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Porky Gorky

ALIENS!!!

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And now we are back to a recent thread in which creation was discussed. It was a thoroughly enjoyable thread for me (one of the few these days) - mainly because I have some views about it, and it's a very discussable topic because it's such a specific topic. But I won't put my views about that forward here, at least not unless it becomes the main topic of this thread, or we could end up changing the thrust of the thread from aliens and other life to creation.

Incidentally, Porky, I'm halfway through that excellent 3 hour video you linked to. I'll finish it today. It provided the information that caused me to change my first post in this thread form "Christmas Island" to "Easter Island" :) (My old grey cells are renowned for their laziness in remembering some things.) I'll watch the other video you linked to too. The first 2 vids in the thread were/are very interesting and I'm sure the 3rd one (your 2nd one) will be just as interesting.

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Porky Gorky wrote:


Nyll Bergbahn wrote:

Define life. If you mean intelligent life, you are into the realms of the Fermi Paradox. "Where is everybody?"

 

Thanks for your post, I enjoyed reading your insights :matte-motes-big-grin:

Regarding the Fermi Paradox, I really have a hard time even considering it. I find it narrow minded and restricted by our own human limitations. My favorite TV theoretical physicist Michio Kaku puts forward some really strong arguments for why the Fermi Paradox is flawed in this vid, you should check it out if you haven;t seen it.


This video pretty much sums up what I think about this question.  I will add that the universe is vast and varied.  We think of life as carbon based and having to exist in a narrow band of conditions.  Life based not on carbon, but on other elements that can exist in other conditions may very well exist for all we know.  Up until recently we thought carbon based life had to have an environment within a certain range  of light, heat, and pH to exist.  Yet we have now discovered life in the deepest part of our ocean living in crevices spouting molten rock and super heated steam that never sees light in an extremely acidic environment.

From the very beginning, humans have had an arrogant attitude that we are the peak of existence and the reason for everything.  Yet we have lived on a small world, around a common and ordinary star in the backwaters of a unremarkable galaxy far away from the 'center' of things in the universe for less than a nano second of time on the scale of the universe.

It is also the height of arrogance to think that if there is a supreme being or intelligent designer that they would be limited in any way by ability or inclination to have created only life on earth.  If there is no supreme  being or intelligent designer it then means we arose out of chaos.  Yet if that is so, you have only to look to nature to see a repeating of patterns and shapes of life all over the world over the entire span of its existence.  So why wouldn't those patterns be repeated, perhaps with variations all over the universe too?

Now take all the above thoughts about just our universe and add an unlimited number of universes, which is almost a given based on our current understanding, and there is no doubt in my mind that we are not alone.

As for the next few questions, anything is possible and difficult to have a firm opinion about without a lot more facts.

Asking, if there are aliens where are they?, is just illogical.  The universe is so vast we may never see them, particularly if we manage to destroy ourselves or the earth first.

As for broadcasting out existence, here again this is arrogance.  Life in other parts of the universe will be in thousands of levels of development.  I suspect that life that is further advanced than us already knows about us but just has no reason to want to harm us or earth.  Even if they did they probably see we are doing a good enough job of that as it is.

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Phil Deakins wrote:

Incidentally, Porky, I'm halfway through that excellent 3 hour video you linked to. I'll finish it today. It provided the information that caused me to change my first post in this thread form "Christmas Island" to "Easter Island"
:)
 (My old grey cells are renowned for their laziness in remembering some things.) I'll watch the other video you linked to too. The first 2 vids in the thread were/are very interesting and I'm sure the 3rd one (your 2nd one) will be just as interesting.

There is another video by Dr Kaku that is very relevant to this discussion. In it he talks about type 1, 2 and 3 alien civilisations. It's really interesting.

 

You should also check out http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/ this site collates and catagorises lots of free documentary's from the web. 

