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View Poll Results: Is it worth spending money on the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence?

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  • It is worth every penny. The funding should be increased.

    10 30.30%
  • It is worth doing. The present budget level is about right.

    10 30.30%
  • This is a waste of public funds and should be discontinued.

    10 30.30%
  • I don't know, don't care, or both.

    3 9.09%
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Thread: SETI: Is it a waste of money?

  1. #1 SETI: Is it a waste of money? 
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    I am from the Rare Earth school of exobiology: I believe 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 of an extraterrestrial intelligence 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 ETI 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. (The US funded SETI Institute receives around $4,000,000 per year. The most NASA ever spent was $13 million. All their programs were transferred to the SETI Institute.)

    So, while I'm in favour of it, I just don't expect it to turn up any results.

    What do you think? A waste of money, or an essential, underfunded investigation?


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  3. #2  
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    b)I dont see the odds of us contacting a technical civilization as significantly higher than 0, but what the hell I say!


    "A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeeded be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death." Albert Einstein
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  4. #3  
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    Isn't saying it's publicly funded misleading, it is funded by private donations since clinton dropped it from the science budget , isn't it?
    "A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeeded be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death." Albert Einstein
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  5. #4  
    Forum Isotope Zelos's Avatar
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    Of course its worth every penny. If we get to know a intelligent life form out there it will be the biggest discovery of all time. of course it will mostlike not be possible to make a phone call to them if there isnt somekinda subspace where signals can travel faster than light
    I am zelos. Destroyer of planets, exterminator of life, conquerer of worlds. I have come to rule this uiniverse. And there is nothing u pathetic biengs can do to stop me

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  6. #5  
    Forum Professor wallaby's Avatar
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    the odds of finding or there existing intelligent extra terrestrial life is small to say the least.

    so i don't care.
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  7. #6  
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    the chance intelligent life existing exept us in this gigantic universe is allmost 100%
    I am zelos. Destroyer of planets, exterminator of life, conquerer of worlds. I have come to rule this uiniverse. And there is nothing u pathetic biengs can do to stop me

    On the eighth day Zelos said: 'Let there be darkness,' and the light was never again seen.

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  8. #7  
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    Although it's my personal belief that as we go out into interstellar space we're going to find out that we were the first, and that anything we find out there, intelligent or not, is still but an ape or a dolphin to us, I do believe we should search anyways. Perhaps we weren't the first, perhaps there is an explanation to the Fermi Paradox.
    Trying to guess at whether life is out there or not is rather pointless at the time being. There's almost definitely LIFE out there, and intelligence is almost a guarentee as well, if not in this galaxy. So, let's be optimists, and look for intelligent life.
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  9. #8  
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    Why would you think we are the first? I'd be shocked if that were the case
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  10. #9  
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    The fact that if we're not the first, then we should see some sign somewhere of something that the 'First Ones' built, or are building.
    And of course, when you consider supernovas, gamma rays, asteroids, comets, rogue bodies, supervolcanoes, and dozens of other factors, the odds predict that the first intelligence would be very recent, or shouldn't have happened yet. Since number two isn't the case (despite what some jokers may say), we're left with number one.

    EDIT:

    Oh, and personally, I don't like the idea of humans being the first ones either. That's really, really depressing. Even in sci fi I write, I hypothesize aliens existing, both older and younger.
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  11. #10  
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    Why would we see some sign of it? The universe is a big place you know.
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  12. #11  
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    I wrote a sci-fi book a couple of years back. This was part of the Foreword:

    It is my belief that human beings are genetically driven to explore the unknown, and to move beyond the home planet. This stems from a basic emotional need to answer questions such as 'why are we here' and 'what is out there.'

    We must strike a balance between the costs of our explorations and supporting the life we have on this planet now. Technology is certainly a key. Finding a way to peace is another.

    If we can accomplish these things, then perhaps we can get off the "Z-List." The Z-List is an imaginary list, conceived by an imaginary alien intelligence. If there is such a list, I have no doubt that Earth is on it.

    Our entry on the list might read:

    Warning!
    Planet is xenophobic and warlike.
    Do not attempt landing.
    8)
    Carl Sagan once said that for people on Earth to believe THEY were the ONLY intelligent life in the galaxy was a fairly selfish attitude...

    My own opinion is that the chances of Earth having the ONLY intelligent life in our galaxy is about the chances of finding a single black grain of sand on a white sand beach. Of course there are other intelligent species out there. When you wade through the thousands of UFO sightings reported by people around the globe, you always come down to a hard-core group of sightings by very reliable people of things that just cannot be explained any other way.
    Why don't they appear in public? I don't know. Maybe they have a Prime Directive or something, like Star Trek. Or maybe we're Class Z, dangerous, and they know better...(lol)
    'Don't give up reaching for the stars...
    just build yourself a bigger ladder.'
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelos
    the chance intelligent life existing exept us in this gigantic universe is allmost 100%
    the size of the universe is not an indicator of the abundance of life, there were very specfic circumstances that led to our creation and a lot of luck to keep us here after mass extinctions and our own stupidity as a species.

    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    Why would you think we are the first? I'd be shocked if that were the case
    i'll bet the first might feel the same way.

    one day we may be refered to as, 'The Ancients'. thats pretty cool 8)
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  14. #13 I hate to sound pessimistic, but realists often do. 
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    Yes if we take it for granted that intelligent life has finite odds an infinite universe would make anything with finite odds 100% certain, but distances are extremely likely to be far too prohibitive for communication(centainly 2 way communication would be virtually impossible).

    Lets face it 'man being able to acheive anything' is a myth, the high probability that man will end it's finite period of grace without ever answering the 'are we alone(intellectually speaking)' question will be our epitaph to this.

    What ever the odds though LETS TRY, because thats who we are.
    "A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeeded be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death." Albert Einstein
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  15. #14  
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    Since no one can predict the time of contact. I feel it is worth every peny.
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by wallaby
    the odds of finding or there existing intelligent extra terrestrial life is small to say the least.

    so i don't care.
    Our universe has billion billion stars. You must be very selfish to conclude that we are the one and only intelligent existing race.
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  17. #16  
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    and we shall give it more money

    but its still almsot 100% becuase of the enourmus large size and amounts of starts/planets. its like say getting 4*10^22 coins, you can almost say that its 100% garantie that atleast one has been made wrong
    I am zelos. Destroyer of planets, exterminator of life, conquerer of worlds. I have come to rule this uiniverse. And there is nothing u pathetic biengs can do to stop me

    On the eighth day Zelos said: 'Let there be darkness,' and the light was never again seen.

