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Thread: Life in the Galaxy.

  1. #1 Life in the Galaxy. 
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    Am I right in thinking that a significant number of astronomers now believe that altho' life may be fairly common in the Milky Way these life forms are likely to be quite primitive and that we could be the only advanced technological civilisation in the Galaxy?


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    at the moment there's no clear-cut way of telling one way or another - anyone who tells you otherwise is speculating


    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  4. #3 Re: Life in the Galaxy. 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halliday
    Am I right in thinking that a significant number of astronomers now believe that altho' life may be fairly common in the Milky Way these life forms are likely to be quite primitive and that we could be the only advanced technological civilisation in the Galaxy?
    It's just another form of questioning whether lifeexists elsewhere than earth.

    I just wonder that if life exists on other planets or places might it not be that we can't see them or feel them. Might be out of range of spectrum ever known by man.
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    In my speculational theory(though the two words may take on closely the same meaning), I believe that life can exist in numerous forms, even unlike us. Whatever is able to transfer information should have it's possiblities of becoming an evolving form. Albeit, by multiple successions of chance information flow.
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnix
    at the moment there's no clear-cut way of telling one way or another - anyone who tells you otherwise is speculating
    Given that estimates of the number of Milky Way stars(many likely to have planets) range from 200 to 400 billion it seems almost impossible to believe that other intelligent species do not exist within our Galaxy.
    If a number of these civilisations survived,began exploring space,and were older and therefore much more advanced than our own it seems odd that we have not had some type of contact with such a civilisation.
    After all the best piece of evidence we have is the fact that humans exist,on Earth, and are starting to explore the Solar System and will,eventually,travel to the stars.
    Some current estimates suggest that a sufficiently advanced technological civilisation could explore much of the Galaxy a couple of million years after they had begun to explore space and that figure may be a conservative one.
    Probably no working astronomer would bother with such speculation but I feel there must be "something" out there so where the hell are they?
    Maybe we are alone in the Galaxy!
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    For a civilization to last a million years to explore the galaxy would be very rare though Halliday - the more intelligent the species the better it is at causing its own demise.
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by Halliday
    Given that estimates of the number of Milky Way stars(many likely to have planets) range from 200 to 400 billion it seems almost impossible to believe that other intelligent species do not exist within our Galaxy.
    chances are you're probably right about it being likely that life exists elsewhere, some of which may even be intelligent
    but as i've said elsewhere, our present knowledge of planets containing life is limited to our own and from a sample size of 1 it's very hard to estimate whether the probability of life and/or intelligent life is high, low or v.v.v.low

    in our current state of knowledge (or lack thereof) it's impossible to decide whether life is very common or extremely uncommon
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR
    Quote Originally Posted by Halliday
    Given that estimates of the number of Milky Way stars(many likely to have planets) range from 200 to 400 billion it seems almost impossible to believe that other intelligent species do not exist within our Galaxy.
    chances are you're probably right about it being likely that life exists elsewhere, some of which may even be intelligent
    but as i've said elsewhere, our present knowledge of planets containing life is limited to our own and from a sample size of 1 it's very hard to estimate whether the probability of life and/or intelligent life is high, low or v.v.v.low

    in our current state of knowledge (or lack thereof) it's impossible to decide whether life is very common or extremely uncommon
    You've hit the nail on the head. It's all speculation based on not much of anything. There's something like 10 to the 21 power of stars in the 100 billion or so galaxis that make up the universe. Is that a lot? It depends. A lot in terms of human experience with numbers but not a lot in term of mathematical possibilities and permutations.

    It's all 'ifs'. Much of the speculation will be nudged along when we finally create lfe in a lab. What are the variables needed?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jellyologist
    ... What are the variables needed?
    for life as we know it, the first ingredient is water

    on a guess i'd say expect also the following ingredients : sulphur, aluminium silicates, heat and pressure + also some carbon source

    the place : either mid-ocean black smokers or inside the earth's crust
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by river_rat
    For a civilization to last a million years to explore the galaxy would be very rare though Halliday - the more intelligent the species the better it is at causing its own demise.
    I hope that humans do survive to explore the cosmos and surely one of the reasons why this is important is that,at present,all "our eggs are in one basket"-the Earth!
    Nobody can predict how space exploration will develop but we can envisage a situation where it may become possible to make planets (within our own Solar System)such as Mars,less hostile, and to visit and possibly colonise Earth-like planets around local stars. It may happen that huge starships will leave Earth,never to return,and that generations of individuals will spend their entire lives on such ships and also have the ability to build others in space.
    Surely it is reasonable to suggest that the exploration of space makes the survival of our species/civilisation more likely even if some dreadful disaster befell the home planet.
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    Im not sure but I think some scientists think organic molecules can form in space (asteroids?), if thats the case I also think that theres a good chance there are other complex lifeforms in our galaxy.

