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Otto Piechowski
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/20/05

Loc: Lexington, KY
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: ColoHank]
      #5453408 - 10/03/12 11:22 AM

The word, bracketing, is used in phenomenology (a branch of philosophy) to refer to decision to not consider significant aspects of some consideration when considering the overall/broader issue to which those signification aspects belong.

When one brackets it is fully understood that at some point one must bring those bracketed-significant-aspects back into the broader conversation before any final conclusions can be drawn.

One might ask, "Why bracket?" One answer is that sometimes bracketing makes more easily apparent self-contradictions within the overall conversation which were covered over and not apparent when the bracketed-significant-aspects were still included in the over all conversation. One can then choose to reject the entire train of the conversation and move onto other forum topics.

The second advantage of bracketed-significant-aspects is that significant issues become apparent which were overlooked in the haze created in considering the issue being discussed with the bracketed-significant-aspects included.


I invite us to bracket the assumption under which we have been operating that communication would be the more preferred manner of first making contact with another extra-terrestrial-intelligence; i.e. that contact-by-communication would be preferred prior to making contact-by-means-of-transportation.

Let us make two assumptions, the first of which because of n=1 we have no idea if it is possible or not, and the second seeming to be a bit more certain: the first, let us imagine in our galaxy; coming-to-intelligence/sentience is common; the second, that evolutionary biology is the common tool of species development.

We are, therefore, imagining a Milky Way Galaxy in which there are lots of civilizations, and we are assuming the vast majority (c. 99%)are vastly advanced of us (c. 2.5 billion years of development)[hereafter, refered to as the 99-2.5s]...both of these due to the generation 1/2 reality.

Now, let us suppose we are really smart, you and I here on CN and that we have actually began to realize a commandment of the universe to which these 99%-2.5billion adhere without question, that communication is a real pain; in fact, worthless to attempt. Might these 99-2.5s say something like, "we have two choices, neither are really great but one is possible and the other is not. The impossible one is trying to communicate. The possible one is to use the transporation means at our disposal, which will take tens or hundreds of thousands of years to get anywhere interesting. We will invest those "craft" with the means to store and develop DNA/robotics/nano-technological cyber beings whenever they might arrive. We will send out thousands, hundreds of thousands of these."

Now let us give intelligence the credit it is due and assume that they have come up with many effective-but-slow-methods-of-transportation-and-contact.

The assumptions above having been made and accepted, it seems to me if there is 99-2.5s, and if they have gone this seeding route for the reasons given above, we should have evidence of the same. A lot of evidence.

We have none.

Under the assumptions given and accepted, does this indicate we are alone?



Just run with it. As I said, we are bracketing...we will get back to accepting the n=1 issue of we can't know squat about numbers of advanced civilization and....we will get back to the assumption that communication is no more difficult than transporation.

But, in case we are prone to be being argumentative and contrary, perhaps we can give the assumed hypothetical transporation-rather-than-communication scenario a boost by means of asking and responding to a question:

The question: "Both being theortetically possible; both meaning communication and actual contact by transportation, why would intelligent species not first, and preferentially prefer attempting communication since it is seemingly easier?

Response: Three analogies:

(1) Humans are able to talk about sex (communicate) and experience sex (transportation)[e.g. "Hum...would I rather talk with her/him over the phone or by text-message, or would I rather drive my car an hour to be with him/her? Hum....]. All things being equal, most people prefer to actually have physical contact rather than just talk about it.

(2) Nursing homes are filled with people who are in many types of significant physical pain. Yet, the elderly and chronically ill, by far, desire more then they do, a drug or therapy to reduce pain, desire/want/crave/demand to have someone to be present/to sit near them /to touch them/to be touched by them.

(3) Evolution applies as much to ecclesiology as it does to biology. It does not matter what religion one is considering, there is a common evolutionary trait which occurs in all instititutions of belief...that evolutionary trait is the transition from satisfaction with words to the need for touch. Whether the "religion" (from a Latin word religare meaning that which binds a people together) is the scientific establishment, the Roman Catholic Church, AA, Islam, the-religion-of-those-who-have-drunk-the-Apple-Coolaid, an evangelical faith...given enough time, every last one adds experiences of touch (i.e. sacraments) to the communication of words.

