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UFOs Fact or fiction?

Discussion in 'The OT' started by Steveox, May 12, 2004.

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  1. May 16, 2004 #61 of 153
    Steveox

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    You never heard the mexicans have a military?Ever heard of the alamo?
     
  2. May 16, 2004 #62 of 153
    jonstad

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    Ooops!:blush: I'll blame it on the storm last night that knocked out power so all my last night's replies were made very early in the sleepy morning hours. But in the same vein;), shouldn't it be "the veins of Jesus Christ which allegedly bled"?:D

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    I do "entertain the possibility" as well as view the possibility as entertaining.;) It is the "proof" forwarded for these possibilities I am skeptical of. I'd be the first to run up to a landed saucer with a million and one questions and if abducted would do my best to convince them to take me along instead of returning me to my bed where most "abductees" are returned, the same exact place they began their journey.:scratch: But of course, the fact that so many fall asleep, have their abduction experience, and end up waking from sleep the next morning is considered as validation of the experience.:rolleyes:

    C'mon Nick, as "resident curmudgeon", certainly there's a skeptical bone or two in that frame of yours. You don't mean to tell me you consider the vast majority of these stories without substantially more then a grain of salt?

    The vast majority of UFO sightings are perfectly explainable by far more mundane(and likely) mechanisms. "Abductions" sounds much more like recurring nightmares of suggestible subjects or some other form of sleep disorder then anything extraterrestrial. And I think as I've pointed out, popular shows like "Sightings" are not generally in the business of providing these more mundane alternatives. If they were, I would tend to take it all more seriously. But it's not in their business interests and despite the facade they present, they are only interested in business, not the truth.

    It's apropos that Jonathan Edwards home network is SciFi. Certainly he has developed his creative "fiction" into an art, some might call it a "science". I earlier mentioned James Randi's(The Amazing Randi) million dollar prize for verifiable proof of paranormal powers. Mr. Edwards strongly implies these powers on every one of his shows. In fact, if he didn't, he wouldn't have a show. Edwards however has consistently declined to participate in Randi's test, or any other that would verify his "powers" by reasonable scientific standards. Why? Because he knows full well he would fail and would be humiliated by the results, just as Uri Geller was unable to bend any spoons on Carson's Tonight Show when Johnny sprung the Amazing Randi on him as a surprize guest/observer.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uri_Geller

    As for the recent Mexican sightings- Mexico has been the scene of much UFO sightings and hype over the last decade or so. It seems that much UFO activity, formerly in the US, has moved south of the border in the last decade or so. Maybe it's NAFTA?:p And a "Jaime" something or other, a major television personality whose show I have heard analogized as the "Mexican 60 Minutes"(for whatever that's worth:shrug: ), seems to be a major investigator and promoter of these sightings(events, whatever you want to call them). And of course the first report I saw on the latest incident pictured him as appearing to be one of those "breaking the story" although not mentioned by name. Right then my "skeptic meter" tweaked. BUT, I'm still interested in an explanation.

    That said, it does seem premature to already discount the phenomenon witnessed as "ball lightning". The description of those offering this explanation I heard, similar to HGL, as "American government scientists". I don't recall anything more specific, LIKE NAMES OR AGENCIES, and if anyone has a link, I'd like to check out their rationale AND credentials.

    However, "ball lightning" as I understand it, is a pretty rare, little understood and not often observed phenomenon. And in fact may not even be a single phenomenon but a series of related or unrelated phenomena from the "sprites" seen above thunderclouds piercing the stratosphere to "St. Elmo's fire", and anything atmospherically electrical in between that's not just plain lightning.

    So, without further information, all I can say is I don't know what the Mexican pilots recorded. But I also don't know that an infared source invisible to the naked eye generally catagorized as "ball lightning" couldn't appear on radar or that their nature wouldn't allow them to "move in formation" or appear to change course or accelerate at high speed. Perhaps the "government scientists" in question DO know. Perhaps they have witnessed or are privy to other instances that are similar to or match the observed phenomenon. Again, I don't know. What I do know is that assuming they are alien spacecraft or something else equally fantastic seems a bit of a stretch too, even if the host of "Mexico's 60 Minutos" wants me to assume it.

