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llanitedave
Humble Megalomaniac
*****

Reged: 09/26/05

Loc: Amargosa Valley, NV, USA
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: moynihan]
      #6275763 - 12/27/13 05:09 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I have never heard that phrase before, nor Sagan's association with it.

What do you think he meant by "demon haunted world", Jay?

Otto




“If we can't think for ourselves, if we're unwilling to question authority, then we're just putty in the hands of those in power. But if the citizens are educated and form their own opinions, then those in power work for us. In every country, we should be teaching our children the scientific method and the reasons for a Bill of Rights. With it comes a certain decency, humility and community spirit. In the demon-haunted world that we inhabit by virtue of being human, this may be all that stands between us and the enveloping darkness.”
&#8213; Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

Been awhile since i read the book. the phrase / title refers to the biological in origin baggage we carry with us that expresses as superstition, irrationality, basic fears....

A read excerpt from the book




I've got that book too. I give it a qualified recommendation. Parts of it, unfortunately, remind me of an old curmudgeon grousing about the world going to the dogs due to the current generation. I've been reading those kinds of gripes since I was a child, and I expect to start making similar complaints any day now.

Other than that, though, there are some good things in it. It would be fun to see a philosopher attempt to refute it.


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FirstSightModerator
Duke of Deneb
*****

Reged: 12/26/05

Loc: Raleigh, NC
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: moynihan]
      #6275766 - 12/27/13 05:11 PM

I use the term "design" generically here to simply mean the net effect of the physical laws affecting the Cosmos, irrespective of whether or not there's a god-like creator behind it all. All the evidence so far indicates that an inherent product of the design of the Cosmos is that whatever life exists besides locally on Earth is sparsely distributed, separated by distances that effectively quarantine each instance from most others by immense distances that make direct contact prohibitively infeasible, and even positive detection by one another forbiddingly difficult. The farthest potential extent of human civilization's electromagnetic bubble extends barely over a hundred light-years from earth, but is too dissipated by attenuation to detectably reach but a fraction of that distance.

Saying that "life" is sparsely distributed does not exclude the possibility of localized clumps of multiple instances, in particular evidence gathered by Mars Rovers indicates the possibility that relatively primitive life could have evolved there before hydrological and atmospheric conditions became far less favorable there, and it's also possible some exotic forms of life might exist on Titan adapted to live in its hydrocarbon seas and atmosphere. However, even assuming either of these extremely speculative possibilities eventually prove to be true, it's extremely unlikely we'll find, either alive or in the form of fossilized remains, any sort of life remotely near having capability to communicate with us (especially across the distance of interplanetary space).

THAT SAID, the cosmos is so vast and numerously populated by galaxies and stars, that odds are probably very good that, immensely sparse and distant from one another as the overwhelming portion of them they likely are, there are nevertheless a vast number of planets at least as favorably habitable to life as earth, some of which include evolved intelligent life capable of forming civilizations and technology. But it may turn out that Einstein's laws of Relativity has no loopholes that would facilitate any sort of contact, communication, or even feasible detection of one another.

All silence means is that any other intelligent life that exists out there is forbiddingly distant from us, not evidence against the probabilities for their existence.

Edited by FirstSight (12/27/13 05:32 PM)


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dickbill
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 09/30/08

Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #6278875 - 12/29/13 10:41 AM

Happy new year to all

Quote:

Is there any point at which the continuing silence constitutes satisfying proof that we are alone? another year of silence? a decade? a thousand years? ten thousand years?




I don't think there is a need to wait for 'them' signal. Mirrors in the range of 40-60 (100?) meters diameters are in project and if all goes well, they will probe the atmosphere of exoplanets for oxygen.
Providing the worthy exoplanets to be studied will be terrestrial-like orbiting a sun-like star, the presence of Oxygen will an indication that the planet has possibly reached the evolutionary stage of global photolysis.
It is very reasonable to project that ~ a dozen such pretty exoplanets will be studied in the next century so we can expect at least to put some probability in that sample of a dozen in a hundred years time frame.
A dozen negatives (no traces of oxygen found) would mean nothing more than a lower probability of Life for some people, while for others, it would mean more than that. In any case you would see a debate starting to emerge between scientists.
The 100 years time frame should be enough to answer your question with a good likelihood.
A decade, no, but maybe with luck, 2 or 3 decades after the big mirrors start to work will do it. That'd be 40-50 years from now.