    I look forward to see if eventual probes can find microbial-like life on one of the Jovian moons. (if life has spawned in two different place and vastly different environements in our own solar system, the prospect for life in our galaxy would be great)
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    You guys know the Drake equation right? Kinka' complicated. I've got a much simpler one:

    N=2

    My reasoning for this is simple: Life is massively contingent and there's plenty of stars in the galaxy. These factors cancel leaving unity. I added one because I'm optimistic. Now I believe there's tons of life in the galaxy but not intelligent life and not at the same time. That's why I suspect aliens have never visited earth, will never visit earth, and since the distances are so great and the environment so harsh, I doublt H.sapiens will do likewise. And if H.sapiens did ever try, the environment and time would cause such traumautic stress to the gene pool that when it got to its destination we'd need another genus-species classification: Astro exploralis or A.exploralis ( no bones, no muscles, just hydraulics).

    Edit: Alright, suppose if no bones then new family too. I'm just speculating so no need to get it exactly right I think.
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by river_rat
    For a civilization to last a million years to explore the galaxy would be very rare though Halliday - the more intelligent the species the better it is at causing its own demise.
    So say's the earth human.

    Seriously though, I think that is a big assumption. Our civilization is the way it is because of of innumeral events that have taken place throughout our history.

    I don't see projecting our experience/history on another species of intelligent beings as necessary.

    Of course, I could be a complete nut

    Beam me up :wink:
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    Most star systems are binary arent they ?
    Wouldnt this affect the possible explosion of life ?
    The hand of time rested on the half-hour mark, and all along that old front line of the English there came a whistling and a crying. The men of the first wave climbed up the parapets, in tumult, darkness, and the presence of death, and having done with all pleasant things, advanced across No Man's Land to begin the Battle of the Somme. - Poet John Masefield.

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  16. #15  
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    I think intelligent life in our galaxy is more rare than we may wish to think. If we consider that it took about four billion years for the human species to evolve on earth, that's a long time for a planet to exist without intelligent life living on it. Also, the evolution of homo sapiens is only a result of many random events. A planet like ours goes through a multitude of natural disasters. Volcanisn, collisions by asteroids, natural occuring climate changes, etc. all are common events over the life-span of a planet like earth. Change any of these events in the timeline of earth and there's a good chance we wouldn't be here today. It took a random collision with a meteor 65 million years ago to lay the foundation for our evolution to occur. and then more benificial random events had to happen for us to have evolved into who we are today.

    So I think of all the planets in our galaxy which have the possibilities for the evolution of an intelligent species, perhaps few actually have the chance to evolve, given all the random benificial events that are required for this to occur.

    Also, how many sun-like stars in our galaxy were born a billion or more years before our sun was, or a billion or more years after? That may make a large difference in the population of intelligence species existing at this present moment. Our large moon also plays a part in that it stabilizes earth's axis of rotation. Without this stabilization our planet's climate would continually change drastically over time. The existence of our moon is another random event. Then again, what are the odds of a planet like earth orbiting a sun-like star in exactly the right orbit for the conditions of intelligent life to be possible?

    Even given the vast number of stars in our galaxy, if we add all these probabilities up, it seems to me that the probability of intelligence life existing today in our galaxy would be small. Of course there may be other circumstances that would enable intellilgence to evolve, stars perhaps wouldn't have to be sun-like, for instance, and intelligent life may evolve on non-earth-like planets.

    Of course I may be mistaken in all of this and intelligent life may exist throughout the galaxy. We won't really know until we discover them or they discover us.
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  17. #16 Re: Life in the Galaxy. 
    Forum Ph.D. Wolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halliday
    Am I right in thinking that a significant number of astronomers now believe that altho' life may be fairly common in the Milky Way these life forms are likely to be quite primitive and that we could be the only advanced technological civilisation in the Galaxy?
    In the solar system, yes, in the galaxy, no.

