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#1 2006-11-28 10:51:22

karolp
Member
From: Lublin, Poland
Registered: 2006-10-24
Posts: 2

Re: Why is the Universe silent?

I've been reading Sagan's Cosmos recently and wondering about this question. Actually, there are some hypotheses:

1. Civilisations developing technology (radiostelescopes) also invent ways of destroying themselves (nucelar bombs). They destroy themselves so often, that the number of civilisations co-existing within our galaxy at a given time is about 10. (from Sagan's book)

2. Civilistations concentrate on listening instead of broadcasting due to limited resources/funds. Nobody talks, everybody just listen. (a Polish book)

3. Civilisations capable of detecting Earthlings are very advanced. They are aware of our existence but they do not want to interfere and prefer to observe. (Sagan's book).

4. We are living at the border of a region in space that has been recently cleansed of all life by a violent supernova. Eartlings were too far but other life in the vincinity was destroyed (my humble assumption).

5. There are colonisers gradually proceeding from one system to another but they have not reached us yet - life is common but intelligent life is quite scarce (Sagan's book).

What do YOU think? Which option is most likely and why? Or maybe some other option not mentioned here?

Regards,

Karol P.

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#2 2006-11-28 16:44:18

C M Edwards
Member
From: Lake Charles LA USA
Registered: 2002-04-29
Posts: 1,011

Re: Why is the Universe silent?

Hello karolp.

Sagan based his treatment of Fermi's paradox in Cosmos on an earlier paper he co-wrote, in which a mathematical model was used to estimate the time necessary for a civilization to spread across the galaxy.  That model had one critical assumption: constant expansion of habitat.  In my opinion, it all comes down to whether that assumption is true.

If interstellar civilizations spread constantly, then Sagan's model can rule out explanations #1, 2, and 5.  The spread should be relatively rapid compared to the age of the Earth, and no matter how few survive to reach us, it only takes one.  #4 isn't terribly likely, either, because it can't explain why we weren't simply approached from our side of the blast.

#3 violates Sagan's assumption of constant spread - The galactic civilization has stopped spreading long enough to set aside planets for a zoo.  Other scenarios are possible in which the continuous spread of a civilization is arrested for other reasons, but I find the zoo hypothesis aesthetically pleasing, so I'll say "reason 3".


"We go big, or we don't go."  - GCNRevenger

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#3 2006-11-28 22:06:57

John Creighton
Member
From: Nova Scotia, Canada
Registered: 2001-09-04
Posts: 2,401
Website

Re: Why is the Universe silent?

Out of curiously how old is our sun relative to the other stars of similar size in our galaxy?

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#4 2006-12-04 14:37:27

citizen_142002
Member
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2006-09-25
Posts: 21

Re: Why is the Universe silent?

What if we're the first technological civilization in the Milky Way? Our sun is middle aged, and it took all that time for an intelligent civilization to rise here. Perhaps intelligent life, at least in the sense of technology using intelligence is quite uncommon.

Some civilizations could have existed in the galaxy a billion years ago, but their signals wouldn't still remain in our galaxy. Plus a civilization located directly across the galaxy would probably not send signals which would cross the galaxy uninterupted. There are so many sources of interference.

Maybe we're alone for now in the Milky Way, but I don't believe that has always been so, and there may be a civilization out there which just discovered radio technology.

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#5 2006-12-04 16:56:11

C M Edwards
Member
From: Lake Charles LA USA
Registered: 2002-04-29
Posts: 1,011

Re: Why is the Universe silent?

What if we're the first technological civilization in the Milky Way? ... there may be a civilization out there which just discovered radio technology.

That may well be, but the time needed for a uniformly expanding civilization's habitat to expand across the entire Milky way is less than 5% of its age with our currently available rocket velocities.  If we assume a sizeable fraction of light speed, that figure easily falls within 0.1%.  Give us anything faster than light, and we can accomplish it in less than the amount of time humanity has already existed. 

The only way that scarcity alone can explain that absence of local civilizations is if there's no one else flying.  If you believe that the expansion of intelligent life through the galaxy will be uniform once it gets going, then you have to assume either no one ever gets out of their solar system or they've already been here.  The sheer extremity of either option suggests that the assumption of uniform expansion is wrong. 

Uniform expansion isn't true, or we're alone in the universe.  Those are the simplest explanations.