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  18. #17  
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    Quote Originally Posted by anandsatya
    Quote Originally Posted by wallaby
    the odds of finding or there existing intelligent extra terrestrial life is small to say the least.

    so i don't care.
    Our universe has billion billion stars. You must be very selfish to conclude that we are the one and only intelligent existing race.
    Actually, he's merely following the odds. And note he also added 'finding' intelligent extraterrestrial life. There are a billion billion stars, probably more, but the fact is, even if we could stop thermodynamics from destroying the stars, and could go FTL and started looking through exploration, we still wouldn't be likely to find any.
    The fact is, humanity will probably only be able to spread out ~6 billion light years before the universe is too big to get through, while last I checked the odds were in other ETs existing... 9+ billion light years away. If that were true, we'd never make contact, let alone MEET one of them.
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  19. #18  
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    Quote Originally Posted by anandsatya
    Quote Originally Posted by wallaby
    the odds of finding or there existing intelligent extra terrestrial life is small to say the least.

    so i don't care.
    Our universe has billion billion stars. You must be very selfish to conclude that we are the one and only intelligent existing race.
    how assumptuous of you to conclude that i concluded anything, am selfish or that there simply must be other life out there beyond our own world.

    the existance of billions of stars and life on our own world are not indicators of life on other worlds.
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  20. #19  
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    In my opinion, it is worth every penny, and the funding should be increased. As Carl Sagan stated in "The Cosmic Connection", Humans are simply what they are because of a chain of genetic mutations. And, since Earth is not really that old, any other civilizations should be more intelligent. I also agree with the statement that you are selfish if you believe Earth is the center of the universe, and there is no other life. Making contact with a more advanced civilization could either bring prosperity or despair. They could attempt to conquer us, which overall would be quite pointless, or we could work out some form of diplomacy, and share technology.
    I maintain there is much more wonder in science than in pseudoscience. And in addition, to whatever measure this term has any meaning, science has the additional virtue, and it is not an inconsiderable one, of being true. - Carl Sagan (1934 - 1996)
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  21. #20  
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    What makes us think they (if ETs exist) will even use radio signals? I think is a complete waste of money.
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  22. #21  
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    What makes you think they won't?
    I maintain there is much more wonder in science than in pseudoscience. And in addition, to whatever measure this term has any meaning, science has the additional virtue, and it is not an inconsiderable one, of being true. - Carl Sagan (1934 - 1996)
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  23. #22  
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    Of course there is a small chance, but for such small odds I think is a waste of resources. Those few dollars can be very useful somewhere else.
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  24. #23  
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    I think it's worth it for the chance of meeting a possibly more advanced civilization.
    I maintain there is much more wonder in science than in pseudoscience. And in addition, to whatever measure this term has any meaning, science has the additional virtue, and it is not an inconsiderable one, of being true. - Carl Sagan (1934 - 1996)
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  25. #24  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuete
    What makes us think they (if ETs exist) will even use radio signals? I think is a complete waste of money.
    COMMINUST
    Why they use it? well there is the same reasons we do it, its easy to use, not many atoms/molecules absorb it in anyway therefor cfan goi throu almost any atmosphere. wich is a great advantage for any civilization. unlike any other possible wavelenght that is absorbed at different rates. Get why radiowaves are good now?

    we shall invest more money into this kind of things, only knowing there is someone else outhere would change the course of our history tremendously
    I am zelos. Destroyer of planets, exterminator of life, conquerer of worlds. I have come to rule this uiniverse. And there is nothing u pathetic biengs can do to stop me

    On the eighth day Zelos said: 'Let there be darkness,' and the light was never again seen.

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  26. #25  
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    I think we should keep funding it because even though the chance that we would find intelligent extraterrestrial life is tiny, if we did it would be incrediby important. But if it existed, intelligent ET life could be completely different from anything we could imagine. It might not be based on nucleic acids, or if it was evolution would have taken a completely different turn.
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  27. #26  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelos
    Quote Originally Posted by Cuete
    What makes us think they (if ETs exist) will even use radio signals? I think is a complete waste of money.
    COMMINUST
    Why they use it? well there is the same reasons we do it, its easy to use, not many atoms/molecules absorb it in anyway therefor cfan goi throu almost any atmosphere. wich is a great advantage for any civilization. unlike any other possible wavelenght that is absorbed at different rates. Get why radiowaves are good now?
    I used to think the same but actually there is a good argument(which I cant quite remember)why visible frequencies(in the form of lasers) would be better for long distance space communication. Radiowaves or microwaves may not actually travel space aswell as implicity suggests.
    "A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeeded be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death." Albert Einstein
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  28. #27  
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    of course it have takken a different turn, but somekinda nucleidacid is required to store information and pass it on, but it doesnt have to be exacly like our own. if i put my bet, id say that alien life has atleast 2 ears and eyes, becuase then you can with hearing and seeing determen from where and distance. and id guess also smelling/tasting will exist in some manner. this is just some fundamental stuff required by all higher lifeforms
    I am zelos. Destroyer of planets, exterminator of life, conquerer of worlds. I have come to rule this uiniverse. And there is nothing u pathetic biengs can do to stop me

    On the eighth day Zelos said: 'Let there be darkness,' and the light was never again seen.

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  29. #28  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelos
    of course it have takken a different turn, but somekinda nucleidacid is required to store information and pass it on, but it doesnt have to be exacly like our own. if i put my bet, id say that alien life has atleast 2 ears and eyes, becuase then you can with hearing and seeing determen from where and distance. and id guess also smelling/tasting will exist in some manner. this is just some fundamental stuff required by all higher lifeforms
    In my opinion, it's pretty narrow-minded to think that ETs would be similar in any way to us. We are like this (2 ears, etc.) just because Earth's particular characteristics made us evolve this way.

    Knowing the great diversity of forms in the few extrasolar planets we have found, nobody can assure they (ETs) would share any type of physical characteristic, behaviour or technology with us - including the use of radio frequencies in the range of 2.5MHz and other scattered frequencies being listened by SETI -

    The odds are too small, and it's not worth the investment.
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  30. #29  
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    the odds are rather great if you think on how big universe is.
    why i think it should ahve like 2 ears is becuase with atleast 2 ears they can decied from where the sound is coming and distance. certain charactiristic will arise on every planet becuase they are so vital, they ahve arised several times on our planet independed on each other
    I am zelos. Destroyer of planets, exterminator of life, conquerer of worlds. I have come to rule this uiniverse. And there is nothing u pathetic biengs can do to stop me

    On the eighth day Zelos said: 'Let there be darkness,' and the light was never again seen.

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  31. #30  
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    I'm more into dimensional traveling.
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  32. #31  
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    do u mean as higher dimension or parallel dimensions?
    I am zelos. Destroyer of planets, exterminator of life, conquerer of worlds. I have come to rule this uiniverse. And there is nothing u pathetic biengs can do to stop me

    On the eighth day Zelos said: 'Let there be darkness,' and the light was never again seen.

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  33. #32  
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    Who really knows. It sounds fun. The key is unlocking your hidden senses. That is top secret.
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  34. #33  
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    hidden senses? we have no hidden senses
    are you one of that kind of hippies who belive in anything?
    I am zelos. Destroyer of planets, exterminator of life, conquerer of worlds. I have come to rule this uiniverse. And there is nothing u pathetic biengs can do to stop me

    On the eighth day Zelos said: 'Let there be darkness,' and the light was never again seen.

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  35. #34  
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    Matrix exist.
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  36. #35  
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    oh youre a matrixian? well, its a subspecies of the same species, called maniacs

    matrix is a fun idea, if it were real would the computers allow it to be seen so ppl like you would rise against it? to increase the amount of ppl resisting?

    i say no they wouldnt, therefor it isnt real
    I am zelos. Destroyer of planets, exterminator of life, conquerer of worlds. I have come to rule this uiniverse. And there is nothing u pathetic biengs can do to stop me

    On the eighth day Zelos said: 'Let there be darkness,' and the light was never again seen.

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  37. #36  
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    Computer is your head and can be an enemy. I'm an enlighten being.
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  38. #37  
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    by saying so youre a indarkned bieng
    I am zelos. Destroyer of planets, exterminator of life, conquerer of worlds. I have come to rule this uiniverse. And there is nothing u pathetic biengs can do to stop me

    On the eighth day Zelos said: 'Let there be darkness,' and the light was never again seen.