    As for what appears as Nick's "proof" of government coverup, the link seems to me a sane, appropriate response tothe question asked. It confesses the "possibility", but also states "No, there is no evidence AT ALL for the existence of aliens", not even "indirect evidence". To the best of my knowledge, "Sightings" and Roswell notwithstanding, all that is true.
     
  3. May 16, 2004 #63 of 153
    dfergie

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    yup... :) gonna miss Doc Frazier and Gen. Hammond though.
     
  4. May 17, 2004 #64 of 153
    Jim Parker

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    I find myself in agreement with the Fermi paradox, paraphrased as: "If life is common in the universe, why don't we see proof all over the place in the galaxy?" In other words, why aren't there radio signals, or star ship exhaust trails or something all over the place? I take the argument one step farther: If life is common in the galaxy, why are we here at all? Why wasn't our planet colonized by an alien civilization long before any multi celled creatures arose?

    There are several options that will allow us to colonize the galaxy in a very short time, as measured against the time scale of the galaxy. For the purposes of discussion, I will limit my comments to our galaxy, as the distance between galaxies is so much greater than traveling within a galaxy.

    Yes, the distances between stars is so large, that the travel time appears to be a barrier. However, it is not. The solution is that we do not send humans as living, breathing organic beings. Instead, we send robotic probes that have human DNA sequences stored in a very stable computer memory device. Upon arriving at the target star, the probe locates a suitable source of organic molecules, such as a comet, and uses the DNA to clone the first generation of humans and what ever other animals/plants we want to take with us.

    Using this method, it no longer matters if it takes 10,000 years or so to reach the nearest stars that have earth like planets. Time will not mean much to the robotic probe.

    This method will require that we develop:
    1. Star ship drives that can accelerate to, say 1%, the speed of light and decelerate at the other end.
    2. Computers smart enough to handle whatever they find in the target solar system, i.e. find the comet, mine it, manufacture the equipment to build the colony, build the colony, clone the humans and finally raise and educate the first generation of humans.
    3. The technology to read human DNA, store it in a computer and clone the humans from the DNA.

    At the rate our technology is advancing, all of these may be possible in the next 100 years, certainly within the next 2 or 3 centuries.

    This method avoids most of the problems with generation ships (ships where humans live for several generations in the ship), as ship does not need to support the people, it justs drifts thru space in a standby mode. There is no wear and tear on the ships equipment, no food, atmosphere etc required. Thus the ship can be much smaller, making the ship much cheaper to produce. It does not require warp drive, worm holes or any other science beyond what we now see as possible.

    OK, using this approach, how long would it take us to colonize the galaxy?

    Any galaxy has what is called a "habitable zone" where conditions for life will be found in the solar systems. Solar system too close to the center of the galaxy will be subject to higher radiation levels from nearby supernovas. The denser galactic core has a higher proportion of large stars, which have short life spans (for stars anyway) of a few hundred million years or so. So, we will not want to get too close to the galactic core. On the other hand, solar systems that are too far away from the core will not have enough heavier elements (carbon, nitrogen, iron etc) in the gas clouds that they were formed from to create earth like planets. This leaves a ring with an inside radius of about 25,00 light years and an outside radius of 45,000 light years. We are about 35,000 light years from the center.

    The above is summarized from a recent article in Astronomy magazine.

    The stars in our galaxy are grouped into spiral arms, with very few stars between the arms. The path of colonization will be both ways along the arm that we are in, but for the purpose of this discussion, all we care about is the path toward the opposite side of the galaxy. Once the expansion reaches the inner edge of the habitable ring, it will spread to other arms, both clockwise and counter clockwise. Expansion will continue outwards along the arms at the same time as it is moving around the core.

    The circumference of the inside of the habitable ring is about 60,000 light years. This gives a path length of about 10,000 light years plus 1/2 the circumference of the ring or about 40,000 light years.

    Now, lets make some assumptions about how fast the colonization takes place.
    1. The ships travel at 1% the speed of light. This is certainly within the bounds of reason.
    2. After a solar system is colonized, it sends out it's own ships after 10,000 years. The colony sends ships out in all directions, but we need to only consider the ships that are traveling along the path of expansion that leads to the other side of the galaxy.
    3. Earth like planets are 100 light years apart, on the average.

    Yes, I know that there is no proof for 3, but some assumption have to be made. :) If planets are less than 100 ly apart, expansion rate slows down, if planets are more than 100 ly apart, expansion rate increases.