Drawing on the three analogies given to highlight the possibility that hyper-intelligent-beings might naturally devote their energies more to contact-by-transportation rather than to communication-at-a-distance, I now offer these conclusions:

Conclusion #1: The moment civilizations begin to realize attempted communication-at-a-distance is a waste of time....they will jump all over the transporation option no matter how slow it might be.

Conclusion #2: We don't see any evidence of any physical presence or contact whatsoever. We are alone in the Milky Way.


(Just run with this hypothetical argument and see where it leads us. Ideally it will lead to an internal self-contradition in which we can then reject it outright. Or, ideally as well, it will lead to an insight about communication/transportation we have not yet considered.

Later....later....we can return to our bracketed assumptions...i.e. that n=1 tells us we can't determine the prevalence of advanced civilizations...and the degree of their advancement...and their preference of communication or transporation.)


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Otto Piechowski
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/20/05

Loc: Lexington, KY
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Mister T]
      #5453462 - 10/03/12 12:00 PM


Anthony, you (he) wrote, "it seems to me that philosophy is the the "science" of coming up with assumptions and analyzing all of them as hypothetical possibilities. But true science uses logical processes to rule out unrealistic assumptions and spends it's time and effort on following provable (or falsifiable) assumptions to make a foundation for further assumptions and research. I hope that made sense"


Your words were fully understandable.

Permit me to expand upon your/his statement.

Science rests upon a philosophical assumption referred to as objectivism. It accepts objectivism without question. It understands objectivism cannot be proved. It accepts objectivism...on faith.

Wasting no further time on justifying or even considering this assumption, science then gets about the business it feels, and is in fact, very comfortable performing; considering the essence of matter (and its variations such as energy) and motion.

In performing this activity, science contents itself with two lines of inquiry; they are (1) logical coherence between the premises obtained through induction and the conclusions drawn deductively from those premises, and (2) does the conclusion result in practical / productive / pragmatic (i.e. technological) applications; i.e. does-it-work.

The scientists I have known and under whom I have studied tend to avoid the use of the word "fact" because it, too, is loaded with philosophical assumptions. Colloquially, when the word "fact" is used in scientific discussions, it is usually used as a synonym for (1) and (2) above.

Otto


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EJN
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/01/05

Loc: 53 miles west of Venus
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5453472 - 10/03/12 12:10 PM

Quote:

The word, bracketing, is used in phenomenology (a branch of philosophy)...<snip>...




Is there a Cliff's Notes version of that post? Just looking at it makes my
eyes explode.

Is the point of philosophy to use the most words to say nothing? Because I
have no freaking idea what you are trying to say or even what the point is
anymore.


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Shadowalker
Apocaloptimist
*****

Reged: 11/23/04

Loc: Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi, ...
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: EJN]
      #5453491 - 10/03/12 12:33 PM

Quote:

Is the point of philosophy to use the most words to say nothing? Because I have no freaking idea what you are trying to say or even what the point is anymore.




That has been my experience.


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Otto Piechowski
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/20/05

Loc: Lexington, KY
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: EJN]
      #5453518 - 10/03/12 01:03 PM

EJN/you wrote, "Is there a Cliff's Notes version of that post? Just looking at it makes my eyes explode. Is the point of philosophy to use the most words to say nothing? Because I have no freaking idea what you are trying to say or even what the point is."


Thank you for your response to my attempt to speak as clearly as possible, and yet as simply as possible. Your comments were, I believe, candid, clear, and communicated a great deal of meaning.

The beauty (to some) and the frustration (to others) of philosophy is that any statement, if it is meant to communicate a meaning, can then become a basis for further discussion.


EJN, to your question, "Is there a Cliff's Notes version of that post?"...probably not. If you are interested, here is why.

Way back in this same thread (I think it was this thread) I made reference to the fact that for any given verb, whereas English has about fifty forms, ancient philosophical Greek (as one example among others) has around 250. This allows a great deal of nuance in attempting to explain things clearly. An analogy I have used in exegetical instruction is to consider providing someone with a colorful painting by the impressionist Monet and a Crayola 8 Pack of crayons, and then ask that person to attempt to create a photo rendition of the Monet painting. The original Monet is the expression in Greek. The attempt to replicate it with the 8 pack crayola is using English to explain the same concept.