    In further rant....

    There's an interesting argument going around about what aliens will actually look like. Sure there's all that creepy stuff from horror and sci-fi films, but what happens when one takes into consideration evolution?



    The problem really depends on how you view the process of evolution. Geerat Vermeij, a paleontologist who spends a bit of time thinking about this, believes that aliens will actually end up looking a lot like us. Anyway, the theory is that evolution creates animals and plants based on the needs of the environment. Given that life is predicted to only be found on planets with environments similar to that where life is found on Earth, it can be logically construed that the same challenges will face organisms living on the alien world. While exact likeness is statistically probably unlikely, similarities are sure to abound. Many things are likely to be very similar, such as plants being predominately green, due to the biological trends of photosynthesis and the development of chlorophyll.

    On the other side of the argument is the theory that, if the time-line of the Earth could be rewound, evolution would evolve wildly different than how we know it. This is a theory promoted by the late Stephen Jay Gould, a Harvard biologist who also spent part of his time thinking about this stuff. Gould, and those who follow this theory, believe that evolution is entirely random, and that the challenges that faced our evolutionary ancestors could be resolved in a number of ways. The fact that we are the way we are is purely due to the particular random path our evolution took. If evolution started all over, it is entirely possible that things could turn out completely different.



    Of course, the problem with the later theory is that there's no fossil proof to support it. We can see life evolving in the fossil records, but in truth more often than not we see creatures mutating into new forms, and survival of the fittest cleaning things up. If there were multiple possible solutions, those solutions would evolve right along side the known solutions, and not only would there be fossils, but there's a very good chance that we'd see more examples of alternate evolutionary solutions coexisting in the same environment. About the closest thing we have to an example of this happening at all might be the existence of creatures such as bats and birds. Both have developed flight as a way of overcoming the challenge of height and distance, yet at the same time it can be argued that both bats and birds fly but they developed these abilities out of different needs. Are we likely to, then, see creatures who fly by gas-sacks, instead of wings, given the same evolutionary challenges? Probably not.

    So what do you think?

    All I know is that if we one day make contact with aliens, and they turn out to be just as screwed up as us, I'm nuking everything...

    Personally, while I believe evolution will lead alien life down similar paths as ours did, I don't believe that alien life will be "human." I'm intrigued greatly by the idea that sentient life could take many other forms, leading from the same creatures we see around us that, for lack of a better description, "just didn't make it."

    The fossil record shows that human evolution nearly ended in disaster several times in our primitive history. At one point there were almost too few of us to form a viable gene pool. (If you ask me, "almost" is being optimistic.) So what would have happened if primates had died off, or primitive man went extinct? Who would be next? The idea that other animals could evolve into erect, sentient creatures, is a fascinating idea, and personally I believe makes for more interesting aliens. :-D
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  18. #17  
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    1: I can input a set of defensible values into the Drake equation and come up with only one civilisation in our galaxy.

    2: Microbial life is possibly rampant throughout the galaxy.

    3: Multicellular life is possibly common in the galaxy.

    4: Complex multicellular life is probably rare in the galaxy.

    5: Inteliigent life is possibly unique.
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  19. #18 I think we'll find extraterrestrial life soon. 
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    Recently scientists found a rocky planet obiting a red drawf star that was just 7.5 times as massive as the earth and only twice the diameter. Astronomers are confident they can find a planet no more massive than earth soon. I believe the best place to look is red dwarf systems, for these stars are less massive than our sun, and are tugged around more easily by low mass planets. I am shure other bloggers have read about this finding on the internet or elsewhere.

    I think the chanches are good we'll find a planet suitable for primative life. I don't believe we will find any intelligent life, as I feel civalizations have a propensity for destroying themselves a short time after they become technological.

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  20. #19  
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    life even intelligent life is probably highly abundent in the galaxy but if the first indication of another species was hitler would you what to come and say hello, just look at the crap we do to each other think of the galaxy has a big party would you want to invite the trigger happy nutter from down the street theres probably a big intergalactic Quarantine zone around the sol system.
    As for them being able to travel the great distances to get between the stars think of what man has done in just 2-3 hundred years we've gone from going no faster than the speed of a horse to now going faster than sound were will we be in another 2 hundred years maybe by the time we get to the point were we can get to lets say alpha centauri the human race may have evolved beyond religon and the need to fight over this bit of soil is mine. lets face it if you were a hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional being would you visit
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    What are your views on this, plasma or life?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWOpf6h8zhI


    It has very strange movements.
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    If we accept the theory of that life happened by one of chance on earth, in which case possiblitiy looks zero to repeat again somewhere.

