Atheists for ghosts and UFOs?

Mottsapplejuice
atheist
Posts: 14
Joined: 2010-11-16
User is offlineOffline
Atheists for ghosts and UFOs?

I have wondered does any atheist here believe in some concept of ghosts and UFOs?  I know some agnostics who do, and personally i do not consider them to be real, well ghosts. Aliens on the other hand  I will ponder but wont draw any  conclusion. I go with the Sagan method the probability of life on other planets.  

But are there any atheist out there who believe or ponder these things? In what ways?

For anyone yes to ghosts, how does that not entail some afterlife?


Blake
atheistScience Freak
Posts: 991
Joined: 2010-02-19
User is offlineOffline
I believe in UFOs, because

I believe in UFOs, because personally I have seen many in my lifetime.  That is, unidentified flying objects.  I won't claim to know what they were- probably a helicopter, a plane, or a bird or something.

As far as alien spacecraft in our atmosphere, I find it unlikely from a strictly motivational standpoint; it's a serious investment in time and resources to reach our little blue speck.  Based on a coherent model of ubiquitous reality (instead of extreme relativistic distortion wherein ours is the only frame with consistent physics in this slice of the multiverse), of course there's life elsewhere in the universe (almost everywhere), and of course there's significantly intelligent life elsewhere in the universe- I just question any such legitimately intelligent life in its motivations to ever visit us.

 

 

Quote:
For anyone yes to ghosts, how does that not entail some afterlife?

 

I don't believe in ghosts, but one could speculate that they are coherent wave resonances of some kind left behind after a person has died- not a "soul" or an extension of life- paranormalists call this ectoplasmic, and one could envision them as mere imprints or 'stains' on space-time being pulled along in the same place by the Earth's gravity well and magnetic fields.

"Ghosts" would not imply an afterlife any more than ghosting on your computer monitor (depending on the type of monitor) implies the processes that generated those pixelated images are still running on your processor or elsewhere in any way (they aren't).


latincanuck
atheist
latincanuck's picture
Posts: 2038
Joined: 2007-06-01
User is offlineOffline
I personally do not believe

I personally do not believe in ghosts, as for aliens yes I believe that there is life beyond our planet, what type of life is a different question.
As for the ghost question and the after life I know a few atheists and agnostics that believe in ghosts and the after life but not in heaven and gods per se. After life such as in reincarnation or that the conciousness continues to exist after death (more inline with buddhism than christianity and other religions in which there is a god or gods) there is no reason as to why and atheist could not believe in ghosts and the after life. Its just a belief that there is no god or supernatural deities


harleysportster
atheist
harleysportster's picture
Posts: 3359
Joined: 2010-10-17
User is offlineOffline
When it comes to ghosts

I would agree with Blake's explanation of what a ghost might be. Which would indicate a part of science where all of the  questions have not fully been answered yet. Is there a possibility of ghosts existing ? A possibility, but that does not mean that I believe alot of the claims that are the stuff of urban legends and re-runs of some silly series like Ghost Hunters.  There are quite a number of things that science has not fully explained yet, doesn't necessarily mean that all claims of ghosts have validity.

I put the idea of ghosts into the same category that I put alot of things that can not be fully substantiated. Until I see a ghost firsthand, and then have a team of scientists analyze what I saw, and then have another team analyze it, and they both come to the conclusion that no other explanation could be possible, then I am highly skeptical of the existence of ghosts. Doesn't mean that they are not real, just means that I personally see no concrete reason to believe in them.

Aliens I would guess would be real. Now I am not sold on the idea that there are little green men using test probes on human test subjects. But I don't think a vast universe like this one would have only one planet capable of producing life. Now what that life would be like and if it would be intelligent would be another matter of speculation.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


Answers in Gene...
High Level Donor
Answers in Gene Simmons's picture
Posts: 4214
Joined: 2008-11-11
User is offlineOffline
 I quite like the idea of

 

I quite like the idea of treating this as two very different questions. I shall do the same.

 

Does intelligent life exist in other places? Well, from what we know from astronomy, that seems to be quite likely. Certainly, the universe looks pretty much the same in every direction.

 

Have they visited here? That seems to be rather less likely. Here, I would consider what we know of modern physics and see what we know that could, given the investment, get us out around the galaxy.

 

In physics, we are already probing the nature of the universe to the level of some very fine detail. Thus far, no clues have come up that seem to indicate the possibility of some form of warp drive/jump gate/hyperspace type of device that would let us bypass the speed of light. So we probably are going to have to stick with what we already know about.

 

Unless we are to find a way to leverage relativistic speed, we would need to think in terms of just how far away stuff is. At 0.1c, it would take decades to get to even the closest of stars. Any ship that is going to make that trip is going to have to be the size of our largest cities. Even at 0.99c, it is still going to take years (of ship time. Earth time will still be measured in decades) for the trip. Possibly then, you can get the population of the ship down to about a few thousand people. It is still going to be basically a one way trip.

 

Unless there is something like real proof that we have been visited, I am going to sit on the fence on this one.

 

As for ghosts, well, what would an actual ghost be? Certainly, there are no small number of anecdotal references suggesting that perhaps there is something going on. Does that mean that there are people drifting around all over the place who just happen to be no longer alive? Perhaps there are other, more reasonable explanations.

 

As an example, there is a fairly well documented thing where, at the edge of sleep, the process of disconnecting awareness from the waking world does not always happen in an orderly sequence. When that happens, sometimes we can have at least partial awareness of what is going on in the room around us.

 

However, the brain may have already reached the point where conscious control of the body has been disconnected. Early parts of the dream state may have begun. In such a case, the sleeper often reports the presence of other beings, often beings capable of doing things that are not normally possible to the waking world. Sometimes, the sleeper will assert that the other is a malevolent force of some sort. That not only could account for at least some reports of ghosts but also possibly vampires and devils as well.

 

Then too, there are documented cases of people doing some strange things while sleepwalking. There is some regular dude in England who claims to be a fine art painter in his sleep. There are people who have sex while sleep walking (incubi/succibi anyone?). There are even a few people who have used sleepwalking as a defense on a murder charge.

 

I would like to see people who make such claims repeat them in a modern sleep lab while connected to EEG recorders. Until then, I am going to say that those claims are not really substantiated as well.

 

In any case, stuff happens all the time and the first explanation that comes up is not automatically the best explanation.

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:
Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."

=


Brian37
atheistSuperfan
Brian37's picture
Posts: 15751
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
I'll be more blunt than the

I'll be more blunt than the others here.

If anyone, believer or atheist, is taking cable media conspiracy crap seriously, to me, they might as well believe in the God/s of abraham.

If it makes no sense to someone that a invisible super brain with no material exists. Then why the hell would a misty cloudy disembodied floating "Ghost" be any more credible. Certainly the claims are popular. If you want to believe something badly enough, you will.

Ghosts, little green men, JFK, Loc Ness, Big foot, crap circles, are all conspiracy crap. You will not get any credible science lab to study these things. This is merely crap media sells to credulous people to sell add space. The only thing about any of this worth studying would be purely from a psychological clinical standpoint to come up with answers as to why people believe absurd things.

In fact, there is a book called "Why people believe weird things" I'd suggest you read it.

But the simple explanation is that people like having a pet believe, even if total bullshit. It gives them a false sense of purpose. It is a placebo place card where there are gaps in answers.

Ghosts do not exist anymore than Apollo or Thor or Vishnu exists. And, considering that the galaxy alone is 100,000 light years across, I doubt whatever life might be out there, is going to be able to get to us anymore than we would be able to get to it. So no, we have NOT been visited.

Liking ghosts and little green men are merely the wishes of the people who wish them to be true.

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37


cj
atheistRational VIP!
cj's picture
Posts: 3330
Joined: 2007-01-05
User is offlineOffline
My turn, I guess

Ghosts - no

And all the other nonsense - no.

UFOs - if you mean "Unidentified Flying Object", sure.  As Blake has mentioned, I too, have seen objects in the sky I didn't know exactly what they were.  I lived in Central Washington for a few years far from large cities.  We saw a couple of satellites on clear nights.  Didn't recognize them at first until they had moved across the sky far enough we got a sense of their speed and direction.

If you mean have aliens visited the earth and left gifts of pyramids or proteins or what ever, no.  mind you, it would be way cool to be beamed up into some alien/futuristic space craft.   There might be intelligent life somewhere else in the universe.  I think the cost/benefits are so out of whack, we will never see those other intelligences.  It would have to be a major leap in technology to get that cost/benefit equation to the point it makes sense to send people to other planets in our own solar system, let alone our own galaxy.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


Atheistextremist
atheist
Atheistextremist's picture
Posts: 5133
Joined: 2009-09-17
User is offlineOffline
No to ghosts

 

and all supernatural horseshit tho' I have had one single weird experience where I knew my brother was hurt to the point of me leaving half dozen panicked messages on his phone within a minute of him crashing in a motorcycle race. That was very odd but I would not expect anyone else to accept it as evidence for anything. 

UFOs - well I believe there's life out there in the universe. Whether or not it has the time and energy to drag it's arse all the way here is the question. I'd say the universe is too big and life too rare for that. I reckon most life would have no idea there was anything else out there. There are probably monkeys on another planet who can't believe the benevolence of the great banana god who made it all for them.

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


Blake
atheistScience Freak
Posts: 991
Joined: 2010-02-19
User is offlineOffline
Brian37 wrote:If anyone,

Brian37 wrote:

If anyone, believer or atheist, is taking cable media conspiracy crap seriously, to me, they might as well believe in the God/s of abraham.

If it makes no sense to someone that a invisible super brain with no material exists. Then why the hell would a misty cloudy disembodied floating "Ghost" be any more credible.



That's bullshit.  You really don't see the difference between a claim that is inherently and demonstrably logically impossible and one which has not yet been demonstrated to be logically impossible?

One is anti-logical, and one is just an overzealous assumption- there's a *huge* difference.

Belief in a teapot on the other side of the moon is not comparable to belief in an impossible god; the teapot is not demonstrated to be impossible, and with regards to all known science we have every reason to believe now that it's possible.

Is it a bit unreasonable to believe that is probably exists without any scientific evidence?  Yes.  Anywhere belief exceeds in certainty that probability provided by strict scientific standards we could say that.  Is it illogical?  No- because it remains apparently possible.


What are the chances of there being an undiscovered "big foot"?

Well, the chances of something like this having existed are very good- humans have coexisted with other species of man for a long time (up until quite recently), so something that resembled big foot would be relatively expected out of the many species of man that have existed.

What are the chances that a shy species still exists in some of these reported regions?

Well, they're fairly remote areas of wilderness; if they were intelligent enough to carry a culture of reclusiveness and had a small enough population, they could remain hidden.

The problem there is the size of the population and sufficient genetic diversity to allow the species to subsist over time- as the population becomes larger, the chances of being discovered go up, but if the population is too small, imminent extinction is unavoidable.

