that they were there, alive, and in some way part of the same existence. Fast forward only a very short while, and we sure try talking to apes, whales... dogs, cats (and some entomologist, probably, yes, ants).

    That's kind of the point though. To an alien life form capable of reaching out to us in the first place we would be the ants in that scenario, not the apes or dogs and cats.

    I get the analogy, but I think its scale is incorrect. It seems improbable that a sentient, type II+ civilization would be technologically incapable and/or disinterested in communicating with a sentient, type .7 civilization, particularly having gone through the very same process and questions. It only real works with some arbitrary, Star Trek prime directive style narrative, or if the other life form is incomprehensibly alien.

    At the same time, we scrutinize every grain of dust we recover within our own solar system. We're not just looking for ants, but microbes.

    I would say the chance is very high that we might miss a theoretical life form when we first (or second or third...) encounter it because we are looking for a paradigm similar to our own. It could be anything - and as for any communication, a good example from that OP article was taking ten years to say 'hello'; to us it would sound like white noise.

    I feel like this hits the same problem. Their tech is vastly better, they probably understand (and have previously used) something analogous to our tech. They can surpass ridiculous, possibly absolute limits like relativity, but they can't work out how to communicate with a lesser life form that nonetheless possesses structured language, EM communication technology, etc?

    I wouldn't so much expect hot blue chicks Kirk would approve of as much as some kind of self-aware wave length or whatever the fuck. Good luck figuring that out, or for the scientist who does, proving to everyone else that he's right about that self awareness.

    Which is what I was getting at in my previous post with ' other life is so exotic as to be utterly unrecognizable as life.' I concede this is possible, but at the point you're talking about 'life' as something divorced from carbon (or similar element)-based cell biology.... I don't know. It may be valid, but I also feel like it becomes more a philosophical conversation than a scientific one, as with reality simulations, religious explanations, etc.


  • Pitcrew

    @nemesis said in Life... in outer space!:

    Would you broadcast your home address on a HAM radio knowing that the signal might be picked up by a psychotic dictator or religious extremist or bored serial killer in the market for fresh meat?

    Image


  • Coder

    I subscribe to a mix of things, coming down to this:

    Even if there was another race within range and timespan, why bother? I mean if you knew that there was another alien race out there, would your planet be to a point where anyone on that planet could get funding and organization to do anything about it? And if so, consider the amount of resources just to be able to manage more than a many-years-long game of phone tag. If they could come here, besides curiosity we have very few things that they could want: Our sun being on that list. Our sun is still here and stable, so I'm inclined to say we haven't been visited yet.

    Basically, that intergalactic species are so rare across history that I'm not surprised that we haven't seen any.


  • Pitcrew

    I lean in the same direction as @Thenomain on this. First, I feel that sapient, tool-using life is very rare to begin with. Land-based life is also likely to be incredibly rare, given that it needs a planet with water but not so much water that there isn't dry land (hard to discover fire, a key component to developing technology, when you're under water (the fact that only oxygen and chlorine support combustion also rules out all other planets that don't have chlorine or oxygen rich atmospheres)), as well as needing a nearby large body to stabilize the tilt of the planet, to help oxygenate the seas, and to create tides for the development of transition zones between land and sea for the evolution of land-based life (https://futurism.com/the-moons-role-in-evolution-2/). Any species that does hit those Goldilocks qualities has to keep from destroying itself, destroying it's biosphere, or being destroyed by existinction events until it can develop sufficient technology. Then that species has to decide it's worth the resources to actually attempt the massive undertaking of reaching out to other species.

    I would be surprised if in the entire history of the universe there are more than 100 planets in our galaxy that develop life in our galaxy with the goldilocks qualities of water, dry-land, oxygen, a nearby large body, etc. Out of that only ten survive to sufficient technology. Of those, none of them think tripling their deficits on the off chance other life forms reached the same level of tech in the same millenia as them so they can shake hands with potentially xenocidal civilizations 500 light years away is a good idea, when they have enough domestic problems already or are happy living in their utopian VR society. Honestly, I fully expect us to plug our brains into our computers in the next 100 years and leave the physical world behind, assuming we survive as a species long enough.

    Basically, I subscribe to the Rare Earth Hypothesis, the Great Filter theory, and what the article in the OP has as possibilities 2.2 through 2.5, only I think there are multiple Great Filters with the final filter being that tech has an end point and doesn't perpetually keep getting better. Eventually you hit the wall of what is possible to engineer and it's not good enough for feasible interstellar travel (outside of generation ships or suspended animation) or communication, but it is good enough to build a Matrix that isn't a shithole 1990s simulator with Keanu Reeves as it's savior.

    Addendum: I'm not arguing life is incredibly rare. I think life is likely very common in the universe. Sapient, tool-using, aerobic, land-based life that exists long enough to develop advanced technology, exists in the same time period as us, and wants to reach out to us is what is non-existent.


  • Pitcrew

    @bored said in Life... in outer space!:

    @arkandel said in Life... in outer space!:

    @bored said in Life... in outer space!:

    @arkandel I have some issues with the anthill thing. Human explorers may not have stopped to talk to ants, but they knew that they were there, alive, and in some way part of the same existence. Fast forward only a very short while, and we sure try talking to apes, whales... dogs, cats (and some entomologist, probably, yes, ants).