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Porky, I don't know where your 9 billion years time scale comes from and I really can't see why such a long period would be necessary. Perhaps you have a reference to this extraordinary figure. Confusion on the number of stars in galaxies is unsurprising because it is constantly changing and can also occur because of the difference between the American billion and the European billion although scientific sources now use the somewhat illogical American system. I see Wiki now says two to four hundred billion for the Milky Way and one trillion for Andromeda (two to four hundred thousand million and one million million respectively in European terms). As most know, the Andromeda galaxy is blue shifted and our galaxies are moving ever closer and I've heard it speculated by one professional astronomer I know that very distant outlying stars of the two galaxies may be close.

In our galaxy the planetary system of 47UMaj c is the most similar to our own in terms of the composition of the star and gas giants like Jupiter and Saturn at same type of distances as ours from the star. It's 50 light years away. However, our present equipment is unable to detect the existence of inner rocky planets. It is 2.5 billion years older than our Sun so if a civilisation existed there, it could be 2.5 billion years older than ours, hard to get your head around that one.

There is nothing special about our solar system per se except that our solar system is the only one as yet known to harbour life in any form, intelligence or otherwise. Earth is quite possibly unique throughout our galaxy and Universe. Why? Some of the many reasons below.

1. Earth lies within what is known as the Goldilocks Zone, a habitable zone around the Sun that is stable enough to  create and sustain life long enough for intelligent life, i.e. the human species, to evolve. A Goldilocks zone is critical.

2. Jupiter is a vast planet that has protected Earth since it was formed. It deflects and even pulls in many incoming objects heading sunwards from the outer solar system. Without Jupiter, human life may never have evolved on Earth. Planetary systems are dangerous places and many mass extinctions on Earth have occurred.

The wider galaxy is also dangerous. However, we know there are no stars likely to go supernova within 60 light years of us so no risk for another few million years. GRBs are a a more serious threat, seen in other distant galaxies but not yet observed in the Milky Way. It's a possibility that the last GRB in the Milky Way effectively sterilised civilisations in the galaxy and any emerging ones are at a similar age to ours but hardly likely that all civilisations galaxy wide would be sterilised.

3. Earth's system of Plate Tectonics is unique in our Solar System so likely rare and thought by many scientists to be essential to the creation of life in that it assists the creation of the Earth's strong magnetic field which prevents dissipation of our atmosphere from the solar wind. Plate Tectonics also aid the creation of species by promoting biodiversity and most importantly it helps the Earth regulate its temperature.

4. The Moon is unique and it is debatable if human life could have been created and sustained without it. The massive collision that created the Moon is responsible for our 23.5 degree axial tilt and The Moon maintains that stability within a +/- 1.5 degrees over an oscillation period of 41,000 years, giving us the seasons and likely the ice ages. Mars, without a stabilising Moon, has an axial tilt of 25 degrees but oscillates from 15 to 35 degrees over periods of 100,000 years and maybe from 0 to 60 degrees over the past 10 million years. Perhaps a double planet such as our Earth/Moon system is not necessary for the creation of life or perhaps it is so we have a unique system.

5. Life's Genesis is rare. Too complicated to go into but some scientists say that life is difficult for Nature to create and others argue that life is almost certain to emerge as soon as conditions permit. As yet, life in its most basic form has not been found on any other planet in our Solar System so if that could be proved to exist or have existed, then Earth is not so unique.

6. Toolmaking species are rare. Sure, some creatures have basic toolmaking skills but nothing to compare with the manipulative skills that our hands allow. You can argue that our intelligence drove our toolmaking abilities but it can also be said that it was those manipulative skills that drove the increase in human intelligence. Another hurdle for life to overcome before it reaches intelligence as we know it.
 
7. Technological progress is not inevitable. Some 20 or so hominid species have lived and died yet only one, homo sapiens has survived. It's not known why the sudden explosion of creativity occurred about 40,000 years ago, maybe language was developed, maybe knowledge passed a critical threshold.

8. Intelligence at the human level is rare. What if all vertebrates were wiped out in a mass extinction? Would another surving species have reached the same evolution as homo sapiens?

