If there were aliens

  1. if there were aliens what makes you think that if were scared of them, they wont be scared of us...they might be as much terrefied of us as were petrafied by them,......they jus might wanna steal our resources and our oxygen lol
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Phobos

    Phobos 2,020
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    That's why we're broadcasting Men in Black into space...to let prospective invaders know who's boss. :wink:
     
  4. Ivan Seeking

    Ivan Seeking 12,537
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    This becomes a question of time and technology. Presently, using known physics it appears that interstellar travel is highly unlikely. Ideas like Warp drive and hyperspace drive are rooted in science, but whether such technologies will ever be possible is highly speculative at best; at worst [or perhaps to our benefit], these technologies will never be possible. If they will ever be possible, it appears that the energy requirements would exceed anything that we could manage for a very long time - like thousands or millions of years. Michio Kaku discusses this some I think in his book Hyperspace.

    By the foregoing reasoning, it would seem that any ET visitor would be so technologically advanced, and by implication intellectually advanced, and maybe even more highly evolved than us by some relative measure, that we might be lucky to be considered an intelligent life form at all. ET may think of us much like we think of apes; or even ants.

    On the other hand, perhaps such lofty concepts such as Warp or Hyperspace drives are only one discovery away. In this case the universe could be a very well traveled place; and any visitors may be only slightly more advanced than us if at all. But this requires that we presently have dramatic gaps in our understanding of physics that seem very unlikely. So, in all likelihood and as a best case scenario, should he show up, we should hope that ET will either ignore us because we are too boring, or that he thinks of us fondly as his pet humans.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2003
  5. very true, thanks for the insight
     
  6. if aliens exist

    I accept the fact that they will be intelligent than us. But Why cant they exist in another dimension or something that we are not aware of?

    -Benzun
    All For God
     
  7. Re: if aliens exist

    First off, why should they be more intelligent than us? If they didn't come into existence until after we did, then the chances of their being more intelligent are not too good.

    Secondly, I suppose they could mainly propogate themselves in higher spacial dimensions (you were referring to spacial dimensions, weren't you?), but it doesn't seem to likely, since string theory seems to have these other dimensions "curled up" pretty small.
     
  8. Re: Re: if there were aliens

    I'm stealing the following from somewhere, but I don't remember where. "Why do we have to assume they're more advanced than us because they have more advanced technology? Look at the people around you in thier cars on the road. Could these people have built thier cars at home? Do they look like they even know why thier cars work?Maybe we'll get the ET version of these people". I don't believe this, but it's funny.


    I'd think that if they were advanced enough to get here, they'd understand other cultures didn't have to resemble thiers. I'm able to accept Floridians as having a society of sorts, so I trust ET will see it, too.
     
  9. Ivan Seeking

    Ivan Seeking 12,537
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    Re: Re: Re: if there were aliens

    No doubt this is all highly speculative, but this goes the time elapsed since developing technology. Will we grow more advanced as we continue to evolve? If we continue on our present course without becoming extinct for whatever reason, what kind of human will our technology produce in another million years? Who knows? If we play the odds and call upon my one of my favorite sets of laws, the laws of large numbers, according to the latest revised edition of these laws, I guess we must expect that both situations could occur. We might expect the Q and the Ferringi. Yikes!

    Let's hope for a lonely universe. :wink:
     
  10. "Sometimes I think we're alone in the universe, and sometimes
    I think we're not. In either case, the idea is quite staggering."
    -Arthur C. Clarke
     
  11. Nereid

    Nereid 4,014
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    Large numbers ... of seconds

    I like Ivan's large numbers; when you do even small calculations (on the backs of very small envelopes), you can see why Mr Clarke says 'staggering'.

    A million years is <1% of the time it takes the Sun (plus us, of course) to go once round the Milky Way, yet it's at least 10 times as long as homo sapiens has (apparently) possessed the ability to reason abstractly, and approx 100 times as long as there's been 'permanent' human settlements. In this context, 'cultural' considerations (thanks Tony) start to make your brain hurt.

    Another of Arthur's sayings seems apposite, something about advanced technology seeming like magic; what would the people who made those wonderful cave paintings (in France, for example) thought of the PC? or a Bose-Einstein Condensate? And that's 'only' ~1,000 generations (the Sun takes well over 5 million generations to make just one journey round the Milky Way).

