We Are Not Alone

Discussion in 'Astronomy, Exobiology, & Cosmology' started by TruthSeeker, Feb 16, 2009.

  1. nietzschefan Thread Killer Valued Senior Member

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    That is so ridiculously arrogant, it does not even make any sense at all.
     
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  3. Hercules Rockefeller Beatings will continue until morale improves. Moderator

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    Why is that arrogant?

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    One of the conclusions you can draw from the Fermi Paradox is indeed that there are no communicable civilizations in the galaxy. You may not agree with this conclusion (I don’t necessarily agree), but you cannot rule it out. Besides, he did preface the statement as his opinion. The real arrogance would be to state his opinion as fact like so many crackpot trolls do around here.
     
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  5. TruthSeeker Fancy Virtual Reality Monkey Valued Senior Member

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    *SIGH...

    You are the second person who totally missed the conclusion of the article....

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    "Recent work at Edinburgh University tried to quantify how many intelligent civilisations might be out there. The research suggested there could be thousands of them. "

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    So... where have you been in the past 3 years of astronomy, cosmology and space exploration? Dormant!? :bugeye:

    Follow the links in that link for several news of the past years suggesting there is an abundance of life in the universe.

    The Fermi paradox is old old stuff. I'm guessing you haven't read the news for YEARS!
     
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  7. PieAreSquared Woo is resistant to reason Registered Senior Member

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    Fermi was talking to an asshole... Ed Teller :spank:
     
  8. D H Some other guy Valued Senior Member

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    That conclusion is a complete non sequitur. It has nothing to do with the rest of the article and contradicts the statements by Boss. If the BBC wanted to do some good scientific journalism they would have given some insight into the "recent work at Edinburgh University" rather than just state it without justification. This article is a travesty of scientific reporting.

    Reading a lot of scientific literature about planet formation that indicates planet formation is a very chaotic process, reading about discoveries of planets that indicate planets that can sustain life as we know it is rare, reading about how life is a fluke even in our solar system (i.e., the importance of the Moon).

    Where have you been?

    That is far from the consensus view.
     
  9. TruthSeeker Fancy Virtual Reality Monkey Valued Senior Member

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    HAHA! Ok. So you say that to justify the fact that you totally missed that part of the article.

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    First of all the last paragraph introduces another study. Second, it's still on the subject of the article. Let's not forget this is journalism. It's not supposed to follow the rules of a scientific paper as in a study.

    Sounds like you are about a decade behind......

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    That doesn't even make any sense!!!!!!

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    Maybe you should learn how to read?
     
  10. Hercules Rockefeller Beatings will continue until morale improves. Moderator

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    You might want to lose the attitude; you’re making a fool of yourself.

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    It is quite clear that DH has more physics and engineering knowledge in his little finger than you do in that entire swiss-cheese-like organ you call a brain.

    But please, don’t let me stop you engaging him in debate. It will be highly amusing for everyone to watch you, an accountant or student or whatever you are with your knowledge gained from BBC news stories, try to argue with a physicist/engineer.

    Like I said, I don’t necessarily agree with D.H., but he’s clearly arguing from the standpoint of actual knowledge and education. You, on the other hand, are quite clearly some daft punk kid playing at science.


    Ahh, so you admit that you are discussing journalism and not science. How nice.

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  11. eburacum45 Valued Senior Member

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    The reason that the average number of terrestrial planets expected per system is close to unity is that some may have several, while most have few or none.

    I am prepared to accept the possibility that the average number of terrestrial worlds per system is close to one; however the class 'terrestrial planet' is not the same as the class 'Earth-like planet', and certainly not the same as the class 'life-bearing planet'. Since we don't know how life emerged on Earth yet, it is entirely possible that the Earth is the only life bearing planet in our galaxy. Abiogenesis may be a very, very rare event.

    On the other hand these studies have not considered the very real possibility that a civilisation or civilisations has colonised the entire galaxy, so that the total number of life-bearing systems is a hundred billion or more. These two factors which Forgan and Boss have not considered mean that the true range of the number of life-bearing systems in our galaxy is between one (us) and more than a hundred billion.