9. Language is unique to Humans and likely rare. No other life form on Earth uses language as homeo sapiens does.

There are many other sieves that can determine the likligood of intelligent life existing elsewhere, I've just given a few.
As it stands, the galaxy is silent and we are alone. The efforts of SETI have proven fruitless despite the immense efforts put into it.

Amethyst commented "Asking, if there are aliens where are they?, is just illogical.  The universe is so vast we may never see them, particularly if we manage to destroy ourselves or the earth first."

Sorry but I don't see that as illogical as the Fermi Paradox is what is driving the search for alien life. The vast distances between stars is one possible reason for alien civilisations not travelling themselves but does not exclude the use of probes. Even with our limited technlogy, we have two spacecrafts at the edge of the Solar System about to pass into interstellar space. The chances of anyone out ther coming upon one is remote to say the least but more advanced civilisations would be expected to have more advanced probes such as Bracewell-von Neumann self-replicating ones to explore and colonise the galaxy. It's an interesting concept although nowhere near our technological capability to build as yet. Such probes travelling at a speed of c/40 could reach every star in the galaxy in just 4 million years, just 2 hours 46 minutes of the Universal year.

Even if you consider interstellar distances so vast to make interstellar travel achievable for alien travellers or probes, it doesn't explain why we haven't heard from any. There is a total absence of any signals. It can be argued that they may be communicating but we don't know how to listen. Even a radio engineer from the 1930s would not know how to listen to FM or know of lasers or fibre optics or communication satellites. How would a civilisation possibly one million or even a billion years advanced from us communicate? There could be civilisations out there communicating with gravitional waves, tachyons or neutrinos or some other exotic methods but surely not all as there would be civilisations perhaps at our stage or slightly more advanced. The most likely is EM signals of some description especially if they want to be heard. We have been inadvertently sending signals into space for decades so even if advanced civilisations don't want to be heard, it's likely inadvertent signals would be detected. Astronomers and SETI actively look for signals of electromagnetic radiation as well as infrared and a Japanese team has even searched up to a distance of 80 light years for any evidence of Dyson spheres (which would be in the infrared) with no success.

As things stand, the galaxy is silent and we are alone.

Porky wrote: There is another video by Dr Kaku that is very relevant to this discussion. In it he talks about type 1, 2 and 3 alien civilisations. It's really interesting.

Yes, known as the Kardashev civilisations, K1, K2 and K3. A K1 being considered similar to our own and using its planetary resources. A K2 would be capable of using the energy of it star. A K3 civilisation would be capable of using the resources of the Galaxy.

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Amethyst Jetaime wrote:

This video pretty much sums up what I think about this question.  I will add that the universe is vast and varied.  We think of life as carbon based and having to exist in a narrow band of conditions.  Life based not on carbon, but on other elements that can exist in other conditions may very well exist for all we know.  Up until recently we thought carbon based life had to have an environment within a certain range  of light, heat, and pH to exist.  Yet we have now discovered life in the deepest part of our ocean living in crevices spouting molten rock and super heated steam that never sees light in an extremely acidic environment.

There is always the possibility that non carbon life could evolve in the universe, science has yet to learn enough to refute this. However from a chemical perspective carbon offers the best chance of life evolving out of the known natural elements because of it's bonding agents and it's flexibility with varying temperatures. Silicon may be a workable alternative on really hot planets orbiting close to a star, but a close solar orbit presents a whole additional group of dangerous challenge to long term evolution. In really cold environments we could see alternatives types of carbon life forms based on ammonia rather than water but such a combination would ultimately limit the evolutionary potential. 

 


Amethyst Jetaime wrote:

It is also the height of arrogance to think that if there is a supreme being or intelligent designer that they would be limited in any way by ability or inclination to have created only life on earth.  If there is no supreme  being or intelligent designer it then means we arose out of chaos.  Yet if that is so, you have only to look to nature to see a repeating of patterns and shapes of life all over the world over the entire span of its existence.  So why wouldn't those patterns be repeated, perhaps with variations all over the universe too?