    On the other hand if we come from one generic DNA pool form somewhere, then there will be life on other planets that favours it.
    Also means there is a creater somewhere.

    Life on earth and other planets could have come from inter-galatic explorers, this is quite possible just as we are almost ready to explore ourselves.
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    I remember reading the Sci-Fi novel 'The Black Cloud' by Fred Hoyle, controversial astronomer, one of the founders of the Steady State theory and noted for his work on nucleosynthesis, whom many thought deserved the Nobel prize when it was given instead to two of his collaborators. He thought that primitive life first evolved in space, on comets for instance, and spread throughout the universe that way. Anyway, the story is about an immense intelligent gas cloud that drifts betweent he sun and the earth, threatening the existence of life here.

    So perhaps life may also exist in space without the need for a planet as its evolutionary environment.
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  24. #23  
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiva108
    If we accept the theory of that life happened by one of chance on earth, in which case possiblitiy looks zero to repeat again somewhere.
    Even if the chance of developing life is incredibly small, given the enormously vast universe, even a minuscule probability can become abundant.
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  25. #24  
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    I partly agree with Wolf, that there would be similarities, much like how there are common elements most life forms share here on Earth.

    Some things are just plain ideal from a practical standpoint and probably woulnd't change. For instance: I'm sure they would have 2 arms instead of 4 or 8. The number of fingers is anyone's guess, however. The use of some kind of language is pretty much a given, as well.

    As far as the course evolution took on Earth, it's not so much a question of whether multiple different mutations could have solved the same problems, as a question of whether the environment they were adapting to would always be the same everywhere.

    Mammals, for example, seem to have become dominant on this world due to specific circumstances at a particular period in world history. What if the conditions that favoured the dinosaurs had never changed, and they became the evolutionary path of choice?

    They also might be able to biologically engineer themselves to take whatever form/genetic traits they want.
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    what if the big headed and big eyed "alien" is actually our later-evolution. and if we all came from the same big bang then we might all evolve the same.
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    just look at all the different life which as evolved on earth. there trying to log all the species of all the families and when completed expect to list nearly 1.75 million different species. now add, its said 99% of all the species which have live are now gone.
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  28. #27  
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    Simon Conway Morris believes that any intelligent lifeforms are likely to be four limbed bipeds with binocular vision and an encased brain located at the pinnacle of their body. [I think I have accurately reflected his view.]

    Stephen Gould, on the other hand, famously remarked that if you replayed the tape of life it would come out completely different every time.

    Fact: we just don't know.

    Edited for an unforgiveable use of there rather than their.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Fact: we just don't know.
    true - we don't know whether convergent evolution is universal or something that just happens on earth
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    In a relation, rather possible there was live in our galaxy than there was no. By the means of evaluation
    we have today also the only valid scientific approach to the matter.
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    If there was intelligent life in our galaxy we would be getting showered with radio waves by now.

    Chances are there is "Life" in our galaxy but probably primitive. By the time our technology reaches the point where we can traverse the galaxy they will probably be at the same stage we are in now...


    Outside our galaxy im sure there is a plethora of life both the same and far beyond our technology.


    Carl Sagan's theories on the subject are quite fascinating. Who knows how many civilizations have sprouted up and killed themselves off in our galaxy, maybe even on our planet. We could be the 3rd series of intelligent life on this planet with our predecessors eradicated by either themselves or by an asteroid.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gravitational
    If there was intelligent life in our galaxy we would be getting showered with radio waves by now.

    Chances are there is "Life" in our galaxy but probably primitive. By the time our technology reaches the point where we can traverse the galaxy they will probably be at the same stage we are in now...


    Outside our galaxy im sure there is a plethora of life both the same and far beyond our technology.