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llanitedave
Humble Megalomaniac
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Reged: 09/26/05

Loc: Amargosa Valley, NV, USA
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: dickbill]
      #6279064 - 12/29/13 12:18 PM

There could be false negatives as well, since there are forms of photosynthesis that do not release oxygen.

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dickbill
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 09/30/08

Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: llanitedave]
      #6279162 - 12/29/13 01:12 PM

Yes I agree. There could also be the case of false positive with non biogenic oxygen released. But a life related global planetary event such as the Great Oxygenation event is about the only thing these big mirrors will allow us to detect. The answer will be probabilistic, for example 'O2 in exoplanet X indicates possible presence of Life'. 50% chances maybe, and that's it.
To be certain, we would need the resolving power of a km-baselined interferometer, IMO, which could correlate O2 with photosynthetic albedo features on the surface. Then there would be no doubt left.

But in the case of a dozen repetitive Negatives this time, it will be hard to always blame it on false negative. Of course it could be some anaerobic life, or non-oxygen related life or any other case of low or non-detectability issues, but 12 times?
As I said before, some will keep faith and keep searching
while other will start to reframe 'Life' into a different concept. There is no rule that say you have to wait for thousands of sample size to reach 99.999..% probability to change your theory, otherwise yes, it could take thousands of years as Otto said.
To me, the issue will be resolved in less than a hundred years.


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Otto Piechowski
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/20/05

Loc: Lexington, KY
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #6279277 - 12/29/13 02:22 PM

Possibly, we (humanity) are missing something here.

Consider; Leewenhoek wasn’t looking for micorbial life. Yet, he develops a new technology, the microscope, and the world of microbial life is revealed. Galileo isn’t looking for more stars, moons around Jupiter, Venus’ phases, other planets and yet his use of Lippershey’s technological device opens all this up to human consideration.

Now, here we are. We have been thinking about finding proof of a specific thing; extra-terrestrial life/sentient and intelligent life, and we can’t figure out how to do it easily or yet.

Perhaps, are we the equivalent of people at Galileo’s time who, expecting everything outside the earth to be some non-terrestrial-heavenly-other-stuff, are blindsided by finding that everything out there is more-of-the-same-here? Perhaps are we the equivalent of the people expecting to find lumineferous aether and instead come to discover it isn’t there, but there are a host of lots of other things and energies and forces and waves and particles?

In short, I am asking your estimation of two very different, and perhaps opposing questions: Are we missing something here? (Are we failing to see something obvious and right before our eyes, blinded by looking-for-the-same-out-there assumptions? Might there be something other and more alien and more amazing and more wonderful than life-like-us which we will discover)? Or are we missing a much simpler way to find the life and intelligent/sentient life which is out-there just waiting to be discovered? ( Is there some easier way than waiting for kilometer long interferometers, life-detecting-mass-spectrometers, near-light-space-travel, faster-than-light-communications?)


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dickbill
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 09/30/08

Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #6279641 - 12/29/13 05:54 PM

Quote:

Is there some easier way than waiting for kilometer long interferometers




No. If one day we find oxygen in an exoplanet and can't build an interferometer to confirm its origin because it's too expensive, that's cheap. What could be easier than that?


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maugi88
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 08/25/13

Loc: SE MN
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: dickbill]
      #6279811 - 12/29/13 07:31 PM

In my humble opinion we could be missing something. There is no doubt in my mind that there are intelligent species in the universe other than earth. Their biological makeup could be completely different than ours or very similar. No doubt they are there. There is no reason to believe they would necessarily want to converse with us or even be discovered, especially if they have observed our war mongering ways. I am not saying we have been visited by ET, not at all. Just saying if we were or have been thousands of years ago, most of humanity is expecting a big hello there arrival, maybe they would not want us to know. Detecting life, especially a developed society will be difficult for centuries to come.