I completely agree with this. Chaos theory has helped us to understand patterns in nature. It has been used to model biological systems, which are some of the most chaotic systems imaginable, and within that chaos has been found ordered structure and patterns. However "chaos" does exist in the universe, but I think that is by evolutionary design. The universe is both orderly (in the sense that its behaviour appears to be governed by orderly, analytic equations) and chaotic, which occurs as a distinct consequence of these orderly laws. So I guess it could be called controlled chaos.

 


Amethyst Jetaime wrote:

As for broadcasting out existence, here again this is arrogance.  Life in other parts of the universe will be in thousands of levels of development.  I suspect that life that is further advanced than us already knows about us but just has no reason to want to harm us or earth.  Even if they did they probably see we are doing a good enough job of that as it is.

Agree again. If there are advanced civilisations in our galaxy then they know about us. Just look how far our technology has come in the last 100 years. We can already see planets orbiting other stars with Kepler. Imagine what we will be able  see in 50 years, or 100 or 10000 years. I think it is more likely we are of no interest to them. It would probably be a waste of time and resources for them to fly across interstellar space to interact with us. How much time effort and resources would we put in to flying to the other side of our planet to meet an inferior species such as an ant? We wouldn't bother. In fact we wouldn't even bother phoning the ant or even emailing it for free. If it accidentally gets in our way we would tread on it, but beyond that we would just ignore the ant.

 

 

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Porky Gorky wrote:

Agree again. If there are advanced civilisations in our galaxy then they know about us. Just look how far our technology has come in the last 100 years. We can already see planets orbiting other stars with 
Kepler. Imagine what we will be able  see in 50 years, or 100 or 10000 years. I think it is more likely we are of no interest to them. It would probably be a waste of time and resources for them to fly across interstellar space to interact with us. How much time effort and resources would we put in to flying to the other side of our planet to meet an inferior species such as an ant? We wouldn't bother. In fact we wouldn't even bother phoning the ant or even emailing it for free. If it accidentally gets in our way we would tread on it, but beyond that we would just ignore the ant.

 

 

A couple more interesting thoughts are triggered by this passage. You choose the ant as a species that's far less advanced than humans. Indeed, an individual ant is quite primitive. However, one of your toes isn't very sophisticated either. If you consider an ant COLONY to be the basic unit of "antness", though, it's easliy as sophisticated as the average higher mammal. The difference is that mammals are built of differing parts made up of the same  genetic code that are physically connected and an ant colony is made up of differing parts made up of the same genetic material whch are physically separated. To move your toe your brain sends it an electrical signal; to move the individual ants in an ant colony various members send chemical signals to other members.

Another question is whether the ability to change a species' environment necessary to communicate on a level that can be detected from another star is a positive or negative adaptation. There were multiple incidents in the late 70s and early 80s that triggered alerts in NORAD that had the potential to escalate into a nuclear war. If a full-out nuclear war had taken place then it's entirely possible that he human race couldn't have survived the resulting environment. A "nearby" alien race 50 light years away that detected our first orderly electromagnetic transmissions (wireless telegraphy) in the late 1800's after they traveled from Earth for fifty years and which then sent a signal or sent a probe at the speed of light to investigate them would be communicating with ball of radioactive glass. (Okay, that's being melodramatic but it's possible that nobody would be in a coondition to recieve the message.) There might have sophisticated alien races that destroyed themselves before they reached the point where they could communicate with other star systems.

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Porky Gorky wrote:


Charolotte Caxton wrote:

You are right, ultimately it is just an opinion. So too is the idea that something intelligent created the experiment called life. The universe is not perfect, far from it. Ask anyone with an uncureable disease, ask anyone who lost a child at birth, ask anyone who has been struck by lightning or a meteor. There is no intelligent design. There is just a nice place to live and if we are lucky, we can benefit from being a sentient being, or if not, we suffer because we are a sentient being.

Intelligent design is definitely just an opinion. It's not even an opinion I enjoy debating simply because it is so ridiculously far fetched. How can we even begin to fathom the origins of the intelligence that possibly created the universe? We can't. However I find it hard to believe that our specific universe just appeared out of nowhere without any intervention and then proceeded along a random and chaotic path that resulted in sentient life. Both hypothesis are ludicrous once you start pulling them apart. Intelligent design just makes more sense to me if I don't think about it too hard.