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  39. #38  
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    Wallaby wrote

    the size of the universe is not an indicator of the abundance of life, there were very specfic circumstances that led to our creation and a lot of luck to keep us here after mass extinctions and our own stupidity as a species.
    Do you think we were created? On purpose! Or was that a figure of speech? :wink: :wink:

    I think we do have this pioneering spirit in us and we just cant help but do it, So yes spend the money even if contact is not made other discoveries will be, the quest for knowledge is never wasted

    But if what we take as intelligence exists out there, would it be a good thing to make contact
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  40. #39  
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    of course, we have already revealed our existens so if we say "hi how are you doing?" wont make any differens if they are hostile
    I am zelos. Destroyer of planets, exterminator of life, conquerer of worlds. I have come to rule this uiniverse. And there is nothing u pathetic biengs can do to stop me

    On the eighth day Zelos said: 'Let there be darkness,' and the light was never again seen.

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  41. #40  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Die Fledermaus
    Wallaby wrote

    the size of the universe is not an indicator of the abundance of life, there were very specfic circumstances that led to our creation and a lot of luck to keep us here after mass extinctions and our own stupidity as a species.
    Do you think we were created? On purpose! Or was that a figure of speech? :wink: :wink:
    what does it matter when were dealing with extraterrestrials?
    if we were created on purpose then thats still no indicator of life else where.

    personally i say no we are instead the product, creation, end result etc, of specific circumstances and processes. given that these circumstances need not be the same for other life to evolve intelligence the existance of life here still is no decisive factor in deciding whether or not life exists else where.
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  42. #41  
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    what decieds if life exists are several things
    chemistry, need enough chemicals to make it work
    heat, cant be to cold, nor to hot if it is nothing will happen or to much will happen
    energy: no machinery without energy
    I am zelos. Destroyer of planets, exterminator of life, conquerer of worlds. I have come to rule this uiniverse. And there is nothing u pathetic biengs can do to stop me

    On the eighth day Zelos said: 'Let there be darkness,' and the light was never again seen.

    The king of posting
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  43. #42 Aliens have to be out there but... 
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    Think of a light beam that you turn on then off at some future time. Just for the sake of argument, lets say you turn on that laser beam and its not just a column, it spreads out covering more and more space as it goes.
    The beam stays on for 1000 years then funding is cut and its shut down.
    Now we were using this laser beam to say, hi y'all, we are here. Ok, so lets analyze that. Here is our galaxy, 100,000 LY or so across. We leave the beam on for 1000 years. It goes out into the galaxy. We suppose it is strong enough to be detected by OUR technology so it should be detectable by any reasonably advance civilization in our galaxy.
    But here is the rub. We have been around as modern humans, say, 100,000 years or so and only capable of such laser beams in the last 50 years or so. Now suppose we go into the future and find we really screwed things up bad and 1000 years from now the real reason the beam went off was the human race shot itself in the foot and lost its technical capabilities and has been flung unceremoniously back to the ice age. So there is that beam and it is approximately the same age as the technical prowess of our civilization. Now suppose the same thing happens elsewhere. Another civilization goes off and gets technical and it happens to be 20,000 LY from us. Now it goes off its rocker and also has a 1000 year long shaft of laser light going through the galaxy but it left 20,000 years ago. Now it gets to us but say 1000 years ago. Then we get going technologically speaking 1000 years later and we have missed the boat by 100 years, say. You get my drift? Even if there are people like us, there may be a limited time any given civilization can maintain its technological standing. Therefore that would reduce the probability of us finding anyone and could explain why we have no real signs of visits by aliens. So it would seem to me this microwave and optical search should be supplimented with a search designed to find not actual communications but artifacts of a dead civilization, looking for anomolies in stellar data that would suggest builders of large habitats or gasses in the outer system of a star that wouldn't be there except for the intervention of advanced life. It seems to me that sort of indirect evidence would be far more evident in the galaxy than neccessarily transient microwave or optical real time signals. We would have to be in the right place and the right time to pick up transient but long lived signals.
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  44. #43  
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    In some ways SETI in its current form is like the drunk who was looking for his car keys underneath the lamp post.
    "Where do you think you lost them?" asks a passerby.
    "Over there by the Church," replies the drunk.
    "Then why are you looking for them here?"
    "Because its dark over by the Church and it's light here."
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  45. #44  
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    I agree with the PhD. It doesn't seem like any other planets we've observed from so far away would even be close to such at thing. Look how much we've observed about the distant planets being so extreamly unreachable and uninhabitable.

    I think maybe somewhere in this vastness of crap we'll find something. But, keep this in mind. We could get blown away by a gamma ray burst ANY second. New civillizations could be wondering the same thing.
    "Then HaShem G-d formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." - G-d
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    gama ray burst? jess its bigger chance the sun will explode to early
    I am zelos. Destroyer of planets, exterminator of life, conquerer of worlds. I have come to rule this uiniverse. And there is nothing u pathetic biengs can do to stop me

    On the eighth day Zelos said: 'Let there be darkness,' and the light was never again seen.

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    I have only just seen this, I have voted that it is a worthless pursuit. It is arguably worhtless from the point of view that we might gain from it, from a technical point of view the odds against achieving contact approach infinity.
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    If aliens want to come visit us and openly communicate with us then let them. We have too much to accomplish to try and find them. Rather let's concentrate on reach outer space so we can contact them. Also, if advanced civilizations want to contact because of our "advanceness," perhaps we should concentrate on something a little more important.
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  49. #48 Re: SETI: Is it a waste of money? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    I am from the Rare Earth school of exobiology: I believe bacterial life is probably common, multicellular life is unusual, complex life is rare, intelligent life may be unique.
    And how do you know that bacterial life is uncommon as opposed to intelligence life who may be unique ?
    Do you have studied life in other planets ?
    Is there is stats about this ?

    I guess no (or you are an alien ).
    So it's not a fact, it's just what you believe.

    I don't believe it works this way.
    For me what is very rare (at least in our solar system) is to find planets able to accept life : not too hot, not too cold, amino-acids friendly (a warm sea of acid won't do the trick).
    If this planet exist and life begin (at first in a monocellular type) there is a lot of chance that the natural proces of evolution, bring more complicated forms of life with the time. Of course like any process, it may be stopped before it reach the appropriate level, but it's less complicated to let the process evolve, than to initiate it.
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    C'mon guys, you know the rules, we are talking SETI here not slime moulds. Buggar off and start yer own thread! And stop leading PowerDoc astray, he's new so he's not part of this rage.

