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Post 60

Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - 10:09amSanction this postReply
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I see your point Fred.

My use of 'their', rather than 'theirs' merely refers to the nominally nearest alien civilization to us in time. I by no means put every alien civilization into one big bucket as a simplifying assumption, nothing of the kind. They would be every bit as variable from one another as any of them would be from us.

However, because of the exact same analysis that places the nearest advanced alien civilization from us at many millions of years ahead, the alien civilization 'above' this nearest one would be millions of years ahead of this 'nearest' civilization.

Now, I could be entirely wrong with regards to my suggestions regarding the nature of either of these alien civilizations and their attitudes towards us, or each other. Perhaps instead of arms-length, scientific observation, it is simply indifference. Perhaps it is adhering to their version of the 'Prime Directive'.

Their true motivations are beyond our ken, naturally. Any of the above, and possibly many other explanations, may explain what we see, or rather, don't see. Which is, nothing, at least not so far. Realistically, if there is an advanced alien civilization in this galaxy, the Milky Way, and it is millions of years older than ours, they could be here if they wanted to be here, doing whatever they wanted to do.

However, if the nearest advanced civilization is more distant, say, Andromeda, they may be aware of our potential (2 million years out of date, but there were hominids then, it was probably clear even then that sentience was at least a good possibility on this planet), that may be too far for such a distant civilization to bother visiting us. It may not be worth it to them.

I'm not sure I follow precisely your exponential 3D gradient argument, but it seems to imply that a civilization with sufficiently advanced spacefaring technology would aggressively colonize the cosmos. But, where's the evidence for that, assuming that there's even one advanced civilization in this galaxy?

If we are the first advanced civilization in this neck of the cosmos, you may be right, we may expand aggressively in this way, the future will tell. But we see absolutely nothing to suggest that that is the path that another civilization would take, assuming that they're anywhere close by, in the Milky Way or possibly its swarm of satellite galaxies.

And by the way, I'm not a 'mystic', not sure if that was your intended meaning or not. Every one of my ideas is empirically-based upon our own admittedly limited experience, carefully reasoned, and self-consistent. That doesn't mean it's correct, lolz. And in the case of advanced alien civilizations (a very small subset of my overall body of work), it explains what we see (or rather, don't see) quite well. But again, that doesn't make it right, not saying that.

It's important to state, this concept of alien motivation is not the one I started out with, and molded my logic to reach this pre-determined destination, none of my thoughts are like that. If they were abundant and here saying "What's up?", I would have a dramatically different interpretation of their motivations and nature. I go where the evidence seems to lead, at all times questioning my own conclusions, my own logic, carefully probing for inconsistencies in the overall logical constructs. I do that at my leisure, sometimes taking months or years to do so, turning the coin over and over, before I share them with anyone else.

What in your view would be the advantage to an advanced alien race of directly contacting a far less advanced one? What in your view would compel them? The desire to help us? Their need for material or energy resources? Simply because they're following some rule of exponential expansion? Do you believe that the nearest alien race would be much closer to us in time, far less ahead of us in other words, and if so, why? Although they are quite different, my analysis and the Drake equation are in fundamental alignment as to the conclusion that advanced alien races are probably quite rare. If you feel differently, what is your case for this? And if they are exponentially, aggressively expansive, why aren't they here?

Post 61

Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - 1:29pmSanction this postReply
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Do not confuse sapiency with sentiency - they are nowhere the same...

Post 62

Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - 3:54pmSanction this postReply
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PredictionBoy:

"[PB]What in your view would be the advantage to an advanced alien race of directly contacting a far less advanced one? What in your view would compel them? The desire to help us? Their need for material or energy resources? Simply because they're following some rule of exponential expansion?"

Deliberately contact us? Probably none. Hypothetical-- we've hurled several remote sensing platforms at Mars. Had there been a Martian village at our landing point, would our technology have politely avoided it and landed harmlessly nearby? No, we'd have landed right on top of a martian hut, and beamed back amazing pictures of a crushed martian hut. And, if we had landed in a pool of bacterial goo that had formed itself into crude beehive approximations of hexagons, we'd have scooped it up and gleefully thrown it into an oven, to detect signs of carbon based life, and beamed that all back to the giddy folks at JPL, who would have all been smoking cigars.

Never mind the Incas, if we are talking millions of years, I hope we aren't the 'goo.'