Regarding the examples you listed of human pain and suffering, I don't think you can see the perfection because you are applying human compassion to the thought process in this scenario. From a universal perspective those people will live, have a chance to reproduce and evolve, then die returning their atoms to the universe so they can be reused. That is perfect from a universal perspective, That is what they are supposed to do. Pain and suffering are irrelevant to nature,

Take the evolution of our planet for example. Millions of species have evolved over billions of years. Throughout that period food chains evolved. Billions upon billions of creatures were slaughtered, tortured, poisoned and eaten alive in order to sustain other creatures. As a result of this evolutionary process Humanoids evolved into predators and started to eat raw meat a couple of million years ago. This boost in calories freed up energy that could be used to grow our brains, as a result of this we became slightly more intelligent, then we learnt how to cook meat with fire, as a result of this we became a hell of a lot more intelligent. We had discovered a way to consume higher calorie foods, using less energy i.e.. Not chewing raw meat all day. This freed up even more of our body's energy to fuel the brain. So my point is, billions of years worth of death and butchery in the food chain largely contributed to the evolution of human intelligence. From natures universal perspective this has worked perfectly. Death and destruction has fueled evolution and it will continue to do so long after Hunams are gone. When you look at it with human compassion then it seems far from perfect, it seems brutal and savage. Yet without such a perfect system of evolution you and I would not be here today discussing the issue.

Agreed, but the reason evolution can be considered a perfect system is because it created us. If a different system had evolved from the chaos to create us, we could then say that that system is perfect because it created us. The perfect system of evolution is perfect because we can call it so because it resulted in us, however, that by no means means that something created it to be so.

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Porky Gorky wrote:

So my point is, billions of years worth of death and butchery in the food chain largely contributed to the evolution of human intelligence. From natures universal perspective this has worked perfectly.


Porky, I'm not sure how you can say that without presuming that the universe holds no better approach. What if there is a place out there where evolution from rudiimentary to sentient life form takes place in 1/100th the time it did here? Does our way still look like perfection?

And the phrase "nature's universal perspective" is an anthropromorphism, isn't it? To say evolution has "worked perfectly" implies nature has some intent. I've yet to see evidence of that. I do see plenty of evidence that my comprehension falls far short of what's necessary to understand even a tiny bit of what's in front of me. I've no reason to believe that, even if there were a "reason", we'd comprehend it as rational.

As I see it (and remember, my comprehension is limited), the general difficulty people have with believing there's no intent comes from our limited comprehension. Knowing that my comprehension is limited is what allows me to say "I don't know".

As for UFOs (and their implication of aliens), I'll defer to Dr. Richard Feynman, who deftly summarized them as "much more likely to be the known irrational behavior of terrestrial beings, rather than the unknown rational behaviour of extraterrestrial beings".

Our understanding of our understanding of the universe (which I think is the real topic here) is a function of both our understanding of ourselves and our understanding of the universe.

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Charolotte Caxton wrote:

Agreed, but the reason evolution can be considered a perfect system is because it created us. If a different system had evolved from the chaos to create us, we could then say that that system is perfect because it created us. The perfect system of evolution is perfect because we can call it so because it resulted in us, however, that by no means means that something created it to be so.


Yep, damn our arrogance!

;-)

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We did not evolve here, we are short lived slaves meant only to mine gold, so called aliens have controlled this planet for 1000's of years, but you can believe in your gods if you like as long as you mine gold, I will be proved right because we have no use for gold and know how much has been mined, if a gold audit is ever taken they will find 90% of the gold missing, it is the most valuable element in the universe as it is added to food to repair DNA and give lives in the range of millions of years, but they wont tell you as you might be unhappy on your 70 years worth, lol, this has to be my best post yet.

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Phil Deakins wrote:

We are not dwarfs, y'know. Dwarfs mine gold but not us.

I'm Irish so I just follow the rainbow for the hidden pot of leprechaun's gold at the end.

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