Thus, the answer is, yes, there are those who prefer cliff and spark notes of philosophical ideas, but they are of limited value. I recall, once saying to a theologian who was frustrating me with what seemed to be his philosophical-babble, "What are you saying? In a nutshell, please!" To which he responded, "I can give you a nutshell response, but all you will have is a nutshell."

Philosophy, theology, and to a somewhat lesser degree, the so-called soft sciences attempt to discover and display the essence of realities which are much more difficult to understand than the relatively easy things with which the so-called hard sciences and math deal. Philosophy, theology, and the "soft sciences" deal with things such as life, love, God, beauty, and hundreds of others; whereas the "hard sciences" wisely limit themselves to the consideration of only matter (and the variations of matter such as energy) and motion.

Because the sciences and math deal with comparatively easy things involving matter (and its variations) and motion, the language of science and math can be reduced to symbols (usually, but not always) mathematical symbols. Thus, a few scientific/mathematical symbols can replace hundreds of words, or more.

The beauty of scientific/mathematical symbology is that one can speak precisely about the matters of one's limited area of concern. Also, and this one is dangerous, it provides the scientist with a feeling of control.

Control does feel good. Many of us crave it. All of us desire it. And one can choose to live in the limited area of such control. But that choice removes one from living in the human world; the world of human affairs.

The ultimate personal danger for living in a world of control is that one becomes a homo mechanicus; machine-like. The possible result of such a preference is to live in a world which truly is composed of Turing Machines.

............................

EJN, please permit me as I now use some of your comments to revisit an issue I discussed with others earlier.

I made the assertion earlier that science sometimes does not play well with philosophy. If this statement of mine is true, it may be because of what I said above; science deals with a very clear and direct symbology, whereas philosophy is limited to the use of words to express much more difficult realities than those with which science deals.

Assuming you/we agree with the statement just made, the real question arises, should we, without further consideration stop making, and if need be, stop allowing the making of philosophical references in our CN discussions?

This is a legitimate philosophical question!

Should we decide to censor philosohical comments, I think we should be clear on what we are deciding.

First, we are deciding to keep our discussion comparatively simple and clear, limited to matter and motion.

Second, we are deciding to avoid the fact that CN is a political entity; i.e. in engages in political activity; i.e. censorship. Censorship can be good or bad. But is the decision to not talk about this community's political actions, good or bad?

Third, we are deciding to not discuss the philosophical assumptions upon which science depends; i.e. objectivism and others besides. Is this decision not to discuss science's own philosophical assumptions good or bad?


In closing, permit me to quote the words of the linguistic philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, "Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen."

This statment which closes his logical work entitled Tractatus logico-philosopohicus has been translated many ways into English. [Like Greek, German simply contains expressions which cannot be easily translated into one definite English form.] One good and useable translation is "Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent." Another is, "What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence."

The "nutshell" translation I heard in graduate school was, "Those who have nothing to say should remain silent."

Having been trained in dialogue and phenomenology, I am of the opinion that all persons are philosophers...they have no choice. The only choice they have is to do philosophy well or poorly.

I disagree with Wittgenstein in the following sense, only. For people to learn to be fully human (i.e. Terrence's famous "humani nil a me alienum puto" ["nothing human is alien to me"]) they must engage in dialogue about the most important of human issues. Through dialogue they become more fully human. Thus, in the real world, I don't think a person should ever decide to remain silent; at least not as a modus operandi. However, I do agree with Wittgenstein that if one is limiting oneself to a specific discussion about a very limited matter such as matter or motion or mathematics or logic...then those who know little should speak less, listen more, and ask questions.

Do you agree with my statement? Do you agree with your understanding of Wittgenstein's statement? That is, would you prefer in the CN forum, Socrates [philosophy] remain silent or, if he [it] refuses, he [it] be silenced?

or, can science play well with philosophy?



Edited by Otto Piechowski (10/03/12 01:27 PM)


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EJN
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/01/05

Loc: 53 miles west of Venus
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5453531 - 10/03/12 01:18 PM

"If it can't be expressed in mathematics, it's only opinion"

-- paraphrase of Robert A. Heinlein


And how come in so many philosophical discussions, the author feels the need
to throw in phrases in Latin, Greek, or German; Carthago delenda est when
the reader might not know the translation shamma lamma ding dong?
Is this an attempt to impress or obfuscate?

Because it is best to avoid obfuscation with persistently persnickety perspicacity.