Why did we do it? Because we were curious, and that doesn't even depend on my theory of expansion pressure based on 'geometric pi'[*] What we have done, at our scale of technology, I'd imagine some fraction of other possible civilizations may or may not do. That says nothing at all about the frequency of such occurrences, I tend to agree with you that the probabilities are exceedingly small. But when near infinitely small probabilities battle near infinitely large possibilities and a near infinitely long amount of time, well, crap happens. Kinda like the same deal that lets us sleep at night without excessively worrying about the next species ending event/asteroid.


"[PB]Do you believe that the nearest alien race would be much closer to us in time, far less ahead of us in other words, and if so, why?"

My guess would be, because of the rapid nonlinear rate at which 'technological time' advances, an even slight random offset would create a near infinite impedence mismatch between us and any other technologically advanced civilization within our neighborhood. If we're not first in the local race, we're the goo.

"[PB]Although they are quite different, my analysis and the Drake equation are in fundamental alignment as to the conclusion that advanced alien races are probably quite rare. If you feel differently, what is your case for this? And if they are exponentially, aggressively expansive, why aren't they here?"

Some have pondered this and concluded, because the real 'filter' is the ability to self-destroy, to move faster than evolutionary time, and to succumb to hubristic, constructivist beliefs.

But as well... somebody's got to be 'first' in any local neighborhood. It seems we were 'first' on this planet, anyway. Well, bees build hives, and ants build nests, and so on, but can you imagine a matched species technological competitor? The slightest advantage in time would maginify to an immense actual advantage.

Maybe we are likely first in our Solar System. Maybe in our near Galaxy neighborhood. How much farther? The entire Galaxy? Unlikely. But, in a sufficiently large neighborhood to buy us a few winks of cosmic time to believe 'we are all alone? I don't buy that EMR is the universal medium of interstellar communication. It might only be a brief interim sign of an emerging technological civilization that has not discovered the really good stuff yet. I don't know, its rare, but people do win the lottery. It is just equally extremely unlikely that we were first everywhere, as an explanation.

A more likely explanation is, it is indeed rare, but the selfish unanswered question is, is it indeed rare because it seldom happens at all, or is it indeed rare because it happens often and always snuffs itself out after a brief, rapid flare? Or, something in between? If the latter, and due to the rapid nonlinear advance of technological time, there is an exceedingly low probablility of co-existence in any local neighborhood, I'd think.

But when and if it flares up, I'd assume it does so under myriad paradigms, incentives, and motivations-- sustainability being one, stealth based growth being another, and loud, obnoxious growth being yet a third.

Tonite is probably not the night to ask, "which would we be?"

Happy New Year!

regards,
Fred

[*] In a geometric growth paradigm, domain grows faster than border, where border is a kind of predatory/conflictive 'cost.' (You run the risk of having to defend border. You run the risk of conflict at the border. You run the risk of exposing yourself to a more advanced foe at the border.) In a 2D growth paradigm, border grows as technological range, while domain grows as range squared; domain grows faster than border. In 3D volume, border grows as technological range squared, and domain as range-cubed, even if sparsely, in fits and starts(just like it did in a 2D surface paradigm.)

THis geometric 'pi', in our 2D growth paradigm, largely explains why, with the exception of a few geographically impressed exceptions, geopolitical entities are roundish 'blobs' and not randlomly skinny thin 'streaks.' Technological range determines the ability to exert C^4, and goepolitical entities and/or economies exert influence via their technological range. There is not only geopolitical pressure to expand (because domain grows faster than border/cost), but geopolitical pressure to expand as a roundish 'blob', because that has the highest ratio of domain to border.

Plus...it's what bubbles do in response to expansive pressure.



Post 63

Thursday, January 1, 2009 - 10:00amSanction this postReply
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We are able to tell the gaseous composition of star's and planet's atmospheres due to their spectra. With the recent visual identification of an extrasolar planet, we have begun an era that will eventually find a planet with a significant fraction of free oxygen or some other non-equilibrium gas. This will be proof of life, if even just on a bacterial scale. We have the technology now to discover life that is not trying to broadcast its presence to us.

Post 64

Thursday, January 1, 2009 - 8:12pmSanction this postReply
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These new methods have been in the news this past year, and I can only say that I think they are the most exciting real stories of the 2008.

Since we're already indulging our imaginations in this thread, does anyone think that - should we definitively identify a planet with a substantial oxygen atmosphere - we should focus some resources on sending a probe to it or otherwise improving the level of our observation capabilities? Is this something we should do?

