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Old 11th March 2018, 08:34 AM   #81
Fudbucker
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Originally Posted by JesseCuster View Post
This kind of argument always strikes me as merely arguing for the sake of arguing.

It's like me claiming that I must be agnostic about whether or not my neighbour is a serial killer with a sex dungeon underneath his house. I have no evidence that any of that is true, and it doesn't contradict any scientific truths... therefore I should be agnostic about it?
The comparison isn't accurate. We know quite a bit about the distribution of serial killers in the population. They're quite rare. Therefore, you can conclude with a great deal of certainty your neighbor is not one.

We don't know anything about the distribution of life in the galaxy yet.

The better analogy is, could your neighbor be a psychopath? Possibly. Could they have strange fetishes society looks down upon? Quite possibly. Psychopathy isn't that rare, and the people who are don't generally advertise the fact, for obvious reasons. Again, the odds are still against it, though, so you can reasonably conclude the average person isn't a psychopath or a child molester, or a worshiper of Baal. They're probably just average. Is your neighbor hiding some unpleasant fact about himself from you? Probably. But it's probably trivial. Then again, I imagine the neighbors of John Wayne Gacy were a bit surprised.

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I find it difficult to believe people who put forth this kind of argument consistently apply it in real life and are genuinely agnostic about every evidence-free crackpot idea that doesn't contradict scientific fact.
In real life, we have usually have a good idea about statistical distributions of things. We also know quite a bit about the world we inhabit. This isn't true wrt other life in the galaxy, if it exists at all.

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Old 11th March 2018, 08:54 AM   #82
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
In real life, we have usually have a good idea about statistical distributions of things. We also know quite a bit about the world we inhabit. This isn't true wrt other life in the galaxy, if it exists at all.
Well put, and I'd only add that even other life outside our galaxy isn't really a given.

There is a chance that at this point in time we're it. Life might even be a one off in the entire history of the universe, past as well as future. It intuitively seems more likely that there's at least microbial life elsewhere, but that's probably somewhat a result of our bias, being here and existing and all.
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Old 11th March 2018, 10:17 AM   #83
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
The comparison isn't accurate. We know quite a bit about the distribution of serial killers in the population. They're quite rare. Therefore, you can conclude with a great deal of certainty your neighbor is not one.

We don't know anything about the distribution of life in the galaxy yet.
But the question isn't about whether or not life exists elsewhere in the galaxy. It's about whether or not life exists elsewhere in the galaxy, has evolved to the point of being capable of interstellar travel, and has visited (or is visiting) earth.

It's true that we know basically nothing about how likely it is that there's life elsewhere in the universe and what that life is like if it exists, but I'm not really sure how relevant that is to the question at hand. Statistics and probabilities aren't going to be how the question of whether or not aliens have visited earth is going to be answered. Only actual evidence of such a thing will be of any use in answering the question.

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In real life, we have usually have a good idea about statistical distributions of things. We also know quite a bit about the world we inhabit. This isn't true wrt other life in the galaxy, if it exists at all.
I disagree. In real life, in day to day situations, we neither have useful statistics, and if we do, how often are they really used in day to day real life situations? If my neighbour were in fact a serial killer, then any available facts of the statistical distribution of serial killers would have no practical use in determining whether or not he was an actual serial killer.

If it were the case, he would be suspected, arrested, formally accused and sentenced without any such knowledge being used at all in the proceedings.

The best thing going for the case of aliens having visited earth (as near as I can tell from what I've read on the subject) is a lot of very shoddy evidence and very shoddy reasoning. There's no basis for it.

It seems kind of pointless and academic to insist on being agnostic about whether it's true or not when the whole idea has no foundation at all.
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Old 11th March 2018, 10:22 AM   #84
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
It intuitively seems more likely that there's at least microbial life elsewhere, but that's probably somewhat a result of our bias, being here and existing and all.
I agree. But the subject of this thread isn't a debate about whether or not microbial life exists somewhere in the universe, it's about whether or not technologically advanced life has visited earth.
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Old 11th March 2018, 10:26 AM   #85
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Originally Posted by Wonder234 View Post
Would it be fair to say that the argument between skeptics and believers has reached a stalemate with all the tricks being exhausted?
General negative there, ehh? "All tricks exhausted" is equivalent to "no more tricks exist".

You know, trolling without falling into your own traps is not something everybody can do.

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Old 11th March 2018, 11:07 AM   #86
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post

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Alien contact is on the same level as fairies, bigfoot, and the Loch Ness Monster.
Evidence for this assertion?
Just read any of a vast abundant UFO literature. The paper thin nature of the evidence in such books speaks for itself. So does the fact that many UFO writers promote notions that UFOs are not physical objects but some sort of interdimensional object that comes from an alternative reality.

So yeah that looks like something similar to fairies, the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot.

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All of these alien spaceships that allegedly come to earth over the years, and not one has broken down, or lost a hubcap? We've got evidence of our presence on the Moon and Mars.
Evidence from, say, 500 million years ago, probably wouldn't exist anymore. And, of course, in order to find evidence, you have to have some idea where to look. There could be a million broken down probes in the Oort cloud. We would never know.

This is not a good argument against alien visitation, especially by aliens that might have visited us long ago, might not have broken down at all (does your car break down every time you take a long trip?), or might have left broken equipment in places we are incapable of searching.
Well magic fairies could have caused the evidence to vanish also. The bottom line is we have no evidence that we have been visited by Aliens in the past and that is definitely an argument that we very likely have never been visited. That could of course change tomorrow with some sort of find, but so far we have just about zilch. So until such a find I rate the possibility of us being visited by alien space faring civilizations now or in the past has small.

Of course one of the problems with trying to work out the likelihood of are we alone, is the lack of evidence from which to even discuss probabilities. There are so many factors we just don't know, or have any reasonable grasp of.

