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Old 13th March 2018, 11:54 AM   #161
Porpoise of Life
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Yeah, nice story... But you can't give a probability for alien visitation because there are no data...

No amount of conjecture is going to convince anyone without any evidence.
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Old 13th March 2018, 11:55 AM   #162
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
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
I would not call a tree a machine. Further it isn't hurdling through space at 100km/s, bombarded by intense radiation, and hitting inter-galactic "dust" at very high speeds. The tree wouldn't last long. Even the most extreme environments on Earth are no-where has extreme has space. And we are talking of enduring those conditions for thousands of years.


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Or at least some sort of shielding, I certainly agree.
A deflector dish would be better, if it could be kept functioning. The problem with a shield is that space would erode it over time. So maybe a combination of deflector, and shield has a back-up would be best


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I would expect the probe to be self-repairing by necessity.
I agree; the problem is still that the self-repair function would quite literally have to be near perfect and very very rarely break down. Given trips lasting thousands of years such technology is, well, Science Fiction.

What we need to make such a thing happen is breakthrough in terms of computer technology and super durable materials. Not impossible, but unlikely for quite some time if at all.
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Old 13th March 2018, 11:56 AM   #163
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Originally Posted by Porpoise of Life View Post
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').
The burden of proof is on the person claiming we should deviate from a position of agnosticism regarding any claim. My claim is alien visitation is something we should be open-minded about (i.e., agnosticism) I don't need evidence for that. That's the default starting position.

If YOU want to move the needle towards skepticism or belief about alien visitation, YOU must provide argumentation/evidence.
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Old 13th March 2018, 11:58 AM   #164
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Can we prove aliens haven't visited us? No. Can we be reasonably sure aliens have never visited us? Yes.
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Old 13th March 2018, 12:03 PM   #165
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Originally Posted by Porpoise of Life View Post
Yeah, nice story... But you can't give a probability for alien visitation because there are no data...

No amount of conjecture is going to convince anyone without any evidence.
I dunno - people seem to take various figures being plugged in to the Drake Equation seriously, even though the numbers are mostly pulled out of people's nether regions.
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Old 13th March 2018, 12:05 PM   #166
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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.
Nor for telemetric intelligences with machine peripherals.
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Old 13th March 2018, 12:11 PM   #167
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
The burden of proof is on the person claiming we should deviate from a position of agnosticism regarding any claim. My claim is alien visitation is something we should be open-minded about (i.e., agnosticism) I don't need evidence for that. That's the default starting position.

If YOU want to move the needle towards skepticism or belief about alien visitation, YOU must provide argumentation/evidence.
You keep suggesting that you think it's likely that aliens are visiting us, and you keep bringing up analogies in favor of that position, about dealing cards, and the probability of guessing a human's gender correctly, and you keep making excuses that amount to 'with sufficiently advanced technology, your objection would be invalid'...

But when questioned you retreat to 'but I never said that I really believe it, I'm just agnostic.'

If that's true, great, we both don't know and the discussion ends until evidence emerges. But somehow I doubt you'll stop making a case for alien visitors.
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Old 13th March 2018, 12:16 PM   #168
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Originally Posted by Porpoise of Life View Post
You keep suggesting that you think it's likely that aliens are visiting us, and you keep bringing up analogies in favor of that position, about dealing cards, and the probability of guessing a human's gender correctly, and you keep making excuses that amount to 'with sufficiently advanced technology, your objection would be invalid'...

But when questioned you retreat to 'but I never said that I really believe it, I'm just agnostic.'

If that's true, great, we both don't know and the discussion ends until evidence emerges. But somehow I doubt you'll stop making a case for alien visitors.
I have not suggested that. I've made it clear we should be agnostic about it. The data isn't there to say yay or nay. I've made this point multiple times.
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Old 13th March 2018, 12:19 PM   #169
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
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.
It's only a stretch when you state it as a categorical fact. Which you have done. You can't think of how this could be done because it's an unreasonable proposition.

And FTR, multiple probes and/or redundancy are a far cry from self-repairing.

I asked you to do the math on one of your statements and since you didn't I will. Traveling at 1% C it would take 10M years to traverse the diameter of the Milky Way. No one considers that a 'fairly short amount of time'. I would go so far as to say that only a handful of people think a machine could be built, by any civ, that would last and still be functional over that time frame. You seem to be one of those people.

