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Ira
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 08/22/10

Loc: Mitzpe Ramon, Israel
SETI - unjustified leap in reasoning?
      #5668140 - 02/07/13 11:51 PM

I was scanning the headlines and came across this wonderful one:

"Less Than 1% of Exoplanet Systems Have Intelligent Life, Researchers Say"

What a wonderful discovery, I thought. What have they found?

It turns out, they found nothing.

"A group of astronomers...used the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia to look for intelligent radio signals from planets around 86 of stars where the Kepler mission has found transiting exoplanets. These specific targets were chosen because they had exoplanets in the habitable zone around the star and there were either five or more exoplanets in the system, or there was super-Earths with relatively long orbits."

They found nothing. No big surprise there. But they scientists concluded:
"We didn’t find ET, but we were able to use this statistical sample to, for the first time, put rather explicit limits on the presence of intelligent civilizations transmitting in the radio band where we searched,” said Andrew Siemion from UC Berkeley."

How is it possible using a statistical sample of just 86 stars, where the results were entirely negative, to put a lower bound on the statistical likelihood of extraterrestrial intelligent life?

"The researchers said these results allows them to put limits on the likelihood of Kardashev Type II civilizations... The team said that finding no signals implies that the number of these civilizations that are “noisy” in the 1-2GHz range must less than one in a million per sun-like star."

Isn't this like saying, We have looked at 86 birds and on the basis of that conclude Black Swans exist with a probability of less than one per million birds, although we have never seen a Black Swan before?

Am I missing something here?

The article and pointer to their paper here.

/Ira

Edited by Ira (02/07/13 11:55 PM)


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Jason H.
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/23/07

Loc: Central Florida
Re: SETI - unjustified leap in reasoning? new [Re: Ira]
      #5668176 - 02/08/13 12:21 AM

So I take it from several sources, 86 star systems were not transmitting a signal of >1.2 megawatts directly at Earth in a narrow frequency bandwidth of ~670 MHz for an "Observation Time per Source 300s", some several hundred to several thousand years ago (the time the signal would have taken to travel to us)? If those same planets were looking back at us with the same criteria, they would not see receive a message either. And if they were pointing a laser at us or transmitting at 5 GHz, or started sending today or 1 million years ago, or any of the myriad so-called 'Fermi Paradox' counter-arguments, that would have been missed too (point being one can't rule out anything based on this limited data set except for maybe the Kardashev Type II civilization they mentioned, but maybe the Kardashev II civilization's beacon's on a different frequency too, or their Klystron tube was busted, or their funding was cut and they didn't pay their electric bill, etc.?

Jason W. Higley


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Jarad
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Reged: 04/28/03

Loc: Atlanta, GA
Re: SETI - unjustified leap in reasoning? new [Re: Jason H.]
      #5668504 - 02/08/13 08:59 AM

I agree that they can't conclude much from that test.

On the other hand, I think that they are probably correct that intelligent life exists on less than 1% of planets... If I had to guess, I would be guessing several orders of magnitude lower than 1%...

Jarad


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Pess
(Title)
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Reged: 09/12/07

Loc: Toledo, Ohio
Re: SETI - unjustified leap in reasoning? new [Re: Jarad]
      #5668745 - 02/08/13 11:12 AM

They make too many assumptions on too many variables.

I think the biggest assumption would be that once civilizations discover how to communicate with radio frequencies they will always radiate loudly in the radio frequencies.

That is like saying since we once communicated with Semaphores, the lack of Semaphore towers on a world indicates no intelligence.

Look at the Earth as a great example. We are rapidly going
Radio Dead' as more and more communication is reduced to fiber optics.

Reruns of I love Lucy are no longer being beamed into space at their previous levels, but instead are being tapped into and enjoyed by the Gopher & his family from Caddy Shack.....

Suppose the next step in communication involves FTL use of intertwined quarks or something? Radio frequency communication would become as quaint as using drums to communicate.