I would like to mention two.

1), For the majority of the time there has been life on Earth it has been solely microbial. Multicellular life emerged late. So I would suggest the possibility that multicellular life is rare in the Universe. So yes there could be life outside Earth but it may overwhelmingly be microbial. But the bottom line is we don't know.

2), If we grant the possibility that multicellular life is "common", and add to that that intelligence will likely emerge on planets with life. Both of which are highly contentious. We still face the problem that is technological intelligence "common". In other words does intelligence automatically give rise to technology or is technology using intelligence rare?

We have on Earth other intelligences other than humans. Not has smart has us but still "smart". Such has whales for example. We have to consider the possibility that most of the intelligent creatures in the Universe may be non technological creatures like Earth whales etc. We can't just assume that intelligence = technology.

Those two factors alone could make intelligent, technology using creatures very rare in our Universe.

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That is just silly, but I'm agnostic about alien visitation. Show me life on another planet, and then we can say something about the odds. There are no reasons to believe/disbelieve in aliens at the moment, or that they might have taken a close look at us in the history of the planet. The odds are simply unknown.
The question isn't whether or not Aliens may exist out there but whether or not they have, or continue to, visit us. And the evidence that they have, or still, visit us is pathetic and basically close to non-existent. So there is no reason to believe in it except has a very unlikely possibility.
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Old 11th March 2018, 11:13 AM   #87
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
It intuitively seems more likely that there's at least microbial life elsewhere, but that's probably somewhat a result of our bias, being here and existing and all.
I disagree. While we don't know one way or the other we can make a reasonable assumption based on our observations.

1. On Earth life is very tenacious, opportunistic and adaptable. It's able to thrive in environments ranging from sub-zero to a thermal vent at the bottom of the ocean.

2. We have found water in the form of ice on several bodies in our solar system. Knowing of the abundance of hydrogen in the universe and plenty of oxygen it's not unreasonable to conclude that water, in one form or another exists on bodies orbiting other stars. Chemically, water is a very stable molecule.

3. We have found numerous planets orbiting other stars. There's no reason to believe that planet formation is rare or unique. It may not happen around every star but it does happen.

4. Using Drake's equation and plugging in even conservative numbers we can make a best guess.

None of this is proof in any way shape or form of life beyond the Earth, but it is based on facts and reasonable assumptions not intuition.

I'd go so far as to say that someone who claims there is no life elsewhere is being unreasonable.
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Old 11th March 2018, 11:19 AM   #88
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Originally Posted by JesseCuster View Post
But the question isn't about whether or not life exists elsewhere in the galaxy. It's about whether or not life exists elsewhere in the galaxy, has evolved to the point of being capable of interstellar travel, and has visited (or is visiting) earth.
That is the question, and it goes back to the unknown. We don't know what kind of life is in the galaxy, how advanced it is, whether it cares at all about other planets, etc. We can't say yay or nay about alien visitation, either by probes or of a more direct kind. It's a live possibility we can't dismiss because our ignorance about it is overwhelming.

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It's true that we know basically nothing about how likely it is that there's life elsewhere in the universe and what that life is like if it exists, but I'm not really sure how relevant that is to the question at hand. Statistics and probabilities aren't going to be how the question of whether or not aliens have visited earth is going to be answered. Only actual evidence of such a thing will be of any use in answering the question.
If we don't know anything, than we can't make a probabilistic argument and that cuts both ways. It's not probable aliens have been here, on the other hand it's not probable they haven't.

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I disagree. In real life, in day to day situations, we neither have useful statistics, and if we do, how often are they really used in day to day real life situations?
Of course we have useful statistics and we use them all the time. Do you live in fear that a man-eating tiger is going to run out of the bushes and get you? Are you worried about Ebola? A meteorite hitting you on the head? How about getting on a plane? Does that make you freeze in terror? If what you're saying is true, we wouldn't get out of bed in the morning.

But I bet you're a little worried about cancer, heart attacks, and strokes though. Statistically, that's probably how you're going to go out.


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If my neighbour were in fact a serial killer, then any available facts of the statistical distribution of serial killers would have no practical use in determining whether or not he was an actual serial killer.
But you don't know, do you? So you can take comfort in the fact that serial killers are exceedingly rare, which lets you make certain valid conclusions about the likelihood that anyone you meet is a serial killer in disguise. You don't know someone hasn't rigged up an anvil to drop on your head when you walk out the door. Are you worried about it? Should you be?

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If it were the case, he would be suspected, arrested, formally accused and sentenced without any such knowledge being used at all in the proceedings.
Possibly. But I think we've belabored this point long enough. Alien life and what aliens might do is categorically different than the existence of abnormal humans and what they might do. We have knowledge about the latter. We have no knowledge of the former.

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The best thing going for the case of aliens having visited earth (as near as I can tell from what I've read on the subject) is a lot of very shoddy evidence and very shoddy reasoning. There's no basis for it.
The basis for it would be the following chain of probabilities, similar to the Drake equation:

Alien life exists>which is technologically advanced>which has some desire to explore>which exists close enough to have checked us out.

None of those can be assigned a probability. They all might be exceedingly probable or improbable. What we can say is that we've seen no evidence of large-scale galactic colonization, no large-scale engineering projects, and no radio signals beamed at us. That's disconfirming evidence, but to a very small degree.

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It seems kind of pointless and academic to insist on being agnostic about whether it's true or not when the whole idea has no foundation at all.
It has a foundation: there might be life like us doing what we do, only on a larger scale. We do know THAT much. I mean, we're not pulling this out of our asses. We're simply wondering if there's anything out there like us that's more advanced. If we don't destroy ourselves, we'll be doing exactly what we're wondering aliens might be doing: exploring the universe, trying to make contact. We've already doing it, although only in our own backyard so far.

