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Old 12th March 2018, 05:16 PM   #121
Roboramma
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
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.
Sure, but I put more credence on the idea that the laws of thermodynamics hold than that they don't.
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Old 12th March 2018, 05:30 PM   #122
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Any argument about the possibility of alien life in the universe is predicated entirely on pure speculation. There is no evidence. All we can do is imagine possibilities that are based on nothing tangible -mere guesses, really. We have absolutely no real information that would inform the discussion.

Is it possible that aliens have visited us? We can't even answer that simple question with any certainty. However, we can say that we have no idea how we would ever travel at or close to the speed of light. This means that we cannot speculate about any other more advanced society's ability to do so. At the current state of knowledge, it seems near impossible. Given that physics is the same throughout the universe, it would seem impossible for anyone else. Thus, all we can really say about the matter is that it's near impossible.

We can speculate that at some point it will be possible; but, that's all it is -speculation. It may very well be impossible. Or it may be theoretically possible but requires resources that are unobtainable or so vast that we cannot utilize them. There are way too many unknowns.

All of that would be moot if there was a credible shred of evidence that another civilization from far far away has actually visited us -but there isn't. All UFO proponents have is crap evidence and speculation. Great for fiction but not at all reflective of reality.
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Old 12th March 2018, 05:34 PM   #123
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
Sure it would. Look up the fine-tuning problem in cosmology.
Fine tuning is an illusion, not a problem.
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Old 12th March 2018, 05:50 PM   #124
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Originally Posted by xjx388 View Post
All UFO proponents have is crap evidence and speculation.
Some of the evidence really isn't what I'd call crap. There truly is some perplexing stuff in some of the declassified documents, but at the end of the day, that could theoretically be something like a government hoax perpetrated for unknown reasons. I'm sill thinking mass hysteria is a likely culprit. But when the possible explanations are kind of outlandish, too, the evidence itself isn't overly awful.
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Old 12th March 2018, 06:44 PM   #125
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Originally Posted by JimOfAllTrades View Post
The post I responded to wasn't talking about unmanned (unaliened?) probes, thatís 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 ďa way to get around traveling faster than lightĒ. 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 ďprobably not that improbableĒ.

As far as we can tell, FTL travel is extremely unlikely. You canít hand wave that away by simply speculating about lots of ET civilizations taking lots of time.
I came to this thread to post something similar: the sheer incomprehensible distances involved and the hard light speed limit really make interstellar travel very very problematic. And thats just the time-distance stuff, the energy requirements for moving stuff at any appreciable fraction of c is tough too, you cant get away from k=mv2.

So hand waving 'alien technology' is exactly as valid as saying 'we live in the matrix'. I mean sure, it could be true, and the laws of physics could be wrong, but if you have to resort to pink unicorns to make your theory fly its not something that has to be taken seriously.
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Old 12th March 2018, 06:48 PM   #126
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Originally Posted by mifune View Post
I came to this thread to post something similar: the sheer incomprehensible distances involved and the hard light speed limit really make interstellar travel very very problematic. And thats just the time-distance stuff, the energy requirements for moving stuff at any appreciable fraction of c is tough too, you cant get away from k=mv2.

So hand waving 'alien technology' is exactly as valid as saying 'we live in the matrix'. I mean sure, it could be true, and the laws of physics could be wrong, but if you have to resort to pink unicorns to make your theory fly its not something that has to be taken seriously.
Long-distance trips at sub-light speeds would not be a problem for machine intelligences. Or, at least, not as much a problem.
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Old 12th March 2018, 07:37 PM   #127
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Figuring out how alien civilizations would behave and where they could come from after thousands of years of advancement requires certain knowledge in physics and philosophy that we don’t entirely have. While I’m personally convinced that we have some insightful data on actual “aliens”, it’s apparent that it’s generally difficult to verify due to the nature of the phenomenon. The best advice I can give to UFOlists is to be careful with assumptions, as the phenomenon is incredibly complex and misunderstood. The same very much applies to certain cryptids and parapsychological phenomena.

