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Why is ET such a magnet for loonatics?

by fellupahill
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Ivan Seeking
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Mar3-12, 12:23 AM
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Quote Quote by Gokul43201 View Post
I don't think that number is anywhere close to 100 million.
Clearly they don't poll children when taking such surveys, so 1:3 isn't 100 million.

Free energy claims are more akin to alien propulsion systems theories, than a simple belief in visiting aliens. A more reasonable comparison would be to survey and ask people questions regarding violations of the second law - "Can you get extra energy by putting a propeller on your car?", for example. Compare that to the number of people who believe ET has visited.

Then of course you would have to subtract people who believe in ET due to alleged direct experience. I don't think free energy claims generally have this dimension.
HowardVAgnew
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Mar3-12, 12:38 AM
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Quote Quote by phinds View Post
Yes, but you really should study some physics before you allow that notion (with which I agree) to lead you to conclude that that implies INTERGALACTIC space-faring. I think you don't understand the issues involved. Unless you believe in faster-than-light travel (in which case you are WAY on the wrong forum), you will end up with the conclusion that it just isn't going to happen. It is not absolutely impossible, but the odds are infinitesimal.
I think its safe to say what we don't know about the universe exceeds what we do know. There are a number of "not impossible" means of cheats around the speed of light we have vague notions of today, from wormholes to quantum-entangled gates. I wouldn't insult anyone by insisting any one is realistically valid by now, but while we may not have the foggiest clue how to begin to think about implementing any of them, and many or even if every one we can think of now might well prove impossible, I don't think it delusional to dismiss as certain impossibility that somehow, some way, some day -- if we don't exterminate ourselves first with a stupid war -- we wouldn't find a way in the future.

Just given a source of power that could somehow last a few million years and robust a self-sustainable onboard ecosystem, interstellar or even intergalactic travel isn't that impossible even with not-so-far-fetched technology: transgenerational space travel.
wuliheron
#21
Mar3-12, 04:18 AM
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Quote Quote by HowardVAgnew View Post
To me, it seems the world's most powerful nation -- the United States -- is gradually, but increasingly sliding into a dark age....

Religion is taking over the U.S., and I think that does not bode well for contact with an extraterrestrial civilization. Its bad enough being gay or non-Christian in the U.S., ostracization of any such minority is the norm, but I believe that too many Americans still tend to view non-Christian nations as barbaric, and would hold that view of an alien civilization.
You need to check your facts. Religion in the US has been on the decline since the 1970s. In the 1990s the Southern Baptist church in particular saw a mass exodus as their congregations grew disgusted with all the negativity in sermons. In recent years the poor and young in particular have stopped attending services in record numbers. What churches remain have diversified.

If you ask me that's why for the last thirty years the far right has been steadily ratcheting up their rhetoric to the point that professional wrestling trash talk and UFO conspiracy theories sound tame in comparison. They're desperate and pulling out all the stops. Its not just about religion, but a steady cultural revolution that shows no sign of abating with even gay marriage now being approved in 8 states and the first black president looking likely to be re-elected.

If I had to guess the current kicking and screaming and dragging of feet will slowly die down as the baby boomers die off.
Ivan Seeking
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Mar3-12, 12:35 PM
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Quote Quote by phinds View Post
Unless you believe in faster-than-light travel (in which case you are WAY on the wrong forum), you will end up with the conclusion that it just isn't going to happen. It is not absolutely impossible, but the odds are infinitesimal.
Emphasis mine.

I think this is a fallacious argument. Please tell me, what are the odds, and how did you calculate them?

There is no way to calculate the odds that a breakthrough is possible. If a breakthrough is possible, then the odds are 1:1. If a breakthrough isn't possible, then the odds are 0:1. At this time I see no way to fathom any more than a guess in this regard. So when people talk about the odds of a visitation, I think they are making a fallacious argument. We have no way to know the odds. We can only say what we know based on the current models used in physics; our current level of knowledge.

Consider this, if exotic but undiscovered physics does exist that allows a path around the sol limit, visitations could be highly likely. For all we know, it could be a near certainty that we should have an encounter every few thousand years or so.
phinds
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Mar3-12, 01:17 PM
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Yeah, if you believe in FTL, then I agree with you, but I don't. I think wormholes and such are a pipe dream. I DO realize that I could be wrong, but I think it's a fantasy.
Ivan Seeking
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Mar3-12, 01:33 PM
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Quote Quote by phinds View Post
Yeah, if you believe in FTL, then I agree with you, but I don't. I think wormholes and such are a pipe dream. I DO realize that I could be wrong, but I think it's a fantasy.
I'm not talking about beliefs, you are. "You think" isn't a calculation.