    So, where is ET?
     
  12. The saying you mention is the third of Clarke's Three Laws. Here are all three ...

    Phoning home?
     
  13. Ivan Seeking

    Ivan Seeking 12,537
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    Re: Large numbers ... of seconds

    The question is, what are we looking for? If warp drive takes us another million years or so to develop, then the question of what to look for now in an alien race becomes highly problematic...unless we by chance are monitoring for the proper warp drive signiture.

    I wonder how long we will use RF. Over so much time as millions of years, could RF be like a flash in pan for technology?
     
  14. Nereid

    Nereid 4,014
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    Re: Re: Large numbers ... of seconds

    Hmmm, a really brief (and significantly inaccurate, no doubt) summary of the history of technologies used by homo sap. for long distance communication:
    - 'runners': >100,000 years (pure guess)
    - smoke signals: who knows? say ~50,000 years
    - horses+riders: ~10,000 years
    - carrier pigeon: ~5,000 years??
    - various (other) line-of-sight visual (flashy mirrors, beacon fires, flags, ...): ~5,000 years (say)
    - all other EM-based methods, telegraph/phone/etc: <200 years

    To what extent are we still using pre-RF technologies for long distance communication? Not much.

    A similar sketch of long distance bandwidth vs time might imply that RF will be used, to a significant extent, only as long as there aren't better means readily available (and the trend is already well under way, with optical fibres and IR lasers, and that took <50 years!)

    What would Archimedes or Newton make of the latest Nokia mobile phone? How to do a 5,000-fold extrapolation of this?

    31 November, 2342: Nokia today released its much hyped 546310i phone. Weighing 2 picograms, this selectron-powered unit modulates the relict neutrino flow using a protocol which traces its ancestry to a 20th century innovation called CDMA. Critics panned it, saying that, at 300 Pqbits/s, it didn't improve much over the Ericsson model released last month. :wink:
     
  15. they would definately be better off

    if another life form comes to earth, then we can be sure that they will be better than us in terms of technology and, ha!!!! weapons!!!

    but that doesnt mean that they will destroy us or bla bla.. we are no stupid people! i myself can take care of 2-3 aliens very well (until u dont break me off my sleep !!!)

    we would give them a nuclear missile and they would run like hell!!!
     
  16. Nereid

    Nereid 4,014
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    Whence weapons?

    What is the source of the human (and other species?) need (is it real?) to develop weapons? Understanding this may be important to making estimates of what we may expect from any aliens.

    IMHO, most discussion on ET/aliens/etc is mostly just projection of the writers' own fears, hopes, and desires. Much of the popular literature on UFO aliens (including such films as Indepenence Day) is pure projection unleavened by even the slightest trace of biology or economics (lots of flashy hi-tech of course). At the risk of incurring the ire of a goodly number of PF readers, even the great Carl Sagan had a few scientific blind spots, in the sense that he appears not to have availed himself of some hard-won scientific results from biology.

    ET as a branch of human psychology?
     
  17. Ivan Seeking

    Ivan Seeking 12,537
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    Re: Whence weapons?

    Here is some wild speculation on my part:

    It seems to me that this comes under the notion of survival of the fittest. Since we evolved as predators and prey, we naturally gained an advantage by evolving as violent creatures; and later by developing weapons. So in this sense weapons are a direct result of evolution. I would tend to expect that similar scenarios would drive the evolution of species in many worlds. So if ET is like us, he likely evolved the need for violence. Conversely, I suppose we might imagine an ET who evolved as neither a predator or as prey, and who therefore never evolved the instincts or tools for violence.

    It seems that certain aspects of a space faring ET might be anticipated by the requirements of technology. For example, ET must be able to manipulate material objects accurately and precisely. Some kind of analog to our hands and thumbs is required. Next, there would seem to be a minimum brain size allowed in order to achieve things like mathematics; of course we don't know how big this might be. Also, might the size of a creature at least a meet some minimum as a function of brain size, and a typical maximum so as to conserve energy? On the other hand, if the energy needed to survive was virtually unlimited during ETs evolution, I guess the upper limit for ET's size could be independent of his brain size; and he could get very large indeed.