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Old 12th March 2018, 08:33 PM   #128
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Originally Posted by Aqua View Post
Figuring out how alien civilizations would behave and where they could come from after thousands of years of advancement requires certain knowledge in physics and philosophy that we donít entirely have. While Iím personally convinced that we have some insightful data on actual ďaliensĒ, itís apparent that itís generally difficult to verify due to the nature of the phenomenon. The best advice I can give to UFOlists is to be careful with assumptions, as the phenomenon is incredibly complex and misunderstood. The same very much applies to certain cryptids and parapsychological phenomena.
Nicely put, welcome to the forum.
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Old 12th March 2018, 08:35 PM   #129
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
Long-distance trips at sub-light speeds would not be a problem for machine intelligences. Or, at least, not as much a problem.

Long distance, extremely long duration interstellar travel, preferably by very small machines is probably the most realistic theory of interstellar travel. I will say just the sheer scale of the galaxy makes it still highly improbable imo. Also another long scale to consider is time of course, in that 99.999% of all the time that life has existed on earth there was no civilisation to see. With all the long timescales and long distances just how serendipitous would it be for robot aliens to visit right now?

But also this scenario severely limits the scope of supposed human alien interaction. If an alien machine probe surveyed the solar system a couple of million years ago (which is in itself a very near miss on a cosmological timescale) what evidence or effect could there be to us now? So while not impossible in the literal sense I think the very extreme low chance of a visit in the first place plus the lack of any evidence such a visit has ever happened makes it just a thought experiment.

Overall I think alien AI probes are good science fiction (ie. no pink unicorns), but not a reasonable explanation of supposed UFO evidence.
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Old 12th March 2018, 09:11 PM   #130
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Originally Posted by mifune View Post
Long distance, extremely long duration interstellar travel, preferably by very small machines is probably the most realistic theory of interstellar travel. I will say just the sheer scale of the galaxy makes it still highly improbable imo. Also another long scale to consider is time of course, in that 99.999% of all the time that life has existed on earth there was no civilisation to see. With all the long timescales and long distances just how serendipitous would it be for robot aliens to visit right now?
Telescopic observations of our atmosphere would have revealed tell-tale signatures of life hundreds of millions of years ago. If life is a rare phenomenon, that would have made us worthy of a probe or two. If only for self-preservation reasons.

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But also this scenario severely limits the scope of supposed human alien interaction. If an alien machine probe surveyed the solar system a couple of million years ago (which is in itself a very near miss on a cosmological timescale) what evidence or effect could there be to us now? So while not impossible in the literal sense I think the very extreme low chance of a visit in the first place plus the lack of any evidence such a visit has ever happened makes it just a thought experiment.

Overall I think alien AI probes are good science fiction (ie. no pink unicorns), but not a reasonable explanation of supposed UFO evidence.
I don't know if there would be any interactions. I think we would be worth keeping an eye on. We devote a lot of resources along those lines. I don't think it would be outrageous to suppose an alien civ might be somewhat curious about alien life.
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Old 12th March 2018, 09:29 PM   #131
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Originally Posted by Aqua View Post
Figuring out how alien civilizations would behave and where they could come from after thousands of years of advancement requires certain knowledge in physics and philosophy that we donít entirely have.
Given that we have exactly zero knowledge about what might be possible in our own distant future or what could be possible for more advanced civilizations (or even if advanced civs exist), we have entirely nothing at all.
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While Iím personally convinced that we have some insightful data on actual ďaliensĒ, itís apparent that itís generally difficult to verify due to the nature of the phenomenon.
Explain this. What what insightful data do we have on actual aliens?
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The best advice I can give to UFOlists is to be careful with assumptions, as the phenomenon is incredibly complex and misunderstood. The same very much applies to certain cryptids and parapsychological phenomena.
Yes...these are all things built on zero evidence and pure speculation.
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Old 12th March 2018, 09:45 PM   #132
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
I don't know if there would be any interactions. I think we would be worth keeping an eye on. We devote a lot of resources along those lines. I don't think it would be outrageous to suppose an alien civ might be somewhat curious about alien life.
For sure.

But I think it would be outrageous (in the sense that it it is outrageously unlikely) to suppose an alien civ is observing us without any evidence.
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Old 12th March 2018, 10:00 PM   #133
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The "puddle" argument never gets stronger, no matter how many times I see it in different words.
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Old 12th March 2018, 10:08 PM   #134
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Originally Posted by mifune View Post
For sure.

