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#26 2003-02-10 09:35:13

Josh Cryer
Moderator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: Solution to Fermi's paradox? - an idea

[color=#000000:post_uid0]soph, what ‘obvious point’? Are you denying the fact that people have built personal jets before? C'mon, don't be stupid. People reinvent stuff all the time. One must note, though, that you don't need an ‘exact replica,’ AMDs computer chips are not exact replicas of Intels, yet they can do many of the same instructions!

Your analogy is broken, and very shortsighted.


Shaun, I think, well, dicktices' argument may work if we just talk about the Milky Way Galaxy (our galaxy), but when you consider all the stars in the universe, it becomes quite, well... hard to believe.

We know that planets aren't a rare phenomena, so all we have to do is figure out how many stars in a given region have planets in the Goldilocks orbit, about where Earth is. Then we have to count how many Sol class stars are in the same orbit around other galaxies as our star is. Then we'd be left with hundreds of quadrillion stars, all potential Earth givers.

Just because statistics aren't completely correct, doesn't mean we can't have a 99% confidence level. Right now, of course, I'd say any statistics related to intelligent life in the universe aren't really there yet; we have maybe a 40% confidence level, since we have so many unknowns, but once we build some major telescopes, thousands of miles wide or whatever, out at the edge of the solar system, we'll be able to have a very accurate statistic.

Hopefully FTL is possible, though. It's quite possibly the worst barrier in the universe.[/color:post_uid0]


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#27 2003-02-10 10:15:08

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,278

Re: Solution to Fermi's paradox? - an idea

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Good points all around,

Let *assume* that we are a typical product of evolution. Let us also *assume* that the law of probability for the universe to create an intelligent species is greater than 1, so we can *assume* that there is at least one other intelligent species (or more out there). Let us also *assume* that this other species more than likely developed before us.

So where are they? After all, that is the crux of Fermi's paradox. In all the billions of years since creation, why isn't this species bumping elbows with themselves and us?

My point of view is leadiong me to suspect that the reason is that they do NOT expand as Fermi's aradox assumes. in Fermi's paradox he extrapolates that any sentient species that do exsist (based on whatever positive sum you get fromt he Drake equation) would fill the universe in several million years. He figured this based on space travel times that are restricted by our physics- so no FTL.

So why the silence?

Either there are no aliens, which is completely plausible, yet not what we are exploring here, or there are.

The question is, if we assume there ARE aliens, where are they?

So, put on the imagineering hat.

Imagine we have the ability to cross interstellar space to colonize other worlds. Somehow, someway.

We have this ability to place a considerable amount of mass into space and fling it across the vastness of the universe to somewhere else.

If we have THAT ability, wouldn't we by association have the abuility to live in space? Wouldn't we be able to extract the resources of the entire solar system? Wouldn't we be able to harness the power of suns directly?

Wouldn't we expect our biological sciences to be at such a point where we can repair cellular damage from radiation or decay? This neccessarily leads to longer life spans. thus my view on immortality.

If we live forever, what place do children have? Sure, there is a biological component, but how long will this last? It used to be a biological component to club a woman and drag her back to a cave, and I think a great deal of humanity has progressed (a bit) beyond this.

What happens in another thousand years when reproduction is made trivial?

When we talk of expanding across the cosmos, why do we think it is a good idea? What is the driving force behind us thinking that this is an imperitive?

Invariably, the argument is centered around the continuation of the species- yet why is this important? Becuase our species is short lived. Becuase reproduction is the only means our cells can continue to exsist. Yet if this is no longer true, can we still expect that the drive which has pushed us for so long will still continue? Or that we will not consiously decide to "give it up"?

The whole notion that an alien species would spend the energy required to come here, to try and kill us, or take away our resources is a bit silly- it's like being in a candy store and going out of your way to take a single lollypop from a child in the corner of the store. Not really worth the effort.[/color:post_uid0]

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#28 2003-02-10 12:08:46

Bill White
Member
Registered: 2001-09-09
Posts: 2,114

Re: Solution to Fermi's paradox? - an idea

[color=#000000:post_uid0]clark writes:

Wouldn't we expect our biological sciences to be at such a point where we can repair cellular damage from radiation or decay? This neccessarily leads to longer life spans. thus my view on immortality.

