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How many alien civilizations are there ?


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#91    theSOURCE

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 03:01 AM

View Postpsyche101, on 12 December 2012 - 02:29 AM, said:

I gotta admit, panspermia is a very reasonable hypothesis, I wonder if any feel it is impossible?

Even if panspermia was discovered to be the answer of how life developed on other other planets, the important thing to consider would be environment. It may be possible that life could emerge and evolve due to panspermia on a planet where the it's atmosphere, gravity, exposure to certain types of radiation, etc, would be lethal to human life.

But that's not the problem I'm referring to. The real dilemma would be in the types of technology those civilizations would develop to communicate with each other. The forms of communication we use are based on our biology; hearing, sight, etc. But what of the lifeforms on other planets?

For example, say that an alien civilization does not rely on sound to communicate, but rather, movement or something similar to a sense of smell. What type of technology would that civilization develop to chat with each other across long distances?

My point is, how would we be able to detect, let alone decipher, something we don't have the foggiest notion even exists? It could be all around us at this very moment, yet we'd never know.


#92    psyche101

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 03:52 AM

View PosttheSOURCE, on 12 December 2012 - 03:01 AM, said:

Even if panspermia was discovered to be the answer of how life developed on other other planets, the important thing to consider would be environment. It may be possible that life could emerge and evolve due to panspermia on a planet where the it's atmosphere, gravity, exposure to certain types of radiation, etc, would be lethal to human life.

I agree, it could spark any type of life, and probably is not the only answer I would say, but another vehicle for that first spark.

View PosttheSOURCE, on 12 December 2012 - 03:01 AM, said:

But that's not the problem I'm referring to. The real dilemma would be in the types of technology those civilizations would develop to communicate with each other. The forms of communication we use are based on our biology; hearing, sight, etc. But what of the lifeforms on other planets?

For example, say that an alien civilization does not rely on sound to communicate, but rather, movement or something similar to a sense of smell. What type of technology would that civilization develop to chat with each other across long distances?

My point is, how would we be able to detect, let alone decipher, something we don't have the foggiest notion even exists? It could be all around us at this very moment, yet we'd never know.


Indeed, however, the abundance of rocky bodies discovered so far indicate that life "as we know it" is likely to be common. I also find the examples on convergeant evolution in our sample of one convincing enough to consider that convergeant evolution is not restricted to this planet. Thusly hypothesising that intelligent life is likely to take an anthropomorphic shape to achieve what we have, and seek similar goals, i.e. ET life in similar circumstances. Even if that is wrong, I would still maintain that we are unlikely to be the only anthropomorphic species in the Galaxy.

So, as with our space ventures, I would think our best option is to keep scanning for life "as we know it" Unless of course, some major breakthrough happens in the meantime and we find other forms of life, as an example, the idea of Plasma life froms at Hessdalen. If these other forms of life do exist, I would hope more space exploration might help us stumble upon it, or perhaps we might meet anther species who can help us understand forms of life we have not encountered. But as long as we keep scanning space, we have a chance to happen upon these anomalies that might lead to bigger and better things, such as background radiation, which was originally suspected to be the work of Pigeons nesting in the Big Ear.


I think it might be just like realising the earth revolves the sun, and not the other way round, as was first proposed, we need to get out there, roll our sleeves up, make a few mistakes along the way, challenge those mistakes, and correct them, but eventually, get where we want to be. Such is pretty much the meaning of modern science. As long as we learn from mistakes, I think we are still moving forward. We have no option but to throw our ticket in the hat if we want to progress I think and see what we come up with. But a calculated throw might pay off with a win, so we should apply what we do know to what we do not know ;)


Any aliens that rely on a sense of smell, would need this


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#93    theSOURCE

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 04:12 AM

Psyche, that was an interesting post and I will respond soon. Sorry, I need to compose my reply off line with the help of my friend to make sure I write what I want to say.