    That is quite a large range of estimates, and makes this sort of speculation completely meaningless.
     
  12. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    No one has any idea what the odds are that a planet that could support life will develop life. And we have even less idea what the odds are that a planet with life will develop intelligent life. The odds might be 90%, or 1%, or one in a billion. Any number is as good as any other at this point. That's the problem with the Fermi paradox; the only way to do the calculation is to pull numbers out of thin air, with no evidence to back them up.
     
  13. swivel Sci-Fi Author Valued Senior Member

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    Agreed. Every one of us are equally expert in this field. Which is to say: not at all.

    The large number of stars in the visible universe is heartening at first... but then you realize that the vast majority of single-star systems are red dwarfs, and we have no idea what these systems are like as far as intelligent life is concerned. 2 out of 3 stars like our own have a stellar companion, which would make orbits with regular temperatures difficult.

    For all we know, you have to have a solar system very much like our own, with one star and a stellar companion that wasn't *quite* massive enough to "turn on" (Jupiter). If this is the case, the number of qualifying star systems might be down to the tens of thousands, instead of billions and billions.

    More worst-case-scenario: You might need a large moon like our own to deflect impactors, create tides, etc... The orbit would have to be just right for water. And the timing would have to be just right, so that one race beams out information millions of years before the other race starts to listen, by which time it probably doesn't matter anyway.

    I'm a huge sci-fi fan, and have been since I was a pup, so I try and keep in mind the bias that most physicists have, as fellow fans of the genre. They WANT this to be true, which makes me worry that their lack of expertise is colored by their wishes.
     
  14. D H Some other guy Valued Senior Member

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    I'm not, at least not yet. There is, in my opinion, far too much speculation going on amongst some astronomers. That most planets discovered to date have highly eccentric orbits indicates that we do not yet know enough about planet formation to make the leaps of logic needed to claim that there is, on average, one terrestrial planet per star.

    That's the rub. Abiogenesis alone is problematic in terms of the abundance of intelligent life. The conditions have to be right for life to even start. Even if there is on average one terrestrial planet per star system, how do we know that the vast majority of them are not like Venus or Mars rather than Earth-like? Without a large moon to stabilize a planet's rotation (and how likely is that?), Venus-like terrestrial planets may well be the norm (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v411/n6839/abs/411767a0.html).

    Another problematic issue is the formation of complex life. Based on a sample of one (admittedly a very bad thing to do), simple life arises quickly if the conditions are right. Complex life, even complex monocellular life, may not arise so simply. It certainly did not arise quickly on Earth. Simple life apparently arose within a few hundred million years after the Earth became at all hospitable to life. Close to two billion years passed before eukaryotic life appeared, another billion for multicellular life to appear, and yet another half billion for simple animal life to appear.

    That is my issue with this stuff. It is pure speculation and the speculators treat their speculations as fact.

    =================================

    I fully agree with you to this point of your post.

    I think you are confusing the Fermi paradox with Drake's equation. The Fermi paradox is a simple question: If intelligent life is so abundant in our galaxy, why are we here? It is Drake's equation that invites pulling numbers out of thin air (or bodily orifices), not the Fermi paradox.
     
  15. TruthSeeker Fancy Virtual Reality Monkey Valued Senior Member

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    I'm not having a discussion based on science, I'm having a discussion based on the article I cited. And the article I cited very clearly stated that the study tried to quantify how many intelligent civilizations might be out there and that the research suggested there could be thousands of them! It's right there! I'm paraphrasing the article for God's sake! If he wants to dispute whether ""Recent work at Edinburgh University tried to quantify how many intelligent civilizations might be out there. The research suggested there could be thousands of them. " is written in the article or not, then that's just a matter of whether you know how to read or not! It has nothing to do with science!

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  16. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    There's also the issue of large moons like Titan or Europa, which might plausibly harbor life. So far as I know, no one has any idea how common these are. It's possible that most of the gas giants we've detected around other stars are littered with hospitable moons, even though the giants themselves probably don't have life. Or maybe not. We just don't know.
    You're right, I was mixing them up.
     
  17. EndLightEnd This too shall pass. Registered Senior Member

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    Alien life is already here but most people just dont want to know about it.