    OK, we have a travel time of 10,000 years and a pause of 10,000 years for a total of 20,000 years per 100 light years or an expansion rate of 0.5% the speed of light. To travel the 40,000 light years, takes only 8 million years!

    Compare 8 million years to the 3 billion years or so that the earth has had an oxygen rich atmosphere but no advanced life forms. Even if the numbers above are off by a factor of 1000, it is still likely that earth would have been colonized by a galaxy spanning civilization long before we evolved.

    There are several other factors that make this argument even more plausible. If we decide that we don't really need planets at all, and live in space habitats, then we can spread into any solar system that has comets and asteroids to use for raw material. The rate of expansion may decrease, but we would not have to depend on a system having earth like planets. If we develop intelligent machines or transfer our minds into ultra fast computers, these machines/computers could populate the galaxy much faster than flesh and blood humans. Just aim the ship at the target star, set an alarm clock for 10,000 years and take a long nap. :D A low level program monitors the sensors and wakes up the intelligence (in what ever form it is) if something needs its attention.

    The argument has been made that maybe alien civilizations might just want to stay at home and not expand. Or the aliens might not want to interfere with a planet that has or could develop intelligent life forms. Well, the problem with that logic is that it would take just one civilization to fill the galaxy. If a thousand civilizations arise in the galaxy, is it likely that EVERY single one decides to stay home? No, at least one would go exploring, and one is all it would take.

    To summarize, if there were even a few other civilizations that developed in the last billion years or so, they would have already have colonized the galaxy, including this solar system and we would not be here.
     
  5. May 17, 2004 #65 of 153
    jonstad

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    OK, I get the logic. It all adds up. My question is: What would be the incentive to colonize as hypothesized?

    Human intelligence has trouble planning ten years out. And even if they do, by the time the ten years is up, the plan has changed significantly. What you're talking about is a ten THOUSAND year plan, with another ten thousand(assuming a return ship was sent immediately) to know if the plan had even been successful. And that's just the initial trial step.

    This is relying on technology that I agree may probably be available in the next few hundred years. But then one might also hypothesize that in a few hundred more, or a thousand years, our technology may allow us the ability to travel at 10% light speed, or maybe 50%. So any craft we send out would be passed like the hare passing the tortoise and arrive long after later probes. At high enough speeds, a later probe could easily return long before the first had even arrived. You would have produced in effect the first intersteller space debris.

    But back to your original premise. What entity, either government or private, would be anxious to go to the expense of launching such a craft with a 20,000 year wait for return, either monetary or scientific, on investment? And it's going to be expensive! Just creating machines that will last 10,000 years in the harsh enviornment of space will be a major challenge. Any economic payoff would have to be gargantuan to even consider the risk. And any scientific venture would arrive at its destination with equipment that was 10,000 years behind Earth's then current technology and then return with 10,000 year old data collected by 20,000 year old equipment.

    I suppose we could just do it to say that we did it, the "adventuring spirit" so to speak. But that's not how human intelligence works, and I'm assuming other "intelligences" would work similarly. Exploration is always done for profit. Granted, sometimes now, we do it for the profit of knowledge. But that's a much harder sell. And even then, the underlying expectation is that some of the knowledge will be serendipitously profitable economically.

    I'm a realist. I believe that nobody does nothin' for nothin'. And a 20,000 year wait is as good as nothin'! And I believe with any other civilizations or higher intelligences out there, the same paradigms for survival and advancement would hold.
     
  6. May 17, 2004 #66 of 153
    Steveox

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    Aliens!
     

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  7. May 17, 2004 #67 of 153
    jonstad

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    :thats:
    Who has read "Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams? In it he speculates humans are the THIRD most intelligent species on Earth. Dolphins are second, and white mice are first because they have trained us to come into laborotories so they can study us. Not all that funny. Just a different perspective.:grin:
     
  8. May 17, 2004 #68 of 153
    HappyGoLucky

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    The one big problem with your premise (which I've edited out for brevity) is it is based on HUMAN terms and logic. Alien beings might, and most likely would, have a far different way of thinking and acting on those thoughts, in ways we can't even imagine because we are limited to the scope of our human design.
     
  9. May 17, 2004 #69 of 153
    dfergie

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    Those that brought the Aliens :)
     

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  10. May 17, 2004 #70 of 153
    Jim Parker

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    The incentive is the expansion of the human race or what ever race does it. There will be no finacial gain to the people who send out the ships, but we do things all the time that have no gain to those who do it, but do have long term value to the tribe/country/species. This is just a veeerrrryyyy long term project.

