To be completely serious for a moment it would depend if we found left-handed DNA organisms, or something else. If left-handed DNA there’s a pretty good chance it came from Earth via some unknown mechanism (big meteor impact or somesuch). If something else, than it’s likely it originated on that planet.
The author of the book above actually made a great point that what we shoudl really be doing is looking around thermal vents ect for, to put it in laymen’s terms, “non-left handed DNA” organisms that might still exist in tiny numbers in extreme environments. Because if different “kinds” of life evolved independently multiple times on Earth it also makes a case for bumping that number of how many times life evolved elsewhere up a great deal.
As an aside, my personal theory is that once you have multicellular life, given the right (diverse) enough environment, and enough time, intelligent self-ware life is inevitable. But it’s the enough time and right environment parts that is so hard.
I’m not a religious person but the more you study the Earth - i don’t mean necessarily the universe, but just the geological and biological history of the earth - the more my hairs stand on my head. :) I think we really greatly underestimate both how special the Earth is, how many, many things have gone right for the Earth for so long.
Especially with biological diversity. Even though Selfish Gene theory seems to indicate intelligence is unlikely, i believe that’s actually a misunderstanding of complexity, and complexity starting with multicellularity almost inevitably ends with intelligence. All imo of course!
If you want another hair raising fact, i’ve heard some scientists say the human mind is the most complex thing in the universe. Sure there are lots of big things, but you can write the equations for all the mass of a star on a note card.
According to Issac Azimov (i haven’t independently confirmed this) the real spooky part about the moon is that it wasn’t always so perfectly sized! Apparently only relatively recently (50,000 years?) has the moon actually perfectly covered the sun during an eclipse! (Just to be clear, this is because the moon’s orbit has been moving away from the Earth).
The Bootes Void was brought up in cosmic string theory, wasn’t it?
If xenos are capping galaxies, otoh… we’ve got work to do, Brothers.
Cosmic string theory! Not … uh… regular string theory.
It’s basically a theory that there are topological defects (their words) in the universe, manifesting as cosmic strings. Imagine… uh… well, lmbh, ianaap, but imagine seams on a balloon, so when you blow up the balloon, the seams expand with it. Or… imagine a spider web instead of seams. And imagine they are … oh, … the thickness of proton, and have the mass of the earth, wiggling around.
This nice professor describes the theory the best (this is also the best video Sixty Symbols made, imo, because Brady shuts up most of the time).
Anyway the point is that they might make distributions of matter across the universe differential in some places.
My favorite theory is the one presented in the 3-body problem -book, the Dark Forest. Meaning essentially that everyone is hiding, and if one reveals itself, others destroy it. It’s the only way to survive for sure.
Yes, but you need to be sure a higher civilization doesn’t spot you while you’re at it.
The idea being that the most powerful civilizations are able to wipe you out easily if the spot you, and at the same time they are completely stealthy. Anyone foolish enough to make noise gets destroyed, that’s why we haven’t spotted anyone, and we’re not advanced enough to make too much noise. Yet.
You should read 3-body problem, it’s a compelling take on this, with a pretty epic scope.
I kind of disagree. Smart people have been on planet Earth for 10,000 years and we’re threating our own long-term survival. On the other hand, dinosaurs were around for hundreds of millions of years, and some are still around (crocodiles).
My own theory: 1) Life is probably not all that rare, because it seems to have popped up on earth relatively early. 2) Intelligent life probably is pretty rare. Say it’s one in a million earth-like planets. 3) Intelligent life that we can communicate with is next to impossible and probably won’t ever happen.
Part 3) is because of the narrow window of radio communication, the long distances, and the impossibly, tragically, fucking frustratingly slow speed of light in our pathetic universe. Honestly the speed of light sucks balls. It is so horribly slow, it is literally a light-year sized wall we can’t climb, ever.
