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Fermi paradox a.k.a. "Where is everybody?"

Hulk_Smash

Banned
Man I absolutely love thinking about this stuff. I've already read about most theories and watched a ton of videos on the subject. I just hope that before I die, we do find some sort of life in the universe besides ours. On one hand, that almost certainly proves religion is false, and that death is truly the end. On the other, it opens the ideas and possibilities that for humanity, as long as we don't destroy ourselves, there really is no limit. I feel like I was born a few thousand years too early. I haven't experienced anything cool other than Saturday Morning Cartoons, AOL chat rooms, and shitposting on the internet.

LOL. It does not prove religion is false. It doesn’t even prove the Bible is false.
 

Ornlu

Banned
This is very true. We have a VERY short observational bubble to draw data from. Plus we are using fairly crude methods to detect any emitted electromagnetic radiation or other phenomena. Even our own emission bubble is very small (around 100LY IIRC) and unless you are looking directly at us with very sensitive large arrays the strength of our transmissions are extremely weak. So there COULD be moderately advanced civilizations all around us that we are just too blind to see. But it seems unlikely that if this were the case there wouldn't be evidence of it within our solar system. Carbon based organic life seems fairly easy to make, not to mention other forms of intelligent life, so a place like Earth ought to be interesting to at least some forms of life and worth at least a probe.

But again, if the galaxy internet runs off neutrinos and everyone is using cool emission wormholes to get around, then maybe the galaxy is TEEMING with life that produces nothing we can detect (so far) and Earth is just a little anthill in the middle of a backwater arm of the Milky Way that no one gives a shit about because the Galactic Kardashians are in the middle of a 500,000,000 year bitch fight and everyone is tuned into that :p

That's what I'm saying; assuming that us not finding radio waves during the sub-100 years we've been looking means that there is no life other than us is pretty stupid and arrogant. Why would we assume that everyone else would be using the same shit?

A more accurate read would be "We have yet to detect another human civilization that operates on 20th-21st century tech".
 
Actually Abiogenesis (life evolving from non life) is kind of unexplained and seems extremely unlikely, since you'd need a DNA/RNA to form spontaneously while there would have to be an outer protective membrane forming around that at the same time.
Yes, abiogenesis is currently unexplained in a strict sense, but there are reasonable hypotheses that give potential pathways for it to occur.

IANAScientist, but the Miller-Urey experiment produced a number of the building blocks of life (amino acids) in a relatively short time, and experiments that refined Miller-Urey as our understanding of early Earth developed reconfirmed it and even found more amino acids. DNA/RNA probably developed in the reverse of the current pathways (i.e. amino acids attracted the DNA/RNA precursors rather than DNA/RNA precursors pulling amino acids together to form proteins.) Membranes are the least unexplained since they form naturally and spontaneously in various conditions.

The only big thing that's really unexplained is the development of eukaryotes from prokaryotes. I think a lot of pop science people handwave it away as not a significant question, but when you think about it, it's like swallowing a live fish and expecting to be able to breathe underwater.

It's possible that we are more improbable than we believe. We expect life to move towards intelligence - but the dinosaurs existed for millions of years and without that cataclysm they might still be the dominant dumb lifeform - nascent intelligence might have been snuffed out by sheer brawn.
Another option is that 'intelligent' life only blooms for a short time before it destroys itself. Life developing on other worlds might occur all the time but on a cosmic scale highly intelligent life may be a blip, and the chance of two blips occuring at the same time might be miniscule.
Agreed. To expand on that though, a few of the big assumptions that the pop science people make when they clutch their pearls over the Great Filter are that the filter is bad (when really most hypothesized filters are neutral because they just stop progression,) that intelligent life looks like us or uses the same biology and technology as us, and that intelligent life even cares about space. Like you say, dinosaurs roamed the Earth for millions of years and didn't send a single radio wave in to space let alone going there themselves.

I am so over Kurzgesagt and this is one of the videos that did it. (The other being the one where they "fixed" the Gregorian calendar by adding a "1" to the current year.) So many assumptions that it's worse than a high school term paper.
 

Woo-Fu

Banned
It simple economics+physics. The amount of power it requires to travel between star systems precludes ever doing it economically and if it isn't economical then there's very little practical reason to do it. And even if you have the science to do it you also have the science to not need to do it purely for resources.

It's why cheap FTL features prominently in practically every galaxy-spanning sci-fi space opera ever written. It simply doesn't work without it.
 
There's also the possibility that we are in the galactic equivalent to 'the sticks' and who the hell would want to make that kind of road trip? It's like a 5 hour trip with mom and dad going to a far off zoo that you never wanted to see.

Aside from that the answers are either:

1) The skeptics are correct. If intelligent alien life exists we or they are too far and/or cannot overcome distance.
2) Problem with distance and travel is long solved but we are still too far out to come and see.
3) Above but travel is easy however we as a species are not worth associating with now.
4) They are here but are studying/watching us, like how we look and take photos of the jungle and take a sample every so often for the lab.
5) Above but other agendas. Potentially competing if multiple species involved which is why we haven't been invaded or helped as they are fighting each other.
6) We cannot contact because we do not have the proper equipment for whatever they use.
7) Conspiracy Theorists are correct. Highest government secret, partially out of fear of public response (Orsen Welles' War of the Worlds debacle) and fear of declassifying higher technology (energy, medical, etc) that would hurt people in power (and want to stay in power).
 

Airola

Member
That's what I'm saying; assuming that us not finding radio waves during the sub-100 years we've been looking means that there is no life other than us is pretty stupid and arrogant. Why would we assume that everyone else would be using the same shit?

A more accurate read would be "We have yet to detect another human civilization that operates on 20th-21st century tech".

A theoretical possibility isn't evidence either though. The vastness of space is not evidence. If there isn't anything then there isn't anything no matter how much space there is.

Besides, if there is, chances also are that none of them are even this advanced. Could even be that none of them even thinks about any possible alien life. Could be we are the only ones thinking about that. I mean, even in this planet with countless amount of different species we are the only ones that have entertained the thought of alien life. How many of the aliens even would know about space? Could be we are the only ones who know what planets are. If we weren't here, this planet would also have zero minds wondering about space and possible aliens.
 
The problem is that as you get faster a spec of dust can rip your ship apart. Also slowing down gets really hard, and if time dilation becomes a factor (which it will if you get fast enough) then control gets even trickier.
the initial ships can be relatively tiny, and they can take their time. Once they arrive at a location they can build reception towers and receive communication and minds as information at the speed of light through light beams.

Large human occupied would be more of a challenge.

Actually Abiogenesis (life evolving from non life) is kind of unexplained and seems extremely unlikely, since you'd need a DNA/RNA to form spontaneously while there would have to be an outer protective membrane forming around that at the same time.
There is the rna world hypothesis that at first all there was was rna, carrying the function of proteins and of dna. The discovery of rna enzymes bolstered the hypothesis. We also know that amino acids can be created naturally without life, and that such were present in the early earth

Here's an article talking about how the early fatty acids would not only spontaneously assemble into membranes but the membranes could be stabilized by amino acids.

Also while it is still a fringe idea, some scientists believe given the speed of objects in the universe the formation of the large natural megastructures observed, required vastly longer to form than the current estimates for the age of the universe. If true life could have taken vastly longer to form, and could have arrived via panspermia from elsewhere.

Sure there is, it's running out of fuel. How exactly are you powering your ships? That might reframe this discussion.
The ship can have fuel to deccelerate(I've also heard it can potentially pick up fuel along the way from the interstellar medium), and be accelerated via a laser from the home planet.
Space is a little bit bigger for your continent destroying weapons and puny probes though.
At our currently accelerating rate of progress we will have planet dismantling star moving nanomachines before the end of the century. That would be something to pay attention to.
 

notseqi

Member
At our currently accelerating rate of progress we will have planet dismantling star moving nanomachines before the end of the century. That would be something to pay attention to.
As I said in my post before that, we are not capable of foreseeing what happens in 50 years. It's gonna go fast.
edit: rather, where we are at in 50 years
 
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As I said in my post before that, we are not capable of foreseeing what happens in 50 years. It's gonna go fast.
edit: rather, where we are at in 50 years
Yes we could destroy ourselves and civilization could collapse. But otherwise, it does seem like we're approaching a turning point.

edit: Particularly the majority of ai experts expect true ai to arrive this century, iirc. Imagine what happens when intelligence significantly surpasses human limits.

“The ever accelerating progress of technology and changes in the mode of human life give the appearance of approaching some essential singularity in the history of the race beyond which human affairs, as we know them, could not continue.”

The article lists this quote as being from John von Neumann in 1958, but he died in 1957, and Stanislav Ulam wrote the quote as a paraphrase of Von Neumann in a posthumous tribute.
 
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notseqi

Member
Yes we could destroy ourselves and civilization could collapse. But otherwise, it does seem like we're approaching a turning point.

edit: Particularly the majority of ai experts expect true ai to arrive this century, iirc. Imagine what happens when intelligence significantly surpasses human limits.

'There are no good technical solutions to social problems', I've heard today. I have to agree. I am sure that global warming and other stuff won't kill us in sufficient numbers, we can do it ourselves though.
 

Elektro Demon

Shits and Giggles
I believe aliens exist and that they know of our existence but they're so advanced that they really don't give a shit for us.
And with our current technology, we won't encounter them and we won't develop the tech for deep space exploration. Not gonna happen in our lifetime.
 

Wvrs

Member
There are millions, billions of civilizations in the universe. One of them sends out a signal, "I'm here!" How can you know that species' intentions? Are they benevolent or hostile? Are they more advanced or less advanced? And by the time you reach them, will their intentions be the same? Will they have surpassed you technologically?

You can't know. So better to snuff them out from afar. Wipe them out. And stay hidden so others can't do the same to you. .

That's why the universe seems so quiet. We're all hunters in a dark forest.
 

Melon Husk

Member
Sifting sands...

Imagine a vast sieve. The sieve represents the universe. The flat mesh represents "now".

Grains of sand are steadily falling down through the sieve.

Two intelligent lifeforms make contact if they fall through the same hole at the same time. If they don't fall through at the same time they don't make contact.

The sieve is mind-bogglingly big. There could be tens of thousands of grains falling through the sieve right now, but far apart. There have been thousands before and there are thousands yet to fall, but they are separated by time.


The sphere of influence of a civilization is limited. That is, at least on our level. Do the holes in the sieve get bigger over time? Perhaps, but if there are "superior beings" out there who are millions of years ahead of us, I don't expect them to be rushing to tell us.


Realistically, what are our means of interstellar communication? There would have to be intelligent life within 10 years to make contact an extremely likely to happen immediately. If lifeforms in one out of ten stars have invented commercial radio "right now". the universe would be teeming with intelligent life. Those kinds of thoughts are projecting our own civilization to alien worlds and reflecting our own existence.

I didn't think of all life as sand and intelligent life as gold nuggets, because then they would all cluster on the same level... That works in inverse, where "future" is up, and the gold nuggets are sort of trapped on top of the mesh. If you're pessimistic about FTL, it's a sound analogy. You can shuffle the sieve and the nuggets will fly, maybe making contact as they bounce around.

'There are no good technical solutions to social problems', I've heard today. I have to agree. I am sure that global warming and other stuff won't kill us in sufficient numbers, we can do it ourselves though.

An unstable civlization is an agile one
/dab
 
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Leyasu

Member
It has taken billions of years to get where we are and the distances between solar systems are immense and almost beyond imagination.

But after saying that, I firmly believe that we have been visited for a long time and that governments are well aware of the truth.

Call me what you want, I don’t give a fuck.
 

asustitan

Banned
It has taken billions of years to get where we are and the distances between solar systems are immense and almost beyond imagination.

But after saying that, I firmly believe that we have been visited for a long time and that governments are well aware of the truth.

Call me what you want, I don’t give a fuck.

Damn aliens always have governments on speed dial when they arrive eh.
 

Airola

Member
Damn aliens always have governments on speed dial when they arrive eh.

They can also send messages through regular people too though.


For some reason they talk like a 50's scifi-actor and rolls the R a lot.
And they know God exists too, so there's that, atheists.
 

Leyasu

Member
Damn aliens always have governments on speed dial when they arrive eh.
I know that you are fucking around. But what I meant was with all the surveillance technologies and what not, they obviously have some pretty hard evidence of things flying around that are not currently achievable.

Unless of course, the US is that far advanced. I would have no problem accepting that America has some pretty exotic stuff hidden away in the desert, but not to the extent of what gets seen and reported by people.
 

Airola

Member
Unless of course, the US is that far advanced. I would have no problem accepting that America has some pretty exotic stuff hidden away in the desert, but not to the extent of what gets seen and reported by people.

What if the US, Russia and China all have some super advanced stuff flying around. Sometimes the officials in the US know it's their own stuff and want no-one to know about it, sometimes they know it's not theirs but suggest it must be from Russia or China, and it is.
 

jason10mm

Member
The US can't even keep a phone call between leaders confidential, you guys REALLY think they can hide anti-grav drives and non-newtonian physics spacecraft?

I totally have not been coerced into saying this...
 

ItsGreat

Member
Careful what you wish for.

What is this still from? I'm intrigued.
 

CrapSandwich

former Navy SEAL
I think the obvious is being overlooked--that we're the aliens. Obviously someone super-nuked the dinosaurs, let things calm down a bit, then planted a bunch of non-native species (some of which would evolve into present-day humanity) and eventually, into another civilization of these aliens. They're spreading themselves throughout the universe, just as we will in the future, for we are them. It explains that massive crater in Mexico, the gaps in the fossil record, and the massively discordant types of bio-diversity on this planet.
 
What is this still from? I'm intrigued.

Star Trek: The Boring Motion Picture. The first one in 1979. It wasn't a bad movie but it was loooooooooooooooooooong (and it was also partially meant to be a pilot for a tv series). The above is V'Ger, and its mass cloud dwarfed our solar system.

And the Klingons first response was to naturally shoot it.
 

Leyasu

Member
What if the US, Russia and China all have some super advanced stuff flying around. Sometimes the officials in the US know it's their own stuff and want no-one to know about it, sometimes they know it's not theirs but suggest it must be from Russia or China, and it is.


China and Russia are too far behind for anything really exotic to be them. America has been shovelling money and the best minds into this stuff for decades.

I watched a UFO documentary in the early 2000s, and part of it was on the Gulf Breeze wave in the 90s. They had some old scientist/engineer from the states talking about it. He was adamant that the Gulf Breeze UFOs were American. During the interview he explained why he thought that and gave a little demo. His demo was a thick loop of exposed wire with a plug on the end. When he plugged it into the socket the wire loop hummed and levitated.

He then went on to say that this phenomenon was discovered in the 60s. And even to the day that documentary was shown, they didn't really understand why the electrical current made the loop levitate/fly/defy gravity.
 
For those interested in this topic, I would recommend the following paper by Anders Sandberg, Eric Drexler (Yes, that Eric K Drexler!) and Toby Ord:

Dissolving the Fermi Paradox

It's quite clear if you are well read on this topic that the likelihood of intelligent life within our light-cone being quite small given the accumulated evidence from the last 60 years of SETI and scanning the electromagnetic spectrum to ever higher sensitivity. The Drake equation produces such large numbers of civilizations, the idea that we haven't seen any background EM radiation leakage or spectrum shifting from energy consumption of an advanced civilization is damning.

I would also recommend the following paper for a nice Bayesian treatment of the problem space which computes an 18% probability of intelligent life existing in our light-cone:

The Log Log Prior for the Frequency of Extraterrestrial Intelligences
 
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Soodanim

Gold Member
I recently heard something on a podcast that made sense, but I wish I could quote it fully. It was in a discussion about if there’s life out there, and he said although the numbers seem too big for life to not be out there, there’s also a number of incredibly low chance events that led to humans. So the incredibly high numbers (billion trillion) don’t seem nearly as high when you start filtering out through probability.

But as they said, it’s a depressing thought that we’re the best there is and we’re sat on Twitter arguing among ourselves over dumb shit.
 
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Airola

Member
I recently heard something on a podcast that made sense, but I wish I could quote it fully. It was in a discussion about if there’s life out there, and he said although the numbers seem too big for life to not be out there, there’s also a number of incredibly low chance events that led to humans. So the incredibly high numbers (billion trillion) don’t seem nearly as high when you start filtering out through probability.

But as they said, it’s a depressing thought that we’re the best there is and we’re sat on Twitter arguing among ourselves over dumb shit.

Yeah, and even if life could exist how likely it would be that they'll have arms, hands and even fingers they would quite certainly need to build any spacecrafts? Would they have eyes, ears? Would they even be capable of hearing us or seeing us?

It's not as if evolved life means that 100% certainly they would have our type of physical form that have eyes, ears and fingers. I have a hard time thinking any form of life would be able to build some FTL space travel stuff without the majority of those beings having hands to grab things well enough. No other life form on Earth use different pieces of metal and even build a tool with them. It seems that for any kind of a technological item to appear to this Earth has required two hands, five fingers and certain kind of sight, hearing and brain. There's nothing that would suggest a machine could be built by creatures that don't have physical features that we have. I know people like to downplay our place and form in the space but if you really think of it, we are pretty damn amazing things to appear from nothing.

And even with our capabilities we have many many times had the means to do something that removes us from existence. Wars, using biology (diseases etc) against each other, building bombs that blow away whole cities. If there would be plenty of creatures with our capabilities to build things and if they've had way more time to do stuff, chances are at least some of them have already destroyed themselves. But it would be pretty likely there really aren't many living creatures that would even have the possibility to do harmful things like that and if they don't, I kinda doubt they have the capability to build spacecrafts either.

Unless of course there could be life that builds things by mental power or something like that, but at that point we could as well talk about them as angels.

What comes to our Twitter use, isn't that pretty amazing too though? Imagine that at one point there was nothing. And now there is this. If any of this would be something that, say, bears or antlions do, it would be amazing! Them creating that system alone would be super interesting, but imagine how interesting it would be to find out that they are arguing about stupid stuff using that system. While it on the surface seems like the stupid stuff we do is just stupid, it actually is pretty damn amazing all things considered. Living beings coming out from nothing is one thing, but culture, no matter how stupid it might seem, is a whole another thing and even more amazing.
 
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