Was it a horrible idea to send signals into space?

5 hours ago, Linguica said:

You should read this sci-fi trilogy, it is literally about this exact question https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remembrance_of_Earth's_Past

Yeah, instantly thought of this when I saw the thread title. I read that series last year and totally ate it up.

 

The series (especially the second book) makes some inferences on what communication between interstellar civilizations would be like, given the huge distances and lag times for communication and travel, and throws in a little bit of natural selection to draw some conclusions about how such communications should be conducted... Without spoiling anything, it's really brilliant in execution. I'd really recommend it to anyone interested in this question. 

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5 hours ago, Linguica said:

You should read this sci-fi trilogy, it is literally about this exact question https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remembrance_of_Earth's_Past

 

14 minutes ago, skillsaw said:

Yeah, instantly thought of this when I saw the thread title. I read that series last year and totally ate it up.

 

The series (especially the second book) makes some inferences on what communication between interstellar civilizations would be like, given the huge distances and lag times for communication and travel, and throws in a little bit of natural selection to draw some conclusions about how such communications should be conducted... Without spoiling anything, it's really brilliant in execution. I'd really recommend it to anyone interested in this question. 

Well now I know what I'm going to be reading next.

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6 hours ago, Linguica said:

You should read this sci-fi trilogy, it is literally about this exact question https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remembrance_of_Earth's_Past

I'll have to check those out.

 

Other hard-scifi I've read in a similar vein:

 

Gregory Benford's Galactic Center Saga - 'Great Sky River' & 'Tides of Light' are probably the two most accessible of the six books.

 

Greg Bear's 'Forge of God' & 'Anvil of Stars'

 

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I've always been sceptical of the whole "advanced civilisations exist out there" thing (that doesn't mean I don't think aliens aren't real/are impossible to exist), but life isn't a movie. Why would aliens want to attack Earth? If they're "advanced" people, then they should know perfectly well, there are other, more cleaner methods of engagement.

But the universe is billions of light years huge and probably even more. By the time the signal reaches any advanced being out there, it'll have decayed a lot from its original state, and then there's the problem of whether or not they can decipher the signal.

Although let's face it. The only thing that's harmful to us is our bad habits and poor decisions.

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Something else I've just thought of: Define "good idea". Does an idea's "good" status depend on its outcome, or on its determination?

 

It's like in a chance game: if you choose a course of action calculated to be the most likely to succeed, and it fails, was it a bad idea? Of course not... So I'd say if we have reason to believe that attracting the attention of an alien race will benefit us, then it's a good idea, no matter how it turns out.

 

But I don't think that's the case. I'm kinda with Voros -- we're probably just wasting our resources trying.

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Show them some good old rock music and classic. Also, the best 250 movies of history, I think they could love us.

(Hide all the thousands of bad things tho).

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1 minute ago, Anidrex_1009 said:

Also, the best 250 movies of history, I think they could love us.

(Hide all the thousands of bad things tho).

Us: Here's a great movie called Gladiator!

Aliens: What's it about?

Us: Hundreds of years ago people made other people fight each other to the death for amusement.

Aliens: That sounds terrible!

Us: Yeah, let's have you watch Anne Frank instead.

Aliens: What's that about?

Us: A few decades ago, this guy named Hitler tried to exterminate people who didn't meet his standards of perfection.

Aliens: What have you humans been up to since forever??!?

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Us: How about Independence Day?
Alien: What's it about?
Us: Aliens invading Earth and basically trying to kill off all the humans.

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9 hours ago, Ajora said:

Yes, it was a bad idea. The movie Pixels never should have been made. 

I blame Futurama for inspiring that movie.

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42 minutes ago, 42PercentHealth said:

Us: Here's a great movie called Gladiator!

Aliens: What's it about?

Us: Hundreds of years ago people made other people fight each other to the death for amusement.

Aliens: That sounds terrible!

Us: Yeah, let's have you watch Anne Frank instead.

Aliens: What's that about?

Us: A few decades ago, this guy named Hitler tried to exterminate people who didn't meet his standards of perfection.

Aliens: What have you humans been up to since forever??!?

Us: We are.. ehm... we like diversity. Here look at this game.

pK0FQ5R.gif   They will pretty much love us... cough.

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I think we should build a great wall to keep the aliens out.