One thing about statistics, you can get them to say anything.

Pesse (78% of all statistics are made up on the spot) Mist


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Rick Woods
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Reged: 01/27/05

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Re: SETI - unjustified leap in reasoning? new [Re: Jason H.]
      #5669588 - 02/08/13 06:37 PM

Quote:

If those same planets were looking back at us with the same criteria, they would not see receive a message either.




And, they would conclude there is no intelligent life here.

And they would largely be correct.


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llanitedave
Humble Megalomaniac
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Reged: 09/26/05

Loc: Amargosa Valley, NV, USA
Re: SETI - unjustified leap in reasoning? new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5669852 - 02/08/13 10:03 PM

Sometimes I think the unintelligent life is more interesting anyway.

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Pess
(Title)
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Reged: 09/12/07

Loc: Toledo, Ohio
Re: SETI - unjustified leap in reasoning? new [Re: llanitedave]
      #5670155 - 02/09/13 04:58 AM

Quote:

Sometimes I think the unintelligent life is more interesting anyway.




I guess intelligence is a very relative thing. My dog excels at being a dog but his cat imitation sucks.

I can't help but think that man in his present form will only be around a few thousand years and the reason we have not made alien contact yet is that, from their perspective, we are beneath notice and from our perspective it is like Christoffer Columbus trying to detect life in the New World by using technology available at the time from some beach in Spain.

There was a recent breakthrough in transplant rejection technology whereby donor stem cells are utilized to make the transplanted organ appear more 'self' to the organ recipient. This greatly decreases the need for anti-rejection meds.

I am sure technology will evolve to routine organ transplants and, from there, to artificial prosthesis for just about all body parts. A Total body prosthesis if you will

I just wonder, how will a TP being view a fragile nasty, smelly, inefficient bag of mostly water? With disdain?

What of sex when direct brain stimulation removes the requirement for EHarmony, Bud's bar and their associated mating rituals?

Will mankind disappear into a Matrix-like universe? Saw a patient the other day so addicted to an online game he spent most of his waking time playing it--and that's a simple 2-dimensional world!

Pesse (Back to PONG) Mist


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Mister T
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/01/08

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: SETI - unjustified leap in reasoning? new [Re: Pess]
      #5670297 - 02/09/13 08:36 AM

I am thinking that while physiological adaptations will be an important part of our evolutionary process, the more important changes will come in intelligence and empathy. we will need to "out grow" emotional responses such as disdain, greed, hate, and irrational fear. I highly doubt that any alien species advanced enough to discover us on our indiscreet blue marble, will still be shackled to primitive instincts. They will understand that they were once like we are, while not physically but psychologically.

The tremendous obstacles that are involved in interstellar communication and travel will not be overcome by ANY race that continues to rely on adrenaline and aggression and contempt for what it does not understand.

we've come a long way baby, but we ain't there yet!


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Footbag
Post Laureate
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Reged: 04/13/09

Loc: Scranton, PA
Re: SETI - unjustified leap in reasoning? new [Re: Mister T]
      #5670390 - 02/09/13 09:45 AM

If intelligent life was on anywhere near 1% of planets, I expect we would know it. If you define intelligent life as one which has the ability/desire to communicate with others, then that further pushes the threshold down.

I agree with Jarad that it's considerably less then 1%.


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Qwickdraw
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Reged: 03/03/12

Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
Re: SETI - unjustified leap in reasoning? new [Re: Mister T]
      #5670454 - 02/09/13 10:25 AM

Quote:

I am thinking that while physiological adaptations will be an important part of our evolutionary process, the more important changes will come in intelligence and empathy. we will need to "out grow" emotional responses such as disdain, greed, hate, and irrational fear. I highly doubt that any alien species advanced enough to discover us on our indiscreet blue marble, will still be shackled to primitive instincts. They will understand that they were once like we are, while not physically but psychologically.