    "Only" 100 years as the info can be sent back by radio.

    True, that is the risk taken by the first few generations of ships. However they may say "Nothing ventured, nothing gained." and proceed anyway. If faster ships do become available, then the 8 million years becomes even less and the point of this argument becomes even more valid. I picked 1 % of light speed just to show that things like warp drive etc were not required to colonize the galaxy in much less time than earth has been around.

    I can think of several; a solar system wide civilization that has run out of challenges, religious groups wanting to spread the "Word of God", the 23rd century equivalent to the National Geo Society.

    In terms of our technology yes, but maybe not to the 23rd century industrial complex. We do things today that 18th century Europe could not have begun to undertake. A project like this may be within the reach of a large corporation or group of dedicated supporters, let alone a solar system wide government.

    See response to first comment.

    Usually, but not always. How about for religious reasons, or "Manifest Destiny".

    How about as a "Welfare with Dignity" project. Similar to the CCC of the Depression, maybe the government wants to make work to keep the people busy.

    There are many reasons that humans may want to do something like this in the next several centuries. I am not saying that they will, just saying that they could, for reasons that are not even thought of yet. And if we can, so can other species. To repeat myself, if just one species does this, then we should not be here at all.
     
  11. May 17, 2004 #71 of 153
    Jim Parker

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    Your statement supports what I am saying. Alien ways of thinking are, well, alien. Given a large enough number of alien species, everything that we can conceive of plus many things that we can't will be accomplished by one or more species in that group. To repeat myself, it just takes one civilization to colonize the galaxy.

    To state this another way, I am not placing limits on what aliens may or may not do, you are. :) Humans and many other species may decide not to colonize the galaxy, but that does not mean that some other species will not.
     
  12. May 17, 2004 #72 of 153
    Jim Parker

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    My intent for the first post was to use the argument that if there are very many alien civilizations in the galaxy, the galaxy should have long since been colonized, and we would not be here. Since we are here, there must not be very many other intelligent species in the galaxy, hence the UFOs are not alien space ships.

    Setting that aside, I would like to expand on a few ideas:

    The ships should be as small as possible, maybe the size of a 747. The smaller the ship, the cheaper it is to mass produce and the less energy it takes to accelerate and decelerate. Acceleration can be done with a large laser on the moon that reflects off of a solar sail attached to the ship. Deceleration can be done with the solar sail acting as a drag chute as the ship approaches the target star, and final deceleration with an aero break like in the 2010 Space Odyssey movie. Gas could be scooped up at that time to serve as reaction mass for the ships propulsion system. The ship will need to maneuver within the target star system. All of this is to reduce the mass of the ship at launch time.

    There would be many ships launched from the solar system that is doing the expanding, and many systems could be expanding at the same time. To prevent multiple ships from different system from going to the same target star, coordination would have to be done with other star systems. Each ship in transit would need a radio beacon identifying the star that it is heading toward. Also, each ship could provide info back to the originating system about the condition of the ship. If the ship fails in transit, another ship could be sent to the target star.

    Language, or at least one version of it, will need to be kept consistent over long time periods, so that communication between systems is possible.

    The ship would need to be shielded against interstellar dust and radiation, such as gamma rays, to prevent damage to the computer and the memory storage devices. A magnetic field around the ship should deflect most of it, but the components will need to be hardened against radiation. Triple or more redundancy will probably be required.

    The DNA of millions of humans/animals/plants will be required to provide the diversity required for a new ecosystem. The storage requirements for this will be huge, but well with in the ability of our computers in less than 50 years. The DNA contains large amounts of non essential information, (we still have the genes to grow tails like a monkey, but it does not get turned on) so it could be shortened considerable. A side benefit would be that all genetic flaws could be edited out at that time. (These statements may cause a fire storm here. I'd better put on my flame retardant suit. :lol: ) This would only have to be done once, with multiple copies sent out on many ships.

    The construction of humans/animals/plants from the DNA is going to be one of the more difficult tasks. Microbiology is not my interests, so I am going to skip over it.

    Many ships may fail, but with enough ships sent out, some of them will survive. One advantage to sending DNA instead of people is that if the ship fails, you are losing data, not humans.