Ecologists might over-estimate their abilities of finding things some times, though; how often is a species declared extinct only to find a thriving population somewhere unexpected?

We'll continue to discover species like the coelacanth, and there remain even now uncontacted tribes of humans in the wilderness.  We can say only that a "bigfoot"-like creature may have existed but is more and more likely to have been extinct with every passing year, either recently or for some time.



Now an easier question:  What are the chances of there being a typical Abrahamic god?

0%, none, zilch.

Such a being is, rather than empirically unlikely, logically impossible.




The difference is that no matter what evidence you think you might have, believing in such a deity is bat-shit crazy.  I don't care if you see an angel come down from the sky and hand you stone tablets- it's not evidence of this deity.

If you have personally seen a Sasquatch, it wouldn't be so unreasonable to believe they exist within the known gaps in evidence for remote wilderness.
If you had a friend who says he or she has personally seen one, you might be a bit more skeptical, but it would still seem reasonable, if one trusts one's friend, to believe it.

Big difference.



Conspiracy theories require a bit of creative thinking and acceptance of some unlikely but not disproved axioms.

Theism requires an absolute rejection of logic and anything that resembles reality.


Comparing the two is granting theism a huge compliment and more leniency for consideration than it ever deserved.

I'll humor any theory that is logically coherent provided we don't have empirical evidence that it must not be true.  Doesn't mean I'll find it likely.

Did Bush mastermind the 9-11 attacks?  Profoundly unlikely.  Do extraterrestrials visit Earth?  Just as unlikely.  Is there a bigfoot?  A little more likely than the former two, but still pretty damn unlikely. 


Are there ghosts?  Well, what is a ghost?

As a soul or spirit, an inherently supernatural entity, no.

The definition is less clear with regards to the question than that of a god, though, containing ambiguous cases like phantoms and mental projections- perhaps this derives from modern psychology (such as potential uses in Hamlet).

In so far as it is possible for a ghost to be both not entirely mental and not spirit/soul, then such a thing may exist- though still with less likelihood than any of the above.

Infrasound wouldn't qualify, as it doesn't distinctly derive from the person, but lingering pheromones of fear/terror and carrying some semblance of  identity and information might (odor can linger a long time, and can be considered a sensory ghost which might generate visions projecting through the subconscious interpretations of those chemical signals- this would serve and evolutionary end and might qualify as a ghost).

There are many plausible non-supernatural systems that might qualify as ghosts.  None that would qualify as gods, however.



Atheistextremist wrote:

and all supernatural horseshit tho' I have had one single weird experience where I knew my brother was hurt to the point of me leaving half dozen panicked messages on his phone within a minute of him crashing in a motorcycle race. That was very odd but I would not expect anyone else to accept it as evidence for anything.


More likely that his lack of response would have given you a little concern in either case if you were expecting him to be responsive at that time (whether he was hurt or simply lost his phone).  In retrospect, your concern was likely played up in your memory a bit, and your recollection of your certainty comes out as more certain of his harm than you were at the time (our brains play tricks with our memories like that).




Atheistextremist wrote:

I'd say the universe is too big and life too rare for that.


I would disagree that life is rare- each significantly luminous star (non-red dwarf) probably averages more than one planet (or moon) with life on it.  If you consider our star system, we have two other planets that are almost suitable for life, and were there a gas giant in their place, it would likely has several habitable moons.

With our solar system, scoot the three in either direction just a little bit, or even just give Venus a little better luck, and we would have likely had two planets with life rather than one, and potentially three (though that's less likely).  There is good reason to believe that ours is an *unlucky* configuration, not a lucky one.

The majority of stars out there that are similar to ours in size probably have two planets or moons with life, and many may have three.  Four planets with life would be very uncommon.

The chances, given two planets on average in the right area, of at least one of them being the right size to hold sufficient atmosphere (considering that it's probably overwhelmingly likely that, due to the way planets form, they will both be large enough), provide near certainly that every yellow star should have at least one Earth or Gas giant moon (if Gas giants have any real tendency to form nearer to stars; though reason would seem to indicate only a detection bias there).

If the age of that planet is even approaching that of ours, it almost certainly has life on it- and not only does it have life on it, it has a fair chance of having had intelligent life on it (even if not anymore, although the question of where it might have *gone* is broached in that case- assuming it doesn't have a tendency to disappear, any star would have a statistical chance increasing with age of having intelligent life).  Due to the climbing odds over age, in the case of red giants that have eaten their nearby planets, it's likely that their outer planets are colonized by life from the inner ones (having had plenty of time to evolve and advance technologically to manage that feat).

There are only a few things that might have slowed or temporarily prevented development of human-like life on such an Earth-like planet, and they wouldn't work for long.

Namely, our planet has had its share of really terrible luck- look at the major mass extinction we suffered from a likely meteor strike- and that *might* have been a bit of serendipity, or it might not have been.  Without wiping out the dinosaurs, the monkeys couldn't have taken over so easily.  Would a branch of dinosaurs have developed civilization?  Well, maybe and maybe not- comfortable evolutionary niches aren't as conducive to increase in intelligence, so we might have needed a mass extinction to get things kicked into gear.  So, the luck of the draw there could delay things by a few million years- though it's still all a matter of *when* and not of if.  Any star is going to have meteors in orbit like that, and it's just a matter of time before the planet gets a proper mass extinction event.  Plotting out meteor strikes, I seem to remember the event not being unlikely in general; just the exact timing has a significant variance in it.  Mars has had its share of hard knocks too- it's unreasonable to assume it would be a long delay for any planet anywhere in the universe on an astrological time-scale.

Now, once we get past the Sol-like stars, it gets much more interesting.

With truly massive stars, the chances are less, but largely because their life-spans are just so short (mere tens or hundreds of millions of years- barely enough time for a planet to cool off to host life).  Those don't occur as frequently though, making up a statistically irrelevant percentage of stars in spiral systems (anything close enough to ever visit or visit us).  Most of these stars existed shortly after the big bang, and burnt themselves up just as quickly.

With regards to the less luminous common stars- red dwarfs- we just don't know what the exact conditions of their inner planets are.  These are statistically significant in a big way, though- making up something like 85% of stars and some 60% of the closest stars to us.

With regards to their planetary status, Gliese 581 alone has *at least* two planets in the habitable zone, which almost certainly have both atmospheres as liquid water on them due to their sizes and positions (which is in keeping with my "probably at least two planets per star" suggestion).  That is, we do know they have planets in their habitable ranges.

There isn't any reason to believe that Red Dwarf stars don't have life on their planets- all the necessities are there, as well as adequate energy in the habitable zone.  The most interesting part is that these stars live a *very* long time, and are extremely stable.  There is ample time for them to develop life, and because most of them are literally older than dirt, most of the existing red dwarf stars have already had plenty of time to develop intelligent life.

These kinds of stars make up about 85% of stars precisely *because* their life times are much longer (they don't burn out like our solar mass and larger stars). 

So, given the information we have, any of these 85% of stars is not less likely to have intelligent life than a sol-like star, but probably far more likely given the time frames involved.


The only long lived stars you would almost certainly find without life are theoretical (and a likely bunk take on the universe's formation) very small (and very old) stars that formed in nebulae long enough ago to lack the heavy elements necessary for planetary accretion- which would generally be red dwarfs- but which haven't been discovered yet (all red dwarfs have some heavier elements in them).

That said, I can't emphasize enough that these stars are only theoretical and may not even exist, as we've never detected one- and recent theories about the early stages of the universe tell us why; in the beginning the massive stars probably dominated, and dwarf stars weren't able to form until the heavier elements were present.

All that said, there's every reason to believe the universe is absolutely teeming with intelligent life- probably circling most red dwarfs, all reasonably low mass red-giants, and inhabiting planets around sol-like stars with a statistical probability based on their ages- and for those stars without *intelligent* life, they still have fish and insects, and probably dinosaurs.

Despite that, it's very unlikely that anybody would bother to come all the way out to our star when most civilizations would have other planets in their own solar systems to explore, and other, much closer, solar systems with life if they really wanted to bother with it.  We're isolated- most stars are in much closer binary pairs or small clusters. 

There's no more reason to visit us, and there are several reasons not to- if I were life from a red dwarf, I'd suspect it would be a waste of time visiting a yellow star, suspecting it's too young and unstable to have much more than bugs on the planet.  There just doesn't seem to be any good reason to bother coming over here when there are closer rocks to look under that are more likely to have more mature civilizations on them if that's what they're after.

The only time we should really expect visitors is if we saw one of our most nearby stars starting to burn or threaten violent change, and if there wasn't any other viable evacuation route.  Any inhabitants would potentially hoof it to the nearest star system that probably *doesn't* have intelligent life (meaning probably skipping the red dwarfs and heading to a younger, less stable, star- though given relative proximity that wouldn't likely be us).



I think the most important point is not that life is uncommon and so it doesn't come here, as that life is ubiquitous, making us uninteresting and inconvenient.  "Been there done that, alien life is boring"


Too long/didn't read:

Stuff about stars and the probability of life.


Atheistextremist
atheist
Atheistextremist's picture
Posts: 5133
Joined: 2009-09-17
User is offlineOffline
I was definitely in a major state





Atheistextremist wrote:

and all supernatural horseshit tho' I have had one single weird experience where I knew my brother was hurt to the point of me leaving half dozen panicked messages on his phone within a minute of him crashing in a motorcycle race. That was very odd but I would not expect anyone else to accept it as evidence for anything.



More likely that his lack of response would have given you a little concern in either case if you were expecting him to be responsive at that time (whether he was hurt or simply lost his phone).  In retrospect, your concern was likely played up in your memory a bit, and your recollection of your certainty comes out as more certain of his harm than you were at the time (our brains play tricks with our memories like that).


 

If anything time has softened the thing - I was at a family lunch and refused eat at all, going outside and pacing about. It was the talk of the month.

I agree the response thing was an issue. This was before mobile phones so there was no way to contact him or learn more until his wife got home at about 7pm.

Important to bear in mind is that I knew he was racing that day and it's certain I had a momentary worry spark and just ran with it.

But it was a strange feeling.


 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


Luminon
SuperfanTheist
Luminon's picture
Posts: 2455
Joined: 2008-02-17
User is offlineOffline
I believe in UFOs, because I

I believe in UFOs, because I have seen them several times, I mean the cases when it did not behave like airplane, balloon or astronomic object. But I decidedly refuse any rumors of alien abductions and experiments. This is just a result of DMT in sleeping people's brains.

I also believe in ghosts.... well, because rather recently they honored me with some attention. Is a two hours long observation of a ghost a good justification for belief in ghosts?

Beings who deserve worship don't demand it. Beings who demand worship don't deserve it.


Answers in Gene...
High Level Donor
Answers in Gene Simmons's picture
Posts: 4214
Joined: 2008-11-11
User is offlineOffline
 Luminon wrote:I believe in

 

Luminon wrote:
I believe in UFOs, because I have seen them several times, I mean the cases when it did not behave like airplane, balloon or astronomic object. But I decidedly refuse any rumors of alien abductions and experiments. This is just a result of DMT in sleeping people's brains.