    Back on thread! Seti is a complete and utter waste of somebodyelsesmoney! (almost broke into Deutsch!). IF there are these little ET's out there they will be communicating with each other NOT us! THe most effiecient way (using radio) to communicate is in the form of a beam, the narrower the beam the more efficient the transmitter. So these little buggars out there, will know to point it at the target and not the earth. The other thing is they will probably transmit in short busts (freudian slip) sorry Bursts, The first we are likely to know is when it's too late, if they have been watching our radio transmissions, they might just decide that a two legged bi-pod that makes films about killing everything from Alien visitors, to big fluffy gorillas - is to risky to leave lying around!.
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    Back on topic
    I also think that Seti is a loss of money, and althought I have a lot of computation power ( I own Four G5) I never wasted it, by participating to SETI home.
    There is a very tiny chance that we communicate one day. Communicating will mean that : the intelligence in contact will be next door and or extraordinary vocal (they will have nothing to do build insanely great emettor, who have nothing better to emit in the whole galaxy, that they exist).
    It's also funny that the people in charge assume that an intelligent civilisation is necessary peacefull. An intelligent civilisation recquiere the instinct of preservation of the specie : no more, no less. Wiping out from the existence others species (that's what we have done) don't lead automatically to the extinction of the specie.
    What great achievement if the attempt to communicate will end in an alien invasion ?
    Luckily I am not sure that one day, an intelligent specie wherever it exist, will be able to travel faster than the speed of the light.
    Einstein law about the light speed, is perhaps our best protection agains others : we have just to protect us against ourselves, and that's enough of a burdain.
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    Ooh, triple post! Special

    I did an essay on SETI for my astronomy course in my 1st year of Uni... my lecturer was (by my estimation) a bit of a SETI fan, and I'm not :P I tried to be scientific and so on in my essay but overall it was a fairly scathing criticism of the whole idea, and clearly my lecturer didn't like it - I got 40% :P

    Furthermore, such was the weighting of that essay that even though I got 72% on the final test, I only got 58% or so overall for the course. Harsh...

    Anyway as I mentioned in the first paragraph I'm not a fan of SETI... I just think the sheer improbability of it makes the whole thing a waste of money.
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    Sorry for the quadruple post, but the server has a problem. :?

    I've deleted three of the posts for you.
    Ophiolite
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    I'd much rather we spent the entire war budget looking for ET, which is much less of a waste than blowing shit up.

    Do any of you own celestia? you have got to get the 2 million star add on pack. It simply amazes me. Just for fun, I start on Sol, and zoom out to the milky way and back in again.

    I have done this for hours, and each time is as mind blowing as the first.

    I cant honestly say, I respect the opinion that we are on our own.
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    Seti is a waste of money in the same way buying a lotto ticket is a waste of money. The probability of winning the jackpot in both cases is tiny - but damn what a jackpot to win! Also the only way to have a chance is to buy a ticket - and in a sense the SETI project has payed for itself as it has shown the power of collective computing.
    As is often the case with technical subjects we are presented with an unfortunate choice: an explanation that is accurate but incomprehensible, or comprehensible but wrong.
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  56. #55 Re: SETI: Is it a waste of money? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Powerdoc
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    I am from the Rare Earth school of exobiology: I believe bacterial life is probably common, multicellular life is unusual, complex life is rare, intelligent life may be unique.
    And how do you know that bacterial life is uncommon as opposed to intelligence life who may be unique ?
    Do you have studied life in other planets ?
    Is there is stats about this ?
    I guess no (or you are an alien ).
    So it's not a fact, it's just what you believe.
    That was why I used the word believe in my post.
    Don't you feel a little foolish now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Powerdoc
    If this planet exist and life begin (at first in a monocellular type) there is a lot of chance that the natural proces of evolution, bring more complicated forms of life with the time. Of course like any process, it may be stopped before it reach the appropriate level, but it's less complicated to let the process evolve, than to initiate it.
    Your statement underlined above, is very much a belief. Moreover, it is a belief that is contradicted by the evidence.
    Many speak of the Cambrian explosion, when all the major phyla appeared for the first time in the fossil record. That was roughly half a billion years ago. So it took half a billion years to move from trilobites and brachiopods, echinoderms and graptolites, to an intelligent technological species.

    What happened in the first half billion years of the Earth's existence?. Simple, single celled, prokaryotic life got established.

    What happened in the next half billion years? Nothing much. And the next half billion years? Nothing much. And the next half billion years? Ah, a little action. A few prokaryotes got together and produced a single celled eukaryote.
    Note that: in a period of time more than two and a half times the length of time between the Cambrian explosion and today, all life managed to do was to move from prokaryote to eukaryote.

    What about the next half billion years? Hmm, a bit of activity. That oxygen atmosphere sure killed of a lot of little blighters. Still plugging away at that old single celled approach, though.

    And the next half billion years? Nothing much. And the next half billion years? Nothing much. And the next half billion years? Ahhh, at last. At the end of this, almost four billion years after the Earth formed; three and a half billion years after life got established, finally we have multicellular organisms gracing the planet.

    Yet you think that multicellular organisms will be inevitable, common and widespread. A billion years plus to develop eukaryotes. Another two billion to move onto metazoans. That does not have the ring of inevitability, or even probability to me.
    I cant honestly say, I respect the opinion that we are on our own.
    Read Rare Earth by Ward and Brownlee, then come back and tell me you still can't respect that view.
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  57. #56 Re: SETI: Is it a waste of money? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by Powerdoc
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    I am from the Rare Earth school of exobiology: I believe bacterial life is probably common, multicellular life is unusual, complex life is rare, intelligent life may be unique.
    And how do you know that bacterial life is uncommon as opposed to intelligence life who may be unique ?
    Do you have studied life in other planets ?
    Is there is stats about this ?
    I guess no (or you are an alien ).
    So it's not a fact, it's just what you believe.
    That was why I used the word believe in my post.
    Don't you feel a little foolish now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Powerdoc
    If this planet exist and life begin (at first in a monocellular type) there is a lot of chance that the natural proces of evolution, bring more complicated forms of life with the time. Of course like any process, it may be stopped before it reach the appropriate level, but it's less complicated to let the process evolve, than to initiate it.
    Your statement underlined above, is very much a belief. Moreover, it is a belief that is contradicted by the evidence.
    Many speak of the Cambrian explosion, when all the major phyla appeared for the first time in the fossil record. That was roughly half a billion years ago. So it took half a billion years to move from trilobites and brachiopods, echinoderms and graptolites, to an intelligent technological species.

    What happened in the first half billion years of the Earth's existence?. Simple, single celled, prokaryotic life got established.

    What happened in the next half billion years? Nothing much. And the next half billion years? Nothing much. And the next half billion years? Ah, a little action. A few prokaryotes got together and produced a single celled eukaryote.
    Note that: in a period of time more than two and a half times the length of time between the Cambrian explosion and today, all life managed to do was to move from prokaryote to eukaryote.

    What about the next half billion years? Hmm, a bit of activity. That oxygen atmosphere sure killed of a lot of little blighters. Still plugging away at that old single celled approach, though.

    And the next half billion years? Nothing much. And the next half billion years? Nothing much. And the next half billion years? Ahhh, at last. At the end of this, almost four billion years after the Earth formed; three and a half billion years after life got established, finally we have multicellular organisms gracing the planet.

    Yet you think that multicellular organisms will be inevitable, common and widespread. A billion years plus to develop eukaryotes. Another two billion to move onto metazoans. That does not have the ring of inevitability, or even probability to me.
    I cant honestly say, I respect the opinion that we are on our own.
    Read Rare Earth by Ward and Brownlee, then come back and tell me you still can't respect that view.
    The Rare Earth by Ward is just conjecture, as long that the study is limited to one case the earth. Yes life is a very long process, and the more complex form of life are very young in the historical book of life.

    I don't said that when life appear, automatically more complex form of life will finish to appear. I just say that's it's not so unlikely. The difference between common and unique is very big indeed, for me it mean something like a one for one million ratio. The word unique, let me think that the people behind this claim as an agenda : we are unique in the universe. My question is : is-it a theist point of vue ?

