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Chapter 5: Spoofing and secrecy 
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Post Re: Chapter 5: Spoofing and secrecy
ant wrote:
So lets say we were back to the hypothesis that "all swans are white" and we decided to prove they were by searching the planet for every swan we could find to prove our hypothesis (yes, I know black swans were discovered)

We observed 55,000 swans and all were white.
We suspect countless more are yet to be observed locally (on earth).

Where should the probability that all swans are white stop us from continuing our observation?


intelligent life exists elsewhere = hypothesis.

prove it, however long it takes. it can never be falsified because the hypothesis is never-ending.

so, we throw falsification out of the window and observe indefinitely?
Is that science?


I'd say the swan analogy is not a very good one because it doesn't matter if all swans are white. No one really cares.

But finding evidence of extraterrestrial life? Huge.

The hypothesis is not never-ending. All it takes is one Mars Rover finding fossilized microbes in the frozen Martian soil and we've made a huge discovery that ultimately changes how we see ourselves in the cosmos. A lot of people care enough that they're willing to fund the venture. It's an important question.

Searching the skies with a radio telescope has a very low cost and many people think it's also a worthwhile venture. Indeed, both are very similar in what they hope to accomplish.

http://www.space.com/21901-nasa-mars-ro ... signs.html

By the way, there was a time I had one of those SETI programs on my Macintosh computer crunching data, so in a way, I participated in the SETI project. I thought it was way cool and still do.


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Mon Jan 26, 2015 4:05 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 5: Spoofing and secrecy
ant wrote:
I agree, Penelope.
I should have ignored our moderator on that one.


You should have ignored me. I apologize to you and Penny, and everyone else.

ant wrote:
intelligent life exists elsewhere = hypothesis.

prove it, however long it takes. it can never be falsified because the hypothesis is never-ending.


This is one of the area where the criteria of falsification falls short. Consider how falsification would apply to the search for a black swan. At the point where we found 55,000 white swans but no black swan, wouldn't it be apparent that no black swan would ever be found? There would be no practical way to falsify the claim that there is a black swan somewhere on Earth(we could search every inch, only to miss one that migrated). Would it still be a hypothesis that a black swan exists? History has shown that it's not only a hypothesis, but a fact.

On the other hand, I'm not so sure we should be putting money towards it. The odds of intelligent life being in our neck of the woods could be one in a million, so the government is just gambling with our money. Perhaps a private company like SpaceX should fund it...


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Post Re: Chapter 5: Spoofing and secrecy
I've posted my thoughts about SETI before. There are some serious what-ifs that seem to make the SETI experiment a highly unlikely venture at best.

post94231.html?hilit=seti#p94231

And yet, I don't think chances for success are among the criteria used to determine if something is scientific or not. SETI is a scientific experiment or rather a series of experiments. Bottom line, you got to play to win. Or, as William Shatner says, at least I'm trying.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPBt4IuQEbw


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Post Re: Chapter 5: Spoofing and secrecy
Quote:
The only difference between the scales is their starting points: 0 K is "absolute zero," while 0°C is the freezing point of water. One can convert degrees Celsius to kelvins by adding 273.15; thus, the boiling point of water, 100°C, is 373.15 K.


Bearing in mind that 273.15 K is absolute zero by our scale......and we all live at around 300 K.....that is really a very low temperature state of being when you think that temperature can rise to thousands of degrees. What is to say that intelligent life cannot exist at these higher temperatures? We could never be aware of another life form that could exist in such heat......or could we? :wink:


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Mon Jan 26, 2015 4:27 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 5: Spoofing and secrecy
geo wrote:
And yet, I don't think chances for success are among the criteria used to determine if something is scientific or not. SETI is a scientific experiment or rather a series of experiments.


Is it even an experiment? It seems to be more of a program, though I'm sure nearly anything can be considered an experiment if it has results that are studied.

ant wrote:
The question is whether or not homosapiens can define "intelligence" adequately enough to recognize it in something completely alien to its species. To say that we know what intelligence is universally is homocentric.


We can define intelligence easily enough. The question is whether or not our definition is broad enough to account for all the possible intelligences we've never encountered. I'm sure our definition will broaden and gain nuance in time. If we do find aliens and they're dramatically different, we'll probably analyze how they process information and create another connotation of intelligence.

ant wrote:
If life can be something totally different than carbon life we would never be able to detect it, let alone determine if it is intelligent.


I read something a while ago about arsenic based life, found in a lake. There was some controversy and I didn't care enough to see how it panned out. Here's a recent article.

