What if there are no aliens and ET?

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What if aliens didnt exist? We continue to search for ETs but what if they dont exist at all, and we are the first one to emerge?

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Then we probably won't find any.

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It probably won't have any long term effects on the human race, aside from less competition for resources as we (hopefully) expand outwards.

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If we knew for sure that there were no aliens, we'd have fewer stories of abductions and anal probes.

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If we knew for sure that there were no aliens, we'd have fewer stories of abductions and anal probes.

That's what THEY want you to think!

Seriously though, ideally there were once aliens and they leave their research and/or technology around for us to find. We also may end up as a progenitor race ourselves. Reasonable to think that different groups will seek different means of adapting themselves as the main technologies become more developed.

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If there are no other intelligences it places an immense responsibility on our shoulders. Intelligent life is the universe observing itself. Intelligence can create a reason where none existed before. Were we to perish the universe loses any reason to exist.

Added as a separate post, but appended to the prior one automatically by forum software. I would be intrigued to learn the rationale for awarding my observation - intended to promote discussion - a negative rep. I believe I can muster an elegant argument to defend the position, but it is difficult to do so without knowing what the objection is.

Edited by Ophiolite
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Added as a separate post, but appended to the prior one automatically by forum software. I would be intrigued to learn the rationale for awarding my observation - intended to promote discussion - a negative rep. I believe I can muster an elegant argument to defend the position, but it is difficult to do so without knowing what the objection is.

I remember giving you a positive rep ...or intended to! My apologies if it was a red one.

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Alone in a cold and uncaring universe; a blank slate for humanity - fit for us to record our most noble deeds or to boast of our most iniquitous felonies.

I hope that we are not alone for the simplest reason; I would like to meet someone completely different. I don't remember my first day at school, but I remember the shock of my first day at university and even more so the first day I was actually paid to do a job. The shattering of a worldview is an amazing and liberating experience - and every sentient lifeform on earth would receive that jolt at the same time, that "reset from start", that out-of-context problem which arises when one's whole perspective is changed immeasurably, irreversibly, and unexpectedly.

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Well, to be fair, even organisms that are close to us (i.e. those found on Earth) are quite alien and different if you look into them. In fact, biology has delivered us more varied and alien lifestyles than Hollywood. I would be curious to know whether extraterrestrial life could be any weirder than what we already have...

Edited by CharonY
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I would be curious to know whether extraterrestrial life could be any weirder what we already have...

I think in a similar context, on another thread, I've already mentioned my wife.

String Junky
I remember giving you a positive rep ...or intended to! My apologies if it was a red one

Thanks for the positive rep. If you did accidentally hit red it's not a problem. If positive, it cancelled out the negative. I was just puzzled as to what had been found so disagreeable by someone. , i

Edited by Ophiolite
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I think in a similar context, on another thread, I've already mentioned my wife.

Thanks for the positive rep. If you did accidentally hit red it's not a problem. If positive, it cancelled out the negative. I was just puzzled as to what had been found so disagreeable by someone. , i

It was definitely zero when I repped it. It was an insightful thought, I thought. By extension I sometimes wonder, via us, if the universe's evolution is becoming teleological.

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Teleology is a much maligned concept. I have long thought that a teleological thrust is implicit in "emergent properties", but that's perhaps best left to another thread. (I've been working on a reasoned argument to that end for five years, but never get it done. )

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Teleology is a much maligned concept. I have long thought that a teleological thrust is implicit in "emergent properties", but that's perhaps best left to another thread. (I've been working on a reasoned argument to that end for five years, but never get it done. )

Yes, I think because it is too often associated with conventional religion. Emergence is a back-of-the-mind thing that my brain has been chewing on for years trying to get my head around it, simultaneously viewing the paths from micro to macro levels, but so far always fall short. I think properly understanding it is crucial to understanding the nature of biological concepts like 'life' and consciousness as processes. I look forward to a thread from you on the topics you mention should it ever gel well enough for you to post something about it.