    Anyway, this is all food for thought. I doubt any of us will live to see it.
     
  13. May 17, 2004 #73 of 153
    jonstad

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    That's all very noble. But again, what would be the rationale? Why would we want to expand the human race just for its own sake? One reason might be to ensure survival in case of another mass extinction event. But as of today, we can't even get up the gumption to fund a decent survey of near Earth orbit objects, probably the biggest threat for global catastrophe. Besides, colonies on the Moon or Mars would probably provide at least temporary safe haven, are more feasible, less expensive and MUCH less time consuming.

    OK, name just one. Especially one on this grandious scale. And define "long term value". Even when humans get idealistic enough to plan ahead, it's extremely rare "plans" extends 50-100 years into the future. And even then, the results after 50-100 years are often far different then originally envisioned. What "plan" from 1904 or even 1954 is "right on track" to be completed as initially formulated? And human attention span and patience seem to be diminishing rather then increasing. As example, I had to come back to insert the last sentence. I spaced and forgot to include this thought first time around.:p

    My bad! 10,100 years from launch to verification of success. Will anyone even be listening?

    We're not a "solar system wide civilization" yet or are likely to be in the next several hundred years. We may have a few colonies on various planets or moons for research and even commercial operations. But we will certainly not have run out of "challenges". As a science experiment, OK, worth a try. But again, who's going to fund such an iffy, long term experiment? And if you've read many of my posts here, you know that spreading the human version of th "Word of God" across the galaxy would be the last thing I would support. In fact I would actively work to sabotage it. And if any religious group gets powerful and wealthy enough to launch their own intersteller spacecraft, the human race and maybe the galaxy is doomed anyway.:( Hopefully, by the time we are travelling to the stars, the fantasies of religion will be long dead and buried.

    "Large corporations" are NOT investing in a 10,000 year project with no guarantee of any ROI even after waiting 10,000 years. "A group of dedicated supporters"? Maybe. Good luck to 'em. And we've yet to perfect a "planet wide" government, or save for Australia, even a "continent wide" one.

    I think you'll find on deeper analysis that virtually all religious expansion movements, at least the successful ones, AND "Manifest Destiny" were and are intricately intwined with economic motives and the potential for profit, not only with the religions involved but with associated secular interests.

    :lol: So, the homeless and unemployed are going to build our intersteller spacecraft? Sorry.:blush: I just find the image amusing.

    I think it's a very imaginative thesis, don't get me wrong. Such thought exercises are wonderful for exploring what we may do in future. More importantly, they spark debates like we are having here over what our priorities should be. For myself, at this point in human history, when that history itself is barely 10,000 years gone, a 10,000 year expedition is just not reasonable. Until we solve some of our problems closer to home, our resources, expertise and knowledge should be applied to more pragmatic purposes. That includes explorations as best we can of the solar system and colonization if possible. But as the saying goes, "you've got to crawl before you can walk."

    You have only shown that we theoretically "can". What I am questioning is if practically we ever would. And on similar logic why any other "intelligent" might either.

    And as far as "other" species with intelligence comparable to our own which might lead them to reach beyond their own particular niche in the Universe, I am far less optimistic then most there are many others, or even ANY others. Although the building blocks appear to be everywhere, the particular circumstances that lead to life as we know it may be very rare. Multi-cellular organisms even more rare(for most of the history of life on Earth, the ONLY life was no more advanced then virus and bacteria). And our particular form of technological intelligence is a crap shoot, only emerging, purely by chance, after billions of years of evolution. There is no guarantee that any other existing life will EVER develop technological intelligence capable of even contemplating intersteller travel as we have only recently begun to do.

    There is a certain minimum timeline for the evolution of life complex enough to undertake such endeavors. For your premise to work we must assume that at least one such complex lifeform had developed previous to our own. AND that they decided on the course you outline above. As I've stated, there's no guarantee of either.
     
  14. May 17, 2004 #74 of 153
    Geronimo

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    That picture is WAY too dark dfergie
     
  15. May 17, 2004 #75 of 153
    dfergie

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    Its a little lighter now, if I lighten it too much it washes out :)
     
  16. May 17, 2004 #76 of 153
    Jim Parker

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    Obviously, this is all speculation here. I could wax poetic about how it is mans nature to explore and expand. Maybe in a few hundred or a few thousand years, humanity is simply bored to death and wants something to do.

