SETI: Run by charlatans or fools?

Discussion in 'Astronomy, Exobiology, & Cosmology' started by Dinosaur, Nov 25, 2013.

  1. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    There are some other Threads which discusses the possibility/likelyhood of Intelligent Life elsewhere. If a new one gets started or an old is revived by new Posts, I will probably Post some remarks.

    In this Thread I claim that those running SETI are either foolish to expect to find signals from ET's or charlatans who do not expect success, but are happy to have funds provided, allowing them to have a job, a salary, & some interesting equipment to play with.
     
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  3. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

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    Ok, so explain your claim!
     
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  5. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Why??
    You don't think its important enough to try and find direct evidence, that we are not alone?
    Or do you believe its possible in a Universe that is near infinite extent, with an uncountable numbers of stars, plus the stuff of life being everywhere we look, that we on this fart arse little blue orb are it?
    That in my opinion is akin to still believing that the Earth is the center of the solar system, the galaxy and the whole Universe.
     
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  7. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Of course the biggest barriers to eventually finding signals from ETI, is time and distance.
    That in no way says we should not be trying though.
     
  8. andy1033 Truth Seeker Valued Senior Member

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    Considering i believe that alien groups have always been here in underground bases, you can tell what i think of as seti.

    Science and this getting ready for contact thing, has to take small steps. I assume seti is one of them that open up the humans mind to the fact that we are nothing, and we are not alone.
     
  9. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

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    I should like to make a counter claim. You are either foolish, for failing to understand the scientific method and the need to test viable hypotheses, while at the same time being grossly ignorant of the philosophical implications of possible alien contact; or you are a charlatan, only interested in trolling the forum with a strawman argument as part of a deluded self-aggrandisment campaign.
     
  10. pmb Banned Banned

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    So what? Forums aren't the place to create a thread simply to state that you think a group of people are frauds but for duscussion. So what do you want to discuss? What evidence do you have to back up claim other than mere opinion?

    After all SETI did get a valid hit at one time. It just didn't repeat itself. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search...ults_of_extraterrestrial_contact_for_humanity
    I. myself, am glad that they're looking for life out there. And I think it's a wise thing to do. It'd make a major difference in our many of our lives (but there are some who jus don't care or think about that kind of thing) to know that life exists elsewhere. And there's no reason to assume that it doesn't or that they aren't enough to make it probable or not.
     
  11. Buddha12 Valued Senior Member

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    As we all know any electronic signal sent out will degrade as it travels over time and space. Therefore any signal sent over vast distances like we have in space between solar systems and galaxies wouldn't ever reach us.
     
  12. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    Buddha 12 gave an answer that almost all at SciForums know is correct.
    I made the OP in hopes of getting some replies defending the motivations of those running the SETI project.

    Note that Buddha 12 did not bother to mention that in addition to degradation of the signal, it would have to be beamed directly at us. Even if an advanced technological culture could harness the energy of a nova to produce a signal, it would still have to be directed precisely for us to receive it.

    BTW: Note that our solar system has been in existence circa 4.6 billion years & it is only in the last 100 years that we have had the technology to receive such signals. The odds against getting a signal to a technological culture is damn slim even iof you can produce a signal powerfull enough to overcome the degradation.
     
  13. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

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    That is a dishonest debate tactic. It is trolling. In an intellectual discussion, when you make a claim, you must justify it. It is YOUR argument that is on trial here, not anyone else's.

    Near as I can tell, you have no idea what is motivating the researchers, so you can't possibly defend your insult/claim.
     
  14. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Dinosaur started another thread last year, with an almost identical title, in which he said almost identical things.

    http://www.sciforums.com/showthread.php?113831-SETI-A-project-of-fools-or-charlatans

    So I'll repeat what I wrote then.

    I'm not a physicist or an engineer, but I've seen calculations that a typical radio or television broadcast station probably isn't detectable outside our solar system.

    A lot apparently depends on variables like bandwidth. A radar carries a lot farther. When the Arecibo radio telescope is in radar mode, I'm told that its signals should be detectable hundreds or even thousands of lightyears out.