Hang in there, buddy. I'll get back to you. :)


#94    Kludge808

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 06:05 AM

View Postpsyche101, on 12 December 2012 - 02:29 AM, said:

I gotta admit, panspermia is a very reasonable hypothesis, I wonder if any feel it is impossible?
Probably but then there are those who believe Earth is the only life-bearing planet.  Not just life as we know it but any form of life.

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#95    TheMacGuffin

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 07:10 AM

View Postbadeskov, on 12 December 2012 - 02:12 AM, said:

Pardon the late response, but I seem to have very little time these days.



And every so often (read: every time) the discussion is based on nonsense and initiated by people that does not know one iota about the subject. To accomplish such a feat and jam SETI the military would need some very impressive hardware and, in addition, they would make it blatantly obvious that that were doing it.

Frankly, the notion is rather absurd.



I know all about that, and I suspect they are never going to hear anything more than once--and never again.


#96    Kludge808

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 01:38 PM

View Postpsyche101, on 12 December 2012 - 03:52 AM, said:

I agree, it could spark any type of life, and probably is not the only answer I would say, but another vehicle for that first spark.
No problem with that, brah.  Of course, it also gives rise to such life forms as the babel fish plus - get this! - means we're related to them through a terribly long and convoluted family forest.  OTOH, it also means we're related to Ming the Merciless which is kind of a downer.

Quote

Indeed, however, the abundance of rocky bodies discovered so far indicate that life "as we know it" is likely to be common. I also find the examples on convergent evolution in our sample of one convincing enough to consider that convergent evolution is not restricted to this planet.
Convergent evolution is a prerequisite to the supposed alien-human hybrids that some CTists love to talk about.  I find this a possible explanation for things like politicians and Paris Hilton otherwise I'm not so sure.  ;-)  It's also part and parcel with science fiction - as in Spock being a human-Vulcan mix.  I've even included it in some of my work although I had some genetic tinkering involved to make it work.  OTOH, I can accept that it is possible for there to be alien-human hybrids.  Probable not so much but nature doesn't always agree with what we consider "impossible."

Quote

So, as with our space ventures, I would think our best option is to keep scanning for life "as we know it" Unless of course, some major breakthrough happens in the meantime and we find other forms of life, as an example, the idea of Plasma life forms at Hessdalen.
When you look at life in general as a form of energy rather than the shell in which it resides, there are limitless possibilities.  Some might argue that God et al are just such life forms, no shell but rather intelligent energy.  This is another staple of science fiction which doesn't reduce the possibility of it being real.

Quote

I think it might be just like realising the earth revolves the sun, and not the other way round, as was first proposed, we need to get out there, roll our sleeves up, make a few mistakes along the way, challenge those mistakes, and correct them, but eventually, get where we want to be. Such is pretty much the meaning of modern science. As long as we learn from mistakes, I think we are still moving forward. We have no option but to throw our ticket in the hat if we want to progress I think and see what we come up with. But a calculated throw might pay off with a win, so we should apply what we do know to what we do not know
Let me answer that by quoting a well-known personality ... me: "We were once a nation who dared. Heck, we were a race who dared. We sent ships into the unknown. We explored. We discovered. Now we can't even cross the sidewalk without someone throwing a fit. Or a bullet. Or a fire bomb." --Michael Tauson, 29 Dec 1997

BTW, "race" means human race.

Edited by Kludge808, 12 December 2012 - 01:44 PM.

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#97    bison

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 03:57 PM

View PosttheSOURCE, on 12 December 2012 - 03:01 AM, said:

Even if panspermia was discovered to be the answer of how life developed on other other planets, the important thing to consider would be environment. It may be possible that life could emerge and evolve due to panspermia on a planet where the it's atmosphere, gravity, exposure to certain types of radiation, etc, would be lethal to human life.

But that's not the problem I'm referring to. The real dilemma would be in the types of technology those civilizations would develop to communicate with each other. The forms of communication we use are based on our biology; hearing, sight, etc. But what of the lifeforms on other planets?

For example, say that an alien civilization does not rely on sound to communicate, but rather, movement or something similar to a sense of smell. What type of technology would that civilization develop to chat with each other across long distances?