    Carl Sagan's theories on the subject are quite fascinating. Who knows how many civilizations have sprouted up and killed themselves off in our galaxy, maybe even on our planet. We could be the 3rd series of intelligent life on this planet with our predecessors eradicated by either themselves or by an asteroid.
    No, thas a geologist I can assure you that we are not the 3rd series of intelligent life on Earth. Where did you read such nonsense?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gravitational
    If there was intelligent life in our galaxy we would be getting showered with radio waves by now.
    This assumes that intelligent life uses radio waves for communication; that these radiowaves are powerful; that despite being powerful they are non-directional. Those are all powerful assumptions. On what basis do you make them and justify them?

    You also assume that the alien intelligences want to communicate. They may have learnt it is best to keep very quite, to avoid being absorbed by the Borg.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gravitational
    Chances are there is "Life" in our galaxy but probably primitive. By the time our technology reaches the point where we can traverse the galaxy they will probably be at the same stage we are in now...
    On what basis do you make this claim. Most 'experts' would disagree with you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jellyologist
    No, thas a geologist I can assure you that we are not the 3rd series of intelligent life on Earth. Where did you read such nonsense?
    Gravitational did not say we were the third series of intelligent life on Earth, he said we could be. There is a very important distinction between those two, that goes beyond mere semantics.
    Moreover, Gravitational did not say that we might be the 3rd series of fecund, technologically advanced, intelligent life on th eEarth; only that we might be the 3rd series of intelligent life. Do you see the difference?

    I think he is stretching it a bit with third series, but I would be loathe to rule out an earlier inteligent species amongst the theropods. Bi-pedal hunters, with an outstanding record for adaptability to varied environmental conditions - a perfect source for an earlier intellect.
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  34. #33  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by Gravitational
    If there was intelligent life in our galaxy we would be getting showered with radio waves by now.
    This assumes that intelligent life uses radio waves for communication; that these radiowaves are powerful; that despite being powerful they are non-directional. Those are all powerful assumptions. On what basis do you make them and justify them?

    You also assume that the alien intelligences want to communicate. They may have learnt it is best to keep very quite, to avoid being absorbed by the Borg.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gravitational
    Chances are there is "Life" in our galaxy but probably primitive. By the time our technology reaches the point where we can traverse the galaxy they will probably be at the same stage we are in now...
    On what basis do you make this claim. Most 'experts' would disagree with you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jellyologist
    No, thas a geologist I can assure you that we are not the 3rd series of intelligent life on Earth. Where did you read such nonsense?
    Gravitational did not say we were the third series of intelligent life on Earth, he said we could be. There is a very important distinction between those two, that goes beyond mere semantics.
    Moreover, Gravitational did not say that we might be the 3rd series of fecund, technologically advanced, intelligent life on th eEarth; only that we might be the 3rd series of intelligent life. Do you see the difference?

    I think he is stretching it a bit with third series, but I would be loathe to rule out an earlier inteligent species amongst the theropods. Bi-pedal hunters, with an outstanding record for adaptability to varied environmental conditions - a perfect source for an earlier intellect.
    One has yet arrived. See for yourself http://www.andy-borg.de/.
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  35. #34  
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    [quote="Jellyologist"]
    Quote Originally Posted by Gravitational

    No, thas a geologist I can assure you that we are not the 3rd series of intelligent life on Earth. Where did you read such nonsense?

    Famous last words. No need to get combative about it.


    "I can assure you that in the 4.6 billion year this planet has been around we are the only intelligent species to have lived"

    Bold statement....

    I was speaking in the terms of Dinosaurs, Mammals, ect.... Intelligence doesn’t mean man like intelligence. There are many forms. Hell the oldest Dino fossil is 250 MILLION years old... There was nothing else before then? Prove it..

    Self aware intelligence... now that’s another theory all together. One that even the best geologist cant "Assure" anyone of...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by Gravitational
    If there was intelligent life in our galaxy we would be getting showered with radio waves by now.
    This assumes that intelligent life uses radio waves for communication; that these radiowaves are powerful; that despite being powerful they are non-directional. Those are all powerful assumptions. On what basis do you make them and justify them?

    So what your saying is this intelligent life bypassed the use of radio waves while climbing the ladder of technology?? I find that hard to believe. If they are primitive to us, than yes, it is possible they haven’t discovered one of the things that make up the basic universe.


    You also assume that the alien intelligences want to communicate. They may have learnt it is best to keep very quite, to avoid being absorbed by the Borg.

    I agree they would have shed this older technology for something new, but due to radio waves traveling at a finite speed we would still be detecting the rise of that technology as it was developed due to the distance (Time) the wave needs to travel before it gets to us.

