Why is there SETI?

Discussion in 'Astronomy, Exobiology, & Cosmology' started by Dinosaur, Aug 23, 2005.

  1. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    SETI has little chance of detecting an extraterrestrial civilization. I am tempted to say no chance.

    I wonder what motivates those running the project.
    • Perhaps they are deluded and expect results.

    • Perhaps they are purely motivated to have jobs paying salaries and providing expense accounts.

    • Perhaps they enjoy playing with the equipment at their disposal.

    • Perhaps they believe that there will be spinoff technology, helpful to non-SETI projects.
    What are the thoughts of others here?
     
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  3. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member

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    I couldn't care less if there's an ETI so it's always intrigued me why they want to find an ETI.
    Anyways, the only reason why I'd be willing to participate in SETI is all the cool technology they have.
     
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  5. orcot Valued Senior Member

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    well image has a lot to do wit it I believe.

    Take the 2 Mars rovers for example their primaire target was: "to scour Mars for geologic evidence the planet once was a wetter place capable of sustaining life".

    Cassinie was launched because people believed their might be a ocean under it's atmosfere and all where interested what was in it.

    Galileo was also quit interesting but if you ask people what they liked about it they generaly speak of the salt water sea under the ice of Europe.

    This can go on and on.

    I doubt nasa wrealy expects to find little green men by using SETI. But it's the ID that counts.
     
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  7. KennyJC Registered Senior Member

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    Why couldn't you care less if there's an ETI? I for one would like to know. I already think they're out there but there's nothing like knowing.

    I would agree that SETI is next to pointless at the moment, but if it continues to evolve over the decades/centuries we might reach a stage were finding ET (if they're out there and relatively close) won't be so hard.
     
  8. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member

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    It would change nothing in my perception of the universe, i.e., I don't think it's an important factor, but that's just my subjective stance and has nothing to do with SETI.
    I agree with those who say that SETI is wasting time and money on this at this stage of development, I'd rather see the money go into space technologies or other sciences that bring more immediate benefits or any benefits at all.
     
  9. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

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    Well, I am from the Rare Earth school: bacterial life is probably common, multicellular life is unusual, complex life is rare, intelligent life may be unique. On that basis my expectation of a successfull detection should also be close to, or at zero: which it is. However, I am fully supportive of the efforts to try to detect it. Why?

    • Perfect falsification of the RareEarth view would be detection of other intelligences
    • The implications (social, economic, scientific, philosophical) of detecting an ETC are so great that this is worth pursuing.
    • Some/many/all ETs may be hostile. It is a good defense to know your enemy.

    Also, the budget for SETI is pretty small compared with the rest of science budget.

    I'm in favour of it, I just don't expect it to turn up any results.
     
  10. Lucas Registered Senior Member

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    I'm all for SETI, I run the screensaver and I really think that we earthians will make the "first contact" with other intelligences through SETI

    Idoneally, we should start also to send coded messages towards other stars, but this is controversial, it depends on how you rely in the "good faith" of other races

    With respect to the Fermi paradox, I read recently about an interesting theory, by Arnon Dar, postulating that they are not here due to the sterilization of the galaxy provoked by Gamma Ray Bursts
     
  11. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member

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    We don't really have to, we've been sending radio signals into space for quite some time now, since the dawn of the television for sure

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    On of the first things aliens would get is a speech by Hitler

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    But we are here.
     
  12. Lucas Registered Senior Member

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    For how long? There's a theory that says that some mass extinctions in the past were provoked by GRBs
     
  13. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member

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    Which mass extinctions?

    Two largest were caused by meteorites and other processes (scientifically proved).
    The first is Permian extinction which wiped out 95% of all life, you can read about it more here -> http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/horizon/2002/dayearthdied.shtml

    The other (Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction) is which wiped out the dinosaurs (~50% of all life).
     
  14. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member

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    We have little data on the earliest extinctions though, so those might be gamma bursts, but they might be something different as well.
    Ordovician-Silurian extinction is thought to be caused by a gamma burst, but there is no real evidence as far as I know, just speculations
    and there are other theories of what might have caused it ("snowball earth" might ring a bell).
     
  15. Lucas Registered Senior Member

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  16. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member

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    As I told:
    Of course I have nothing to put against it, i.e., that it wasn't a gamma burst.
     
  17. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member

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    p.s. I am sorry, the second largest isn't the one which wiped out the dinosaurs,
    it might be Devonian-Carboniferous (~70%), but the extinction was a process that lasted for ~ 3 million years - definately not a gamma burst.

    Of course the very earliest one (Cambrian-Ordovician) could have been even deadlier (the one which took care of Trilobites, but very, very little is known about it (at least to my knowledge, maybe there is new data).

    p.p.s. these all are the known ones, there might be even earlier ones of which we don't know
     
  18. Okeydoke Registered Senior Member

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    It's probably getting about time for another 'big' exinction event to happen again on planet earth. When it does, forget the human history, back to point 'A' again.

    Okeydoke
     
  19. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member

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    see more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocene_extinction_event


    p.s. There is no pattern in these extinctions, there is no "right" time for it.
     
  20. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    Why do so many people expect ET's to be deliberately hostile toward us?

    Those Europeans who first encountered more primitive cultures are surely not representitive of current humans.

    I would not expect ET's to be hostile.

    BTW: I am one of those who thinks that intelligent life is rare, and that it is possible that we are unique in our galaxy. I think we might be the first technological civilization in the universe, although I think there is some chance of there being others in the past or the future.
     
  21. blobrana Registered Senior Member

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    Hum,
    I would expect an intelligent ET to have a predatory ancestry.

    On the planet Earth we see examples from many species that seems to produce (<i>or have an evolutionary path towards</i>) intelligent life forms, i.e. dolphins, birds, dogs, monkeys, apes, Cephalopods etc.

    However, as you say, technology producing life forms may indeed be rare.

    If after a prolonged SETI search, a non detection of any seti signal would be almost as significant as detection, imho.
     
  22. KennyJC Registered Senior Member

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    I agree (except for the comment about us being the first technoligical civilization in the universe, hello??).

    It seems silly to expect aliens possibly millions of years ahead of us in development would have to resort to conflict in attempts to solve problems. Any civilisation capable of travelling to other stars would surely be benign in nature.

    I think if an intelligent civilisation is in existence for millions of years longer than the point we are currently at, they would have long since learned that there are ways to solve problems and improve things. An example of what I mean is when man-made climate change gets REALLY bad, we will see the error of our ways and henceforth be more efficient with our resources and look after our environment. Afterall, we are 'intelligent' aren't we?

    When we watch all the sci-fi movies about aliens, the motives of those aliens largely reflect humans, in appearance and mentality. I always laugh at that star trek series that portrays humans as the noble inhabitants of the universe and all other aliens are screwed up in someway

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    We can't second guess the motives of a potential intelligence millions of years more evolved than us.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2005
  23. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

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    In case you hadn't noticed we are in the middle of a global extinction event at the moment. Oh, you hadn't noticed.
     

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