Of course, we probably don't have the technological capability to send a probe able to reach those distances, and if we did, we'd probably have to wait several generations for results.

jt




Post 65

Thursday, January 1, 2009 - 10:19pmSanction this postReply
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Who are "we" in the should "we" focus on a probe? Should the Chinese do it to secure the universe for Han domination? Should the house of Saud do it to spread jihad? Should The Church of Rome do it ad maiorem gloriam dei? Can National Geographic do it on an endowment? Will Virgin Galactic do it at a profit? Who?

(Edited by Ted Keer on 1/02, 7:47pm)


Post 66

Friday, January 2, 2009 - 6:46pmSanction this postReply
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Who?

Always a valid question - whoever is willing, curious enough, and able is the answer.

Certainly, if the right (scientifically qualified, organizationally capable) were to ask me, I'd contribute what I felt I could. It feels good to have some long term goals, even nebulous ones.

: )

jt

Post 67

Sunday, January 4, 2009 - 12:49amSanction this postReply
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"Who are "we" in the should "we" focus on a probe? Should the Chinese do it to secure the universe for Han domination? Should the house of Saud do it to spread jihad? Should The Church of Rome do it ad maiorem gloriam dei? Can National Geographic do it on an endowment? Will Virgin Galactic do it at a profit? Who?"

What a disappointing post. If Tom Baker was here (who I concur, is the only real Dr Who), he would snatch you bald-headed, it could be suggested.

Few of these points make empirical sense. Let me elaborate:

"Should the Chinese do it to secure the universe for Han domination?"
Are you actually concerned about this, that a preliminary probe to a remote star system would "secure the universe" for the domination of Chinese culture?

"Should the house of Saud do it to spread jihad?"
They don't have a space program, this is a combative and pointless comment.

"Should The Church of Rome do it ad maiorem gloriam dei?"
They don't have a space program, this is a combative and pointless comment.

"Can National Geographic do it on an endowment?"
Actually, that would be awesome, they would do a great job.

"Will Virgin Galactic do it at a profit?"
If such a mission could be done at an actual profit, that would be a new paradigm - we can only wish.

"Who?"
In all likelihood, this would/might be the lineup:
1. USA, contributing probably at least 75% of the money and expertise, more probably close to 90% of these.
2. The European Space Agency, for specialized probes.
3. Japan, for specialized equipment
4. Russia, hopefully
5. China, hopefully

We are talking - easily -$50-100 billion for such a mission, which places it out of any but the wealthiest (and most technically capable) nations. In any case, a preliminary probe of a remote star system does not constitute a political domination of that star system by whoever goes there, that is insulting. I'm being very patient here, please be more careful in your posts.

Having said that, there is a long time, and several observatory (Hubble, James Webb, etc) generations, before such a mission would be necessary or desirable. We can gather a lot of information from our own backyard before embarking on the (eventually necessary and desirable) in-situ exploration of such a world.

Post 68

Sunday, January 4, 2009 - 8:37amSanction this postReply
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Maybe we're the first to rise up and see the stars for what they are. And that's somewhat scary as the thought of being the first at anything, especially the first to have a chance (at least in our galaxy) to explore the galaxy and expand into it as there's no one else in the universe to give us advice (where to plant our flags, what resources for galactic exploration and colonization really count, and what sort of social structures will benefit us in the long term in galactic expansion). Still, sometimes I think it's the best possible case as the alternative is much worse being that if there is other intelligent life on other planets in the galaxy either they've sunk below the industrial level of technology or they've snuffed themselves out in some sort of accident of their own design (or some sort of mass suicide of a sorts). At least with the option of being alone in the galaxy the hope of future species like ourselves is still open, but that our species will be the galactic grandpa that will have to sit back and watch the rest grow up and learn on their own for the most part.

Post 69

Sunday, January 4, 2009 - 2:06pmSanction this postReply
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Calm down, Prediction Boy. I am not your enemy. And you should know that the Doctor would never snatch anyone bald. My asking questions was not meant to gore you pet ox. I don't see how you could so quickly assume that my post expressed hostility to space exploration.

First, do you understand that this is an Objectivist forum, and that people here take Objectivist principles for granted as the context of our posts? You don't have to be an Objectivist to post here. But you should understand that we take private enterprise (and that includes all voluntary action, such as by religious groups and non-profits) as the only legitimate form of research or business activity. The government exists only to enforce a minimum set of laws to protect individual freedom, to run the courts and the military, not to tax people to "do good."

