Notices
Results 1 to 28 of 28

Thread: Fermi Paradox

  1. #1 Fermi Paradox 
    ox
    ox is offline
    Forum Ph.D.
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    945
    Fermi asked 'If the extraterrestrial life proposition is true, then where is everybody?' Many solutions have been given, but I have not read this one: maybe they know about us but they don't think we have anything worthwhile to trade, so they leave us alone. But hold on, what about the Windows Operating System or a DNA trade? What else might we be able to trade with ET?


    Reply With Quote  
     

  2.  
     

  3. #2  
    Forum Ph.D.
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    New York State
    Posts
    857
    Could it be that they are so far away and travel takes such a long time that they just haven't reached us. Also they might not try unless they have some reason to believe that there is something here.


    Reply With Quote  
     

  4. #3  
    Forum Ph.D. Leszek Luchowski's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Gliwice, Poland
    Posts
    807
    Their computers, if any, and their bodies are most probably so different from ours that neither Windows nor DNA would be of any use to them.

    You could just as well try selling left-hand threaded metric-sized nuts to the Incas.
    Leszek. Pronounced [LEH-sheck]. The wondering Slav.
    History teaches us that we don't learn from history.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  5. #4  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    4,843
    We have biological resources. If ET has an advanced technology, it will include advanced genetic manipulation of both living and non living structures. Earth is rich in a massive variety of living organisms, adapted to a wide range of environments. It would be most surprising if there was nothing of value in the genetic line for an advanced civilisation.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  6. #5  
    ox
    ox is offline
    Forum Ph.D.
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    945
    Quote Originally Posted by Leszek Luchowski
    Their computers, if any, and their bodies are most probably so different from ours that neither Windows nor DNA would be of any use to them.
    Yes, but some people think that the universe is the sum of all possible computer programs, so ours however different, might still be of some use. Likewise, our DNA could be of use in retro engineering.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  7. #6  
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    8,046
    Maybe the same lessons the USA is learning right now in Afghanistan, these aliens have learned a long time ago. When you find a primitive, barbaric culture, just leave them alone, and it will be better for everyone.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  8. #7  
    ox
    ox is offline
    Forum Ph.D.
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    945
    Some more solutions:
    They're here and they call themselves Hungarians (with their alien language).
    They're here and meddling in human affairs (how else could you explain Bush?)
    They exist and they are us. (we are the aliens).
    They exist but just stay at home. (there's no place like home).
    We don't know how to listen to their signals (we are not yet on the universe's internet).
    We are unique in the universe, because nowhere else has life evolved from single to multi-celled. (we should all feel lonely now).
    Reply With Quote  
     

  9. #8  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    4,843
    A very detailed account of the Fermi Paradox is found on Wiki.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermi_paradox

    It lists whole series of possible reasons why aliens may not have come to visit. Most of these reasons, IMHO, are only valid if the number of alien species is small. This is because, bearing in mind that each species evolved separately, we can expect aliens to be wildly different from each other. This difference will include behaviour. So any particular behavioural trait that stops them coming to see us will not apply to the second species. etc.

    My own view is that the number of alien species in our galaxy must be small. And that means small over a long time period, since many stars are 2 to 3 billion years older than our one.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  10. #9  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    30
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    We have biological resources. If ET has an advanced technology, it will include advanced genetic manipulation of both living and non living structures. Earth is rich in a massive variety of living organisms, adapted to a wide range of environments. It would be most surprising if there was nothing of value in the genetic line for an advanced civilisation.
    That wouldn't be something they would have to trade for tho. They could just come down, take want the want and leave without anyone knowing.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  11. #10  
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    8,046
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    A very detailed account of the Fermi Paradox is found on Wiki.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermi_paradox

    It lists whole series of possible reasons why aliens may not have come to visit. Most of these reasons, IMHO, are only valid if the number of alien species is small. This is because, bearing in mind that each species evolved separately, we can expect aliens to be wildly different from each other. This difference will include behaviour. So any particular behavioural trait that stops them coming to see us will not apply to the second species. etc.
    It's not just the raw number, though. There's dominance issues. Sort of like how on Earth there are a handful of dominant cultures, but lots of less influential ones, and if you go to a place like New Guinea or the Amazon, you can find different tribes with radically different cultural traits.

