Ancient Aliens

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by BillJ, Jun 19, 2012.

  1. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2001
    Location:
    Per Ardua
    I was talking about extraterrestrial life in general. :p

    I agree that they would probably have more interesting things to do than push boulders around for a lesser life form. :techman:
     
  2. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2010
    Or terraforming is a hell of a difficult task and these civilizations didn't manage.
    Or they colonised our galaxy, but our biosphere was toxic to them so they skipped it because sterilizing a planet was immensely more difficult than terraforming one.
    Or our biosphere was toxic to them and they died.
    Or they sterilised every place they found, so only those who didn't encounter them survived.
    Or they had ethical concerns regarding coming here.
    Or they prefer red dwarves because of their longer life.
    Or they prefer O'Neill colonies around rogue gas giants where they harvest fuel for fusion.
    Or they calculated a more efficient way for survival.
    Or the time scales for galactic colonisation are largely exaggerated.
    Or the development always needs a few billion years at least, and we are one of the first.
    Or their planets became uninhabitable before they reached space.
    Or Congress never got to approving the funds for an interstellar mission.
    Or they waited too long and their civilizations went into a decline.
    Or they actually have a subsurface civilization on Mercury and Enceladus right now.

    Or all of the above.

    I fail to see how can something be a paradox when it relies on too many assumptions in the first place.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2012
  3. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2011
    Location:
    At star's end.
    Your alternative to "they just don't exist" badly fails Occam's razor. Your assumptions are both far more improbable and far more numerous. That's why the Fermi paradox is a paradox:

    Which congress didn't approve interstellar missions? All the congresses belonging to all the hundreds/thousands of civilizations that a single species will create during its history?
    All the leadership apparatuses that lead every single species which existed? Talk about uniformly minded aliens - aren't they supposed to be phychologically and physiologically very different?

    All these very different species, evolved with different psychologies, different cultures didn't have the curiosity/waited too long/went into decline? Talk about improbable.

    Why terraform? Build O'Neill colonies or Banks' orbitals.
    Of course, if you want to terraform due to a quirk of yours, you can - we KNOW it can be done; it only takes a lot of time.

    If they colonized entire solar systems, we should be able to see the reflective surfaces/megascale constructions/etc/in nearby systems, even relatively small scale alterations - for some time now.
    If only one of these many species colonized the entire galaxy - aka they had the capability and time to do it - we should definitely see them, their other achievements.
    But the galaxy, we observe, is virgin, untouched by intelligence in all its details we see.

    Unless all these species, much like unicorns and fairies, are always hiding - all having the same imperative at not being seen (building subsurface civilizations on wherever). Yet again, improbable.


    100 million years is MORE than enough time to colonize the galaxy with ships only able of 0,1 lightspeed - 100 times more, to be exact. Life could have formed in the galaxy since 6 BILLION years ago.
    Enough time to colonize the galaxy many, many times over - by many, many species. And none of these species can just disappear - there's no disaster that can do that, short of another galactic species - which will remain in the galaxy.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2012
  4. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2001
    Not nearly as many "assumptions" as you made in that post trying to refute it, however.

    The simplest and most likely reason for the complete lack of evidence of other civilizations as we understand the term is that they're not there. Anything else is speculative and, yes, assumes things that are not in evidence.
     
  5. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2010
    You can't fail the Occam's razor, it's not a rule that's always true, just a rule to use when you have no other. Every scientific discovery we have ever made has failed the Occam's razor at the time. Badly. If they didn't, there would be no use for science.

    No matter how unlikely those scenarios are, each of them is decreasing the probability of the limited choice that either aliens aren't there or we would have met them. It is a false dichotomy – all the insignificant scenarios add up to something significant enough to not be ignored as an option.

    There are millions of reasons why we wouldn't meet aliens even if they were all over the place, from insufficient telescope resolution to looking at the wrong places to pure chance.

    One thing that would seem reasonable to expect is that if two civilizations became aware of each other, one of them would go extinct or one of them will push the other ahead, either by giving them technology directly or at least by inspiring them, thus transforming them into a more advanced one. The latter option might mean that the two civilizations merge, at least technologically.

    That's kinda cool and funny, because under those assumptions there is a uncanny similarity between the expectation to be born in a civilization that has met aliens and a civilization that is in its middle age. Not only both assumptions are a result of your expectation to be average (and be outran by those aliens that you'd be meeting), but actually meeting them could transform you from a toddler stage to a middle aged one in a few centuries.

    Both even seem logically equivalent, which means that we should expect to be extinct in a few hundred thousand years for much the same reason we expect that aliens are rare.

    Valid conclusions actually, as long as the probability of experiencing each moment in the history of the universe is the same or very similar. What if the universe becomes more unlikely with each day, though? Say, for example that the multi-world interpretation of quantum mechanics is “true” and most “timelines” suffer from some kind of catastrophic event that leave the interesting ones more and more unlikely? Anything like this would be completely unobservable and unmeasurable by us, and I'm not completely convinced that it would be the more complex option that necessarily violates Occam's razor – we know nothing about the universe as an object, and we most likely never will.

    What are the energy requirements for that? Is the time necessary to rebuild the civilization at the next star system taken into account, which at 0.1 lightspeed is probably a couple of orders of magnitude larger than the travel time, and speeding it up would further increase the energy requirements for the trip?
     
  6. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell Comfortably Numb Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2001
    Location:
    where it hurts
    If I could get rid of any two "laws" frequently cited on the Internet, they would definitely be Godwin's Law, and yes, Occam's Fucking Razor. "This explanation is complex, therefore it is wrong!" It encourages the absolute worst varieties of intellectual laziness.
     