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brentwood
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 11/04/05

Loc: BC Canada
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5453544 - 10/03/12 01:33 PM

English is just as capable as Ancient Greek as getting any message across. Over the years, English has evolved and has replaced many of its verb forms with conjunctions & prepositions. It does not make it an inferior language.
As for Philosophy, I think I'll decline thank you. I had enough of talking in circles when I was in the Corporate World. Why use a single word when a paragraph says the same thing!
I did pick up a book on Philosophy once, as I thought it would help in my surge to the top of the Corporate ladder. I quickly gave up when on a quick flip through revealed that page three said exactly the same as page three ninety two!


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Otto Piechowski
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/20/05

Loc: Lexington, KY
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: EJN]
      #5453557 - 10/03/12 01:41 PM

Thank you, EJN for your comments, "how come in so many philosophical discussions, the author feels the need to throw in phrases in Latin, Greek, or German; Carthago delenda est when the reader might not know the translation shamma lamma ding dong? Is this an attempt to impress or obfuscate? Because it is best to avoid obfuscation with persistently persnickety perspicacity."

The easy, face saving response would be for me to say I am providing the original quotes because the reader deserves (1) to know the person's exact words, and (2) the reader may not know the original words and may require a translation.

A more true response would be to say I enjoy using languages.

A possibly-as-true and slightly embarrassing response would be to say that I like the feeling of control and sometimes I get this feeling when I use foreign words or scientific/mathematical symbols with which others are not as familiar.

Another possible reason is that using these foreign languages is a manifestation of my own arrogance.


Of all these, I think the desire to be helpful and the pleasure I feel using these languages is a possible explanation. But, more likely, the more basic reason is the desire for control and arrogance.


Which assertion, then allows another philosophical consideration....


Can a statement be arrogant and correct?

Otto

Edited by Otto Piechowski (10/03/12 01:46 PM)


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Otto Piechowski
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/20/05

Loc: Lexington, KY
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5453561 - 10/03/12 01:43 PM

I am delighted to talk about philosophy (theology, science, morality, politics, too). If you wish to do so, please continue with me.

Or, we can return, if you wish, to my original question/pondering:



I invite us to bracket the assumption under which we have been operating that communication would be the more preferred manner of first making contact with another extra-terrestrial-intelligence; i.e. that contact-by-communication would be preferred prior to making contact-by-means-of-transportation.

Let us make two assumptions, the first of which because of n=1 we have no idea if it is possible or not, and the second seeming to be a bit more certain: the first, let us imagine in our galaxy; coming-to-intelligence/sentience is common; the second, that evolutionary biology is the common tool of species development.

We are, therefore, imagining a Milky Way Galaxy in which there are lots of civilizations, and we are assuming the vast majority (c. 99%)are vastly advanced of us (c. 2.5 billion years of development)[hereafter, refered to as the 99-2.5s]...both of these due to the generation 1/2 reality.

Now, let us suppose we are really smart, you and I here on CN and that we have actually began to realize a commandment of the universe to which these 99%-2.5billion adhere without question, that communication is a real pain; in fact, worthless to attempt. Might these 99-2.5s say something like, "we have two choices, neither are really great but one is possible and the other is not. The impossible one is trying to communicate. The possible one is to use the transporation means at our disposal, which will take tens or hundreds of thousands of years to get anywhere interesting. We will invest those "craft" with the means to store and develop DNA/robotics/nano-technological cyber beings whenever they might arrive. We will send out thousands, hundreds of thousands of these."

Now let us give intelligence the credit it is due and assume that they have come up with many effective-but-slow-methods-of-transportation-and-contact.

The assumptions above having been made and accepted, it seems to me if there is 99-2.5s, and if they have gone this seeding route for the reasons given above, we should have evidence of the same. A lot of evidence.

We have none.

Under the assumptions given and accepted, does this indicate we are alone?



Just run with it. As I said, we are bracketing...we will get back to accepting the n=1 issue of we can't know squat about numbers of advanced civilization and....we will get back to the assumption that communication is no more difficult than transporation.

But, in case we are prone to be being argumentative and contrary, perhaps we can give the assumed hypothetical transporation-rather-than-communication scenario a boost by means of asking and responding to a question:

The question: "Both being theortetically possible; both meaning communication and actual contact by transportation, why would intelligent species not first, and preferentially prefer attempting communication since it is seemingly easier?

