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(Wait But Why)   The Fermi Paradox: We're rare, we're first, or we're farked   (waitbutwhy.com) divider line 127
    More: Interesting, Age of the Earth, The Drake Equation, Milky Way Galaxy, Planet X, Moving Forward, space colonization, quintillion, chimpanzees  
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4339 clicks; posted to Geek » on 27 Jun 2014 at 1:14 PM (26 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-06-27 11:24:14 AM  
FTFA:
SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) is an organization dedicated to listening for signals from other intelligent life. If we're right that there are 100,000 or more intelligent civilizations in our galaxy, and even a fraction of them are sending out radio waves or laser beams or other modes of attempting to contact others, shouldn't SETI's satellite array pick up all kinds of signals?


No.

Any reasonably intelligent species is going to beam their communications using directional antennas (or lasers).  That means that unless you are within the beamwidth of their signals, you won't be able to hear anything.  The galaxy could be literally humming with signals, but none of the close ones that we could detect fairly easily are pointed at us, and the ones that are pointed at us by random chance could be too far away for us to reliably detect.

Plus, we've only looked at a very small fraction of the available search space.  TFA makes it sound like we're watching in all directions all the time.  The truth is, we can't.  Not with the extremely small effort that we make.
 
2014-06-27 11:34:15 AM  
More FTFA:
This is an unpleasant concept and would help explain the lack of any signals being received by the SETI satellites

There are no SETI satellites.

Maybe there's a rule similar to the Star Trek's "Prime Directive" which prohibits super-intelligent beings from making any open contact with lesser species like us or revealing themselves in any way, until the lesser species has reached a certain level of intelligence.

It's because we're made out of meat.
 
2014-06-27 11:51:33 AM  
Or that no sentient species wants to make self-replicating robots just for the hell of it. If there really is a biological limit to longevity (not saying that there is, or any reason that there should be), and there is no real way to make warp technology feasible, it's not unreasonable to assume that any intelligent species merely carves out a bubble of space that it theirs, and travels no further. Would humanity really travel so far that it would take several lifetimes to communicate one message from one colony to Earth? It would make aliens out of the same species.
 
2014-06-27 12:12:01 PM  
I do love the idea of the Drake equation vs the Fermi paradox
 
2014-06-27 12:33:26 PM  
Or maybe they use something other than light to communicate.
 
2014-06-27 12:54:33 PM  

nmrsnr: Or that no sentient species wants to make self-replicating robots just for the hell of it.


That's what I'm thinking.  If there's a type 3 civilization out there, why do we ascribe our need to ridiculously proliferate to them?  Hell, even a Type 1 civilization would be intelligent enough, one would guess, to manage their population effectively.  So, if they are managing their population, they may not *need* to harness galactic energy/resources on a mass self-replicating scale even though they have that ability.
 
2014-06-27 01:28:00 PM  

dittybopper: FTFA:
SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) is an organization dedicated to listening for signals from other intelligent life. If we're right that there are 100,000 or more intelligent civilizations in our galaxy, and even a fraction of them are sending out radio waves or laser beams or other modes of attempting to contact others, shouldn't SETI's satellite array pick up all kinds of signals?

No.

Any reasonably intelligent species is going to beam their communications using directional antennas (or lasers).  That means that unless you are within the beamwidth of their signals, you won't be able to hear anything.  The galaxy could be literally humming with signals, but none of the close ones that we could detect fairly easily are pointed at us, and the ones that are pointed at us by random chance could be too far away for us to reliably detect.

Plus, we've only looked at a very small fraction of the available search space.  TFA makes it sound like we're watching in all directions all the time.  The truth is, we can't.  Not with the extremely small effort that we make.


Also, SETI has only been active listening for, what, 75 years now? So that means any intelligent life would have to be within 75 light years of distance for us to detect today. For comparison, the diameter of our galaxy ( let alone the distance to any of the millions of others ) is ~115,000 light years.
 