    By the time our radio waves bounce off of some advanced civilization we might have given up that technology 10,000 years prior to its detection, but due to the time lapse they would be able to pinpoint our location based on our primitive technology use.


    Quote Originally Posted by Gravitational
    Chances are there is "Life" in our galaxy but probably primitive. By the time our technology reaches the point where we can traverse the galaxy they will probably be at the same stage we are in now...
    On what basis do you make this claim. Most 'experts' would disagree with you.

    Just my own thoughts. I tend not to listen to the "Experts" on this subject due to them not knowing anymore on the subject than you or I. Its pure theory.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jellyologist
    No, thas a geologist I can assure you that we are not the 3rd series of intelligent life on Earth. Where did you read such nonsense?
    Gravitational did not say we were the third series of intelligent life on Earth, he said we could be. There is a very important distinction between those two, that goes beyond mere semantics.
    Moreover, Gravitational did not say that we might be the 3rd series of fecund, technologically advanced, intelligent life on th eEarth; only that we might be the 3rd series of intelligent life. Do you see the difference?

    Thank you for understanding.
    I think he is stretching it a bit with third series, but I would be loathe to rule out an earlier inteligent species amongst the theropods. Bi-pedal hunters, with an outstanding record for adaptability to varied environmental conditions - a perfect source for an earlier intellect.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Gravitational
    If there was intelligent life in our galaxy we would be getting showered with radio waves by now.
    Eh, that's kinda a science-fiction view of the concept. The chances that a bit of a radio signal is received, and that there is enough of the signal to determine that it was from an intelligent source (ie not naturally occurring) is incredibly small.

    Even if we assume that a whopping 10% of our galaxy has solar systems inhabited with intelligences capable of producing radio emissions, the likelihood that such a fragment would be picked up by receivers on our planet is still very small. Over distance and time, we could be pelted with billions upon billions of radio signals, and not a single one would be decipherable.

    It's probably more likely that, if such a scenario existed, we would receive a fragment of signal and claim it was from an intelligent source, only to find it was a pure coincidence of probability. Enough monkeys banging away at keyboards will eventually churn out words.

    There's also the further confusion that if we received a signal, it could very well be a returning bounce from a transmission WE put out many years ago.

    I don't think we'll "accidentally" discover transmissions from other intelligent races, until we figure out how to communicate ourselves. Once you figure out "what's the best way to let other systems know we're here," you can begin looking for those types of transmissions. Radio waves are nice, but we're not really focusing on anything right now. We're just making a lot of indecipherable noise.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gravitational
    So what your saying is this intelligent life bypassed the use of radio waves while climbing the ladder of technology?? I find that hard to believe. If they are primitive to us, than yes, it is possible they haven’t discovered one of the things that make up the basic universe.
    I am not saying that at all. As Wolf points out, signal to noise ratio for casual radio transmissions would deteriorate so much that unless the aliens were sitting on our doorstep they could not pick it up.
    Deliberate radio transmissions would very likely be focused, to avoid power waste. These transmissions would be closed to us, unless the aliens had delibertely targeted the Earth (out of billions of potential targets) for the transmissions.
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    There's also the further confusion that if we received a signal, it could very well be a returning bounce from a transmission WE put out many years ago.
    Hilarious concept.
    Scientist to the President:
    "Mr President sir, we have discovered that Aliens do in fact exist, and that they produce Jazz music on instruments awefully similar in sound to ones found on Earth".


    Chances are there is "Life" in our galaxy but probably primitive. By the time our technology reaches the point where we can traverse the galaxy they will probably be at the same stage we are in now...
    Considering that it has taken 2.7 billion years since life can be first documented on Earth, for it to reach our stage of development. This doesn't necessarily mean it'll take the same amount of time for another planet to evolve life to a similar stage of development. Hell if we ran the clock of the universe back to about 2.7 billion years ago and set things going again there is no good guarantee that we'd still be having this conversation today.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Deliberate radio transmissions would very likely be focused, to avoid power waste. These transmissions would be closed to us, unless the aliens had delibertely targeted the Earth (out of billions of potential targets) for the transmissions.
    The problem is, even a "deliberate" signal would have to be transmitted both relatively close by, and very narrowly. As distance increases, the transmission slowly starts to expand outwards, so even a targeted transmission could not reach too far away.

