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Are we really... Alone?

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Hey, many things have been growing in my mind these past years.

I just thought i'd share one of them with you to see your opinions on the matter.

 

Think about this, The universe must be everlasting (Distance-wise), So do you really think there could be another world? Just like ours... Maybe more advanced or less.

Maybe there is millions, And will we ever find out?

If you think about it, there cannot be just one world, Being us, it seems theoretically impossible if you think of the vast space in the universe.

Will we find out one day? or is it going to be an Unsolved mystery?

 

Thats all i can right at this present in time, I have to run.

Cyaaa soon.

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if the universe is infinite, then there are infinite populated worlds.

 

But the distances between them would be VAST!

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when you deal with Infinates, by default you make All things possible.

 

Take a look at the Drake Equation also, Perfectly Fascinating! :)

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its very, very unlikely that we are alone at all. I'm pretty sure there are millions of intelligent species like us in our galaxy alone (200 billion stars in our galaxy, and about 10% of that are yellow stars like our own sun. Red dwarfs can theoretically support life too). the one thing that would make contact between these races problematic would be the distance between these systems, and the fact that the various races may be at much different technological and sociological levels than our own.

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Hey Guys, Thanks for posting on my Thread.

Just thinking about it makes me Wonder, What do they look like, Are those both Physically and Technically Advanced and really, How far away are they? :D

Thanks for reading my thread guys, I'll post more about it later.

All the best.

 

Ben.

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Now what would be weird if there world was exactly like our, just different land shapes and names. Lol and the life forms there looked the same...

 

Jeeze your topic really makes me wonder its really fascinating

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Hey, many things have been growing in my mind these past years.

I just thought i'd share one of them with you to see your opinions on the matter.

 

Think about this, The universe must be everlasting (Distance-wise), So do you really think there could be another world? Just like ours... Maybe more advanced or less.

Maybe there is millions, And will we ever find out?

If you think about it, there cannot be just one world, Being us, it seems theoretically impossible if you think of the vast space in the universe.

Will we find out one day? or is it going to be an Unsolved mystery?

 

Thats all i can right at this present in time, I have to run.

Cyaaa soon.

 

What do you mean by "everlasting (distance wise)" ?

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I mean like, It's distance is Eternal.. Hmm.. how can i explain this better, Like my street is only about 100m long, But space's distance is Eternal.

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if the universe is infinite, then there are infinite populated worlds.

 

But the distances between them would be VAST!

 

 

Does infinite just account for that which is matter or energy, or simply matter and energy + nothing. What I mean is when you talk of infinite what do you mean exactly?

 

My take on the thread is this, what if the universe is a cycle of bang then crunch then bang and so on, maybe we just live in a lightly populated universe this time around, or maybe just our galaxy is barely populated, or maybe various populations have gone extinct, or maybe the universe it teaming with life, but that a majority of it resembles bacteria.

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yaa there can b millions like us but if it is possible 2 go out of our milky way, we may discover some manned planets!!

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I would just like to make the general suggestion that, if one wants to be taken seriously, one should probably write in real English. This thread is kind of scary.

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yaa there can b millions like us but if it is possible 2 go out of our milky way, we may discover some manned planets!!

But if it is just a manned planet, then how would they reproduce? You need women for that presumably. /jk :D

 

I mean like, It's distance is Eternal.. Hmm.. how can i explain this better, Like my street is only about 100m long, But space's distance is Eternal.

The word you are looking for is "Infinite".

 

However, humans have only existed for a finite amount of time and therefore the area of the Universe that we could have made contact with an Alien civilization is therefore also finite.

 

Also, the observed universe is of a finite size, so any potential contact with an Alien race must also be within that finite volume.

 

if the universe is infinite, then there are infinite populated worlds.

Current observation and accepted physics indicate that the universe is finite. This makes infinitely populate worlds impossible.

 

What do they look like, Are those both Physically and Technically Advanced and really, How far away are they?

Well, this is the hard question. We can never actually determine what they would look like and their level of technical development as we have never seen any life forms other than what exist here on Earth. SO we have only 1 data point, which makes extrapolation impossible.