So your suggestion that the USA do it will fall on deaf ears here. That was one of the purposes of my question. Do you want the people who brought you Fannie Mae and the Iraq Invasion to design an interstellar probe at taxpayer expense and run by the likes of Al Franken, Nanski Pelosova, and the unwitting Rent Boy madame Barney Franks? The USA could help do it by cutting taxes and regulation in order to stimulate the economy to generate the capital needed to fund such a mission. The USA could help do it by removing all taxes on profits from space exploration and the groundwork that backs it.

The Catholic Church could do it. With over 1 Billion adherents, they could easily generate 100 Billion dollars a year in voluntary contributions if the hierarchy wished. The Jesuits have a long history of exploration. The jihadis could do it too, but their having the motivation outside military causes is less likely than that of the Church of Rome. China is an up and comer. Their nationalist pride is quite evident. Did you miss the olympics? I expect that Han ascendency will become a much stronger driving force in the next century than the White Man's Burden was in the 19th.

The question of who is central. Things don't just happen. Saying that the USA do it still leaves open the question of who. Private enterprise or the DNC funded by involuntary taxpayers with no question of accountability. Indeed, the what and the how are already pretty much settled questions. We know what and how will be determined by those who translate physical law into engineering reality.

Finally, please introduce yourself to us, Prediction Boy. Fill out your extended profile to the extent with which you are comfortable, and look over the rest of the forum for topics which interest you. We Objectivists don't bite, except in self defense.
(Edited by Ted Keer on 1/04, 10:44pm)


Post 70

Sunday, January 4, 2009 - 10:43pmSanction this postReply
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"There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him." Professor Bernardo de la Paz on the subject of taxes.



Post 71

Monday, January 5, 2009 - 2:14pmSanction this postReply
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PredictionBoy:

"Having said that, there is a long time, and several observatory (Hubble, James Webb, etc) generations, before such a mission would be necessary or desirable. We can gather a lot of information from our own backyard before embarking on the (eventually necessary and desirable) in-situ exploration of such a world."

I, for one, would fully agree with that.

A] It may not ever be necessary or desirable to push humans to the frontier of of a 3D growth paradigm/exploration wave.

B] We are not smart enough to predict in advance what the -effort- to push a 3D Growth paradigm/exploration wave would realize. It may or may not yield technological advances which would make human exploration more tractable. It may or may not yield technological advances in energy, environment, and health sciences that are useful right here on earth. Evidence is, all of that and more would be the case, but moot; we're not that smart to rule out in advance what our efforts would yield or not yield.

The main impact would be, restoration of gradient.

The Moon is another issue, however. I have often wondered, what would have been the cultural and political impact of you or I being able to go out tonight with our kids, anywhere on Earth, look up at the Moon, and actually see evidence of Mankind's efforts to establish research colonies on the Moon? Would it inspire mankind in any positive way? It was a -choice- not to be seeing those lights on the Moon in 2009. What do we have to show for it instead, that is equally inspiring? We have spent a ton of money collectively. We can't argue that we haven't been spending collectively. For what? Mainly, Cronyism on the Potomac. Are we any closer to fixing the problems 'right down here on earth', the shiboleth that was once used to justify shelving the Moon program in favor of ...whatever the heck it is that a $3T federal government claims it does. Bail out GMAC, so that we can watch Tulsa take on Ball State in the GMAC bowl?

Perhaps the best way there is better long term, through private initiatives. I'm not really talking

http://news.softpedia.com/news/NASA-Wants-a-Private-Space-Initiative-12573.shtml

I'm talking more http://www.xprize.org/

There is no hurry. If we ever can devolve the federal gov't back to painting the double yellow lines fairly down the middle of the road(I doubt it), there is hope for what this nation could yet do someday privately. As it is, we are intended serfs to an out of control CronyFest.

I would hope, one area we should get straight in any remote sensing push should be the ethics of our remote sensing platforms. I mean, when we hurl something at Titan, into the unknown, don't we have some ethical obligation to "look before we leap?" And even if we do, should we expect the same ethical obligation if we are the 'goo' to some other hypothertical remote probe?)

I think not, we could only hope...