I'm talking about the difference between knowledge and absolute knowledge. If we had a TOE and stopped making dramatic discoveries that seem to turn physics upsidedown, then perhaps one might be able to argue with increasing confidence what absolute limits exist. But for now, with so many exotic theories and questions at hand, I see no logical argument for absolutes in this sense.

To put it bluntly, show me the published paper showing otherwise. I don't mean to pick on you as your comments are popular opinion, but unless I'm missing something here, technically one could argue that statements about the odds are crackpot. There is no way to know the odds.
CaptFirePanda
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Mar3-12, 01:34 PM
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Quote Quote by fellupahill View Post
I totally missed the UFO! I was so busy trying to figure out if that prominence was an extinct volcano or not...

The idea of extra-terrestrial life has been floating around a long time - long enough that crackpots and agent provocateurs alike have given the concept a fairly marginalized place in society.

If we're ever visited by alien lifeforms, the chances for their existence immediately jump from whatever tiny amount they might be to 100%, so I think the mental exercise of conjecturing what the odds are for life beyond the Earth are mostly pointless. They certainly do end up giving people a better appreciation of the sheer numbers of "things" in the Universe.

The very fact that we exist, leads me to believe that dismissing extra-terrestrial life is fairly anthropocentric. There were billions of years where, if something were able to calculate the odds of our existence, the numbers would have been equally as minute.
HowardVAgnew
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Mar3-12, 02:55 PM
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Quote Quote by Ivan Seeking View Post
I'm not talking about beliefs, you are. "You think" isn't a calculation.

I'm talking about the difference between knowledge and absolute knowledge. If we had a TOE and stopped making dramatic discoveries that seem to turn physics upsidedown, then perhaps one might be able to argue with increasing confidence what absolute limits exist. But for now, with so many exotic theories and questions at hand, I see no logical argument for absolutes in this sense.

To put it bluntly, show me the published paper showing otherwise. I don't mean to pick on you as your comments are popular opinion, but unless I'm missing something here, technically one could argue that statements about the odds are crackpot. There is no way to know the odds.
Taking your "show me the money" challenge back to the thread topic -- extraterrestrial life -- which is a distinct topic from FTL travel, there have been serious attempts to study and derive some sort of estimation, prior to actual discovery, the likelihood of the existence of extraterrestrial life and, especially, extraterrestrial intelligent life sufficiently advanced to develop technology, such as radio and space travel. The Drake Equation comes to mind ... yes, it uses arbitrary values, but I believe it still has great value. Research dedicated into it will enable us to fill in values as we find more and more extrasolar planets to fill in the blanks. Occam's razor, I believe, should also be considered in the question: given a zillion stars in each of a zillion galaxies, how likely is it that conditions allowing for life to develop would occur only on a single planet around a single star but absolutely nowhere else?

You may naysay wikipedia, but I submit it as a better reference than I could provide, and at the very least is a good collaborative effort to point to other sources of information in its references list and bibliography: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astrobiology
Jonathan Scott
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Mar3-12, 04:16 PM
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As Sagan and others have mentioned, it's not scientifically totally implausible that we could have been visited by aliens during our recorded history or pre-history, and that such aliens might have influenced our development. However, it's very difficult to have a scientific discussion about such possibilities.

As some around here know, I personally happen to think that alien contact is a more coherent explanation for many "myths" and "religious" documents than any other alternative of which I'm aware, such as whatever it was that Ezekiel is trying to describe in the bible, which clearly appears to involve advanced technology beyond his comprehension. If he was just telling a story, I feel it would have made far more sense.

There are also multiple other references in the bible that could be explained by a single flying vehicle, including the "whirlwind" that took Elijah, the pillar of fire or cloud that led Moses, and even into the new testament the "star" that appeared to the wise men, the "glory of the lord" that appeared to the shepherds and a whole lot of strange "visions" in Revelations.

The oddest case of all (included in the Jerusalem bible) is in 2 Esdras where Ezra describes an "eagle" with multiple heads and several individual wings or feathers that move around to "reign across the earth", following one after another, each for less and less time, until they eventually cannot be seen but make a thunderous noise. My reaction on first reading this is "What the hell is a helicopter doing in the bible?" and I even went and found another copy in a bookshop to reassure myself that I wasn't the victim of an implausibly sophisticated practical joke.

If something technological is the explanation (which seems to fit very well), then the source of the technology also needs explaining scientifically, or the explanation is useless.

I am satisfied that the known laws of physics rule out "time travel" (at least not backwards!) so that rules out locals going back from the future.

