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(Slate)   Institute for the Generation of Random Numbers determines that there are 8.8 billion Earth-like planets in the universe   (slate.com) divider line 81
    More: Interesting, planets, universe, Death from the Skies, Binary Star, runaway greenhouse effect, type stars, red dwarf stars, robustness  
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594 clicks; posted to Geek » on 04 Nov 2013 at 10:48 PM (50 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-11-04 08:39:00 PM  
Phil said galaxy not universe.
 
2013-11-04 08:51:41 PM  
Cool, one for each of us then. Or maybe 8.5 billion for the 1%ers, the rest of us have to fight over the others.

Anyone selling land on these yet?
 
2013-11-04 09:17:54 PM  
Well, let's hope that there's intelligent life on them, cuz there's bugger all here.
 
2013-11-04 09:31:10 PM  
You're only off by twelve orders of magnitude, no big whoop.
 
2013-11-04 09:40:00 PM  

b0rscht: You're only off by twelve orders of magnitude, no big whoop.


So that means there's around 106 billion than right? *snicker*
 
2013-11-04 09:54:54 PM  
This is awesome news!

*squeeeeeeeeeeee*
 
2013-11-04 10:02:42 PM  
If you factor in, sapient and alive when we are also alive.  It may be 1 planet for every 1000 cubic ly.  Which translates to a unit of 1 well...fark.

The breakthrough doesn't need to be in speed but instead instantaneous communication.
 
2013-11-04 10:05:02 PM  
Alright, so the easy part of the Drake equation is done. Now we just need some numbers on the frequencies of life, intelligent life, and the communication lifetimes of sapient species.
 
2013-11-04 10:10:53 PM  

Makh: If you factor in, sapient and alive when we are also alive.  It may be 1 planet for every 1000 cubic ly.  Which translates to a unit of 1 well...fark.

The breakthrough doesn't need to be in speed but instead instantaneous communication.


This. Obviously the universe doesn't give a damn about our space conquering fantasies, what with that slow-ass speed of light and all.
 
2013-11-04 10:13:37 PM  
That equals out to about 6 for every homeless person.
 
2013-11-04 10:42:55 PM  

I_Am_Weasel: Well, let's hope that there's intelligent life on them, cuz there's bugger all here.


Right. So can I have your liver?
 
2013-11-04 10:59:12 PM  
That honestly just makes the Fermi Paradox even scarier. If there are a shiatload of Earth-like planets out there, and life seems to be easy to get started, either sentience is rare or there is a really terrifying Great Filter that is snuffing out all of these civilizations. Otherwise, you'd think we would have seen SOME evidence of lifer out there somewhere.
 
2013-11-04 11:04:00 PM  

shanrick: That equals out to about 6 for every homeless person.


When one adds the earth-like planets surrounding cooler stars you get up to around 40 billion earth-like planets in our galaxy...or 6 for every person...period.
 
2013-11-04 11:06:26 PM  
The Verse
www.fireflyshipworks.com
 
2013-11-04 11:08:29 PM  
And I'll never get off of this stinkin' rock

/alive
 
2013-11-04 11:10:21 PM  

Makh: If you factor in, sapient and alive when we are also alive.  It may be 1 planet for every 1000 cubic ly.  Which translates to a unit of 1 well...fark.

The breakthrough doesn't need to be in speed but instead instantaneous communication.


Instantaneous communication would probably break causality.

It's therefore unlikely that we'll ever be able to have a conversation with aliens. But we could send seed-ships to establish colonies ten thousand or a million years after launch.
 
2013-11-04 11:11:29 PM  
And I've watched enough science fiction to know that all of those planets have humanoid creatures who understand and speak English.
 
2013-11-04 11:13:15 PM  
www-03.ibm.com

Random numbers you say?
 
