Is the universe filled with intelligent life? Possibly not.

Started by René, September 07, 2019, 09:07:27 am

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René

"On other worlds with the right chemical conditions, Lane believes that life would be sure to emerge. But without a fateful merger, it would be forever microbial."

http://nautil.us/issue/10/mergers--acquisitions/the-unique-merger-that-made-you-and-ewe-and-yew

N-drju

The question of life in the universe is one of my favourite mind twisters and I love to read about it.

However, my favourite reading piece are solutions to the so-called "Fermi Paradox". Your article would fit the "Rare Earth hypothesis":

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

(skip to "Hypothetical explanations for the paradox".)
"This year - a factory of semiconductors. Next year - a factory of whole conductors!"

penboack

Interesting read.

I think that the idea that we are the only intelligent life in the universe is the modern equivalent of the idea that the earth was at the centre of the universe.

Dune

I agree with Penboack. Problem is, we will probably never know, as distances are enormous, even for radio signals and light. But given time, chemicals can react in almost every way, I'd say, under the right circumstances, just like here.

René

The article does not state that there is no intelligent life elsewhere, but that the chance that it exists has become a lot smaller: "The kind of merger that creates mitochondria seems to be a ludicrously unlikely event. Prokaryotes have only managed it once in more than 3 billion years, despite coming into contact with each other all the time."
If the universe is infinite, and the conditions are the same everywhere, then intelligent life should just be there, but very rare.
Jack Vance (science fiction writer) once said that In a situation of infinity every possible condition occurs, not once, but an infinite number of times.
Whether we will ever know, I am not sure. In principle, any speed below the speed of light is possible (provided that all problems that arise at such a speed can be solved), and then it doesn't necessarily take very long to reach far away solar systems, it will only be annoying for the travelers when they return to find out that millions of years have gone by on earth.

Dune

And that last sentence is something I just can't comprehend. Travellers getting younger as they return (in relation to the place they started off from). In my mind it's virtually impossible, so I've stopped thinking about these things, though they are very intriguing.

N-drju

Quote from: penboack on September 07, 2019, 09:06:40 pmInteresting read.

I think that the idea that we are the only intelligent life in the universe is the modern equivalent of the idea that the earth was at the centre of the universe.

Actually, it might well be the other way round.

Notice that the notion of extraterrestrial life has been gaining traction ever since the fifties and probably peaked with the "Star Wars" era and the New Century. So, chronologically, this is the "original" notion that we as humans have had. Much like the flat-earth theory that was the first to come to the historical limelight.

Now however, we get more and more proof and research (and yes, articles too) that intelligent life might in fact be absent from the universe and that we might have been mistaken to consider it to be a common feature.

Don't get me wrong - I believe that there are other civilizations in the Universe. However, on the other hand, evidence is mounting that it might only be our wishful thinking.
"This year - a factory of semiconductors. Next year - a factory of whole conductors!"

Dune

I would probably doubt that evidence, as it's maybe like interpreting what a tree looks like, and what lives on it, by its 6 pixel shadow alone. Light of the start of far 'civilizations' might not even have reached us.

N-drju

Quote from: Dune on September 09, 2019, 01:38:04 amI would probably doubt that evidence, as it's maybe like interpreting what a tree looks like, and what lives on it, by its 6 pixel shadow alone. Light of the start of far 'civilizations' might not even have reached us.

Agreed, but only if these hypothetical civs are +30 light years away. If we, arbitrarily, set 1990 as a start of the modern deep-space observation, that would indeed mean that light of civilizations that are farther, and have just started to emit it, have indeed not reached our telescopes just yet.

If, say, next year we would notice a planet flickering with an artificial light, it would be possible that we have just discovered a civilization, 31 ly away, on the verge of what we know as the industrial revolution. Equals - electrical power.

This however brings a rather pessimistic light (pun not intended) to the whole problem - we should at least be able to see the electrical light of more distant planets that have been in the industrial / electronic era for ages, right?

What I do agree however, is that our research methods may indeed be very primitive compared to what may be physically possible in our Universe. Scientists themselves are a part of the problem. Nobody have ever conclusively proved or ruled-out the existence of tachyons. Still, all researchers are repeating "travel or communication in excess of speed of light is not possible" like a mantra. My call is that it is possible but we may live in a part of Universe lacking chemistry and materials that would indeed allow it.