    I take also note of your comments, and some of your good arguments. It seem, at the light of what you said, that the hard point was the evolution from unicellar to multicellular. After this point there was an explosion of diversity in an an exponential point of vue : going from muticellular to complex do not seem to be a very unlikely.

    So at the light of your arguments I will rewrite my point of vue, based on only one observation (it's still be just conjectures) :
    I believe that there is there is three importants steps in order to see intelligent life. At each step the % of stopping the process increase.
    Fist step : the planet must be amino-acid friendly
    Second step : unicellular living form appear
    Third step : multicellular form of living appear
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  58. #57  
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcUK
    I'd much rather we spent the entire war budget looking for ET, which is much less of a waste than blowing shit up.

    Do any of you own celestia? you have got to get the 2 million star add on pack. It simply amazes me. Just for fun, I start on Sol, and zoom out to the milky way and back in again.

    I have done this for hours, and each time is as mind blowing as the first.

    I cant honestly say, I respect the opinion that we are on our own.

    I just hope we are alone (intellectually) I'd hate to have to share the place - we'd just end up fighting over it all......
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  59. #58  
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    I voted waste of money. Firstly you have the astonomically slim chance of actually detecting a signal. But lets say by some miracle that we pick that one winning lotto ticket by finding a clearly artificial radio signal. What then?

    Of course it will be thrilling to know that other intelligant species exist in the universe but is this knowledge worth so much mone? I would predict that there is no chance we would ever be able to decipher anything meaningful from an alien language (we only deciphered hieroglyphics on the chance discovery of the rosetta stone, no such translating device will exist for this alien language). On top of this there is no way in the forseable future which we could even begin to think about travelling to meet them.

    So we are spending all this money on an impossibly slim chance of intercepting a message which we will never understand from a civilisation which we are unlikely ever to meet.

    My final thought on this matter is if we do find this message should we try to communicate back? I think any civilisation which is using radio waves for communication will be by definition primitive. There will be much more efficient ways of communication which we are yet to discover and develop (quantum entanglement devices?). If a civilisation is sending out messages as radiowaves it is either technologically primitive or perhaps more sinister in its motives. Maybe they are trying to contact a primitive civilisation so as to acquire another habitable planet? Even if the race is benevolent in its intentions, think of the times that on earth different civilisations have met. Every time the more technologically advanced one has ended up destroying the primitive ones culture and way of life.
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    There is also the possibility we are the first technological beings to exist, there is a first for everything......
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  61. #60  
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    Quote Originally Posted by billco
    There is also the possibility we are the first technological beings to exist, there is a first for everything......
    This is true, evolution does not make intelligence innevitable.
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  62. #61  
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    Intelligence is a quality applied by humans, to humans, in a vain attempt to 'justify' their[self considered] position at the top[in their opinion] of the evolutionary ladder. Beetles might have other ideas...
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  63. #62  
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    NS Comment

    Seti is a better exploration benefit than the nuclear research that we are spending all these dollars for. So far, all we got from that research was the Quark theory. Who needs it?

    I would like to see if the current 'stem cell' research could test these cells in space at a temperature of 3K to see if they can survive in dormancy at that temperature. If they could, than you can say that these cells would be accessible to all planets that are friendly to life with the proper conditions. This would mean that life is than everlasting like matter is according to the Conservation laws.

    You can bet your life that if they receive some reliable intelligence from another planet, that that will be one of the biggest headlines in recent times. Ha ha.

    The bacterial life on our planet can survive in total darkness and at temperatures of 160 degrees farhanheit.
    Bacteria were discovered in Sweden at a depth of about 3 miles in the Earths surface.
    This ought to tell you that they can survive just about anywhere

    NS
    Real science is objective, not subjective
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    Mike,

    I think we are more likely to discover aliens through nuclear research than Seti. If it transpires there is a way to travel at super-light speeds or that there are particles which travel at such speeds and can be used for communictaions, nuclear research may find it. Such discoveries could bring us closer and quicker to finding ET. Such research may also provide better propulsion systems of sub-light speed travel.

    If we get to the bottom of the theory of everything and there are no new startling technologies/principles to be discovered then ET will be stuck as we are, in their own Solar system. I for one hope that NO other lifeform exists which has the capability to explore space.
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  65. #64  
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    Quote Originally Posted by billco
    Intelligence is a quality applied by humans, to humans, in a vain attempt to 'justify' their[self considered] position at the top[in their opinion] of the evolutionary ladder. Beetles might have other ideas...
    Exactly
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike NS
    NS Comment

    The bacterial life on our planet can survive in total darkness and at temperatures of 160 degrees farhanheit.
    Bacteria were discovered in Sweden at a depth of about 3 miles in the Earths surface.
    This ought to tell you that they can survive just about anywhere

    NS
    Not really, I bet you the exact same bacteria die as soon as they are subjected to surface conditions. Life has evolved into many forms to exploit some pretty extreme niches; but this is all that those bacteria are, highly adapted to live in a very specific niche. They are not at all tolerant to other conditions
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  67. #66  
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    Quote Originally Posted by electricant
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike NS
    NS Comment

    The bacterial life on our planet can survive in total darkness and at temperatures of 160 degrees farhanheit.
    Bacteria were discovered in Sweden at a depth of about 3 miles in the Earths surface.
    This ought to tell you that they can survive just about anywhere

    NS
    Not really, I bet you the exact same bacteria die as soon as they are subjected to surface conditions. Life has evolved into many forms to exploit some pretty extreme niches; but this is all that those bacteria are, highly adapted to live in a very specific niche. They are not at all tolerant to other conditions
    That's funny, for a moment there I thought he was talking about Welsh coalminers!
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    Quote Originally Posted by billco
    That's funny, for a moment there I thought he was talking about Welsh coalminers!
    Well, have you seen any recently?! Perhaps they have been blown into space by a meteorite impact and are on their way to colonise planets throughout the galaxy.

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    I never thought I'd read such dispiriting defeatism on a Science forum.

    The ends are not the point. The point of exploration is for its own sake - for the other things we will learn while making the search, whether or not the end result is that we either find or fail to find ETI.

    I think I pretty much follow Ophiolite's Rare Earth theory, but the funding should continue because of everything else we will learn on the way.
    "It is comparatively easy to make clever guesses; indeed there are theorems, like 'Goldbach's Theorem' which have never been proved and which any fool could have guessed." G.H. Hardy, Fourier Series, 1943
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    Quote Originally Posted by billco
    Mike,

    I think we are more likely to discover aliens through nuclear research than Seti. If it transpires there is a way to travel at super-light speeds or that there are particles which travel at such speeds and can be used for communictaions, nuclear research may find it. Such discoveries could bring us closer and quicker to finding ET. Such research may also provide better propulsion systems of sub-light speed travel.

    If we get to the bottom of the theory of everything and there are no new startling technologies/principles to be discovered then ET will be stuck as we are, in their own Solar system. I for one hope that NO other lifeform exists which has the capability to explore space.
    Billco....I thought about these flying saucers and other such phenomenon and some seemed to be very reliable. So I thoght that maybe these ET's are the remains of their material beings and are now spirits.
    I came to this conclusion that they must have travelled at very high speeds through space and all those gases and space dust
    So what happened? Well, these space particles caused their material being to erode because of collisions with these space particles.
    Traveling at super speeds like one tenth the speed of light would cause this kind of erosion. So the only remains left is their spiritual (non material) bodies and space ships. Ha ha.
    I kind of thoght of this as a joke with some reality.