2013-11-04 11:14:36 PM  
 
2013-11-04 11:15:38 PM  

Mad_Radhu: That honestly just makes the Fermi Paradox even scarier. If there are a shiatload of Earth-like planets out there, and life seems to be easy to get started, either sentience is rare or there is a really terrifying Great Filter that is snuffing out all of these civilizations. Otherwise, you'd think we would have seen SOME evidence of lifer out there somewhere.


Why assume life is easily started? We've found it on one planet. Sure, life on Earth is effin everywhere, but that simply proves that life is very good at adapting, and that's not the same thing. So, so far we know of life starting once. We need to find life starting in multiple places before we can start determining how easy or difficult it is to occur.
 
2013-11-04 11:17:24 PM  
Calling these things "Earth-like planets" is disingenuous.  So, it's in the "goldilocks" zone.  So what?  It also needs to be:

1. The right size
2. Orbiting around the right sun
3. A stable orbit
3. Have an atmosphere
4. Have the right number of planets to absorb asteroid impacts
5. Have had the right sized smaller planet hit the main planet in just the right angle in order to stir up the mantle and create the right sized moon, which is critical for tides
6. Have the right magnetic field
7. Have plate tectonics
8. Enough impacts from ice comets to create an ocean
9. The right tilt, which creates seasons
10. The right location in the right kind of galaxy
11. Not have all of those other effects that could destroy it: large asteroid impact, nova, black hole, etc., etc., etc.

I've probably forget a few, but you get the point...
 
2013-11-04 11:19:31 PM  
The position that planets of ANY kind are rare, or that there is anything special at all about ours is increasingly untenable and frankly looking silly.
 
2013-11-04 11:19:46 PM  
Could they narrow that down to planets ruled my horny amazons with Hungarian accents?
 
2013-11-04 11:19:53 PM  

blue_2501: Calling these things "Earth-like planets" is disingenuous. So, it's in the "goldilocks" zone. So what? It also needs to be:


Well, astronomers also call anything over helium a "metal".

blue_2501: I've probably forget a few, but you get the point...


12. Presence of 3D printers. If a planet doesn't 3D printers, it's full of Luddites.
 
2013-11-04 11:25:59 PM  

Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy: It's therefore unlikely that we'll ever be able to have a conversation with aliens. But we could send seed-ships to establish colonies ten thousand or a million years after launch.


And we'd have to send dino samples to give them petroleum, too.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Von_Neumann_Probe#Replicating_.22seeder .2 2_ships -->

Kubrick cut an opening sequence of scientists discussing interstellar seeding and saved 2001 (Space Oddessey) I was readin' all about this stuff last night.

/but yeah, petroleum/fossil fuels, which led me to thinking evolution is systematic progression that happens everywhere (given available environment).
//and f*ckin' threads of pure energy dangling in 5d space, jostling each other = new universes
///bowl
 
2013-11-04 11:35:17 PM  

picturescrazy: Mad_Radhu: That honestly just makes the Fermi Paradox even scarier. If there are a shiatload of Earth-like planets out there, and life seems to be easy to get started, either sentience is rare or there is a really terrifying Great Filter that is snuffing out all of these civilizations. Otherwise, you'd think we would have seen SOME evidence of lifer out there somewhere.

Why assume life is easily started? We've found it on one planet. Sure, life on Earth is effin everywhere, but that simply proves that life is very good at adapting, and that's not the same thing. So, so far we know of life starting once. We need to find life starting in multiple places before we can start determining how easy or difficult it is to occur.


Size. Size defeats us. You see...
Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space.

huntingtonastro.wikispaces.com
 
2013-11-04 11:43:32 PM  
I found this last night, dated 2005 from SPACE.com, considering it's a news article it seems to be reporting that it took until 2005 (the only news article I found while searching for various astronomical data) for astronomers to use 2/multiple satellite dishes to triangulate the billions of logged stars, thus greatly improving our estimates of our own galaxy.

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/10385928/#.Unh1p92aI9A

/I happen to think we're in an event horizon and absolutely everything is predetermined.
 