 

Cool beans dude!

 

I think that we have all seen things that admit of no good explanation. Let me give you some examples:

 

Early 70's: I saw two lights in the sky moving in no way that ought to have been possible. That many years having been passed, I will not bother trying to go into details. Whatever I might remember is probably wrong. Even so, I am sure that what I saw that night was not possible to technology then existing. Nor is it possible for secret military tech that has come out since then.

 

Late 70's: I saw a fighter jet pass overhead at less than 50 meters above ground level. It took many seconds to pass a fairly narrow bit of sky. Even today, the only thing that could have been was a Harrier fighter. Yet there was no air show in the area. Also, I live in the most densely populated part of the US. Something was going on.

 

Not all unexplainable stories have to be flying things.

 

In the early 80's, I was crashing with a friend. Another friend knew this and dropped by early in the morning to take me to breakfast. We hung together in the first friend's place for a bit before we left.

 

When we did, we got, at most, 50 meters down the road before some crazy old bat ran out screaming foe us to stop so that she could give us breakfast. That morning, we had a nice free feast. However, it involved perfectly cooked runny egg sandwiches.

 

The time window for this to happen is a matter of a dozen seconds or so. However, my second friend arrived at my first friends place half an hour before she could have started the cooking. Yet this was a quiet residential neighborhood.

 

The matter admits of no explanation that I can obtain but damn those egg sandwiches were good.

 

Luminon wrote:
I also believe in ghosts.... well, because rather recently they honored me with some attention. Is a two hours long observation of a ghost a good justification for belief in ghosts?

 

Well, ca you tell me how to see ghosts? If you can, then we have something to work with. I have access to some standard publications and we can get a paper going.

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:
Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."

=


Luminon
SuperfanTheist
Luminon's picture
Posts: 2455
Joined: 2008-02-17
User is offlineOffline
Answers in Gene Simmons

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

Early 70's: I saw two lights in the sky moving in no way that ought to have been possible. That many years having been passed, I will not bother trying to go into details. Whatever I might remember is probably wrong. Even so, I am sure that what I saw that night was not possible to technology then existing. Nor is it possible for secret military tech that has come out since then.

 

Late 70's: I saw a fighter jet pass overhead at less than 50 meters above ground level. It took many seconds to pass a fairly narrow bit of sky. Even today, the only thing that could have been was a Harrier fighter. Yet there was no air show in the area. Also, I live in the most densely populated part of the US. Something was going on.

 

Not all unexplainable stories have to be flying things.

 

I once saw a really weird thing. Dunno what it was, but it didn't look like a space neighbours' vehicle either. I was outside at night, having a smoke, and suddenly the land all lightened up with white light. I looked up on the clear sky and there was a bright ball of light high above, a little fuzzy through a cloud, but it had a size of about 1/3 of the moon. It didn't move and went off very quickly. I wasn't imagining things, all neighbours' dogs around started barking. 
If such light would be a supernova explosion, it would be all over the news and satellites would be fried by radiation, right?

 

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:
Luminon wrote:
I also believe in ghosts.... well, because rather recently they honored me with some attention. Is a two hours long observation of a ghost a good justification for belief in ghosts?

Well, ca you tell me how to see ghosts? If you can, then we have something to work with. I have access to some standard publications and we can get a paper going.

It's not so simple. There are two very different kinds of "ghosts".  The first one (astral) is harder to detect but very common, these are the goners. The second kind is what really got me scared. I'd have to explain you a heap of things about why, etc. You don't distinguish between things astral and etheric, but I do. It's hell of a difference.
I have done some investigation and asked a friend or two to probe for information, but we had only partial success. (we made sure I was surprisingly not harmed, etc) My otherwise very able friend failed to identify who the hell was the mysterious visitor and got a very unsettling feeling.

You also should know one thing, I do not see ghosts, neither I try to see them or contact them. Astral sensitivity is a common part of mental diseases and many other kinds of delusions that trouble the society. Those who have it should get rid of it, it's the remainder of our primitive animal origins.
But I do have a great tactile sensitivity of etheric world. I know almost nothing about it, I just have this perception of it. When it comes to these "ghosts" (or better said, etheric people), I can shake a hand with them, but I can't see them, thankfully. And I hope it will remain that way, until I get someone to spy on them. My potential sources of information are very busy and a reply from them can take months, if any.

Beings who deserve worship don't demand it. Beings who demand worship don't deserve it.


Beyond Saving
atheist
Beyond Saving's picture
Posts: 5448
Joined: 2007-10-12
User is offlineOffline
 I don't believe space

 I don't believe space aliens have visited Earth recently but I do believe there is likely some sort of life elsewhere in the universe and is possible that space aliens might stop by our little planet someday. 

 

As for ghosts, I am not a believer. That isn't to say it is necessarily impossible in the sense like Blake discussed but I have killed many animals and some in extremely close quarters and have not witnessed anything of the like. Most of the stories you hear that aren't obviously fabricated are probably due to the human minds amazing capability to deceive itself, especially when there is a lack of sensory input. I have been in woods, jungles and mountains late at night and it is amazing what your mind can create to scare the shit out of you. Hence why I no longer watch horror movies of any kind. My imagination is plenty good enough without adding someone else's ideas.

 

When your mind is only getting partial data it fills in the gaps. You see a blur of movement, certain colors or hear certain sounds and your mind strains to identify it. It will fill in the blanks and you will be completely convinced that you saw what you thought you saw even though it never existed. It is hard to explain but I can tell you it is rather embarrassing to stalk for an hour only to discover that what you could have sworn was the head of a deer flicking its ear is a log that a bird landed on. (And that is why I never go anywhere without my binoculars)

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


ragdish
atheist
ragdish's picture
Posts: 461
Joined: 2007-12-31
User is offlineOffline
Blake wrote: I don't

Blake wrote:

 I don't believe in ghosts, but one could speculate that they are coherent wave resonances of some kind left behind after a person has died- not a "soul" or an extension of life- paranormalists call this ectoplasmic, and one could envision them as mere imprints or 'stains' on space-time being pulled along in the same place by the Earth's gravity well and magnetic fields.

"Ghosts" would not imply an afterlife any more than ghosting on your computer monitor (depending on the type of monitor) implies the processes that generated those pixelated images are still running on your processor or elsewhere in any way (they aren't).

Ectoplasmic stains being pulled along by space-time? Are you seriously implying that consciousness is something other than the neural activity of the brain? As a Neurologist who has dedicated his life to studying the brain and its disorders, I have yet to learn of anything about coherent residual wave resonances among patients I have pronounced brain dead. Once the electrochemical neural activity of the brain stops, then mind/consciousness/soul stops without any residue except for the memories of the departed among friends, loved ones, and the patient's health providers.


Blake
atheistScience Freak
Posts: 991
Joined: 2010-02-19
User is offlineOffline
ragdish wrote:Are you

ragdish wrote:

Are you seriously implying that consciousness is something other than the neural activity of the brain?

 

Haha, f*ck no.  No, I suggested this as an almost plausible (though highly unlikely) side effect which might explain ghosts- not as an explanation for consciousness (which is perfectly well solved).

Note that I mentioned gravity wells; humans do not have sufficient gravity to pull something like this around with a corpse.  You could call it "brain pollution" if you wanted.  Left behind as a waste product.  You've got your interpretation of cause and effect from what I postulated backwards.

 

To test the notion, one would have to search locations of hauntings, rather than corpses.  Test electric and magnetic fields, and see if there are any anomalies beyond the background noise.

One might have to also postulate something similar to ether theory to store this topographical data in the location; or otherwise some form of material magnetization or charging in the area at the time of the 'stain's creation (which would involve substantial amounts of detectable energy at that moment).

 

 

To give a more plausible analogy:

Lets say that there is a species of electric eels that live in caves of ferrous rock in the ocean.  Lets say this species has a predator immune to their electric shocks, but which is sedentary.  When the electric eels die, lets say they evolved to give off a very strong shock of a type to partially magnetize some of the iron around the predator's hunting ground.  Lets say that the eels have evolved to detect this magnetization and avoid these areas.

Similar behavior is seen through olfactory senses in other animals- it's not terribly inconceivable.

 

Less plausibly:

Lets say that, perhaps, when humans are brutally murdered or otherwise mortally terrified, they may do something similar- with substantially lower voltage, substantially less iron present in the environment, and being respectively substantially more sensitive to the left over warning signal (interpreted as a ghost- perhaps even so detailed as to have carried the information of the last few moments of the person's life).

 

More plausibly:

I suggested pheromones (like the ellusive "I'm being murderized" pheromone) which would imprint this information into the area by smell (many species do things like this), and the idea that humans are particularly sensitive to the pheromone subconsciously, and capable of decoding the appropriate information from it to generate a ghost.

 

 

 

Whatever it is, there are more potential explanations to a phenomenon than either "it's supernatural, yay magic!" and "it doesn't exist".

The only case where this is a valid dichotomy is where something is defined with inherently supernatural qualities, or is by definition supernatural- such as a god- and otherwise considered a sham and not the thing in question (false gods, etc).


Answers in Gene...
High Level Donor
Answers in Gene Simmons's picture
Posts: 4214
Joined: 2008-11-11
User is offlineOffline
 And Ragdish has joined the

 

And Ragdish has joined the thread. I was kind of hoping that we could get some insight from you.

 

For example, up in post #4, I speculated that various phenomenon related to sleep could be reasonable explanations for quite a large percentage of what observations may exist. Hypnagogia would seem to be fairly obvious as would some of the strange things that people can do when sleep walking.

 

Out of curiosity, what would you think about that from your perspective?

 

@Blake, why would you want to test supposed haunted sites for your theory? Would not any signals be strongest where a death has occurred in the past couple of hours?

 

If there is anything to your idea of latent traces, why look for them in abandoned mental hospitals? Surely any phenomenon worth investigating would have faded over the years. At least to some degree. Instead of haunting sites, I would suggest that the strongest signals one could pick up would be recent murder sites.

 

Then too, what would be tested for exactly?

 

There is a guy I know from anotherr forum who does ghost hunting in grave yards and abandoned buildings. However, what passes for “professional” gear is determined based largely on price. Generally, if a bit of kit can be had for under a couple hundred bucks, it is more likely to be included.

 

Stuff like infrared thermometers used in commercial kitchens and so forth. I tried at one point to get him to buy a ten band parametric equalizer for detecting ghostly voices but he would no got for it on the grounds that it was too expensive.

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:
Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."

=


Blake
atheistScience Freak
Posts: 991
Joined: 2010-02-19
User is offlineOffline
Answers in Gene Simmons

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

@Blake, why would you want to test supposed haunted sites for your theory? Would not any signals be strongest where a death has occurred in the past couple of hours?

 

Well, I wouldn't want to test any of it, being rather a waste of time and money given much more productive pursuits.