Are they carbon based? Who knows, probably some are, probably some are not. Perhaps some beings don't need a physical life form at all. Of course this is just silly speculation. Fun to think about.


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llanitedave
Humble Megalomaniac
*****

Reged: 09/26/05

Loc: Amargosa Valley, NV, USA
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #6280017 - 12/29/13 09:34 PM

Quote:

Possibly, we (humanity) are missing something here.

Consider; Leewenhoek wasn’t looking for micorbial life. Yet, he develops a new technology, the microscope, and the world of microbial life is revealed. Galileo isn’t looking for more stars, moons around Jupiter, Venus’ phases, other planets and yet his use of Lippershey’s technological device opens all this up to human consideration.

Now, here we are. We have been thinking about finding proof of a specific thing; extra-terrestrial life/sentient and intelligent life, and we can’t figure out how to do it easily or yet.

Perhaps, are we the equivalent of people at Galileo’s time who, expecting everything outside the earth to be some non-terrestrial-heavenly-other-stuff, are blindsided by finding that everything out there is more-of-the-same-here? Perhaps are we the equivalent of the people expecting to find lumineferous aether and instead come to discover it isn’t there, but there are a host of lots of other things and energies and forces and waves and particles?

In short, I am asking your estimation of two very different, and perhaps opposing questions: Are we missing something here? (Are we failing to see something obvious and right before our eyes, blinded by looking-for-the-same-out-there assumptions? Might there be something other and more alien and more amazing and more wonderful than life-like-us which we will discover)? Or are we missing a much simpler way to find the life and intelligent/sentient life which is out-there just waiting to be discovered? ( Is there some easier way than waiting for kilometer long interferometers, life-detecting-mass-spectrometers, near-light-space-travel, faster-than-light-communications?)




Good questions. Could we be missing something that's staring us right in the face? It's possible. I've got some first-hand experience at being blinded by my assumptions, so I know it happens. On the other hand, the last time it happened, I found myself brought back to reality by someone else who didn't share those assumptions. And there, I think, is where we have an advantage. We don't have to wait for an isolated Galileo or Van Leewenhoek to take a new technology and discover something surprising with it. It happens quite often -- there are a lot of talented and open-minded observers out there. So, I'm not too worried about whether the evidence, if it exists, will actually be noticed.

On the other hand, there is a huge amount of data that is collected but not analyzed for lack of resources. So it's conceivable that the smoking gun has been already observed by some instrument, but is in storage somewhere waiting on attention. Maybe the NSA can look at it and do something useful.

What will it take to actually discover the evidence we seek? I don't know. No one does. The discoveries of Galileo, Van Leewenhoek, and Alexander Fleming, among others, were accidents. They didn't find what they were seeking, whatever it was. They were looking for something else. That's one reason I'm a supporter of SETI, not because I'm confident that it will find alien life, but because the search itself may result in discoveries that we can't yet predict.

All that said does not mean that our absence of evidence implies evidence of absence. If we knew exactly where and what to look for, and still didn't find it, then maybe it would. But we don't, and it doesn't. We're starting to get a few clues, and the search is going to get fun in the years ahead, but we're still staggering around blindly.

I still have some hope -- or fear -- that the point at which we start exploring the small icy bodies of the outer Solar System is the point at which we're going to find -- or not -- the best evidence for extra-terrestrial technology. I don't know how many years away that is, but when it happens, it will have some major implications for our own future as a species.


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Mister T
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/01/08

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: maugi88]
      #6280575 - 12/30/13 07:37 AM

I am of the belief that given the competitive nature of our evolutionary process, It is hard to imagine a scenario where another advanced civilization could get that far without overcoming the inherent brutality of survival of the fittest.

So they would know where we stand and what we face and how we will need to evolve as a society.

I don't see such a civilization as selfish or arrogant or aggressive, but as a more benevolent and curious.