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Teleology is a much maligned concept. I have long thought that a teleological thrust is implicit in "emergent properties", but that's perhaps best left to another thread. (I've been working on a reasoned argument to that end for five years, but never get it done. )

Yes, I think because it is too often associated with conventional religion. Emergence is a back-of-the-mind thing that my brain has been chewing on for years trying to get my head around it, simultaneously viewing the paths from micro to macro levels, but so far always fall short. I think properly understanding it is crucial to understanding the nature of biological concepts like 'life' and consciousness as processes. I look forward to a thread from you on the topics you mention should it ever gel well enough for you to post something about it.

Tangled hierarchy consciousness; aka strange loop. As you contemplate/construct/project higher level abstractions -such as alien life- you inevitably return to the starting point, i.e. yourself. The teleological 'thrust' is yourself or per se 'I'.

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I can't see how we could possibly know there were no intelligent extraterrestrial life forms apart from ourselves. We would have to have explored the whole universe to know that.

In the very distant future we might be able to conclude that there are no detectable technologically capable alien civilisations in our galaxy. If this turns out to be true it would indicate just how rare are civilisations like our own - and profoundly influence our view of ourselves as a species.

Edited by Griffon
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I can't see how we could possibly know there were no intelligent extraterrestrial life forms apart from ourselves.

That looks like an Argument from Ignorance. Just because you cannot see how we might determine this does not mean it is not possible.

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That looks like an Argument from Ignorance. Just because you cannot see how we might determine this does not mean it is not possible.

It depends what it is we are saying. I was taking the OP's question "What if aliens didn't exist?" to mean just that: didn't exist anywhere. I can't see how we could know that for sure. We might be able to say they don't exist in a more limited sense, within our solar system say, or even further afield eventually. We could indeed be the first intelligent species to populate the galaxy.
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There is nothing in us that's unique. We are carbon based life forms. The elements in us are in abundance throughout the universe. If we were the only living things it would be far more miraculous than if we weren't. It would challange our understand about what life is and how it is created. Like so many ignorant skeptics years ago who challanged evolution by demanding "the missing link" life on earth being the only life in the universe would question a "missing component" to life.

Seperately I think it is pointless to differentiate between life and intelligent life.

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It depends what it is we are saying. I was taking the OP's question "What if aliens didn't exist?" to mean just that: didn't exist anywhere. I can't see how we could know that for sure. We might be able to say they don't exist in a more limited sense, within our solar system say, or even further afield eventually. We could indeed be the first intelligent species to populate the galaxy.

I understand your argument. I am taking the viewpoint that there may be something extraordinarily fortuitous about emergence of life, or of intelligent life, that knowledge we acquire in millenias time could lead us to understand we are unique without visiting all environs. I doubt we are unique, but believe it is too early to say.

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It depends what it is we are saying. I was taking the OP's question "What if aliens didn't exist?" to mean just that: didn't exist anywhere. I can't see how we could know that for sure. We might be able to say they don't exist in a more limited sense, within our solar system say, or even further afield eventually. We could indeed be the first intelligent species to populate the galaxy.

We can't know for sure, unless we can somehow overcome the speed of light. If we had FTL technology, we'd be able to conduct a fast survey of our Galaxy, and the whole Universe, to look for other intelligent species. But we can't do such a survey while we're restricted by "C". This stops us knowing anything about what's really happening in the Universe.

There might, right now, be a growing Galactic Empire in the Milky Way. A potentially full-blown Asimovian Empire, with Emperors, Seldons , Mules, and all. But - if it happens to have started at the opposite end of the Galaxy - tens of thousands of light-years away - we don't know anything about it. Even it started within 200 LY of us, we'll still be in complete ignorance of its existence.

There could be fleets of Imperial starships out there right now. Engaging in conquest, subjugating planets and disembarking tax-collectors. Even the Dendi and the Troxxt could be battling for Galactic control, grinding whole star-clusters into swirling cosmic dust in the process!