The tremendous obstacles that are involved in interstellar communication and travel will not be overcome by ANY race that continues to rely on adrenaline and aggression and contempt for what it does not understand.

we've come a long way baby, but we ain't there yet!




That said it is largely social behaviors like war, greed, mistrust and envy that have driven many of the leaps we see into space exploration, propulsion systems, optical and electronic surveillance etc.


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Pess
(Title)
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Reged: 09/12/07

Loc: Toledo, Ohio
Re: SETI - unjustified leap in reasoning? new [Re: Mister T]
      #5670482 - 02/09/13 10:43 AM

Quote:

I am thinking that while physiological adaptations will be an important part of our evolutionary process, the more important changes will come in intelligence and empathy. we will need to "out grow" emotional responses such as disdain, greed, hate, and irrational fear. I highly doubt that any alien species advanced enough to discover us on our indiscreet blue marble, will still be shackled to primitive instincts.





Greed & Motivation & Curiosity are also base emotions. How do you separate the wheat from the chaff?

Also, as Stephan Hawking pointed out, in the survival of the fittest the more aggressive race is going to likely rule the galaxy. The pacifists will be at the spaceports handing out flowers

Pesse (Sorry if I seem disdainful) Mist


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Mister T
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/01/08

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: SETI - unjustified leap in reasoning? new [Re: Pess]
      #5670556 - 02/09/13 11:29 AM

I forgot arrogance...

if we think that we can continue being a selfish, greedy aggressive race, we will never make it off this rock.


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llanitedave
Humble Megalomaniac
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Reged: 09/26/05

Loc: Amargosa Valley, NV, USA
Re: SETI - unjustified leap in reasoning? new [Re: Mister T]
      #5671570 - 02/09/13 11:21 PM

I can make one prediction with confidence:

Anything we predict here about our evolutionary future will be wrong.


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Ira
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 08/22/10

Loc: Mitzpe Ramon, Israel
Re: SETI - unjustified leap in reasoning? new [Re: Jarad]
      #5671632 - 02/10/13 12:05 AM

Quote:

I agree that they can't conclude much from that test.

On the other hand, I think that they are probably correct that intelligent life exists on less than 1% of planets... If I had to guess, I would be guessing several orders of magnitude lower than 1%...

Jarad




Here's my problem with their conclusion. I could just as easily say that the probability of a photon travelling faster than C is less than 50%. That's true, but misleading, because it's actually 0%. So they are passing off a conclusion that is entirely speculative as if it were conveying some new finding, which it isn't.

/Ira


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Rick Woods
Postmaster
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Reged: 01/27/05

Loc: Inner Solar System
Re: SETI - unjustified leap in reasoning? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5671757 - 02/10/13 02:49 AM

Quote:

If intelligent life was on anywhere near 1% of planets, I expect we would know it. If you define intelligent life as one which has the ability/desire to communicate with others, then that further pushes the threshold down.

I agree with Jarad that it's considerably less then 1%.




Welllll....
It all depends on which end of the connection is intelligent, doesn't it?
Those desiring to communicate, and with the actual ability to do so, may be using technologies far beyond ours. So we would be the species too unintelligent to communicate.

I feel it very unlikely that we are the benchmark for technological intelligence.

Of course, I could be wrong.


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Jarad
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Reged: 04/28/03

Loc: Atlanta, GA
Re: SETI - unjustified leap in reasoning? new [Re: Ira]
      #5672194 - 02/10/13 11:41 AM

Quote:

Here's my problem with their conclusion. I could just as easily say that the probability of a photon travelling faster than C is less than 50%. That's true, but misleading, because it's actually 0%. So they are passing off a conclusion that is entirely speculative as if it were conveying some new finding, which it isn't.




Like I said, I agree that you can't really draw much conclusion from the scant data they have. We have not observed even those few planets in enough detail to conclude that they do not have intelligent life. We can only say that we did not oberve any intelligent life transmitting in our direction with enough power for us to detect on the wavelengths we checked for the few seconds we were looking.