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Old 11th March 2018, 11:47 AM   #89
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
Well put, and I'd only add that even other life outside our galaxy isn't really a given.

There is a chance that at this point in time we're it. Life might even be a one off in the entire history of the universe, past as well as future. It intuitively seems more likely that there's at least microbial life elsewhere, but that's probably somewhat a result of our bias, being here and existing and all.
Thanks. I think it very unlikely we're the only life in the universe, or even the galaxy. That would lead to certain anthropic possibilities, if true.
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Old 11th March 2018, 12:09 PM   #90
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Originally Posted by Pacal View Post
Just read any of a vast abundant UFO literature. The paper thin nature of the evidence in such books speaks for itself. So does the fact that many UFO writers promote notions that UFOs are not physical objects but some sort of interdimensional object that comes from an alternative reality.

So yeah that looks like something similar to fairies, the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot.
The stuff certain UFO proponents like Whitley Streiber talk about, yeah. It's pretty unbelievable.

The general claim that aliens have observed us and/or are observing us is not unbelievable. I wouldn't be surprised if we learned it was true.

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Well magic fairies could have caused the evidence to vanish also. The bottom line is we have no evidence that we have been visited by Aliens in the past and that is definitely an argument that we very likely have never been visited.
Why do you think that makes it "very likely"? What missing evidence do you think should have turned up?

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That could of course change tomorrow with some sort of find, but so far we have just about zilch. So until such a find I rate the possibility of us being visited by alien space faring civilizations now or in the past has small.
"Zilch" is only disconfirming if there is the expectation of non-zilch. In other words, what missing evidence is there that you think shouldn't be missing? Alien spare parts left behind? A probe beaming hello messages to us? Does SETI's lack of evidence persuade you that there aren't any technologically advanced aliens? I don't think it's persuasive.

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Of course one of the problems with trying to work out the likelihood of are we alone, is the lack of evidence from which to even discuss probabilities. There are so many factors we just don't know, or have any reasonable grasp of.
Yes, which is why it's so hard to assign probabilities, but that cuts both ways regarding any hypotheses about aliens. Have they been here? We can't say probably yes, but that means we can't say probably no, either.

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I would like to mention two.

1), For the majority of the time there has been life on Earth it has been solely microbial. Multicellular life emerged late. So I would suggest the possibility that multicellular life is rare in the Universe. So yes there could be life outside Earth but it may overwhelmingly be microbial. But the bottom line is we don't know.

2), If we grant the possibility that multicellular life is "common", and add to that that intelligence will likely emerge on planets with life. Both of which are highly contentious. We still face the problem that is technological intelligence "common". In other words does intelligence automatically give rise to technology or is technology using intelligence rare?

We have on Earth other intelligences other than humans. Not has smart has us but still "smart". Such has whales for example. We have to consider the possibility that most of the intelligent creatures in the Universe may be non technological creatures like Earth whales etc. We can't just assume that intelligence = technology.

Those two factors alone could make intelligent, technology using creatures very rare in our Universe.
It's very hard to generalize from a sample size of one.



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The question isn't whether or not Aliens may exist out there but whether or not they have, or continue to, visit us. And the evidence that they have, or still, visit us is pathetic and basically close to non-existent. So there is no reason to believe in it except has a very unlikely possibility.
That is a claim you need to provide evidence for. So far, you have pointed to a lack of evidence. You need to go further than that.
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Old 11th March 2018, 12:09 PM   #91
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
That is the question, and it goes back to the unknown. We don't know what kind of life is in the galaxy, how advanced it is, whether it cares at all about other planets, etc. We can't say yay or nay about alien visitation, either by probes or of a more direct kind. It's a live possibility we can't dismiss because our ignorance about it is overwhelming.
I love the "We Don't Know Game" because it ends in a Mexican Standoff for the woo crowd.

All we are asking for are facts, not theory, not statistics - facts.

I can play the game too. There are entire mountain ranges and continents on earth that have vanished before the first dinosaurs appeared. Using your rules I can make claims about a lost civilization, and the fantastic beings who populated it. And I can do it without offering a shred of evidence because geology and geologic are unforgiving.

The intellectually honest problem is that without evidence I cannot make claims of a Precambrian civilization, alien or otherwise.


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If we don't know anything, than we can't make a probabilistic argument and that cuts both ways. It's not probable aliens have been here, on the other hand it's not probable they haven't.
The old "Can't Prove a Negative" argument.


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Of course we have useful statistics and we use them all the time. Do you live in fear that a man-eating tiger is going to run out of the bushes and get you? Are you worried about Ebola? A meteorite hitting you on the head? How about getting on a plane? Does that make you freeze in terror? If what you're saying is true, we wouldn't get out of bed in the morning.
Not rationally supporting your argument.


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But you don't know, do you? So you can take comfort in the fact that serial killers are exceedingly rare, which lets you make certain valid conclusions about the likelihood that anyone you meet is a serial killer in disguise.
Unless you live in Cleveland:

http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index...he_unsolv.html

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You don't know someone hasn't rigged up an anvil to drop on your head when you walk out the door. Are you worried about it? Should you be?
It is as irrational as little green men dropping by.

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Alien life and what aliens might do is categorically different than the existence of abnormal humans and what they might do. We have knowledge about the latter. We have no knowledge of the former.
Oh no, you just pulled the "Can't Prove a Negative but I Just Proved a Negative" move.


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It has a foundation: there might be life like us doing what we do, only on a larger scale. We do know THAT much. I mean, we're not pulling this out of our asses.
Actually you are pulling it from there. We don't KNOW anything of a sort.

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We're simply wondering if there's anything out there like us that's more advanced.
That's a whole different concept than proof of alien visitation.
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Old 11th March 2018, 12:48 PM   #92
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
We're simply wondering if there's anything out there like us that's more advanced.
That's not even remotely what this thread is about. This thread implies, that there are advanced alien civilizations and that they've visited us here on Earth.