    They lie to themselves and say they want to know, but if that were true it would not be hard for them to find evidence of extra terrestrials. We find evidence of ETs not only in ancient civilizations, but also the current age. Problem is none of the evidence is conclusive, so the skeptics win the day continue to proceed ignorant of the reality in which they live.
     
  18. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    D H: You & I might be the only ones posting at SciForums who do not believe in the existence of many technological civilizations in our galaxy.

    Others: The following is a link to the Edinburgh article claiming to have quantified the number of Intellegent ET’s in our galaxy and the nature of the quantification process.
    • http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7870562.stm

    • In his new approach, Mr Forgan simulated a galaxy much like our own, allowing it to develop solar systems based on what is now known from the existence of so-called exoplanets in our galactic neighbourhood
    That looks like speculation to me, not a scientific analysis. It is on the same level as the Drake equation, which is nothing but fancy guesswork dressed up to look like science. A simulation is as good as the data & assumptions fed into it, which in many instances are merely guesswork. It might be interesting to know Forgan's view on the issue prior to writing the code for the simulation.

    I have posted on this issue several times, presenting some cogent arguments for the view that intelligent life is probably very rare. I think that Earth might be the only planet in our galaxy with intelligent life. I think there are likely to be galaxies with no intelligent life. I do not expect any galaxy to have more than 2-5 independently evolved intelligent species.

    The reaction to my post is always the same. All the other posters disagree with my view, but I have yet to see any cogent arguments in favor of the existence of many intelligent ET cultures.

    My view is based on analysis of the only evidence we have: The history of our own planet.The following is a brief summary.
    • Life here on Earth formed within about one billion years after the formation of the solar system, strongly suggesting that it is likely to form whenever conditions are suitable for its existence. This implies that there might be many ET planets on which there is life

    • Intelligent life did not exist here on Earth for over 3 billion years after the existence of the first life forms. The dinosaurs existed for about 150 million years and were evolutionary successes without developing intelligence. Only primates developed a technological culture. Aside from our branch, only the Neanderthals seemed to be evolving in the direction of a technological culture. There are many branches of the primates which seem to be evolutionary successes (Although we might cause their eventual extinction).. This strongly suggests that intelligence is not an inevitable result of evolution (dinosaurs). It also suggests that intelligence is not a guarantee of evolutionary success (EG: The Neanderthals & perhaps some other branches of the primate family that went extinct).
    BTW: Most of those who believe that ET intelligence is very common seem to ignore the problem of the requirement for a habitable zone in a solar system and the requirement for a habitable zone in a galaxy. The former requirement is well known to many, but the latter is not.

    Solar systems too close to the center of a galaxy are subject to lots of radiation as well as not being stable for billions of years (The closer to galactic center, the more fast moving stars). Solar systems too far from the center are formed from interstellar gas clouds which are poor in elements other than hydrogen & helium.

    In view of the above, intelligent ET’s are likely to be very scarce. Intelligent life seems to be more of a lucky fluke than an inevitable result of evolution.
     
  19. Ladicius Registered Senior Member

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    IF the study shows that there are thousands of other civilizations, then there's a chance they've already come into contact with one another. Why only destroy ours?
     
  20. draqon Banned Banned

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    Who says they have not destroyed other civilizations?
     
  21. eddie23 information sponge Registered Senior Member

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    We as a people are way to hostile and and dont yet have the technology needed to back up our mouths in the galactic comunity.
     
  22. BenTheMan Dr. of Physics, Prof. of Love Valued Senior Member

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    I think this about sums it up...

    I guess you're more interested in understanding what someone tells you, rather than understanding the reasoning which led them to their conclusions.

    I've never used the word "sheeple" before, but you're tempting me...
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2009
  23. BenTheMan Dr. of Physics, Prof. of Love Valued Senior Member

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    +=1

    And anyway all of this is more or less moot because the word "intelligent" is not defined.

    This is a good point---a friend of mine wrote a paper about "galactic mass extinctions" and the Fermi Paradox.

    http://www.richardobousy.com/gme.pdf

    The problem is high energy gamma ray bursts, which can basically make any otherwise habitable place pretty unhappy.
     

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