    Maybe on the intergalactic scene, the dominant ones set the rules, and all other the others have to comply. Everyone likes to assume that there wouldn't be a "United Planets" building somewhere with a general secretary and a lot of ambassadors, because then we Earthlings would really feel left out, but it's a possibility that one exists.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  12. #11  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    4,843
    kojax

    One thing I find hard to accept. If there are lots of alien civilisations in our galaxy, there must have been lots for the past 3 billion years, bearing in mind the age of many stars. Even if travel is only slower than light, there is heaps of time for those early civilisations to have visited Earth, and they would have found a planet ripe for colonising, with just a few species of slime to deal with.

    Why did they not colonise? Why, if they visited, have we never found any alien artifacts? Since even jellyfish (admittedly rarely) can provide fossils, why has there never been a single alien object found inside ancient rock strata?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  13. #12  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,169
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    One thing I find hard to accept. If there are lots of alien civilisations in our galaxy, there must have been lots for the past 3 billion years, bearing in mind the age of many stars.
    Not necessarily. You need to get stars with high metallicity, so Population I stars for sure. There may not have been enough time to develop the high metallicity from Population III and II and then spend four or five billion years evolving intelligent life.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    ....they would have found a planet ripe for colonising, with just a few species of slime to deal with.
    How do you know they didn't colonise us with the slime? 8)

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    why has there never been a single alien object found inside ancient rock strata?
    We may have found several. The problem is that alien objects would likely be ......wait for it..........alien. We might be incapable of recognising them for what they were.

    All of your points are good points, they just are not conclusive in any way.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  14. #13  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    4,843
    Ophiolite,

    There have been population 1 stars in our galaxy for 8 billion years. Our own star is only 5 billion years old, so, if alien civilisations are common, many will have had a 3 billion year head start on humanity.

    Re alien artifact fossils. I agree we may not know what something is, but we would sure know it was weird and different. I cannot think of anything that fits that description. Can you?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  15. #14  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,169
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    I agree we may not know what something is, but we would sure know it was weird and different. I cannot think of anything that fits that description. Can you?
    No. That is my point.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  16. #15  
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    8,046
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    kojax

    One thing I find hard to accept. If there are lots of alien civilisations in our galaxy, there must have been lots for the past 3 billion years, bearing in mind the age of many stars. Even if travel is only slower than light, there is heaps of time for those early civilisations to have visited Earth, and they would have found a planet ripe for colonising, with just a few species of slime to deal with.

    Why did they not colonise? Why, if they visited, have we never found any alien artifacts? Since even jellyfish (admittedly rarely) can provide fossils, why has there never been a single alien object found inside ancient rock strata?
    I don't know. Even in the modern world, like the USA, we still reserve some areas of wilderness as wild life preserves. I don't think expansionism is the primary goal of an intergalactic advanced civilization.

    It's like if Attila the Hun were faced with a culture like ours. He'd probably wonder why we don't just run in with our advanced gunpowder weapons and start pillaging and plundering his empire.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  17. #16  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    4,843
    Ophiolite.

    I may not have explained my point very well.
    If an alien had visited, some time in the last 4 billion years, and left behind some artifact, which was subsequently fossilesed, what would we see? We may not understand what this artifact is, but I can damn well wager that it would be in every publication of 'mysterious Earth' ever published. Failing to understand it would not stop it being famous world wide. Yet we have never seen such an item preserved in the fossil record.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  18. #17  
    ox
    ox is offline
    Forum Ph.D.
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    945
    How many life forms are known to us on earth? I seem to remember reading that something like 99% remain to be discovered. Add to that extinctions and we know very little about what has existed on earth. Somebody could still stumble on an alien artefact, buried in say the Amazon rainforest, or under the sea, or on the moon etc. If we could prove that something alien has interfered with evolution then we might explain the paradox. Action at a distance, I think is the most likely, as the stars are just far apart. I don't know of any credible ufo sightings, and I don't know of any credible arguments for ufos, while at the same time the arguments against ufos are not very convincing either.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  19. #18  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    4,843
    Ox

    It is, of course, possible there are alien artifacts in the fossil record we have simply not discovered. However, if aliens had visited 2 billion years ago, when life on Earth consisted of little more than slime, why did they not stay? And colonise?