 

2 hours ago, Voros said:

I've always been sceptical of the whole "advanced civilisations exist out there" thing (that doesn't mean I don't think aliens aren't real/are impossible to exist), but life isn't a movie.
[...]
Although let's face it. The only thing that's harmful to us is our bad habits and poor decisions.

100% agreed.

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As if any thing will understand our signals.

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If they are capable of feeling advanced emotions and individual thinking then I'll be a little concerned as they may think like us.

 

We fight or flight, naturally xenophobic, strategic and creative. Dangerous. If the Aliens are in a really good position then we may be cool.

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A lot of people seem to imagine that aliens will be like Europeans, and we'll be Indians, which is scary enough, but there's also a possibility that these hypothetical aliens will be so advanced we'll be like animals to them. Say, ants. You know our relationship with ants, right? It largely depends on where the colony is located. It can be somewhere in the forest, out of view, bothering no one.

 

Or it might be under your favorite apple tree.

 

5 hours ago, Voros said:

(that doesn't mean I don't think aliens aren't real/are impossible to exist)

That... sounds like one negation too many.

 

5 hours ago, Voros said:

Although let's face it. The only thing that's harmful to us is our bad habits and poor decisions.

Being a better person might shield you from a lot of trouble, but it won't stop a brick falling on your head. Or, say, death of the universe.

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The closest aliens might not have the technology to find transmissions from a certain distance, they might not even be as advanced as us.

Edited by Avoozl

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Let's apply some logic.

 

The universe is around 13.8 billion years old. That does not mean life could have had 13.8 billion years to develop. In the beginning, there was only hydrogen. To have any chemistry at all, more complex atoms had to form first, born in the furnaces of the first stars. Our sun is a Population I star, meaning 3rd (yeah: third) generation of star types. It is 4.6 billion year old. Let's be generous and say that these type of stars and thus the abundance of metallic atoms to make complex chemistry possible have been around for 10 billion years.

 

Forming of planets? A given. Forming of the first complex molecules that eventually give rise to life? Inevitable. This process has been observed and we find evidence of these kind of molecules even on wandering asteroids. Complex chemistry follows. Mathematical models have proven that selection and divergence at that stage is not only possible, but inevitable. We're now edging up to "chemical life", meaning we can point out some sustained chemical processes that has some, but not all characteristics of life. Very likely the first 'cells' were actually bubble cavities in rock or mud, in which these chemical processes took place.

 

Up to now, we're talking about chemistry. So it is extremely likely you're going to find you're going to find complex chemistry up to this "chemical life" on most planets with similar conditions.

 

Then we make the jump from "chemical life" to "biological life".  This just means that life's chemistry is now fully contained within itself, and can duplicate. So, how likely is this jump?

 

From here on, we'll be using Earth to estimate the odds. Except, a pool of size = 1 makes for very lousy guesses. But we can guestimate the likelihood of stuff happening based on the time it took to happen, and how often it developed independently. For example: sabertooth cats. After several extinctions we have unearthed evidence of mega fauna evolving and predators with large canines to hunt them. We find evidence of sabertooth cats for these epochs, so they have evolved more than once. So we can guestimate it likely that this trait is likely to develop given the right circumstances.

 

Ok, so the jump from chemical to biological life. How fast did this happen on Earth? Well, almost immediately. The oldest rocks we can find, ~4.2 billion year old, already contain traces of life. This is, geologically speaking, in a blink of an eye after the Earth cooled down sufficiently. A mere 300 million years after the Sun itself formed..!  And most early life is already very very complex. Sure, it's all still single-celled... but it has different structures which are thought to have developed independently - most famously our mitochondria - and have come together in a single self-contained biological entity. Based on this, it makes the emergence of biological life from chemical life extremely likely.

 

Oxygen was a toxic waste product of this life. About a billion years in, this accumulated toxin killed most life in what is known was the Great Oxygenation Event. Some extremophiles were able to metabolize that stuff... and they are the ancestors of us all. Photosynthesis appeared. This also happened multiple times. There are around 3 chemical pathways discovered, with 2 still in use today.

 

This might very well turn out to be a major bottleneck for life elsewhere.  Life NEEDS stable conditions. And stable means not static conditions but active recycling. For our present day, this is the right amount of oxygen and carbondioxide in the air, to drive photosynthesis. This means recycling: carbon & oxygen is released in the air, trapped in the rocks or in other processes, submerges with tectonic activity and is released again in volcanic eruptions.  In about 600-800 million years, this cycle is interrupted on Earth by decreased tectonic activity and increased solar luminosity... up to the point where photosynthesis is no longer physically possible and all multi-cellular life will go extinct. So all life has a window, or rather several windows. If it misses the jump from one equilibrium to the next equilibrium, it will go extinct right there and then.