Big difference.
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Old 11th March 2018, 01:08 PM   #93
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Originally Posted by Kings Full View Post
I disagree. While we don't know one way or the other we can make a reasonable assumption based on our observations.

1. On Earth life is very tenacious, opportunistic and adaptable. It's able to thrive in environments ranging from sub-zero to a thermal vent at the bottom of the ocean.

2. We have found water in the form of ice on several bodies in our solar system. Knowing of the abundance of hydrogen in the universe and plenty of oxygen it's not unreasonable to conclude that water, in one form or another exists on bodies orbiting other stars. Chemically, water is a very stable molecule.

3. We have found numerous planets orbiting other stars. There's no reason to believe that planet formation is rare or unique. It may not happen around every star but it does happen.

4. Using Drake's equation and plugging in even conservative numbers we can make a best guess.

None of this is proof in any way shape or form of life beyond the Earth, but it is based on facts and reasonable assumptions not intuition.

I'd go so far as to say that someone who claims there is no life elsewhere is being unreasonable.
Re: the highlighted, nobody claims that, so it's irrelevant.

I don't see points 1-4 being strong enough to make any truly reasonable assumptions about life elsewhere. Too much is still unknown about early Earth and abiogenesis.
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Old 11th March 2018, 01:15 PM   #94
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
Thanks. I think it very unlikely we're the only life in the universe, or even the galaxy. That would lead to certain anthropic possibilities, if true.
Not necessarily. It just feels like that. It's not that different from the cognitive bias towards the "fine tuning" theory the creationists fall victim to.
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Old 11th March 2018, 01:25 PM   #95
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
Re: the highlighted, nobody claims that, so it's irrelevant.



I don't see points 1-4 being strong enough to make any truly reasonable assumptions about life elsewhere. Too much is still unknown about early Earth and abiogenesis.
That's fine. We disagree on that. At the end of the day we're all guessing. I think it was your use of the word 'intuition' that troubled me. As I explained above, it's not intuition. It's an assumption based on facts and reasonable estimates.
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Old 11th March 2018, 02:27 PM   #96
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
The stuff certain UFO proponents like Whitley Streiber talk about, yeah. It's pretty unbelievable.
It is definitely absurd but not much more so than most UFO reports.

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The general claim that aliens have observed us and/or are observing us is not unbelievable. I wouldn't be surprised if we learned it was true.
If we were being observed / visited I would think there would be evidence. There is not any even remotely credible. Possibilities for which there is no evidence are mere speculation not to be taken seriously.

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Why do you think that makes it "very likely"? What missing evidence do you think should have turned up?
Well you do mention later on Alien spare parts, which have not turned up, or how about Alien garbage, or something like refined Lithium in a tomb etc. The lack of evidence so far doesn't help the hypothesis of such visitations.


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"Zilch" is only disconfirming if there is the expectation of non-zilch. In other words, what missing evidence is there that you think shouldn't be missing? Alien spare parts left behind? A probe beaming hello messages to us? Does SETI's lack of evidence persuade you that there aren't any technologically advanced aliens? I don't think it's persuasive.
I personally think the whole SETI thing rests on far to many assumptions about what Aliens would use in terms of technology. Further it appears that even so the background radiation in space would it appear wash out such signals very effectively. So even if they are out there I don't expect SETI to find them.

And yes I expect that if Aliens are, or have visited us, they would leave evidence. They apparently have not and that is a problem for the idea they have, or still, visit us.

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Yes, which is why it's so hard to assign probabilities, but that cuts both ways regarding any hypotheses about aliens. Have they been here? We can't say probably yes, but that means we can't say probably no, either.
Actually we can say probably no because we have, so far, found no evidence. If you make a claim that Aliens have or still visit us it is up to you to support that claim. If you have no evidence to support it the claim can't be taken seriously.

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It's very hard to generalize from a sample size of one.
As I said my two examples are speculation. I merely raise them has possibilities that may mean intelligent, technological life is rare in the Universe. I have no idea what is in fact true on this question, but I would not assume that they "must" be out there.

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The question isn't whether or not Aliens may exist out there but whether or not they have, or continue to, visit us. And the evidence that they have, or still, visit us is pathetic and basically close to non-existent. So there is no reason to believe in it except has a very unlikely possibility.
That is a claim you need to provide evidence for. So far, you have pointed to a lack of evidence. You need to go further than that.
Are you serious. Are you really asking me to provide evidence that something didn't happen! The evidence that something didn't happen is precisely that there is no evidence it did happen, and the onus is on the person who asserts that X happened to show that X happened. In fact if there had been no Alien visits past or present I would expect us to find no evidence.

For example If I assert that pink Unicorns appeared in my drive way last Sunday and then disappeared. The onus is on me to prove it not on the skeptic to prove it didn't happen. And I don't get to say that the total lack of evidence in support is meaningless and that the skeptic has to prove it didn't happen. Just how he/she is going to do that is a bit problematic if the lack of evidence isn't important.

So yeah, despite decades of research, vast amounts of time devoted to all sorts of efforts to find Alien influence / contact we have ended up with a big fat, so far, zero. So for now the possibility that we have, or are still, being visited is pretty low.
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Old 11th March 2018, 02:42 PM   #97
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Originally Posted by Kings Full View Post
That's fine. We disagree on that. At the end of the day we're all guessing. I think it was your use of the word 'intuition' that troubled me. As I explained above, it's not intuition. It's an assumption based on facts and reasonable estimates.
I don't really have a problem with the word intuitive when used in math/statistics, I guess, because it makes me think of epidemiological models being used and justified by the fact that they make sense on an intuitive level.