  7. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2011
    Location:
    At star's end.
    Occam's razor is a scientifical law, not an 'internet law'.
    Is says that the simplest explanation is likely - aka most often, correct.
    And "every scientific discovery we have ever made" did not fail Occam's razor badly. NOT EVEN CLOSE - in most cases, the scientific breakthrough presented a simpler way to account for the observed phenomena.

    In the case of Fermi's paradox, the simplest explanation is that abiogenesis is very rare, followed by evolution of intelligence is very rare.

    You want to believe very improbable "explanations" based on truck loads of assumptions?
    Be my guest. Doesn't change the fact of them being improbable.

    Only if ALL - EVERY SINGLE ONE - of the aliens are hiding, are at most at our stage of evolution, etc. Your statement is implied assumptions central.

    Really? You actually go all the way to these assumptions? You could just as well say 'the sun will not rise tomorrow', because 'the sun will rise tomorrow' is merely an inference, not 100% correct.

    The VERY small likelihood of such statements makes them a waste of time.
    These assumptions are supposed to have anything resembling validity? More like being practically impossible - the chance of them being true being so small as to be only a mathematical abstraction.

    As said:
    "100 million years is MORE than enough time to colonize the galaxy with ships only able of 0,1 lightspeed - 100 times more, to be exact."

    The galaxy is ~100.000 lightyears across. At 0,1 lightspeed, traversable in 1 million years. Leaving 99 MILLION years for civilisation-building in the new colonies.
    As said, MORE than enough time.

    As for the energy requirements, today we have the technology to accelerate to 0,05 lightspeed and decelerate to 0: fission fragment rockets, powering a starship of ~normal size (achievable if we were mining the asteroids).

    I guess Karl Popper and many other philosophers of science, philosophers, scientists were 'intelectually lazy', eh?

    And Occam's razor is ~"This explanation is MORE complex, therefore it is LIKELY wrong!"
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2012
  8. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell Comfortably Numb Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2001
    Location:
    where it hurts
    The problem is people who don't know what they're talking about falling back on mental "crutches" like those. "You mentioned Hitler/Nazis! You are automatically wrong!" "You gave a complex explanation! You are automatically wrong!" It's irritating as all hell.
     
  9. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Location:
    A Long Time Ago...
    No, it's not. It's more of a statement of common sense.

    And "scientifical?" really? that's not even a word.
     
  10. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2002
    Location:
    UK
    I have to agree with Rob. Occam's razor is so very often misused it's not even funny. And I say misused because as a general principle of logic, it's basically sound, but those that use it most often usually fail to understand what it actually means or in what context it is meant to be applied and just use it to prop up a straw man argument or try to shift the burden of proof.

    They also fail to appreciate that it's a philosophy and not a fundamental law of the universe.

    I ask you, what is the simplest explanation for where babies come form? An efficient and discrete avian based delivery system, or a series of complicated biochemical interactions based on billions of years of cellular evolution through an essentially random and chaotic process of natural selection? The stork idea is certainly simpler, but does invoking Occam's razor make it correct? Of course not.
     
  11. Lonemagpie

    Lonemagpie Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2007
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    Nothing wrong with Occam's Razor.

    Now, the Fermi Paradox is a different matter, as it boils down to "either aliens don't exist or they would have been proved to have come to Earth." A way of thinking that itself falls victim to Occam's Razor once you start thinking about it...
     
  12. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 1999
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    I simply proceed from an assumption of space travel that doesn't break the known laws of physics..that even includes using wormholes, which would require more power than we know of to open or travel through.

    RAMA
     
  13. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 1999
    Location:
    NJ, USA

    Or they have other concerns...if they aren't lonely, if they don't need our resoruces, what are they doing? In a multi-species race for nearly unlimited resources of a black hole at galactic center? Exploring time/multiverses? Exploring endless permutations of a superintelligent AI lifespan?

    Sadly, there is no evidence. On the other hand, as exponentially advancing as our technology is, we may also be sadly inadequate to the task of knowing for, oh at least a few decades if not longer..

    RAMA
     
  14. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2011
    Location:
    At star's end.
    Yes, it is. It's a probabilistic scientifical law.

    And 'scientifical' is a word - despite your failed attempt to grab at irrelevant semantic straws.

    Your 'avian delivery system' fails to coherently explain where babies come from - by a large margin (so, how do these birds get those children?). As such, it's not a viable explanation - not even close.
     
  15. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Location:
    A Long Time Ago...
    No, it's not a law. It's a guide.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam's_razor

    Not a scientific law.
    Your right, it is a word. An antiquated form of scientific. Pretty much deprecated to the point of non-use. Are you trying to bring it back like Sexy?
     
  16. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2002
    Location:
    UK
    Magic...or aliens.
     
  17. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2005
    Location:
    the Frozen Wastes
    You are joking of course.
     
  18. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell Comfortably Numb Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2001
    Location:
    where it hurts
    It's just as likely they are busy not existing.
     
  19. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2004
    Location:
    Gov Kodos on Mohammed's Radio, WZVN Boston
    The alien plan:

    [yt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVbb6pZLfzU[/yt]
     
  20. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2001
    It's neither.

    It's simply a principle - not a law - used in reasoning. Don't assume a more complex explanation where a simpler one is sufficient to explain the observed evidence.

    The only reason a simpler explanation is more likely to be true is that it involves fewer assumptions that are not in evidence and therefore contains fewer opportunities for error at the start.

    In any given situation, however, the conclusion reached via Occam's Razor may be wrong and a more complex explanation may be right. There's no law or any "law-like proposition" involved here.