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Question: Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth?
Yes   -3 (13.6%)
No   -6 (27.3%)
Probably   -1 (4.5%)
Probably not   -9 (40.9%)
Maybe   -3 (13.6%)
Total Voters: 22

Author Topic: Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth?  (Read 7220 times)
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Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth?
« on: January 23, 2012, 02:06:47 am »

We are currently finding more and more earth-sized exoplanets that are in the habitable zone. The bioscientific consensus is also that life should rise spontaneously wherever the circumstances are right. If this is the case, then there should be millions of planets with biological life in this galaxy. The presence of oxygen in the atmosphere of a planet strongly indicates that there is biological life on the planet, as diatomic oxygen is an extremely reactive gas which most likely will disappear from any planet that doesn't have a continuous reemission of oxygen into the atmosphere from a process like photosynthesis. It is also possible to detect the presence of oxygen in the atmosphere of an exoplanet from here, as oxygen has a unique absorption spectrum which will show on any light that passes through the atmosphere of the exoplanet. So, my guess is that we soon will find earth- sized exoplanets in the habitable zone with oxygen in the atmosphere. But if that is the case then intelligent lifeforms on other exoplanets should also be able to detect oxygen in our atmosphere. Our planet has had oxygen in the atmosphere for approximately 2.4 billion years, and I would assume that any intelligent species that might have risen in our galaxy during the last 2.4 billion years must have scanned the galaxy for planets with oxygen in the atmosphere.....
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Re: Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth?
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2012, 08:29:33 pm »

Why would we believe either option?
Something may be likely, or may be unlikely, and we may make estimates of that likeliness, but why require anyone to make a choice to believe? It is okay to admit that one does not know.
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Re: Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth?
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2012, 10:32:49 pm »

In a similar fashion, since there was no "I know aliens are watching me" option, I couldn't answer the poll.
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Re: Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth?
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2012, 12:08:58 am »

I think if there are technologically advanced aliens within, oh, 1000 LY of us, they're probably aware that Earth bears life, and could well be aware that our ice-age cycle has been disrupted (that's been going on for over 2000 years, so it's noticeable even with light-speed delay). Further makes it more likely for aliens but less likely of awareness.

I don't know how likely that is. It all depends on the solution to Fermi's Paradox, doesn't it? If it's just that interstellar travel is unbelievably inconvenient and advanced civilizations tend to leak little EM, then it's virtually certain. If it's that advanced civilizations arise rarely or don't last long, probably not.
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Re: Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth?
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2012, 02:01:37 am »

Although I do believe there is intelligent extraterrestrial life, the "monitoring" part is highly unlikely.
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Re: Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth?
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2012, 03:12:48 am »

Oh, it's definitely possible that there's life somewhere else in the universe, but monitering Earth? Since when is Earth so interesting? Plus, there's no guarantee that life as intelligent as humans would evolve anywhere else in the universe; after all, it took something like 1-2 billion years on Earth. So even if we do find another planet that harbors life, it's incredibly unlikely that there would also be technology. More probably life would be kind of like what Earth was before humans evolved (e.g. the Mesozoic Era).
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Re: Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth?
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2012, 05:44:46 am »

onpon, we're barely off the starting mark and we're already looking for planets with alien life on them. Once we find them, we'll be monitoring them closely, I'm sure. It's not that we're special.

As for the likelihood of aliens... the universe is really really big. If it could happen once, it could happen twice. This galaxy? Much less so. Perhaps we're alone here. perhaps not.

I find your chain of reasoning about the unlikelihood of intelligent life very tenuous. It took us 1-2 billion years... okay? The others also have the same time to work with. And there could be a lot of planets out there with some sort of life - and thus a lot of tries to get intelligence. Even if it's more probable to have mesozoic life (which I won't dispute), intelligent life may not be so much less likely that you wouldn't expect it to arise at all.
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Re: Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth?
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2012, 10:07:37 am »

Assuming there are many extra terrestrial species in the universe that  have a phisiology similar to humans, are at least as smart as humans and are at a technology level well beyond current human technology, they'd be intested in monitoring a planet like Earth for sure. In fact they'd  probably be interested in studying *any* planet just as we humans are. But considering the age of the universe, the likelyhood that thier civilization is in existence at the same time period as our own seems unlikely. And with the speed of light barrier considered the likelyhood becomes even more remote that we are being monitored. At least from afar.



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Re: Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth?
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2012, 11:07:17 am »

"But considering the age of the universe, the likelyhood that thier civilization is in existence at the same time period as our own seems unlikely."