"We go big, or we don't go."  - GCNRevenger

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#6 2006-12-04 22:51:39

John Creighton
Member
From: Nova Scotia, Canada
Registered: 2001-09-04
Posts: 2,401
Website

Re: Why is the Universe silent?

What if we're the first technological civilization in the Milky Way? ... there may be a civilization out there which just discovered radio technology.

That may well be, but the time needed for a uniformly expanding civilization's habitat to expand across the entire Milky way is less than 5% of its age with our currently available rocket velocities.  If we assume a sizeable fraction of light speed, that figure easily falls within 0.1%.  Give us anything faster than light, and we can accomplish it in less than the amount of time humanity has already existed. 

The only way that scarcity alone can explain that absence of local civilizations is if there's no one else flying.  If you believe that the expansion of intelligent life through the galaxy will be uniform once it gets going, then you have to assume either no one ever gets out of their solar system or they've already been here.  The sheer extremity of either option suggests that the assumption of uniform expansion is wrong. 

Uniform expansion isn't true, or we're alone in the universe.  Those are the simplest explanations.

Why would we move across the Galaxy at a fraction of C. The west was settled I’m sure slower then it would take someone to walk across it. Anyway, this is a fascinating discussion and although I’ve heard of Drakes equation before I have never heard before of estimating the probability of life based on expected rates of expansion. What a fascinating idea.

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#7 2007-01-07 21:40:48

Trebuchet
Member
From: Florida
Registered: 2004-04-26
Posts: 419

Re: Why is the Universe silent?

I favor a different set ofexplanations: one is that the galaxy is empty because everyone else has already left. By the time anybody is capable of building giant interstellar spacecraft, they're capable of building O'Neill colonies at home. By the time their home star is crowded, they're probably capable of creating their own entire f'ckn universe. So there is a high possibility that intelligent species are 'just passing through'.

Another is that the galaxy is filled with two sorts of species: the silent and the dead.

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#8 2007-01-08 20:30:49

Number04
Member
From: Calgary Alberta Canada
Registered: 2002-09-24
Posts: 162

Re: Why is the Universe silent?

Another possibility is that we can't understand what's being send nor do we know what to look for.

Here is what i mean.

I remember hearing about this theory about communication. We as a race use vocalisation at a certain frequency. What if this alien race communicated by changing the colour of their skin. This is completely different from how we communicate and we may not even know what we are looking at.

Maybe they are using some sort of Inter-Dimensional broadcast... or maybe they hate us.

link action
http://www.thestar.co.za/index.php?fArticleId=3616600

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#9 2007-01-08 23:37:18

John Creighton
Member
From: Nova Scotia, Canada
Registered: 2001-09-04
Posts: 2,401
Website

Re: Why is the Universe silent?

Another possibility is that we can't understand what's being send nor do we know what to look for.

Here is what i mean.

I remember hearing about this theory about communication. We as a race use vocalisation at a certain frequency. What if this alien race communicated by changing the colour of their skin. This is completely different from how we communicate and we may not even know what we are looking at.

Maybe they are using some sort of Inter-Dimensional broadcast... or maybe they hate us.

link action
http://www.thestar.co.za/index.php?fArticleId=3616600

Translation is secondary. First we have to find a signal. We can recognize signals because they follow well defined patterns. For instance frequency and amplitude modulated signals have a distinct carrier frequency. For the signal to be intelligible the signal should be well above the background noise.

Thus a frequency band should be chosen that is not generally produced by natural processes and is not easily absorbed while traveling though space. Alien races will probably not use amplitude or frequency modulated signals since they are more susceptible to noise. More likely they will use a spread band signal as I discuss in the following threads:

http://www.newmars.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=5165
http://www.newmars.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=5160

They will probably also use an error correction scheme that can correct for dispersion.

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#10 2007-03-17 15:21:15

Tholzel
Member
From: Boston
Registered: 2004-03-20
Posts: 56

Re: Why is the Universe silent?

I've been reading Sagan's Cosmos recently and wondering about this question. Actually, there are some hypotheses:

1. Civilisations developing technology (radiostelescopes) also invent ways of destroying themselves (nucelar bombs). They destroy themselves so often, that the number of civilisations co-existing within our galaxy at a given time is about 10. (from Sagan's book)

2. Civilistations concentrate on listening instead of broadcasting due to limited resources/funds. Nobody talks, everybody just listen. (a Polish book)

3. Civilisations capable of detecting Earthlings are very advanced. They are aware of our existence but they do not want to interfere and prefer to observe. (Sagan's book).