And as long as all this activity hasn't approached to within 200 LY of us on Earth, it's unknown to us, because "C" stops us getting the news.

So I think that before we can get proper information about what's going on in the Universe, we have to find a way to transcend "C".

Edited by Dekan
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There is nothing in us that's unique. We are carbon based life forms. The elements in us are in abundance throughout the universe. If we were the only living things it would be far more miraculous than if we weren't. It would challange our understand about what life is and how it is created. Like so many ignorant skeptics years ago who challanged evolution by demanding "the missing link" life on earth being the only life in the universe would question a "missing component" to life.

Seperately I think it is pointless to differentiate between life and intelligent life.

I see where you're coming from with this, but when we're talking about alien life the way the OP does it's usually intelligent life, at least intelligent enough to leave some evidence of their existence we can detect from Earth. Intelligent enough to leave their home planet is usually part of the definition of alien/ET.

I can't think of a combination of inheritable traits a species could have that would allow them to evolve the ability to survive travel off-planet without including intelligence. Microorganisms could travel without intention, but how else would a species leave this world for another without a fairly high intelligence?

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I understand your argument. I am taking the viewpoint that there may be something extraordinarily fortuitous about emergence of life, or of intelligent life, that knowledge we acquire in millenias time could lead us to understand we are unique without visiting all environs. I doubt we are unique, but believe it is too early to say.

Yes. I see what you mean. In such circumstances I might imagine we could say the possibility of life elsewhere was vanishingly small, in a finite universe anyway. But we could never be certain that somewhere in a galaxy far far away life like ours had also developed.

I also find such a scenario depressingly bleak.

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Assuming the cosmological principle holds throughout the universe and what we know about the time-scales involved in elemental-through-to-molecular synthesis, how many years could an alien race be ahead of us technologically/scientifically/societally as an upper limit?

Edited by StringJunky
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I see where you're coming from with this, but when we're talking about alien life the way the OP does it's usually intelligent life, at least intelligent enough to leave some evidence of their existence we can detect from Earth. Intelligent enough to leave their home planet is usually part of the definition of alien/ET.

I can't think of a combination of inheritable traits a species could have that would allow them to evolve the ability to survive travel off-planet without including intelligence. Microorganisms could travel without intention, but how else would a species leave this world for another without a fairly high intelligence?

Explosions could send microorganism traveling into space. Many theorize that is how life is seeded throughout the universe. I personally don't advocate such however.

I agree that an alien species with an intelligence that mirrored our own would be easier to spot. For that matter life on a planet similar to our own would be easier to spot as well. We're looking for the familiar.

We don't have enough information to say one way or the other if intelligence throughout the universe is generally accompanied the industries we have created on earth. Humans may be the most advanced of all industrious life forms or so destructively ignorant that other life forms in the universe may not even consider us intelligent. Until we find life elsewhere in the universe we won't know how the scale for intelligence is messured. As of now intelligence is a subjective term that only applies to the way humans feel about each other and animals here on earth.

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I've been lurking these forums for months but decided to register for this odd thread..

Since the first broadcasts of FM radio in the 30s and the first satellite TV broadcasts in the 60s, we have continuously showered the skies with our existence, ever increasing volume and power. A developed life-form as far as a few hundred light years away should be able to at the very least pick up on our chatter. They would need a massive array and fine equipment to make it audible but the signals should let them know that another intelligent life form exists.

We should also be ready for an uncomfortable discovery which we could make with certainty one day, that we may very well be one of a kind. If that were the case, we really do have an incredible mission to grow beyond our planet for the sake of preserving our intelligent life in and of itself.

Finally, our true and final frontier is to extend outside of our planet but we are still stuck in this jail which is our solar system. Escaping may never ever be possible.

I can almost imagine a situation where out there in space, there is a galaxy somewhere with multiple intelligent life forms that can communicate with each ther yet are forever incapable of meeting as they cannot leave their solar systems.

Edited by illustro

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