I don't have any problem with assuming aliens could have interstellar transport, as even with current technology that's mainly a problem of resources and patience. Without our limited lifespans, interstellar travel would be boring and would require multiple generations, but with some method of going into hibernation even that problem would be solved.

I find it scientifically vanishingly unlikely that aliens would look like humans, let alone be able to "cross-breed" with them, as is sometimes suggested as an explanation for Genesis 6. On these grounds, I would say that any being which even looks vaguely like a human is unlikely to be alien, including any manifestation of human-form gods.

I also consider it very unlikely that aliens would have more than a passing interest in the sort of regional bickering that frequently occurs in ancient stories.

There are several different ancient stories about "lords", "princes" or "angels" coming down from "heaven" (for example the "watchers" in Enoch) and taking charge of the locals, and most of these stories also later involve a flood. I don't believe these beings could be aliens, especially as there are also multiple stories about them cross-breeding with the local humans, as in Genesis 6. The only possibility is that they are themselves human, but in some way enhanced.

My personal interpretation is that this "heaven" is an alien's space ship and that the alien had taken up a group of primitive humans and effectively educated and enhanced them over an extended period of time, although it is not clear whether this is over multiple generations (perhaps using selective breeding) or through more direct genetic manipulation of some sort. Perhaps this alien itself might be something like the "lamb that has been slain" in Revelations, which seems like a sufficiently non-human description to fit. On the other hand, the alien might simply be a "computer program" running the ship for all we know.

I also think that these "princes" had access to very little technology except the flying vehicles and perhaps some sort of video equipment (for "visions"), whereas if the alien itself had wanted to be directly involved, we would have expected far greater miracles. It appears that these "shining ones" each wanted to run their own people (if necessary at the expense of other tribes), but also (from the bible) that what they really wanted is to create a stable environment such that their alien master would literally come down to earth and reside with them.

Anyway, to answer the original question of this thread, according to many people, even considering these possibilities makes one a lunatic. This means that people who even look at these ideas mostly fall into two groups - those who decide to be cautious like Sagan, and those who are so totally over-the-top about it that they make a career of it, like Erich Von Daniken and Giorgio Tsoukalos.

I'd like there to be a middle path, where one could be open to the possibility of alien contact and to try to establish whether there is the possibility of a coherent scientific explanation involving alien contact for some of the strange stories of our past.
jreelawg
#28
Mar3-12, 04:34 PM
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Probably because there is such a huge grey area. People feel the need to fill the void. Not knowing makes them uncomfortable. And, there is a lot of interest, therefore market for the subject.

The grey area cannot be filled in given the amount of credible evidence available. Logical people tend to either have reservations about being too speculative, or tend to at least make it clear they are only speculating, or writing science fiction. So their audience remains unsatisfied being left without any real answers.

The only people who can fill this void, are likely people who are dishonest, or self believing crackpots, lunatics etc. These are the only people willing to act like they know the truth. Because these people are usually lacking in the logic department, their fake answers are also, which is why their theories are often so wild.

Likewise, there audience is limited mostly to those who are gullible enough to buy what they're selling which reinforces the trend.

Meanwhile, logical people are also left unsatisfied due to the lack of credible information, and find it hard to buy into most of the theories because they aren't supported strongly enough, or are illogical. So they tend to stay out of it for the most part.

Plus a few other important reasons which go over most peoples heads.
fellupahill
#29
Mar3-12, 10:27 PM
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Whats more likely, aliens or time travelers? Both would seem to require breaking known physics, or atleast a loophole. So both would be just as likely?
jreelawg
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Mar4-12, 03:52 AM
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Quote Quote by fellupahill View Post
Whats more likely, aliens or time travelers? Both would seem to require breaking known physics, or atleast a loophole. So both would be just as likely?
Which laws of physics do you think ET visitation would be in violation of?
Jonathan Scott
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Mar4-12, 05:08 AM
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Quote Quote by fellupahill View Post
Whats more likely, aliens or time travelers? Both would seem to require breaking known physics, or atleast a loophole. So both would be just as likely?
I don't see a problem with aliens and the laws of physics (and neither did Carl Sagan). FTL would break laws of physics, but there's no need for them to use FTL. We can't visit the stars yet mainly because of our limited lifespan and the amount of resources we would have to take with us to survive. A practical method of extended "hibernation" might even enable us to get round those limitations. However, an alien being (or alien artificial lifeform) with unlimited lifetime would not have such problems and could go on an extended tour of the galaxy.

Another question might be why an alien would visit this particular star system out of billions, but it might well be possible to spot the signs of life (presence of oxygen and water) in the Earth's atmosphere from far away.
Curious3141
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Mar4-12, 06:20 AM
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Quote Quote by fellupahill View Post
I still can't see no damn UFO.