See:
Quote:
The first step in examining model performance is usually the assessment of output plausibility (face validity), which consists in asking subject-matter experts if the model output appears reasonable and makes intuitive sense [7,8]. This involves comparisons of model output with expectations based on general knowledge and understanding of the modeled phenomena. Plausibility should be evaluated for a wide range of input conditions and output variables over varying time horizons [8].
Of course, with diseases, the models can have or lack predictive power to confirm or refute the model's validity, whereas with life in other solar systems, we're still stuck with a sample size of one. Like you said, guessing.
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Old 11th March 2018, 03:29 PM   #98
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Originally Posted by Pacal View Post
It is definitely absurd but not much more so than most UFO reports.
This is why his argument fails.

If his statistical analysis suggests alien visitation is probable then it is equally probable that Whitley Strieber had them show up at his house in the woods.
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Old 11th March 2018, 03:44 PM   #99
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
Not necessarily. It just feels like that. It's not that different from the cognitive bias towards the "fine tuning" theory the creationists fall victim to.
One of the reasons multiverse theory is so ascendant is it solves the fine-tuning problem so nicely, and it's mainstream cosmologists like Ethan Siegel who say that, but that's another topic.

If we eventually discovered, somehow, that we were the only life in the entire universe, the suspicion would naturally arise that we didn't just win some highly improbable cosmic jackpot. The fact of us being the only life in the whole universe would be an admission that we inhabit the most special place in the universe, and that kind of specialness would be hard to explain in scientific terms. Even us being the only life in the galaxy seems highly, highly improbable, given how many planets there are. That would be extremely surprising, and in epistemology, surprising results have to explained, and coincidence is usually not a good explanation. It's usually the explanation of last resort because it's so unsatisfying.

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Old 11th March 2018, 03:46 PM   #100
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Originally Posted by Kings Full View Post
That's not even remotely what this thread is about. This thread implies, that there are advanced alien civilizations and that they've visited us here on Earth.

Big difference.
I didn't get that from the OP. I got the impression we should keep an open mind.
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Old 11th March 2018, 03:50 PM   #101
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Originally Posted by Kings Full View Post
That's fine. We disagree on that. At the end of the day we're all guessing. I think it was your use of the word 'intuition' that troubled me. As I explained above, it's not intuition. It's an assumption based on facts and reasonable estimates.
No, it's an intuition, and it's a good one. Here's what's behind it: we currently operate under the assumption that our little part of the universe/galaxy isn't special in any significant way. The laws we observe here should be the same everywhere else. There's nothing that makes this particular backwater of the Milky Way particularly unique. We're a typical planet orbiting a typical star in a typical spiral galaxy.

If we're the only life in the universe or galaxy, then that assumption goes out the window. Then we would have to admit there's something very, very special about this particular spot we inhabit. That would be extremely surprising, hence the intuition that that's probably not the case.

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Old 11th March 2018, 04:01 PM   #102
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
One of the reasons multiverse theory is so ascendant is it solves the fine-tuning problem so nicely, and it's mainstream cosmologists like Ethan Siegel who say that, but that's another topic.

If we eventually discovered, somehow, that we were the only life in the entire universe, the suspicion would naturally arise that we didn't just win some highly improbable cosmic jackpot. The fact of us being the only life in the whole universe would be an admission that we inhabit the most special place in the universe, and that kind of specialness would be hard to explain in scientific terms. Even us being the only life in the galaxy seems highly, highly improbable, given how many planets there are. That would be extremely surprising, and in epistemology, surprising results have to explained, and coincidence is usually not a good explanation. It's usually the explanation of last resort because it's so unsatisfying.
I do see what you mean. I also still wonder if we're just inescapably bound by an "us-centric" bias when considering these matters. I mean, is there another planet exactly like Saturn? Or, is there possibly some uniquely shaped galaxy out there that's the only one? Does uniqueness really imply anything at all?

I suspect stuff like this will remain an ontological mystery for as long as our species survives.
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Old 11th March 2018, 04:07 PM   #103
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
If we're the only life in the universe or galaxy, then that assumption goes out the window. Then we would have to admit there's something very, very special about this particular spot we inhabit.
I think our existence would be special according to our definition of "special", but again, we're not exactly unbiased in coming up with metrics for judging specialness.

I think it could just be the result of something like infinite monkey theorem applied to atoms in "primordial soup", and Earth is where Hamlet was actually written, if that makes sense.
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Old 11th March 2018, 04:13 PM   #104
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Originally Posted by Pacal View Post
It is definitely absurd but not much more so than most UFO reports.



If we were being observed / visited I would think there would be evidence.
Why?

Quote:
There is not any even remotely credible. Possibilities for which there is no evidence are mere speculation not to be taken seriously.
Not at all. There is no evidence that life exists in the Andromeda Galaxy. Are you saying we shouldn't take the possibility of life existing in the Andromeda Galaxy seriously? That would be an odd claim to make.

Do you have any evidence of my gender? No? Does that mean you don't take it seriously the possibility that I'm female?


Possibilities are taken seriously until there are reasons to not take them seriously. The default starting position is agnosticism. Arguments and evidence have to be given to move the needle towards belief or disbelief.


Quote:
Well you do mention later on Alien spare parts, which have not turned up, or how about Alien garbage, or something like refined Lithium in a tomb etc. The lack of evidence so far doesn't help the hypothesis of such visitations.
I drove to the mailbox about an hour ago. I didn't leave any parts behind. I didn't leave a sign for anyone stating that I was at the mailbox. I don't see why aliens would be any different. I can definitely see reasons for them not wanting to alert us to their presence, and being careful to not leave evidence of themselves behind.




Quote:
I personally think the whole SETI thing rests on far to many assumptions about what Aliens would use in terms of technology.

So does your expectation that aliens observing us would leave evidence behind- you assume their machines would break down, and in ways that would be detectable by us. These are just assumptions, and I could easily assume the opposite.