Hauntings are reported almost randomly in spooky places; one could suggest a correlation with strengths and weaknesses in the Earth's fields magnifying or deteriorating these 'whatevers'.

 

In verifying or debunking any claims, one is best put to investigating where they are reported, given the uncertainty of what variables actually present.  If one doesn't find anything there, well, then there's probably nothing to be discovered and it doesn't matter where else one checks.

 

 

Quote:
Generally, if a bit of kit can be had for under a couple hundred bucks, it is more likely to be included.

 

Stuff like infrared thermometers used in commercial kitchens and so forth. I tried at one point to get him to buy a ten band parametric equalizer for detecting ghostly voices but he would no got for it on the grounds that it was too expensive.

 

The best tools for the job could be assembled for far less than that, but would require a bit of actual work.  The most useful tool is going to be computer analysis in any case; one can't leave humans to analyze data, or they'll find all kinds of crap that isn't really there (by seeing false patterns in noise).

All you need is an array of inductors and antennas of various kinds and voltmeters hooked up to a computer.  Even with a shitty sample rate (like using one voltmeter hooked up to a time switch and a bunch of receivers- which might cost you $50?), you could generate an image of the local magnetic field or its perturbations the computer.  Would take a little bit of software work to get it running, but that would arguably be free (assuming one has a computer, one can use any number of free compilers and programming languages if one has a bit of free time).  Low sample rate like that might not get you enough signal to noise ratio even if there were something there, though, but you could build up on the system over time.


ragdish
atheist
ragdish's picture
Posts: 461
Joined: 2007-12-31
User is offlineOffline
Answers in Gene Simmons

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

 

And Ragdish has joined the thread. I was kind of hoping that we could get some insight from you.

 

For example, up in post #4, I speculated that various phenomenon related to sleep could be reasonable explanations for quite a large percentage of what observations may exist. Hypnagogia would seem to be fairly obvious as would some of the strange things that people can do when sleep walking.

 

Indeed hypnogogic hallucinations are very common. As I type this, I am quite sleep deprived and when I retire for the night, I'll likely experience a recurrent hallucination of floating. Such phenomenon are abnormal early onset REM periods at the transition between walke and sleep. I bet Jesus (if indeed he existed) probably experienced such phenomena during his sleepless desert wanderings. Sleep walking tends to occur out of slow wave sleep (in contrast to REM sleep) and sometimes patients report vague dream imajery. If a vivid dream occurs during such a state (sometimes violent dreams) then the patient most likely has REM sleep behavior disorder wherein the normal physiologic body paralysis of REM sleep is impaired. Cool stuff indeed but sans supernatural.


marcusfish
Superfan
marcusfish's picture
Posts: 676
Joined: 2007-05-11
User is offlineOffline
Aliens

I always find it curious to hear clever people talk about how crazy it is to seriously consider the possibility of alien visits to this planet. Why exactly is that? The fact that we are so far away from eachother makes it that nuts? I don't see why. What if the other life form is much older than we are and have been working on superior methods of travel with success?

Humans are pretty clever when compared to the other life forms on this planet but I find it rather presumptuous to assume that we have even a wildly speculative grasp of what another life form some place out there in the universe might be capable of. There's no reason to assume that some other organism isn't touring the universe and came out to investigate a planet like ours which they suspect of supporting life. It's the first thing we would do, why couldn't they have the same curiosity?

I am on the side of "who knows" since it is the only stance that makes any sense. Are there mind reading sponge monsters out there somewhere? "Who knows". It'd be goofy to assume we know.

Now, I do find it likely that it is a humans self importance which assumes that they are hanging out watching us because we're so interesting. We're moderately intelligent apes, I doubt a life form which  has accomplished something as spectacular as travelling across the universe would find us that exciting. A few anal probes and they're off to see the next planet! lol

 


Luminon
SuperfanTheist
Luminon's picture
Posts: 2455
Joined: 2008-02-17
User is offlineOffline
When thinking of

When thinking of extraterrestrial presence, people thinking "who knows" simply close the topic because of a lack of interest. Those more interested in the topic bring up stuff like the "prime directive" in Star Trek. Not affecting the development of a race or something like that. Which the crew of Enterprise violated all the time.

Even more interested people will keep thinking and will come to a logical conclusion, that any public extraterrestrial presence would result in human greed for alien technologies. Each  government or corporation would try to get these technologies and use them to gain advantage over other nations or corporations. Also, potential extraterrestrials must take into account, that there are generations living today who grew up in popculture of evil alien invaders, usually attacking Earth and american Capitol on 4th July and usually repelled away by a nuclear bomb made in USA. Space neighbours are today very denigrated indeed. There is also a danger of ideologic contamination. Space visitors are likely to have a well-managed society that eliminated poverty, suffering and meaninglessness in people's lives. Seeing that it is possible, people would demand change from the people responsible and demand it fast. Which would result in public unrest.

All these factors and more must be taken into account when considering the possibility of extraterrestrial presence. Only the stupid earthlings who didn't read the last paragraph may still ask why the aliens won't land on the lawn or mud field in front of their particular Parliament building.

Unidentified or unidentifiable flying objects are a serious thing, meticulously documented by governments, agencies and military. There are records taken, people are interrogated and their testimonies are filed, and these records are analyzed by experts and classified as top secret for many decades. Only recently they are sometimes released under diplomatic or public pressure.
Since the WW2 national security is very important and that particularly includes a security of aerial territory. It is unacceptable to have unidentified objects in aerial territory, they might be enemy airplanes, spying drones or worse, enemy missiles with nuclear warheads. USA spends a lot on missile detection and protection system around the world - I know, they want to build one in my country and Poland.
It is well understandable, that if there are any extraterrestrial vehicles, they must not be admitted to exist. It is not a good policy to publically admit complete uselessness of military airplanes, radars and protection against something that violates national territory with ease. It is better to ridicule these phenomena, ignore the collected evidence and suggest trivial alternative "explanations". However, the truth is that these observations are serious enough to be gathered and classified by military for decades. These are simple and logical conclusions which everyone interested in politics and exopolitics must consider.

More food for thought I found in Gerard Aartsen's article, Recognition of extra-terrestrial presence imminent
 

Beings who deserve worship don't demand it. Beings who demand worship don't deserve it.


Answers in Gene...
High Level Donor
Answers in Gene Simmons's picture
Posts: 4214
Joined: 2008-11-11
User is offlineOffline
Well Marcusfish, I will

Well Marcusfish, I will freely grant that other life forms could well be exploring the galaxy as we speak. All things considered, a century ago, the height of transportation technology was the steam locomotive. Less than a century later, we were able to send people to the moon and bring them back safely. As far as a life form being more advanced than we are, the question comes to mind is this:

What will we be doing a hundred or a thousand years from now?

Honestly, a thousand years is nothing in terms of astronomical time. If it is reasonable to explore the galaxy, then it is likely to be happening already. Heck, we even have a fair idea of one way to do it. Allow me to explain.

We will need tech that we do not have today but then that is not really anything to worry about now. If nothing else, humans are a species that has had the balls to dominate an entire planet. If it happens to be even remotely possible to explore the galaxy, then I suspect that one day we probably will. It seems to be in the nature of who we are as a species.

We are going to need at least one antimatter factory to produce the fuel. Perhaps it will take twenty years to accumulate the fuel but I don't see that as a fundamental limit. The reason being the fact that the star ships are going to have to be the size of cities. Those are not going to be built trivially.

It is going to be a one way trip. I say that because we are going to be leveraging the effects of special relativity. At a constant acceleration of 1g, it is going to take 20 years before ship time departs all that much from earth time. However, once that starts, it builds powerfully very quickly.

A trivial calculation will show that it will take 20 years of ship time to travel 10 light years. If there is a planet in that range that is worth colonizing, then hey, why not? However, the same calculation will show that it will take only 30 years of ship time to travel 100,000 light years. I am going from lack of actual data but what are the odds of there not being places worth colonizing when the entire galaxy is reachable in less than a life time?

So let me stipulate that it is within the realm of things that we can actually think of. There will be huge technical hurdles to deal with along the way. But hey! We built Large Hadron Collider about a century after the invention of steam power. If it can happen and we don't fuck ourselves out of the opportunity, we are going to do it ourselves.

This brings me to the heart of the matter, specifically the

Fermi paradox

We are not looking for the flying saucer guys from area 51 a few decades ago.

We are not looking for the guys who dropped by five million years ago and dropped a monolith in what is now Southern France.

We are not looking for the guys who were here three billion years ago and dropped a bunch of petri dishes just to see what might come of matters.

The real evidence of alien visitation will be the ambassadors to the UN from several hundred (or thousand (or million)) species.

Possible solutions of which I am aware are well enough covered in the wikipedia article.

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:
Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."

=


Luminon
SuperfanTheist
Luminon's picture
Posts: 2455
Joined: 2008-02-17
User is offlineOffline
Answers in Gene Simmons

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:
We are not looking for the flying saucer guys from area 51 a few decades ago. We are not looking for the guys who dropped by five million years ago and dropped a monolith in what is now Southern France. We are not looking for the guys who were here three billion years ago and dropped a bunch of petri dishes just to see what might come of matters. The real evidence of alien visitation will be the ambassadors to the UN from several hundred (or thousand (or million)) species. Possible solutions of which I am aware are well enough covered in the wikipedia article.
This is very unlikely. Even an extraterrestrial must see, that currently UN is weak and helpless. The true power is held by G8/G20 governments and misused on daily basis. G8 is illegitimate, incompetent power and outright harmful to the planet. It is better to assume, that space neighbours would give up public political contacts in such a situation. Or anything public, having seen the countless TV shows about alien invaders. Extraterrestrial visit is NOT a technical problem, not ours. It is a political and cultural problem.

The real evidence can be for example in greatly increased UFO activity after the invention of nuclear bomb, and UFO activity near nuclear missile silos, power plants and other military objects and vehicles. If anything, they don't like nukes.

With the help of John Podesta, the fourth White House Chief of Staff under President Bill Clinton, author Leslie Kean launched an initiative in 2001 to gain access to official documents under the Freedom of Information Act. Her book UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials go on the record, published in August 2010, is an impressive study of statements from government officials and military experts, whose “credibility and integrity cannot be questioned” and whose “firsthand observations cannot be ignored” as one reviewer put it. She shows how the US government has created public distrust by neglecting – some would argue, actively debunking – this important topic.

Beings who deserve worship don't demand it. Beings who demand worship don't deserve it.


marcusfish
Superfan
marcusfish's picture
Posts: 676
Joined: 2007-05-11
User is offlineOffline
"That's inside the room!"

Answers: That's all pretty cool stuff. I don't understand what that has to do with the likelyhood of our being able to guess the technological ability of an alien species we don't even know exists?

Luminon: I think your post is interesting but all I keep hearing is projecting human interests and morality onto an alien species (again that we don't even know exists, let alone know anything about it). Why would the species dislike nukes? What are we assuming about them? We are assuming that they are made in our image I believe, like our gods.