And it's tough to type with one hand.
jreelawg
#33
Mar4-12, 11:01 AM
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I always though that it would be more likely for an intelligent extra-solar race to send "un-aliened" missions. I think that when we launch a mission to another solar system, it would make more sense to send robots.

Would you define non-biological (robotic) E.T. visitation, as Aliens?

Being able to break some of the laws of physics might make it easier for E.T. biological entities to visit us from another solar system, but I don't think it is technically impossible for biological entities to reach us. I don't think anyone can come up with any logical reason why they can't.

Personally, even under a scenario in which modern physics theories are broken, I would not consider the reverse time travel hypothesis more likely true than the alien hypothesis. I think there is a logical contradiction preventing reverse time travel which would still hold. And, I don't think that the chances of modern physics theories being incorrect is 0.
Ivan Seeking
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Mar4-12, 11:41 PM
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Quote Quote by jreelawg View Post
I always though that it would be more likely for an intelligent extra-solar race to send "un-aliened" missions. I think that when we launch a mission to another solar system, it would make more sense to send robots.

Would you define non-biological (robotic) E.T. visitation, as Aliens?

Being able to break some of the laws of physics might make it easier for E.T. biological entities to visit us from another solar system, but I don't think it is technically impossible for biological entities to reach us. I don't think anyone can come up with any logical reason why they can't.

Personally, even under a scenario in which modern physics theories are broken, I would not consider the reverse time travel hypothesis more likely true than the alien hypothesis. I think there is a logical contradiction preventing reverse time travel which would still hold. And, I don't think that the chances of modern physics theories being incorrect is 0.
There is one published paper that addresses the point about robotic probes and even suggests where to look for them

INFLATION-THEORY IMPLICATIONS FOR EXTRATERRESTRIAL VISITATION
J. Deardorff, B. Haisch, B. Maccabee and H.E. Puthoff
Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, Vol 58, pp. 43-50, 2005.
http://www.ufoskeptic.org/JBIS.pdf

Generally, I think at least one obvious answer to the question in the op is this: If we have been or are one day visited, for better or for worse, it would be one of the most significant events in all of history. It is no wonder the idea fascinates people. And given the lack of definition and boundaries for such notions, esp for those without any scientific education, imaginations run wild virtually without limits. Hollywood helps provide a lot of fuel here, no doubt. But many of the UFO activists are the worst offenders. I have watched a fair number of people get into this and slowly develop more and more exotic beliefs as they fall victim to the nuttery surrounding the subject. Because of its potential significance, the idea of ET visitors can probably be as powerful as any religion.

I suggest that this thread has become far too speculative in regards to the what-ifs.
fellupahill
#35
Mar5-12, 12:42 PM
P: 62
Please don't close the topic. I know its getting a little speculative, but in the name of knowledge and getting to see that picture every time I come to this thread I say it should be allowed to continue.


Quote Quote by jreelawg View Post
Which laws of physics do you think ET visitation would be in violation of?
I did say break laws, or loophole. Like someone said before. Wormholes and such could be a pipe dream, and given what we know about BH's already the task would be daunting. Tho now I'm personally thinking visitors from another planet would seem more likely than time travelers. Tho if time travel is possible, then long distance space travel would almost be a given.

What would the catholic and muslim churches stance be if we were indeed contacted? I doubt they would let even aliens shatter belief, evolution or BB Theory didn't do the job and they are both direct contradictions.
Dotini
#36
Mar5-12, 01:13 PM
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Quote Quote by jreelawg View Post
Would you define non-biological (robotic) E.T. visitation, as Aliens?
Non-biological entities do not necessarily have to be robotic creations of biological ET's, nor do they have to be "alien", as in extraterrestrial.
http://www.physicsforums.com/showthr...ht=plasma+life
http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=180520

Quote Quote by fellupahill View Post
What would the catholic and muslim churches stance be if we were indeed contacted? I doubt they would let even aliens shatter belief, evolution or BB Theory didn't do the job and they are both direct contradictions.
I believe the Catholic Church have already announced, on the record, they are comfortable with the idea of extraterrestrial life. In Islam there is the tradition of the Djinn, which is a being of fire or smoke (dusty plasma?).

So, depending on the nature of the contact, it is not foreordained that these organized religions would evince any immediate, strong overt negative reactions.

But, as Ivan noted above, the ET belief has the capacity to threaten conventional organized religion. The Brookings Institution once reported out that contact within our solar system could threaten our currently established civilization, and it may well be true that the CIA and other government agencies monitor UFO/cult activities for signs of social unrest. At one time, I think >50% of "ufologists" were retired from the CIA or other military intelligence agencies.

Respectfully submitted,
Steve


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