    Your nuclear research is not practical because you cannot have those 'accerator' size energy sources on a space ship.
    That is why I believe in 'cold fusion' as a possible source for future space engines. I hope they can produce some results here. This would be the most important research that science developes because of the cleanliness of this energy and supply sources.

    NS.
    Real science is objective, not subjective
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    Mike,

    I have great respect for your expanding knowledge of the unkown.
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  72. #71 Re: SETI: Is it a waste of money? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Powerdoc
    The Rare Earth by Ward is just conjecture, as long that the study is limited to one case the earth.
    It is conjecture that is offered in counterpoint to the thoughtless refrain which runs "The universe is a big place. We can't be the only intelligent entities in it." That is not even conjecture, it is unfounded speculation. Ward and Brownlee develop several issues that demonstrate why intelligent life is likely to be very rare indeed.
    Consider Powerdoc, three billion years and no multicellular life developed. Was life 'preparing' for its leap to metazoan status? You could argue the development of eukaryotes was a necessary step, but what, then, were the eukaryotes doing for one and a half billion years. Look, the difference between a single celled organism and a multicellular one is much, much smaller than between a non living chemical brew and the simpest life form. That huge difference was bridged in around half a billion years, yet it took six times as long to move to multicellular life. Why? Were there subtle changes going on that were 'preparing' life for the next step, or was there an external factor?
    Enter Snowball Earth. The advent of multicellular life certainly correlates with the end of what may have been a global ice age, where life lingered on around black smokers, or within the lithosphere. If this was the trigger then it was very much a chance event.
    Quote Originally Posted by Powerdoc
    The difference between common and unique is very big indeed, for me it mean something like a one for one million ratio. The word unique, let me think that the people behind this claim as an agenda : we are unique in the universe. My question is : is-it a theist point of vue ?
    Is it a theist point of view? I have no idea. You would have to ask a theist that one. I know it is my point of view. We may be unique. I look at the evidence, quite dispassionately, and my conclusion is, we may be unique. (I say dispassionately, because I furiously and dynamically want there to be other intelligent species out there. But I shall not allow that wish to interfere with a cool analysis of the facts.)
    Is this too anthropocentric to be valid? I invoke the Weak Anthropic Principle. If there were only a single intelligent species, only that species could contemplate the signifcance of that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Powerdoc
    I believe that there is there is three importants steps in order to see intelligent life. At each step the % of stopping the process increase.
    Fist step : the planet must be amino-acid friendly
    Second step : unicellular living form appear
    Third step : multicellular form of living appear
    I think you also have to ask why didn't the amphibians, or the reptiles, or the birds, or some of the other mammals develop intelligence. If it is so inevitable, how come 99.999999999% of speciec came up with it as a solution to lifes problems?

    Yours, conjecturally,
    Ophiolite
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  73. #72 Re: SETI: Is it a waste of money? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    It is conjecture that is offered in counterpoint to the thoughtless refrain which runs "The universe is a big place. We can't be the only intelligent entities in it." That is not even conjecture, it is unfounded speculation. Ward and Brownlee develop several issues that demonstrate why intelligent life is likely to be very rare indeed.
    The universe certainly IS a big place, possibly infinite, and it's not unreasonable at all to think that we aren't unique given that fact. People can demonstrate that intelligent life is rare in the extreme - and I'd agree - but what exactly does that prove? Rare and unique are ENTIRELY different animals. It seems more a stretch to me to conclude that we're unique than to conclude that we aren't.
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    Hey,

    I don't think Ophie is saying there is no other[intelligent] life, he is saying he believes there is a chance we are the first or one of the first. - Well Somebody has to be! Since our race is so bloody arrogant I am surprised his view is not the norm!

    That is not intended to say Ophie is arrogant - I think he's quite sweet [in very small doses] :wink:
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    We are the last. Or that's what I think.
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    Oh 5HIT! DOes that mean we gotta turn ALL those damn light off?
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  77. #76 Re: SETI: Is it a waste of money? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    The universe certainly IS a big place, possibly infinite, and it's not unreasonable at all to think that we aren't unique given that fact. People can demonstrate that intelligent life is rare in the extreme - and I'd agree - but what exactly does that prove? Rare and unique are ENTIRELY different animals.
    Oh, dear. I really must try to master this communication business. I thought by using the phrase "my conclusion is that we may be unique", I should have conveyed what I meant.
    Here is what I did not mean:
    I know we are unique as an intelligent species.
    I believe we are unique as an intelligent species.
    I think we are unique as an intelligent species.


    Here is what I did mean:
    Based upon a reasoned and reasonable assessment of the current evidence from a wide variety of fields it seems likely that intelligent life in the Universe is rare. It is even possible that homo sapiens may be unique in the Universe in achieving intelligence.

    And if we are not unique, where the hell is everybody? (Sorry Enrico.)
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  78. #77 Re: SETI: Is it a waste of money? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Oh, dear. I really must try to master this communication business. I thought by using the phrase "my conclusion is that we may be unique", I should have conveyed what I meant.
    Here is what I did not mean:
    I know we are unique as an intelligent species.
    I believe we are unique as an intelligent species.
    I think we are unique as an intelligent species.
    Well I can't really tell if there's sarcasm there or not. But if I were to say "I think that you may be lying" that generally implies that I do believe you are lying (just an example, I'm not saying that you're lying about anything).

    Here is what I did mean:
    Based upon a reasoned and reasonable assessment of the current evidence from a wide variety of fields it seems likely that intelligent life in the Universe is rare. It is even possible that homo sapiens may be unique in the Universe in achieving intelligence.
    I certainly agree with that, though I'd add that while it is certainly possible that we're unique, I find it unlikely. That's just a guess of course.

    And if we are not unique, where the hell is everybody? (Sorry Enrico.)
    Well that's answered the same way "Why do you think there IS intelligent life out there?". The universe is a big place, and the space between everything is unimaginably enormous.
    Couple that with the fact(?) that habitats hospitable to life are extremely rare, life itself is more rare, and intelligent life is even more rare, it's easy to conclude how difficult it would be to detect other intelligent life.
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    Here, I venture to suggest, are the facts:

    1)Life exists [so far as is known] only on planet Earth.

    2) On other planets close to Earth no life of any kind has yet been discovered or recognised.

    3) No indication of 'extraterrestrial' life has ever been recognised.

    4) On planetary bodies within the solar system (other than Earth) no indications of past life of any capability has been recognised.

    5) There is insufficient data to mathematically calculate the probability of life elswhere.

    6) There is sufficient data to preclude the existence of life[as defined by humans] from certain parts of the universe.