In terms of communication window, just for us to hear a signal requires it to have been sent from a star within 50 light years of us. That’s only 133 stars. That cone is expanding, but I doubt we’ll be listening for 1,000 years. Then it requires that stars that have intelligence within that window also happen to be transmitting at the right time. Not likely.
My opinion is similar except I also think intelligent life is fairly common. I just think the window for us being able to observe that life is narrow for whatever reason.
My reasons for small observable windows (which are pure speculation) are
1.) Artificial self replication is practically impossible (no Von Nuemann machines) This is often just skipped over as a fact. But the truth is we have no idea if self replicating machines can actually be constructed, let alone exist or work autonomously.
2.) As above there can be space empires that exist for hundreds of thousands of years or more, but they are all mortal and eventually die. They have to contend with the real life problem of travelling across space for not just generations but lengths of time unimaginable to us. So advanced life is more like hunter gatherer nomadic tribes than space empires. Their population is capped by their baggage train.
3.) My most optimistic solution. Intelligent life is common, however it evolves rapidly to a state where we can no longer observe it , we happen to be in a very narrow window which is the equivalent of stone age humanity looking up at the stars. The stellar fusion of hydrogen is in plain sight but stone agers have zero tools to understand what they are looking at. Thats us now looking at galactic life. it is there, we just do not have the mental or physical tools to see.
Those are my my crackpot theories which I do not hold strongly, I have a genuine open mind with a biase towards other life. But yeah I LOVE this subject and speculating on it :)
The correct answer is we have no idea because we lack the technology to detect them. We’re just barely getting to the point where we can directly image extra-solar planets, and we can’t tell much about them other than they’re there. There could be hundreds of planets with life in our star’s neighborhood and we don’t know because we can’t observe them. The Fermi paradox is just a skeptic’s circle jerk.
FFS we make up imaginary shit like Dark Matter and Dark Energy to explain observations that don’t fit into our equations and that’s a-ok, we dump millions into researching it, but UFOs are a bridge too far! Despite the fact that we have videos and radar records and testimony from trained pilots and military personnel. It’s silly.
Let’s not forget that the AATIP program was canceled because the Republican senate believed UFOs were demons. That’s a totally rational belief.
Mr Reid had told them one factor in the shutting down of AATIP was intelligence officials’ fears the findings would end up on the front page of a newspaper. He also said some officials had religious objections to the unit.
In terms of your item 2, personally I don’t think interstellar travel is possible. But I don’t want to be too much of a downer so I enjoy sci-fi like the rest of us and just turn that skeptical part of my brain off.
Maybe not! But I can’t imagine many people thinking that remote controlled rovers sending back pictures from Mars, landing a man on the moon, or having a realtime face-to-face conversation with someone in China (or up in orbit on a space station!) were plausible. I mean, how would most of that stuff even work, without magic?
If there’s a way to transfer a copy of our brains into a machine, our consciousness, and then flip it on and off, that would make interstellar travel at sub-light speed possible. So it takes 10,000 years to get to your destination? Most of that time your consciousness is turned off. You wouldn’t be aware of the passage of time.
You grow blank slate organic bodies in a vat of goo and then transfer the individual’s consciousness into it when you want to explore a planet. I suppose you could even bio-engineer bodies adapted for the planet you want to explore.
Imagine a civilization so advanced that the pursuit of knowledge is all that’s left for them to do. Every physical desire and comfort is always available. And they already know most everything. So what’s really left to do is sight-see the universe and see what else is out there.
I don’t see why it wouldn’t be. Even if it’s not possible to travel there in 50 years, or 100 years, or even 1000 years due to a lack of technology, who’s to say that matters? Even if “hypersleep” never pans out, and uploading consciousness into machines never becomes a reality, does that mean interstellar travel is out of the question? Even if every single intelligent species has a similar lifespan to us, and even if one of those highly advanced species never finds a means of substantially prolonging its life either through genetic engineering or bio-engineering, do you honestly believe that building a self-sustaining ship that can support generations is an impossibility?