Quote:
Further it appears that even so the background radiation in space would it appear wash out such signals very effectively. So even if they are out there I don't expect SETI to find them.
But you expect that we should find alien spare parts? These two statements are in conflict.

Quote:
And yes I expect that if Aliens are, or have visited us, they would leave evidence. They apparently have not and that is a problem for the idea they have, or still, visit us.
It's only a problem if you buy into certain assumptions you've made. You haven't given any good reasons to think those assumptions should be taken seriously.



Quote:
Actually we can say probably no because we have, so far, found no evidence.
Lack of evidence does not mean you can say "probably, no". Again, you have no evidence of my gender. Am I probably not a girl? Probably not a guy? The lack of evidence of my gender would have you claiming I am both "probably not" male AND "probably not" female, and that would be logically impossible (assuming I'm one or the other).

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If you make a claim that Aliens have or still visit us it is up to you to support that claim.
I haven't made that claim. I have claimed it's a possibility we should take seriously.

Quote:
If you have no evidence to support it the claim can't be taken seriously.
That's not how it works. You have no evidence that I may have recently gone to the store. Is the possibility of me recently going to the store something you can't take seriously? Really, now.

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Old 11th March 2018, 04:18 PM   #105
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
I think our existence would be special (according to our definition of "special", but again, we're not exactly unbiased in coming up with metrics for judging specialness).

I think it could just be the result of something like infinite monkey theorem applied to atoms in "primordial soup", and Earth is where Hamlet was actually written, if that makes sense.
Yeah, when it comes to our existence, it may be impossible to approach the issue in the right way. How can we evaluate the possibilities of our existence when we're logically certain of our own existence? It may be an impossible counterfactual to pull off.

When I was in philosophy years ago, I had a professor who claimed that for these kinds of questions, our reasoning ability breaks down. We're just not able to evaluate them in the proper way. Who knows.
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Old 11th March 2018, 05:44 PM   #106
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Originally Posted by Kings Full View Post
That's not even remotely what this thread is about. This thread implies, that there are advanced alien civilizations and that they've visited us here on Earth.

Big difference.
Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
I didn't get that from the OP. I got the impression we should keep an open mind.
The first two words of the thread title are "Alien Visitation"
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Old 11th March 2018, 05:52 PM   #107
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Originally Posted by P.J. Denyer View Post
The first two words of the thread title are "Alien Visitation"
So?
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Old 11th March 2018, 08:05 PM   #108
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Quote:
Quote:
It is definitely absurd but not much more so than most UFO reports.

If we were being observed / visited I would think there would be evidence.
Why?
Really? I mean really! Just fantasizing that Aliens would leave no trace is just a fantasy. Phenomena leaves traces and given the work that has been done to find such Alien traces it is apparent that the failure to find evidence of said visits on Earth does not help the idea in slightest. Failure to confirm an idea is evidence against an idea.

Quote:
Quote:
There is not any even remotely credible. Possibilities for which there is no evidence are mere speculation not to be taken seriously.
Not at all. There is no evidence that life exists in the Andromeda Galaxy. Are you saying we shouldn't take the possibility of life existing in the Andromeda Galaxy seriously? That would be an odd claim to make.
Bad example. The Andromeda Galaxy is more than two million light years away. Unlike the Earth which is under our feet and which we can and are investigating right now. And guess what so far we have found zero.

Quote:
Do you have any evidence of my gender? No? Does that mean you don't take it seriously the possibility that I'm female?
Really! Are you serious!? There is plenty of evidence on Earth of the existence of Humans and based on that it is reasonable to assume you must be male or female, (Although you could be Intersex.).

Quote:
Possibilities are taken seriously until there are reasons to not take them seriously. The default starting position is agnosticism. Arguments and evidence have to be given to move the needle towards belief or disbelief.
Nope possibilities are only taken seriously when you have produced evidence of some kind until then they are speculation. And in this case despite decades of work there has been a total failure to produce evidence for the claim that we are or have been visited. In which case the claim is not supported and disbelief is the default position.

Quote:
Quote:
Well you do mention later on Alien spare parts, which have not turned up, or how about Alien garbage, or something like refined Lithium in a tomb etc. The lack of evidence so far doesn't help the hypothesis of such visitations.
I drove to the mailbox about an hour ago. I didn't leave any parts behind. I didn't leave a sign for anyone stating that I was at the mailbox. I don't see why aliens would be any different. I can definitely see reasons for them not wanting to alert us to their presence, and being careful to not leave evidence of themselves behind.
In other words you fantasize about reasons they don't leave evidence. A tissue of speculation. As for your trip to the mailbox. I suppose I could talk to the Mail man and determine that he left mail for you and then determine that it was picked up. There is also DNA sampling of the mail box has a possibility.

We know that we humans leave traces of ourselves every where and so does life on Earth. To assume Aliens have some secret something that they don't leave traces is a fantasy, much like pink Unicorns leaving no trace of themselves in my Driveway last week.

Besides since when is a interstellar trip to Earth even remotely like a trip to a mailbox round the corner. Any such technology would be astoundingly advanced. I am utterly puzzled as to why any Alien intelligence would want to hide from us. Again you have to fantasize reasons.

Quote:
Quote:
I personally think the whole SETI thing rests on far to many assumptions about what Aliens would use in terms of technology.
So does your expectation that aliens observing us would leave evidence behind- you assume their machines would break down, and in ways that would be detectable by us. These are just assumptions, and I could easily assume the opposite.
The fantasy that technology can be developed that would not breakdown is a total fantasy that violates physical laws quite outrageously. I can say with confidence that such a technology is extremely unlikely. Frankly lots of Human experience with technology backs this up. Your fantasy assumption that such technology is possible is the assumption that needs proof not what we experience everyday. But if you want to assume such miracles are possible go ahead.