If we live forever, what place do children have? Sure, there is a biological component, but how long will this last? It used to be a biological component to club a woman and drag her back to a cave, and I think a great deal of humanity has progressed (a bit) beyond this.

What happens in another thousand years when reproduction is made trivial?[/quote:post_uid0]

*IF* the individuals of a species become essentially immortal *THEN* these issues do come into play. However, extending our meager 70 or 80 years even to 700 or 800 does not alter the need for children but rather stretches it out quite considerably.

I agree that medical advancements and the expectation that most children will survive and grow to adulthood (in the West) does lower the birthrate. No need to have 12 children with the hope that 6 survive to adulthood. Yet that does not eliminate the desire for children

The prospect that everyone will live for many, many thousands of years is indeed an "event horizon" in future speculation - it is very difficult to see past that point.

When we talk of expanding across the cosmos, why do we think it is a good idea? What is the driving force behind us thinking that this is an imperitive?

Invariably, the argument is centered around the continuation of the species- yet why is this important? Becuase our species is short lived. Becuase reproduction is the only means our cells can continue to exsist. Yet if this is no longer true, can we still expect that the drive which has pushed us for so long will still continue? Or that we will not consiously decide to "give it up"?[/quote:post_uid0]

More people can also mean different people.

Each person is a mixture of genetic endowment and education, nature + nurture. A person living for thousands of years may have seemingly limitless time for self education but that person cannot as easily un-learn what has already been learned.

A new child raised and educated by a long lived species has a unique potential to become a rare and unique individual, perhaps with artistic or scientific abilities or insights that would otherwise be missing from the population.

Only if we conclude we know all there is to know and have experienced all there is to experience and shared all there is to share will we reach this point. Still, when my own children discover something new - to them - something that I now take for granted in my middle age, they react to their discovery in a different way than I do (or did many years ago) and if I am attentive I can learn even more from their discovery.

If such medical advances occur, the decision to have a child will be a grave and rare event, however the opportunity to mix DNA in a new and still untested ways and then educate that child better than any child has been educated before will always offer a species new pathways to follow.

The whole notion that an alien species would spend the energy required to come here, to try and kill us, or take away our resources is a bit silly- it's like being in a candy store and going out of your way to take a single lollypop from a child in the corner of the store. Not really worth the effort.[/quote:post_uid0]

That silly Will Smith movie - Independence Day - seriously annoyed me for similiar reasons (even though some bits were rather funny).

A war mongering race could be plausible *IF* it were truly xenophobic and the existence of other species annoyed it for any number of irrational reasons. Such a species would come fairly close to the traditional definition of "evil"

Even if such evil is deemed irrational, given the vast size of space we cannot rule ot this possibility. On the other hand, a "good" species would probably (IMHO) desire to share what it has learned and learn from the unique perspectives of others.

No growth through boredom? I see it is possible but if there are billions and billions of species "out there" I cannot believe this happens to ALL of them.[/color:post_uid0]

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#29 2003-02-10 12:29:46

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,278

Re: Solution to Fermi's paradox? - an idea

[color=#000000:post_uid0]

No growth through boredom? I see it is possible but if there are billions and billions of species "out there" I cannot believe this happens to ALL of them.[/quote:post_uid0]

Yet if we accept evolution, then it may very well be the case.

Evolution favors the species that can compete the best, measured through reproduction. Now, if we accept that a species is capable of interstellar flight, then we can safely asume that this species is capable of extracting all the resources of their solar system, or other solar systems. We can assume that they would have some sort of control over their biological exsistence- something we have sought to do since the inception of science.

Look to what dreamers dream of genetics and nanotechnology.

every member of the species would be long lived. Would have all the energy it needed; food, air, all provided. Such a species would more than likely have a great deal of their "work" automated. Mechanical slaves without the issue of morality and ethics.

I more than accept the postive association and results of having children. However, why do we feel this way? Evolutionary theory would simply say this "feeling" is a biological drive to further the continuation of the species. Yet another instinct. Yet another aspect of our environment shaping us.