I believe that one possibility is, these are local relatively long term races to not be 'the goo.' An offset of even just a few centuries of advanced technological development might as well be a million years of evolution. But, the rarity of it probably exceeds species ending asteroid events.

regards,
Fred

Post 72

Monday, January 5, 2009 - 8:04pmSanction this postReply
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"I am not your enemy."
I wasn't addressing you personally, apologies if that was the impression - you shared a suboptimal post, I was remarking upon that, not you personally. Seriously, I don't get personal in that way, ideas and persona are two different things, I don't confuse those. If someone makes multiple posts of a certain character, then I converge the two, but carefully, cautiously.
:
For introductions, go here:
http://predictionboy.blogspot.com/

Post 73

Monday, January 5, 2009 - 11:15pmSanction this postReply
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You have to threaten me more than once with being snatched bald by the Fourth Doctor to go on my enemies list. :)

But do you see my point about the "who"? Like I said, the physics and the engineering are the easy part. If you want to concentrate on that, that's fine. But the politics is the sticky point.

Post 74

Tuesday, January 27, 2009 - 1:28pmSanction this postReply
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"If the worst comes to pass, and there's now a slightly greater chance that it might, at least it might explain why we've never heard from extraterrestrial civilizations: Maybe they built Large Hadron Colliders of their own."



Post 75

Wednesday, January 28, 2009 - 4:09pmSanction this postReply
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Ted,

Like we didn't have enough to worry about... well, at least it would simplify my retirement plan.

jt

Post 76

Wednesday, January 28, 2009 - 8:15pmSanction this postReply
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Let's assume for a moment that the Hindus are fundamentally correct - not the silly reincarnation part, the popular version of which is actually an oversimplification, often misinterpreted by both the masses and by Westerners - but the part about the universe having been here forever, not just a measly 14 billion years.

If it has been around forever, one way or another, whether as a metaverse of which our "universe" is a tiny bubble, or a string of bang/collapse cycles, then, from the Hindus, whatever has the possibility of evolving has already done it, an infinite time ago.  This is their essential proof of the existence of God, not as a supernatural being who violates causality, but rather as a universal or, at least, dominant intelligence, who forgets his Godhood in order to create newness and perceive himself via the excellence of his creation.

The various Hindu "Gods" are actually seen by Hindu theologians as aspects of the real divine, separated out so that God is able to perceive himself.  There's a problem if you become so big and powerful that nothing can second guess you.  You start getting positive feedback that ultimately causes madness and total delusion.  God, in the Hindu mythos, avoids this problem by forgetting that he is God, and deliberately letting the universe continually re-evolve toward Godhood, chaotically reseeding it from the base level of atomic particles or perhaps Big Bangs, such that no cycle is ever duplicated.

I'm not, BTW, advocating this position, personally, but I do find it interesting in that, alone among religions, it actually hangs together logically without requiring anything directly contradictory to scientific knowledge.  Suppose that there are really super intelligent beings out there, who might be simply working to survive the ultimate collapse of our part of the metaverse, or might have bigger, more interesting plans and projects...


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Post 77

Wednesday, January 28, 2009 - 10:38pmSanction this postReply
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Phil, you lost me altogether, when you said, "I do find it interesting in that, alone among religions, it [Hinduism] actually hangs together logically without requiring anything directly contradictory to scientific knowledge."

Let me know what part of this 'hangs together logically'...

Each person's true self or soul is eternal, there are multiple gods, or one god and a bunch of sub-gods, and whoever reaches the highest level of spiritual attainment becomes one with the supreme soul. You cannot understand Hinduism with reason, but also must feel it. Almost anything at all that you describe in this religion is contradicted by followers that adhere to an opposite belief - there are even atheist among the believers. The Bhagaad Gita is full of wisdom, "As a person puts on new clothes and discards old and torn clothes, similarly an embodied soul enters new material bodies, leaving the old bodies."(B.G. 2:22 from Wikipedia) Rituals are performed daily - chanting, reading holy scriptures, making offerings, ritualistic bathing, singing, neutralizing pollution of the soul, purification, consulting with astrologers, vowing to remain celibate during the early years of life, pacifism, vegetarianism, treating the cow as sacred, observing food taboos, observing a caste system...



Post 78

Wednesday, January 28, 2009 - 10:51pmSanction this postReply
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Ha ha!

Post 79

Thursday, January 29, 2009 - 11:31amSanction this postReply
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As far as whether the universe includes elements we don't have here on earth, and as to whether the elements we have here on earth are present throughout the universe, the analysis of space dust, tons of which fall to earth each year, indicate that earth and the universe are alike.

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