Quote:
Quote:
Further it appears that even so the background radiation in space would it appear wash out such signals very effectively. So even if they are out there I don't expect SETI to find them.
But you expect that we should find alien spare parts? These two statements are in conflict.
Nope they are not. The chances of finding Alien radio signals are low because of the level of background radiation in the Universe washing out such signals if they exist, so that detecting them becomes difficult, if not impossible. Alien physical technology on Earth. if found, would standout like a sore thumb. Say a fragment of super advanced computer technology. A super refined metal that we can't make. Some totally bizarre find in a tomb. ( Say in an Egyptian tomb a piece of refined Lithium metal.) All that would stand out. So would something like a Alien space craft.

Quote:
Quote:
And yes I expect that if Aliens are, or have visited us, they would leave evidence. They apparently have not and that is a problem for the idea they have, or still, visit us.
It's only a problem if you buy into certain assumptions you've made. You haven't given any good reasons to think those assumptions should be taken seriously.
Irony meter exploding. You haven't given anything even approaching a reason why we should take any of your fantasy speculation seriously. Faced with the fact there is no evidence, so far, for the notion we have, or had been, visited you resort to speculation / fantasy. The bottom line is that so far we have no evidence for that idea, despite decades of looking for such evidence, so the default position until we have such evidence is it is speculation not to be taken seriously.

Quote:
Quote:
Actually we can say probably no because we have, so far, found no evidence.
Lack of evidence does not mean you can say "probably, no". Again, you have no evidence of my gender. Am I probably not a girl? Probably not a guy? The lack of evidence of my gender would have you claiming I am both "probably not" male AND "probably not" female, and that would be logically impossible (assuming I'm one or the other).
Again we have plenty of evidence of Human gender on Earth so your comparison is moot. However in the case what we have is despite decades of work a lack of evidence for the idea. And lack of evidence for something, especially if such evidence has been looked for, is seen has evidence that a proposition is not true. Scientists all the time do experiments and if they get negative results or results that disconfirm a certain notion that is evidence that the notion etc., is possibly / probably not true.

Regarding Alien visits. The experiment so far has produced nothing but negative results. So far no archaeological or historical evidence of such visits in the past. Since the late 40s, dozens of studies etc., of UFOs have been done, (So much for the Aliens hiding themselves.), and this evidence doesn't past muster. So it appears we are not being visited now.

I have little doubt the experiment will continue and all to likely with continued negative results.

Quote:
Quote:
If you make a claim that Aliens have or still visit us it is up to you to support that claim.
I haven't made that claim. I have claimed it's a possibility we should take seriously.
And as each year passes and we continue to find zilch; it is a possibility to take less and less seriously. And if the Aliens are indeed so good at hiding and cleaning up after themselves that we cannot find evidence for them. Why should we waste our time on a fruitless speculation that in the end cannot be proven. One might as well chase pink Unicorns who disappear, taking all traces of themselves.

Quote:
Quote:
If you have no evidence to support it the claim can't be taken seriously.
That's not how it works. You have no evidence that I may have recently gone to the store. Is the possibility of me recently going to the store something you can't take seriously? Really, now.
Bad comparison. Going to the store is a mundane, ordinary event, and there is plenty of evidence of people in our world going to the store. A better example is a Witch conjuring up a Demon. And I have little doubt you could easily support a claim of going to the store.

Meanwhile a claim that Aliens have or are visiting us has zero evidence for it. There is no evidence that Aliens have ever visited us. The claim is not supported by evidence and has such it cannot be taken seriously. In this case the onus is the person making the claim to support it and so far we got zilch.

And that is indeed how it works those making the claim have to support it. To get back to the store. Well we do have evidence that you went to the store. Your statement you've gone to the store. And given that going to the store is mundane that is all we generally need to support the claim.

In the case of Alien visits what do we have? Basically nothing but speculation that it might have happened. Not good enough Especially for such a claim.

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Old 12th March 2018, 02:12 AM   #109
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
Thanks. I think it very unlikely we're the only life in the universe, or even the galaxy. That would lead to certain anthropic possibilities, if true.
What do you make of the lack of any mega-engineering structures that could have been spotted by us, for instance dyson spheres?
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Old 12th March 2018, 02:57 AM   #110
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"If there are aliens that are technologically advanced enough to travel between stars or galaxies, they could have visited us. I'm going to assume they have."
"Then why don't we have any evidence?"
"Ah, you see, that's because they're so advanced! The lack of evidence makes it more probable!"

No, just no. Don't try to obfuscate with appeals to probability/possibility, to super advanced undetectable aliens or to skeptical orthodoxy...

Your 'you can't prove it didn't happen, so I'll just fill in any fantasy I like' line of argumentation reminds me of former member King of the Americas, who claimed he knew there were ancient astronauts, Atlanteans and a global industrial civilisation that just vanished.

If you want to claim that advanced space aliens have visited Earth, you provide the evidence.
Otherwise your claims are dismissed as fantasy.
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Old 12th March 2018, 04:08 AM   #111
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
So?
So that might have been a clue that the thread was about visitation by aliens.
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Old 12th March 2018, 04:28 AM   #112
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
Thanks. I think it very unlikely we're the only life in the universe, or even the galaxy. That would lead to certain anthropic possibilities, if true.
No it wouldn't.

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Old 12th March 2018, 04:31 AM   #113
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Originally Posted by Kings Full View Post
That's not even remotely what this thread is about. This thread implies, that there are advanced alien civilizations and that they've visited us here on Earth.

Big difference.
And are currently visiting us but have the technology to remain hidden, a part from when they don't.

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Old 12th March 2018, 09:37 AM   #114
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
The stuff certain UFO proponents like Whitley Streiber talk about, yeah. It's pretty unbelievable.

The general claim that aliens have observed us and/or are observing us is not unbelievable. I wouldn't be surprised if we learned it was true.