I have an opinion on these matters but I'm very open to new ideas/evidence/data that would alter my opinion. I 'wish' that intra-galactic travel were possible. I'm all for it. I just don't let that desire color my thinking.

Respectfully, your arguments on this are not compelling in the least.
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Old 13th March 2018, 12:25 PM   #170
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Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
I dunno - people seem to take various figures being plugged in to the Drake Equation seriously, even though the numbers are mostly pulled out of people's nether regions.
I don't think that's an accurate description. Drake's equation is based on assumptions but it's not pulled out of people's nether regions. It's based on some facts and some reasonable guesses.

And I'm not aware of anyone that points to the results and claims they are 'fact'. It's understood that it's a best guess/assumption/statistical likelihood at best. And all are aware that there's no proof.
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Old 13th March 2018, 12:42 PM   #171
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Originally Posted by Kings Full View Post
It's only a stretch when you state it as a categorical fact. Which you have done.
I haven't stated anything as a categorical fact. I've made references to our own technological innovations and suggested an alien race more advanced than us would have more advanced and reliable machines. Is there anything there you disagree with? Do you think they would have LESS reliable machines? Machines that are JUST AS reliable as us? That would be odd, wouldn't it?

Quote:
You can't think of how this could be done because it's an unreasonable proposition.
I can't think about how this could be done because future technological advances are, by definition, unknowable. If we knew what they were, they wouldn't be taking place in the future, they'd be happening now.

We have some general ideas of how a probe might be accelerated to a fraction of C and survive the journey. None of those ideas seems particularly impossible or improbable. It would be an engineering challenge, but then so was building and launching our own probes, landing people on the moon, and sending a rover to Mars. Technological innovation is the norm, not the exception.

You're supposing a technologically advanced race of alien morons. I don't find that compelling.

Quote:
And FTR, multiple probes and/or redundancy are a far cry from self-repairing.
I wasn't comparing them to self-repairing. I was claiming that if you really want something to get somewhere, and the anticipated failure rate is X, then you would send Y amount of ships. Isn't this a sound strategy for overcoming expected failures? Of course it is.

Quote:
I asked you to do the math on one of your statements and since you didn't I will. Traveling at 1% C it would take 10M years to traverse the diameter of the Milky Way. No one considers that a 'fairly short amount of time'. I would go so far as to say that only a handful of people think a machine could be built, by any civ, that would last and still be functional over that time frame. You seem to be one of those people.
In geological terms, it's a small percentage of the history of the Earth. On those scales, yes it's a short amount of time. Terms like "long" and "short" are always comparative and in this discussion, the boundaries are the entire history of the Earth, which is billions of years. So yes, ten million years out of over four billion years is a small percentage.

I agree with you that a machine lasting that long is improbable. However, Von Neumann already has addressed this objection: just have the machines make more of themselves. It's not like the natural resources required are scarce. The galaxy is full of raw materials. The alien civ doesn't have to last millions of years for the machines to do their job. The machines would do their job and send back reports regardless of whether anyone was there to receive them.

Quote:
I have an opinion on these matters but I'm very open to new ideas/evidence/data that would alter my opinion. I 'wish' that intra-galactic travel were possible. I'm all for it. I just don't let that desire color my thinking.
I think my original impression of you was accurate.
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Old 13th March 2018, 12:51 PM   #172
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Because there are no necessary constraints on their longevity.
Of course there are, they may in some ways be more "robust" than our biological machine intelligence but they still suffer from entropy.

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Old 13th March 2018, 12:52 PM   #173
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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?
God of the gaps of course.

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Old 13th March 2018, 12:59 PM   #174
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
I haven't stated anything as a categorical fact.
I beg to differ...

Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
It would not be a problem for machine intelligences.


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.


Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
I can't think about how this could be done because future technological advances are, by definition, unknowable. If we knew what they were, they wouldn't be taking place in the future, they'd be happening now.
You're, as another poster put it, dismissing any argument with a wave of the hand while pointing at advanced civs. IOW, you offer nothing.


Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
In geological terms, it's a small percentage of the history of the Earth.
I suspected you'd go there. You're a bit predicable. No geologist would ever say that 10M years is a 'fairly short amount of time' as you did in fact say. They would only say that 'in terms of geology, it's a short time'. Big difference.
Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
I agree with you that a machine lasting that long is improbable. However, Von Neumann already has addressed this objection: just have the machines make more of themselves. It's not like the natural resources required are scarce. The galaxy is full of raw materials. The alien civ doesn't have to last millions of years for the machines to do their job. The machines would do their job and send back reports regardless of whether anyone was there to receive them.
No one argues that the raw materials aren't common. But finding them, mining them, processing them and then using that to make replacement parts is, well, unreasonable for a 'probe' to do. Especially over a 10M year span. Surely you see that.


Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
I think my original impression of you was accurate.
No, it wasn't. You're just not able to address any issues with your own statements/beliefs/wishes that don't support your conclusion and therefore project certain biases to those that do.
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Old 13th March 2018, 02:08 PM   #175
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Originally Posted by Kings Full View Post
I beg to differ...
You're right I've stated obvious facts as facts, such as the future is unknowable and machines are hardier than biological organisms. Where do I get off making these ridiculous assumptions?

Good lord, are you going to have a time of it here. Or at least you would during the forum's heyday. Nowadays? You'll probably fit right in.
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Old 13th March 2018, 02:34 PM   #176
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
You're right I've stated obvious facts as facts, such as the future is unknowable and machines are hardier than biological organisms. Where do I get off making these ridiculous assumptions?

Good lord, are you going to have a time of it here. Or at least you would during the forum's heyday. Nowadays? You'll probably fit right in.
:sigh:

Perhaps I will, but you're arguments never will. I'm thankful for that.
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Old 13th March 2018, 03:01 PM   #177
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
Why? What missing evidence would you expect to see?
Any?

As far as I can tell there is no evidence at all for alien visitation (excluding weak anecdotal evidence, which is much better explained by cultural phenomena/optical illusions/mental illness/other mundane stuff).

Re: robot probes etc: The fact you can imagine a scenario which is maybe not impossible whereby there are alien visitors means nothing in itself. And all such speculation is highly debatable of course, I think robot probes are not totally impossible but still so infinitesimally unlikely to add up to a big so what?

Its like the Matrix, it could be true, so could any other number of weird philosophical thought experiments, but if someone really believed we are alien batteries living in VR you would probably think them an idiot.
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Old 13th March 2018, 03:06 PM   #178
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Originally Posted by mifune View Post
Any?

As far as I can tell there is no evidence at all for alien visitation (excluding weak anecdotal evidence, which is much better explained by cultural phenomena/optical illusions/mental illness/other mundane stuff).
That, of course, does not make it unlikely. You have no evidence whether I ever visited Canada. Does your lack of evidence make it unlikely that I ever visited Canada? You don't think that, do you?

Quote:
Re: robot probes etc: The fact you can imagine a scenario which is maybe not impossible whereby there are alien visitors means nothing in itself. And all such speculation is highly debatable of course, I think robot probes are not totally impossible but still so infinitesimally unlikely to add up to a big so what?
Evidence for this claim?

Quote:
Its like the Matrix, it could be true, so could any other number of weird philosophical thought experiments, but if someone really believed we are alien batteries living in VR you would probably think them an idiot.
I don't think Elon Musk is an idiot. I certainly don't think Nick Bostrom is.
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Old 13th March 2018, 03:15 PM   #179
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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. 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.

There is an interesting discussion to be had about plausible(ish) interstellar travel, but more in the context of hard sci-fi than the truthiness of UFO's.

I mean I like the idea of a post technology civilisation uploading itself to computers inside an interstellar asteroid and going on a slow tour of some local stars, but I dont consider it an at all likely scenario lol.
What is undoubtable is that even sending a nano probe to just the next star system is going to be extremely difficult, perhaps impossible. The idea of aliens traveling about the galaxy secretly spying on alien civilisations is absurd.
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Old 13th March 2018, 03:18 PM   #180
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Originally Posted by mifune View Post
What is undoubtable is that even sending a nano probe to just the next star system is going to be extremely difficult, perhaps impossible. The idea of aliens traveling about the galaxy secretly spying on alien civilisations is absurd.
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Old 13th March 2018, 03:37 PM   #181
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
That, of course, does not make it unlikely. You have no evidence whether I ever visited Canada. Does your lack of evidence make it unlikely that I ever visited Canada? You don't think that, do you?
But you are being disingenuous here, lets substitute Mars for Canada, do you think I have ever visited Mars? Please explain your reasoning carefully.

Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
Quote:
Re: robot probes etc: The fact you can imagine a scenario which is maybe not impossible whereby there are alien visitors means nothing in itself. And all such speculation is highly debatable of course, I think robot probes are not totally impossible but still so infinitesimally unlikely to add up to a big so what?
Evidence for this claim?
What claim? Clearly I am giving my opinion not making a claim of fact, its sloppy of you to try and equivocate opinions and claims of fact.

But the reasoning for my opinion is obvious really, the extreme engineering challenges that would face such a task. As many posters have in this thread have already explained at length - the distances and timescales we are talking about make interstellar travel a maybe impossible task.

Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
Quote:
Its like the Matrix, it could be true, so could any other number of weird philosophical thought experiments, but if someone really believed we are alien batteries living in VR you would probably think them an idiot.
I don't think Elon Musk is an idiot. I certainly don't think Nick Bostrom is.
You probably should do when it comes to that specific question. In most regards Musk is not an idiot, when it comes to making stupid pronouncements about living in VR he actually is though. Or do you yourself think we are living in VR? I mean I just assumed you don't think that, but maybe I am wrong?

But what is really telling about your comment is that Musk is very much an outlier in his belief (if true, we have to trust journalists on this) - and he is not a software engineer, or cosmologist, or philosopher, or any other related profession that might have some vaguely relevant expertise, he is just a famous 'sciency' guy who happens to think this unusual thing. Why on earth would you trust his authority in this matter in the first place?

But more to the point lets say he was some amazing authority on VR - Why would you trust any source (let alone an outlier) without published and peer reviewed evidence? Everyone is wrong about something, even geniuses. When it comes to science shattering ideas you definitely need real verifiable repeatable evidence, I dont care if Einstein says it , I don't believe we live in VR without real evidence. Unless you are just used to cherry picking sources and 'evidence' regardless of robustness or reliability in the first place I guess?
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Old 13th March 2018, 03:54 PM   #182
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Originally Posted by mifune View Post
But you are being disingenuous here, lets substitute Mars for Canada, do you think I have ever visited Mars? Please explain your reasoning carefully.
Not at all. You were making a claim that because there is no evidence for something (e.g., alien visitation), we should view it as unlikely. Are you claiming that if there is no evidence for X, X is unlikely? That's not your claim. Is it? Because that is demonstrably wrong.

Regarding Mars, you are a person and no person has every visited Mars, so your claim can be rejected because of prior knowledge.

Now, let's apply that to possible alien life. What prior knowledge do we have? None. The possibility of alien visitation has nothing against it. It violates no known scientific truths. It correlates with no prior knowledge. It is a claim with no evidence for it and none against it. About such claims, we must be agnostic.

Concerning the impossibility of interstellar travel, we already have a probe in interstellar space.
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Old 13th March 2018, 04:17 PM   #183
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
Not at all. You were making a claim that because there is no evidence for something (e.g., alien visitation), we should view it as unlikely. Are you claiming that if there is no evidence for X, X is unlikely? That's not your claim. Is it? Because that is demonstrably wrong.
And you specifically chose a likely thing (traveling from the US to Canada) in order to make their argument sound ridiculous (and visits from aliens seem probable).


Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
Now, let's apply that to possible alien life. What prior knowledge do we have? None. The possibility of alien visitation has nothing against it. It violates no known scientific truths. It correlates with no prior knowledge. It is a claim with no evidence for it and none against it. About such claims, we must be agnostic
.
Neither do unicorns, but you don't hear me saying we should believe in those pretend to be agnostic about them...

Heck, let's take a completely mundane example(and completely fictitious, so the biology might be wildly off base here...).
Let's say someone claims there are blue frogs on Borneo.
We know frogs exist, we know blue frogs exist, and we know there are frogs on Borneo. We've just never seen a blue frog on this island.
Now, if someone wants to discuss the particular mating rituals of these frogs with me, I'd ask them to provide evidence that these frogs even exist. A pretext of being agnostic about it wouldn't make discussing the behavior of purely hypothetical frogs any more sensible.

And that's just earth creatures about which most variables are known.
If someone wants to discuss the motivation of advanced space aliens for secretly hovering over our fields, and how their spaceships work, I'm going to ask them to provide evidence for the existence of these creatures first.

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Old 13th March 2018, 04:24 PM   #184
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
Concerning the impossibility of interstellar travel, we already have a probe in interstellar space.
This is such a strawman as not to be relevant. V1 just recently left our solar system some 50 + years after being launched. Your equating this to interstellar travel is ludicrous at best. Disingenuous is the most likely explanation.