Response: Three analogies:

(1) Humans are able to talk about sex (communicate) and experience sex (transportation)[e.g. "Hum...would I rather talk with her/him over the phone or by text-message, or would I rather drive my car an hour to be with him/her? Hum....]. All things being equal, most people prefer to actually have physical contact rather than just talk about it.

(2) Nursing homes are filled with people who are in many types of significant physical pain. Yet, the elderly and chronically ill, by far, desire more then they do, a drug or therapy to reduce pain, desire/want/crave/demand to have someone to be present/to sit near them /to touch them/to be touched by them.

(3) Evolution applies as much to ecclesiology as it does to biology. It does not matter what religion one is considering, there is a common evolutionary trait which occurs in all instititutions of belief...that evolutionary trait is the transition from satisfaction with words to the need for touch. Whether the "religion" (from a Latin word religare meaning that which binds a people together) is the scientific establishment, the Roman Catholic Church, AA, Islam, the-religion-of-those-who-have-drunk-the-Apple-Coolaid, an evangelical faith...given enough time, every last one adds experiences of touch (i.e. sacraments) to the communication of words.

Drawing on the three analogies given to highlight the possibility that hyper-intelligent-beings might naturally devote their energies more to contact-by-transportation rather than to communication-at-a-distance, I now offer these conclusions:

Conclusion #1: The moment civilizations begin to realize attempted communication-at-a-distance is a waste of time....they will jump all over the transporation option no matter how slow it might be.

Conclusion #2: We don't see any evidence of any physical presence or contact whatsoever. We are alone in the Milky Way.


(Just run with this hypothetical argument and see where it leads us. Ideally it will lead to an internal self-contradition in which we can then reject it outright. Or, ideally as well, it will lead to an insight about communication/transportation we have not yet considered.

Later....later....we can return to our bracketed assumptions...i.e. that n=1 tells us we can't determine the prevalence of advanced civilizations...and the degree of their advancement...and their preference of communication or transporation.)

Edited by Otto Piechowski (10/03/12 01:44 PM)


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EJN
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/01/05

Loc: 53 miles west of Venus
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5453597 - 10/03/12 02:03 PM

Quote:

A more true response would be to say I enjoy using languages.




My favorite is Elvish:

A Elbereth Gilthoniel
silivren penna míriel
o menel aglar elenath!
Na-chaered palan-díriel
o galadhremmin ennorath,
Fanuilos, le linnathon
nef aear, sí nef aearon!

A Elbereth Gilthoniel
o menel palan-díriel,
le nallon sí di'-nguruthos!
A tíro nin, Fanuilos!

A! Elbereth Gilthoniel!
silivren penna míriel
o menel aglar elenath,
Gilthoniel, A! Elbereth!











Legal stuff for moderators:

Quote:

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

You are free:

* to share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work

en.wikipedia.org




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Otto Piechowski
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/20/05

Loc: Lexington, KY
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: brentwood]
      #5453603 - 10/03/12 02:07 PM

You wrote, Brentwood, "English is just as capable as Ancient Greek as getting any message across. Over the years, English has evolved and has replaced many of its verb forms with conjunctions & prepositions. It does not make it an inferior language."

I agree with your statement that English is not "an inferior languauge."

However, English, in addition to its strengths, does have limitations. Permit me to share with you three examples.

Just this morning, not five hours ago, I was reading about Saint Therese Lisieux. For those who don't know Catholic stuff, she died at age 24. As a young nun, sensing something special about her, she was required to write out her spiritual reflections which later became known as "the little way". Her "little way" was written in French. Anyway, the comentator made the following statement about Therese's "little way": "Every line is marked by the artless simplicity of a literary genius, so that even when translated from its musical euphonious French into mechanical clanking English, it still read with the rhythm of a prose poem."

Second, I have noticed people are touchy in these CN forums whenever they sense someone is making a reference to him or her directly, or to his or her comments, directly. It is as if the word "you" ignites over-sensitivity. Well, German (and other languages I'm sure you know) has a neat little way to avoid igniting this over-sensitivity; that neat little way is to use the word du when responding to a specific person and to use the word sie when addressing a global group without pinpointing one person. In English, we only have the word "you" which means both.