Anyway, I'm just saying that it is silly to say that aliens aren't likely to exist, it's silly to say that they can't or won't or don't already contact this planet in some way or another, and it's silly to claim that we have some kind of accurate speculation on their mood. We just don't have any evidence or reason other than our own personal viewpoint which gives us very limited information. We know what we can do, like Answers demonstrated, and that can give us a look into what is possible with our technological approach, but that's about it.


BobSpence
High Level DonorRational VIP!ScientistWebsite Admin
BobSpence's picture
Posts: 5939
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
The latest estimates from

The latest estimates from the scientists involved with actually creating anti-matter and holding it for a fraction of a second suggest that the time it would take to create sufficient to power interstellar travel would take such vast periods of time and require so much input of energy that it is the purest fantasy to imagine it as a fuel.

Sorry I can't immediately provide a reference, it was on a podcast I listened to recently.

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


Answers in Gene...
High Level Donor
Answers in Gene Simmons's picture
Posts: 4214
Joined: 2008-11-11
User is offlineOffline
 Don't worry about it Bob.

 

Don't worry about it Bob. I am familiar with the material. Basically, with current technology, it would take far too long to produce a reasonable amount of antimatter. Something on the order of several hundred thousand years (or some other huge number).

 

If you reread my post, you will see that I was very specific about it not being possible – today. If there is a way to do what I have in mind, I am placing it far in the future. Perhaps we never will. That would be one solution to the Fermi paradox, specifically that space really is just to huge to make star travel ever happen.

 

Little of which really matters. I was rather more interested in building to a discussion of the Fermi Paradox. Of course, I should have known that Luminon would read the post with highly selective vision and go off on a tangent about how the UN is no longer relevant. Oh well.

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:
Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."

=


Brian37
atheistSuperfan
Brian37's picture
Posts: 15751
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
Luminon wrote:I believe in

Luminon wrote:

I believe in UFOs, because I have seen them several times, I mean the cases when it did not behave like airplane, balloon or astronomic object. But I decidedly refuse any rumors of alien abductions and experiments. This is just a result of DMT in sleeping people's brains.

I also believe in ghosts.... well, because rather recently they honored me with some attention. Is a two hours long observation of a ghost a good justification for belief in ghosts?

No, anymore than a two hour acid trip would convince me that Jim Morrison or John Lennon talked to you. You had two hours of "something", sure, but how that constitutes anything more than a delusion is something for YOU to demonstrate.

If I claimed that Anjolina Jolie sucked my dick for two hours, because I exist, and she exists, does that mean by proxy of utterance it is true?

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37


ragdish
atheist
ragdish's picture
Posts: 461
Joined: 2007-12-31
User is offlineOffline
marcusfish wrote:I always

marcusfish wrote:

I always find it curious to hear clever people talk about how crazy it is to seriously consider the possibility of alien visits to this planet. Why exactly is that? The fact that we are so far away from eachother makes it that nuts? I don't see why. What if the other life form is much older than we are and have been working on superior methods of travel with success?

Humans are pretty clever when compared to the other life forms on this planet but I find it rather presumptuous to assume that we have even a wildly speculative grasp of what another life form some place out there in the universe might be capable of. There's no reason to assume that some other organism isn't touring the universe and came out to investigate a planet like ours which they suspect of supporting life. It's the first thing we would do, why couldn't they have the same curiosity?

I am on the side of "who knows" since it is the only stance that makes any sense. Are there mind reading sponge monsters out there somewhere? "Who knows". It'd be goofy to assume we know.

Now, I do find it likely that it is a humans self importance which assumes that they are hanging out watching us because we're so interesting. We're moderately intelligent apes, I doubt a life form which  has accomplished something as spectacular as travelling across the universe would find us that exciting. A few anal probes and they're off to see the next planet! lol

 

 

Are there goblins lurking in my attic that suddenly vanish when someone looks with the naked eye or camera? They may even disappear when they cleverly detect the hidden camera and microphones. And get this, they may even leave no trace of their presence after they have disappeared. So are there such goblins lurking in my attic? Who knows.

You see where this line of "who knows" thinking leads to. You can conjure up any goofy nonsense into existence like the flying spaghetti monster and say "who knows" if it actually exists. In the absence of credible scientific evidence, the "who knows" answer can't pass muster.

Let's take an example. You arrive to the emergency room suffering from acute bacterial meningitis and you were offered 2 treatments. One treatment is antibiotics which based on scientific evidence will save your life. The other is raspberry jam. Now no one has ever done the experiment. There has never been a double blind placebo-controlled trial comparing raspberry jam to antibiotics. And likely such a deadly experiment will never be done. Based on science, we know how antibiotics such as Ceftriaxone and similar cephalosporins work. Ceftriaxone binds to one or more of the penicillin-binding proteins which inhibits the final transpeptidation step of peptidoglycan synthesis in bacterial cell wall, thus inhibiting biosynthesis and arresting cell wall assembly resulting in bacterial cell death. And we can infer that no such molecular properties exist in raspberry jam. In fact, it is likely that the high glucose content of raspberry jam will aid the sugar loving bacteria and accelerate death of the poor patient. But no one has ever given raspberry jam as a treatment for bacterial meningitis. So does the jam cure meningitis? Would you honestly be in the "who knows" camp on this and choose the jam or choose the antibiotic?


Luminon
SuperfanTheist
Luminon's picture
Posts: 2455
Joined: 2008-02-17
User is offlineOffline
Answers in Gene Simmons

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

Little of which really matters. I was rather more interested in building to a discussion of the Fermi Paradox. Of course, I should have known that Luminon would read the post with highly selective vision and go off on a tangent about how the UN is no longer relevant. Oh well.

Well, sorry, if the discussion would be named Fermi paradox, I'd think twice before posting and rejoice less about a new interesting topic.

Anyway, I'm one of those advocates of etheric (dark matter) world around us that can support life on otherwise inhabitable planets and that there is a civilization in our own solar system that ignores most of the Fermi paradox. Other such people I know are Benjamin Creme and Steven M. Greer. Such theory also explains some most mysterious properties of UFOs, like that they were seen to disappear in a flash of light or change shape.

Brian37 wrote:
No, anymore than a two hour acid trip would convince me that Jim Morrison or John Lennon talked to you. You had two hours of "something", sure, but how that constitutes anything more than a delusion is something for YOU to demonstrate.

If I claimed that Anjolina Jolie sucked my dick for two hours, because I exist, and she exists, does that mean by proxy of utterance it is true?

At least you can convince someone else that you have a good reason for your utterance. Healthy people do not have physically realistic hallucinations just for no reason. I don't take acid and it pisses me off if you think I might and then be so stupid to consider the hallucinations real.

Beings who deserve worship don't demand it. Beings who demand worship don't deserve it.


Answers in Gene...
High Level Donor
Answers in Gene Simmons's picture
Posts: 4214
Joined: 2008-11-11
User is offlineOffline
 Well Luminon, you did not

 

Well Luminon, you did not even read the link that I provided to the Fermi paradox. So yah.

 

The thing is that your “dark matter life” really would not touch on the Fermi paradox. Follow me on this:

 

Is there life in the domain of dark matter? Honestly, since we don't even know what dark matter is, I fail to see how it is useful to even speculate on the matter. But sure, we can stipulate that it might exist. Just the same as we can talk about the possibility of life in other environments that are completely inaccessible to us and cannot have any effect in our domain.

 

Such has been covered in scifi many times over. A few places where such life “could exist” which have been written about: The surface of a neutron star. Deep inside gas giant planets. Deep inside gas giant planets. In all honesty, that type of speculation is only marginally better than thinking of angels and demons and then, only because we know that such places really do exist.

 

The heart of the Fermi Paradox is that we have ample reason to believe that life may well be abundant in the galaxy on planets that are sufficiently earth like that such life may be similar enough to us that if it is out there, then it should be possible, at least in principal, to get in contact with it.

 

That is what the whole SETI effort is about. If there is our kind of life out there and it develops technology, then we might, given the right radio telescopes, be able to listen for the radio broadcasts from such a civilization. Just as we have been beaming radio waves into space for over 75 years now.

 

Of course, out broadcasts have only traveled that many light years. However, if life is common and many civilizations are older than our own, some of them may have been broadcasting for hundreds or thousands of years. Yet, despite actually having a decent whole sky survey in the radio frequencies that we think to be worth looking at, we have not found anything.

 

As far as the whole idea of alien life traveling around the galaxy, here we have to make a certain leap and assume that some type of star drive is possible. Above, I briefly outlined one way that it might be done that AFAAK, does not violate known physics.

 

Let's just say that star drives are possible and a sufficiently advanced race can reach the technology where they can build the things. Now if there are 200,000,000,000 stars in the galaxy and only 1 star out of a thousand has such life, then there should be 20,000,000 civilizations out there.

 

Look, I don't care if the aliens want to contact the UN or the G8. They should be here as a routine matter and so right out in the open that their existence is generally known. They should not be contacting crazy people who are driving alone on isolated stretches of highway, mutilating cattle or hanging around nuclear missile silos.

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:
Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."

=


marcusfish
Superfan
marcusfish's picture
Posts: 676
Joined: 2007-05-11
User is offlineOffline
Wrong Argument

ragdish wrote:
You see where this line of "who knows" thinking leads to. You can conjure up any goofy nonsense into existence like the flying spaghetti monster and say "who knows" if it actually exists. In the absence of credible scientific evidence, the "who knows" answer can't pass muster.

That was an incredibly entertaining post but I'm not sure what it has to do with what I said.

I don't suggest that "who knows" is an argument for anything. What I am saying is that, in the absence of any kind of evidence or even rational argument, the assertion is sheer conjecture and is therefore twaddle. When I hear people say that alien visitation is just as likely as supernatural realms it stinks of wild assumption without any reasonable argument. If someone wants to assert something about the topic then it seems that "who knows" is the only statement that is reasonable. How about "I don't know"? Does that cause less alarm? 

Goblins: the principle of parsimony would argue that your assertion is not necessary and is based on wild speculation. If there were an undetectable creature in your attic how exactly would you even know it is there? Why would you even ponder its existence? This is not a comparison to the existence of intelligent life we do not currently have details on and are not even sure if it exists. If we are completely unaware of the details of somethings existence then asserting something about it is absurd.

Aliens: we live on an inhabitable planet. We are intelligent enough to study space and identify other inhabitable planets. We can travel in space if only to a limited amount. We have the drive and curiosity to explore and study other inhabitable planets but can't currently due to technological limitations. Now, is it just as unlikely that there is another intelligent species out there as there is an apparently incorporeal goblin living in your attic? Not remotely. If *we* exist similar to the capacity which could lead to investigation of other inhabited planets then that is already proof that it is possible, right? What evidence would lead us to believe that there is a goblin in your attic?

I am not arguing for the existence of aliens or against goblins, btw, I just thought your argument was odd and wanted to address it.