    Therefore:

    Any comments with regard to the existence or other, of life elsewhere in the universe is pure speculation.
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  80. #79  
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    Quote Originally Posted by billco
    Therefore:

    Any comments with regard to the existence or other, of life elsewhere in the universe is pure speculation.
    I'm not sure what your point is. This entire topic is speculation. We all know that. Is that all you are saying? Or are you suggesting that believing there IS life is somehow more of a speculation that believing that there is none? Consdering we don't even have the capability of directly observing extrasolar earth-sized planets, it seems like it's speculation on both sides.
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  81. #80 Re: SETI: Is it a waste of money? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by Powerdoc
    The Rare Earth by Ward is just conjecture, as long that the study is limited to one case the earth.
    It is conjecture that is offered in counterpoint to the thoughtless refrain which runs "The universe is a big place. We can't be the only intelligent entities in it." That is not even conjecture, it is unfounded speculation. Ward and Brownlee develop several issues that demonstrate why intelligent life is likely to be very rare indeed.
    Consider Powerdoc, three billion years and no multicellular life developed. Was life 'preparing' for its leap to metazoan status? You could argue the development of eukaryotes was a necessary step, but what, then, were the eukaryotes doing for one and a half billion years. Look, the difference between a single celled organism and a multicellular one is much, much smaller than between a non living chemical brew and the simpest life form. That huge difference was bridged in around half a billion years, yet it took six times as long to move to multicellular life. Why? Were there subtle changes going on that were 'preparing' life for the next step, or was there an external factor?
    Enter Snowball Earth. The advent of multicellular life certainly correlates with the end of what may have been a global ice age, where life lingered on around black smokers, or within the lithosphere. If this was the trigger then it was very much a chance event.
    Quote Originally Posted by Powerdoc
    The difference between common and unique is very big indeed, for me it mean something like a one for one million ratio. The word unique, let me think that the people behind this claim as an agenda : we are unique in the universe. My question is : is-it a theist point of vue ?
    Is it a theist point of view? I have no idea. You would have to ask a theist that one. I know it is my point of view. We may be unique. I look at the evidence, quite dispassionately, and my conclusion is, we may be unique. (I say dispassionately, because I furiously and dynamically want there to be other intelligent species out there. But I shall not allow that wish to interfere with a cool analysis of the facts.)
    Is this too anthropocentric to be valid? I invoke the Weak Anthropic Principle. If there were only a single intelligent species, only that species could contemplate the signifcance of that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Powerdoc
    I believe that there is there is three importants steps in order to see intelligent life. At each step the % of stopping the process increase.
    Fist step : the planet must be amino-acid friendly
    Second step : unicellular living form appear
    Third step : multicellular form of living appear
    I think you also have to ask why didn't the amphibians, or the reptiles, or the birds, or some of the other mammals develop intelligence. If it is so inevitable, how come 99.999999999% of speciec came up with it as a solution to lifes problems?

    Yours, conjecturally,
    Ophiolite
    Ophiolite you seem to be impressed by the intelligence (you are perfectly entitled to), and you rate it at the most complicated achievement in nature.

    I don't think that intelligence was the most challenging biological contest (it's just an image as there is no contest). I am more amazed, by the complex chemistry and physiology of our cells and the way they interact each others.
    In my point of vue, even a simple frog is a jewel when you consider that you will have to wrote hundred of books to discribe completely how it work. It's even more amazing if you consider how many books that we still have to wrote about it.
    And you are certainly aware, that the largest content of this book, will also fit our description.

    We human are unique, by our frontal cortex, who made us the only specie able to project it in the future. This ability to project us is our strenght but also our damnation (it lead to the fear of our future death, something disturbing).
    But in a biological point of vue, we should be aware that genetically, we have more gene and common than gene who differ with most mammals.

    You asked me, why so many animal species where not intelligent (I should say not very intelligent : they have a form of intelligence) . I will answer that intelligence is not always necessary to survive : trees are stupid but sequoia can live for thousands of years. The evolution is a selective process, the nature have find the latest tool to win the competition : intelligence. And compared to amphybians, mammals have jsut one extra layer : the cortex. We still have our "reptilian" brain, and our cortex give us the illusion that we completely control it.

    BTW I don't think that we will ever meet ET, because if the rare earth theory teach us, that intelligence may be unique, Einstein law teach us, that it's impossible to travel at a speed faster than the light. So for me the problem is not the may be, but the impossible.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    Quote Originally Posted by billco
    Therefore:

    Any comments with regard to the existence or other, of life elsewhere in the universe is pure speculation.
    I'm not sure what your point is. This entire topic is speculation. We all know that. Is that all you are saying? Or are you suggesting that believing there IS life is somehow more of a speculation that believing that there is none? Consdering we don't even have the capability of directly observing extrasolar earth-sized planets, it seems like it's speculation on both sides.
    My point is that the only logical conclusion you can draw from the facts I have stated is that we may be the ONLY intelligent life anywhere.

    That is, that the evidence so far is against the existence of ET.

    In the same way, there is no solid evidence for the existence of the Loch Ness monster, or some surviving outpost of the dinosaur kingdom.

    Science is about explaining phenomona, there is currently NO phenomina of ET.
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  83. #82  
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    Quote Originally Posted by billco
    My point is that the only logical conclusion you can draw from the facts I have stated is that we may be the ONLY intelligent life anywhere.

    That is, that the evidence so far is against the existence of ET.

    In the same way, there is no solid evidence for the existence of the Loch Ness monster, or some surviving outpost of the dinosaur kingdom.
    Those analogies are very poor - we have a pretty complete picture of the lake, but not of the universe. A more appropriate analogy would be to go into a deep cave bereft of all signs of life, and based upon 1 second's worth of observation conclude that there is no life anywhere on the planet.

    There's simply not enough information to call a conclusion in either direction "logical".
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  84. #83  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    Quote Originally Posted by billco
    My point is that the only logical conclusion you can draw from the facts I have stated is that we may be the ONLY intelligent life anywhere.

    That is, that the evidence so far is against the existence of ET.

    In the same way, there is no solid evidence for the existence of the Loch Ness monster, or some surviving outpost of the dinosaur kingdom.
    Those analogies are very poor - we have a pretty complete picture of the lake, but not of the universe. A more appropriate analogy would be to go into a deep cave bereft of all signs of life, and based upon 1 second's worth of observation conclude that there is no life anywhere on the planet.

    There's simply not enough information to call a conclusion in either direction "logical".
    You have a complete picture of the lake but NOT wholly taken at a particular instant.
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  85. #84 Re: SETI: Is it a waste of money? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Oh, dear. I really must try to master this communication business. I thought by using the phrase "my conclusion is that we may be unique", I should have conveyed what I meant.
    Well I can't really tell if there's sarcasm there or not. But if I were to say "I think that you may be lying" that generally implies that I do believe you are lying (just an example, I'm not saying that you're lying about anything).
    Not sarcasm. Frustration and annoyance that you had apparently failed to recognise that I said 'may'. 'May' is a very powerful world that quite alters the meaning of sentences in which it is included.
    Quote Originally Posted by PowerDoc
    Ophiolite you seem to be impressed by the intelligence (you are perfectly entitled to), and you rate it at the most complicated achievement in nature.
    I have no idea why you think this. The subject of this thread is the Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence. Therefore, I am going to discuss the likelihood of intelligence, not other some other characteristic of life, unless it bears upon the deveopment of intelligence.
    You then go on to note that "intelligence is not necessary to survive". This is exactly my point. Since it is not neccessary, then it is not inevitable. This is my central point. The development of intelligence may not be inevitable.

    As to your point about never meeting ET, you have made some powerful and possibly invalid assumptions. You are viewing the limitations of light speed and travel time as huge obstacles in interstellar travel. You have ignored these possibilities:
    a) ET has a much longer life span than us.
    b) ET uses generation star ships.
    c) ET uses hibernation/cryogenic techniques.
    d) ET sends out robotic craft with her DNA and automatic nursery systems to raise a new generation of ETs when a suitable system is found.
    e) Something else we haven't thought of yet.
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    Man is a pack animal, he needs other humans around him for support and comfort which, I believe clouds judgement when debating the existence or otherwise of ET. We know that life can exist at many levels and among the animal kingdom our intelligence sets us apart. For the sake of argument may I propose that 'intelligence' in this debate should be limited to any lifeform, anywhere in the universe which may be seeking out other lifeforms of the same Ilk?