    They [aliens] might suspect that something's happening here and might be trying to attract our attention.

    I think that it's more likely that any signals we might detect from an extraterrestrial civilization wouldn't be communications signals directed at us at all, but rather radio noise generated by unknown energetic processes that they might be using in the course of their other activities.

    That in turn suggests that if those kind of low bandwidth, non-repeating signals are arriving here, separating intelligently generated noise from all the naturally created noise might be a difficult task.

    The view that many people on the street have, that alien signals from outer space should be all over the radio dial, indeed may not be realistic. So the fact that SETI hasn't been successful yet (at least that it's aware of) in detecting emissions from extraterrestrial intelligences probably shouldn't be all that surprising. It certainly doesn't imply that extraterrestrial intelligences aren't out there.

    Having said that, I don't think that putting some effort into listening, just to find out what there is to hear, means that somebody is a "fool" or a "charlatan". There are very competent and thoughtful astronomers interested in this stuff. And nobody's getting rich off it. That's just foolishness.
     
  15. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    As I have already stated, time and distance are the two great barriers inhibiting ETI contact. But that shouldn't stop us continuing the search.
    The driving force behind the continuing search, is that speaking 100% scientifically, we do not know if we are alone or not, although the chances overwhelmingly favour ETI existence, somewhere, sometime, for the reasons already stated.
    Speaking factually, we can never show that we are truly alone [the sheer near infinite size of the Universe assures that] but admittedly there is a non zero chance that it may be true.......Now that would raise far many more questions to be asked, then any evidence to show we are not alone.
     
  16. Boris2 Valued Senior Member

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  17. Buddha12 Valued Senior Member

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    "There is nothing like TV signals being a special class.
    Haven't you heard of Radio waves? TV signals too are radio waves. These signals are formatted (modulated) version of Radio waves which are Electromagnetic waves like Light is.
    EM (electromagnetic) waves (Radio, light etc) spread out & get thinned out as per inverse square law. Any engineering student pursuing a course in EM theory has to learn it to pass exams & become electronics & communications engineer. At the transmitter of a TV station the TV signal power is half a megawatt hardly. But now with the satellites in the sky, the program is beamed to it in a concentrated narrow beam as the satellite is at a fixed spot in the sky. From that spot in the sky (because it is about 33000km above seeing almost half of the Earth) they broadcast the Radio energy down, that the people on ground pick up (through a dish is one method; with the dish merely acting to collect the energy from a large area) & cable it to the TV set after processing the signal.
    The same rules like for Light apply to Radio waves which "carry" voice channels ("Hellow, How are you" types, pictures that includes TV format too & data like Internet. Just as the distant stars that are viewed as cool pinpoints of Light but in reality each is as fierce as our Sun (at a distance of 500 Light Seconds that is taken as 1 Astronomical Unit or AU) when it is nearby. In the similar manner we need to plan reception of a information like TV as they thin out before reaching our next planet.
    If the signal gets spreads over a large area (with distance) it would be submerged in a sea of ever present() noise that we don't need. Unless the signal power is above that of the noise power, the operation of receiving a signal would become meaningless.
    The extent of Solar system is hardly 0.79 light year outward from the Sun. But I observed you talking of 200 light years with such a nonchalance that I am flummoxed. TV signals die out (too weak to be received) by the time they reach, say, Neptune that is ⅔ ʳ ͩ of a thousandth light year (0.0006167 ≈ 1/1622 LY). So where is the question of 200 light years from Earth? I think you are taking too too many things for granted without knowing them.



    Signals slowly get weaker, if you have a big enough receiver you can pick it out from the "noise" at pretty much any distance. The signals from the Voyager probes come back fine. If you managed to instantly travel 200 light years away with a decent receiver then technically, you could watch them but it would be extremely hard to filter it out from the noise and the receiver would have to be about the size of a large moon, so unless you wanted to waste all the resources that the species has then no. It degrades after about one light year and in that state is almost indistinguishable from the noise


    Most physicists will tell you that after traveling for a distance of approximately one light year, radio and TV signals will have become so weak that they would be indistinguishable from the cosmic background radiation."
     