In other words, insufficient data.

But I still suspect that the real frequency is <<<1%.

Jarad


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llanitedave
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Reged: 09/26/05

Loc: Amargosa Valley, NV, USA
Re: SETI - unjustified leap in reasoning? new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5673342 - 02/11/13 12:09 AM

Quote:


I feel it very unlikely that we are the benchmark for technological intelligence.





Sure we are. We are our own benchmark, the only one that most of us are interested in.


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Rick Woods
Postmaster
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Reged: 01/27/05

Loc: Inner Solar System
Re: SETI - unjustified leap in reasoning? new [Re: llanitedave]
      #5673424 - 02/11/13 01:46 AM

Quote:

Quote:


I feel it very unlikely that we are the benchmark for technological intelligence.





Sure we are. We are our own benchmark, the only one that most of us are interested in.




That sounds like something from Jungle Book! However, it's true; and when we compare ourselves to us, we always measure up.
But I meant the uber-benchmark, that all of the galactic community measures itself by. Us? I don't think so. But, it's possible I suppose.

And anyway, I want to know about the alien technology. How do they go so fast? How can they be so advanced, but they can't solve their drooling problem? Why do the insides of alien spaceships all look like something you'd see in a colonoscopy? Why do they abduct us and do their "probe" thing? What do they hope to learn from our butts? And why do they keep falling for the old let-all-the-air-out-of-the-ship trick?

These are important matters!


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Mister T
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/01/08

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: SETI - unjustified leap in reasoning? new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5673535 - 02/11/13 06:45 AM

Their Physics, engineering and Math departments get high marks and their Biology department fails!!!???

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Qwickdraw
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 03/03/12

Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
Re: SETI - unjustified leap in reasoning? new [Re: Jarad]
      #5673541 - 02/11/13 06:49 AM

Quote:


But I still suspect that the real frequency is <<<1%.

Jarad




Jarad, I am curious if you feel the miniscule probability of intelligent life in the universe is more the result of lack of habitable planets, life forming on those planets or intelligent life evolving?

In other words, could you weight which ones you feel are more probable or less probable?

BTW, I agree with you entirely except I believe the probability may be so low that us Humans are the only intelligent life in the universe.

All of this said assuming the universe is not infinite which I believe is the accepted current model


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dickbill
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 09/30/08

Re: SETI - unjustified leap in reasoning? new [Re: Qwickdraw]
      #5673743 - 02/11/13 10:09 AM

"...assuming the universe is not infinite..."

even if the universe is infinite, there might be only one occurence of Life, same as in the infinite suite of mumbers, there is only one number zero, and one number 1.


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Jarad
Postmaster
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Reged: 04/28/03

Loc: Atlanta, GA
Re: SETI - unjustified leap in reasoning? new [Re: Qwickdraw]
      #5673800 - 02/11/13 10:38 AM

Quote:

Jarad, I am curious if you feel the miniscule probability of intelligent life in the universe is more the result of lack of habitable planets, life forming on those planets or intelligent life evolving?




Well, that's a good question.

Part of it is that we don't have a good grasp on what is required for a planet to be "habitable". Is just being in the "goldilocks zone" enough? Do you need a single large moon? Tides? Do you also need a Jupiter-like planet further out to vacuum up incoming impactors?

Given that you have all of the requirements to be "habitable", what are the odds of life evolving at all? The initial steps aren't well understood, we don't know how likely they are.

Once we get to a self-replicating cell, I think evolution will take over and we will get more advanced life. I think that will eventually include some level of intelligence. Whether it leads to technology or not I think is more questionable.

So I think there are a lot of unknown probabilities in the chain from planets to intelligent technological life. In order for intelligent technological life to be highly probably, all of those individual probabilities need to be high. If any are very low, then the over probability is very low. If several are just somewhat low, the overall probability still ends up very low (even 3 steps below 1% chance drops you down to less than 1 per million).