But I think it would be outrageous (in the sense that it it is outrageously unlikely) to suppose an alien civ is observing us without any evidence.
Why? What missing evidence would you expect to see?
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Old 13th March 2018, 12:41 AM   #135
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
Sure it would. Look up the fine-tuning problem in cosmology.
And again no it wouldn't.
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Old 13th March 2018, 12:44 AM   #136
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
Long-distance trips at sub-light speeds would not be a problem for machine intelligences. Or, at least, not as much a problem.
How do you know?
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Old 13th March 2018, 02:32 AM   #137
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
How do you know?
Because there are no necessary constraints on their longevity.
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Old 13th March 2018, 02:38 AM   #138
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
Fine tuning is an illusion, not a problem.
There is certainly some argument that the fine tuning problem isn't really a problem. There is also argument in the other direction. All within physics. I don't think the issue is resolved, as you seem to think.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fine-t...of_fine-tuning
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Old 13th March 2018, 02:38 AM   #139
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Alien existence is not supported by Bayesian Statistics: in the absence of any proof, there is no reason to believe they have ever visited earth or been detected by humans.
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Old 13th March 2018, 02:39 AM   #140
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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.
After your little exchange with Darat I don't really know what he's saying because I'm not clear what you are saying here. What anthropic possibilities do you think it would lead to?
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Old 13th March 2018, 02:44 AM   #141
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One of the biggest problems in terms of travel between the stars, even by machine probes, aside from questions of how much time it would take and if given the time would it be worth it, (After all if a probe takes 1,000 years to reach the nearest star; it likely will not be considered very sensible to send one.) is the problem of speed and space debris.

Space is indeed overwhelming empty but there are particles, atoms scattered all through. At extremely low density but still there. Any object traveling at high speed, even a small fraction of the speed of light would be severely damaged by collisions with such debris / particles. After all going a 90% the speed of light and hitting even an atom would cause quite an explosion. Even super hard metals etc., would erode under such a bombardment. Even the current craft we've sent outside our solar system traveling at relatively low speeds with over the eons be damaged. eroded by collisions with the interstellar debris. High speeds would accelerate such erosion, probably to the point of destruction in a relatively short time.

The conclusion is that for interstellar travel we would need something like Star Treks deflector dish and it would have to be a near perfect working technology, not subject to breakdowns except extremely rarely. (Under .001%) Certainly a very high speeds say more than 5% the speed of light they would be essential. Even a brief failure of a fraction of a second would be a disaster at such speeds. I suspect that such a technology is not very likely for quite sometime if at all.
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Old 13th March 2018, 02:59 AM   #142
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
There is certainly some argument that the fine tuning problem isn't really a problem. There is also argument in the other direction. All within physics. I don't think the issue is resolved, as you seem to think.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fine-t...of_fine-tuning
I've yet to encounter a compelling argument that the "survivor bias" theory is wrong. The fine tuning theory hinges on the statistical improbability of what's being observed, and essentially declares it on par with a "miracle".

Which, ok, fine, but the mind-boggling improbability of any of us individuals alive on earth right now existing is also so unlikely it should qualify as miraculous by those standards. Trillions and trillions of sperms and coincidences, rainstorms altering behaviors to make the procreation times just so to have the ancestors going back hundreds of thousands of years, millions with prehuman ancestor species, etc. It's too much to even wrap your mind around. The improbability is as close to infinite as possible.

I don't mind the pantheistic "everything is miraculous and divine" interpretation of existence, but I don't think it's a necessary insight for accepting what exists to just be, either.
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Old 13th March 2018, 02:59 AM   #143
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Originally Posted by Pacal View Post
Any object traveling at high speed, even a small fraction of the speed of light would be severely damaged by collisions with such debris / particles.

You need to define "even a small fraction of the speed of light".

For instance, 100km/s can get you to a nearby star in 1500 years. And you're not going to have to worry too much about space debris.
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Last edited by Roboramma; 13th March 2018 at 03:05 AM. Reason: To add quoted text to make clear who I was responding to, since kelly posted while I was typing.
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Old 13th March 2018, 03:03 AM   #144
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
I've yet to encounter a compelling argument that the "survivor bias" theory is wrong. The fine tuning theory hinges on the statistical improbability of what's being observed, and essentially declares it on par with a "miracle".