  18. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    http://www.jetpress.org/volume13/cirkovic.html


    Conclusions

    We conclude that skepticism regarding SETI is at best unfounded and at worst can seriously damage the long-term prospects of humanity. If ETIs exist, no matter whether friendly or adversarial (or even beyond such simple distinctions), they are relevant for our future. To neglect this is contrary to the basic tenets of transhumanism. To appreciate this, it is only sufficient to imagine the consequences of SETI success for any aspect of transhumanist interests; and then to affirm that such a success can only be achieved without trying if they come to us, which would obviously mean that we are hopelessly lagging in the race for Galactic colonization.

    We find a streak of very subtle anthropocentrism hidden in the usual understanding of the “Great Filter” (as expressed by Hanson’s quote above). Seemingly, we are led into a dilemma: either we are optimists about extraterrestrial life and SETI or we are optimists about our particular (human/posthuman) future. We find the dilemma false and a bit hypocritical, like all man-as-the-measure-of-all-things argument from Protagoras to this day. We can have both of the alternatives above; we can be optimists about life and intelligence in general. And only future astrobiological research can persuasively show to which degree our optimism in both directions is justified.

    As all who have ever tackled this question agree, investments in SETI are invariably a minuscule fraction of any civilization’s scientific investments. Even the cost of the most ambitious SETI projects imagined so far (like CYCLOPS; see Oliver 1973) is negligible in comparison to such endeavors generally regarded as desirable and worthwhile like the development of artificial intelligence, setting up efficient defense against impacts, or building O’Neill colonies (not to mention more ambitious projects, like terraforming or uplifting of stellar matter[15]). Thus, there is no real economic excuse for neglecting this field, as well as the general astrobiological enterprise, once prejudices and fallacious arguments are rejected. At least this argument applies as long as it is really necessary to influence public opinion at large to support this type of scientific research; it is to be hoped that in future rich societies such research could be performed by individuals even if the majority still continues to consider them irrelevant or even undesirable.

    Of course, all this pertains to a long-term view. No theoretical model can guarantee the success of SETI on short timescales, certainly not on the scale of a present-day human lifetime. But, a healthy admixture of long-term views and long-term planning seems inescapable if we wish to leave to our descendants a prospect of living under billion suns of the Milky Way.
     
  19. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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  20. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Some of us have great Imagination, Innovation and foresight.
    The folks at SETI are part of this group just as are the folk at Planetary Research, JPL [NASA] 100 Year Star ship Co, and Tau Zero.

    Others may not agree with these research projects, but even if one idea, or one venture out of a thousand should prove fruitful, it could be a game changer for all mankind.
     
  21. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

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  22. Boris2 Valued Senior Member

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    i would suspect that SETI would be looking for a directed signal, one that intentionally targeted our region (however large a volume that may be) rather than a "scattergun" approach and if so then the inverse square law doesn't apply. and in the scheme of things SETI comes pretty cheap, and other science does get done at the same time.
     
  23. pmb Banned Banned

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    I disagree. I'm certain that it'd be possible within our galaxy. It also depends on how the signal is sent and the nature of the signal. For example; suppose an advanced race could generate a coherent beam of neutrinos whose spin the could be modulated to contain the information. Then another advanced race who could read those signals would then have contact with whomever sent the signal. I doubt that anybody would be interested in communicating outside of our own galaxy though.

    See End-to-end interstellar communication system design for power efficiency by David G. Messerschmitt (http://arxiv.org/abs/1305.4684). A very large document – 259 pages - so no, I haven’t read it … yet.

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    http://www.seti.org/seti-institute/news/new-model-interstellar-communication

    And who knows? Maybe someone will figure out how to create a wormhole and we’d be able to communicate through the wormhole as if they were in the same solar system.
     

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