2014-06-27 01:28:30 PM  
I like the assumption by the Fermi paradox that intelligent lifeforms would be:
1. Making themselves so easily visible that we could detect them from light years away here on Earth
2. Looking for us on a regular planet orbiting a regular yellow dwarf star
3. Would have certainly visited in the fraction of a percentage of the time life has been on this planet that there has been recorded history (what, 15,000 out of 4 billion years?)
4. Beaming signals at us, strong enough for us to detect using the right frequency and the right type of signal, from all directions at all times
5. Making self-replicating robots in such a way that we would find them from our tiny planet orbiting a typical yellow dwarf star in the vastness of space
 
2014-06-27 01:29:32 PM  

chasd00: dittybopper: FTFA:
SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) is an organization dedicated to listening for signals from other intelligent life. If we're right that there are 100,000 or more intelligent civilizations in our galaxy, and even a fraction of them are sending out radio waves or laser beams or other modes of attempting to contact others, shouldn't SETI's satellite array pick up all kinds of signals?

No.

Any reasonably intelligent species is going to beam their communications using directional antennas (or lasers).  That means that unless you are within the beamwidth of their signals, you won't be able to hear anything.  The galaxy could be literally humming with signals, but none of the close ones that we could detect fairly easily are pointed at us, and the ones that are pointed at us by random chance could be too far away for us to reliably detect.

Plus, we've only looked at a very small fraction of the available search space.  TFA makes it sound like we're watching in all directions all the time.  The truth is, we can't.  Not with the extremely small effort that we make.

Also, SETI has only been active listening for, what, 75 years now? So that means any intelligent life would have to be within 75 light years of distance for us to detect today. For comparison, the diameter of our galaxy ( let alone the distance to any of the millions of others ) is ~115,000 light years.


I mean to detect intelligent life existing today and not life as it existed in the distant past.
 
2014-06-27 01:29:58 PM  
FTFA:  Even Carl Sagan (a general believer that any civilization advanced enough for interstellar travel would be altruistic, not hostile)  the practice of METI "deeply unwise and immature," and recommended that "the newest children in a strange and uncertain cosmos should listen quietly for a long time, patiently learning about the universe and comparing notes, before shouting into an unknown jungle that we do not understand."

TL;DR:  "Lurk m0ar, n00bz."
 
2014-06-27 01:32:03 PM  

UberDave: That's what I'm thinking. If there's a type 3 civilization out there, why do we ascribe our need to ridiculously proliferate to them? Hell, even a Type 1 civilization would be intelligent enough, one would guess, to manage their population effectively. So, if they are managing their population, they may not *need* to harness galactic energy/resources on a mass self-replicating scale even though they have that ability.


Because evolution is a hell of a drug.  Even if sentience generally helped combat the urge to reproduce and expand, evolution would eventually select for those that liked making babies.
 
2014-06-27 01:32:15 PM  

nmrsnr: Or that no sentient species wants to make self-replicating robots just for the hell of it. If there really is a biological limit to longevity (not saying that there is, or any reason that there should be), and there is no real way to make warp technology feasible, it's not unreasonable to assume that any intelligent species merely carves out a bubble of space that it theirs, and travels no further. Would humanity really travel so far that it would take several lifetimes to communicate one message from one colony to Earth? It would make aliens out of the same species.


That describes humanity during the Pleistocene Era. And we did spread out despite being unable to communicate directly. Maybe you can think of us as the equivalent of Pleistocene humans who are just starting to spread out in the galaxy?

Apologies to anthropology for the clumsy analogy.
 
2014-06-27 01:33:21 PM  
img.fark.net
You exist because we allow it
 
2014-06-27 01:40:03 PM  
d) Space is big. Really big
 
2014-06-27 01:40:12 PM  

ArkAngel: I do love the idea of the Drake equation vs the Fermi paradox


The Fermi Paradox sure does cut through a lot of nebulous assumptions, I'll take it in Epic Rap battles or Celebrity Death match.
 
2014-06-27 01:43:50 PM  

chasd00: dittybopper: FTFA:
SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) is an organization dedicated to listening for signals from other intelligent life. If we're right that there are 100,000 or more intelligent civilizations in our galaxy, and even a fraction of them are sending out radio waves or laser beams or other modes of attempting to contact others, shouldn't SETI's satellite array pick up all kinds of signals?

No.

Any reasonably intelligent species is going to beam their communications using directional antennas (or lasers).  That means that unless you are within the beamwidth of their signals, you won't be able to hear anything.  The galaxy could be literally humming with signals, but none of the close ones that we could detect fairly easily are pointed at us, and the ones that are pointed at us by random chance could be too far away for us to reliably detect.

Plus, we've only looked at a very small fraction of the available search space.  TFA makes it sound like we're watching in all directions all the time.  The truth is, we can't.  Not with the extremely small effort that we make.