Well.... it all depends on what usually happens to species that manage to  acquire advanced technologies. Do they use biological tools to enhance themselves into even more advanced species, or do they destroy themselves in nuclear holocausts? I cannot say for sure what is the more likely outcome for our species. If a technologically advanced species wants to stay alive for a long period of time, it probably goes into a more suspended state. The idea of the Precursors going into suspension as the Ortogs in Star Control 3 is not so bad, not because there is a species feeding on higher intelligence, but because a species will increase its odds for long time survival by going into suspension. Of course it would be much smarter to merely freeze zygotes rather than to live as Ortogs, and have machines like the Daktaklakpak germinate the zygotes every now and then. Animals like the Ortogs have a high mutation rate, and therefore wouldn't serve very well as a suspension vehicle.
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Re: Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth?
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2012, 03:41:01 pm »

I think it's very unlikely that a nuclear holocaust will occur. More likely is that some fool genius will program a computer to be intelligent without bothering to make sure that it cares about us. Think the Replicators, or Skynet with halfway decent strategy (microdrones by the billions instead of Terminators by the handful). We'd be lucky beyond measure to end up in a Matrix instead of dead outright.
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Re: Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth?
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2012, 09:25:42 pm »

Well... programming a computer to be that intelligent is something nobody has been able to achive yet, and which has proved to be much more difficult than what science fiction writers believed in the 60's. We have the means to create a nuclear holocaust right now, and has had it since the 50's. I also however doubt that there will be a nuclear holocaust, as even politicians should be able to understand that a global nuclear war is suicide for everyone. Genetically engineered viruses might be the greatest threat to mankind right now. Such a virus could be created by a single crazy bioscientist, and can have the potential to do huge amounts of damage. I doubt however that either a nuclear war or genetically engineered viruses will be able to wipe out ALL of mankind. There will always be survivors. Such events might however cause a collapse of the global infrastructue and put us hundreds of years back in time. Even the depletion of non-renewable resources might cause a collapse of the global infrastrure and put us hundres of years back in time.
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Re: Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth?
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2012, 09:43:47 pm »

The idea of the Precursors going into suspension as the Ortogs in Star Control 3 is not so bad, not because there is a species feeding on higher intelligence, but because a species will increase its odds for long time survival by going into suspension.

If you're talking about making your species stupid so they become normal wild animals, no. There is nothing about less intelligent animals that makes them survive longer. Unless you're talking about side-effects of modern technology, in which case making everyone forget so they end up doing the same thing later on is not a very good solution.

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onpon, we're barely off the starting mark and we're already looking for planets with alien life on them. Once we find them, we'll be monitoring them closely, I'm sure. It's not that we're special.

As for the likelihood of aliens... the universe is really really big. If it could happen once, it could happen twice. This galaxy? Much less so. Perhaps we're alone here. perhaps not.

I find your chain of reasoning about the unlikelihood of intelligent life very tenuous. It took us 1-2 billion years... okay? The others also have the same time to work with. And there could be a lot of planets out there with some sort of life - and thus a lot of tries to get intelligence. Even if it's more probable to have mesozoic life (which I won't dispute), intelligent life may not be so much less likely that you wouldn't expect it to arise at all.

Considering we haven't found any life anywhere except for Earth, not even single-celled organisms, it's pretty safe to conclude that life is an extremely rare occurrence in the universe. Given that, if there's life (which wouldn't surprise me), the chances are extremely slim that they would be lucky enough to evolve to an animal (or other life form) as intelligent as Homo sapiens.

It's important to note that the exact way evolution leads life forms to be is random; humans re-adapted arms, originally most suited for climbing trees, to manipulate objects. Without that, modern humans would have never existed no matter how big our brains got. Nothing even remotely similar has happened with any other life form on Earth, and there was no guarantee at all that it would happen. It just happened. Natural selection doesn't just tend towards "better" or smarter; all it cares about is what survives and reproduces.

(I'll give you the thing about studying Earth, though.)

Well... programming a computer to be that intelligent is something nobody has been able to achive yet, and which has proved to be much more difficult than what science fiction writers believed in the 60's.