A third problem when dealing with the transition from any human language to any other human language; every act of translation is necessarily (always) an act of interpretation. That is, every time we translate a word from one language into another language, the translator is imposing one interpretation out of many possible interpretations upon the reader who is unfamiliar with the original language word or phrase. For example, suppose I wanted to translate the idea "I know" into French. I could use the verb comprendre, connaitre, or savoir. Each of these words has a slightly different connotation of meaning.

Oh, just thought of a fourth example. I used it earlier in this thread (I think it was this thread). In English we have the word "life". This English word is the correct translation of the greek words zoh-ay and bee-os. And, in fact, when I read translations of Greek, I noticed the word life being used of both these words. Yet, in Greek, whereas zoh-ay does mean life as we tend to mean the word life in English, bee-os also tends to mean what in English is stated as "a life"; as in "get a life." To make to an English speaking audience a clear distinction between when I am speaking of "life" or "a life", I then need to use more words than Greek would have used.

Otto


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Otto Piechowski
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/20/05

Loc: Lexington, KY
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: EJN]
      #5453606 - 10/03/12 02:10 PM

EJN

Elvish looks pretty! Does it sound, I don't know how to ask it other than...does it sound pretty?

I have often wondered...perhaps you can educate me on this issue...is the Elvish you quoted (is it from Lord of the Rings stuff?) an actual ancient language like say, French or Russian....or is it a manufactured language like Klingon?

Otto

Edited by Otto Piechowski (10/03/12 02:18 PM)


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EJN
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 11/01/05

Loc: 53 miles west of Venus
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5453637 - 10/03/12 02:26 PM

Quote:

EJN

Elvish looks pretty! Does it sound, I don't know how to ask it other than...does it sound pretty?

I have often wondered...perhaps you can educate me on this issue...is the Elvish you quoted (is it from Lord of the Rings stuff?) an actual ancient language like say, French or Russian....or is it a manufactured language like Klingon?

Otto




It is an invented language. J.R.R. Tolkien was a philologist by profession.
It is influenced by Finnish.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elvish_languages_%28Middle-earth%29


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Otto Piechowski
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/20/05

Loc: Lexington, KY
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: EJN]
      #5453641 - 10/03/12 02:28 PM

I like invented languages....I learned how to use pig-Latin really well when I was young...for all sorts of reasons, good and not so much.

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Andy Taylor
Twisted, but in a Good Way
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Reged: 09/24/08

Loc: Epsom - UK
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5453668 - 10/03/12 02:48 PM

I fold.

I've lost the thread completely...


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Otto Piechowski
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/20/05

Loc: Lexington, KY
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Andy Taylor]
      #5453691 - 10/03/12 03:03 PM

My apology....


the current iteration is this:

I invite us to bracket the assumption under which we have been operating that communication would be the more preferred manner of first making contact with another extra-terrestrial-intelligence; i.e. that contact-by-communication would be preferred prior to making contact-by-means-of-transportation.

Let us make two assumptions, the first of which because of n=1 we have no idea if it is possible or not, and the second seeming to be a bit more certain: the first, let us imagine in our galaxy; coming-to-intelligence/sentience is common; the second, that evolutionary biology is the common tool of species development.

We are, therefore, imagining a Milky Way Galaxy in which there are lots of civilizations, and we are assuming the vast majority (c. 99%)are vastly advanced of us (c. 2.5 billion years of development)[hereafter, refered to as the 99-2.5s]...both of these due to the generation 1/2 reality.

Now, let us suppose we are really smart, you and I here on CN and that we have actually began to realize a commandment of the universe to which these 99%-2.5billion adhere without question, that communication is a real pain; in fact, worthless to attempt. Might these 99-2.5s say something like, "we have two choices, neither are really great but one is possible and the other is not. The impossible one is trying to communicate. The possible one is to use the transporation means at our disposal, which will take tens or hundreds of thousands of years to get anywhere interesting. We will invest those "craft" with the means to store and develop DNA/robotics/nano-technological cyber beings whenever they might arrive. We will send out thousands, hundreds of thousands of these."

Now let us give intelligence the credit it is due and assume that they have come up with many effective-but-slow-methods-of-transportation-and-contact.

The assumptions above having been made and accepted, it seems to me if there is 99-2.5s, and if they have gone this seeding route for the reasons given above, we should have evidence of the same. A lot of evidence.

We have none.

Under the assumptions given and accepted, does this indicate we are alone?