2013-11-04 11:50:22 PM  

picturescrazy: Mad_Radhu: That honestly just makes the Fermi Paradox even scarier. If there are a shiatload of Earth-like planets out there, and life seems to be easy to get started, either sentience is rare or there is a really terrifying Great Filter that is snuffing out all of these civilizations. Otherwise, you'd think we would have seen SOME evidence of lifer out there somewhere.

Why assume life is easily started? We've found it on one planet. Sure, life on Earth is effin everywhere, but that simply proves that life is very good at adapting, and that's not the same thing. So, so far we know of life starting once. We need to find life starting in multiple places before we can start determining how easy or difficult it is to occur.


It's fairly safe to assume like starts fairly easily given the right environment. The precursors of life are almost inevitable due to chemistry and physics. For example, phospholipids in water just naturally form spherical bilayers like primitive cell membranes due to their hydrophobic and hydrophillic sides. Maybe there is something we don't know about that adds difficulty, but chemistry really seems to favor life as we know it.
 
2013-11-04 11:56:09 PM  

nmrsnr: Alright, so the easy part of the Drake equation is done. Now we just need some numbers on the frequencies of life, intelligent life, and the communication lifetimes of sapient species.


Multiplying by a zero is pretty easy.
 
2013-11-04 11:58:44 PM  

SpdrJay: And I've watched enough science fiction to know that all of those planets have humanoid creatures who understand and speak English.


How did you leave out the part about large breasted space babes that need deep dicking from intrepid Earth explorers?
 
2013-11-04 11:59:33 PM  

Brainsick: picturescrazy: Mad_Radhu: That honestly just makes the Fermi Paradox even scarier. If there are a shiatload of Earth-like planets out there, and life seems to be easy to get started, either sentience is rare or there is a really terrifying Great Filter that is snuffing out all of these civilizations. Otherwise, you'd think we would have seen SOME evidence of lifer out there somewhere.

Why assume life is easily started? We've found it on one planet. Sure, life on Earth is effin everywhere, but that simply proves that life is very good at adapting, and that's not the same thing. So, so far we know of life starting once. We need to find life starting in multiple places before we can start determining how easy or difficult it is to occur.

Size. Size defeats us. You see...
Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space.


The universe is also REALLY old, at the same time. Just a few million years' head start out of 15 billion should allow a technological civilization to spread either itself or its robotic emissaries across the universe even if they can only manage 10% the speed of light.

Even if you assume that it takes a good chunk of the age of the universe for enough older generation stars to form to seed the galaxy with enough heavy elements for a technological civilization, that still leaves a window of millions of years for someone to invent spaceflight and Von Neuman probes before us. It's just getting more worrisome that we haven't come across any evidence at all yet. At the very least we should see some odd stuff that only makes sense if there is stellar or planetary level engineering going on.
 
2013-11-05 12:04:46 AM  

Mad_Radhu: That honestly just makes the Fermi Paradox even scarier. If there are a shiatload of Earth-like planets out there, and life seems to be easy to get started, either sentience is rare or there is a really terrifying Great Filter that is snuffing out all of these civilizations. Otherwise, you'd think we would have seen SOME evidence of lifer out there somewhere.


What does evidence of life from across the galaxy look like, and how would we see it.  Be specific.
 
2013-11-05 12:13:44 AM  

RogermcAllen: Mad_Radhu: That honestly just makes the Fermi Paradox even scarier. If there are a shiatload of Earth-like planets out there, and life seems to be easy to get started, either sentience is rare or there is a really terrifying Great Filter that is snuffing out all of these civilizations. Otherwise, you'd think we would have seen SOME evidence of lifer out there somewhere.

What does evidence of life from across the galaxy look like, and how would we see it.  Be specific.


Stellar dust is everywhere across the galaxy, planets are made of it after stars form, it collects over eons. We are all star dust.
 
2013-11-05 12:14:08 AM  

Mad_Radhu: It's just getting more worrisome that we haven't come across any evidence at all yet. At the very least we should see some odd stuff that only makes sense if there is stellar or planetary level engineering going on.