Why do you think that makes it "very likely"? What missing evidence do you think should have turned up?



"Zilch" is only disconfirming if there is the expectation of non-zilch. In other words, what missing evidence is there that you think shouldn't be missing? Alien spare parts left behind? A probe beaming hello messages to us? Does SETI's lack of evidence persuade you that there aren't any technologically advanced aliens? I don't think it's persuasive.



Yes, which is why it's so hard to assign probabilities, but that cuts both ways regarding any hypotheses about aliens. Have they been here? We can't say probably yes, but that means we can't say probably no, either.



It's very hard to generalize from a sample size of one.





That is a claim you need to provide evidence for. So far, you have pointed to a lack of evidence. You need to go further than that.
You are right about exrtapolating from a sample of one. OTOH, for life capable of interstellar travel,we currently have a sample of zero. Many humans like to believe that we will eventually have that capability, but we haven't done it yet, and all indications are that if it is possible at all, it is very difficult and very expensive in resources and energy. It seems very unlikely that we, or anyone else, will ever be able to travel between galaxies, or even manage to cross our own. The fact that SETI has so far come up empty makes it likely that there is no one around close enough to make it to earth.

The sheer size of the universe makes it extremely likely, IMO, that we are not alone, but it also makes it almost certain, that unless other intelligent beings happen to be very close to us, that we will never make contact. The key unknown at this point is the density of technological life. If it's in the neighborhood of one per galaxy, or even lower, it is extremely unlikely that we will ever find evidence, through visitation or SETI, that they exist. Even if it is something like 100 per galaxy, there is a good chance that nobody is close enough for us to find evidence that they exist (or they to find evidence that we exist). The fact that it has taken roughly half of the inhabitable life of Earth for technological life to appear certainly suggests that it may be very rare, but that sample of one problem makes it far from certain; possibly the Earth is severely retarded for some reason.

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Old 12th March 2018, 10:27 AM   #115
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
What do you make of the lack of any mega-engineering structures that could have been spotted by us, for instance dyson spheres?
Either alien civs with that kind of engineering prowess are extremely rare (or non-existent), there is no technology that makes such projects feasible, or there are simpler alternatives to meeting a civ's energy needs that we haven't yet discovered.
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Old 12th March 2018, 10:29 AM   #116
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Originally Posted by P.J. Denyer View Post
So that might have been a clue that the thread was about visitation by aliens.
Again, so? A thread can be about alien visitation without endorsing the concept. This is a skeptic's forum. Cherry-picking words is something you'd see on Breitbart. If I start a thread titled "Bitcoin", does that imply I think it's a great idea? Of course not.

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Old 12th March 2018, 10:30 AM   #117
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
No it wouldn't.

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Sure it would. Look up the fine-tuning problem in cosmology.
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Old 12th March 2018, 10:36 AM   #118
Fudbucker
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Originally Posted by CORed View Post
You are right about exrtapolating from a sample of one. OTOH, for life capable of interstellar travel,we currently have a sample of zero. Many humans like to believe that we will eventually have that capability, but we haven't done it yet, and all indications are that if it is possible at all, it is very difficult and very expensive in resources and energy. It seems very unlikely that we, or anyone else, will ever be able to travel between galaxies, or even manage to cross our own. The fact that SETI has so far come up empty makes it likely that there is no one around close enough to make it to earth.

The sheer size of the universe makes it extremely likely, IMO, that we are not alone, but it also makes it almost certain, that unless other intelligent beings happen to be very close to us, that we will never make contact. The key unknown at this point is the density of technological life. If it's in the neighborhood of one per galaxy, or even lower, it is extremely unlikely that we will ever find evidence, through visitation or SETI, that they exist. Even if it is something like 100 per galaxy, there is a good chance that nobody is close enough for us to find evidence that they exist (or they to find evidence that we exist). The fact that it has taken roughly half of the inhabitable life of Earth for technological life to appear certainly suggests that it may be very rare, but that sample of one problem makes it far from certain; possibly the Earth is severely retarded for some reason.
It would not be very difficult to accelerate a small probe to 10%C. Such probes would also not require a lot of resources to build, and could be designed to replicate themselves. Even probes travelling at 1%C could travel the width and breadth of the galaxy in a fairly short amount of time, beaming hello signals, homing in on interesting systems, and sending reports back to whoever sent them. Either there are no such probes, or they haven't reached us yet, or they're doing something other than beaming hello messages.
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Old 12th March 2018, 04:16 PM   #119
JimOfAllTrades
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
What is your evidence that any of that speculation is "extremely remote/impossible"? Alien visitation via probes would not be much of a challenge. We're almost there right now. Give us a hundred more years, and we'll be sending out probes to nearby systems.
The post I responded to wasn't talking about unmanned (unaliened?) probes, that’s your strawman. The post was speculation that if there were lots of alien civilizations that had a million years to advance, then maybe they could figure out “a way to get around traveling faster than light”. Then because they could get to earth in a short time that would mean the chances they had been here (the aliens had been here, not their probes) was “probably not that improbable”.

As far as we can tell, FTL travel is extremely unlikely. You can’t hand wave that away by simply speculating about lots of ET civilizations taking lots of time.
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Old 12th March 2018, 05:08 PM   #120
Fudbucker
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Originally Posted by JimOfAllTrades View Post
The post I responded to wasn't talking about unmanned (unaliened?) probes, that’s your strawman. The post was speculation that if there were lots of alien civilizations that had a million years to advance, then maybe they could figure out “a way to get around traveling faster than light”. Then because they could get to earth in a short time that would mean the chances they had been here (the aliens had been here, not their probes) was “probably not that improbable”.

As far as we can tell, FTL travel is extremely unlikely. You can’t hand wave that away by simply speculating about lots of ET civilizations taking lots of time.
You're right, I should have caught that.
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