    The other problem is time. Stars, in a fashion, transmit a signal of light in all directions, and we DO pick up that signal by the tiny bit that heads our way. However, a lot of it is REALLY old because it takes so long for light to reach the Earth. Radio waves travel at the speed of light, so a signal transmitted 200-ly away will still take 200 years to get here. By then, who knows what could be going on with those who transmitted the signal. If there was intelligent life near Alpha Centauri, it would take 4.3 years to send a communication one way, and that's assuming the signal was coherent enough to make sense after it traveled that distance.

    We could very well receive a "targeted" signal from another race, only to find out it was sent half a billion years ago.

    I think it's more realistic to assume that until communication methods advance to a higher level, communication with other intelligent life in the universe (or even this galaxy) probably won't occur. There will need to be advances that allow for communication across vast distances, quickly and effectively. This will probably be directly tied to discoveries and advancements in travel, since this would involve FTL technologies...probably.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Deliberate radio transmissions would very likely be focused, to avoid power waste. These transmissions would be closed to us, unless the aliens had delibertely targeted the Earth (out of billions of potential targets) for the transmissions.
    The problem is, even a "deliberate" signal would have to be transmitted both relatively close by, and very narrowly.
    Relatively close by could very reasonably be 500 light years. The narrow beam would be achieved through use of a laser rather than conventional radio waves.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    The other problem is time. ......Radio waves travel at the speed of light, so a signal transmitted 200-ly away will still take 200 years to get here. By then, who knows what could be going on with those who transmitted the signal.........
    You are assuming aliens have a life span comparable with or shorter than humans.
    You are assuming that aliens are unable to conceive of and implement projects that will take generations to complete.
    In short, you are assuming that aliens are not alien.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    You are assuming aliens have a life span comparable with or shorter than humans.
    Not really. I'm not gonna go into what the chances are that another intelligent race has the same life-span as humans, but life-span isn't really the issue. Who wants to have a game of Pong with an alien race at 200-year ticks?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    You are assuming that aliens are unable to conceive of and implement projects that will take generations to complete.
    I'm not saying they're "unable to" I'm saying that, like us, they would probably see a communication device that takes 200+ years to transmit one way as impractical.

    Even if we assume that these aliens live for thousands of years, making a 200-tick conversation liveable, there's still breakdowns in the system.

    For starters, WE don't live 200+ years. We'd have to send our one-way communication, and then pass on what we wanted to say next to our children's children's children, so they could see the response, and respond, in 200 years.

    Second, even if both sides have a solution for better communication or travel, and could transmit that information, if there's even a single question, error, or misenterpretation, it will take 200 years to say "Huh?" and another 200 to receive back "RTFM!"

    It could potentially take well over a thousand years to do anything across a transmission channel like that. How good do you think the chances are that the human race will be able to keep open a communications channel for that long? Heck, even the first 200-years would be impressive!

    In the end I still stand behind the point I made earlier, which is that there will need to be advancements in communications technology, before long distance interstellar communication becomes practical.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Relatively close by could very reasonably be 500 light years. The narrow beam would be achieved through use of a laser rather than conventional radio waves.
    You are assuming some astronomical accuracy and modelling power there Ophiolite though, just trying to model our solar system accurately from 500 light years away seems a bridge too far, the signal to noise ratio would be astronomical (excuse the pun).
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by river_rat
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Relatively close by could very reasonably be 500 light years. The narrow beam would be achieved through use of a laser rather than conventional radio waves.
    You are assuming some astronomical accuracy and modelling power there Ophiolite though, just trying to model our solar system accurately from 500 light years away seems a bridge too far, the signal to noise ratio would be astronomical (excuse the pun).
    We will have the capacity to do this within fifty years for certain and quite probably within twenty or less. An advanced civilisation would not see it as a challenge. Additionally, one need not target the planet. When I said narrow beam, I was envisaging one which, if directed at the sun would be spread comfortably around the orbit of Jupiter. That will need more than fifty years for us to achieve economically, but certainly less than five hundred. Therefore it is wholly feasible and practical.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halliday
    Given that estimates of the number of Milky Way stars(many likely to have planets) range from 200 to 400 billion it seems almost impossible to believe that other intelligent species do not exist within our Galaxy.
    If a number of these civilisations survived,began exploring space,and were older and therefore much more advanced than our own it seems odd that we have not had some type of contact with such a civilisation.
    After all the best piece of evidence we have is the fact that humans exist,on Earth, and are starting to explore the Solar System and will,eventually,travel to the stars.
    Some current estimates suggest that a sufficiently advanced technological civilisation could explore much of the Galaxy a couple of million years after they had begun to explore space and that figure may be a conservative one.
    Probably no working astronomer would bother with such speculation but I feel there must be "something" out there so where the hell are they?
    Maybe we are alone in the Galaxy!
    Most likely, if there are advanced civilizations out there, they're somewhat territorial, and we probably fall into one of their territories, so the question of whether we would be contacted is really only a question of whether than one civilization would contact us. The others would probably need their permission.