 

However, here are my own thoughts:

 

It is likely that most inhabited worlds will not contain Technological life. The time that life has existed on Earth is around 3.5 billion years (3,500,000,000 years). Humans have existed (depending on how you define humans) for the last 100,000 to 1,000,000 years (or just 0.00285% to 0.02857%). So not much time at all (and it is less if you consider the time Earth has existed - 4.5 billion years).

 

So if we take that as the number of inhabited planets that have a technological civilization at the moment, then even in our galaxy, there won't be many (but there will be some).

 

I think that a Technological civilization is an "Attractor" (in terms of chaos theory) for evolution. By this, it is not a necessity that Technological civilizations will develop, but there is a pull towards it.

 

The reason being is that tool use is a good survival advantage. The reason, however, that it would not be common is that there are a number of other aspects that have to evolve first before technology can develop.

 

You might think that Big Brains are a prerequisite for technology, but there are animals that don't have a brain size near ours that use basic technologies.

 

Take for instance Crows. These birds have been seen selecting twigs and modifying them to extract food from hard to reach places.

 

This is tool creation and use, in other words, technology. And these birds don't have near the brain size that we do.

 

However, there is a reason that these birds have not developed their technology to the point where they invent the Internet for instance (which I will get to in a bit).

 

Another aspect that is necessary for technological development is the "Nest". By nest, I don't literally mean a birds nest, but the concept of a Nest. A place that is protected and the young are able to safely experiment with novel behaviours. Without this "Nest", young can not experiment with tool use, they need to be born with the knowledge to survive. They have no time to develop the tools.

 

The next requirement is that of the Society. In a way this is an expansion of the Nest. In a Society, each member helps (in some way) to support the other members of that society.

 

This improves the safety for young and it allows the Nest concept to be extended from only dealing with young to including Adults as well.

 

Societies need structure and communication. Structure is important as a group of individuals is not as efficient as a structured society. Although a too structured society starts to impact the ability for developing novel behaviours. Ants and insects have highly structured societies and thus they can't develop technology easily.

 

Communication is also very important as technological innovations made by one individual can then be passed on to others who can then improve the technology. Without communication each individual has to create their technologies from scratch.

 

The final requirement is the ability to manipulate the technologies. This requires a high level of dexterity. Dolphins might be highly intelligent, but they lack the ability to manipulate objects, so they can not develop tools. If they can not develop tools, then no matter how intelligent they might be, they will never be able to create technology.

 

Some argue that Intelligence is needed for technological development, but I don't think it is necessary. It will of course help, but it is not necessary. This would be why big brains are not a requirement for technology. Having a big brain will, of course, allow the creature to have a greater range of behaviours and likely be more flexible in their behaviours, but it is not an essential for such abilities.

 

What this means is that if we encounter an Advanced Technological Alien race, then there will be some common grounds with which we can initial communication.

 

1) They will have the ability to communicate. Communication is essential for technological development beyond the very basics.

 

2) They will also have a community as a social grouping is necessary. If you can communicate and create technology, it is not going to develop far if there is no body you can show your developments to.

 

A community needs rules and structure if it is going to hold it's self together, so they will have concepts similar enough to our Morals and Ethics (although the will most likely be different from ours - but even then there will be some similarities)

 

3) They will have some recognisable anatomies. Limbs to manipulate, visual receptor (eyes), etc. Without these they would not be able to manipulate tools.

 

4) They will understand the concepts of Play. Play is just experimental behaviours in a safe environment. They will also have evolved a method to encourage this play. They will essentially know about Fun (our reward for play).

 

 

So, there will be enough similarities between then and us so that we would be able to develop meaningful communication.

 

Now, I talked about why Crows have not developed the Internet. The main 2 reasons that crows have not developed the Internet is that they lack high dexterity and they don't have complex communication.

 

They do have some dexterity, they can manipulate twigs, and such, but they don't have the high dexterity needed for complex tool development. Their communication ability, however, is also limited, they don't pass on their technological development to other crows readily.

 

So technologically advanced Aliens would be vaguely similar in appearance (not necessarily humanoid or even bipedal). They would be social and have the ability to communicate. They would understand Play and certain emotions like Fun and Enjoyment. They would look after their Young (family - but likely a different structure to ours), and care for their Adults. And they would understand Morals and Ethics (but have different ones to us).

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I think that a Technological civilization is an "Attractor" (in terms of chaos theory) for evolution. By this, it is not a necessity that Technological civilizations will develop, but there is a pull towards it.