My point is, how would we be able to detect, let alone decipher, something we don't have the foggiest notion even exists? It could be all around us at this very moment, yet we'd never know.
           A long range communications system that uses radio waves could be adapted to beings without sight or hearing. The advantages of radio are so obvious that this would be an incentive to adapt them to any system of sensation.
We can't sense radio waves directly, but still manage to make extensive and intricate use of them. We convert radio waves into sounds, pictures, and data schemes. It should be possible to cause radio waves to trigger the emission of smells at the receiver, or some kind of mechanical movement. Indeed a radio loud speaker cone moves; creates pressure waves that could be sensed as motion, instead of being heard.
A being with the ability to directly sense electric and/or magnetic fields would be at a natural advantage in using radio waves for communication. Dr. Fred Hoyle described such a being in his novel, The Black Cloud.  The existence of a magnetic or an electrical sense is not too farfetched. Various sea creatures can sense, and in some cases emit electric fields. Certain birds appear to navigate by sensing Earth's magnetic field, and orienting themselves to it.


#98    DONTEATUS

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 02:29 AM

Race means "Pedal to the Metal " :whistle:
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#99    Kludge808

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 05:15 AM

View PostDONTEATUS, on 13 December 2012 - 02:29 AM, said:

Race means "Pedal to the Metal " :whistle:
Been driving all night with my Hands on the Wheel !
Better there than several other possibilities. ;-)

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#100    badeskov

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 05:20 AM

View PostTheMacGuffin, on 12 December 2012 - 07:10 AM, said:

I know all about that, and I suspect they are never going to hear anything more than once--and never again.

OK. I am not sure what you are inferring to be honest. Unfortunately I agree, and I'd like it to be for the same reasons (that ET scans and only happens to "paint" Earth by accident), although it would be nice to have ET actually try and make contact. But honestly, I have serious doubts about that.

Cheers,
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#101    theSOURCE

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 08:53 AM

psyche

I wrote a long dissertation as a reply, only to realize after listening to it that most of what I wrote was simply agreeing with what you posted. Here's the short version.

First off, I absolutely agree that programs like the SETI project should continue. I'm of the camp that subscribes to the possibility of not only life, but other civilizations exist in the galaxy, despite the fact that it's only speculation at this point.

One problem I have with SETI, however, is that their search is extremely limited due to the fact that they are listening specifically for radio signals (I may be mistaken, so please correct me if I'm wrong). I would consider that as a good starting point, but there are other much more efficient means of communication, especially for interplanetary and long-range space craft chatting. A laser communication system or one which uses microwaves would be two examples that an alien civilization might employ.

But there's the problem of signal degradation across such long distances that needs to be considered. Even if an alien civilization were to point a laser directly at Earth for the purpose of sending a message, the signal would be weakened considerably by the time it reached us. The signal may drop so close to noise level that even it were detected there would be no way to decipher any information from it.

Also, assuming that panspermia was the "spark" of life on a number of other planets, I see no problem with the possibility of convergent evolution taking place, at least in a biological sense.

What I do have a little trouble with is applying the concept of anthropomorphism to a completely alien intelligent species. Assuming that life on Earth and life on our distant neighbors' planet was the result of panspermia (and also assuming that our shared biochemistry is carbon based), there is still a vast number of environmental variables that would shape the development of that alien species intelligence. There are a number of theories that try to explain how human intelligence evolved, from the need for social relationships to avoiding mating with a diseased person. Link. But ironically, those traits can also be applied to forms of life on Earth that many consider to be operating under instinct alone.

Please bear with me while I speculate a bit. What if an alien species that resembles insects similar to those on Earth developed to the stage where they can construct and utilize advanced communication technology?