If we don't have information on something then... we don't have information on it. You can say it however you want but in the end we don't know anything about it. We don't know. Who knows? We don't, not currently.


BobSpence
High Level DonorRational VIP!ScientistWebsite Admin
BobSpence's picture
Posts: 5939
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
You also need to consider

You also need to consider how long on average it would take to develop to a state where they could build a star drive, what are the possibilities that the civilization will survive that long, whether due to nuclear war, environmental destruction, cosmic catastrophe, etc.

Regardless of that, the point is, when all the current understandings of the totally prohibitive cost of the energy required to get between even relatively close stars, and the time involved without some equivalent of worm-hole travel, there is no paradox.

You have to make wild assumptions about future possible technologies to make it a paradox.

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


Luminon
SuperfanTheist
Luminon's picture
Posts: 2455
Joined: 2008-02-17
User is offlineOffline
marcusfish wrote:Luminon: I

marcusfish wrote:

Luminon: I think your post is interesting but all I keep hearing is projecting human interests and morality onto an alien species (again that we don't even know exists, let alone know anything about it). Why would the species dislike nukes? What are we assuming about them? We are assuming that they are made in our image I believe, like our gods.

That's funny, I keep hearing how people project human fears and vices onto the aliens, specially the Stephen Hawking's version. But I think that great technology requires great morality and ethics, in practice, not just in mouths, otherwise the civilization will destroy itself or bomb itself into stone age. Furthermore, there might be measures to not allow an agressive civilization to visit other planets until it gets really civilized. Part of these measures would be keeping their existence secret, of course. And our civilization is agressive, no doubt about that.

Why they don't like nukes? Firstly because they're freakin' weapons of mass destruction and secondly that radioactivity is not what it seems to be and poses much greater danger to all of us than we know. They are no radiation-loving reptiles described by the bullshitter David Icke.


Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

Well Luminon, you did not even read the link that I provided to the Fermi paradox. So yah.

Well, I did, just not very thoroughly

 

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

The thing is that your “dark matter life” really would not touch on the Fermi paradox. Follow me on this:

Is there life in the domain of dark matter? Honestly, since we don't even know what dark matter is, I fail to see how it is useful to even speculate on the matter. But sure, we can stipulate that it might exist. Just the same as we can talk about the possibility of life in other environments that are completely inaccessible to us and cannot have any effect in our domain.

I know what dark matter is, and so knows every good esotericist who reads his books and does his exercises. We can know what dark matter is, because it participates on our vital processes. It is essentially a matter of periodic table like ours, only with different properties on the level of fundamental particles.

Size matters. As you maybe know, for example a proton derives 98% of its mass from the vacuum it contains, not from the mass of its three quarks. (this I have from a scientific source) My information is, that dark matter particles, atoms + their electron orbitals are comparatively much larger. (their strings have greater amplitude) Therefore, they necessarily take more vacuum into them, making them more massive. Incompatibility in size of orbitals or other parameters makes the dark matter atoms interact only weakly with our atoms. What we have here is essentially an idea of weakly interacting massive particles. But among itself, dark matter is solid, liquid or gaseous as normal matter - I mean the part of it that's atomic and molecular, of course.

Another little piece into the puzzle is, that more massive artificial elements are very unstable. However, the more massive they are made, the stability seems to increase again. (I think they call it 'island of stability', scientific source again ) Theoretically, extremely massive elements unknown yet should be stable enough for days or weeks. Because we know that dark matter is much more massive, it may naturally contain stable radioactive elements that we know only as artificial.

So basically, etheric... um..dark matter may have some very exotic properties, specially the trans-actinide elements, but that would be a long story. From this point of view, radioactivity is a whole new fascinating phenomenon and may entirely change how we look at radioactives and nuclear fission. But these exotic properties come in the familiar package of Mendelejev's periodic table of elements and beyond. So it can support a biologic life almost anywhere, it is far more friendly to it. This life (including our own etheric body) does not mind at all the radioactive elements around. Either they're naturally included, or they normally don't release ionizing radiation as we know it, or both.

This is most of the little bits of information that I gathered so far. Not much, but it can do wonders to set the right person on the right track. A person that seeks how things are possible, not why they are impossible.
 

 

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:
Such has been covered in scifi many times over. A few places where such life “could exist” which have been written about: The surface of a neutron star. Deep inside gas giant planets. Deep inside gas giant planets. In all honesty, that type of speculation is only marginally better than thinking of angels and demons and then, only because we know that such places really do exist.

The heart of the Fermi Paradox is that we have ample reason to believe that life may well be abundant in the galaxy on planets that are sufficiently earth like that such life may be similar enough to us that if it is out there, then it should be possible, at least in principal, to get in contact with it.

That is what the whole SETI effort is about. If there is our kind of life out there and it develops technology, then we might, given the right radio telescopes, be able to listen for the radio broadcasts from such a civilization. Just as we have been beaming radio waves into space for over 75 years now.

Of course, out broadcasts have only traveled that many light years. However, if life is common and many civilizations are older than our own, some of them may have been broadcasting for hundreds or thousands of years. Yet, despite actually having a decent whole sky survey in the radio frequencies that we think to be worth looking at, we have not found anything.

As far as the whole idea of alien life traveling around the galaxy, here we have to make a certain leap and assume that some type of star drive is possible. Above, I briefly outlined one way that it might be done that AFAAK, does not violate known physics.

The whole SETI search seems somewhat futile, because the skeptics will not accept anything less than bottled alien or parked spaceship. And we can't enter a dialogue that way or wait for a visit from beyond.

What I propose is the Ben Creme's message, which would explain why there are countless space vehicle sightings already here and now on our skies, shining in all colors, moving around, seen and photographed by people of all nations and backgrounds. If that is a mystery to the known physics, then I'm more interested in the unknown physics.

 

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:
Let's just say that star drives are possible and a sufficiently advanced race can reach the technology where they can build the things. Now if there are 200,000,000,000 stars in the galaxy and only 1 star out of a thousand has such life, then there should be 20,000,000 civilizations out there.
You mean, 20,000,000 dense-physical civilizations. According to Creme, etheric world supports life from Mercury to Pluto, mostly an intelligent life. All planets are inhabited unless the planet is a gas giant, then some of its moons are. The higher it gets in dimensions, the more life there is. We are only partially etheric, they are fully etheric although they do have technologies to solidify themselves temporarily.
 

 

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:
Look, I don't care if the aliens want to contact the UN or the G8. They should be here as a routine matter and so right out in the open that their existence is generally known. They should not be contacting crazy people who are driving alone on isolated stretches of highway, mutilating cattle or hanging around nuclear missile silos.

Firstly, only a fool would open public contacts after a century or so of anti-alien propaganda. Specially after the new "Visitors" show. Secondly, there is currently no group capable of speaking for Earth. UN is weak and G8 is illegitimate. They only routinely deal with the group called by Creme the Hierarchy and the Hierarchy has its own plan of overcoming the present crisis, that disclosure will be made. Their Hierarchies respect the plan of our local Hierarchy. Thirdly, they don't mutilate cattle, that's our people's business and we call it hamburger production. Fourthly, they hang around missile silos, because radioactive fission creates etheric radiation, which is a stealthy danger for both our peoples. According to Creme, they eliminate most of the radiation thus created and save our asses in this way. They do it to give more time to us and the Hierarchy to set the world in order. One of the first things Hierarchy will advise will be to shut down all nuclear reactors immediately and replace them with cold fusion.

Beings who deserve worship don't demand it. Beings who demand worship don't deserve it.


marcusfish
Superfan
marcusfish's picture
Posts: 676
Joined: 2007-05-11
User is offlineOffline
Luminon wrote:marcusfish

Luminon wrote:

marcusfish wrote:
Why they don't like nukes?

Firstly because they're freakin' weapons of mass destruction and secondly that radioactivity is not what it seems to be and poses much greater danger to all of us than we know.

Gotcha, so they wouldn't like nukes because they can cause so much damage. What sort of environmental structures do these aliens value? Do they like plant life and sky scrapers? What would the terrain look like for them to consider it destroyed? Would they prefer our planet before or after nukes go off on it?

They don't like radioactivity? What does it do to them? Does it affect them the same as us? Is it possible that we don't have any idea?

It sounds like we are further projecting human characteristics and our environmental preferences onto them. I'm just saying that it (ulness I'm missing something) is speculation based on absense of knowledge.


Luminon
SuperfanTheist
Luminon's picture
Posts: 2455
Joined: 2008-02-17
User is offlineOffline
marcusfish wrote:Gotcha, so

marcusfish wrote:

Gotcha, so they wouldn't like nukes because they can cause so much damage.

My information is, that they specially dislike nuclear fission because thereby created radiation is dangerous to them too. Perhaps more to them than to us, because they are fully etheric and we only partially. But they have the technology to clean it up and we don't. So they clean it up for us for the most part, but they do not want us to shoot nuclear missiles, to detonate nukes in space, and specially not on the Moon further beyond.

marcusfish wrote:
What sort of environmental structures do these aliens value? Do they like plant life and sky scrapers? What would the terrain look like for them to consider it destroyed? Would they prefer our planet before or after nukes go off on it?
For esoteric reasons, at least in this solar system the intelligent species with human shape and culture is pretty much a standard. My information is, we wouldn't even distinguish some of these people apart from ours, when met on a street. So they environmental structures, aesthetic preferences and architecture would be similar, only more refined.

They would of course prefer our planet without nukes, but with a mature neighbour civilization that follows the laws of life, instead of spreading radiation and malevolence around like today. Most of these civilizations are more developed than ours. Creme says, that on Mars there are more people than on Earth, for those to see who have etheric vision. (so skyscrapers are probably plentiful) Even this particular neighbour civilization has esoterically the same point in development, (i.e. they still have dumb people and criminals) they did not make such a violent mistakes as we did in our evolution, so their civilization is much better managed. Their Hierarchy never had to go into hiding like ours.  This well-managed civilization allowed their Hierarchy to introduce the greatest marvels of etheric technology. In that sense, Mars is highly industrialized and most of space crafts in our solar system are made there, even for much more esoterically developed planets.
Such is Creme's information, documented by people's UFO photographs and very impressive descriptions of sightings. These space crafts typically glow colourfully and move fast, so it can be quite a spectacle.

marcusfish wrote:
They don't like radioactivity? What does it do to them? Does it affect them the same as us? Is it possible that we don't have any idea?
I have some idea how it affects us. With us, etheric body is directly tied to nerve and endocrine system. Etheric radiation causes a great weakening and breakdown of immunity, which makes us weak to diseases and in this way this kind of pollution is the greatest killer of all. Also, when it comes to nerve system, this may be the cause of the great increase in degenerative nerve diseases like Parkinson's, that happened in 20th century.
Space neighbours of course have more than enough technologies to protect themselves from that, but they are certainly not happy about us polluters. It keeps them very busy, Creme says that without their continuous help Earth would be already not habitable because of that. They're buying us time.

marcusfish wrote:
It sounds like we are further projecting human characteristics and our environmental preferences onto them. I'm just saying that it (ulness I'm missing something) is speculation based on absense of knowledge.