 

Interesting thought.... can you explain a bit more on how chaos theory might account for teleological evolution or point me to a source? (Perhaps I should have moved this to the Evolution forum.)

 

I find your points on intelligence and technology interesting too. You're focussing on tool use, and I would call this kind of intelligence Problem Solving. And indeed, big brains are not a prerequisite to solve problems, as countless tests with different kinds of animals have shown. I agree that the ability to solve problems is the basis of Technology.

 

However, I think the Problem Solving is not the basis of Science as we know it. What's needed for science is some kind of curiosity, or the need to make sense of and predict the world around us. One could think of children asking "Why...?" all the time, or of people asking themselves "What would happen if I...?". I think this is what created first religion, and later on science.

 

Which leads me to the following questions: Does Technology require Science? Does Science require a big brain?

I'd say "Yes" to the first question. Science gives us the tools to solve problems, and thus is necessary for Technology.

I'm not too sure about the second question. I've been thinking that learning by watching might point to the ability to do science, because this answers the question "What would happen if I...?" without actually trying it out. If this is the case, then a big brain is not required, since all kinds of animals, including fish are probably capable of learning by watching, though it would be interesting to know if ants are capable of this.

 

Admins, sorry for taking this thread more or less off-topic, feel free to move this!

 

Airmid.

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if there would be planets like ours and be governed by the same physical laws, is it more likely that those planets would be inhabited by beings similar to us? I don't know anything about this, so I just want to know what you think. Is our morphology, structure, and functioning the most favorable for the existing laws in the universe.

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Listen you show me one other solar system with 9 planets (well I guess 8 now) with only one of them having a severe elliptical orbit and the rest (for the most part) circular. I might believe that life COULD form there similar to ours. But I won't say intelligent life.

 

The fact is we live in a messed up solar system that is unlike any other we've seen, on a planet that's nothing like the other 8 (or 7 or whatever) in our system and we're the only highly intelligent life-form out of the millions (an approximation) of species that have come and gone from our planet.

 

Put that in your Drake equation and give it a spin. Our existence is one big WTF after another.

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Listen you show me one other solar system with 9 planets (well I guess 8 now) with only one of them having a severe elliptical orbit and the rest (for the most part) circular. I might believe that life COULD form there similar to ours. But I won't say intelligent life.

 

Whether or not the planet has a severe eliptical orbit, has no effect on hindering the development of intellegent life. In a way...."wow we got seasons." Who are you to say that the development of intelegent life has ANYTHING to do with the evolution of life on the planet. Given "billions and billions," of years, to mis-quote Carl Sagan, I presume that life COULD arise on the strangest of worlds.

 

The fact is we live in a messed up solar system that is unlike any other we've seen,

Out of billions, weve only looked through a pinhole of the avalible solar systems out there. Again the way that our solar system is shaped has no bering on the development of intelegent life out there.

 

 

and we're the only highly intelligent life-form out of the millions (an approximation) of species that have come and gone from our planet.

 

Wow. Are you denying the fact that your of only one species? Who's to say that the real dominant species in our world is dolphins? Whos to say that there so smart and above us that there grand scheme is to appear "dumb" so that humans dont suspect anything?

 

Are you denying the hundreds of species that have came and gone in the history of the earth?

 

Are you forgetting the existance of the dinosaurs,? Of there time they were the MOST dominant species of there era.

 

My opinion is that we to will soon become to "inteligent" for our world and we will contribute to the downfall of our dominant species.

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In addressing the original question, someone HAS to raise the Fermi Paradox.

 

Apparently, some scientists were discussing this question and saying that there had to be intelligent life, off Earth, in our galaxy, because of the enormous number of star systems. The Great Man (Prof. Fermi) heard this, and asked the simple question : "Where are they?"

 

This is extremely telling. About a decade back, or maybe a bit less, two NASA scientists wrote an article for Scientific American, about travel to other star systems. They concluded that, within 1,000 years, the first humans would have got to the first other star system. They concluded that travel at between 0.1c and 0.2c would be entirely possible and practical. A sufficiently large, self sufficient, space habitat could be accelerated to that speed and get to Alpha Centauri in no less than 75 years. (Assuming it takes 10 years to accelerate to 0.1c, and another 10 to decelerate).