    If they had, it would have been next to impossible for them to clean up most of their trash. Think of how much non biodegradable stuff humans leave lying around everywhere. Even a tiny fraction of what Homo sapiens leaves lying around would be such a mass of fossil artifacts we could not fail to discover some.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  20. #19  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    1,893
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    If they had, it would have been next to impossible for them to clean up most of their trash. Think of how much non biodegradable stuff humans leave lying around everywhere. Even a tiny fraction of what Homo sapiens leaves lying around would be such a mass of fossil artifacts we could not fail to discover some.
    2 billion years is enough time for pretty much everything in the earth's crust to be sucked into the mantle due to plate subduction, melted into magma, and spit back out as new land somewhere else. Any trash, buildings, etc. that any aliens left 2 billion years ago would probably have been recycled in and out of the earth's interior several times over.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  21. #20  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    4,843
    Refugee

    There are rocks dated to 4 billion years, and the zeolite crystals of that age are being studied in detail. Rocks of a mere 2 billion years age are far more common and carry far more information.

    Recycle via subduction happens to some rocks, but no way nearly all. There are always plenty of unaltered ancient rocks left to study.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  22. #21  
    ox
    ox is offline
    Forum Ph.D.
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    945
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    It is, of course, possible there are alien artifacts in the fossil record we have simply not discovered. However, if aliens had visited 2 billion years ago, when life on Earth consisted of little more than slime, why did they not stay? And colonise?
    Maybe there are better places than earth. Maybe they came, saw, and left. Maybe they triggered evolution from the slime with some of their DNA. Maybe we'll never know. Maybe they brought viruses with them that is now found in our junk DNA. You could speculate forever on this.
    If there is evidence of ET, then maybe, just maybe, we know about it. Maybe they left clues to their visitation, rather than hard evidence.
    For example, nobody has explained how the bluestones which make up part of Stonehenge were transported from the Presceli Hills in Wales, about 100 miles to Salisbury Plain. By land, they would have to have crossed deep rivers. It would be little easier for them to have been transported by sea and land They could have been deposited by the last Ice Age, but this theory just grasps at straws.
    Further, nobody understands the reasons for the existence of the plethora of other stone circles in the British Isles. Everybody's got a theory, and only one can be right, which will invalidate all the others proposed by countless scientists and archaeologists over the years.
    Another possibility is the crystal skulls, which could have been made in Europe in the nineteenth century, but why were they found in Central America? I know Arthur C Clarke was baffled by this one.
    'The Museum of Man, in London, contains a crystal skull which is called the Aztec Skull. It is no longer on display in that museum. Museum personnel as well as visitors claim the skull moves on its own within the glass case in which it is enclosed. It was acquired by the museum at the turn of the century from an antiquity dealer in New York. I've also heard that workers demanded the skull case be draped over by a cloth at night so that they could work around it in peace'.
    A contemporary possibility is crop circles, and okay, you can be prove some to be man-made, but others are a mystery. I saw one which was clearly a fake, but another was a beautifully constructed pattern of highly intricate concentric circles on the slope of a hill.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  23. #22  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    1,893
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Refugee

    There are rocks dated to 4 billion years, and the zeolite crystals of that age are being studied in detail. Rocks of a mere 2 billion years age are far more common and carry far more information.

    Recycle via subduction happens to some rocks, but no way nearly all. There are always plenty of unaltered ancient rocks left to study.
    Most parts of the earth's surface have been "recycled" several times. Sure, there are some locations with very old rocks, but it's not the norm. I wouldn't expect to find any remains of a civilization from that long ago, unless they make extraordinary efforts to leave behind remains that would be permanent. Note that this doesn't mean I think there were aliens here 2 billion years ago, I just doubt that we would be able to tell if there had been.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  24. #23  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    4,843
    ox

    Your post is rather naive.
    For example ; crop circles. The people who make these have 'fessed up and shown their methods. Some are done by bands of students, who use sophisticated computer design methods to work out what to do and the best way to do it to get beautiful patterns. These guys have even demonstrated their techniques for TV documentaries.

    Bluestones in stonehenge. There are several ways they can be transported. I suspect myself they were carried on rafts. Certainly, the people of ancient Britain put enormous effort into the construction of stonehenge, but their ingenuity and intelligence was similar to our own. Their brains were modern sized brains, and they were definitely very smart.

    I remember once people stated that the statues on Easter Island had to have been put there by astronauts, since the natives could not have moved them. Then a smart anthropologist demonstrated a method of moving them based on teams of labourers pulling on ropes, and 'rocking' them from place to place. Just because modern people struggle to work out how our very smart ancestors did things does not mean little grey men from outer space were involved.