There is truth in that, but I would counter by asking this: what are we looking WITH and what are we looking FOR? Scanning for radio transmission is all good, unless our superior aliens are communicating on a wavelength we haven't discovered yet. They could be so alien, we can't 'see' them in our current form of existence. There might be life on a rock somewhere so far away (in our expanding universe) that we'd never be able to 'get' there. It's like standing on the shore of the Pacific, shading your eyes with your hands and, not seeing anything, deciding there's nothing out there.
We don't even know what, exactly, is outside our own solar system yet. Robotic exploration and 'downloading' our 'selves' into interstellar craft may be the first way to explore these distances, but we're not going to do it in a real-life version of the Serenity. (As much as I would like that) The age of the Universe also depends on where you're observing it from. I forget the exact details, but someone far smarter than me posited that the universe appears to be expanding and we appear to be at the center of it, from our perspective; that's not necessarily true for 'everywhere'. I think people oversimplify the idea of 'life out there', unfortunately.

/2 cents
//A big enough ship, travelling a far enough distance with robot bodies to download into and a 'Matrix' style VR to keep the minds occupied until then might do it...but no Millenium Falcon
:(
 
2013-11-05 12:16:06 AM  

Mad_Radhu: Brainsick: picturescrazy: Mad_Radhu: That honestly just makes the Fermi Paradox even scarier. If there are a shiatload of Earth-like planets out there, and life seems to be easy to get started, either sentience is rare or there is a really terrifying Great Filter that is snuffing out all of these civilizations. Otherwise, you'd think we would have seen SOME evidence of lifer out there somewhere.

Why assume life is easily started? We've found it on one planet. Sure, life on Earth is effin everywhere, but that simply proves that life is very good at adapting, and that's not the same thing. So, so far we know of life starting once. We need to find life starting in multiple places before we can start determining how easy or difficult it is to occur.

Size. Size defeats us. You see...
Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space.

The universe is also REALLY old, at the same time. Just a few million years' head start out of 15 billion should allow a technological civilization to spread either itself or its robotic emissaries across the universe even if they can only manage 10% the speed of light.

Even if you assume that it takes a good chunk of the age of the universe for enough older generation stars to form to seed the galaxy with enough heavy elements for a technological civilization, that still leaves a window of millions of years for someone to invent spaceflight and Von Neuman probes before us. It's just getting more worrisome that we haven't come across any evidence at all yet. At the very least we should see some odd stuff that only makes sense if there is stellar or planetary level engineering going on.


Yes.... I wonder why we haven't found any evidence of such things yet... why might that be?

On an unrelated note, I have no idea why the Lady Amalthea has not returned the fan mail I've been sending her for the last 30 years.
 
2013-11-05 12:21:32 AM  

phillydrifter: We are all star dust


Much like dead bodies evacuate their bowels when they die similar to how the nova of a dying star blasts off its outer layers, you could more accurately say we're all made of star poop.
 
2013-11-05 12:21:44 AM  

RogermcAllen: Mad_Radhu: That honestly just makes the Fermi Paradox even scarier. If there are a shiatload of Earth-like planets out there, and life seems to be easy to get started, either sentience is rare or there is a really terrifying Great Filter that is snuffing out all of these civilizations. Otherwise, you'd think we would have seen SOME evidence of lifer out there somewhere.

What does evidence of life from across the galaxy look like, and how would we see it.  Be specific.


Basically, something in our observations of the universe that jumps out as being unnatural, with some intelligence behind it.

I agree that it is probably way too early to give up hope, but I find it very worrisome, mostly because it could suggest that technological civilizations tend to arise and then flare out in an instant in terms of the life of the universe. Just finding one example of another civilization would really give the world a lot of hope because it not only means we aren't alone in a vast, cold universe, but it also likely means that there is a way to keep a civilization going for a long period of time because it is highly unlikely we'd happen to run into someone else at exactly the same point in their development.
 