Also, SETI has only been active listening for, what, 75 years now? So that means any intelligent life would have to be within 75 light years of distance for us to detect today. For comparison, the diameter of our galaxy ( let alone the distance to any of the millions of others ) is ~115,000 light years.


We've actually only been listening for less than 50 years.

It was only the invention of microwave radar during WWII that led to the post WWII boom in radio astronomy, which then led to the concept of SETI.

Even since then, the effort has been pretty minimal.
 
2014-06-27 01:49:32 PM  
Humans and space don't mix and more than humans and water mix. So humanity is no more likely to colonize space than it is to colonize the bottom of the ocean. In fact, less likely since the ocean is easier.

Humanity is at least one major global and catastrophic event away from having any need to colonize either and it's likely there are several such catastrophes required. There is also no guarantee that humanity will survive them all.

What humanity becomes will be so vastly different, it is incomparable to what we have today.

So I guess what I'm saying is, Group II,possibility 9. But the problem with the article is it's doesn't take into account the overlapping nature. In Group II, the possibilities are not mutually exclusive. It's entirely plausible that advanced life has no need for planetary bodies, are into space tourism, consist of one or more collective intelligences, war with each other, communicate in undiscovered ways, the government is run by the aliens (explains the politicians...aliens stick around only to troll us like a kid playing with an ant hill)

The only one I have a problem with is #10, because it's the 'turtles all the way down' explanation, if we are a simulation then in what medium does the simulation exist. Might-as-well just say, God or turtle-fart.
 
2014-06-27 01:49:52 PM  
I'm in the "we're rare" camp, when you look at the probabilities involved then factor in that life on a planet only has the lifespan of its star to actually start then reach sentience let alone something like a Type 3 civilization then sentient life starts looking more and more rare.  And that's not even factoring in probabilities of various doomsday scenarios ( gamma ray bursts, meteors, etc ).
 
2014-06-27 01:50:56 PM  

chasd00: Also, SETI has only been active listening for, what, 75 years now? So that means any intelligent life would have to be within 75 light years of distance for us to detect today. For comparison, the diameter of our galaxy ( let alone the distance to any of the millions of others ) is ~115,000 light years.


Actually, I think you are misapprehending the situation.

Any intelligent life would have to be within 75 light years for them to hear *US*, not the other-way 'round.   And I'd actually say probably closer to 60 years, with the rise of high-powered ballistic missile warning radars.

We've been using radio for much longer than that, of course, but the frequencies and power levels we used weren't conducive to interstellar communication:  AM band and shortwave radio generally gets reflected back to Earth by the ionosphere, so there is very little leakage, and you have to get up into the microwave region before you have antennas of a reasonable size that have considerable gain.

If we get "heard" by alienses, it will most likely be because they happened to hear our radars.
 
2014-06-27 01:53:07 PM  

Makh: Or maybe they use something other than light to communicate.


Let's hope they don't use tachyons:

tonedeafjoke.files.wordpress.com
 
2014-06-27 01:54:08 PM  
I'm rooting for:  All intelligent species figure out the Fermi Paradox. They then find simple life on a nearby planet. Paralyzed with fear about the future great filter, they stop all development, wither, and die. Self-fulfilling filter.
 
2014-06-27 01:55:21 PM  
Speed of light communication is so Type I thinking. Type II Civs will be communicating by Quantum Teleportation and Gravity Waves.

We might as well be using Tom Toms and Smoke Signals.
 
2014-06-27 01:55:48 PM  

dittybopper: More FTFA:
This is an unpleasant concept and would help explain the lack of any signals being received by the SETI satellites

There are no SETI satellites.

Maybe there's a rule similar to the Star Trek's "Prime Directive" which prohibits super-intelligent beings from making any open contact with lesser species like us or revealing themselves in any way, until the lesser species has reached a certain level of intelligence.

It's because we're made out of meat.


A classic. That one and the Asimov story about reversing entropy are two of my all-time favorites.
 
2014-06-27 01:56:38 PM  

LewDux: d) Space is big. Really big


So is time.  Odds of anything being able to contact us, or visa versa, within our "blink of an eye" existence is so small as to be nonexistant.

We are isolated by space, and by time.
IE
What if there were another intelligent race that died out 37 billion years ago?
What if there is another in 78 billion years, what will we matter to them?

The general question is about as useful as pondering about or believing in god.
 