Why is it that you can't acknowledge the facts of physics, the vastness of space or the fact that there is no evidence of any of the things you seem to propose?
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Old 13th March 2018, 04:38 PM   #185
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
I haven't stated anything as a categorical fact. I've made references to our own technological innovations and suggested an alien race more advanced than us would have more advanced and reliable machines. Is there anything there you disagree with? Do you think they would have LESS reliable machines? Machines that are JUST AS reliable as us? That would be odd, wouldn't it?
Machines are more durable/reliable than humans, no one would dispute that. But you canít take that simple fact and extrapolate this to mean that a machine can be engineered to undertake thousands/millions of years long interstellar travel. That is quite a leap. More to the point, itís pure speculation based only on what you imagine might be possible.

Beyond that, you have to posit a civilization more advanced than our own. We have no evidence that such a thing exists; thus, we cannot reliably speculate on what kind of tech they might have.

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I can't think about how this could be done because future technological advances are, by definition, unknowable. If we knew what they were, they wouldn't be taking place in the future, they'd be happening now.
Right! You can imagine such future tech but you canít base a theory of interstellar travel by alien civs on stuff you are pulling from your imagination. I feel like Iím getting Punkíd somehow and this thread is actually some kind of creative writing workshop for sci-fi writers.



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We have some general ideas of how a probe might be accelerated to a fraction of C and survive the journey. None of those ideas seems particularly impossible or improbable. It would be an engineering challenge, but then so was building and launching our own probes, landing people on the moon, and sending a rover to Mars. Technological innovation is the norm, not the exception.



You're supposing a technologically advanced race of alien morons. I don't find that compelling.
. At the moment, an advanced race of aliens is completely imaginary. I donít find imaginary aliens and whatever imaginary tech they might have to be compelling as support for assessing the probability of said aliens actual existence. I am a fan of Star Trek, though!



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In geological terms, it's a small percentage of the history of the Earth. On those scales, yes it's a short amount of time. Terms like "long" and "short" are always comparative and in this discussion, the boundaries are the entire history of the Earth, which is billions of years. So yes, ten million years out of over four billion years is a small percentage.



I agree with you that a machine lasting that long is improbable. However, Von Neumann already has addressed this objection: just have the machines make more of themselves. It's not like the natural resources required are scarce. The galaxy is full of raw materials. The alien civ doesn't have to last millions of years for the machines to do their job. The machines would do their job and send back reports regardless of whether anyone was there to receive them.
We need to be concerned with the relevant timescale and geologic time is not it. We need to think in anthropological timeframes. No human civilization has lasted longer than a few thousand years -if we are being generous in how we define that. Homo sapiens themselves have only been around for about 300k years or so. So what we are actually talking about is a timescale much, much longer than human beings have existed. From our perspective, that is an incredibly vast expanse of time.


Think of it from a human perspective: why would we spend all that time, effort and money to develop a self-replicating probe capable of traveling for a million years or more? There is no guarantee that a civ a million years from now will 1)Exist, 2)Know about a probe some incredibly ancient humans sent out or 3)Have the tech to read the signals it might send back. So the big question is, why would any civ do this if that civ isnít likely to get any benefit or result from it?
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Old 13th March 2018, 04:39 PM   #186
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
Not at all. You were making a claim that because there is no evidence for something (e.g., alien visitation), we should view it as unlikely. Are you claiming that if there is no evidence for X, X is unlikely? That's not your claim. Is it? Because that is demonstrably wrong.

Regarding Mars, you are a person and no person has every visited Mars, so your claim can be rejected because of prior knowledge.
Stop right there, that is some special pleading! How do you know no-one has ever visited Mars? The possibility of me secretly visiting Mars has nothing against it. It violates no known scientific truths. It correlates with no prior knowledge. It is a claim with no evidence for it and none against it. About such claims, we must be agnostic.

Concerning the impossibility of me visiting mars, we already have a humanoid on the way to mars.[/specious argument]

Of course, I agree its actually reasonable for you to think I haven't been to Mars. You dress the logic of this up with this strange idea of 'prior knowledge' - which seems like a get out clause like 'common sense'. But if you were honest you would see that we have the exact same prior knowledge about aliens as we do about me visiting mars. Technically neither is impossible. But its much more feasible that I could have been to mars, if still so unlikely as to be regarded as practically impossible.