4. We are living at the border of a region in space that has been recently cleansed of all life by a violent supernova. Eartlings were too far but other life in the vincinity was destroyed (my humble assumption).

5. There are colonisers gradually proceeding from one system to another but they have not reached us yet - life is common but intelligent life is quite scarce (Sagan's book).

What do YOU think? Which option is most likely and why? Or maybe some other option not mentioned here?

To get the best answer to your question, read "Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is Rare in the Universe"--a sensational work, one of the most excting books I've read in the past 20 years.   At Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Rare-Earth-Comple … 367&sr=8-3

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#11 2007-03-31 07:10:33

nickname
Member
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: 2006-05-15
Posts: 354

Re: Why is the Universe silent?

Or then number of earth like places that have the 40 or so crutial items for inteligent life to evolve are very very rare.

Land water mix.
Van allen belt.
Magnetic field of host planet.
Correct contents of atmosphere.
Correct size.
Large moon in stable orbit.
Quiet host star.
Circular orbits of all planets in system.
Few asteroid collisions.
No near supernovas.
A few billion years for the soup to mix.
Lifespan of a tech society.
etc etc etc.


We might be it in all the universe, or at best 1 of a very few in our galaxy if our system setup is looked at in detail.

The universe will have lots of algae/bacteria planets, but few places like ours.

We are very lucky to be earthlings. smile


Science facts are only as good as knowledge.
Knowledge is only as good as the facts.
New knowledge is only as good as the ones that don't respect the first two.

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#12 2007-03-31 17:13:07

C M Edwards
Member
From: Lake Charles LA USA
Registered: 2002-04-29
Posts: 1,011

Re: Why is the Universe silent?

Or then number of earth like places that have the 40 or so crutial items for inteligent life to evolve are very very rare.

Land water mix.
Van allen belt.
Magnetic field of host planet.
Correct contents of atmosphere.
Correct size.
Large moon in stable orbit.
Quiet host star.
Circular orbits of all planets in system.
Few asteroid collisions.
No near supernovas.
A few billion years for the soup to mix.
Lifespan of a tech society.
etc etc etc.


We might be it in all the universe, or at best 1 of a very few in our galaxy if our system setup is looked at in detail.

The universe will have lots of algae/bacteria planets, but few places like ours.

We are very lucky to be earthlings. smile

We can expect the number of independent origins of intelligent species to be relatively rare, but "rare" is a relative term when you have 100 billion candidates  to choose from.  Given the combined uncertainties of every term in the Drake Equation (which summarizes all the factors nickname listed), there could be anywhere up to 1000 different intelligent species in our galaxy and still remain comfortably within the very conservative range of values suggested in Ward's "Rare Earth".  I think a half dozen spacefaring civilizations is still a perfectly reasonable estimate even given the validity of the "Rare Earth" hypothesis.


"We go big, or we don't go."  - GCNRevenger

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#13 2007-03-31 18:30:38

noosfractal
Member
From: Biosphere 1
Registered: 2005-10-04
Posts: 824
Website

Re: Why is the Universe silent?

Wikipedia has an excellent article detailing lots of possibilities ...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermi_Paradox

I also think that Landis' article applying insights from Percolation Theory is worth a read by itself ...

http://www.sff.net/people/Geoffrey.Land … lation.htp


Fan of Red Oasis

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#14 2007-04-01 07:12:47

nickname
Member
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: 2006-05-15
Posts: 354

Re: Why is the Universe silent?

C M Edwards,

I agree that intelligent life will be pretty rare.
Technological intelligent life might never go beyond stone arrowheads on most of those worlds.

Earth is such a unusual place, not many worlds will be able to stay in a safe temperature zone for life for billions of years, as the host sun warms like ours has and is.

A couple other things i wonder about the drake equation.

Animal life? normal or very rare? took a few billion years to start here.
Permanent giant animal life, like on earth, without extinction event they would still be here and we would not.


I believe as you that a scattering of intelligent tech societies exist in each galaxy, but maybe radio communications are for dummies.
They neither send or listen to such primitive methods. and have no interest in primitives.