Just run with it. As I said, we are bracketing...we will get back to accepting the n=1 issue of we can't know squat about numbers of advanced civilization and....we will get back to the assumption that communication is no more difficult than transporation.

But, in case we are prone to be being argumentative and contrary, perhaps we can give the assumed hypothetical transporation-rather-than-communication scenario a boost by means of asking and responding to a question:

The question: "Both being theortetically possible; both meaning communication and actual contact by transportation, why would intelligent species not first, and preferentially prefer attempting communication since it is seemingly easier?

Response: Three analogies:

(1) Humans are able to talk about sex (communicate) and experience sex (transportation)[e.g. "Hum...would I rather talk with her/him over the phone or by text-message, or would I rather drive my car an hour to be with him/her? Hum....]. All things being equal, most people prefer to actually have physical contact rather than just talk about it.

(2) Nursing homes are filled with people who are in many types of significant physical pain. Yet, the elderly and chronically ill, by far, desire more then they do, a drug or therapy to reduce pain, desire/want/crave/demand to have someone to be present/to sit near them /to touch them/to be touched by them.

(3) Evolution applies as much to ecclesiology as it does to biology. It does not matter what religion one is considering, there is a common evolutionary trait which occurs in all instititutions of belief...that evolutionary trait is the transition from satisfaction with words to the need for touch. Whether the "religion" (from a Latin word religare meaning that which binds a people together) is the scientific establishment, the Roman Catholic Church, AA, Islam, the-religion-of-those-who-have-drunk-the-Apple-Coolaid, an evangelical faith...given enough time, every last one adds experiences of touch (i.e. sacraments) to the communication of words.

Drawing on the three analogies given to highlight the possibility that hyper-intelligent-beings might naturally devote their energies more to contact-by-transportation rather than to communication-at-a-distance, I now offer these conclusions:

Conclusion #1: The moment civilizations begin to realize attempted communication-at-a-distance is a waste of time....they will jump all over the transporation option no matter how slow it might be.

Conclusion #2: We don't see any evidence of any physical presence or contact whatsoever. We are alone in the Milky Way.


(Just run with this hypothetical argument and see where it leads us. Ideally it will lead to an internal self-contradition in which we can then reject it outright. Or, ideally as well, it will lead to an insight about communication/transportation we have not yet considered.

Later....later....we can return to our bracketed assumptions...i.e. that n=1 tells us we can't determine the prevalence of advanced civilizations...and the degree of their advancement...and their preference of communication or transporation.)


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brentwood
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Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5453800 - 10/03/12 04:11 PM

Well that clears it up, and Otto, we can all try & use 'Thou' and 'Ye' if that would help.

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Jarad
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Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5453817 - 10/03/12 04:27 PM

Quote:

Let us make two assumptions...



To briefly summarize, the assumptions are that life is common, interstellar communication is hard, but that intelligent life has figured out interstellar travel at sublight speeds.

You therefore conclude that we should have evidence of alien visitors or their movements.

We do not.

By reductio ad absurdum, that means we can conclude that these assumptions are not all correct.

Quote:

Under the assumptions given and accepted, does this indicate we are alone?




No. It means that it is not the case that life is common, insterstellar communication is impossible, and interstellar travel is easy.

It could still be the case that life is common, interstellar communication is hard, and interstallar travel is impossible (or just very hard). Or various other combinations that result in us not meeting or hearing the other life.

Quote:

(1) Humans are able to talk about sex (communicate) and experience sex (transportation)[e.g. "Hum...would I rather talk with her/him over the phone or by text-message, or would I rather drive my car an hour to be with him/her? Hum....]. All things being equal, most people prefer to actually have physical contact rather than just talk about it.




This only applies to other humans of the appropriate gender (and perhaps other requirements as well, depending on your personal preferences... [subliminal] hot blonde [/subliminal] ).

Or, at least I hope it does... If not, I don't want to know about it.

I wouldn't apply it to other species, even ones found on earth. If the other species has adapted to life in a hostile environment by our standard, the idea of contact gets even less inviting.

I am quite content to have most of my interaction with poisonous snakes via seeing them on television rather than anything more intimate...

Quote:

(2) Nursing homes are filled with people who are in many types of significant physical pain. Yet, the elderly and chronically ill, by far, desire more then they do, a drug or therapy to reduce pain, desire/want/crave/demand to have someone to be present/to sit near them /to touch them/to be touched by them.