Well, it's true that the propaganda describing the non-existent, non-humanoid, malevolent aliens is much more popular. But people like Creme. George Adamski, Steven M. Greer (or former president of buddhistic republic of Kalmykia) and so on describe an entirely different image. Here everyone has to obtain their own evidence, for now. But before there can be any great new technologies, disclosures, etc, there must be new standards of peace and ethics, otherwise the technologies would be quickly misused. New civilized standards (like erradicating poverty) would greatly untie Hierarchy's hands to start the golden age.

The reasons why is this all so antropomorphic are esoteric. From esoteric point of view, humanity is not a biologic species, a race or nation, it is a phase in development of life, a natural kingdom that bridges the gap between animals and souls. Humanity may vary greatly in culture and appearance, but all these civilizations basically do a similar job in relation to their Hierarchy and lower natural kingdoms, so they are not alien among themselves. We are more alien to them, because we didn't yet start to properly care for the planet and cooperate with our Hierarchy and among ourselves.

 

Beings who deserve worship don't demand it. Beings who demand worship don't deserve it.


ragdish
atheist
ragdish's picture
Posts: 461
Joined: 2007-12-31
User is offlineOffline
marcusfish wrote:ragdish

marcusfish wrote:

ragdish wrote:
You see where this line of "who knows" thinking leads to. You can conjure up any goofy nonsense into existence like the flying spaghetti monster and say "who knows" if it actually exists. In the absence of credible scientific evidence, the "who knows" answer can't pass muster.

That was an incredibly entertaining post but I'm not sure what it has to do with what I said.

I don't suggest that "who knows" is an argument for anything........

Well why not "very likely not" instead of "who knows". I give you the Drake equation:

N= R*x fp x ne x ffi x fc x L

where:

N = the number of civilizations in our galaxy with which communication might be possible;

and

R* = the average rate of star formation per year in our galaxy eg. 10/year
fp = the fraction of those stars that have planets eg. 0.5
ne = the average number of planets that can potentially support life per star that has planets eg. 2
f = the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop life at some point eg. 1 (ie. 100% will develop life)
fi = the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop intelligent life eg. 0.01 (ie. 1%)
fc = the fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space eg. 0.01 (1%)
L = the length of time such civilizations release detectable signals into space eg. 10,000 years 
          N=10 x 0.5 x 2 x 1 x 0.01 x 0.01 x 10000= 10      
(these are all numbers used by SETI founder Frank Drake and Wikipedia discusses how these numbers were derived)
Granted, I'll concede that alien visitation is not as improbable as there being an incorporeal goblin in my attic but come on!! If there are only 10 civilizations across the vast Milky Way the chances of any one of them visiting us is extremely small. I say "very likely not" rather than "who knows" or "I don't know".

 


HisWillness
atheistRational VIP!
HisWillness's picture
Posts: 4100
Joined: 2008-02-21
User is offlineOffline
Luminon wrote:I also

Luminon wrote:

I also believe in ghosts.... well, because rather recently they honored me with some attention. Is a two hours long observation of a ghost a good justification for belief in ghosts?

Hahahaha! Oh, Luminon. I can't believe you're still high, after all this time.

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence


Blake
atheistScience Freak
Posts: 991
Joined: 2010-02-19
User is offlineOffline
ragdish wrote:L = the length

ragdish wrote:
L = the length of time such civilizations release detectable signals into space eg. 10,000 years



This is the biggest issue as to why the SETI radio telescopes don't detect anything.

Our own civilization is going to round off at somewhere around 100 years of 'detectable' signals.  This is because everything is switching to digital- it won't be very long before the FCC steps in and allots all digital channels- and digital transmission generally isn't distinguishable from background noise with a sufficient compression and sample rate.

Civilizations could exist around every star in our galaxy, and SETI would probably be none-the-wiser, thinking them background noise.  They'd have to point their radio telescopes at precisely the right place at precisely the right time in the civilization's history; a roughly hundred year window that forever closes after that short of apocalypse and re-invention of technology.  Throughout the universe, you've got cavemen and medieval barbarians on the younger worlds, and largely post-singularity civilizations on the older ones, but very, very rarely any world in our particular technological shoes.

Considering, importantly, that most stars- and thus probably most civilizations- are substantially older than ours (most being red dwarf stars), most are going to be beyond that point- even by the time the radio reaches us.  We'd need to keep constant focus on the planets of younger stars- and thousands of them- if we wanted any hope of finding one with detectable signals.




While we may never experience alien visitation due to the investment and distance required, we may have communication before very long if we start focusing our radio telescopes on near-by planets full time.

One needs to consider the round trip travel of light to consider how many amateur radio enthusiasts on other planets might be listening in on our signal and might reply for the hell of it (sending a radio signal- once they know there's civilization here- would be trivial if we kept our radio telescopes focused on these planets).

So, that is, we need only consider planets within about 50 light years- which number perhaps a couple thousand.  To a large extent, though, we may have missed our window.  Our planet was probably only interesting to hobbyists on closer planets for a few weeks or months when they noticed us, lingering a few years to await response- so, that is, we were probably only of interest to those hobbyists (who likely gave up when they decided we were unresponsive) 25 to 50 years ago.  When we didn't respond, they probably said "fuck this, that planet is probably stupid anyway".

Those up to or exceeding 50 light years away would tend to be less interested simply because, in that sphere, there are many more planets for them to be interested in.  Well, that, and largely being post-singularity civilizations they won't necessarily be interested in anything.


We may have shot ourselves in the foot there, if we wanted an interplanetary pen-pal, by not looking hard enough or being responsive enough decades ago.  We'd probably have to just be lucky at this point, or send a very strong and directed signal ourselves to request communication.
 


marcusfish
Superfan
marcusfish's picture
Posts: 676
Joined: 2007-05-11
User is offlineOffline
Goblins!!

ragdish wrote:
alien visitation is not as improbable as there being an incorporeal goblin in my attic

Correct.

You dislike the odds enough to presume that an alien species has and will "very likely not" visit this planet. Fair enough, don't say "who knows". However, "who knows" is not an endorsement of anything but the lack of information and the decision to not take a stand on the possibilities. This semantic discussion is not worth our time and I hope that we can drop it.

Comparing the information available and probability of alien visitation and that of incorporeal nonsense just doesn't wash. They aren't remotely similar. This was the entirety of my original complaint. If you disagree I have no further arguments to offer you.

 


Brian37
atheistSuperfan
Brian37's picture
Posts: 15751
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
I really treat UFO crap like

I really treat UFO crap like I do deity belief. I have way too much knowledge of how big the universe is and how far away other stars and galaxies are away from us. We are stuck on this island unless we can find a way to make mars or a moon in our solar system habitable. That is about the most practical forward thinking we can do at this point.

I don't think the laws of energy change elsewhere in the universe so whatever "human like" life that might be out there would at best, like us, only be lucky enough to stumble across some sort of long distance communication. IF we get lucky. But in no way do I think any human like, little green men, have ever visited us. That is superstitious bullshit as far as I am concerned.

The only thing I can say positive about life being elsewhere is that the chemical makeup of life here in it's separate components are abundant throughout the universe, so it is a high likely hood in the billions of galaxies that some sort of life exists elsewhere.

But, considering even with life on this planet , what most laypersons don't realize is that most attempts at life fail. And the more we see of the universe the more useless stars and planets that do nothing we see. So even if we could find every planet that did have some sort of biological life, I would say that collectively it would represent an extremely small fraction of the entire universe.

I do hope we get lucky and find even just microbes. But I am not stupid into swallowing Area 51 conspiracy crap.

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37


marcusfish
Superfan
marcusfish's picture
Posts: 676
Joined: 2007-05-11
User is offlineOffline
Stupid?

Brian37 wrote:
But I am not stupid into swallowing Area 51 conspiracy crap.

I have to admit, that offends me a little. I don't think anyone is stupid for positing that it is possible this planet has been visited by aliens.

I'm not saying I buy in to Area 51 conspiracy, I'm just saying that insinuating the consideration of such a thing is sign of stupidity is rude.

 


Blake
atheistScience Freak
Posts: 991
Joined: 2010-02-19
User is offlineOffline
marcusfish wrote:Brian37

marcusfish wrote:

Brian37 wrote:
But I am not stupid into swallowing Area 51 conspiracy crap.

I have to admit, that offends me a little. I don't think anyone is stupid for positing that it is possible this planet has been visited by aliens.

I'm not saying I buy in to Area 51 conspiracy, I'm just saying that insinuating the consideration of such a thing is sign of stupidity is rude.

 

I agree with you there; simple consideration of the possibility of alien visitation itself isn't necessarily stupid, but conspiracy theories tend to be.  Presidents can't even get away with shit; I don't think it's reasonably possible to keep something like that bottled up.  The more people involved in something, the better the chances of it being blown open, and it's not a linear curve, but more of an exponential one.

I believe conspiracies among two, three, sometimes up to five people can exist for a short time; I don't believe that world-wide government conspiracies are possible.  Lets chock it up to a lack of faith in human discretion, and a lack of faith in the ability of people to keep things secretive or organized.

The only way the military keeps anything secret is by increasing the noise drastically with regards to signal to noise ratio- and they're poor at that too- everything leaks, but false reports overwhelm true ones.  They can't really keep other governments, and even the general public, from knowing what they're doing in general- all they can do is keep others form being certain of *exactly* what they're doing.

Conspiracy theories are simply too consistent to be true.

Anything that's real is either transparent (like "the family" ) where they're pretty blunt about what's going on, blown up in a scandal *very* quickly, or with a bunch of mixed seemingly official signals.

 

This isn't the first, it's had more than enough time for the second, and obviously not the third, since it's about denial-- If the government acknowledged that there were aliens, but reported widely variable facts about them, then it might qualify for the final (e.g. not reporting their true technological ability, or details of their biology, because one government doesn't want the others to know, or doesn't want anybody to know they know).

 

Conspiracy theories:  Kind of stupid regardless of the type.

The 'possibility' of alien visitation (particularly that before modern technology would detect them), much less so.

 

The important question of its probability, though, comes down to empirical analysis, and in that regard I'd have to say Brian37 is being just as stupid as the people who are certain aliens have visited.

 

Brian37 wrote:


I have way too much knowledge of how big the universe is and how far away other stars and galaxies are away from us.

 

You're kidding?

You don't have any knowledge that conspiracy nuts don't have; other stars aren't really that far away.  The question comes down to the frequency of life, and the motivation of that life to visit us.  One the first, the alien conspiracy theorists are more right than you are.


There are plenty of stars within five parsecs of us, even at a reasonable transit speed, that's within a life-time to commute.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nearest_stars


62 hydrogen burning stars represent at least hundreds of planets and moons which almost certainly host life.