2014-06-27 01:59:07 PM  
There is an uneducated, myopic, stupid old man sitting on a porch in Detroit.  He looks around and doesn't see any neighbors.  He concludes that no other life exists on Earth.  He is wrong, because:

1. He is old and has Alzheimer's and doesn't remember that his niece just left 5 mins ago.
2. He is uneducated and doesn't realize the cat on his lap is a type of life.
3. He is myopic and can't see the neighbor across the street
4. He is stupid and didn't get the fark out of Detroit when most of his other neighbors did.

I hate the Fermi Paradox.
 
2014-06-27 02:01:05 PM  

Heraclitus: Speed of light communication is so Type I thinking. Type II Civs will be communicating by Quantum Teleportation and Gravity Waves.

We might as well be using Tom Toms and Smoke Signals.


Or Morse code which is totally not binary.
 
2014-06-27 02:02:29 PM  
Okay, of the number of Earth-like planets out there, how many would have exactly one moon that is a substantial but not too great fraction of the planet's own mass? On Earth, ocean life eventually evolved to amphibians and then land animals in tidal pools. You only get regular, predictable yet substantial tides when you have exactly one moon like ours. Zero moons means only very weak solar tides, nowhere near enough. More than one moon means tidal chaos.

Our own Moon (Luna) apparently formed as a complete fluke due to a planet-sized mass hitting what is now the Pacific Ocean and knocking a huge chunk of the Earth away, which became Luna and leaving behind the Pacific Ocean basis as the scar. What are the odds of this happening with other reasonably nearby and otherwise Earth-like planets, which also did not acquire any moons in the "usual" way of gravitationally snagging rogue asteroids (Mars with Phobos and Deimos)?

Also, our own march to sapience would never have happened (at least not in the way it did) without a complete evolutionary fluke which normally would've been selected against: the mutation or drift-caused damaging of the GULO gene into the non-functional GULOP gene on Chromosome #8 at p(21).

This happened about 63 million years ago, around the time that the order of primates split into the sub-orders of strepsorhinni ("wet-nosed") and haplorhinni ("dry-nosed") primates, The former have functioning GULO genes, the latter have non-functioning GULOP genes. The haplorhinnis today include the tarsiers and the class of simian primates, the latter of which include monkeys and apes, the latter of which include lesser and great apes (family Hominidæ), and the latter of which includes genus Homo and thus species H. sapien and sub-species H. sapien sapien, the only surviving species and subspecies of that genus.

Why is this important? Because the GULO gene encodes the enzyme needed for the final stage of the four-stage process for converting glucose and water into ascorbic acid aka Vitamin C. Because ours (and those of the other haplorhinni primates) doesn't work, we have to eat Vitamin C in order to live. Normally such a defect would've been selected against, but by a fluke, the ancestor of all of the haplorhinni primates which first had that mutation or drift-damaged gene was apparently already a fructivore, and thus getting enough Vitamin C in diet so that the loss of the GULO wasn't selected against.

Why is that important? Because once the non-functioning GULOP was in place, it created a new evolutionary pressure for enhancing the ability to obtain ascorbic acid from diet. This included traits that led to sapience, such as grasping hands with opposable thumbs (to grab tree branches as well as pluck the fruit itself), color vision (to distinguish ripe from unripe fruit, and to see ripe fruit from a distance against the green of the leaves of trees or bushes), stereoscopic vision (to judge the distance to the next branch), and so on. All of this required a more complex brain to process the additional sensory information and control the more dextrous extremities.

What percentage of Earth-like planets with one sizable moon providing regular tides and thus a tidal basin would have such an evolutionary fluke happen by random chance (mutation or drift) in a way that wouldn't be selected against and thus be eliminated in a matter of generations?
 
2014-06-27 02:04:18 PM  

BigLuca: There is an uneducated, myopic, stupid old man sitting on a porch in Detroit.  He looks around and doesn't see any neighbors.  He concludes that no other life exists on Earth.  He is wrong, because:

1. He is old and has Alzheimer's and doesn't remember that his niece just left 5 mins ago.
2. He is uneducated and doesn't realize the cat on his lap is a type of life.
3. He is myopic and can't see the neighbor across the street
4. He is stupid and didn't get the fark out of Detroit when most of his other neighbors did.

I hate the Fermi Paradox.


Detroit isn't that bad.

/Going back to my porch and sit with my cat
//Where's my porch?
 