    One interesting question here is whether or not there are other kind of brains; brains that have virtually nothing in common with ours. Could ET have a brain more like a PC, or more like our immune system than our brain? Must a brain even be a unique thing? Of course, until we can identify the exact nature of consciousness, I suspect that guessing at the requirements for ET’s consciousness is more impossible than the rest of this guessing. Still, it would seem that ET still needs a reason to get smarter. This could result from the need for competitive advantage, or perhaps by environmental demands; or some other demands that we can’t imagine. So I don’t think that intelligence or any evolved senses absolutely require competition. Perhaps there is hope for a big brain and a kind heart. The bad news is that by our standards, if ET is smart, he probably became smart in a hostile environment; and violence and domination could be a part of his nature just as they are a part of ours.

    What about things like emotions or even consciousness for that matter? Could we meet an ET who is not even self aware by our standards? Could ET be intelligent but still have more in common with spiders or plants than he does with us?
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2003
  18. Nereid

    Nereid 4,014
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    Let's see what Niqqie, Another God, or iansmith could add here, from their understanding of the work of naturalists such as E. O. Wilson, and leading evolutionists.

    AFAIK, preditor-prey violence in mammals is pretty specific and contained. More potent is aggression arising from competition for mates, leading to territoriality and much else besides.

    Are there other natural solutions to some kind of sexually driven aggression in mammals, esp primates? I don't know, but as maybe orangutans (solitary) or bononos (extreme sexual promiscuity)?

    As we're the only mammal which possesses the capability to reason abstractly, and as the homo sap. females are permanently in heat, it may be this combination is the root cause of weapon development. Then comes the question: to what extent is the same explosive combination responsible for the rise of civilisation? intellectual curiosity? (perhaps the good news is that it's taken less than 1,000 years to begin to curb our self-destructive tendencies, and have done so without needing to alter the genes!)

    If the characteristic time for significant change (genetic, environmental) is 100,000 to 10 million years, then even the flimsy tale sketched above is weakened further - if aliens have the same chemisty and planetary environment as us, it'd be an amazing co-incidence that any nearby would happen to be within one characteristic time of homo sap.

    Comments on your bottom's up ideas, as well as emotions and consciousness, later.
     
  19. Ivan Seeking

    Ivan Seeking 12,537
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    I agree to a point, but going all the way back to the first predator, predatory behavior must have evolved nearly as soon as strategies for reproduction. Again, I am equating predatory behavior with violence towards other species.

    Is respect for life a trait likely to occur? This seems to imply the capacity for a philosophy in our sense.
     
  20. First off, back to the riginal question:

    1. Ofcoarse as logical beings, it's safe to say we would be cautious on first meeting the aliens, and we would try to be prepared for any possible outcome and we would most likely have our military on high alert. As for fear, any logical, intuitive human being would not be afraid of aliens, since that would require preset beliefs about their motived, without concerning true logic. I believe this would be the same with them.

    2. Secondly, one can not truly believe they would come here, of all places, for recourses. Since there are more than enough recourses in out universe to supply our needs forever, i.e. titan is a fuel moon, and it is much bigger than earth, and europa is a water moon, and has more water than earth. Besides, why would they risk fighting other intelligent beings for VERY limited recourses?

    3. Their only true reason to destroy us may be as a precaution, so that we may not become more advanced than them and possibly destroy them.
     
  21. LURCH

    LURCH 2,514
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    I do not entirely agree. The purpose of fear is self-preservation. If our species (or any species, IMHO) did not fear new things until it was proven that they should be feared, we would likely be extinct. Often the first indication that something should be feared is when it attempts to kill you. For the unwary, this attempt is more likely to be succesfull.

    Points two and three I do agree quite strongly. I get such a chuckle out of sci-fi where aliens come to Earth for water! They had to fly right passed Europa and all the rest to get here, where pathogens flourish and a technological race (however primative) is also out to make their mission dificult, not to mention the more inconvenient gravity.

    Of course, I suppose a story about a bunch of aliens who come to our Solar system, syphon a bunch of water off of Miranda, and then leave without us ever knowing they had been here would lack dramatic tension.

    But when my gaming friends ask me for suggestions as to why their alien attackers might be attacking, my answer is allways "xenophobia".
     
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