I'm sure there are different forms of intelligence, but I don't know if that


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Post Re: Chapter 5: Spoofing and secrecy
geo wrote:
I've posted my thoughts about SETI before. There are some serious what-ifs that seem to make the SETI experiment a highly unlikely venture at best.

post94231.html?hilit=seti#p94231

And yet, I don't think chances for success are among the criteria used to determine if something is scientific or not. SETI is a scientific experiment or rather a series of experiments. Bottom line, you got to play to win. Or, as William Shatner says, at least I'm trying.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPBt4IuQEbw


It seems we are loosening the criteria for what it is that constitutes science.
By strict definition, a scientific theory needs to be able to be falsified.
Both bold and open to falsification, Einstein's famous theory was able to be tested and confirmed countless times. That is what made it purely scientific.

But what about a scientific hypothesis? How important is progress to a hypothesis (or as youve called SETI an "experiment")?

It's progress that distinguishes a scientific hypothesis from junk science that makes no progress.

Here is the UK Science Council's definition of "science"

"

Quote:
"Science is the pursuit of knowledge and understanding of the natural and social world following a systematic methodology based on evidence."


SETI may be following a systematic methodology in their search for alien life, but they certainly are not basing their search on evidence of alien intelligent life.

I can personally appreciate the search for alien life of any kind. It would be our greatest discovery, imo.
But our search may be based on metaphysical speculation and nothing more.
Does something unscientific mean it is useless?
I say probably not.
It can be unscientific and yet still be scientifically interesting.



Mon Jan 26, 2015 10:35 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 5: Spoofing and secrecy
We simply might not even be capable of recognizing alien intelligence:

http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/20 ... ms-we.html

I said the same thing Martin Rees said without even knowing he said it.
We are essentially looking for life that looks like us and are presuming our intelligence can detect its intelligence.
That is arrogance.

Some people's assumptions are much too presumptuous.
Ive said this before and will continue to say it.



Last edited by ant on Mon Jan 26, 2015 10:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Jan 26, 2015 10:40 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 5: Spoofing and secrecy
Interbane wrote:
geo wrote:
And yet, I don't think chances for success are among the criteria used to determine if something is scientific or not. SETI is a scientific experiment or rather a series of experiments.


Is it even an experiment? It seems to be more of a program, though I'm sure nearly anything can be considered an experiment if it has results that are studied.


SETI collects data and then analyzes that data, looking for patterns that may indicate intelligent life. I don't know exactly what kind of patterns they're looking for. This article sort of explains it.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/artic ... tterns-do/

It's a rather crude approach, but given the lack of known parameters, SETI may be the best starting point we can formulate. Our starting assumptions are based on the only known "intelligent" life form we have access to—homo sapiens. Chimpanzees are pretty intelligent too and yet it's obvious that chimpanzee-like critters on another planet aren't going to be sending out signals. So we really are looking at the a very narrow set of criteria, more of a fishing expedition than anything else. And, yet, it seems to me that with all that data sifting we would be more likely to blunder across some unknown anomaly than find intelligent life forms like ourselves. We may discover something completely unexpected.

Here are a couple relevant Sagan quotes:

Sagan wrote:
The test of a theory is its ability to cope with all the relevant phenomena, not its a priori 'reasonableness'. The latter would have proved a poor guide in the development of science, which often makes progress by its encounter with the totally unexpected and initially extremely puzzling.


Sagan wrote:
The great advances in science usually result from new tools rather than from new doctrines. ... Every time we introduce a new tool, it always leads to new and unexpected discoveries, because Nature's imagination is richer than ours.


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Mon Jan 26, 2015 11:25 pm
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 Re: Chapter 5: Spoofing and secrecy
At least in a fishing expedition we have a good idea about what it is we are fishing for and understand its environment. It might be highly probable we do not know what alien life or intelligence actually is despite some people's best hunches.

At this point we'd have to call it more of a hunch than a hypothesis.
Hunches do not make hypothesis.
educated guesses are a start..
but do we know enough about life and intelligence to make an educated guess.
some people think so simply because "we are the proof"
That may be like a chimp looking for alien life like itself.

Is this a good enough question to begin a scientific hypothesis:
"There is something somewhere out there. And we can find it"

Lets say there was a highly advanced alien civilization out there and that technologically it had already achieved "The Singularity"

http://www.npr.org/blogs/13.7/2015/01/2 ... ingularity


The alien artificial intelligence would be super intelligent. Its birth would have been from alien technology written in alien computer language.
What might that AI language be after it had developed into AI Super Intelligence?