So, if our species was long lived, on the order of as long as we as individuals wanted, what reason would there be to "spread" throughout the universe?

Why inhabit every planet in the universe? why commence like lemmings, directed by some ancient biological imperitive?

Think of fight or flight response. We have a flight response to many dangers- yet we can supress this response- this instinct when we must. Why? Becuase we choose not to let our instincts drive us.

Again, back to Fermi's paradox: there should be some sign of some other species, but there isn't. So if they are there, why aren't they?

I am suggesting the simpel solution is that they are there, but don't act as we are predicting.

So why wouldn't they be acting as we are predicting?

Yes, many reasons, but this seems to me to be the most valid.

Hiding? From what? Why? If you are capable of interstellar flight, than you have the capability to send a projectile near the speed of light. Foom. Enemy dead as a small particle is acclerated at the speed of light into their planet.

Perpahs any species advanced enough simply breaks down into individuals on personal journeys of exploration through space.

If we hold that sentient life is the end all be all of life, than personal experience of said sentient life is the most precious thing.

No teeming civilizations. Just the cosmos littered with the individuals of creation.

Josh, i believe this is the realization of anarchy in meaningful form.

no laws, just enough space to make everyone who does exsist, comfortable and secure.[/color:post_uid0]

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#30 2003-02-10 13:48:14

soph
Member
Registered: 2002-11-24
Posts: 1,492

Re: Solution to Fermi's paradox? - an idea

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Josh, if you can't see the analogy, then I think it's better to leave it alone.  It's quite apparent, and I can see that you'll find a way to avoid it no matter what.[/color:post_uid0]

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#31 2003-02-10 13:51:57

Josh Cryer
Moderator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: Solution to Fermi's paradox? - an idea

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Hmm, the analogy you made was sufficiently debunked, so I agree, for your sake, it's best that you leave it alone.[/color:post_uid0]


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#32 2003-02-10 13:57:57

Josh Cryer
Moderator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: Solution to Fermi's paradox? - an idea

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Clark, I've had quite a few discussions with people about anarchy, and I think it was concluded that were it to be realized, there would definitely be civilizations. I don't think anyone can interpret anyone elses motivations, especially when it comes to other species.

If we were to be immortal, life would be quite boring, if we didn't go out into the cosmos. The prospect reminds me of those episodes of Star Trek where Q had seen anything and everything and wanted to die. No, I expect, once the inital undertanding phase of a society is over, the part where you build stuff to know about particles, where you send probes out and so on; once that phase is over, the only phase left is the exploration phase.

The building new lives and extending new cultural ideas. It's hard for me to imagine that a higher society wouldn't do this. Especially on the presumption that once you're immortal you have no reason to spread your species. If anything, I would argue that immortality would make the desire more so, since you'd have developed so far as a species that that would be the only thing left for you to do![/color:post_uid0]


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#33 2003-02-10 14:12:56

soph
Member
Registered: 2002-11-24
Posts: 1,492

Re: Solution to Fermi's paradox? - an idea

[color=#000000:post_uid0]No, you just couldn't see the forest for the forest, you decided to look at the trees.  After having talked to a couple of people from the forum, I'm fairly certain that they felt that my analogy was perfectly solid  cool[/color:post_uid0]

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#34 2003-02-10 14:29:51

Josh Cryer
Moderator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: Solution to Fermi's paradox? - an idea

[color=#000000:post_uid0]The analogy that certain people can somehow magically build things other people can't build? I explained to you how that was complete non-sense, and you failed to refute what I said. It's simple, really.[/color:post_uid0]


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#35 2003-02-10 14:38:28

soph
Member
Registered: 2002-11-24
Posts: 1,492

Re: Solution to Fermi's paradox? - an idea

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Magical?  No, it's called expertise.  And creativity.  I can look at a website, but that doesn't mean I can copy the code without knowing how to code!  It's fairly simple, actually.  Without the knowledge of solar collection, I can't just look at a solar power plant and build it!