We are in an unlucky galaxy that has only us as the tech society, we will eventually hear a radio signal,  the closest tech society in Andromeda has just started sending TV signals, we will have to wait a million years to see them.
999 thousand years before they arrive we stop listening to such primitive communications.:)


It's interesting to think that we might be the one freak experiment in all the universe that everything was just right.

I myself doubt we are alone as a tech society in the universe, but the neighbors might be very distant neighbors indeed.


Science facts are only as good as knowledge.
Knowledge is only as good as the facts.
New knowledge is only as good as the ones that don't respect the first two.

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#15 2007-04-03 12:08:54

C M Edwards
Member
From: Lake Charles LA USA
Registered: 2002-04-29
Posts: 1,011

Re: Why is the Universe silent?

I believe as you that a scattering of intelligent tech societies exist in each galaxy, but maybe radio communications are for dummies.
They neither send or listen to such primitive methods. and have no interest in primitives.

We are in an unlucky galaxy that has only us as the tech society, we will eventually hear a radio signal,  the closest tech society in Andromeda has just started sending TV signals, we will have to wait a million years to see them.
999 thousand years before they arrive we stop listening to such primitive communications.:)

The Wikipedia article that noosfractal cited does mention one other explanation for the Fermi Paradox that is consistent with this idea: Maybe They Haven't Had Time to Contact Us Yet. 

Radio emissions from Earth fill a volume of space less than 200 light years in diameter.  This is only about one 200-millionth of our galaxy's volume, and includes less than 1 billionth of the stars in our galaxy.  The odds of us having been randomly detected by another civilization using a SETI-style search pattern identical to our own are astronomically small, regardless of their state of technological development. 

Just having the ability to receive radio does not increase the odds of contact by itself.  To have contacted another civilization by this time using only radio to communicate, we would have to be within 50 light years of them or their artifacts to have gotten any response, which makes the odds even worse.  Even to eavesdrop on a civilization 1000 light years away, the odds of randomly finding one in range are still quite low.

Sagan's model and others predict that there is a high likelihood of an alien civilization actually being within range.  But they don't actually change that range.

Sagan's model does in fact imply that radio is for dummies.  The more advanced civilization - the one that can send its artifacts out to within range of other civilizations, covering more ground than a passive search - is always more likely to make contact.


"We go big, or we don't go."  - GCNRevenger

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#16 2007-04-03 18:05:11

nickname
Member
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: 2006-05-15
Posts: 354

Re: Why is the Universe silent?

C M Edwards,

I agree many reasons for not finding a signal from a tech society even semi near us.

Even a society 100 ly away from us won't detect us, or a society 50 ly that pointed to our star before we started sending radio and has dismissed our star 100 years ago.
Another interesting idea is what if a society in our radio bubble puts up its first radio detector? they are sure to dismiss our signals as natural noise as they are persistent.

If other tech societies search in a similar way as us with all the limited activity they could easily miss us for a few hundred years even if they were close.

As you say, maybe they are 50 light years away and have been watching HBO for 4 years, they have already sent a reply that will take another 46 years to arrive.
They will probably ask what's with the scrambling? smile

Or a vast network of tech societies already exist, they don't make any contact until we either threaten them with a visit or contact them on the same equipment they all use.
All the tech societies advanced enough to alter time/space and travel to any destination at will all agree to allow each primitive society to be in the cradle as long as they want, no interfering.
The entrance exam to join being either.

Just a few more thoughts on the same theme smile


Science facts are only as good as knowledge.
Knowledge is only as good as the facts.
New knowledge is only as good as the ones that don't respect the first two.

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#17 2007-04-22 13:55:52

Austin Stanley
Member
From: Texarkana, TX
Registered: 2002-03-18
Posts: 519
Website

Re: Why is the Universe silent?

My problem with the Drake equation is that far to many of the variables are guesswork for us to arrive at a reliable conclusion.  While we have a good idea of how many stars there are in our universe/galaxy and a good idea how many of these stars of the appropriate type (F,G, and K so far as we know), we have only poor ideas what the value for any of the rest of the variables are.  As we have only our own solar system, planet, and history of life on Earth to use as an example.  One example makes for poor statistics.