2014-06-27 02:04:41 PM  
How about they just don't care?  As the article correctly points out, any civilization out there is probably millions of years ahead of us technologically.[1]  Why would they even be remotely interested in us?

They also missed the farm angle: they're here, they're just fattening us up.  (they're succeeding)

[1] I always liked the like from one of Gardner's League of Peoples series, which was something like "The founding civilizations of the LoP had billions of years of evolution beyond us.  To call them godlike would be demeaning."
 
2014-06-27 02:04:52 PM  
Isolation, speed of light, and diffusion of signal into noise.  When you're dealing with distances and timescales this huge, everything feels like it's moving in slow motion because the speed of light isn't very fast, and signals disperse.  It's noisy out there.

On top of that, we've only started to tune in our receivers.  A matter of a few decades.  We're complaining that we haven't seen all of Breaking Bad yet, and our picture tube hasn't even warmed up.
 
2014-06-27 02:06:53 PM  
Um... isn't the Fermi paradox pretty much resolved now by looking at our own behavior?

Sure, when the theory was initially presented, the idea that a civilization would continually beam out high-powered radio forever was reasonable, but since then  we have switched most of our informational infrastructure into lower-power signals on bands that scatter over relatively short range in the atmosphere.

We have the shell of EM from Television and so on that's going out, but  ours is already dying off, in favor of hard-line signals and wifi/cell phone signals, neither of which really make it out of the atmosphere coherently.  A reasonable ad-hoc prediction on current trends would probably be that in another five or ten decades at most we'll be as quiet from an outsider's perspective as we were in the 1800s, with only the odd hobbyist's signal radiating out occasionally.

So... y'know, civilizations don't start, go loud, and then keep beaming shiat out forever, there's about a two century window where they're loud, and then they go relatively quiet due to further advances in efficiency and the usefulness of digitization.

Question answered pretty firmly there.  Continuing to ask it is sort of the equivalent of creationists complaining that evolution's never been observed: things have moved on since the 1950s, brother, try to keep up.
 
2014-06-27 02:13:45 PM  

ShadowKamui: [img.fark.net image 240x240]
You exist because we allow it


Came here to show this as the Great Filter, leaving mostly satisfied.
 
2014-06-27 02:17:43 PM  

omeganuepsilon: LewDux: d) Space is big. Really big

So is time.  Odds of anything being able to contact us, or visa versa, within our "blink of an eye" existence is so small as to be nonexistant.

We are isolated by space, and by time.
IE
What if there were another intelligent race that died out 37 billion years ago?
What if there is another in 78 billion years, what will we matter to them?

The general question is about as useful as pondering about or believing in god.


Yeah, but space is vastly hugely mindbogglingly big
 
2014-06-27 02:20:08 PM  

chasd00: dittybopper: FTFA:
SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) is an organization dedicated to listening for signals from other intelligent life. If we're right that there are 100,000 or more intelligent civilizations in our galaxy, and even a fraction of them are sending out radio waves or laser beams or other modes of attempting to contact others, shouldn't SETI's satellite array pick up all kinds of signals?

No.

Any reasonably intelligent species is going to beam their communications using directional antennas (or lasers).  That means that unless you are within the beamwidth of their signals, you won't be able to hear anything.  The galaxy could be literally humming with signals, but none of the close ones that we could detect fairly easily are pointed at us, and the ones that are pointed at us by random chance could be too far away for us to reliably detect.

Plus, we've only looked at a very small fraction of the available search space.  TFA makes it sound like we're watching in all directions all the time.  The truth is, we can't.  Not with the extremely small effort that we make.

Also, SETI has only been active listening for, what, 75 years now? So that means any intelligent life would have to be within 75 light years of distance for us to detect today. For comparison, the diameter of our galaxy ( let alone the distance to any of the millions of others ) is ~115,000 light years.


Not at all true.  We could pick up 1 billion year old signals from another galaxy a billion light years away.  The limit would be on how far our broadcasts have reached out into the universe.
 
2014-06-27 02:20:27 PM  
Welcome to the Fermi Paradox.

There's no "paradox".

The universe is massive.
The choices of places to look is almost infinite.
The choices of places to go is almost infinite.
The number of planes to travel in is almost infinite.
As a result, Someone would have as much chance of finding us accidentally as they would of finding us on purpose.
Also, regardless of how much longer they've had to develop, it doesn't mean that they developed in the way WE did.
There is also the chance that this theoretical race is in a system that is in a dense galaxy, near its galaxy's center, or in a dense globular cluster and hasn't even finished exploring their neighbors yet.