 

Then, eukaryotes. This took another 1.5 billion years to evolve. Then, finally, multi-cellular life... which took yet another 500 million years. So >65% of all life's history on Earth was single-celled life. We also know from science that a key compound that allowed organisms to develop multicellularity consists of two parts, a 'key' and a 'lock'. And we know from analysis that these two parts evolved separately for probably different purposes, bridged by millions of years.  This makes this jump another major bottleneck.

 

Sexual reproduction comes later, around 500 million years after the birth of multi cellular life. Then it goes fast. Less than a billion years later, the first life on land appears. Life explodes. The dinosaurs rule for 250 million years, which is 50% of the total time multi cellular life exists on land. Mammals pop up a hundred million years or so later after the first dinosaur, flowering plants a few more hundred million years later.

 

So to recap: multi-cellular land-based life first appeared after 90% of the total time Earth existed had elapsed. Or 95.5% of the total time we estimate that the right kind of atoms were available to make chemistry possible.

 

So my guess is that, if were hypothetically able to explore the universe, we would find chemical life almost everywhere, single-celled life quite often but dwarfed by more traces of extinct single-cell life, and the very rare occasion of extinct multi-cellular life, and the even rarer occasion of thriving multi-cellular life. Most of that would be in oceans. Land-based multi-cellular life would be extremely rare, the stuff of myths.

 

Intelligence? It has evolved before, but not so much in the form we humans would recognize it as such. And even we humans experienced two bottlenecks in which we almost went extinct. Even if there's intelligent life out here, the vast distances involved ensure we will never know of eachother's existence.

 

 

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On 29/9/2017 at 5:50 AM, 42PercentHealth said:

Us: Here's a great movie called Gladiator!

Aliens: What's it about?

Us: Hundreds of years ago people made other people fight each other to the death for amusement.

Aliens: That sounds terrible!

Us: Yeah, let's have you watch Anne Frank instead.

Aliens: What's that about?

Us: A few decades ago, this guy named Hitler tried to exterminate people who didn't meet his standards of perfection.

Aliens: What have you humans been up to since forever??!?

Considering that the aliens are aliens and probably never had a connection to humans they probably wouldn't understand what is morally right or wrong or have very different morals so they wouldn't mind that stuff.

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16 minutes ago, SOSU said:

Considering that the aliens are aliens and probably never had a connection to humans they probably wouldn't understand what is morally right or wrong or have very different morals so they wouldn't mind that stuff.

i feel like theyd have their own stories to tell too.

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Here's a (stupid) rule of thumb: the aliens won't be anything like you imagine them to be.

So I'd say if we do meet advanced extraterrestrials, it'll most certainly be interesting on a whole new level.

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I think that the notion of most aliens being like Europeans and us like natives is not terribly realistic. I like to imagine that any aliens would have had a similar cultural development compared to us. When we look at how humans are now (at least when I look at it), I see a species that, when you are specifically looking at individuals with good education and historic awareness, is very self-aware of the more unpleasant tendencies of the past. While there is still a lot of messed up people on this tiny speck of stardust in space, I don't think it's likely that they would be put in charge of a hypothetical exploration expedition into space. Another thing worth noting about our species is how self-aware we have become in more recent history. We are capable of acknowledge that maybe we aren't as advanced as we can be, or perhaps we aren't the most advanced in the universe. We can acknowledge what we don't understand and why we don't understand it, and take steps to develop and understanding of it.

 

My personal understanding has many holes in it, I haven't listed everything I've concluded to in this post. Of course until we do actually encounter concrete evidence of alien life we have no way of knowing if the points I've just made are accurate. I'm interested to see any direct responses/rejections to what I've said above, I've always been fascinated by the idea of what hypothetical aliens could be like.

 

Here's a video from my favourite Swedish Youtuber, LEMMiNO:

 

Spoiler

It isn't directly related with what I said, I just think this is an interesting video. I haven't read every single post so I don't know if anyone has already mirrored this in a spoiler already.

 

He also has a series on general space facts that are incredibly interesting... His videos in general are of high quality and contain interesting information.