2013-11-05 12:25:04 AM  

Mad_Radhu: It's just getting more worrisome that we haven't come across any evidence at all yet. At the very least we should see some odd stuff that only makes sense if there is stellar or planetary level engineering going on.


We've seen lots if you believe Richard Hoagland and others. There are lots of mysterious smudges on NASA photos of the moon and mars, and rumors of airbrushing. As for probes, any passing rock could be one.
 
2013-11-05 12:28:54 AM  

Mad_Radhu: That honestly just makes the Fermi Paradox even scarier. If there are a shiatload of Earth-like planets out there, and life seems to be easy to get started, either sentience is rare or there is a really terrifying Great Filter that is snuffing out all of these civilizations. Otherwise, you'd think we would have seen SOME evidence of lifer out there somewhere.


Except that of the billions of years of existence for the Earth, Humans have only been broadcasting RF for a little over 100 years.

Let that soak in for a moment.

It's possible other intelligent species existed here in the past. That we have no fossil record or definitive examples of their buildings and technology means little in geological epochs - we know very little about the millions of species that walked the earth and became extinct, and likewise, 99.999% of the things humans have built in the last 5000 years fails to leave even a trace after a few centuries of neglect.

All that said, we are dealing with planets whose intelligent life may have evolved before or after our own.

Now let's go back to Radio for a moment. It's limited. It's ugly, and likely causes real health issues for living beings. Now imagine we develop nearly instantaneous transmission of data through another means (quantum entanglement?) that does not rely on something detectable by external means "beaming" between two points, and this happens in the next century. So there is a hypothetical 200 year window where our civilization uses noisy, messy, RF signals to communicate and thus, announce our presence.

Consider the other problems with RF - the strength required to broadcast a signal to a nearby star. Do our normal broadcasts reach that far? If not, then we have to rely on purposely sending a signal to a specific planetary system to be detected - and they have to have a civilization that is listening for such a signal, within a very tight window.

Are they even interested?

Are they hostile? If so, we may be sending out an invitation to be destroyed. This might also be a good reason why the universe seems devoid of intelligence-created radio signals.

We don't even know if it is a good idea to announce our presence in the universe, but outfits like SETI have the arrogance to believe we should, and that they have more than a microscopic chance to detect others out there. It might be worse than wasted effort - we might just be dooming our entire race sending out an invitation to others.

At any rate, the only way we'll truly know if we are alone or not is to journey beyond our system and find out the direct way.
 
2013-11-05 12:37:19 AM  

blue_2501: Calling these things "Earth-like planets" is disingenuous.  So, it's in the "goldilocks" zone.  So what?  It also needs to be:

1. The right size
2. Orbiting around the right sun
3. A stable orbit
3. Have an atmosphere
4. Have the right number of planets to absorb asteroid impacts
5. Have had the right sized smaller planet hit the main planet in just the right angle in order to stir up the mantle and create the right sized moon, which is critical for tides
6. Have the right magnetic field
7. Have plate tectonics
8. Enough impacts from ice comets to create an ocean
9. The right tilt, which creates seasons
10. The right location in the right kind of galaxy
11. Not have all of those other effects that could destroy it: large asteroid impact, nova, black hole, etc., etc., etc.

I've probably forget a few, but you get the point...


So much this. I'm sick of journalists announcing every quirk of gravitational lensing, which may or may not even equate to anything resembling a habitable planet, as "Earth-like".
 
2013-11-05 12:41:17 AM  
I should also add another thing to think about: I think we can all agree the Earth has finite resources. It is entirely possible that we may LOSE the ability to venture off planet if we wait too long to colonize space (which is brutally hostile to life). Imagine where we use up oil and natural gas, no longer have sources of helium. War and disaster soak up enormous amounts of those resources, and only get worse as those resources get more scarce.

It is possible that other intelligent races never make it past the nuclear age - blowing themselves up, or using up their resources before finding their way off planet. Our ability to innovate, invent, may drive the survival of a race beyond a few thousand years.