Not to mention that there is EVERY chance they've visited us already. Just because they didn't march up to the White House with a giant sign that says "E.T.", it doesn't mean that they haven't been here. It's funny to discount people's UFO stories with the claim that aliens can't exist because "we haven't seen them".

Besides, it's AWFULLY arrogant to assume that just because an advanced race exists that we'd be the one planet they'd seek out.

Sorry, there's nothing to make this paradox a mystical astronomical "problem". Just because someone like Fermi came up with it, doesn't mean that it's automatic genius, smart people have turds, too.
 
2014-06-27 02:20:47 PM  

omeganuepsilon: LewDux: d) Space is big. Really big

So is time.  Odds of anything being able to contact us, or visa versa, within our "blink of an eye" existence is so small as to be nonexistant.

We are isolated by space, and by time.
IE
What if there were another intelligent race that died out 37 billion years ago?
What if there is another in 78 billion years, what will we matter to them?

The general question is about as useful as pondering about or believing in god.


The age of the Universe is estimated to be about 14 billion years.  But your point is relevant, and part of the Drake equation - "L", the length of time civilizations send out observable signals. (with the caveat that they might exist and be signalling, but not in a way we might detect, as people above have said)
 
2014-06-27 02:22:18 PM  

chasd00: Also, SETI has only been active listening for, what, 75 years now? So that means any intelligent life would have to be within 75 light years of distance for us to detect today. For comparison, the diameter of our galaxy ( let alone the distance to any of the millions of others ) is ~115,000 light years.


No, we can pick up stuff from billions of years ago. It just means that it has traveled for that long, so things have changed since the signal left its home.
 
2014-06-27 02:23:02 PM  

Jim_Callahan: there's about a two century window where they're loud


Except we're not that loud.  Our signals aren't exactly booming.  They're pretty indistinguishable from background noise once they start actually reaching other stars.  They've had only about 100 light years to travel, and were likely mush before they got a quarter of that distance.  Probably far less in the case of early signals.
 
2014-06-27 02:27:27 PM  
I'll go with prisoner's dilemma, thanks.

Species that evolve to sentience and a technological, scientific, and cultural point of interstellar communication and travel will be undoubtedly the apex species of their world. That comes with an implicit understanding of how food chains work, and that natural selection is a harsh mistress. In all likelihood, this hypothetical species has also had to contend with and find a resolution to problems of scarcity on their homeworld even within the context of their own species, which necessarily includes conflict over resources.

Which means any species that evolves to the point of interstellar communication and travel will look to the stars and likely conclude that what happened to other species on their homeworld, or even dead cultures within their own species, can happen to  them at the hands of a more advanced, numerous, or more aggressive species -- an event with a remarkably non-zero chance of occurring. Whether or not there are "scary predator civilizations" out there (and there likely aren't, given the aforementioned paragaph), it's irrational to go searching.
 
2014-06-27 02:29:45 PM  

LewDux: omeganuepsilon: LewDux: d) Space is big. Really big

So is time.  Odds of anything being able to contact us, or visa versa, within our "blink of an eye" existence is so small as to be nonexistant.

We are isolated by space, and by time.
IE
What if there were another intelligent race that died out 37 billion years ago?
What if there is another in 78 billion years, what will we matter to them?

The general question is about as useful as pondering about or believing in god.

Yeah, but space is vastly hugely mindbogglingly big


You think its a long way down the road to the chemist's, but thats peanuts compared to space.
 
2014-06-27 02:30:34 PM  
Boobies.
www.scifiupdates.com
 
2014-06-27 02:31:10 PM  

that bosnian sniper: I'll go with prisoner's dilemma, thanks.

Species that evolve to sentience and a technological, scientific, and cultural point of interstellar communication and travel will be undoubtedly the apex species of their world. That comes with an implicit understanding of how food chains work, and that natural selection is a harsh mistress. In all likelihood, this hypothetical species has also had to contend with and find a resolution to problems of scarcity on their homeworld even within the context of their own species, which necessarily includes conflict over resources.

Which means any species that evolves to the point of interstellar communication and travel will look to the stars and likely conclude that what happened to other species on their homeworld, or even dead cultures within their own species, can happen to  them at the hands of a more advanced, numerous, or more aggressive species -- an event with a remarkably non-zero chance of occurring. Whether or not there are "scary predator civilizations" out there (and there likely aren't, given the aforementioned paragaph), it's irrational to go searching.