[and for all you know you are talking to an elderly astronaut who was part of the secret mars mission in '75, we have actually sent stuff to mars so you don't really know know if this is true at the end of the day, going to mars is probably doable with our current technology which makes it way more likely than imaginary-scifi-technology-uncurious-random aliens]

In any case, all that counts is evidence, if there is no evidence then we can say that something has effectively not happened. The more outlandish and speculative the idea the more you need to have evidence.

Or do you believe in Invisible Pink Unicorns? This cannot be the first time you have come across this argument, even in this thread lol. Yet you have no answer for it, which makes me question your intellectual honesty.

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Old 13th March 2018, 04:52 PM   #187
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Originally Posted by mifune View Post
Stop right there, that is some special pleading! How do you know no-one has ever visited Mars? The possibility of me secretly visiting Mars has nothing against it. It violates no known scientific truths. It correlates with no prior knowledge. It is a claim with no evidence for it and none against it. About such claims, we must be agnostic.

Concerning the impossibility of me visiting mars, we already have a humanoid on the way to mars.[/specious argument]

Of course, I agree its actually reasonable for you to think I haven't been to Mars. You dress the logic of this up with this strange idea of 'prior knowledge' - which seems like a get out clause like 'common sense'. But if you were honest you would see that we have the exact same prior knowledge about aliens as we do about me visiting mars. Technically neither is impossible. But its much more feasible that I could have been to mars, if still so unlikely as to be regarded as practically impossible.

[and for all you know you are talking to an elderly astronaut who was part of the secret mars mission in '75, we have actually sent stuff to mars so you don't really know know if this is true at the end of the day, going to mars is probably doable with our current technology which makes it way more likely than imaginary-scifi-technology-uncurious-random aliens]

In any case, all that counts is evidence, if there is no evidence then we can say that something has effectively not happened. The more outlandish and speculative the idea the more you need to have evidence.

Or do you believe in Invisible Pink Unicorns? This cannot be the first time you have come across this argument, even in this thread lol. Yet you have no answer for it, which makes me question your intellectual honesty.
ROFL!

"In probability theory and statistics, Bayes' theorem (alternatively Bayes' law or Bayes' rule) describes the probability of an event, based on prior knowledge of conditions that might be related to the event."

Good lord this sub-forum has gone downhill.
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Old 13th March 2018, 05:12 PM   #188
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Originally Posted by Kings Full View Post
This is such a strawman as not to be relevant. V1 just recently left our solar system some 50 + years after being launched. Your equating this to interstellar travel is ludicrous at best. Disingenuous is the most likely explanation.

Why is it that you can't acknowledge the facts of physics, the vastness of space or the fact that there is no evidence of any of the things you seem to propose?
You're arguing with a person who, in essence, argues for the Brains in Vats concept as being not only possible, but more likely than not. Many of his arguments boil down to solipsism too. Read up on his many posts in R&P for evidence.



Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
ROFL!

"In probability theory and statistics, Bayes' theorem (alternatively Bayes' law or Bayes' rule) describes the probability of an event, based on prior knowledge of conditions that might be related to the event."

Good lord this sub-forum has gone downhill.
Mainly due to poor reasoning that posters like you display, copiously.

Your self-selective emphasis on "agnosticism is the default view for everything except the things that I decide aren't" is a good example as seen in this thread (and recently pointed out).
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Old 13th March 2018, 05:20 PM   #189
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
ROFL!

"In probability theory and statistics, Bayes' theorem (alternatively Bayes' law or Bayes' rule) describes the probability of an event, based on prior knowledge of conditions that might be related to the event."

Good lord this sub-forum has gone downhill.

its all about context.

In the context of Bayes theory prior knowledge means something. Outside of that context...

This is what prior knowledge means with regards to bayes theorem:
P(A|B)= ( P(A) * P(B|A) ) / ( P(B))

where A and B are events and P ( B ) ≠ 0
- P(A|B) means the probability of event A occurring given that event B is true
- P(B|A) means the probability of event B occurring given that event A is true

So what values are you using for P(A), P(B), P(A|B) and P(B|A) when you say that prior knowledge excludes me having gone to Mars?


As far as this sub-forum going downhill... I dunno, its always had a good selection of crackpots, ******** and pedants, I think its about the same as it ever was.
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Old 13th March 2018, 06:49 PM   #190
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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. 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.
That doesn't make any sense. Whatever the chances of life arising within our observable universe were, that's what they were.