Races that invent at a greater speed might grow beyond the desire to launch probes to other systems (or may just not be curious enough, having "solved" everything), and may even transition to a different existence (possibly moving inward to virtual or figuring out how to cut loose from that pesky mortal meatbag),

Posters have mentioned the question of why we see no signs of von neumann machines, or stellar-scale engineering - it might be that when a race advances to the point where they can do such a thing, that thing no longer seems relevant or has good reason. We can't begin to understand alien motivations - maybe greed is something a race outgrows (or some races never have)
 
2013-11-05 12:48:22 AM  

Mad_Radhu: RogermcAllen: Mad_Radhu: That honestly just makes the Fermi Paradox even scarier. If there are a shiatload of Earth-like planets out there, and life seems to be easy to get started, either sentience is rare or there is a really terrifying Great Filter that is snuffing out all of these civilizations. Otherwise, you'd think we would have seen SOME evidence of lifer out there somewhere.

What does evidence of life from across the galaxy look like, and how would we see it.  Be specific.

Basically, something in our observations of the universe that jumps out as being unnatural, with some intelligence behind it.

I agree that it is probably way too early to give up hope, but I find it very worrisome, mostly because it could suggest that technological civilizations tend to arise and then flare out in an instant in terms of the life of the universe. Just finding one example of another civilization would really give the world a lot of hope because it not only means we aren't alone in a vast, cold universe, but it also likely means that there is a way to keep a civilization going for a long period of time because it is highly unlikely we'd happen to run into someone else at exactly the same point in their development.


The problem is that you are trying to describe something as "unnatural, with some intelligence behind it" with all of the preconceptions of your human mind.

For example, to your human mind intelligent communication probably looks like a repeating pattern.  The tides are a neatly repeating pattern, perhaps aliens put the moon next to the Earth to act as a giant speaker so that they could talk with us.  Unfortunately humans are so "smart" that we explained the tides with gravity because the frequency of tides is far below anything we would even think of using for communication.
 
2013-11-05 12:56:26 AM  

LesserEvil: We can't begin to understand alien motivations - maybe greed is something a race outgrows (or some races never have)


That is an assumption that has always been made about aliens that I'm not sure is valid. Why would they be immune to logic or game theory? Their are certain behaviors that just naturally grow out of basic things like dealing with limited resources. There are only so many solutions someproblems.
 
2013-11-05 12:58:56 AM  

LesserEvil: I should also add another thing to think about: I think we can all agree the Earth has finite resources. It is entirely possible that we may LOSE the ability to venture off planet if we wait too long to colonize space (which is brutally hostile to life). Imagine where we use up oil and natural gas, no longer have sources of helium. War and disaster soak up enormous amounts of those resources, and only get worse as those resources get more scarce.

It is possible that other intelligent races never make it past the nuclear age - blowing themselves up, or using up their resources before finding their way off planet. Our ability to innovate, invent, may drive the survival of a race beyond a few thousand years.

Races that invent at a greater speed might grow beyond the desire to launch probes to other systems (or may just not be curious enough, having "solved" everything), and may even transition to a different existence (possibly moving inward to virtual or figuring out how to cut loose from that pesky mortal meatbag),

Posters have mentioned the question of why we see no signs of von neumann machines, or stellar-scale engineering - it might be that when a race advances to the point where they can do such a thing, that thing no longer seems relevant or has good reason. We can't begin to understand alien motivations - maybe greed is something a race outgrows (or some races never have)


What about loneliness? Humans yearn to find another species to talk to. Maybe to mark to the universe "Brooks was here." Seeing some obvious marker would be momentous for humanity, if only to know we aren't alone. I hope that Earth leaves some such markers.
 
2013-11-05 01:00:16 AM  

Mad_Radhu: someproblems.


to some problems
 
2013-11-05 01:11:56 AM  

LesserEvil: It is entirely possible that we may LOSE the ability to venture off planet if we wait too long to colonize space


You're a loon.
 