Which, ok, fine, but the mind-boggling improbability of any of us individuals alive on earth right now existing is also so unlikely it should qualify as miraculous by those standards. Trillions and trillions of sperms and coincidences, rainstorms altering behaviors to make the procreation times just so to have the ancestors going hundreds of thousands of years, etc. It's too much to even wrap your mind around.

I don't mind the pantheistic "everything is miraculous and divine" interpretation of existence, but I don't think it's a necessary insight for accepting what exists to just be, either.
I may be wrong, but I don't think Fudbucker, or anyone else, is talking about fine-tuning in the sense of an argument for theism. Rather that there is an issue with the fine tuning of the constants that needs to be resolved. The anthropic principle is such a resolution, but it requires that there is a large enough space in which the constants vary from which we find ourselves as a single example.

Similarly the anthropic principle resolves the question of why it is that the earth happens to be within the habitable zone - if it weren't we wouldn't have evolved here. But if there were no other stars or planets we'd still be faced with the problem.
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Old 13th March 2018, 03:09 AM   #145
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
I may be wrong, but I don't think Fudbucker, or anyone else, is talking about fine-tuning in the sense of an argument for theism. Rather that there is an issue with the fine tuning of the constants that needs to be resolved. The anthropic principle is such a resolution, but it requires that there is a large enough space in which the constants vary from which we find ourselves as a single example.

Similarly the anthropic principle resolves the question of why it is that the earth happens to be within the habitable zone - if it weren't we wouldn't have evolved here. But if there were no other stars or planets we'd still be faced with the problem.
I see the argument as extremely similar to the one for theism, just falling back on a different "universe's mechanism of the gap" than the "god of the gap" of creationism.

When you say "...there is an issue with the fine tuning of the constants that needs to be resolved" what issue are you referring to besides the extremity of the improbability?
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Old 13th March 2018, 03:16 AM   #146
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
I see the argument as extremely similar to the one for theism, just falling back on a different "universe's mechanism of the gap" than the "god of the gap" of creationism.
I'm not really sure what you are saying here. There is independent reason to think that the universe is much larger than the observable universe. Inflation gives a mechanism whereby there may be very large completely separate regions that behave very differently and string theory (again completely independent of the fine tuning issues) gives a space of possible geometries in which something like 10100 different version of the physical constants could be realised.

Each of these things have independent reasons to think they may be accurate. There is no "universe's mechanism of the gap" that I can see.

Quote:
When you say "...there is an issue with the fine tuning of the constants that needs to be resolved" what issue are you referring to besides the extremity of the improbability?
I'm referring exactly to the extremity of the improbability.
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Old 13th March 2018, 05:48 AM   #147
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
You need to define "even a small fraction of the speed of light".

For instance, 100km/s can get you to a nearby star in 1500 years. And you're not going to have to worry too much about space debris.
By small fraction I mean 1% of the speed of light. And has for traveling 1500 years at 100km/s, aside from the issue of making equipment that will be operational for that period of time. A big technical hurdle. There is also the issue of the fact the space between stars is loaded with radiation, that can have rather unpleasant effects on equipment given say 30 years+. And of course traveling a 100km/s is very fast and I suspect the damage from space particle would pile up and over 1500 years and seriously damage a space probe. After all hitting even a grain of sand while traveling at 100km/s would be quite the hit. Hence since space has in a dusting of particles, the need for a deflector dish.

The nearest star is Proxima Centauri 4.24 light years. The Deep Space 1 mission rocket was able to boost it's speed to 56,000km/h or about 15.5km/s. Now at that speed it would take c. 81,000 years to reach Proxima Centauri. At 200km/s it would take c. 6,250 years and double that at 100km/s.

Since traveling at such a speed for such a long period of time would, without a deflector dish, almost certainly cause significant damage to say nothing of keeping the probes equipment working.
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Old 13th March 2018, 06:56 AM   #148
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
Long-distance trips at sub-light speeds would not be a problem for machine intelligences. Or, at least, not as much a problem.
The last time you made that statement in this thread I responded with:

Originally Posted by Kings Full View Post
And there's one of the FM pills I spoke of earlier.