Except the one actual example we have of an apex species on a planet - humans on Earth - work exactly opposite of that.  We understand these things, and still the smartest and brightest among us strive to see if there is life out there.  And if there was indication that their might be (organic molecules found elsewhere, etc), we wouldn't pull back.  We'd redouble our efforts and push even harder.
 
2014-06-27 02:32:04 PM  
What exactly is preview for, pray tell?
1st.
 
2014-06-27 02:43:35 PM  

SewerSquirrels: What exactly is preview for, pray tell?
1st.


To make sure your linked images are actually linkable.  And to fix typos.  And to fix placement and layout.
 
2014-06-27 02:44:33 PM  
I think the great filter was the leap to intelligence from monkeys. I guess you could look at it this way: no other species on this planet (including the dinosaurs who had millions of years to get it done) ever got past the animal stage. That doesn't say anything about what happens on other planets, I guess, but still-- before us, there were plenty of other species (and still are) and none of them are making the leap.

Aside from that, I think we're still incredibly young in our life as a species to think we have any sort of abilities necessary to communicate, interact or even detect what's really out there.  Just a few hundred years ago we thought we were exceptionally daring and brave for getting across one of the bodies of water on our planet with a sailing vessel. Only a little more than 100 years ago we figured out how to navigate through the air. The technological strides are really beginning to pick up speed, though, but we're still taking the tiniest of baby steps when compared to the idea of a "Level III" civilization.

As for communication, we somehow think it is good enough to have developed smoke signals to send communications over dozens of miles, and we expect to be able to communicate with someone in Australia with them?

So in short, I don't think it's that we're necessarily rare, farked, or first. We're none of it. We're just getting started and need to have more realistic expectations of what we are within the scale of the universe as a whole.
 
2014-06-27 02:46:47 PM  

Khellendros: Except the one actual example we have of an apex species on a planet - humans on Earth - work exactly opposite of that.  We understand these things, and still the smartest and brightest among us strive to see if there is life out there.  And if there was indication that their might be (organic molecules found elsewhere, etc), we wouldn't pull back.  We'd redouble our efforts and push even harder.


I don't disagree, and in fact I'd take you one step further and say humanity is case evidence for "scary predator civilizations" wiping themselves out before they get to the interstellar stage. We  are one of those scary predator civilizations: we don't control our population, we clearly struggle with the concepts I already mentioned, we pollute, we predate one another, we're wildly irrational, and in all likelihood we'll starve ourselves into a new dark age (if not extinction) within a century's time before we develop anything reaching interstellar technology. Just because a minority of individuals on the planet understand this, doesn't mean we as a species do -- and those that do aren't anywhere near power to effect real change, culturally or politically.

And, we do search --  passively. The handful of actions that could be regarded by some as active searches, weren't: they were tech demonstrations (the Arecibo message) or attempts to create some sort of tangible evidence humanity ever existed (the golden record). As stated in the article itself, our best and brightest advocate  against active attempts to find other civilizations (the article brings up even Carl Sagan in his boundless optimism was an opponent of it).
 
2014-06-27 02:48:31 PM  

Khellendros: Except the one actual example we have of an apex species on a planet - humans on Earth - work exactly opposite of that.  We understand these things, and still the smartest and brightest among us strive to see if there is life out there.


Because we haven't learned a lesson yet. It's like the child that wanders away from the campsite into the woods alone after dark. He wants to go exploring. It's curiosity without the fear of any danger. As we grow older as a species and get to know the surroundings a bit more, we'll understand that sure-- the universe is a terrificly awesome place, but we have everything we need right here in the safety of the campsite, thanks.
 
2014-06-27 02:48:43 PM  
They're out there. They just want us to ignore them

img.fark.net
 
2014-06-27 02:53:16 PM  
If I was an alien race with extremely advanced technology, and I saw an intelligent race on some random blue planet, I'd probably just watch them, give them maybe 100 years or so after the discovery of nuclear energy to see if they're dumb enough to blow themselves up. If they pass that test, then I'd know that making contact would be worth our time.
 
2014-06-27 02:53:40 PM  
Some vastly more intelligent being(s) are using us as a zoo exhibit and have us caged off from any contact discernible from our side of things.

Duh.
 
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