The universe is a big place, so I suspect that there is intelligent life elsewhere. But the universe is big place, so I am doubtful if we will ever run across it.

Jarad


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deSitter
Still in Old School


Reged: 12/09/04

Re: SETI - unjustified leap in reasoning? new [Re: Jarad]
      #5673989 - 02/11/13 12:39 PM

We don't have the slightest idea how abstract intelligence formed here - and so how can we assess the likelihood of it forming elsewhere? So it's totally idle speculation. We are just as likely to alone as not.

-drl


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Pess
(Title)
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Reged: 09/12/07

Loc: Toledo, Ohio
Re: SETI - unjustified leap in reasoning? new [Re: deSitter]
      #5674146 - 02/11/13 02:20 PM

Quote:

We don't have the slightest idea how abstract intelligence formed here - and so how can we assess the likelihood of it forming elsewhere? So it's totally idle speculation. We are just as likely to alone as not.

-drl




I don't necessarily agree with those that say life is unique to Earth. Or even intelligent life is unique to Earth. Even if single celled organisms only developed on one planet it should still end up distributed around the Universe by Panspermia.

Dunno. What I believe is that we will be so different than what we are today (as a defined intelligent species) that our future selves won't bother with our past selves.

Humans look at the vast interstellar distances and wonder how we can transverse them...much as our forefathers looked at the oceans.

But the problem is not one of only distance, but one of time as well. For a sentient being who lives millions of years the travel time becomes less daunting.

Pesse (Perhaps George Jetson and his family is scooting by our blue orb everyday..regarding it more as a quaint petting zoo than their equals.) MIST


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Qwickdraw
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Re: SETI - unjustified leap in reasoning? new [Re: deSitter]
      #5674148 - 02/11/13 02:22 PM

Quote:

We don't have the slightest idea how abstract intelligence formed here - and so how can we assess the likelihood of it forming elsewhere? So it's totally idle speculation. We are just as likely to alone as not.

-drl




If as you say "We don't have the slightest idea how abstract intelligence formed here" does not mean "We are just as likely to (be) alone as not.
It just means we still do not have the capability of making a reasonable determination which in no way can influence the likelihood.


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dickbill
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 09/30/08

Re: SETI - unjustified leap in reasoning? new [Re: Qwickdraw]
      #5674199 - 02/11/13 03:01 PM

"It just means we still do not have the capability of making a reasonable determination which in no way can influence the likelihood"

Even that is not obvious.


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Qwickdraw
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Re: SETI - unjustified leap in reasoning? new [Re: dickbill]
      #5674337 - 02/11/13 04:16 PM

Quote:

"It just means we still do not have the capability of making a reasonable determination which in no way can influence the likelihood"

Even that is not obvious.




As in the double slit experiment?


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dickbill
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 09/30/08

Re: SETI - unjustified leap in reasoning? new [Re: Qwickdraw]
      #5674529 - 02/11/13 05:49 PM

Hmm, i wouldn't say 'Life' is a quantum state, with an exclusion principle, which would forbid another instance simultaneously, or an indetermination principle which would forbid us to observe another instance without interacting and possibly destroying it.
But some probably do. A theory exists that explains the basis of consciousness resides in the quantum properties of certain elements in the brain (microtubules to be precise, http://www.quantumconsciousness.org/penrose-hameroff/consciousevents.html).

I am more puzzled by the so-called anthropic coincidences which are more in line with the information theory. Leon Brillouin, an expert in the field, said:"...If a situation is rare, it contains information". It seems that's us. I find the anthropic coincidences very suspicious, some of them more or less so, but there is one that is so un-necessary a-priory (like in a bayesian prior that is non zero when it should be zero) that it has ruined my faith in the current interpretation of Life.