    That's all to true for today. But in time, those things will be done. What do we do then? Comtemplate our navel for the rest of our species life span?

    Didn't the National Cathereral just get finished after almost 100 years? Many of the medival churches took several hundred years to complete, a little bit at a time over a long time did complete the job.


    Nothing on this scale has been done before, but on a scale adjusted for technological advanments, the pyramids were just as large.

    The expansion of the human race thru out the galaxy.

    True, but plans are usually updated, so that the end result is better than what was originally planned. So what if it changes?

    Don't fixate on the 10,000 year time frame. I picked 1% of light speed, a low value, just to show that the galaxy can be colonized in a blink of an eye (on a galactic time scale) with techlongy that we can see coming. 10% or 20% may be achievable, reducing the time to 500 or 1000 years.

    Ahh, here is the interesting question. It depends on why nobody is listening. If it is because the race has gone extinct, then there is the perfect reason to do this! If it is because the race is to busy contemplating it's navel, does it really matter of nobody recieves the signal? There are still new colonies at the target stars.

    OK, make that 1000, or 5000 years. On the time scale we are talking about, a few thousand years is completely and absolutely meaningless. As long as the race does not go extinct in the mean time. If it does, again there is the reason for doing it. :)

    My bet is on a solar system wide goverment, but my crystal ball is a bit hazy that far out. :D


    We are in complete agreement on this one, however, unfortunely neither of us will be around to make that decision. :( You asked for examples and I gave you some.


    Not all corporations are for profit. Maybe there will be "Stars for the Stars" fundraiser and get celebrities to endorse it. I like that idea, maybe I should start the drive and appoint myself as chairman, at a suitably large salary of course. :D

    No "planet wide" goverment? Again, not yet. It may come in time.


     
  17. May 18, 2004 #77 of 153
    HappyGoLucky

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    How can you be sure that WE are not the result of alien colonization of this planet? They seeded us here and perhaps watch over us, like a science experiment. Certainly plausible, in the big scheme of things. :sure:
     
  18. May 18, 2004 #78 of 153
    Jim Parker

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    Possible, but highly unlikely. Gaps in the fossil record aside, :D , there is a just too much evidence from the DNA that we, primates, and all mammals are related. Now if the aliens want to take a vvvveeeerrrrrryyyyyy long term project :lol: , they could have guided evolution over the last 500 million years. That would make 10,000 year interstellar voyages look like a quick jog around the block. If we can't stick to a little thing like an 8 million year colonization plan, we must have attention deficeit disorder. :)
     
  19. May 18, 2004 #79 of 153
    Jim Parker

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    Back again.

    Well, I think that I have presented several reasons why we may want to do this at some point in the future.

    As far as other species wanting to do that, I could hypothesize many, many reasons why. And so could just about anybody else who wants to take a little time and let their imagination run wild.
    For example: How about a species that evolved on a planet with a highly tilted axis of rotation. 1/2 of the planet froze solid every year, so the species evolved to constantly migrate. That instinct is as strongly embedded as the drive to reproduce. It would be only natural for them to migrate to other star systems, if not by the method that I proposed, then by some other way.

    Or maybe the species is extremely loyal to its own blood line, and will do anything to insure its survival. What better way than to seed the stars with its own kin?

    No argument here.

    Now I'm wondering if you totally missed the whole thrust of my argument. My point was that there are only a few, if any, alien civilizations in our galaxy, either now or in the past. Therefore the UFOs buzzing around lately are NOT alien space ships. If there were very many other civilizations, at least one of them would have decided to colonize.

    What percentage of species will decide to colonize? The answer to that is pure speculation, so let's have some fun and start speculating. It's too late in the evening to go dig up Drakes equation (for those not familiar with it, Drake developed an equation used to make an educated guess at the number of civilizations currently in our galaxy, based on thing like number of stars, percentages of stars with planets, % of planet that are inhabitable, % of planet that develop life, intelligent life, life span of the civilization etc. At this time, most of the variables are still anybodies guess, and therefore the equation can prove anything from 1 to millions of civilizations.)

    If, say, 1% of the civilizations start expanding, there could be several thousand civilizations out there and the odds are that one civilization has not decided to expand. If 10% start expanding, the number is down to several hundred. If 25% start expanding, the number is down to a dozen or so.