It's not in this video but he does at one point talk about signal decay in space and how the first communication signal ever broadcast into space was a speech made by Hitler during the German Olympics prior to World War II...


 

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Even if aliens somehow intercepted the signals, and then somehow located us, what reason would they really have to come here, or even make contact back. I cant think of anything logical.

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On 28.9.2017 at 10:40 AM, Memfis said:

When you're in a house with a murderer, you don't want to make your presence known.

True, but not necessarily applicable to space. There's no telling what's out there, or what's not. Funnily enough, Stephen Hawking recently expressed his concerns about Aliens taking over our planet, and murdering or enslaving us all, but that has been argued against pretty quickly to the point where I would consider his concerns to be pretty much entirely absurd, as do others. The idea that such a highly developed culture would travel through space to ransack earth would mean that this alien species would be just like humans are in terms of their mindset and tendency towards agression.

 

Many arguments have been made in recent years about extraterrestrial life exploring space and looking for other civilizations and whatnot, most of which ended where the question was asked wether or not humans would be any interesting for such a highly developed species at all. More often than not the conclusion was that we're not the kind of thing an advanced civilization would look for. Some even argue we've been discovered already, but those who discovered us deemed us unworthy of their interest given our history and whatnot.

 

In other words, if another species would want to take over earth, it wouldn't have to do anything other than just waiting for the time when we "sort ourselves out".

 

The idea that, if other life existed out there, it would have to be on a similar evolutionary and technological level than we are is also a thought that has been brought up, and it got debunked so often that it's ridiculous. When you look at how old the earth is, and how old mankind is, it's a safe bet that another civilization that had roughly 65M years more time to develop than we did wouldn't on be the same level as we are anyway. They would be advanced beyond the point of what the most intelligent people in our society are able to imagine, let alone comprehend...

 

Here, have two videos on this subject:

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Nine Inch Heels said:

There's no telling what's out there, or what's not.

Your whole post contradicts this. "Debunked" and "ridiculous" don't sound like uncertainty to me.

 

It seems we got it all figured out somehow.

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1 hour ago, Da Werecat said:

Your whole post contradicts this. "Debunked" and "ridiculous" don't sound like uncertainty to me.

It doesn't. If something out there is like us, it will be a self-destructive species just like we are, it won't come here at all. If it was as smart as we are, even if less-self destructive, it would lack the intelligence that is required to travel through space in a convenient manner. If it was smarter than we are, we wouldn't be interesting to it at all. If it was less smart than we are, it also won't come here, because it wouldn't have the technology that is required to do so, and it would never get that far anyway.

You only have these 3 options:
Not as smart as us.

As "smart" as we are.

Smarter than us.

 

So what makes you think something would come here that is smarter than we are, able to travel space faster than light etc? There's no reason, other than maybe morbid curiosity. But in any case it wouldn't have to kill us, because we do that already. Why make an effort at all? For resources? There are so many planets with more resources in space anyway, even as a source for resources earth wouldn't be of interest to such an advanced civilization.

 

Anything that is on our level or below can't come here anyway. There's no contradiction in my post about this whatsoever.

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And yet - more certainty from you that we're safe.

 

For some reason when some people are talking about civilizations much more advanced than ours, their main takeaway is that said civilizations won't exhibit human-like aggression. Maybe it won't be human-like, but it doesn't mean they won't be dangerous. Maybe not because they'll consider us to be worthy of slavery, or a preventive strike, or anything else we might be vain enough to imagine, but simply because they won't care.

 

Does ant know why those giants are pouring poison into its colony? Surely it's because they want resources the ants are hoarding.

 

On the other hand, the scenario with a colony far into the woods seems more plausible than one with an apple tree. Even then, no one can guarantee that no one will step onto it while simply getting from point A to point B.

 

Edited by Da Werecat

Posted (edited)

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On 9/30/2017 at 0:07 PM, Impie said:

i feel like theyd have their own stories to tell too.

Earthlings would be too busy telling their own stories to let them say anything. It will be like a bad friendship. Then they have to declare war to shut us up. We will be known as "the Talklings."

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5 hours ago, geo said:

Earthlings would be too busy telling their own stories to let them say anything.

 

Kind of like trying to have an actual discussion on this forum, heyoooo

 

Person 1: look at my paragraphs, I'm right

Person 2: no look at MY paragraphs, you're wrong

Linguica: *quietly locks thread*

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