    Crystal skulls are known to be of recent manufacture, and the records of those who made them have been documented. They are wonderful art works, but not in the least bit mysterious. For example, they have traces of carborundum, an abrasive used in Europe since the 19th century, and never by ancients in central or South America.
    http://www.britishmuseum.org/researc...tal_skull.aspx
    Reply With Quote  
     

  25. #24  
    ox
    ox is offline
    Forum Ph.D.
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    945
    That was just another possible solution to the Fermi Paradox. If ET had visited earth, would they announce their visitation or leave calling cards in the form of clues? I know all about the explanations for crop circles, crystal skulls, statues on Easter Island, as well as an explanation for just about anything else deemed mysterious. It doesn't mean that an explanation is completely true. But consider what we might do if ever we reach another planet with intelligent life. I think we might leave clues. Remember the panic after the War of the Worlds broadcast.

    PS. Is there anything you're not sceptical about skeptic? Let me know and I will debunk it.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  26. #25  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,169
    Quote Originally Posted by ox
    That was just another possible solution to the Fermi Paradox. If ET had visited earth, would they announce their visitation or leave calling cards in the form of clues? I know all about the explanations for crop circles, crystal skulls, statues on Easter Island, as well as an explanation for just about anything else deemed mysterious. It doesn't mean that an explanation is completely true. But consider what we might do if ever we reach another planet with intelligent life. I think we might leave clues. Remember the panic after the War of the Worlds broadcast.

    PS. Is there anything you're not sceptical about skeptic? Let me know and I will debunk it.
    Naive was perhaps too kind an adjective.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  27. #26  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    4,843
    To ox

    Anything I am not sceptical about??

    Absolutely and totally. I am not sceptical about anything and everything for which there is clear, credible, empirical, and strong evidence. I am utterly unsceptical about biological evolution, the Big Bang theory, the atomic theory, and many other proper, well demonstrated scientific ideas.

    A good scientist also is a good sceptic. Anything that lacks proper empirical evidence is a target for scepticism. Ideas that have been thoroughly tested scientifically, and failed to be disproved, deserve respect.

    PS. In spite of my scepticism, I enjoy speculation. I also enjoy fiction, including science fiction and fantasy. However, these are forms of honest fiction, in that no-one tries to pretend they are correct. I have nothing but contempt for those who present dishonest fiction, such as the writings of George Adamski ("I was abducted by a flying saucer") and Erich von Daniken. Such writers, along with spiritualist mediums, acupuncturists, homoeopaths and their ilk are, in my opinion, no better than swindlers.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  28. #27  
    ox
    ox is offline
    Forum Ph.D.
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    945
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    I am utterly unsceptical about biological evolution, the Big Bang theory, the atomic theory, and many other proper, well demonstrated scientific ideas.
    As I understand, there is only one theory which we can be confident about, and that's QED, because it has been tested to death. The rest are good theories, the best we have, but as someone pointed out, if you need more and more evidence to throw at a theory, the less likely is its truth. If a solution to the FP paradox were that we all live in a simulation, then that would throw out most of what we hold dear. The strangeness of the quantum might then begin to make sense. Every generation since the beginning of civilisation thinks they know the universe's secrets, but they never do.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  29. #28  
    ox
    ox is offline
    Forum Ph.D.
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    945
    Some amusing solutions to the FP:
    Millions of years ago the Martians left home and landed on what is now Hungary. The proof lies with their strange language, which is unrelated to any Indo-European languages spoken in neighbouring countries. Add to that the wanderlust of the Hungarian gypsy, and that many great scientists were born in Budapest. Among them was Von Neumann, once 'the cleverest man in the world'.
    They must go back sometimes apparently, as having watched Star Wars, they were inspired to construct the Chewbacca like face on Mars.
    The English mystic Aleisteir Crowley proved that ET's could be contacted, and after he died in 1947, it triggered off the UFO and Loch Ness Monster stories.
    Peoples irrational fear of spiders comes from the fact that spiders escaped from alien spacecraft, so spiders are the proof of aliens.
    An artificial universe is generated into our own consciousness. Humans are real but some or all of the objects we see around us are simulations. That's because we are inside a giant planetarium.
    Reply With Quote  
     

Bookmarks
Bookmarks
Posting Permissions
  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •