The Fermi Paradox - Are we alone?

EUrJokingMeRight

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 28, 2009
Messages
11,664
There are probably other intelligent Life Forms

But probably not that many that are sentient

Even less that are advanced enough to think outside the box

if we ever discover any then they are probably so far away that any meaningful communication will be between extremely difficult

- and Impossible

So for all practical purposes we are Alone in this Universe[/QUOTE]

'Practical purposes'.....Like voting into government the gimp cheili that is Fine Gael?

Surely we are more than alone in that regard, alone and very, very disturbed one might add. In dire need of extra terrestrial assistance......perhaps even from as far away as the neighbouring townland!:shock::shock:

Could they be even less sentient than us? Hardly!
 


firefly123

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 8, 2009
Messages
28,225
There are probably other intelligent Life Forms

But probably not that many that are sentient

Even less that are advanced enough to think outside the box

if we ever discover any then they are probably so far away that any meaningful communication will be between extremely difficult

- and Impossible

So for all practical purposes we are Alone in this Universe
look as of now you are correct. we have no means of communication etc but technology changes. 150 years ago we didn't know about radio and look at world we were missing. who knows in 10 years we discover a whole new means of communication that opens up the galaxy to us all. maybe we are using a CB radio whilst everyone else is using fibre broadband.
 

Catalpast

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 17, 2012
Messages
25,564
We may well pick up signals from far away

- but so far away that we can never do a RSVP.....:?

Or we may spot something out there that can only be explained as 'Intelligent Design'

eg planetary or Solar engineering

The Truth is Out There.....:cool:

If we ever find it that is.....
 

razorblade

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 30, 2016
Messages
8,081
Im certain that there are other life forms out there, but they are so far away its impossible to come into contact with them.
 

Karloff

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 5, 2015
Messages
6,952
Following on from the previous thread which asked the question, "is humanity afraid of the dark?", perhaps we should consider who, or what, may live in the dark? Although the idea of beings from beyond our world has been pondered by some for centuries, only in the last century, as we have slowly uncovered our true place within the Cosmos, has the question of extraterrestrial life really taken a prominent place in the popular imagination of mankind.
Lovecraft was well ahead of his time in articulating this. As human centred belief systems (that always offer us a promise of salvation) fade we are left with this idea of the terrifying neutrality of the Universe.

Personally i think we are safe, anything out there is going to be interested in the resources of the planet rather than us and why didn't they come and take the resources during the last 2 billion years anyway, why would they wait till now till this tiny sliver of Earth's history where we humans dominate. The answer i think is in the vast spaces between worlds which may be simply insurmountable in practical terms for the other intelligent beings out there, as it is to us. Even the most ferocious energetic events in the universe are humbled by the cosmic speed limit, even giant stars that burn their energy so fast they give out in a few seconds the energy that the sun gives out in 1 year only rotate at around 20% of the speed of light.
 

Dimples 77

Duplicate Account
Joined
May 9, 2012
Messages
19,060
Following on from the previous thread which asked the question, "is humanity afraid of the dark?", perhaps we should consider who, or what, may live in the dark? Although the idea of beings from beyond our world has been pondered by some for centuries, only in the last century, as we have slowly uncovered our true place within the Cosmos, has the question of extraterrestrial life really taken a prominent place in the popular imagination of mankind. Now, we recognise that this world that we call our own forms part of a fairly ordinary solar system, not unlike the multitude of others that exist around most of the nearly 100 billion or so stars in our galaxy, itself one of perhaps as many as 100 billion galaxies in the observable Universe (the part where photons of light have had enough time to reach human eyes - about 13.8 billion years).

In the last 25 years, the number of known planets has grown from 8 to over 1000 as we have detected so called exoplanets orbiting nearby stars - only a tiny, tiny fraction of the overall number of stars in our galaxy, mind you. Vast swathes of the Milky Way remain uncharted, and the latest of our scientific probes to categorise the stars in the galaxy, the ESA's GAIA probe, will chart at best about 1% of them (1 billion in total). The technology for detecting exoplanets is so primitive in its development that thousands more so-called "candidates" have yet to be confirmed, and may not exist at all, such is the lack of precision when dealing with stars that are so incredibly far away. In terms of galactic exploration we are really are taking baby steps at this stage.

There can be no question, at least in cosmological terms, regarding our unremarkable status in the "cosmic arena". Although we have barely scratched the surface in terms of exploration, it is immediately obvious that our self-regarding notions of uniqueness are poorly supported. Of the minute fraction of planets we have observed, a handful of them appear capable of harbouring conditions similar to that of Earth. Surely then, given this extraordinary multitude of possibilities, even if chances of of life arising are very small, there are countless possibilities for it to get going elsewhere, either in this galaxy or certainly in the billions of others. And surely some of that has to be intelligent life which has acquired the ability to develop technology over millennia. And surely, even discounting all the reasons not to do so, some of them must have embarked on migration and must have spread out wards across the void? The numbers alone speak for themselves. There are, to quote Carl Sagan, "more stars in the whole Universe than every grain of sand on all the beaches of the Earth", so even if the odds are infinitesimal, they must arise at some point, especially over billions of years. And yet we still haven't found any of them, yet.

Where are they?

This mystery first occurred to the Italian physicist Enrico Fermi, well known for his involvement in the Manhattan Project after fleeing Mussolini's Fascist Italy. To him the fact that there has been billions of years of time, and that there are a sheer multitude of places, in which intelligent life could have arisen, would suggest that there has been ample time for an intelligent race to propagate across our galaxy and reach Earth, and potentially colonise it as well. In all of recorded history, and in all archaeological records, we see no evidence for this ever occurring. Even more startling is that since radio astronomers first started to listen for potential signs of alien transmissions, perhaps, they speculated, from massive beacons of energy, aside from one or two questionable occasions (such as the famous Wow signal), alien radio transmissions have never been found. The Universe appears to be silent, and organisations such as SETI, who were initially optimistic about what they expected to detect, have thus far been unsuccessful in their search.

In the rapid discovery of new worlds and the revelation of how truly vast the Cosmos is, this paradox seems totally baffling. At least until we realise that despite decades of extensive exploration, we still only know of one place where life exists, our own planet Earth. Many early astronomers once speculated that our nearest neighbours were home to people as well, but they have been shown to be barren and lifeless; Mars is a frozen desert whose liquid water has long since disappeared, the Moon has no atmosphere whatsoever, and Venus is a suffocating world with temperatures hot enough to melt lead. Life, from the massive number of worlds in our own solar system, as far as we know, has only arisen on one of them. Perhaps conditions for life really are very rare, and the chances of it actually occurring may be minimal.

Frank Drake, who was partly responsible for SETI's founding, posited an equation to estimate roughly how many intelligent alien races existed in the Milky Way galaxy, and which is usually written as N = R* x f(p) x n(e) x f(l) x f(i) x f(c) x L

N = Number of intelligent technologically advanced races.
R* = Rate of star formation in the Milky Way.
F(p) = Fraction of stars that have planets.
N(e) = Average number of planets per solar system that can support life.
F(l) = The fraction of habitable planets on which life actually develops.
F(i) = The fraction of planets with life that go on to develop intelligent, sapient life.
F(c) = The fraction of such intelligent species going on to emit radio transmissions into space
L = The longevity factor, how long on average do these advanced races continue to exist.

Its largely speculative, and while some estimates place the number into the thousands, some end up with a number less than one. The fact that there are so many unknowns in this equation makes it pretty much unworkable at this stage. It has often been criticised by some as optimistic, as it doesn't include other possible factors which may have helped life to develop on the early Earth (such as the presence of a large gas giant like Jupiter, which directed most life threatening asteroids away from the inner solar system).

Perhaps the fraction of planets with life, or life which goes into develop intelligence, are the factors which are vanishingly small. So far, given our preliminary discoveries, the first for factors appear to be relatively large. The L factor, however, is interesting. Are civilisations destined to last for millions of years, or do they usually end up going extinct as a result of their own technology. Its a question mankind has asked itself since the beginning of the Atomic Age, when we acquired the ability, at least theoretically, to wipe ourselves out by our own deliberate actions. Other risks which may not be as obvious are the result of technology making us advanced and interconnected; the possible spread of global pandemics, or our ability to control the climate. Is this the same with other intelligent beings. David Brin, an astrophysicist, also suggests the possibility of technological regression; that a civilisation chooses to destroy and hinder technological progress in order to consolidate the status quo and political control, a kind of Nineteen Eighty Four type scenario.

There are other things to consider however. The sheer size of the Universe, even for advanced civilisations, poses a problem. Radio transmissions from these civilisations, for instance, may not be strong enough to be received beyond a few light years, and may simply dissipate into noise, making any radio communication significantly more difficult. Even if civilisations are common, the distance between them means that radio messages (which travel at the speed of light), may take decades, centuries, or even millennia to reach their desired destination. We have only been broadcasting messages into space for a few decades, so the area in which human radio messages can be received is only a tiny portion of the Milky Way. Bear in mind that any radio response aliens make will take a similar length of time to reach us. The Arecibo Message, for example, was beamed to a star cluster 25,000 light years away, which means that two way communication will take something in the region of 50,000 years, an unfeasibly long amount of time.

Or maybe the use of radio as communication isn't common or is eventually discarded by aliens as their technological capabilities grow, a bit like carrier pigeons in the modern world of telephones and the Internet.

But why, if they exist, would they not visit us, even over billions of years? Even if restricted to sub-lightspeed, they should be able to cover much of the galaxy in at most a few million years. That's an issue that really depends on their intentions as intelligent species; are they automatically destined to expand and colonise anywhere they see fit? Maybe they are just so alien that the thought of growth and exploration doesn't even occur to them. Perhaps they have a sort of prime directive which prohibits them with interfering in the development of life in its primordial state, as on Earth. Some even crazier hypotheses suggest that we are being kept isolated deliberately until we reach a certain level of technology, like animals being observed in a zoo, a concept known as the Zoo hypothesis.

Michio Kaku, the world renowned astrophysicist and futurist, has stated that our expectations of being visited are extremely arrogant, and likened it to the expectation of a human being visiting an anthill and attempting to communicate with ants. To them, they may have absolutely no desire to contact a far more primitive species, who would probably not even recognise their attempts to communicate anyway.

This paradox does have a lot of possible explanations, but if I was to answer it, I would suggest that the sheer size of the Universe, coupled with the moral motivations of any alien civilisations, may explain why we have never, apparently, been visited. Perhaps when, in centuries or thousands of years to come, we begin exploring other worlds, we may decide against visiting them in order for life to develop, if it hasn't already done so. As for why we can't detect them, again, we've really only begun to scratch the surface. Out of 100 billion stars, we've only investigated several thousands of them at best. That's not even to mention the fact that there are an inordinate amount of possibilities in other galaxies, a fact which we've largely avoided talking about so far. Radio astronomy, as we've already discussed, is incredibly difficult over long distances, so unless we were to be directly contacted, we would likely not know of other civilisations just by listening out for them.

It's a fascinating, and in some ways unsettling thought, that we may be alone or at least incredibly rare. But the question of whether or not we are indeed alone is probably the most significant one in modern human society. If we are contacted in the foreseeable future, it would arguably be the most important event in all of modern human history. There would be so many ramifications for us as a species, politically, legally, in terms philosophy and religion, and in of our very understanding of ourselves and our origins. Mankind would never be the same again, even if it was mere confirmation of alien intelligence.

Arthur C. Clarke accurately summed up the significance of this mystery:

"Two possibilities exist; either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying."

Its a thought to bear in mind whenever we marvel at the cosmic infinity of the night sky. Whether we are alone or not, we cannot help but be humbled by the profundity of the possibilities.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermi_paradox

Your own thoughts on what is arguably the greatest mystery of modern times?


Are we alone?

I'd bet good money that you are.
 

Dimples 77

Duplicate Account
Joined
May 9, 2012
Messages
19,060
Lovecraft was well ahead of his time in articulating this. As human centred belief systems (that always offer us a promise of salvation) fade we are left with this idea of the terrifying neutrality of the Universe.

Personally i think we are safe, anything out there is going to be interested in the resources of the planet rather than us and why didn't they come and take the resources during the last 2 billion years anyway, why would they wait till now till this tiny sliver of Earth's history where we humans dominate. The answer i think is in the vast spaces between worlds which may be simply insurmountable in practical terms for the other intelligent beings out there, as it is to us.


Like what?

Do you think that a civilization that can travel across (parts of) the universe, is going to be interested in wood and nuclear material?

Do you think they're going to using wooden spacecraft?
 

Ramon Mercadar

Well-known member
Joined
May 31, 2006
Messages
15,002
The Aliens are amongst us.
 

The Field Marshal

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 27, 2009
Messages
43,645
Im certain that there are other life forms out there, but they are so far away its impossible to come into contact with them.
I am not just certain, I know there are no other life forms out there.

How do I know this?

I know it because it is obvious, since if other life forms existed outside planet earth we would know about it by now.

We now therefore know that no other life forms exist.
 

Karloff

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 5, 2015
Messages
6,952
Like what?

Do you think that a civilization that can travel across (parts of) the universe, is going to be interested in wood and nuclear material?

Do you think they're going to using wooden spacecraft?
It is probably more likely they could get what they need elsewhere true. Now that i rethink it maybe the biochemistry of life on Earth might be of the most interest to them for research purposes - but they would not need to destroy us to take samples.
 

Mad as Fish

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 6, 2012
Messages
24,185
Like what?

Do you think that a civilization that can travel across (parts of) the universe, is going to be interested in wood and nuclear material?

Do you think they're going to using wooden spacecraft?
Wood is an incredible material, they might well be interested in it if they haven't got trees of their own. As the ditty goes -

Plastics are made by fools like me
But only god can make a tree.


(ascribed to an Oxford polymer chemist)
 

johnhan278

Well-known member
Joined
May 18, 2014
Messages
1,781
Fermi Paradox: The Dyson Dilemma v2.0
In which we cover the apparent contradiction in the lack of numerous Dyson Spheres in the Universe and their seeming inevitable construction by growth-oriented technological civilizations.

[video=youtube;QfuK8la0y6s]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfuK8la0y6s[/video]
 

johnhan278

Well-known member
Joined
May 18, 2014
Messages
1,781
KIC 8462852

Astronomers have hypothesized that the objects eclipsing KIC 8462852 could be parts of a megastructure made by an alien civilization, such as a Dyson swarm, a hypothetical structure that an advanced civilization might build around a star to intercept some of its light for their energy needs. According to Steinn Sigurðsson, the megastructure hypothesis is implausible and disfavored by Occam's razor and fails to sufficiently explain the dimming. However, he says that it remains a valid subject for scientific investigation because it is a falsifiable hypothesis. Due to extensive media coverage on this matter, KIC 8462852 has been compared by Kepler's Steve Howell to KIC 4150611,another star with an odd light curve (which proved, after years of research, to be a part of a five-star system).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KIC_8462852

EPIC 204278916

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EPIC_204278916
 

johnhan278

Well-known member
Joined
May 18, 2014
Messages
1,781
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fast_radio_burst

In radio astronomy, a fast radio burst (FRB) is a high-energy astrophysical phenomenon of unknown origin manifested as a transient radio pulse lasting only a few milliseconds. The first FRB was discovered by Duncan Lorimer and his student David Narkovic in 2007 when they were looking through archival pulsar survey data, and it is therefore commonly referred to as Lorimer Burst. Many FRBs have since been found, including a repeating FRB.The origin of FRB is as yet unclear
 

Drogheda445

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 13, 2012
Messages
6,449
[video=youtube;ryg077wBvsM]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryg077wBvsM[/video]

Interesting video, particularly when it comes to the possibility of probes to pass through our Solar System and elsewhere undetected.
 

redhead

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 11, 2007
Messages
6,664
[video=youtube;ryg077wBvsM]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryg077wBvsM[/video]

Interesting video, particularly when it comes to the possibility of probes to pass through our Solar System and elsewhere undetected.
I had a probe pass through my system once, but it wasn't undetected. :mad2:#betterthancolorectalcancerisuppose
 

Lumpy Talbot

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 30, 2015
Messages
27,650
Twitter
No
Interesting that our predominant perception of alien life-forms are either humanoid shaped (we can negotiate) or big blobby monsters (who are just hungry and don't want to negotiate).

Given the vast sweep of time since the beginning of the universe it is also possible that other sentient beings may well have evolved to exist in a parallel universe to the one we observe.

Could be all 'round us, laughing their galactic bollocks off at us, and we'd never know.

Just depends how they choose to observe.

I was reading about the mathematical savant Ramanujan Srinivasan t'other day. He had a knack for coming up with elegant fundamental mathematical constants just for the hell of it. He regarded them as revelations from a particular goddess in his Indian culture, whereas others such as ourselves would suggest that this is intuition and a deep instinctive knowledge of patterns in mathematics.

We're fairly sure he wasn't being visited by an inspirational goddess but then that was his explanation and he was happy with it, so who cares?
 


New Threads

Popular Threads

Most Replies

Top