In my post that you quoted I'm sure you noticed that I granted y'all 10x SoL. Well, lets talk about practical realistic speeds. Say .75 SoL. Now, do the math on that and come back and tell me how any civilization, regardless how advanced, is going to build machines that can last and be functional over those time frames.

For that matter, tell me how to build a machine that could last and be functional for the time frames around 10x SoL.

It's a bowl full of wishful thinking sprinkled with 'ifs' and fairy dust.
I guess you didn't see it because you certainly didn't respond to it.
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Old 13th March 2018, 08:17 AM   #149
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Originally Posted by Pacal View Post
By small fraction I mean 1% of the speed of light. And has for traveling 1500 years at 100km/s, aside from the issue of making equipment that will be operational for that period of time. A big technical hurdle.
I certainly agree that it's a big technical hurdle.
Here's a machine that has been working for close to 5,000 years:
https://www.livescience.com/29152-ol...-in-world.html


Quote:
There is also the issue of the fact the space between stars is loaded with radiation, that can have rather unpleasant effects on equipment given say 30 years+. And of course traveling a 100km/s is very fast and I suspect the damage from space particle would pile up and over 1500 years and seriously damage a space probe. After all hitting even a grain of sand while traveling at 100km/s would be quite the hit. Hence since space has in a dusting of particles, the need for a deflector dish.
Or at least some sort of shielding, I certainly agree.

Quote:
Since traveling at such a speed for such a long period of time would, without a deflector dish, almost certainly cause significant damage to say nothing of keeping the probes equipment working.
I would expect the probe to be self-repairing by necessity.
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Old 13th March 2018, 08:36 AM   #150
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Near-lightspeed ships would probably coat their bow with ice as a shield, which can be increased with total speed to guarantee a sufficiently thick layer.
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Old 13th March 2018, 10:01 AM   #151
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
After your little exchange with Darat I don't really know what he's saying because I'm not clear what you are saying here. What anthropic possibilities do you think it would lead to?
Start from the fact that, if true we're the only life in the universe, we inhabit the most special place in the universe. That would lead to a similar situation we're in now, wrt fine-tuning: either we got really, really lucky, or we're part of a huge ensemble of universes and we just happen to be in one of the few where the values of the physical constants support life.

Since there are tons of other planets, people would probably opt for the coincidence hypothesis, as they do now. It would still be exceedingly strange that life is so rare it only happened in one spot in the universe. THAT would lead a lot of people to conclude it wasn't an accident, and I'm not sure their reasoning would be wrong. I might start a thread in R&P on that.
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Old 13th March 2018, 10:19 AM   #152
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Originally Posted by Kings Full View Post
The last time you made that statement in this thread I responded with:



I guess you didn't see it because you certainly didn't respond to it.
You said
Quote:
It's a bowl full of wishful thinking sprinkled with 'ifs' and fairy dust.
I don't find that argument compelling. You sound like the apocryphal 1800's patent clerk who was convinced no more patents needed to be issued because everything had already been invented. There won't be a useful exchange of ideas between us.
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Old 13th March 2018, 10:21 AM   #153
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
Near-lightspeed ships would probably coat their bow with ice as a shield, which can be increased with total speed to guarantee a sufficiently thick layer.
How about a series of baffles in front of the probe that could absorb and disperse the energy of running into the occasional speck of dust?
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Old 13th March 2018, 10:38 AM   #154
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
I've yet to encounter a compelling argument that the "survivor bias" theory is wrong. The fine tuning theory hinges on the statistical improbability of what's being observed, and essentially declares it on par with a "miracle".

Which, ok, fine, but the mind-boggling improbability of any of us individuals alive on earth right now existing is also so unlikely it should qualify as miraculous by those standards. Trillions and trillions of sperms and coincidences, rainstorms altering behaviors to make the procreation times just so to have the ancestors going back hundreds of thousands of years, millions with prehuman ancestor species, etc. It's too much to even wrap your mind around. The improbability is as close to infinite as possible.

I don't mind the pantheistic "everything is miraculous and divine" interpretation of existence, but I don't think it's a necessary insight for accepting what exists to just be, either.
It depends on the conditions required for your continued survival to be possible. I'll give you a scenario:

Suppose I'm to be executed, but my executioners, for some reason, have given me a small chance of survival. A random number generator will spit out a number between 1 and 100 quadrillion right before the poison hits my veins. If a 2 pops up, I get to live.