    That's kind of the point though. To an alien life form capable of reaching out to us in the first place we would be the ants in that scenario, not the apes or dogs and cats.

    I get the analogy, but I think its scale is incorrect. It seems improbable that a sentient, type II+ civilization would be technologically incapable and/or disinterested in communicating with a sentient, type .7 civilization, particularly having gone through the very same process and questions. It only real works with some arbitrary, Star Trek prime directive style narrative, or if the other life form is incomprehensibly alien.

    At the same time, we scrutinize every grain of dust we recover within our own solar system. We're not just looking for ants, but microbes.

    I would say the chance is very high that we might miss a theoretical life form when we first (or second or third...) encounter it because we are looking for a paradigm similar to our own. It could be anything - and as for any communication, a good example from that OP article was taking ten years to say 'hello'; to us it would sound like white noise.

    I feel like this hits the same problem. Their tech is vastly better, they probably understand (and have previously used) something analogous to our tech. They can surpass ridiculous, possibly absolute limits like relativity, but they can't work out how to communicate with a lesser life form that nonetheless possesses structured language, EM communication technology, etc?

    This presumes that advancement in technology comes qwith a consistent and uninterrupted understanding of how that advancement came to be, but we're talking about a hypothetical civilization/species that has thrived technologically for (if we're using the hypothetical Planet X from the OP link) billions of years. It's easy for mne to imagine them communicating in a way that makes our communication seem painfully and impossibly primitive, much the same way we see ants communicating. Ants communicate via pheromones, IIRC, something that the ancestors of humans may or may not have done--we certainly didn't always communicate via verbal speech and writing.

    I feel like your assumption also includes that the civilization stops evolving biologically once it starts developing technology, but that's probably not right either. In the past, what, million years, we've evolved quite a lot--imagine what we might look like, be like, how we might communicate and process basic thought in a billion years.

    Humans today might seem as incomprehensibly basic to those future "humans" as ants seem to us now.


  • Admin

    @coin said in Life... in outer space!:

    Humans today might seem as incomprehensibly basic to those future "humans" as ants seem to us now.

    Also let's keep in mind that although time is (probably...) linear, advancement isn't. The human species has been around for roughly 200,000 years according to earliest fossils of anatomically modern humans, which is a tiny bleep in the range of time, but consider how much more we've progressed technologically within say, the last 200 years of those? If you lived in 1100AD and in 1300Ad, other than for political changes your lifestyle would be more or less the same, but if you took a person from the 1800's and plugged them into today they'd barely know how to use the toilet or get out on the street without hurting themselves.

    Now consider where, given this rate of advancement and all the things in our actual, current short term horizon (anything from self-driving cars, automation putting a potential end to work-for-a-living, 3D printing with the potential to change our lives again, gene editing which can change our biology, etc) our rate of advancement is accelerating.

    Assuming there is life Out There relatively tiny timeline changes can make enormous differences. A thousand years is absolutely nothing on the cosmic scale, but we can't fathom what life will be like on earth a thousand years from now - we can't even really imagine what it will be like in fifty!

    So a different civilization that just got that little bit of a head start on us? Maybe we wouldn't be like ants in comparison, but who knows.


  • Pitcrew

    @arkandel said in Life... in outer space!:

    @coin said in Life... in outer space!:

    Humans today might seem as incomprehensibly basic to those future "humans" as ants seem to us now.

    Also let's keep in mind that although time is (probably...) linear, advancement isn't. The human species has been around for roughly 200,000 years according to earliest fossils of anatomically modern humans, which is a tiny bleep in the range of time, but consider how much more we've progressed technologically within say, the last 200 years of those? If you lived in 1100AD and in 1300Ad, other than for political changes your lifestyle would be more or less the same, but if you took a person from the 1800's and plugged them into today they'd barely know how to use the toilet or get out on the street without hurting themselves.

    Now consider where, given this rate of advancement and all the things in our actual, current short term horizon (anything from self-driving cars, automation putting a potential end to work-for-a-living, 3D printing with the potential to change our lives again, gene editing which can change our biology, etc) our rate of advancement is accelerating.

    Assuming there is life Out There relatively tiny timeline changes can make enormous differences. A thousand years is absolutely nothing on the cosmic scale, but we can't fathom what life will be like on earth a thousand years from now - we can't even really imagine what it will be like in fifty!

    So a different civilization that just got that little bit of a head start on us? Maybe we wouldn't be like ants in comparison, but who knows.

    Nitpick: that's still linear, advancement-wise. It's just not consistent or constant.

    I mean, unless you're implying we go backwards, technology-wise, which is possible.


  • Admin

    @coin Hrm? Linear doesn't only mean something is sequential, but also that it extends along a straight line.

    So on a X/Y graph plotting advancement over time, human progress is anything but linear. It'd be full of long flat plateaus, raising now and then, going down a couple of times and there'd be a few spikes in the mix as well.

    Edit: Look at this shit!