In particular, we cannot be sure how common Earth like planets are, as we have only one example.  We cannot be sure how common life is to arise on these planets is as we have only one example, and we cannot even state conclusively that life did arise on Earth.  We have yet to prove that abiogenesis can occur or if it did so on Earth.  For all we know right now life on Earth may be the product of divine intervention or transplantation from another source.

We do not have good estimations on the likely hood of simple uni-cellular life evolving into complex multi-cellular life.  On Earth this took several billion years!  But again, one example is poor evidence.  The odds of multicellular life developing into complex intelligent life are again, unknown, though it seems to have been a very rare adaptation here on Earth (only 1 species seems to have developed it, and it took many millions of years).  We don't know how common it is for intelligent life to develop the means to communicate via-radio waves (it took us a hundred thousand years or so to get to this point).  Interstellar travel still lies beyond us, if we ever archive it (which we don't know), nor do we have any idea how long our civilization will last.

With so many unknown is the variables, the whole equation seems rather silly to me.  If your guess for the variables can give answers totaling anywhere from millions to 1, than the equation seems rather pointless to me.


He who refuses to do arithmetic is doomed to talk nonsense.

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#18 2007-04-23 06:46:28

nickname
Member
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: 2006-05-15
Posts: 354

Re: Why is the Universe silent?

Austin Stanley

I agree that the drake equation is a little like trying to guess a persons age within 1 hour from the moon with no telescope.
Very difficult to get an accurate guess.

I think Mars will be a pretty good sign post for how adaptable life is in the universe.

If we get to Mars and discover it had microbial life at some point in its history, we can take a pretty good guess that form of life is pretty abundant everywhere it is possible in the universe.

Going from bacteria to animal life takes a long time to cook that recipe and i think it requires the moon a stable star and lots of other oddities.
Animal or similar life will be pretty scattered about the planets that can have life.
Probably a few freak accidents to make animal life so we can be pretty certain it isn't a straight forward process.
Then again earth might just be a slow learning curve planet and most others only take a few million years to obtain animal cells.

Intelligent life, in my opinion very very rare.
You need land and water in a good mix, steady volcanic activity but not to much, natural radiation shields that last for the life of a small planet, few impactors in billions of years etc etc etc.
Any other  large life form that dominates a planet like the dinosaurs will stop the creation of an intelligent life form.
Big brains on small creatures vs huge beasts isn't a contest.

My random guess would be one or two intelligent societies per galaxy.
And 1 or 2 on the way towards inteligence.
100 or 200 million planets with animal like life in the sea or sea and land.
1 billion bacteria/algae worlds.

Drake loved to do his calculation on just earth like planets so it was very limiting.

If we expect Saturn sized planets to be in the life zone of stars with say 20 moons orbiting it.
We might discover that instead of maybe 100 billion potential places for life in the universe, including those moons allows for a trillion places for life in each galaxy.

Maybe when we can really see planets orbiting other stars we can have an educated guess, but until they launch the space telescopes big enough to see them its all guess work.


Science facts are only as good as knowledge.
Knowledge is only as good as the facts.
New knowledge is only as good as the ones that don't respect the first two.

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#19 2007-10-17 12:49:25

Tom Kalbfus
Banned
Registered: 2006-08-16
Posts: 4,401

Re: Why is the Universe silent?

My problem with the Drake equation is that far to many of the variables are guesswork for us to arrive at a reliable conclusion.  While we have a good idea of how many stars there are in our universe/galaxy and a good idea how many of these stars of the appropriate type (F,G, and K so far as we know), we have only poor ideas what the value for any of the rest of the variables are.  As we have only our own solar system, planet, and history of life on Earth to use as an example.  One example makes for poor statistics.

In particular, we cannot be sure how common Earth like planets are, as we have only one example.  We cannot be sure how common life is to arise on these planets is as we have only one example, and we cannot even state conclusively that life did arise on Earth.  We have yet to prove that abiogenesis can occur or if it did so on Earth.  For all we know right now life on Earth may be the product of divine intervention or transplantation from another source.

We do not have good estimations on the likely hood of simple uni-cellular life evolving into complex multi-cellular life.  On Earth this took several billion years!  But again, one example is poor evidence.  The odds of multicellular life developing into complex intelligent life are again, unknown, though it seems to have been a very rare adaptation here on Earth (only 1 species seems to have developed it, and it took many millions of years).  We don't know how common it is for intelligent life to develop the means to communicate via-radio waves (it took us a hundred thousand years or so to get to this point).  Interstellar travel still lies beyond us, if we ever archive it (which we don't know), nor do we have any idea how long our civilization will last.