    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf

    Im not saying they're "unable to" I'm saying that, like us, they would probably see a communication device that takes 200+ years to transmit one way as impractical.

    Even if we assume that these aliens live for thousands of years, making a 200-tick conversation liveable, there's still breakdowns in the system.

    For starters, WE don't live 200+ years. We'd have to send our one-way communication, and then pass on what we wanted to say next to our children's children's children, so they could see the response, and respond, in 200 years.

    Second, even if both sides have a solution for better communication or travel, and could transmit that information, if there's even a single question, error, or misenterpretation, it will take 200 years to say "Huh?" and another 200 to receive back "RTFM!"

    It could potentially take well over a thousand years to do anything across a transmission channel like that. How good do you think the chances are that the human race will be able to keep open a communications channel for that long? Heck, even the first 200-years would be impressive!

    In the end I still stand behind the point I made earlier, which is that there will need to be advancements in communications technology, before long distance interstellar communication becomes practical.
    A lot of UFO-ologists (or so they call themselves) tend to believe that aliens use a form of limited time travel as their means of traversing great distances.

    A lot of observed paranormal activity, or at least......... shall I say...... alleged paranormal activity involves some level of time compression, time travel, or other such.

    One could argue that the reason the famed "Men in black" (not to be confused with the movie) wear black suits is because the style allows them to visit different decades of our century without changing clothes to fit in.

    What I'm suggesting is.......... an advanced alien culture might detect a radio wave that's millions of years old, but go back in time to visit us now.
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    I think there are two main possible reasons for why we have not yet been visited by aliens:

    1) FTL travel is not possible. Therefore, it would be impractical (if not almost impossible) to travel vast distances such as 400 light years.

    2) FTL travel is possible, but intelligent life is quite rare. Let's say there are only ten intelligent civilizations in our galaxy, and only three of them had the capability to travel vast distances through space (and thus through time). If the average time these aliens have posessed interstellar travel capabilities is one thousand years, the probability of these aliens finding us are incredibly low. Mathematically, these civilzations would have to combine to find one stellar system per second to find us here on earth. Of course, it is laughable to assume that a civilization would have the capability to do this. Even if I am wrong on these figures by quite a bit (it's all speculation at this point anyway), it would still prove to be VERY unlikely that we would ever be visited.

    Of course, UFO enthusiasts will claim that we are being visited, and that these aliens are showing off their high-tech vehicles, burning patterns in crops, and sticking probes up their asses; But there is no real evidence to back up such claims. I think a real visitation would be much more obvious, and we'd probably get blown to bits as well.
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    It's funny, but that last question becomes kind of a debate of what one thinks high intelligence would do. If aliens are visiting us, I don't think we're worthy of a great deal of attention in their eyes.

    What could we offer them?

    Slaves? - Technologically advanced societies have very little use for slaves.

    Resources? - Where would you go if you wanted to mine stuff like platinum and uranium? Earth, or an asteroid where you don't have to defeat gravity to get away with what you mine? Or do they want oil? One of the moons of saturn (Titan) is believed to be pretty much covered in Methane. Why not get their fossil fuels there?

    Somewhere to live? - Well..... we do have that to offer. But how desperate do you really think they are for that?
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    We could be allies in the future, who else can make things go boom faster and better than us? intergalactic war!
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    That's actually a good point I hadn't thought of. We make a good "bull dog" style society. If we're expendable in their eyes, they could maybe arm us up and send us to war against a rival.

    Our leaders are just about stupid enough to be willing to get us into a war we can't win, just to have a war. (So they can be a "war president" and have everybody look up to them.)
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