2013-11-05 01:21:57 AM  

LesserEvil: I should also add another thing to think about: I think we can all agree the Earth has finite resources. It is entirely possible that we may LOSE the ability to venture off planet if we wait too long to colonize space (which is brutally hostile to life). Imagine where we use up oil and natural gas, no longer have sources of helium. War and disaster soak up enormous amounts of those resources, and only get worse as those resources get more scarce.


Yes. This keeps me up at night, sometimes. If we don't start some rudimentary form of off-earth settlement in the next two hundred years or so, we'll probably never get it done, and the human race will go extinct in the future.

It is possible that other intelligent races never make it past the nuclear age - blowing themselves up, or using up their resources before finding their way off planet. Our ability to innovate, invent, may drive the survival of a race beyond a few thousand years.

Races that invent at a greater speed might grow beyond the desire to launch probes to other systems (or may just not be curious enough, having "solved" everything), and may even transition to a different existence (possibly moving inward to virtual or figuring out how to cut loose from that pesky mortal meatbag),

Posters have mentioned the question of why we see no signs of von neumann machines, or stellar-scale engineering - it might be that when a race advances to the point where they can do such a thing, that thing no longer seems relevant or has good reason. We can't begin to understand alien motivations - maybe greed is something a race outgrows (or some races never have)


This last point I have to take exception to. Science is making it increasingly clear that Darwinian selection is a driving logical principle in the universe. Be it the evolution of a species or the evolution of cultural traits, we have some basic predictive rules, and one of them is that selfish behaviors are strongly dominant in selection. It seems highly unlikely that any species could evolve to the point that it can control its environment without having instinctive selfishness; obviously we can't predict every nuance of an alien culture, but the idea of a race "outgrowing" millions of years of instinct seems unlikely. Of course, some cultures may have different ideas about bioethics than we do and straight-up genetically engineer away their natural instincts.

I think we can analyze the general behavioral trends of any intelligent species by empirical logic, though.
 
2013-11-05 01:28:32 AM  

Quantum Apostrophe: LesserEvil: It is entirely possible that we may LOSE the ability to venture off planet if we wait too long to colonize space

You're a loon.


Oh. It's you, QA. I thought I smelled desperation and sour grapes.
forums.watchuseek.com


How's it going?
 
2013-11-05 01:31:36 AM  

Quantum Apostrophe: LesserEvil: It is entirely possible that we may LOSE the ability to venture off planet if we wait too long to colonize space

You're a loon.


An you're a bitter curmudgeon who has lost the ability to dream about a greater future for humanity than living and dying on a small rock in an tiny corner of the universe until the Sun one day burns out and kills whatever is left of humanity. What's worse? Dreaming a seemingly impossible dream or just giving up and saying this is all we'll every be, a forgotten footnote in eternity?
 
2013-11-05 01:39:47 AM  

Mad_Radhu: LesserEvil: We can't begin to understand alien motivations - maybe greed is something a race outgrows (or some races never have)

That is an assumption that has always been made about aliens that I'm not sure is valid. Why would they be immune to logic or game theory? Their are certain behaviors that just naturally grow out of basic things like dealing with limited resources. There are only so many solutions someproblems.


Utopians treat aliens as GODS. They are everything that humans find deficient in themselves. Given sufficient technology, or alien technology, they believe, that aliens will find a superior way to anything any humans have ever discovered. And maybe they did/can. Maybe we'll reach an alien race that uplifts humanity. Maybe we'll find a planet of space apaches that worship their planet and do nothing special but sit around and talk about how PLANET is special, and not want anything to do with us. Especially because we  are bad.

Or maybe they are starfish aliens that have magically solved all their problems, and that logic and resource management don't mean anything to them, because by virtue of being awesome and imaginary they have not only succeeded at everything that mankind ever dreamed of and beyond, but they don't waste time teaching other possibly intelligent life any hints of the same thing. After all, we don't try to talk to chimps, right?
 
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