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Ekyprotic
super member
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Reged: 11/28/12

Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Mister T]
      #6280631 - 12/30/13 08:32 AM

Who is to say that we would even know "intelligent" life, even if it was right in front of us? It need not be anything like us, as a matter of fact, one famous cosmologist stated that a civilization sufficiently advanced would mimic natural processes and thus be indistinguishable from the background universe.

A civilization of a sufficiently advanced nature may be able to create wormholes (Kardashev Level III) and be anywhere in the universe at any point in time (or outside of it, heh.)

Also note that life need not be organic in nature, NASA has created a detector to find inorganic life also, but how well this performs wont be known until it actually detects something.....

BTW whenever I turn on the TV I am reminded of exactly WHY humanity cannot be considered an "intelligent" species so lets exclude them from this discussion


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Otto Piechowski
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/20/05

Loc: Lexington, KY
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Ekyprotic]
      #6280687 - 12/30/13 09:18 AM

Dave wrote, "there is a huge amount of data that is collected but not analyzed for lack of resources."

How extensive is this problem? Anyone have some hard data? For example, a decade ago I read a Washington Post news article which said something like 80% of the information gathered by the first landers on Mars had never been examined, even though it had happened some thirty years earlier…and that something like 10% of the data gathered had already decayed to the point of no longer being accessible.

Anyone know the really facts about this interesting point you (Dave) raise/s?

Otto


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llanitedave
Humble Megalomaniac
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Reged: 09/26/05

Loc: Amargosa Valley, NV, USA
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #6280982 - 12/30/13 12:12 PM

Quote:


How extensive is this problem? Anyone have some hard data?




I do, but I haven't gotten around to looking at it yet.


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maugi88
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 08/25/13

Loc: SE MN
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: llanitedave]
      #6281003 - 12/30/13 12:24 PM

Quote:

Quote:


How extensive is this problem? Anyone have some hard data?




I do, but I haven't gotten around to looking at it yet.








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dawziecat
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 10/20/10

Loc: Rural Nova Scotia
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: maugi88]
      #6281037 - 12/30/13 12:41 PM

I don't know why anyone feels "sure" that intelligent life does or does not exist elsewhere. I find the possibilities as intriguing as anyone else. Until there is a shred of evidence I remain undecided . . . "sure" of nothing!

As others have stated, we may not know other life even if we are in its very presence. Stanislaw Lem, the science fiction writer, covered this decades ago in his novel Fiasco. Excellent novel, IMHO, for fans of the genre. Premise simply is, with the best of intentions in the world, our first contact turns to "fiasco!"


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GregLee1
professor emeritus


Reged: 07/21/13

Loc: Waimanalo, HI
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: dawziecat]
      #6281732 - 12/30/13 05:48 PM

If you had irrefutable evidence of non-human extraterrestrial intelligence, who would you tell about it?

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Ekyprotic
super member
**

Reged: 11/28/12

Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: GregLee1]
      #6281854 - 12/30/13 07:00 PM

I will tell you this, the idea that we are the only intelligent life in the galaxy much less the universe is (to me anyway) like saying the earth is the center of the universe, and the whole "god" concept. I find it highly unlikely that this universe is the only universe there is too (I like the newest revision of the cyclic universe theory- the Baum Frampton model.)

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maugi88
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 08/25/13

Loc: SE MN
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Ekyprotic]
      #6281932 - 12/30/13 07:34 PM

It is silly to me, to suggest there isn't intelligent life out there. Probably in our galaxy. If not, "surely" in the billions of others. Its a certainty, period. We may never meet them, they are out there.

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FirstSightModerator
Duke of Deneb
*****

Reged: 12/26/05

Loc: Raleigh, NC
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: GregLee1]
      #6281959 - 12/30/13 07:48 PM

Quote:

If you had irrefutable evidence of non-human extraterrestrial intelligence, who would you tell about it?




Most likely, to the psychiatrist evaluating you for commitment proceedings.


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scopethis
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/30/08

Loc: Kingman, Ks
Re: The silence is deafening.... [Re: FirstSight]
      #6282307 - 12/30/13 10:15 PM

what if the psychiatrist was the one who found ETI?

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