And your Ford idea doesn't work-the plans were already out there.  If something is distributed, you can take it apart.  Not if only one person has it!  Let's say he enclosed it in an aluminum sheath and you can't see inside at the parts.  Without the knowledge of solar amplification, you can't copy it, period.[/color:post_uid0]

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#36 2003-02-10 14:54:00

Josh Cryer
Moderator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: Solution to Fermi's paradox? - an idea

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Yes, you could keep it in a black box, and so on, so that no one could ever even know about it! But guess what? Through the magic of human ingenuity, someone else will probably discover the same processes it uses! That simple, really.

What's pathetic, is that you would even [i:post_uid0]want[/i:post_uid0] to not share the information. Sure, it's your right, I suppose (even though information, by nature, wants to be free), but it's really stupid, and selfish, since all it is is information (I seem to recall you saying that information should be free in that anarchy thread, but maybe I'm mistaken).

And you know, a lot of cars were being invented around the same time. Ford wasn't the only one. It was a simple concept, “How can we take energy and make it run a wheel instead of using horses?” Everyone was tackling the problem.

The same sort of questions would be asked about harnessing the energy from the sun. “How can we more efficiently harness the suns energy?”

That's one of the point of patents, in fact. So that whoever discovered something first can make a claim! Because sooner or later someone will think of it...[/color:post_uid0]


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#37 2003-02-10 15:00:46

soph
Member
Registered: 2002-11-24
Posts: 1,492

Re: Solution to Fermi's paradox? - an idea

[color=#000000:post_uid0]On Mars not everyone will be a nuclear physicist or rocket engineer, so if Mr. Oppenheimer left his shiny rocket outside, Dr. Watson, a biologist, while intelligent in his own right, might never be able to figure out such processes.  We may not have enough time to be figuring out what goes into building our neighbors thingamajig, but how to survive.

And I believe that information should be free, but applications of said information should be subject to patents.  If you want to build a device, you need to find a newer way, you can't build an exact copy.  Patents could be limited to say 10 years, and perhaps be non-renewable to prevent monopoly, but a person should get some reward for being the first to invent a new device.  We don't want to discourage innovation, either.[/color:post_uid0]

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#38 2003-02-10 15:12:21

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,278

Re: Solution to Fermi's paradox? - an idea

[color=#000000:post_uid0]

Clark, I've had quite a few discussions with people about anarchy, and I think it was concluded that were it to be realized, there would definitely be civilizations. [/quote:post_uid0]

I am not arguing this point. However, civilization is composed of the individuals. If each individual is supported by an exsisting infrastructure that requires them to have no involvement with, then what becomes of civilization?

Civilization is the interplay of people and ideas. We come together as a matter of neccessity- to improve our standard of living, and to increase our opportunity to procreate- the grand drive of evolution.

Now, imagine the situation where all of your needs are provided fro you automatically- food, energy, air, water- all mechanically produced by some means. You don't even need to worry about the robots that service you since there is an already exsisting infrastructure of mechanical devices to repair and tend them, and so on and so on.

What need of another individual would you have at that point?

Compainionship? Perhaps. But then, wouldn't this species more than likely have a pretty good handle of AI? Barring that, they would still probably contain the ability to create life (or have machines that could do it)- but now we move from the realm of biological imperitive to one of personal desire driving actions.

Fermi's paradox is the result of a disconnect between what we would expect (based on probability) and what we understand of evolutionary theory.

Evolutionary theory states that life expands into any available niche.

So why wouldn't a species, capable of living in space (if they can travel through interstellar space) not cover the observable universe?

Having children has a purpose, but what happens when that purpose is rendered meaningless?

To blindly populate the entire universe? For what end?

Having fourteen quadrillion brothers and sisters, what is gained? If a species reaches a point where it is nearly immortal, can travel anywhere, and has all of it's basic neeccessities provided for, what point is there in settling on another planet?

Put another way- billion upon billion amoebas live and die- more and more are created, filling every available place. That is ultimetly what Fermi thought would happen with the universe- intelligent life would simply fill it up. But it hasn't.
And I don't think it ever will.

At the point we are capable, the race would already be over.[/color:post_uid0]

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#39 2003-02-10 15:58:32

Josh Cryer
Moderator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: Solution to Fermi's paradox? - an idea

[color=#000000:post_uid0]soph, it would be very silly of Mr. Oppenheimer to leave his shiny rocket outside unless he felt it was okay (ie, that he knew his possessions would be left alone, or whatever). So Dr. Watson could see Mr. Oppenheimer's rocket, and knock on his door, to ask how it worked.