And of those, some 51 are class M stars, likely to be red dwarfs, which statistically speaking are bound to be much older than our own system (given that they are pretty much immortal compared to hotter and younger stars).

Of these 51 stars, it would be reasonable to assume that they all at least have a few bodies with life around them (nearby planets, or gas giants with moons), and that a majority have had at least one civilization (they have certainly had plenty of time to make that happen).  While the planets around red dwarfs would eventually be subject to problems for loss of magnetosphere (and thus atmosphere) from a cooling core, any technological civilization would be able to conquer those issues.  The other 11 hydrogen burning stars are younger and more questionable, as the planets around them have a better chance of being inhabited by dinosaurs or monkeys than the red dwarfs' planets, but if we assume their ages are approximately those of ours, half will be statistically in post-singularity civilizations.

A conservative guess is that 56 advanced civilizations have arisen within those 16.3 light years, and more likely in the range of 78 (given additional bodies in the habitable zones).

The only serious question that remains is whether civilizations burn themselves out (by being inherently self destructive), or transform themselves by retreating into a mechanical utopia post-singularity which removes their biological presences from the universe.

We may be completely alone in our neighborhood short of dinosaurs, cave men, and planets slowly being reclaimed by the wild only hosting compounds full of autonomous metaverse servers and reactors to power the system.  This is a reasonable possibility... that life is somehow rare?  That's kind of stupid.



It would be rather human-centric to even suspect that we're the only civilization to have arisen in that range- that there haven't been at least dozens, if not hundreds.  And unless you subscribe to the apocalypse scenario, there probably still are.  The UFO nuts are just being realistic in acknowledging this.

 

However, regarding motivation, it would be inconvenient for the civilizations there to visit us, but not that difficult if there were any commercial reason to do so (needs to be real revenue behind exploration to push it past the point of satisfying curiosity into becoming a serious endeavor).  The issue is not that they're too far away from us, but that there's not going to be significant motivation to bother coming all of the way out here- particularly in terms of the financial.


Sure, curiosity is a motivation- but only to the young and naive.  When I was knee high to a grasshopper, I used to muck about outside and turn over rocks to look at the insects, discovering how every rock was a little different.  This one has ants, this one some worms, hey pill-bugs, centipedes.... but after a while, I learned that, under rocks, the ecology didn't vary much- they all had some assortment of these creatures, or similar species, in a certain balance, and slowly I lost my motivation to pick up rocks.

Any infantile civilization which has *just* discovered the necessary technology to explore nearby planets will almost certainly do so- maybe for a few decades- until they realize that there's really no point to it, because all of the earth-like planets are pretty much the same, all of the tidally locked red-dwarf planets are pretty much the same, all of the gas giant moons in the habitable zones are pretty much the same-- and every other civilization they encounter is more or less the same.  Learn the rules of what makes which planets what, and everything starts getting pretty predictable.

How boring.  At best each new star-faring civilization may visit ten planets of a general type before having curiosity more or less satisfied, possibly sending probes to others at greater distance.


It's not that every planet in the habitable zones within fifty light years doesn't have life on it- whether protists, monkeys, or more advanced civilizations (the former common on younger worlds, the latter common on older ones short of apocalypse scenarios), it's that they have no real motivation to visit us after they've been through that phase.  It's a commercial endeavor without a particularly big return.  This, and only this, is where the UFO nuts are particularly wrong- it's in thinking these extraterrestrials would have any interest in us at all.


Our rock is probably like any other.  The issue is not that life is uncommon, but much more likely that the universe is teeming with life, and that it's *so* ubiquitous that it's boring.  We're too far to come for resources, mastery of genetics will make it irrelevant to come here for scientific endeavors, and well... there's just nothing in it for them.


In order to be visited by 'aliens', we would need to be one of the two or three closest planets of our type to a civilization that happens to have *just* become advanced enough for interstellar space travel.  A period which may last fifty years out of, give or take, millions of years relative to the state of our planet.

So, there are only generally going to be the ten or so such planets in our range that may be passing that technological event horizon they'll need to reach that stage- any further away, and they'd be visiting the planets closer to them, and ignoring ours.  Out of ten, lets assume they're the same age as ours.  What's the time variant on reaching that point?  Could we have done it a thousand years earlier if the ancient Greeks had made a few lucky discoveries?  Yes.  Could we have done it a thousand years later if the right wars hadn't ocurred, or if the wrong ones had?  If a few discoveries were delayed?  Likely yes again.  Given factors in Early human society, the variance could be +-10k, and  and quite crucially, could humans have evolved plus or minus a million years given different extinction events?  Plus or minus ten million?  Realistically, we could probably push it forwards or backwards up to 250 million years.

So, a total 500,000,000 year window, and maybe a window of curiosity that spans 200 years (more than enough time to reach and explore ten nearby planets of each type with sub-light speed travel).  That's a 0.0004% chance that one or more of those ten planets is *in* that state right now.  And that's assuming the planets are the same age as ours- when in reality the ages of those stars vary by hundreds of millions of years themselves, expanding that window even more.

Expand the window of visitation to the length of human history, however, the chances improve to a bit better than 0.1%  The chances of a civilization from a red dwarf having visited us in that time frame (we used to be in a different place in the galaxy), start to become almost significant too.

 

 

It's overwhelmingly probable that space is teeming with advanced civilizations which largely stay in their respective star systems, and which could easily visit us if not for the matter that they could not care less about our little blue speck.




Brian37 wrote:
We are stuck on this island unless we can find a way to make mars or a moon in our solar system habitable. That is about the most practical forward thinking we can do at this point.

We have the basic technology we'd need to build a generation ship now- just not the economic incentive or the life-spans for the masses (people are less thrilled about getting answers in 100 years).  The price just needs to come down to the point that human curiosity can afford it, and human life span needs to extend long enough to reap the benefits of that curiosity- or, once we start detecting all of the smaller planets, some companies need to get on board with some laws that would allow them to claim patents on Earth for alien technology (companies can be a bit more forward thinking than short lived individuals).

 

 

Brian37 wrote:
I don't think the laws of energy change elsewhere in the universe so whatever "human like" life that might be out there would at best, like us, only be lucky enough to stumble across some sort of long distance communication.

 

You seem to be over-estimating the difficulty of space travel.  The problem is not distance, but the change in velocity needed to reach the new destination (such as escaping the solar system and reaching the velocity of the other star, and the planet we want to visit).  This is not a difficult problem for an atomic rocket.  Travel is slow- it would take many decades- but the core technologies we would need have been in our grasp for decades.  It would, however, be absurdly expensive.  There's quite a bit of mass to be delivered into orbit, and quite a bit of uranium to mine.

 

Brian37 wrote:
But in no way do I think any human like, little green men, have ever visited us. That is superstitious bullshit as far as I am concerned.

 

No, it's just ignorance of economics.  You seem to be suffering the same ignorance if you think it's impossible- if the economic factors align (which they may for us in the near future), the exploration *will* happen; it just won't be any more extensive than that initial payoff.  Corporations won't have an interest in discovering another planet full of insects, dinosaurs, or cavemen, or meeting another advanced civilization to trade more or less all of the same knowledge they got from the last one.

Upon reaching any advanced civilization which hasn't bottled itself up post-singularity, they'd probably just give (or trade) us the sum of their knowledge and send us back home- at which point we would have no reason to continue, having gotten everything they ever did before they gave up.  Or threaten/destroy our envoys.  The former is more likely; due to the distance involved, we wouldn't pose a threat to them, and it's probably the same thing we would do.  As the closest star to us now is a red dwarf, most of what we might explore will probably begin and end with Proxima Centauri, unless it's one of the odd-balls and we have to continue to the binary of main sequence stars next to it.

 


Brian37 wrote:
But, considering even with life on this planet , what most laypersons don't realize is that most attempts at life fail.

 

WTF?  Most species go extinct- that's what life does- and they go extinct because of other life.  And it keeps doing it.  We don't have one example of where life has ever "failed" in general- we find extremophiles in amazing conditions.  Life doesn't fail; only certain branches fail against other life.  Life succeeds.

It takes a real layperson to imagine that life ever "fails"- somebody who doesn't understand the very concept of life or evolution- that failure is change, and that is how life succeeds.

 

 

Brian37 wrote:
And the more we see of the universe the more useless stars and planets that do nothing we see.

 

We haven't seen a single star that we can determine "does nothing".  There's no reason SETI should have picked up anything with its flawed methodology (I have explained this).  We haven't tested any extrasolar planets for life, and we can't yet detect planets that aren't significantly larger than Earth (we only know that Proxima Centauri doesn't have any super massive planets).  We haven't *seen* anything short of our own solar system, and all that tells us is that at least 10% of planets out there should have life- that planets in the habitable zones of stars should have life- and that most stars are probably bustling with planets spaced out around it in elliptical rings (detection of super massive planets around many stars so far indicates that this is probably the case).  To date, we have nothing suggesting anything to the contrary.  A suggestion that every star doesn't have life like Earth is done without evidence, and contrary to every reasonable assumption.

Assuming that we aren't special until actual evidence suggests otherwise is only reasonable.

Although *some* of them are probably stupid, and assume we're special and that aliens who visit us have magical technology, that's not an assumption you can make of all UFO enthusiasts.  The only serious flaw UFO nuts make (aside from the conspiracy theories) is assuming that we're economically interesting (or underestimating the undertaking for hobbyist explorers) despite not being special.


marcusfish
Superfan
marcusfish's picture
Posts: 676
Joined: 2007-05-11
User is offlineOffline
Risk vs Reward

Blake wrote:
The only serious flaw UFO nuts make (aside from the conspiracy theories) is assuming that we're economically interesting (or underestimating the undertaking for hobbyist explorers) despite not being special.

All sound arguments Blake, really well put together.

I really like the economic spin - it makes a lot of sense. Granted, it would be pretty much impossible for us to assume the economic situation of an alien species.

The complication stands as a reasonable counter point none the less.


cj
atheistRational VIP!
cj's picture
Posts: 3330
Joined: 2007-01-05
User is offlineOffline
Blake wrote:Presidents can't

Blake wrote:


Presidents can't even get away with shit; I don't think it's reasonably possible to keep something like that bottled up. 

 

That tickled my funny bone.  Sounds like a monumental case of constipation explosively relieved.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


Blake
atheistScience Freak
Posts: 991
Joined: 2010-02-19
User is offlineOffline
marcusfish wrote:All sound

marcusfish wrote:

All sound arguments Blake, really well put together.

I really like the economic spin - it makes a lot of sense. Granted, it would be pretty much impossible for us to assume the economic situation of an alien species.

The complication stands as a reasonable counter point none the less.

 

Thanks.

 

Though I'll bet you every cent I own that every economy in the universe functions on the same basic principles of supply and demand.  If it doesn't, well, then you may yet win the bet, but money simultaneously becomes irrelevant Eye-wink  (e.g. star trek replicator technology that makes money meaningless)