With so many unknown is the variables, the whole equation seems rather silly to me.  If your guess for the variables can give answers totaling anywhere from millions to 1, than the equation seems rather pointless to me.

It seems that if there was just one intelligent species, with would quickly fill the galaxy in less than one million years. The Universe is 15 billion years old, so if we encountered any intelligent species, they wouyld likely  have colonized millions of system and be many millions of years more advanced that we are, and they would have built themselves better bodies than the organic bodies our current intelligence is housed in. It seems that a sufficiently advanced intelligence can creature virtual realities and simulations that so closely model the real universe that any participants in them would be unable to tell the difference.

It seems unlikely that we are the very first technological civilization, there was billions of years prior to us for other intelligent species to have evolved and multiplied, the fact that we haven't detected their signals or any other signs of extraterrestrial intelligence seems wildly improbable. Even worse, if any prior civilization had colonized our galaxy before, we should have found ample evidence of it on our own moon, since an Earthlike planet such as our Earth would have attracted their attention and the Moon would have preserved evidence of their visits unless the aliens deliberately tried to hide.

I think the best way for aliens to hide would be for them to simulate us on a computer, our whole world in every detail that is important to us could be simulated on a computer, a whole past could be simulated also in the fossil records. The stars we see in the sky could be simulations also, the computer would keep just enough information on them so as to convince us that they are real, but one thing that would be left out of the simulation would be other alien civilizations. The purpose being so that our own civilization can develop freely and independent of alien influences. I find it very suspicious that our Universe is so vast, yet the only evidence of intelligence in it is ourselves. We find that life is very adaptable and is found in many otherwise inhospitable habitats. It maybe that the real universe was colonized a long time ago, and its entire resources devoted to a vast universe-wide computer. Other aliens probably uploaded their intellignce a long time ago, and exist only as compuer programs in a self-replicateing ever expanding computer that constructs Dyson shells around each star that it finds, but we see none of this because we don't live in the real universe, instead we live in a simulated one with a cosmos that is unaltered by alien civilizations, and that is because that is what the alien civilizations want us to see. All it takes is one alien civilization, others can't intrude because they don't have access to our file, and the only thing that is really simulated in any detail is our Earth and wherever simulated humans happen to be, such as the Space Station. Not every atom or molecule is simulated either, only in those places where we actually look with powerful instruments do we detect those particles, elsewhere they are just approximated. This is kind of a Computational Observer effect. The program were in makes sure that everything we see is consistent with a natural universe, it knows our thoughts since it simulates those also, and if it makes a mistake and some human discovers some inconsistency, it just runs the program backwards for a bit, removes the inconsistancy and then runs the program forward again, making sure that no one gets supsicious.

I think at some point we may be contacted by some aliens, but those aliens would come from some surprising places, such as another simulation of another Universe. If one can get the "cheat codes" one might be able to move from one simulated universe to another. This would bring back into question whether theur is in fact some sort of "God", maybe its a master program of some sort making sure some alien civilizations don't impede upon others until they are ready.

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#20 2007-10-17 13:32:52

Tom Kalbfus
Banned
Registered: 2006-08-16
Posts: 4,401

Re: Why is the Universe silent?

It may also be that larger sections of the Universe are being simulated, and might even be intelligently organized and stratified so that civilizations of similar level of technological development exist within the same simulation that is hundreds of light years across. When a world moves from one level of technological development to another, the "Master Program" makes a decision, and may port the entire world to another simulation with similar sibling civilizations so more advanced civilizations don't conquer and subjugate the lesser advanced intelligent species.

You know, I just thought of a really great plot for a novel. Suppose in the near future, we start a colony on Mars, and the "Master Program" suddenly makes a decision to port "Earth" to another simulated Universe with more advanced species in it, in other words we graduated to a higher level, and what if that same "Master Program" decides to reset the "Earth Simulation back at the Dawn of human civilization, but a computer glitch causes that "Master Program" to forget to port the human Martian colonists, or maybe it deliberately decides not to do so for entertainment purposes. So from the point of view of lets say, 20 Martian colonists, the Earth suddenly goes silent. They try contacting it, but their is not reply, their are no satellites in orbit except for our natural Moon, their are no cities etc, but the Martians do possess the means of returning to Earth and eventually they have no choice and must return to Earth as their supplies are running out, and the base is not 100% self-supporting, so they just close it down and get into their Earth Return Vehicles and head to Earth. The Earth has humans on it that have just discovered writing, have built their first cities, began agriculture and trade. So what do you think happens when the 20 humans return to this Earth?