 

Given those facts, and assuming that the human population continues to grow in numbers, and we retain our love for physical dispersal - extending it to colonising other star systems*, then it is possible to calculate how long it would take us to colonise the entire galaxy to the point of overpopulation. Depending on your underlying assumptions, the time taken from now would be 500,000 to 10,000,000 years.

 

*It would not be necessary to colonise planets on other star systems. Building and living in giant rotating star-orbiting cities with fusion power generators would be sufficient.

 

Using the Drake equation, Carl Sagan and Prof. Drake calculated that our galaxy must contain about one million technologically advanced species. If we assume this figure to be true, we find a serious logical flaw.

 

About 10% of our galaxy is third generation stars about 2 billion years older than our own. This means that 10% of those million advanced species would have had a 2 billion year head start on us. Using the earlier calculation about colonising the galaxy, at least some of those 100,000 species would have done just that - 2 billion years ago!

 

As Fermi said : "Where are they?"

 

Conclusion : The number of advanced species in our galaxy is a damn sight less than that. If the number was large, then at least one would have been aggressive, expansionist and successful. Probability dictates. Only if the number is small can be assume they are all 'stay at home' philosophers, or kill themselves off, or whatever explanation you care to come up with.

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In addressing the original question, someone HAS to raise the Fermi Paradox.

 

 

This is extremely telling. About a decade back, or maybe a bit less, two NASA scientists wrote an article for Scientific American, about travel to other star systems. They concluded that, within 1,000 years, the first humans would have got to the first other star system. They concluded that travel at between 0.1c and 0.2c would be entirely possible and practical. A sufficiently large, self sufficient, space habitat could be accelerated to that speed and get to Alpha Centauri in no less than 75 years. (Assuming it takes 10 years to accelerate to 0.1c, and another 10 to decelerate).

 

interesting point i remember looking at the plans for this particular spacecraft in epidode 8 of cosmos the series. i believe the title was "travels in time and space"

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Actually, to my chagrin, I realise I made an error in calculating time to get to alpha Centauri.

 

If acceleration and deceleration each take 10 years, and intermediate cruising speed is 0.1c, it will take 55 years to get there - not 75. If cruising speed reached is 0.2c, then time is 33 years, assuming again 10 years acceleration and deceleration each.

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point me to a source?

Actually these are my own thoughts. So no real source (except my own brain :D ).

 

Does Technology require Science?

Science and technology, although they act in synergy, are not necessary for each other.

 

If Science were needed for technology, then we would have have to have science before we even improved any tool.

 

Technology can advance by trial and error. If a tool using species has a variable ability to make tools or an imperfect ability to learn tool use, then one of the group will make (unintentional) changes to their tools that might offer an improvement.

 

However, if you do have science, then it will begin to accelerate tool development and tool development will accelerate scientific development.

 

It is the systematic search for patterns which I call science here. An Alien might not have the same scientific method, etc, but it is the systematic search for patterns that is important.

 

When a species can identify certain patterns, these patterns can themselves be thought of as tools.

 

This requires the ability to think abstractly, something that complex communication also requires, and if you remember I said that complex communication is also needed for technological development.

 

This aspect of complex communication, the ability to think abstractly, is very important. Being able to abstract the concept of a tool to concepts like patterns, or even to communication itself (and thus becomes a language), means that the creatures can use their tool using behaviours and apply it to all sorts of aspects of their situation (including domestication of other animals, the creation of literature, their own minds which leads to philosophy, etc).

 

So, because Technology and Science are enhanced by each other, this give the initial impression that they are mutually required, but because technology can develop without the pattern seeking that is science, and that pattern seeking does not require technology, they are not needed by each other.

 

However, if a species is going to develop complex technology in a reasonable time from, then, yes. Science is needed by Technology.

 

Does Science require a big brain

I would say yes. Pattern recognition is essentially what a brain does. It matches sensation patterns with their results.

 

Science is the seeking of patterns of patterns. You drop a rock and it falls. You drop another rock and it falls. Therefore we have a pattern: Rocks fall. IF you then drop a stick, we can find another pattern sticks fall. But there is then a pattern that can be found between these two patterns: Things fall -> Gravity.