Another example is a very interesting case of the Tabby's Star (or KIC 8462852) which has been discovered to have a very unusual dimming pattern. Actually, it looks more like a flickering pattern... which nothing but proves that something (and lots of it) is between our telescopes and the star's surface. Due to the fact that none of the scientific explanations is satisfactory, many people theorize that a Dyson swarm (or at least its ruins, sic!) may be the only explanation left to account for the dimming.

Yet, scientist are extremely hesitant to admit that this may well be the only solution left despite the fact they themselves have no idea on how to approach this question. There is hardly a possibility of a success if disproving theories is what you do, rather than digging into them.
"This year - a factory of semiconductors. Next year - a factory of whole conductors!"

archonforest

I am 100 percent sure that there are other intelligent life forms out there. The size of the universe cannot be defined with our language and metric unit. (I mean we can use the term of light year but since we do not know how long is our universe is pretty useless.) I think we have tons of pictures, carvings...etc..etc that suggest that this planet already had visitors from outer space. It is impossible that all this drawings, carvings...etc are all false.
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N-drju

With all due respect but that sounds a tad like a conspiracy theory... But, on the other hand there might be something to it. Although, a bit less "sexy"...

In the Earth's history, there was an event called "Cambrian Explosion" which denotes a set of conditions and a time period in which most animals have appeared for the first time. Seemingly out of nowhere and without any prior evolutionary developments.

Many people have long theorized that we might have actually arrived to the Earth (albeit in a microbial form) from somewhere else, riding on a bolide or an asteroid of some sort. That would mean that us ourselves are from the stars.

Once you take a look at how distinctly different the chemistry of our organisms is compared to that of Earth's soil, you really start to feel weirdly out of place... Rather than an exploration, interstellar travel would be nothing short of going back home.
"This year - a factory of semiconductors. Next year - a factory of whole conductors!"

archonforest

Conspiracy theory? Not sure I understand what u mean by that?

The only problem with this subject while being very interesting is that it stays on the theory side. Even though there are loads of objects and other weird stuff around, this subject never went out from the theory side. Hopefully a breakthrough will happen at one point of time.
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René


N-drju

Quote from: archonforest on September 09, 2019, 04:28:34 amConspiracy theory? Not sure I understand what u mean by that?

What I mean, is that it is quite far-fetched to think any symbols, building or drawings on Earth have been made by an extraterrestrial race (other than ours, of course. ;) )

Why? Because it sort of implies that archeologists and researchers of said objects are entangled in a vast, Byzantine plot and lie that these drawings were all made by e.g. cavemen.

I don't think we have been visited before. Granted, I find the "asteroid ride" to be even more interesting and consequential theory.

Consider this - if we did arrive here on an asteroid and are from outside of the solar system, that means that somewhere else may exist a world just like our own. A world that began thanks to another chunk of the same asteroid! A world with different languages, different geography but, essentially, with the same mindset and evolutionary history as ours.

Good video René. Though, as you guys probably noticed, I am not entirely convinced by the theory of relativity. I simply cannot understand why crossing a certain speed barrier would suddenly require an infinite amount of energy to move it even faster.

Reaching the "c" speed itself is nothing more than accelerating, right? So my question is - what kind of a special event happens at a "c" speed that would prevent one to cross it? It simply doesn't make any sense to me. Increase in mass is understandable when you take kinetic forces into account, but why would that "collapse" physics at, say, 1.00001 c? I don't get it.
"This year - a factory of semiconductors. Next year - a factory of whole conductors!"

Matt

The universe doesn't stop you from going faster than c.

When viewed from an external frame, e.g. a telescope on Earth, it appears to require an infinite amount of time for a rocket to reach c in the first place, so you will never see an object accelerate past c.

However, a person can sit in a spaceship that has constant acceleration and, if the acceleration is big enough, they can accelerate past c within their lifetime. This can be done without violating any laws of physics. With sufficient, sustained accelerations, people could visit stars that are hundreds of light years away in their lifetime. But from the point of view of observers back on Earth it would seem like they take thousands of years to get there.
Just because milk is white doesn't mean that clouds are made of milk.