I highly doubt our intelligence would recognize it.
I highly doubt radio waves would be a sufficient means of communication.
I highly doubt it would be interested in homo sapien intelligence. Even Interbane's.



Mon Jan 26, 2015 11:56 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 5: Spoofing and secrecy
This is from the link Geo provided.
It's a great, quick read, btw.

"SETI scientists do not look for patterns but rather a lack of patterns in a signal. Although this may seem puzzling, it¿s really a matter of physics. The first challenge facing any SETI project is detecting a signal against the background of cosmic and terrestrial noise. A signal containing a great deal of information will be spread across the spectrum more than a very simple signal containing little information would be. An "informative" signal will look more like random noise and thus will be harder to detect. So, in SETI, we look for very simple signals"

I really dont understand this at all.

How would scientists be able to determine that a simple patternless signal might originate from alien intelligence?
Would it have to be a patternless signal that repeats itself across a large noisy spectrum?
Wow! Thats worse than being blind.



Tue Jan 27, 2015 12:12 am
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Post Re: Chapter 5: Spoofing and secrecy
Penelope wrote:
I am most impressed, when looking at things from the scientific viewpoint, that everything, including ourselves, is comprised of vibrations. We are mostly vibration......and when things vibrate at different frequencies we can be unaware of them. Bodies can pass through walls, I have been led to understand....if the walls vibrate more slowly than the body in question.


I remember reading this and having a similar thought before. What vibrates, according to string theory, isn't the bigger stuff. Atomic particles have orbits and such, but I wouldn't call that vibrating. The stuff that supposedly vibrates is even smaller than an atom, and it always vibrates at the same frequency. Depending on the frequency of the vibration, the subatomic particle is granted certain properties. Up quarks have a different vibration from down quarks and so on. From what I understand, the speed of the frequency doesn't matter so much. Only the properties the specific frequency grants relative to other particles.

Since the frequencies never change, we'd never have the opportunity to interact with material that we could pass through. We'd never know it existed, even if it existed all around us. In essence, it wouldn't exist for us unless the laws of physics change(or whatever determines the frequencies). We couldn't handle it to build a wall, let alone see the wall or even know it existed.

There's a bit much speculation even to plot a sci-fi novel with string theory. But consider neutrinos. More than 50 percent of neutrinos can pass through six Trillion miles of lead unhindered. Which means they essentially don't interact with our matter. I've wondered if there aren't other particles that are similar. Particles that can combine to form larger complex particles like molecules, yet nearly undetectable to us. There could be an entire civilization living all around us, formed from matter that rarely if ever interacts with our own. It could be considered an alternate dimension, by all accounts.

Maybe SETI is looking in the wrong place. Aliens might be discovered by unlocking the secrets of subatomic particles rather than staring at space. It's fun to ponder.


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Post Re: Chapter 5: Spoofing and secrecy
Quote:
Interbane wrote:

Maybe SETI is looking in the wrong place. Aliens might be discovered by unlocking the secrets of subatomic particles rather than staring at space. It's fun to ponder.


It would help towards explaining a lot. What are ghosts? Some very plausible people seem to see them. The ghosts don't talk to us....They seem not to be aware of us.

It is interesting to ponder.....

(Your little son will be six years old next month......1st March.....I think about him often, as I remember his being born just before my own grandaughter.)


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Post Re: Chapter 5: Spoofing and secrecy
Penelope wrote:
(Your little son will be six years old next month......1st March.....I think about him often, as I remember his being born just before my own grandaughter.)


You're amazing. :P

We're going down to LA for his birthday and picking up my sister, and surprising him by going to Disneyland. The cousins are his age and my daughter's age. It'll be fun, my sister lives in Michigan and I rarely see her.


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Post Re: Chapter 5: Spoofing and secrecy
Quote:
Interbane wrote:
You're amazing. :P


We are all amazing. I'm a Grandmother and grandmothers are amazing.

I was thinking about how unscientific love is. The first time we as human beings encounter 'love without desire' is when we have our children. We love them because we can't help it......We just want them to be OK.

When we have our grandchildren, we love them, without desire, but also we are not directly responsible for them......We just love them because we can't help it. We cannot make them be and behave as we want them to......they must have free will to live and grow and experience life.....and learn lessons the hard way....if they must.

That's how God loves us. I can understand that......no evidence, no proof.....but I can understand that with my emotions, if not with my intellect.


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 Re: Chapter 5: Spoofing and secrecy
Quote:
Ant said By they way.., I personally think there life "out there" and I do support SETI.

I have noticed that many of the most acrimonious arguments on the 'nets are where the participants strongly agree with each other on a fundamental level.



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