    Even if the number is in the thousands, then they are spread pretty far apart, both in space and in time.
     
  20. May 18, 2004 #80 of 153
    jonstad

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    Jun 27, 2002
    Well again, I don't know about the National Cathedral, but huge churches certainly have an economic impact on the surrounding community providing jobs, construction contracts and projects for artists and artisans, not to mention foot traffic for surrounding businesses and prestige for the community in general. And they're not usually built out in some cornfield either. They're built where they will attract the most parishioners and therefore the most contributions. Stretching out the construction then, for tens or even hundreds of years, probably adds to the economic impact. And since they were probably "open for business" long before they were completed, they didn't have to wait until the final brick was laid to see a return on investment. In fact, in some cases, there was probably no rush to complete because the edifice was already paying off.

    Be that as it may, I believe although intelligent alien life forms would probably not resemble us physically in the slightest, the concepts of evolution would apply universally(pun intended;)). That is, the precept that the most well adapted(fittest) would survive in any particular niche. This strongly implies, really necessitates, competition. In a technological intelligence, this competition would be developed to a high degree, just as it is in our own. Alien intelligences may not have developed stock markets as such, but they would certianly understand that expending energy, or any "capital", on an endeavor is a risky business for survival if some sort of positive feedback from that effort cannot be realized within a reasonable time frame, migratory or racially prideful aliens notwithstanding.:D

    Well then consider this. At the 1939 World's Fair, a world of technology and robots was presented(forcast I should say) that would virtually eliminate the need for manual labor, housework, etc. Growing up in the fifties, much the same future, appropriately updated, was envisioned with picture phones and self guided, programmed vacuums and lawn mowers, etc., basically The Jetsons.

    Now much of this has come to pass. But it turns out not to be exactly the utopia we were led to believe t would be. Sure, maybe we're not doing the hard labor factory jobs our fathers and grandfathers had to do and mothers and grandmothers aren't pounding laundry on rocks or using washboards anymore, but that's because the dirty jobs have mostly moved overseas, not to save us labor but because the "labor" there is cheaper. And moms today almost all have to work outside the home in some capacity to support the family. Washboards have simply been replaced with 30 hours a week stocking WalMart. So at this point at least, I don't foresee the time when "there is not much left for humans to do."

    It's a nice ideal to show the kids, but practically, it never happens.

    No, I should have phrased that differently. I was afraid there might be some confusion over my meaning.

    Here's what I meant.

    First, I am even more pessimistic then you about the possibilities of other intelligent life existing at the same time as we in our galaxy. Partly because of the agreed lack of contact already if the place is teeming, and partly because I believe the technological intelligence is so random and rare, I believe there are no more then a few comparable species in the Milky Way. It would be no surprise to me if we were the only ones and that some galaxies may not have any. It may even be the norm. We are the freaks!:p

    That said, for the reasons outlined above, I don't think it's particularly likely that any other intelligent alien races in our galaxy would have necessarily chosen to "seed the galaxy" as you outline. And here's a new one for you, maybe by the time such any such intelligence is advanced enough to undertake traveling to the stars, they have, like we are doing, exhausted most of their available resources making them much too valuable to expend on "seeding the stars with their DNA". We're already staring in the face running out of the energy sources and materials necessary to sustain the western world's lifestyle. If the five billion or so, and growing, other humans on this planet start chewing up the scenery at anywhere near the pace us civilized folk are, in the hundred or two years before we're ready to send out our seed, oil will be sold by the thimbleful and a pine board will be worth it's weight in gold. If you want visions of the future, neither Mad Max nor Bladerunner are out of the question.

    So even if there were hundreds or thousands of "others" out there. In almost every case I believe they wouldn't or COULDN'T make contact by means of slowly seeding the galaxy. You can come up with any number you want for the amount of possible star travelers out there, but the fact that we haven't detected a robotic probe with frozen alien DNA aboard has little bearing on it.

    I should say at this point that believe it or not, I'm an optimist about the future of humanity. But we are racing headlong towards a bottleneck of more and more people and less and less resources. Not all of us might make it through. We're already fighting wars for resources under sand and people that otherwise we couldn't care less about. The next hundred years are going to be very interesting, I'm kinda sad and kinda glad I won't be around for most of it. What'll be most interesting is who makes it through the bottleneck, and how. When we get that sorted, maybe it'll be time to think about "spreading some seed".:)
     
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