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#21 2007-10-26 10:31:58

Terraformer
Member
From: Lancashire
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,227
Website

Re: Why is the Universe silent?

The amount of variables for a planet on which intelligent life can exist are huge, including just the right amount of material in it's star, the size of the star, etc: on a galactic scale the system has to be in just the right orbit. The galaxy has to be the right shape. The age of the universe has to be right as well, to allow enough elements to have accumalated in the right place, etc, ec. I could go on but I'd get bored. There could be other intelligent species, but probably only one per ten galaxies. They'd only be slightly more or less advanced than us, more likely less.

Has anyone considered the possiblity that the purpose of humanity is to seed life and improve it all around the Universe. We might me meant to give other civilizations a helping hand, if the anthropologists don't stop us like they try to stop us helping primitive people. Sure, we don't get any help starting out, but we'd always be more advanced than anyone else. Has anyone played the X games? Our purpose may be that of the ancient ones, to make jumpgates and give all the lesser races a helping hand(s).
We would be like gods to them. If you believe in what the bible says, it could be what was meant by 'developing into his likeness.'


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#22 2007-10-26 11:51:50

Tom Kalbfus
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Registered: 2006-08-16
Posts: 4,401

Re: Why is the Universe silent?

The amount of variables for a planet on which intelligent life can exist are huge, including just the right amount of material in it's star, the size of the star, etc: on a galactic scale the system has to be in just the right orbit. The galaxy has to be the right shape. The age of the universe has to be right as well, to allow enough elements to have accumalated in the right place, etc, ec. I could go on but I'd get bored. There could be other intelligent species, but probably only one per ten galaxies. They'd only be slightly more or less advanced than us, more likely less.

Has anyone considered the possiblity that the purpose of humanity is to seed life and improve it all around the Universe. We might me meant to give other civilizations a helping hand, if the anthropologists don't stop us like they try to stop us helping primitive people. Sure, we don't get any help starting out, but we'd always be more advanced than anyone else. Has anyone played the X games? Our purpose may be that of the ancient ones, to make jumpgates and give all the lesser races a helping hand(s).
We would be like gods to them. If you believe in what the bible says, it could be what was meant by 'developing into his likeness.'

You may be right Terraformer, but doesn't this just make it more likely that we are living in a computer simulation created by some elder civilization that went before us?

The possibilities are:
1) We are the first or very close to the very first civilization in the Universe spreading life to the stars.
or
2) This has already happened and we are living in a very accurate computer simulation of the very first civilization to spread out to the stars.

If it is the second, then I have some possibly good news. We might not be the only simulation thats running in this vast universal computer, there may be other such simulations as well, and those other simulations might also have humans in them. You have to consider that computers and simulations aren't build for no reason. If we are mere simulations their must be a creator or author of the program and he must have had a purpose for creating these simulations. If it is allowed by the software that is running us, it may someday be possible for ourselves to hack into the underlying software of this simulation and transfer ourselves to other simulations simulating other worlds. These worlds may have other humans living on them thinking they are the only civilization in the Universe or they may be populated by a completely alien species. If we are looking in the heavens for extraterrestrial civilizations, we may be looking in the wrong direction.

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#23 2007-10-26 12:12:47

Tom Kalbfus
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Registered: 2006-08-16
Posts: 4,401

Re: Why is the Universe silent?

Consider this as an exercise in imagination supposing my simulation hypothesis is correct. What if there is another simulation of an Earth with evolved humans on it. This other simulation shares much in common with our own except this simulation centers on an "Earth" that orbits Alpha Centauri A, a G2 V class star thats similar to but slightly brighter than our Sun. All the properties of the Alpha Centauri system that we know about hold true in the simulation, all the stars in their night sky are in the correct position as we would view them from that star including our own Sol, but the Centaurians that listen to our Sun through their radio telescopes hear nothing but static, they wonder why their Universe seems so empty and whether they could actually be the very first technological civilization to spread life to the Universe. Of course living in a binary system, certain aspects of the Centaurian life would be different from our own. For example their calendar would be different. Their Earth may have 24 hour days, but that second Sun Alpha Centauri B would certainly figure promenently in their ancient history and mythology. The could drive around in cars just like we do, enjoy a nice sunny day, and ask questions about astronomy and the existance of life in the Universe, and all the while completely clueless that they aren't real and are in fact just a computer simulation. This possibility has tremendous science fiction potential, don't you think?