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llanitedave
Humble Megalomaniac
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Reged: 09/26/05

Loc: Amargosa Valley, NV, USA
Re: SETI - unjustified leap in reasoning? new [Re: dickbill]
      #5677348 - 02/13/13 10:13 AM

The thing is, what SETI is looking for is not just intelligence, but a familiar technology. That's far more difficult than either "mere" life or "mere" intelligence. It assumes a home planet that is not just Earth-like, but Earth-twin.

There are many scenarios that would allow life on a planet to flourish, and maybe --maybe even intelligent life to evolve, without that life ever developing the kind of technology that would allow them to leave their planet or even easily observe anything beyond it.

If the Earth possessed just a small percentage of water more than it does now, for example, it would be almost completely inundated, with no exposed continental masses. Intelligent creatures there would be aquatic. It's hard to imagine a way that they could use fire-based technology, and without fire as a stepping-stone, any other high-energy power source that would give them access to the universe beyond their atmosphere is difficult to say the least.

A planet somewhat more massive than the Earth, on the other hand, might have a much thicker and less transparent atmosphere on the surface. Stars may be more difficult to see and study, and the entire tradition of their detailed exploration may be hard to establish.

The evolutionary chances and forks that led to the appearance of a technological intelligence on Earth were unique, and probably very unlikely. Even if life is fairly common out there, there would not be many planets, even Earthlike ones, that would develop such a species. And "Earthlike" is so broad a term, that the chances of any life form at any detectable distance being familiar to us seem vanishingly small.

Edited by llanitedave (02/13/13 10:13 AM)


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dickbill
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 09/30/08

Re: SETI - unjustified leap in reasoning? new [Re: llanitedave]
      #5677577 - 02/13/13 12:09 PM

Quote:

If the Earth possessed just a small percentage of water more than it does now, for example, it would be almost completely inundated, with no exposed continental masses. Intelligent creatures there would be aquatic. It's hard to imagine a way that they could use fire-based technology, and without fire as a stepping-stone...




It never occured to me, but that's right!
But anyways, SETI is not so hot anymore. I don't know how it got funded. Did I open a thread once, called 'Kepler killed SETI'? i don't remember but that's the idea. A giant telescope in space actively looking for signs of life is more usefull than a network of antennas passively scanning for extraterrestrial TV broadcastings.


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Jason H.
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/23/07

Loc: Central Florida
Re: SETI - unjustified leap in reasoning? new [Re: dickbill]
      #5677659 - 02/13/13 01:06 PM

Quote:

...But anyways, SETI is not so hot anymore. I don't know how it got funded. Did I open a thread once, called 'Kepler killed SETI'? i don't remember but that's the idea. A giant telescope in space actively looking for signs of life is more usefull than a network of antennas passively scanning for extraterrestrial TV broadcastings.




SETI Institute scientists are on the Kepler team (so Kepler didn't kill SETI, Kepler IS SETI.) Indeed a scientist, Laurance Doyle, was the lead on the paper for the first-detected Saturn-class planet orbiting around a binary star system:

NASA's Kepler Mission Discovers a World Orbiting Two Stars
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/kepler/news/kepler-16b.html

Kepler-16: A Transiting Circumbinary Planet
http://arxiv.org/abs/1109.3432

and also was on this paper
Kepler 16: A System of Potential Interest to Astrobiologists
http://arxiv.org/abs/1111.0002

and a number of other papers.

Note that his employer as stated in the first paper is "Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe, SETI Institute, 189 Bernardo Avenue, Mountain View", and in the second paper
"Carl Sagan Center, SETI Institute, 189 Bernardo Avenue CA 94043"

(disclosure: I just started moderating a forum of Dr. Doyle's.)

Also, what started this thread is the fact that the SETI Institute (and others) can finally target specific real targets because of Kepler; Kepler permits SETI, doesn't kill it. Kepler also shows that SETI can be done on very nearby planets, by proving they are ubiquitous.

