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Poll
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 7396 times)
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Re: Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth?
« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2012, 10:15:29 pm »

Generalizing from one data point makes more sense than making stuff up from nowhere.

In this case, no it does not. You're looking at roughly 300 billion entire star systems in the Milky Way, most of which would seem to have planets. And besides that there's over 170 billion entire galaxies, just in the part of the universe we can see, with anywhere from ten million to a hundred trillion stars apiece. One data point out of the countless quintillions of stars in the universe means next to nothing.
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Re: Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth?
« Reply #16 on: January 25, 2012, 10:22:17 pm »

"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."

It is not necessarily that easy to find microbial life. Sure, photosynthetic life can be found due to oxygen accumulation in the atmosphere, but there were chemoautotropic microorganisms here on earth long before the first phototrophs. If there are such chemoautotropic microorganisms on Mars for example, they are probably just on specific locations where there is liquid water, not everywhere. In order for there to be life as we know it there must be liquid water, and there is not a lot of liquid water on the other planets in this solar system. There might however be some on Mars and on Jupiter's moon Europa, but probably a lot of it on other planets in other solar systems. Recently we have found lots of new planets that have approximately the right temperature for liquid water to exist ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habitable_zone#Recent_breakthroughs:_Super-Earths_and_Earth-sized_planets ).



There are probably millions of planets like Kepler 22b in our galaxy. I think most bioscientists would find it very strange if none of those planets have any microbial life.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2012, 10:30:23 pm by ubericon » Logged
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Re: Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth?
« Reply #17 on: January 25, 2012, 10:37:15 pm »

Generalizing from one data point makes more sense than making stuff up from nowhere.

In this case, no it does not. You're looking at roughly 300 billion entire star systems in the Milky Way, most of which would seem to have planets. And besides that there's over 170 billion entire galaxies, just in the part of the universe we can see, with anywhere from ten million to a hundred trillion stars apiece. One data point out of the countless quintillions of stars in the universe means next to nothing.

You think it's better to just pull stuff out of your hat which has no basis in reality whatsoever than to look at what limited sample of the subject we have of the subject in reality and draw conclusions based on that sample? This "generalization" is looking at all life we have ever witnessed as well as our most general understanding of how life works.

In particular, natural selection, the mechanism for evolution, the only process we know of that can possibly produce complex life (short of artificial means), does not guarantee or even encourage intelligent life. Assuming, then, that intelligent life is going to be common in places where life exists is an extraordinary claim.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2012, 12:02:15 am by onpon4 » Logged

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Re: Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth?
« Reply #18 on: January 25, 2012, 10:59:02 pm »

Quote
In particular, natural selection, the mechanism for evolution, the only process we know of that can possibly produce complex life (short of artificial means), does not guarantee or even encourage intelligent life. Assuming, then, that intelligent life is going to be common in places where life exists is an extraordinary claim.

Well.. even though there are many bacteria and single celled eukaryotes that in many ways are much more successful than humans, especially when it comes to their ability to survive in harsh conditions, life on earth has been evolving greater and greater complexity. This is mostly because life of increased complexity can find and exploit new niches.  We can therefore assume that life on other planets also have the tendency to evolve greater and greater complexity to fill and exploit new niches.
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Re: Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth?
« Reply #19 on: January 25, 2012, 11:34:20 pm »

You think it's better to just pull stuff out of your had which has no basis in reality whatsoever than to look at what limited sample of the subject we have of the subject in reality and draw conclusions based on that sample? This "generalization" is looking at all life we have ever witnessed as well as our most general understanding of how life works.

In particular, natural selection, the mechanism for evolution, the only process we know of that can possibly produce complex life (short of artificial means), does not guarantee or even encourage intelligent life. Assuming, then, that intelligent life is going to be common in places where life exists is an extraordinary claim.

I'm saying drawing conclusions based on what we know and pulling something out of a hat are functionally identical in this case, because what we know amounts to nothing. They're both bad ideas.
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Re: Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth?
« Reply #20 on: January 25, 2012, 11:57:39 pm »

But we do know a bit....

Quote
WASHINGTON (AP) - Scientists have estimated the first cosmic census of planets in our galaxy and the numbers are astronomical: at least 50 billion planets in the Milky Way.

At least 500 million of those planets are in the not-too-hot, not-too-cold zone where life could exist. The numbers were extrapolated from the early results of NASA's planet-hunting Kepler telescope.
http://apnews.excite.com/article/20110219/D9LG45NO0.html

We also know quite a bit about abiogenesis, and the vast majority of bioscientists believe that life originated spontaneously from simpler molecules on Earth. They also believe that life will develop on other planets with liquid water in a similar fashion.
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Re: Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth?
« Reply #21 on: January 26, 2012, 12:30:56 am »

How do we know life on other planets will even remotely resemble life on Earth? Yes, we have some fairly concrete guesses on how life developed on one planet out of those 50 billion in the Milky Way alone, what makes us think that any of our knowledge will even be applicable to life on other planets?
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Re: Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth?
« Reply #22 on: January 26, 2012, 01:01:32 am »

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How do we know life on other planets will even remotely resemble life on Earth? Yes, we have some fairly concrete guesses on how life developed on one planet out of those 50 billion in the Milky Way alone, what makes us think that any of our knowledge will even be applicable to life on other planets?