    Having said this I think we all believe there is a high probability of life existing somewhere else in some form[if only] for the reason that we are begining to find planets around many of our neighbouring stars. We now know that Mars and Venus have both had periods in their existence that could have supported life at least for a while.

    There have been many millions of species of plants and animals on earth yet only ONE (as far as we can tell) has had the mental capacity to ponder existence. That's 1 species in about 3 billion years out of millions of species. Pick any species at any time and the odds are Trillions to one of it being Humans at a point where they are able to seek out other life. There are reckoned to be around 30 billion 'sun like' stars in our galaxy, so my guess is there's a 10% chance of 'intelligent' life in the milky way. We are that 10% chance.

    You can come up with an equally valid set of statistics to show a greater or lesser chance but whichever model you use it always comes up as being vary rare to zilch. To date there has been no life within 40Ly of us that has picked up and decided to respond to, our search. My opinion is that if a signal is found but NOT understood it should be returned but transmitted in reverse order. Such an action would show and intelligent lifeform that there is 'somebody out there'. To just return it 'as is' would give rise to the question of 'echo' to reverse it would not.

    Incidently if you have a powerful torch/flashlight, shine it into the dark night sky, turn it on and off while you do it, It's about the only thing you can do which will last 'forever', nobody will see it as it will be 'drowned out' by the sun's light but it will be there...
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    Quote Originally Posted by billco
    There have been many millions of species of plants and animals on earth yet only ONE (as far as we can tell) has had the mental capacity to ponder existence. That's 1 species in about 3 billion years out of millions of species. Pick any species at any time and the odds are Trillions to one of it being Humans at a point where they are able to seek out other life. There are reckoned to be around 30 billion 'sun like' stars in our galaxy, so my guess is there's a 10% chance of 'intelligent' life in the milky way. We are that 10% chance.
    Well you forgot that :
    - humans have killed their cousins. Many antrhopologist think that our specy have destroyed your needertal cousins. So without us, the great humanist, there will be probabily more than one intelligent race
    - each planet should be able to produce millions of species either, so it increase a lot the statistic

    I think that we do not have enough data on external solar system, in order to do accurate speculations on this subject. I think that we are sinking into a sea of conjectures.
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    I can agree with you but 'our cousins' existed at the same time and from the same parent species, so I'm not sure I would amend my argument to include them.
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  89. #88  
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    4 million isnt that much money when talking about space research, but doing anything year after year and continuing to get no results while spending millions is just wasteful. Of course if the data they are gathering can be used for something useful, Im all for it.
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  90. #89 Re: SETI: Is it a waste of money? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by PowerDoc
    Ophiolite you seem to be impressed by the intelligence (you are perfectly entitled to), and you rate it at the most complicated achievement in nature.
    I have no idea why you think this. The subject of this thread is the Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence. Therefore, I am going to discuss the likelihood of intelligence, not other some other characteristic of life, unless it bears upon the deveopment of intelligence.
    You then go on to note that "intelligence is not necessary to survive". This is exactly my point. Since it is not neccessary, then it is not inevitable. This is my central point. The development of intelligence may not be inevitable.

    As to your point about never meeting ET, you have made some powerful and possibly invalid assumptions. You are viewing the limitations of light speed and travel time as huge obstacles in interstellar travel. You have ignored these possibilities:
    a) ET has a much longer life span than us.
    b) ET uses generation star ships.
    c) ET uses hibernation/cryogenic techniques.
    d) ET sends out robotic craft with her DNA and automatic nursery systems to raise a new generation of ETs when a suitable system is found.
    e) Something else we haven't thought of yet.
    My point is that intelligence is not so much difficult to achieve. the gap in complexity is greater from the amibia to the mammal, than to the mammal to the man (remember we share 99 % of our DNA with the chimps). And if I changed mammal to amphybian, I think that in a DNA point of vue, I still be true.
    So even if intelligence is a very rare occurence, it's not so rare. This occurence will be unique, only if the number of planets compatible wiht life is very low.
    That's why we do not have sufficiant data on the subjects. We should know more the number of potential planet within our galaxy. It's difficult to solve a deux factors equation, when you don't have any idea about one factor, and just making conjectures with the other.
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    Quote Originally Posted by billco
    I can agree with you but 'our cousins' existed at the same time and from the same parent species, so I'm not sure I would amend my argument to include them.
    well at least it do not change much. My phylosophical question : is an intelligent specie, will tolerate an another one, who challenge them in this criteria ?
    For the human the answer seems to be no. No there is still a chance that other higly intelligent being do not act the same way.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Powerdoc
    Quote Originally Posted by billco
    I can agree with you but 'our cousins' existed at the same time and from the same parent species, so I'm not sure I would amend my argument to include them.
    well at least it do not change much. My phylosophical question : is an intelligent specie, will tolerate an another one, who challenge them in this criteria ?
    For the human the answer seems to be no. No there is still a chance that other higly intelligent being do not act the same way.
    From what we see in the animal kingdom I'd suggest that dominance requires it suppress's competition, for this reason I'll hope we don't meet ET especially if he has conquered space travel.
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    Quote Originally Posted by billco
    Quote Originally Posted by Powerdoc
    Quote Originally Posted by billco
    I can agree with you but 'our cousins' existed at the same time and from the same parent species, so I'm not sure I would amend my argument to include them.
    well at least it do not change much. My phylosophical question : is an intelligent specie, will tolerate an another one, who challenge them in this criteria ?
    For the human the answer seems to be no. No there is still a chance that other higly intelligent being do not act the same way.
    From what we see in the animal kingdom I'd suggest that dominance requires it suppress's competition, for this reason I'll hope we don't meet ET especially if he has conquered space travel.
    Exactly
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    I think that all fields of study are important in there own right. No matter how rediculous and or crazy they may be.
    "Nature is an infinite sphere whos center is everywhere and whose circumferense is nowhere."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thamnophis
    I think that all fields of study are important in there own right. No matter how rediculous and or crazy they may be.
    There are five possible outcomes to the possibility of ET discovering us.

    1) ET will ignore us.
    2) ET will destroy us.
    3) ET will share the universe with us and we will live in harmony.
    4) ET will simply monitor and observe us.
    5) ET will use us for some purpose.

    And from the human point of view;

    There will be those who mistrust ET.
    Those who welcome ET

    Which do you think is the most likely or do you consider there are other possibilities?.
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    Most likely because of how humans handle the fact of different colored skin, I dont think they would handle meeting an entirely new species that is able to compete with us. So while I dont know what form ET will be or what the exact human reaction will be, Im confident that it will be BAD.
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    So let's keep our heads down, and when they come looking to see who's been chucking out all this radio crap, let us all look skyward and whistle!
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    6) ET cannot go to us.


    we, as humans exist 3million years. maybe a split of a split of a millisecond relative to the universe.
    ET din't see us, busy interacting ith other IB.
    I haven't come to fight my word, but to find the truth.
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    if you were part of a society that to compare with ours, was a billion years of intelligence in advance and could even dream what that might be, what would you suggest that society would want with us. it would be like going out to the nearest ant hill and discussing astronomy. you would get as much from that, as they would get from us...

    i am however in favor of any effort to advance our knowledge, private or funded, in the hope someday we will advance to a point some advanced form of life, will want this contact.
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