 

This kind of thinking requires abstraction (and I explained all that above) to seek the metapaterns.

 

can you explain a bit more on how chaos theory might account for teleological evolution

In Chaos theory, an Attractor does not have to be a specific point with a specific clause defining it. It can exist as an emergent point. It is this aspect that I am mainly referring to.

 

Because there is no laws of the universe that state that "Technological civilization will develop", that means that technological civilizations are emergent.

 

There is a strong evolutionary advantage to tool use. Any creature that can use tools can expand their "imprint" beyond their biology.

 

Think of a Frog. It has no tool use and the only survival advantages it has is solely in it's genetics. But a tool using creature can go beyond their genetics and develop tools that give them abilities that are not possessed by any living organisms (or could be developed by a non tool using organism - for instance space travel).

 

This ability to create abilities that no living creature can possess and the fact that it's development is not tied to biology (it does not need biological reproduction before changes can take place) means that it can develop at a rate far faster than evolution. This is a dramatic advantage because this means that the technological creatures can never be out evolved (except by other technological species or creatures that evolve faster than the technology can develop - bacteria and virus for example).

 

This massive advantage of technology means that any species that develops the ability for technology will become dominant.

 

It is this that is the Attractor. This ability of rapid development not tied to biology that give the technological species the survival advantage.

 

Each step along the ladder to technology does provide species with some for of advantage, even before any tool us is developed. Although it is not explicitly stated in any law of the universe from physics to biology to genetics, it does however exist as an emergent law, an attractor.

 

since all kinds of animals, including fish are probably capable of learning by watching, though it would be interesting to know if ants are capable of this.

Yes, learning by watching can be used to pass on tool use, but the important thing is the ability of a species to pass on abstract tools.

 

This requires complex communication that can not be exchanged by simply watching another.

 

As I said, there are advantages to all the aspects that lead up to technological development, but it is only when a critical number (with certain key abilities - eg: hands) are reached that technological development becomes possible. Then with certain other abilities (abstract thinking, complex communications, etc) these will lead to an increasing rate of technological development.

 

Although the rapid development of technology requires a limited set of circumstances, it is my belief that these circumstances are favoured by evolution (not because of any design, but simply because they are useful for survival) and are complimentary when viewed from their impact on technology and it's development.

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I am going shamelessly off topic. Blame it on Edtharan, for the philosophical musings in the last post about intelligent life.

 

Edtharan (or anyone else) a question.

 

Imagine a kind of Planet of the Apes scenario.

Humans take a bunch of chimps to another planet, which is Earth like. The chimps are taught all sorts of ways to use and make tools. For some reason the humans die off, and the chimps are left for the next few million years to evolve without interferance.

 

Predict the result.

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In addressing the original question, someone HAS to raise the Fermi Paradox.

 

Apparently, some scientists were discussing this question and saying that there had to be intelligent life, off Earth, in our galaxy, because of the enormous number of star systems. The Great Man (Prof. Fermi) heard this, and asked the simple question : "Where are they?"

At home.:)

Given those facts, and assuming that the human population continues to grow in numbers, and we retain our love for physical dispersal - extending it to colonising other star systems*, then it is possible to calculate how long it would take us to colonise the entire galaxy to the point of overpopulation. Depending on your underlying assumptions, the time taken from now would be 500,000 to 10,000,000 years.

I think it could be much longer than that. If you look at population trends for first world nations (excluding immigration) then it quickly becomes apparent that such nations have a stable or declining population. As the GDP of a nation goes up and it's people become wealthier, they have less children.

 

Interstellar exploration would have to be a huge drain on resources, but even if it isn't, once the population of Earth attains first world status everywhere, the main impetus for colonization will disappear. People move to find a better life. More food, better jobs, etc. They won't find these things on a colony world. So the only people going would be those who actually want to be colonists.

 

It took H. Sapiens 100,000 years to fully populate this world to third world status. The colonists would be taking first world tech with them so there would little pressure for a population explosion. Add to that the possibility of failure of the colony. Sorry if I haven't fully explained myself here, but it's very late and I need some shut eye.;)

 

And just a thought, and I'm not putting it forward as a serious theory, but Earth itself could have been colonized a number of times over the past millions of years and we would never know. They would have to be failed colonies of course, but their sites could now be on the bottom of the ocean.

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