Now, if we were a rational society, Mr. Oppenheimer would have no reason to keep Dr. Watson from knowing how it worked (what reason would he have?). This is how it was 150 years ago when chemists and physicists were figuring things out. They didn't keep much, if anything, from one another. And when they did, it was just to prove that they were the first to discover something, a prideful thing in those days.

If Mr. Oppenheimer didn't want Dr. Watson to know how it worked, and he told Dr. Watson to go away, but left his shiny rocket outside, Dr. Watson could still get a friend to help him figure out how it worked (they have access to neat scanners and stuff, so it wouldn't be hard to do a quick scan without Mr. Oppenheimer knowing). But Dr. Watson is a scientist, who respects the wishes of other people. So Dr. Watson walks away, happy to know that he isn't a fool like Mr. Oppenheimer.

The problem with your whole, “information should be free, [b:post_uid0]but not really[/b:post_uid0]” comment, is that once information is out, there's nothing preventing other people from implementing it.

And another problem with it, is that sometimes, we can show that only one implementation of something is the best implementation for whatever purpose. For example, we can show that, mathematically, a certain compression algorithm compresses a certain set of data better than others.

So, if we let the information out, people will undoubtedly use it, since people tend to use what's best suited for a particular purpose. This is why the open source community is implementing codecs which normally they would have to pay a license for, because they could give a crap less; their implementation is covered under the freedom of speech.


clark,

At the point we are capable, the race would already be over.[/quote:post_uid0]

Nice post. Good metaphor.

But that brings about an interesting question about immorality. What [i:post_uid0]is[/i:post_uid0] immortality? If immortality is never losing the memories you've gained, then you could never be immortal without expanding your memory capacity. And you couldn't do that without going out into space acquiring mass in which to store it! Which is in fact a good argument for those space-imperialists! (Though, granted, for such a highly evolved society, it would take only a few moles of mass to store gigs of information, but still.)

If immortality is just, a current state of living, then 100 years from now, when all my memories are wiped by other, newer memories, I will still have a drive, of some sort, to continue seeing and experiencing things (those things would be new to me).

Anyway, with respect, clark, I am not sure I buy the theory that death and birth is a necessary driving force into space (which is what I think you're arguing). Especially if the later form of immortality is the form we're talking about. 50 million years from now, I wouldn't even know who my son or daughters were. We would just be. Humans, all out there experiencing our lives as we saw fit. We'd give birth to give more iterations of our being a chance to exist.[/color:post_uid0]


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#40 2003-02-10 16:38:56

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,278

Re: Solution to Fermi's paradox? - an idea

[color=#000000:post_uid0]

We'd give birth to give more iterations of our being a chance to exist.[/quote:post_uid0]

Why? i can understand this in the context of evolutionary theory, but why would we create new versions of ourselves for the sole opportunity to experience things? What is gained by this? What purpose is there in doing this, other than biological drive? The problem I am having is trying to imagine a reason without falling on biological neccessity.

? If immortality is never losing the memories you've gained, then you could never be immortal without expanding your memory capacity. [/quote:post_uid0]

Well, this is pure conjecture, but let us *assume* that memory capacity is finite- however, cell regeneration is infinite.

Strong memories would more than likely stay, while weak, unused memories are replaced with stronger ones. Think, recopying data onto your harddrive. Case in point (as stunted as it is for what we are discussing!): Do you remember all your friends telephone numbers? When they change, do you continue to remember the old telephone number, or do you simply try to remember the new one? You don't lose who you are, or your really strong memories- memory dosen't work that way. But the weaker memories would be replaced- dead neurons as it were.

So, I might surmise that contiual discovery or personal exploration (in whatever form that may be) would be the result.

I am not suggesting that birth and death are a enccessity for space travel- however, birth and death are neccessary components of evolutionary theory, which is what has shaped us, and we can assume any other intelligent species.

What I am asking, is what happens when evolutionary theory no longer applies? Fermi's Paradox is the result of a disconnect between applied evolutionary theory and reality.