We don't know all the possible ways life can develop, but we do know that life can develop the way it did here on Earth. It will be incredibly interesting to have a microbial specimen from another planet. Will it have its genetic code stored in DNA or in some other polymer? Will it use the same amino acids as life on earth, and have proteins made of amino acids? Will it have a cell membrane made of phospholipids?  A microbial specimen from another planet would most likely revolutionize our understanding of cell biology.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2012, 01:04:10 am by ubericon » Logged
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Re: Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth?
« Reply #23 on: January 26, 2012, 01:44:45 am »

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.

Did I say 'prove'? No, I didn't. I'm talking about a minimal level of evidence of absence.

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.

It does, you are correct. And what makes more sense, in turn, than generalizing from one data point? Admitting ignorance. We don't know whether alien life and in particular alien intelligence is or has been out there.

We know that no alien intelligences are broadcasting uncompressed high-powered microwave signals in our direction, and we know that certain 'promising' locations do not have uncompressed low-powered microwave signals coming in our direction. We may have been able to examine the atmosphere of one or two super-heavy rocky planets. That's... not strong evidence of anything except the absence of aliens that know we're here and want to say hello.
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Re: Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth?
« Reply #24 on: January 26, 2012, 07:14:10 pm »

Generalizing from one data point makes more sense than making stuff up from nowhere.

It does, you are correct.
[/quote]

Isn't it essentially the same though? One data point could be a line, an incline, all manners of curves, a circle and whatever. In my line of work at least, using one data point is just guessing.
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Re: Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth?
« Reply #25 on: January 26, 2012, 11:15:32 pm »

That's the next point I made, yes. He said 'more', not 'a lot'.
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Re: Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth?
« Reply #26 on: February 09, 2012, 08:14:28 am »

That's what I'm curious about though. I'm no expert and not trying to be clever, just looking for some thoughts on the subject. I was taught in my field that one point of data is as worthless as none, and I've always kind of assumed that holds true otherwise as well. Perhaps this is only relevant in more parctically applied fields though? I mean, if I get one data point without references, I can't do any recommendations on materials, required pressure class or some such. To me, it doesn't make MORE sense to use one data point rather than NONE, because the one point can always be a fluke of some sort that doesn't  give any sort of indication as to actual constrains or values.

But again, my work is more down to Earth than calculating possible ET's. What I'm curious about is whether my way of thinking is only useful in specific fields, or whether it can be used more broadly, such as in this discussion.
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Re: Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth?
« Reply #27 on: February 09, 2012, 08:33:20 pm »

One data point establishes very little about what isn't possible. In engineering, that's what you're mainly concerned with - you need to establish that certain bad things will not happen (i.e. device failure). Whenever the question is instead, 'what can happen', a single data point can be very illuminating.

Turn it around, thinking like, you have one measurement of a bridge collapsing due to some effect that only applies to that design of bridge. You aren't going to want to use this measurement to prove other bridges won't collapse, but you can definitely use it to establish that they can. Now suppose you only ever learned about this style of bridge because this one collapsed and the locals called you in to look into the matter, and you have no idea how many other bridges of this sort are out there. Maybe there are lots of them out there that don't collapse. Maybe there are lots of other bridges, and a lot of them collapsed, and this is just the first time they called you about it.

Bridge collapse, in this case, is analogous to the development of sapient life. You definitely know it can happen (it did), but you don't know how widespread the conditions necessary for it are, and you don't know how likely they are given those conditions.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2012, 08:44:09 pm by Death 999 » Logged
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Re: Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth?
« Reply #28 on: February 12, 2012, 10:04:12 pm »

No doubt there IS someone else somewhere. If the DNA could have shown up out of nothing (i mean out of lifeless H,C,N and O-atoms) here on Earth, I see no reason why could not the same thing happen somewhere else. As to me, the part with aliens monitoring us has no sense. It would take enormous effort to even reach someone who's 20LY or so away from you and you would achieve nothing important with it. We've all seen corpses of Grays on photos, altough they are the most probably fakes. Perhaps even a form of concealment. Secret services of some governments might monitor the citizens of Earth and blame Grays for doing it.
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Re: Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth?
« Reply #29 on: February 12, 2012, 11:00:27 pm »

@Wolframm - definitely coverup! In reality they actually are Greens.
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