I close my eyes, wait for my imminent death...and it doesn't happen. A 2 popped up. Now, are you claiming I'm not going to question why I'm still alive? Of course I am. I'm going to naturally conclude the random number generator wasn't so random after all, and it was rigged in my favor. If you do the Bayesian calculus, the hypothesis that someone rigged things in my favor is far more likely than the "I just got lucky" one.

If you don't agree, I can just tweak the RNG so that the range of values becomes so large that believing in the coincidence explanation for my survival becomes absurd.
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Old 13th March 2018, 10:41 AM   #155
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
Start from the fact that, if true we're the only life in the universe, we inhabit the most special place in the universe.
I just think specialness, like meaning, is a human-created construct.
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Old 13th March 2018, 10:43 AM   #156
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
You said

I don't find that argument compelling. You sound like the apocryphal 1800's patent clerk who was convinced no more patents needed to be issued because everything had already been invented. There won't be a useful exchange of ideas between us.
I can see how you'd feel that way. I apologize if you were offended and retract that statement. I will go back and edit that post to remove it completely if you wish.

Would you now consider answering my questions?

And if you would indulge me a bit further...

Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
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.
Could you do the math on that hilited statement so that I know you know the time frame involved and would still classify it as 'a fairly short amount of time'. Lets assume the diameter of the Milky Way is 100K light years for this example.

Thanks.
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Old 13th March 2018, 10:47 AM   #157
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Originally Posted by Kings Full View Post
I can see how you'd feel that way. I apologize if you were offended and retract that statement. I will go back and edit that post to remove it completely if you wish.

Would you now consider answering my questions?

And if you would indulge me a bit further...



Could you do the math on that hilited statement so that I know you know the time frame involved and would still classify it as 'a fairly short amount of time'. Lets assume the diameter of the Milky Way is 100K light years for this example.

Thanks.
I wasn't offended. I just figured your mind was made up. I'll respond. Lot of breaking news on the politics front at the moment.
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Old 13th March 2018, 11:32 AM   #158
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
Why? What missing evidence would you expect to see?
Wrong way around... What evidence is there?

You don't get to reverse the burden of proof (and then handwave what people say with appeals to 'superior alien tech').
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Old 13th March 2018, 11:42 AM   #159
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kings Full View Post
And there's one of the FM pills I spoke of earlier.

In my post that you quoted I'm sure you noticed that I granted y'all 10x SoL. Well, lets talk about practical realistic speeds. Say .75 SoL. Now, do the math on that and come back and tell me how any civilization, regardless how advanced, is going to build machines that can last and be functional over those time frames.
If I knew how, I would invent them myself. I don't think it's a stretch to claim that an alien civ more advanced than us will also have discovered more advanced engineering principles. Look at how cars and planes have improved in the last 100 years. Compare Turing's code-breaking engine or ENIAC to modern day computers. It shouldn't be surprising that a more advanced civ would have more robust spacecraft than we currently have. In fact, the opposite would be very surprising: a technologically advanced race that builds crummy probes that constantly break down? That sounds far-fetched.

And there are ways of overcoming the occasional failure. Someone suggested self-repairing probes. The most obvious solution would be to just send multiple probes. If the anticipated failure rate is say, 50%, then send 10 probes. One will almost certainly make it.

Last edited by Fudbucker; 13th March 2018 at 11:53 AM.
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Old 13th March 2018, 11:52 AM   #160
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
I just think specialness, like meaning, is a human-created construct.
It's a human-created concept, but then all concepts are. Poker is always useful. Suppose you sit down at a game and the dealer deals himself a royal flush. That's a very special hand. You might think the dealer was cheating. You might not. Assume he deals himself another royal flush. And another. Eventually, you would leave.

But the probability of a specific royal flush is the same as any specific junk hand. It's just five particular cards. It's possible he's on an incredible hot streak. But royal flush hands are special, in a way that junk hands aren't, because they confirm an alternative hypothesis to "the dealer is dealing fairly": "The dealer is cheating". It's the same reasoning we use to conclude a particular coin isn't fair after getting ten heads in a row. HHHHHHHHHH has the same probability as HHTTTHTHHT, but one result is special while the other isn't.

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