If we have no need to have births, and noone dies, why would we expand throughout the universe?

Sure, I can understand a species wanting to get out of dodge when their Sun goes Super Nova on them, but then, why would they want to settle on another planet which would face the same inevitability? Being planetary at that point is irrelevant since these eings would have huge magnitudes of control over their situation in space, minus the planet.[/color:post_uid0]

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#41 2003-02-10 16:58:26

Bill White
Member
Registered: 2001-09-09
Posts: 2,114

Re: Solution to Fermi's paradox? - an idea

[color=#000000:post_uid0]josh writes:

But that brings about an interesting question about immorality. What is immortality? If immortality is never losing the memories you've gained, then you could never be immortal without expanding your memory capacity. And you couldn't do that without going out into space acquiring mass in which to store it! Which is in fact a good argument for those space-imperialists! (Though, granted, for such a highly evolved society, it would take only a few moles of mass to store gigs of information, but still.)[/quote:post_uid0]

Is there an absolute limit on the amount of data (information) that can be stored in (on) a finite quantity of mass?

Moses - at least the Hollywood version of Moses - carved 10 sentences on a few dozen kilos of stone;

Gutenberg printed the entire Bible on paper weighing but a fraction of the stone tablets used by Moses;

Now with off the shelf DVDs we can probably store the entire Library of Congress using less mass that the stone tablets used by Moses.

So, what is the final limit of this trend? Is there a limit?

clark writes:

Put another way- billion upon billion amoebas live and die- more and more are created, filling every available place. That is ultimately what Fermi thought would happen with the universe- intelligent life would simply fill it up. But it hasn't.
And I don't think it ever will.[/quote:post_uid0]

These beings are not immortal, of course, because they could not survive either the "Big Crunch" or "heat death" depending on which way cosmology ends up going.

Unless - Heh! - unless. . .

Life (consciousness) was transferred to machines that hovered precisely at the event horizon of a black hole.

Thanks to Zeno, and relativistic time dilation, as the machines processed their thoughts faster and faster time would increasingly slow allowing an infinite amount of time to pass before the civilization actually hit the singularity.

To fill up the galaxy following an inherited urge to reproduce and expand, okay maybe that is pointless - maybe - but how about filling up the galaxy to harness the resources needed to engineer a civilization that can live - forever - at the event horizon of a galaxy wide black hole.

And, we still have the question of whether is there anything beyond our cosmos? If "YES" then all bets are off anyway.[/color:post_uid0]

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#42 2003-02-10 17:03:08

Bill White
Member
Registered: 2001-09-09
Posts: 2,114

Re: Solution to Fermi's paradox? - an idea

[color=#000000:post_uid0]There is a great quote I cannot quite remember that seems relevant to this thread, it goes something like this -

"Why are so many people afraid of death when they are so easily bored on a rainy Sunday afternoon?"[/color:post_uid0]

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#43 2003-02-10 17:08:19

soph
Member
Registered: 2002-11-24
Posts: 1,492

Re: Solution to Fermi's paradox? - an idea

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Nature will always find a way.  We can manipulate a few processes here and there-but we cannot avoid the forces that are always at work.  An "immortal" species would become complacent and be taken over by a more volatile, dynamic one. 

To use an analogy, take the younger, more dynamic America as compared to the relatively static England (this was about 20 years before the Industrial Revolution-so England was pretty much in an unchanging state at this point).  The strength of the mightiest Empire in the world could not adapt to the fresh young Americans, who knew how to survive. 

I don't think we can ever stop evolution.  Where do we stop it?  Assuming there is intelligent life anywhere, it will surpass the human race at its point-no process will ever be "complete" in my opinion, until the end of the universe.  I believe some race will be able to delay or even stop the death of the universe by that point, so I don't believe any natural process will truly end.[/color:post_uid0]

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#44 2003-02-10 17:10:10

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,278

Re: Solution to Fermi's paradox? - an idea

[color=#000000:post_uid0]

To fill up the galaxy following an inherited urge to reproduce and expand, okay maybe that is pointless - maybe - but how about filling up the galaxy to harness the resources needed to engineer a civilization that can live - forever - at the event horizon of a galaxy wide black hole. [/quote:post_uid0]

Let us be honest about the "Big Crunch or "Mr. Heat Death"- it is the end of reality as we understand it. unless, as you point out, we have some means to move outside our universe (and well outside my understanding of, well, everything) it is a zero-sum game. We can't win.