If we are the only example of life in that volume, then it's reasonable to think that within any subset of that volume the chances of life arising were small, but within the whole volume the chances were large enough that you'd expect life to have arisen on something of the order of once in 13 billion years.

If you have a lottery that one million people play and only one person wins that doesn't mean that it was unlikely that anyone would win. It just means that the odds of a win were probably somewhere in the order of 1 in a million.
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Old 13th March 2018, 06:57 PM   #191
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Originally Posted by Pacal View Post
I would not call a tree a machine. Further it isn't hurdling through space at 100km/s, bombarded by intense radiation, and hitting inter-galactic "dust" at very high speeds. The tree wouldn't last long. Even the most extreme environments on Earth are no-where has extreme has space. And we are talking of enduring those conditions for thousands of years.
Sure, a tree is different from a space-ship. I didn't think that needed mentioning. You made an objection that engineering a machine that could keep running for thousands of years was a difficult (perhaps unsolvable?) problem. But a tree is a machine in just that sense. Now, do the added challenges of getting a machine to run in space, travelling from one system to another at high velocity and exposed to radiation, make that challenge unsolvable?
That's a question that I certainly haven't answered. My point is simply that it's possible for a machine to run for thousands of years, and a tree is an example of that.

Another example I used once: let some goats loose on an island. You've got a milk making machine that can run for millions of years. There's certainly some chance that it will break before you come back looking for it, but there's also some chance that it will be working millions of years from now.

And I honestly do think that the example of how life solves this problem of continuing to function for thousands, millions, and yes even billions of years, may be how this sort of problem needs to be solved. Self-repair, redundancy, etc.
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Old 14th March 2018, 08:05 AM   #192
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
That doesn't make any sense. Whatever the chances of life arising within our observable universe were, that's what they were.

If we are the only example of life in that volume, then it's reasonable to think that within any subset of that volume the chances of life arising were small, but within the whole volume the chances were large enough that you'd expect life to have arisen on something of the order of once in 13 billion years.

If you have a lottery that one million people play and only one person wins that doesn't mean that it was unlikely that anyone would win. It just means that the odds of a win were probably somewhere in the order of 1 in a million.
Yeah, the fact that there are a lot of planets would seem to make it reasonable to believe in coincidence, but wouldn't you be very surprised to learn we're the only life in the universe? I like Arthur C. Clarke's take on that: "Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.Ē That "surprise" would have to be explained. Maybe coincidence would work, maybe not.
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Old 14th March 2018, 08:14 AM   #193
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Originally Posted by Kings Full View Post
It's based on some facts and some reasonable guesses.
If the guesses were all that reasonable, you wouldn't have so many people giving so many wildly different values.

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And I'm not aware of anyone that points to the results and claims they are 'fact'. It's understood that it's a best guess/assumption/statistical likelihood at best. And all are aware that there's no proof.
Neither I nor the post I was replying to used either of the words "fact" nor "proof".

Instead I was replying to two statements - the first being that you can't give a probability without data; people do use the Drake equation to calculate probability, despite there being no data for some of the variables. The second being that nobody will be convinced by conjecture without evidence, which is also refuted by people taking the Drake equation seriously - not to mention that this entire board is dedicated to debating ideas that people are convinced by despite a lack of evidence.
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Old 14th March 2018, 09:29 AM   #194
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Originally Posted by The Norseman View Post
You're arguing with a person who, in essence, argues for the Brains in Vats concept as being not only possible, but more likely than not. Many of his arguments boil down to solipsism too. Read up on his many posts in R&P for evidence.



Well, that explains why my head hurts.
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Old 14th March 2018, 10:05 AM   #195
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Sure, a tree is different from a space-ship. I didn't think that needed mentioning. You made an objection that engineering a machine that could keep running for thousands of years was a difficult (perhaps unsolvable?) problem. But a tree is a machine in just that sense. Now, do the added challenges of getting a machine to run in space, travelling from one system to another at high velocity and exposed to radiation, make that challenge unsolvable?
That's a question that I certainly haven't answered. My point is simply that it's possible for a machine to run for thousands of years, and a tree is an example of that.

Another example I used once: let some goats loose on an island. You've got a milk making machine that can run for millions of years. There's certainly some chance that it will break before you come back looking for it, but there's also some chance that it will be working millions of years from now.

