Hope SETI finds nothing

  • Thread starter waht
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Main Question or Discussion Point

I got sucked into reading this wild essay by an Oxford professor regarding the significance of finding life in space whether primitive or intelligent.

If you get sucked in too, and read six pages, would you agree with his startling conclusion or remain skeptical.

Why I hope the search for extraterrestrial life finds nothing.

Here's the essay: http://www.technologyreview.com/Infotech/20569/page1/
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
jim mcnamara
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My take on this: it is just a discussion of the Drake Equation -
see Carl Sagan's discussion:

I do not buy the 'Great Filter' assumption - the idea that because we can't perceive any advanced technological intelligence near enough to make their presence known, there must be one step in the Drake Equation that has a failure rate approaching 1.0

During 0.1% of the time humans have existed (assuming the species is 100k years old)
we have been generating signals that somebody out there could see and recognize. This is about 100 years. So, 50 light years out, some civilization is enjoying the 'Beverly Hillbillies'

Plus, outside of some arbitrary radius, our current ability to perceive those alien signals drops to zero - pretend it is 2000 light years. Therefore, we could not "see" our own signals if we had another human outpost 2800 light years away. Rather, I think our Great Filter is the method we have for detecting intelligence - looking for radio signals - which is the problem, rather than life everywhere consistently finding an insurmountable barrier to survival. Not that there is any other available method....

Anyway, all of this is complete conjecture, with no supporting evidence, Roswell notwithstanding.
 
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  • #3
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It's good to see Carl Sagan on this issue.

The idea is if we find basic microbes on Mars, Europe, Titan or elsewhere, that would mean that life can arise much more easily in the universe, and hence the probability for intelligent life to arise somewhere in space goes up automatically. If that is so, and we haven't detected any signs of intelligent life, then the "great filter" has something in store for us. It's a sound idea, but it's founded on a premise that our technology would be able to detect a signal.

You are probably right, after 2000 lyr's, an RF signal would blend with the background thus rendering this hypothesis null.
 
  • #4
Evo
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The idea is if we find basic microbes on Mars, Europe, Titan or elsewhere, that would mean that life can arise much more easily in the universe, and hence the probability for intelligent life to arise somewhere in space goes up automatically.
Does this mean we have doubts about finding intelligent life in Europe? :tongue2:
 
  • #5
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Does this mean we have doubts about finding intelligent life in Europe? :tongue2:
:eek:

ahh, I forgot to add "Union."
 
  • #6
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The universe might well extend infinitely far beyond the part that is observable by us, and it may contain infinitely many stars.
....
 

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