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#24 2008-04-12 10:18:27

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,652

Re: Why is the Universe silent?

My comments below:


1. Civilisations developing technology (radiostelescopes) also invent ways of destroying themselves (nucelar bombs). They destroy themselves so often, that the number of civilisations co-existing within our galaxy at a given time is about 10. (from Sagan's book)

COMMENT: Possible. But seems a bit unlikely. Whilst no power has succeeded in dominating the whole of civilisation many have come close: Roman Empire, Chinese Empire, Islam, British Empire, Soviets and USA.
Were the continents arranged in a different manner then it seems likely to me that on power would succeed in getting control and then hang on to it.
Or, alternatively, since I cannot think of one example of a democracy fighting a war against another democracy, the whole planet might become the preserve of peace loving democracies. I feel there should be many more examples of those sorts of planets where nuclear war will never lead to destruction.


2. Civilistations concentrate on listening instead of broadcasting due to limited resources/funds. Nobody talks, everybody just listen. (a Polish book)

COMMENT: No. Pathetic.

3. Civilisations capable of detecting Earthlings are very advanced. They are aware of our existence but they do not want to interfere and prefer to observe. (Sagan's book).

COMMENT: Yes, that seems reasonable. Advanced industrial societies do now take that sort of approach with primitive tribes in the rain forest.

4. We are living at the border of a region in space that has been recently cleansed of all life by a violent supernova. Eartlings were too far but other life in the vicinity was destroyed (my humble assumption).

COMMENT: Possible I guess - but would that stop messages coming from billions of light years away.

5. There are colonisers gradually proceeding from one system to another but they have not reached us yet - life is common but intelligent life is quite scarce (Sagan's book).

COMMENT: The possibility that intelligent life is rare does seem possible to me. It may require a whole series of accidents of evolution.

ANOTHER POSSIBILITY: All advanced civilisations will, by definition, be science based. However, we can see on earth how difficult it is to control the development of science. If there are dangerous experiments out there about which we know little, e.g. black hole experiments, then that might be an explanation for the collapse of intelligent life on planets. However, surely the radio messages woudl continue to pump through the cosmos even where these societies go under.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#25 2008-04-12 14:10:13

Terraformer
Member
From: Lancashire
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,227
Website

Re: Why is the Universe silent?

A planet just a tiny bit more massive than the Earth would become an ocean world, making it impossible for intelligent life to arise, or at the very least life that can develop technologically (hands would be a disadvantage. A big disadvantage.)

The universe must reach a certain age before it can support life, let alone intelligent life. The corect amount of metals and heavy elements have to exist.

Just like the Sun has a Habitable Zone, so does the galaxy. Closer in and any planet would be scoured by GRBs, further out and there isn't enough elements.

Assuming evolution is correct, how did it take humans to evolve from single celled organisms? And then how long to the Technological Revolution? Other civilisations are either behind us or in front of us. Another case of the 'Short Window Of Oppertunity' argument.

If you believe in God, other civilisations could have already been raptured, or alternitively Humanity is a testbed. I don't go for the latter, as They (feels weird refering to God as Plural, but it's true) had Angels for a testbed. They could be using Humanity as a learning curve.

'Angels' could be a civilisation that has already reached the Acension Point, where they become beings of pure energy. (Great title for a book, isn;'t it. 'Acension Point'.)

Maybe Humans are supposed to spread life and technology to the universe. That is one possiblity, one that I like, as it gives me something to do over the next billion years.

As an end note, I really detest Anphropologists who keep 'Primitives' in the dark. I say we give them technology, but in a controlled way, and introduce them to Democracy. Then, if they don't like it, they can go back to living as pimitives, as long as they allow people born into their culture to experience the Blessings of Technology. I feel strongly about that. Cults that deprive children, who have no say in the matter, access to modern technology. That should be a crime punishable by, by, by, death's to good, by, ah, I know, by Exile.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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