And I honestly do think that the example of how life solves this problem of continuing to function for thousands, millions, and yes even billions of years, may be how this sort of problem needs to be solved. Self-repair, redundancy, etc.
You're playing fast and loose with the definition of 'machine' which you don't need to make your point, so I'm not sure why you're confusing the issue by doing so.

First a tree is a 'machine' and then a goat herd is also a 'machine.' Not in the sense that is being used here, so that's why it was thought fit to mention it explicitly.


Originally Posted by Kings Full View Post
Well, that explains why my head hurts.
Yes, you will do nothing but bang it against the wall when it comes to a handful of posters here who are guided by some sort of wishful thinking and erroneous logic (some of that category also love to denigrate critical thinking and take potshots at their strawman versions of critical thinkers or try and twist a simple, straightforward statement into fitting their woo du jour).
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Old 14th March 2018, 11:35 PM   #196
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Originally Posted by The Norseman View Post
You're playing fast and loose with the definition of 'machine' which you don't need to make your point, so I'm not sure why you're confusing the issue by doing so.

First a tree is a 'machine' and then a goat herd is also a 'machine.' Not in the sense that is being used here, so that's why it was thought fit to mention it explicitly.
I don't see how it's not a machine in the sense being used here. Perhaps you could explain that important distinction.

ETA Let me put it this way. Let's say we've got an island and someone comes up with a challege: I want to be able to go to this island 10,000 years from now and get some milk. So some people try to meet that challenge and try to concoct machines to do the job. They come up with a chemical process that produces milk, and ingenious solutions to reduce the wear and tear on the machine, but no one can get the thing to actually be resilient enough to last for 10,000 years. Some people think of putting it in some sort of stasis from which it will be brought online by a clock, or some sort of astronomical event, but again 10,000 years is just too long, and they can't get it to work with any real confidence that it will last. I decide to use the high technology that's already been developed called life, which makes use of self-repair, and redundancy, which has a process that builds new machines such that poorly built or worn out ones can be destroyed without worrying about the whole completely breaking down. It may still end up broken by the end of 10,000 years (maybe all my goats die in a flood or famine, maybe some preditor gets loose on the island and wipes them out, or climactic conditions change and they can no longer survive in this changed habitat), but there's some relatively high probability that 10,000 years from now you will be able to go to this island and, with some effort, get yourself some milk.

Now you can object and say "that's not a machine", and maybe even by some definition you have a point. But it doesn't change that fact that after 10,000 years the goats will be there. If we have a solution to long term space travel that uses similar principles to what allows life to continue to work over the course of millions of years, I don't care so much about what we call that solution, as long as it can get to that other star system and do what we want it to do.
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Old 14th March 2018, 11:38 PM   #197
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
Yeah, the fact that there are a lot of planets would seem to make it reasonable to believe in coincidence, but wouldn't you be very surprised to learn we're the only life in the universe? I like Arthur C. Clarke's take on that: "Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.Ē That "surprise" would have to be explained. Maybe coincidence would work, maybe not.
I would be surprised, but not from first principles. I'd be surprised because I think we have some (weak) evidence that life isn't that rare. But it's also not strong enough for me to make a firm conclusion either way.

But again I'm still not really clear what you think the implications for the anthropic principle would if we found that we were the only example of life in the universe.
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Old 15th March 2018, 03:24 AM   #198
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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.
It doesn't even have to be things we haven't discovered. The Dyson Sphere idea builds on the idea that you just extrapolate our current (actually our current in the 1980ties) energy consumption. But as we have already seen, it needs not grow like that. My current home consumption of energy is a mere fraction of what it was twenty years ago, and that was way below what it was 40 years ago. My car has twice the mileage of some of my earlier, etc.

Advanced civilizations may not be needing any exotic energy sources.

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Old 15th March 2018, 03:29 AM   #199
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The only thing advanced civilizations will need massive amounts of energy for is space travel itself.
If they manage to build a Space Elevator, escaping a planet's gravity well will basically cost nothing.
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Old 15th March 2018, 03:44 AM   #200
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
The burden of proof is on the person claiming we should deviate from a position of agnosticism regarding any claim. My claim is alien visitation is something we should be open-minded about (i.e., agnosticism) I don't need evidence for that. That's the default starting position.

If YOU want to move the needle towards skepticism or belief about alien visitation, YOU must provide argumentation/evidence.
Agreed. Lacking useful data, even on probability, our position must be undetermined.

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