Thread: Ancient Aliens
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Old July 7 2012, 07:59 PM   #85
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Ancient Aliens

Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
But, again, I never said there was "nothing" out there, just that whatever may be out there is rare enough that, after decades of scanning the skies, we've found... nothing.
The point you clearly missed is that even if the universe was teeming with SPACEFARING civilizations, we would be extremely unlikely to know about it even after ten centuries of searching the sky with our telescopes. We've only in the last 20 years even confirmed the existence of extrasolar planets, and most of those only by their gravitational effects on their parent star; even at FTL velocities, something as small a a spacecraft would be WELL below our detection threshhold unless it was relatively close to Earth orbit.

In other words, they would have to go out of their way to visit us before we ever knew they were there. That in turn implies they would have to have a REASON to visit us, which -- if they don't know about us -- they would not.

I don't think it's unreasonable to be skeptical of claims that the universe is full of intelligent, spacefaring life forms, especially when you come up against comments suggesting that Von Neumann probes are almost within reach. Given that they are a fairly straightforward idea, the universe should be positively crawling with them if anyone had ever built them.
Except for the fact that Von Neuman devices are impractical for interstellar exploration, that would be true.

I also think it's essentially irrelevant if intelligent, spacefaring life exists but it is much too far away for us to ever encounter or even discover it. It might as well not exist, as a practical matter.
Which is true. If FTL flight is impossible, then EVERY solar system could be inhabited by intelligent spacefaring life and we would probably never know about it.
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