So what's left? Stop and smell the roses? There is a lesson in there, I think.

But let us assume that said species wants to survive the Big End- building a galaxy spanning civilization is hardly neccessary. Again, we can find solutions in the mechanical infrastructure that would eventually be constructed to take care of the needs of the species.

Intelligent robots build what needs building, and that takes care of everything. You end up with several billion years to kill as you wait for the end of the universe.

But here again, we assume that evolutionary theory is the driving force behind action. Why does the species want to survive beyond the Big End? Evolutionary theory answers that question- but I am suggesting evolutionary theory dosen't apply at this point. It is rendered meaningless.

So, I think it breaks down into individual survival. It becomes survival of the self, not the species.

Here is something I think we can all relate to- survival of self- the Id- the self aware person that is you becomes the tantamount object of motivation.

So, all your needs and wants are provided for- so what motivates you? Experience. Personal self discovery. Not a civilization increasing in magnatudie and ability- but an individual....[/color:post_uid0]

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#45 2003-02-10 18:30:21

Josh Cryer
Moderator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: Solution to Fermi's paradox? - an idea

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Actually, I have a book right here that discusses the possiblity of harnesing the energy at the big crunch momment. Apparently, it's mathematically possible to prove that there would be enough energy, potentially, to create a virtual universe in which any and all experiences were to occur. So in effect, you would live [b:post_uid0]forever[/b:post_uid0]. Beyond spacetime itself. Beyond any time, or any set of times. You would simply never die, ever. It's quite an interesting read.

But I still don't buy the argument that death is necessary. Natural selection can still be facilitated by the generational “memory death” of individuals. All possible cultural and traditional ideas will just continue on, unlike say, with regular evolution where those things die out as others come to replace them.

The point is that humans would no longer rely on random selection to evolve. Even though, in essence, our collective thoughts, and ideas, would look random from someone on the outside looking in.[/color:post_uid0]


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#46 2003-02-11 10:31:22

Bill White
Member
Registered: 2001-09-09
Posts: 2,114

Re: Solution to Fermi's paradox? - an idea

[color=#000000:post_uid0]clark writes:

Let us be honest about the "Big Crunch or "Mr. Heat Death"- it is the end of reality as we understand it. unless, as you point out, we have some means to move outside our universe (and well outside my understanding of, well, everything) it is a zero-sum game. We can't win[/quote:post_uid0]

Previously I asked

Is there an absolute limit on the amount of data (information) that can be stored in (on) a finite quantity of mass?

Moses - at least the Hollywood version of Moses - carved 10 sentences on a few dozen kilos of stone;
Gutenberg printed the entire Bible on paper weighing but a fraction of the stone tablets used by Moses;
Now with off the shelf DVDs we can probably store the entire Library of Congress using less mass that the stone tablets used by Moses.

So, what is the final limit of this trend? Is there a limit? [/quote:post_uid0]

Can an infinite quantity of information be coded in a finite quantity of matter? I don't know, ask Zeno. A dandy paradox we cannot answer.

clark - I daresay you have hit the nail on the head, at least in how I look at things which leaves me with a basic question I cannot today answer:

Is it an zero sum game at the end? Is it really? This can be translated into economics, is everything scarce? I intend to use "scarce" in the strict economic sense of the word. Is "everything" scarce? I cannot say. Many things, perhaps most or nearly all things are indeed scarce and we must always render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's. Mere wishful thinking will not multiply the loaves and the fishes. But even if nearly everything is scarce, is everything scarce? I cannot say with any certainty. Is it really a zero sum game, is everything scarce, at the end? I cannot give a rational answer because I lack the data to say for certain either way.

Given our short lives we must make a choice - a choice based on imperfect and incomplete data. You and I and all of us must choose.

Choose YES and your main thesis is correct, IMHO. Why bother with any of this stuff? Why bother with anything at all?

Choose NO and a rather simple moral imperative presents itself.