Take honeybees for example. Their hives are complex and highly organized social structures. Foragers gather nectar for the colony, workers build the comb and tend to the queen, drones mate with the queen, etc, etc. Now lets say that, for whatever reason, they evolved to the point where they needed to develop advanced technology. These high tech bees then come up with a way to communicate with each other on a planetary scale, using radio signals or other forms of technology. And yet, they would still adhere to their hive societal structure; their "lot in life" to use a quaint phrase. So the chances of deciphering whatever they're communicating to each other would be practically zero.

Yes, their colony would resemble many instances of human society; towns and cities where people work together as a whole for specific ends being the main one. But they would lack the individuality that we humans strive for (while it's true that we all sometimes feel like we're nothing more than drones and workers, we at least have BBQs and the occasional beer to look forward to).

My point is simply that even if and/or when we were to detect an actual, traceable, and perhaps continuous signal from an alien civilization, it's not very likely that they would be anthropomorphic, at least not in the strictest sense.


#102    bison

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 03:38 PM

View Postbadeskov, on 13 December 2012 - 05:20 AM, said:

OK. I am not sure what you are inferring to be honest. Unfortunately I agree, and I'd like it to be for the same reasons (that ET scans and only happens to "paint" Earth by accident), although it would be nice to have ET actually try and make contact. But honestly, I have serious doubts about that.

Cheers,
Badeskov
                   An extraterrestrial radio beam pointing our way by accident, briefly, and a sustained effort to communicate with us are not the only possibilities. A beam that sweeps through all possible angles repeatedly, on a regular schedule, is also worth considering.
The Ohio State University 'wow signal' has been listened for repeatedly since its original reception in 1977. It has not been listened for continuously, for a really substantial length of time. If the appropriate sky position were monitored in this way, something just might be turned up, given enough patience on our part.
A much shorter integration time than that used at OSU would be desirable, as they were only able to confirm a gaussian distribution of energy as the Earth's motion swept the dish past that sky position. Getting the content of whatever might be sent in this way would produce a weaker reading, but might still be adequate, given the reported high strength of the original 'wow signal'.


#103    keithisco

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 04:34 PM

Personally... I believe that the Human Race is the only dataset of intelligence to actually use Electro - magnetic radiation as a source of communication

"We" may indeed be the first civilisation to have advanced to this point in EM communications, aquatic intelligence would only use sonar communication,other intelligent life may use Light for communication, or acoustics..

Perhaps we are unique in being "curious", perhaps other civilisations (should they exist with EM communication capabilities) have no interest in communicating with other civilisations,

... perhaps we are "alone"... but does that really matter???


#104    bison

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 07:15 PM

View Postkeithisco, on 13 December 2012 - 04:34 PM, said:

Personally... I believe that the Human Race is the only dataset of intelligence to actually use Electro - magnetic radiation as a source of communication

"We" may indeed be the first civilisation to have advanced to this point in EM communications, aquatic intelligence would only use sonar communication,other intelligent life may use Light for communication, or acoustics..

Perhaps we are unique in being "curious", perhaps other civilisations (should they exist with EM communication capabilities) have no interest in communicating with other civilisations,

... perhaps we are "alone"... but does that really matter???
               Past instances where the human race thought itself in a unique position have all proven to be mistaken. It was once believed that only humans made and used tools, until it was noticed that Chimpanzees do, too. Even planets were once suspected of being very rare; caused by stars passing each other in space and very nearly colliding. We begin to see now that they are quite common.  
We seem to be on far safer ground, in assuming that we are a typical intelligent species, and in a typical situation, neither rare nor unique in many respects.  
Of course we will not hear radio signals from those who have not developed them, no matter how intelligent they are otherwise.
Popular opinion and that of most scientists agree in counting the question: 'are we alone'? a very interesting and important one. Finding that we are not alone in the universe would be widely considered a profound discovery.


#105    MedicTJ

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 07:50 PM

Come on.  There's nobody else out there.  It's just us.  Think about it.  Out of all the BILLIONS of galaxies out there that receive light from, there HAS to have been not only one signal....but BILLIONS of signals.  Is someone gonna tell me that we're the only ones that use radio frequencies to communicate?

As soon as SETI turned on, they should have found something....if anything was out there.

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