Many of them would like the company of a person, preferably a family member. Many do not want to be touched or visited by strangers, much less by snakes, rats, insects, or other less closely related species. And we happen to be a social species - plenty of species just here on earth do not enjoy social relationships. Bears for example, are solitary except for mating and mothers raising cubs to adolescence.

Quote:

(3) Evolution applies as much to ecclesiology as it does to biology. It does not matter what religion one is considering, there is a common evolutionary trait which occurs in all instititutions of belief...that evolutionary trait is the transition from satisfaction with words to the need for touch. Whether the "religion" (from a Latin word religare meaning that which binds a people together) is the scientific establishment, the Roman Catholic Church, AA, Islam, the-religion-of-those-who-have-drunk-the-Apple-Coolaid, an evangelical faith...given enough time, every last one adds experiences of touch (i.e. sacraments) to the communication of words.




I don't think this is true. There is no touching at a Jewish service, aside from the normal greetings that friends and family give each other. And again, just because we enjoy touching does not mean that even other species here on earth like it, much less alien ones.

Quote:

Conclusion #1: The moment civilizations begin to realize attempted communication-at-a-distance is a waste of time....they will jump all over the transporation option no matter how slow it might be.




I don't think you can conclude this. You can speculate it, but I don't think the examples given even make it a valid conclusion for all humans, much less alien species.

Quote:

Conclusion #2: We don't see any evidence of any physical presence or contact whatsoever. We are alone in the Milky Way.




This does not follow, either. The Milky Way is large enough to have several thousand intelligent species at our level of technology without us bumping into each other or seeing each other. Depending on how difficult interstellar travel is, and how advanced societies decide on their destinations, we could even have thousands of interstellar societies in the galaxy that haven't reached us yet (especially if they focus on harvesting resources from Oort clouds, as Dave has proposed).

Jarad

Edited by Jarad (10/03/12 04:32 PM)


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Jarad
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Re: The silence is deafening.... [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5453820 - 10/03/12 04:29 PM

Quote:

Well, German (and other languages I'm sure you know) has a neat little way to avoid igniting this over-sensitivity; that neat little way is to use the word du when responding to a specific person and to use the word sie when addressing a global group without pinpointing one person. In English, we only have the word "you" which means both.



That's why we down here in the south invented the word "Y'all".

Jarad


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Otto Piechowski
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Re: The silence is deafening.... [Re: Jarad]
      #5453832 - 10/03/12 04:42 PM

Thank you Jarad, for taking this bracketed conversation on.

Though there are little things I desire to quibble with, the one I want to draw our attention to, is an idea of yours I had never really let sink in. Specifically, you wrote,

"This applies to other humans of the appropriate gender (and perhaps other requirements as well, depending on your personal preferences... [subliminal] hot blonde [/subliminal] ). I wouldn't apply it to other species, even ones found on earth. If the other species has adapted to life in a hostile environment by our standard, the idea of contact gets even less inviting."

Let me summarize your thought this way, the bracketed n=1 idea of we have no idea of the frequency of extra-terrestrial-intelligent beings other than that the odds are greater than 0.....that idea, the n=1, also applies to the idea of them prefering contact (though difficult) having decided communication is near to impossible. Your reasoning is, we can't just assume what appears to be the way of things on earth applies elsewhere; specifically, the-urge-to make actual contact by way of transportation.


This now constitutes the fourth hard nugget I feel I have been able to "take away" from conversations with you, drl, and Dave; those being
1. It's not just the act of human perception which causes a quantum level event to occur, it is any act/event in which the pre-quantum-quasi-determined is perceived; by an amoeba, a person, an instrument, whatever.
2. n=1 necessarily means we can draw no conclusion about the odds of there being extra-terrestrial-intelligence other than the odds are greater than 0 [an aside, the neat thing for me about this insight you gave me, is you also led me through the math. It made me feel I had a bit more command of the guts of the argument.
3. Dave's explanation of the limited number of phenomena which could explain rounded off rocks on Mars.
4. Again, your applying n=1 to the issue of the urge-to-merge


But now, Jarad, et alii, I have a follow up question. If it were the case extra-terrestrial-intelligent 99-2.5s tend not to have an urge-to-merge, would it not follow they also would not have an urge to communicate?

Otto


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