We best benefit ourselves and others if we organize, arrange and engineer our scarce resources in such fashion as maximizes our collective possession of non-scarce resources. Sharing non scarce resources (if they exist) plainly is a no brainer because - - by definition  :-)  - -  I can give you my cake and still have it for myself.

I have also thought about this issue by thinking about the following statements:

X is priceless and X is worthless. Do these contradict? That is THE question, IMHO. Zero sum games? I prefer to avoid those whenever possible -- or as a college buddy once enjoyed saying:

"I ain't never, ever bought a friend a drink and lost money on the deal."[/color:post_uid0]

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#47 2003-02-11 11:01:04

Josh Cryer
Moderator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: Solution to Fermi's paradox? - an idea

[color=#000000:post_uid0]There's a song I like that may be applicable to the way this discussion is heading. Further by VNV Nation...

http://vnvnation.com/lyrics/further.htm[/color:post_uid0]


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#48 2003-02-11 11:06:41

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,278

Re: Solution to Fermi's paradox? - an idea

[color=#000000:post_uid0]

This can be translated into economics, is everything scarce? [/quote:post_uid0]

Yes. However, we should realize that "scarce" is little more than a unit of measurement. It denotes value based on subjective perception of worth.

Life is scarce, in the context of the entire universe. Life is abundant upon planet Earth.

Energy is abundant in the context of the entire universe. Energy is scarce on the dark side of the moon.

since it is is a value, determined by subjective perception, we must look who is applying the measurement- how much is needed, how much is neccessary.

This may lead to yet another rationale for solving Fermi's paradox related to a cessastion of species expansion: Realization of finitie resources and an ever increasing standard of living.

all the human misery is largely a result of disparate standards of living- the rich versus the poor. All our forms of government, philosphy, and science look to equalize the distribution of wealth (in one form or another).

Perhaps at some point, our species will realize that we simply can leave NO ONE behind.

Choose YES and your main thesis is correct, IMHO. Why bother with any of this stuff? Why bother with anything at all?[/quote:post_uid0]

Nehilism is not the answer. Fatalism, although accurate, is not the answer. Meaning does exsist, it just isn't objective.

We best benefit ourselves and others if we organize, arrange and engineer our scarce resources in such fashion as maximizes our collective possession of non-scarce resources. [/quote:post_uid0]

This is true when we are presented with scarcity in real terms, i.e. we have X amount of trees on the planet.

However, this is not true if we are presented with a situation where "scarcity" is not real in terms that are meaningful to us, i.e. air. No manner of organization benefits us to colelct our individual share of "air".

It's context.

X is priceless and X is worthless. Do these contradict? [/quote:post_uid0]

No, they don't. Worth is a subjective value, plain and simple.

One man's trash is another's treasure.[/color:post_uid0]

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#49 2003-02-11 12:00:06

Josh Cryer
Moderator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: Solution to Fermi's paradox? - an idea

[color=#000000:post_uid0]The total ammount of the energy in the universe is exactly zero, which is a totally mindblowing concept. Energy cannot be created nor destroyed... scary.

This may lead to yet another rationale for solving Fermi's paradox related to a cessastion of species expansion: Realization of finitie resources and an ever increasing standard of living.[/quote:post_uid0]

I don't know, clark, this feels like a non sequitur to me. I would think that a species which has realized its finite resource problems (which is actually quite hard to comprehend once you realize how much energy a sun outputs), would actually decide to go out into the solar system to find more. You even say it yourself, the universe is like a candy store.[/color:post_uid0]


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#50 2003-02-11 12:25:56

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,278

Re: Solution to Fermi's paradox? - an idea

[color=#000000:post_uid0]

I would think that a species which has realized its finite resource problems (which is actually quite hard to comprehend once you realize how much energy a sun outputs), would actually decide to go out into the solar system to find more. [/quote:post_uid0]

A species may very well go out into the solar system looking for more energy- this could be part of the lead up to the civilization ending moment when a species no longer need to cooperate in meaningful ways.

What I was talking about though is that a species may reach the point where it decides that adding more members to the group is counter productive becuase it would lead to an overall decreas in the standard of living for everyone else.[/color:post_uid0]

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