Also, SETI is not a monolithic entity, there are others beside the SETI Institute who are conducting their own searches in other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum that differ from those searched by The SETI Institute (i.e. not in 'the waterhole', but in lower frequencies, much higher frequencies and even the optical and IR.)

SETI does not look for extraterrestrial TV broadcasts, as it is not sensitive enough to detect such signals.

And regarding searching passively in the microwave band, there are many good reasons to search there (that I don't think are necessary to elaborate on.) There are many good reasons to search the rest of the electromagnetic spectrum too. The search domains are not mutually exclusive, and there is no evidence at all that one method would or should be preferred (and if one thinks that searching for 60 years is a reason why radio shouldn't be searched, one really doesn't understand the search space and what has been done previously.)

Of course a super-massive space telescope would be a desirable next step, to image exoplanet's directly and detect their simple biology, but that doesn't seem likely in the near future.

Regarding "I don't know how it got funded...", please consider taking the time to look into this. I fund it, and like-minded people fund it, and an incredibly small fraction of 1 penny/cent of your personal taxes may have funded one kind of SETI back in the early 1990's.

All SETI radio telescopes conduct radio-astronomy science simultaneously. Nobody's money is wasted. Indeed, one of the direct spin-offs of creating the Allen Array in California will be applying the same dish combining solutions to the Square Kilometer Array (the same scientists and engineers are involved.)

My personal hope is somebody comes up with a different solution to the budget problems of creating a giant space telescope; I've personally been thinking a lot about polarized light, both light that's polarized by extraterrestrial oceans, but also as a means of communication (easier to differentiate from other light sources?) I guess that's for another thread?

Regards, Jason W. Higley

Edited by Jason H. (02/13/13 03:49 PM)


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llanitedave
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Re: SETI - unjustified leap in reasoning? new [Re: Jason H.]
      #5678388 - 02/13/13 09:26 PM

+1 Jason. Whatever you think of the odds of success for SETI, it's worth it, because the data collected is so useful across such a broad spectrum of studies.

The purpose of science is to drive knowledge forward, and SETI is doing just that -- at a pretty slim expenditure too.


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SteveMushynsky
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Re: SETI - unjustified leap in reasoning? new [Re: llanitedave]
      #5734616 - 03/15/13 06:11 PM

What would the margin of error be for a null result among a statistical sample of 86 among a near-infinite number of star systems?

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Qwickdraw
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Re: SETI - unjustified leap in reasoning? new [Re: SteveMushynsky]
      #5736047 - 03/16/13 11:31 AM

I also have to wonder if the lack of contact can point to the conclusion that intellectually superior races by misfortune stumble upon some unknown force of nature during physics experiments that systematically eliminates whole planets or even solar systems during the course of discovery. We don't know what we don't know.

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Jason H.
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Re: SETI - unjustified leap in reasoning? new [Re: Ira]
      #5737494 - 03/16/13 10:28 PM

"The existence of extraterrestrials is not an issue that can be determined on the basis of theory, no matter how compelling the arguments. SETI by definition is an experimental science." - Frank Drake

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Ira
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Re: SETI - unjustified leap in reasoning? new [Re: Qwickdraw]
      #5739732 - 03/17/13 09:57 PM

Quote:

I also have to wonder if the lack of contact can point to the conclusion that intellectually superior races by misfortune stumble upon some unknown force of nature during physics experiments that systematically eliminates whole planets or even solar systems during the course of discovery. We don't know what we don't know.




Death Stars rule!

/Ira


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llanitedave
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Re: SETI - unjustified leap in reasoning? new [Re: Ira]
      #5740969 - 03/18/13 03:32 PM

We've already seen arguments that we should let robots do just about everything that might be dangerous, difficult, or inconvenient for humans. I can see the possibility that we just might invent ourselves right out of biological relevance.

Maybe the robots will help us to our extinction out of pure mercy. That may be more likely or sooner than the asteroid impact.


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