Computers, as they are now, simply obey instructions and return an output. That's why they're called "computers": they compute. The only way they could possibly be "intelligent" and "decide" to do something we don't want is if someone specifically gives the instructions to do so. So unless the way computers work changes dramatically (and I don't see that happening any time soon), a cybernetic revolt or other computer-related apocalypse is just silly (unless it involves some madman trying to end the world, but then he'd have an easier time doing it with some sort of nuclear weapon than with something as complicated as artificial intelligence).
« Last Edit: January 24, 2012, 09:48:25 pm by onpon4 » Logged

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Re: Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth?
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2012, 10:11:13 pm »

"If you're talking about making your species stupid so they become normal wild animals, no. There is nothing about less intelligent animals that makes them survive longer. "

Well.. that is not what I was talking about. I was talking about freezing zygotes, not making a species less intelligent. All organisms that are alive will have mutations occurring in their genome, and those mutations don't necessarily need to be beneficial. If a species was to be alive for millions of years the genome would change significantly. If however a zygote is frozen down for millions of years the changes in the genome would be negligible.

"Considering we haven't found any life anywhere except for Earth, not even single-celled organisms, it's pretty safe to conclude that life is an extremely rare occurrence in the universe"

No it is not.... The other planets in this solar system are not particularly environmental friendly for biological life, and lots of scientists believe that there might be microbial life on Mars and Jupiter's moon called Europa. In other solar systems there are planets that are approximately the same size as earth and have approximately the same average temperature. On such a planet the likelihood for microbial life would be far higher than for either on Mars or on Europa.
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Re: Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth?
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2012, 04:38:15 pm »

Well... programming a computer to be that intelligent is something nobody has been able to achive yet, and which has proved to be much more difficult than what science fiction writers believed in the 60's.

Yes, that is true. However, unlike the holocaust, it is something which people are trying to do and don't realize how dangerous it is.

I doubt however that either a nuclear war or genetically engineered viruses will be able to wipe out ALL of mankind. There will always be survivors. Such events might however cause a collapse of the global infrastructue and put us hundreds of years back in time. Even the depletion of non-renewable resources might cause a collapse of the global infrastrure and put us hundres of years back in time.

Exactly. None of those will wipe out humanity. A victorious AI not interested in our well-being could annihilate life on Earth.

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Considering we haven't found any life anywhere except for Earth, not even single-celled organisms, it's pretty safe to conclude that life is an extremely rare occurrence in the universe.

Oh come on. I haven't found my keys in my pocket, therefore they don't exist? Our ability to find alien life is really really weak at this point. They'd need to be shouting at us for us to notice. Also, there are a handful of planets that aren't very promising to begin with, that we've seen, where if life was on them, we could probably tell by looking at atmospheric spectra, and we haven't.

For now, the absence of evidence in what we've seen is really weak evidence of absence overall. Maybe that'll be different in 20 years.

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Given that, if there's life (which wouldn't surprise me), the chances are extremely slim that they would be lucky enough to evolve to an animal (or other life form) as intelligent as Homo sapiens.

We don't know how likely it is, actually. We're the first species it happened to, and it took about 500 million years from the development of multicellular life, which in turn took 1.5 billion years from the earliest time biochemistry was feasible. Our position in respect to the sun will be viable for at least 500 million more years, possibly much more. There is room for multiple mass extinctions and recoveries -- and in a system that got started earlier than ours but was still second generation, that time would already have happened.

We have ONE data point, basically. Hard to generalize from that.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2012, 04:52:02 pm by Death 999 » Logged
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Re: Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth?
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2012, 06:45:28 pm »

For now, the absence of evidence in what we've seen is really weak evidence of absence overall. Maybe that'll be different in 20 years.

You can't prove non-existence of anything. That doesn't mean it's more rational to assume it does exist. Maybe the reason we haven't found any life at all, anywhere, except for on Earth, is because we haven't looked hard enough, but it seems more likely that life is just a rare occurance.

We don't know how likely it is, actually. We're the first species it happened to, and it took about 500 million years from the development of multicellular life, which in turn took 1.5 billion years from the earliest time biochemistry was feasible. Our position in respect to the sun will be viable for at least 500 million more years, possibly much more. There is room for multiple mass extinctions and recoveries -- and in a system that got started earlier than ours but was still second generation, that time would already have happened.

We have ONE data point, basically. Hard to generalize from that.

Generalizing from one data point makes more sense than making stuff up from nowhere. That one data point (the history of Earth) is the only data that we have. But you're not getting my entire point: natural selection, the only way certain life is preferred over others, makes no effort towards intelligent life. All that matters in natural selection is how well a given animal survives. This makes the current state of humans (technology and intelligence) not even close to guaranteed. Even the survival of the genus Homo seems to have been unlikely, because modern humans are the only species that survived. It's just loaded with unlikely events and luckiness so much that it seems extremely unlikely that it would happen everywhere life exists.
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