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Paul Davies - The errie silence: Are we alone in the Univerce? 
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Post Paul Davies - The errie silence: Are we alone in the Univerce?
http://WWW.youtube.com/watch?v=z5vPLSj3cNs

This lecture is just over an hour in time but I thought it was worth the time spent this morning, I recommend giving it a shot, I know some out there refrain from lengthy online vids, I'd say pick a time when it doesn't put you out.
Paul Davies seems as reasonable as they come. During the course of the lecture he presents some history of SETI, the Drake Equation, and the challenges involved in the search for ET or alien civilization.
SETI is a search for that needle in the hay stack, but much more, this search is being done across a distance measured in thousands of years, we're just fifty years into it, by necessity we have to be prepared for the long haul, there's no telling if the human race would last long enough for a success to be realized.
The fact that we have not proved the origin of life is a hindrance, if we knew the answer we would have a better idea of where to look and what to look for, he explains it in terms of biochemistry, we need a second, independent example of life origin.
He agrees that Darwinian evolution would likely be universal, low probabilities exist for the similar luck humans had in becoming, to be happening on some distance planet, the search is really just based on hope.
A point he emphasizes, is to hold no preconceived notions.
He does credit Carl Sagan's "Contact" with being scientifically accurate.



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ant
Sat Feb 21, 2015 8:47 am
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Post Re: Paul Davies - The errie silence: Are we alone in the Univerce?
Great find!
I'm reading this book :clap:


Thanks



Sat Feb 21, 2015 2:47 pm
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Post Re: Paul Davies - The errie silence: Are we alone in the Univerce?
Quote:
He agrees that Darwinian evolution would likely be universal, low probabilities exist for the similar luck humans had in becoming, to be happening on some distance planet, the search is really just based on hope.
A point he emphasizes, is to hold no preconceived notions.


Yes, that's right. Great comment, Taylor.

Amplifying it a bit more, and perhaps in a direction that may not agree with, is that motivations of an alien civilization is a closed book to human beings.

Although Darwinian evolution may posit a reason as to why our species is hardwired with a sense of wanderlust, there is no justification in the assumption that alien intelligence developed the same desires. We are simply hoping ET has evolved similar desires.
It's an article of faith we hold when searching for ET.



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Sat Feb 21, 2015 3:15 pm
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Post Re: Paul Davies - The errie silence: Are we alone in the Univerce?
Quote:
Ant:
Although Darwinian evolution may posit a reason as to why our species is hardwired with a sense of wanderlust, there is no justification in the assumption that alien intelligence developed the same desires. We are simply hoping ET has evolved similar desires.
It's an article of faith we hold when searching for ET.


I get what your saying, your point maybe what Davies pin points in the book, but I took it to mean that the process of evolution was/is universal, but your right, we can not expect them to think as we think, (anthropomorphic). I also didn't think Davies was presenting SETI as being/holing faith that ET would be humanistic. Something else he presented that I thought was interesting was about the people that make up the team he has in place if a conversation between us and et happens, it consist of some lawyers, a priest, and a couple of sci-fi writers, an odd group, but who else is there?



Last edited by Taylor on Sat Feb 21, 2015 3:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Feb 21, 2015 3:45 pm
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Post Re: Paul Davies - The errie silence: Are we alone in the Univerce?
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I get what your saying, your point maybe what Davies pin points in the book, but I took it to mean that the process of evolution was/is universal, but your right, we can not expect them to think as we think, (anthropomorphic). I also didn't think Davies was presenting SETI as being/holing faith that ET would be humanistic. Something else he presented that I thought was interesting was about the people that make up the team he has in place if a conversation between us and et happens, it consist of some lawyers, a priest, and a couple of sci-fi writers, an odd group, but who else is there?


I don't recall having read (yet) Davies claiming that a darwinian evolutionary process IS universal.
That claim would have caught my attention. I'll go back and review what I've read.

No - Davies did not say SETI is a search based on faith. Those are my words and I would not want to misrepresent Davies.

However, he did make clear from the beginning that the methodology of SETI is scientific, whereas the evidence for life, let alone intelligent life, is not based on evidence.
He essentially leaves it up to the reader to determine if te entire SETI quest is scientific.
I say no, it clearly is not.
Whereas some people will defend SETI in its entirety simply because "scientists are doing it"(Interbane, Lanroid).



Sat Feb 21, 2015 4:02 pm
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Post Re: Paul Davies - The errie silence: Are we alone in the Univerce?
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Ant:
However, he did make clear from the beginning that the methodology of SETI is scientific, whereas the evidence for life, let alone intelligent life, is not based on evidence.

Yes, not based on evidence, hence the search.
I think that sometimes the evidence has to be sought then deciphered, and other times the evidence is in hand, but the ability of understanding that evidence has to be sought.



Sat Feb 21, 2015 4:25 pm
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Post Re: Paul Davies - The errie silence: Are we alone in the Univerce?
Taylor wrote:
Quote:
Ant:
However, he did make clear from the beginning that the methodology of SETI is scientific, whereas the evidence for life, let alone intelligent life, is not based on evidence.

Yes, not based on evidence, hence the search.
I think that sometimes the evidence has to be sought then deciphered, and other times the evidence is in hand, but the ability of understanding that evidence has to be sought.



One big issue is not knowing what the evidence might look like. If we don't know the form the evidence might take there's virtually no way to begin analysis.
Alien technology might be so incredibly foreign to us we might have passed over it without even knowing it.



Sat Feb 21, 2015 4:35 pm
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Post Re: Paul Davies - The errie silence: Are we alone in the Univerce?
Quote:
Ant:
One big issue is not knowing what the evidence might look like. If we don't know the form the evidence might take there's virtually no way to begin analysis.
Alien technology might be so incredibly foreign to us we might have passed over it without even knowing it.


Both these points are true. Davies's/SETI's hope is that, first we don't pass over possible existing evidence, which given the vastness of the universe and the brevity of time available to focus on just one point in space we could easily miss that evidence.
Secondly, Davies's/SETI's hope is that the scientist, doctoral students, engineers, star gazers, garage mechanics, amateur astrologer's, etc.. who are actively involved in SETI contribute in coming up with an answer/answers to the problem of analysis and interpretation, the whole venture is open for participation by anyone willing and able to get involved. Development of quantum computing is a key component in Davies future, or a possibility of an ET form of life we could encounter.
Imagination seems to be a key element in this particular venture, still there's no telling of the outcome. As you say, when is it decided to be no longer worth it? Part of that answer is in the lack of available funding.



Last edited by Taylor on Sat Feb 21, 2015 5:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: Paul Davies - The errie silence: Are we alone in the Univerce?
Quote:
Both these points are true. Davies's/SETI's hope is that, first we don't pass over possible existing evidence, which given the vastness of the universe and the brevity of time available to focus on just one point in space we could easily miss that evidence.


The search for a sign/signature that ET exists or existed must be much broader than looking out into deep space.
Davies speaks in depth about this in his book and thinking outside the box is key.

A serious search for a "shadow biosphere" must be part of the search. There may very well be alien life existing in a niche that remains undiscovered.
A discovery of life that does NOT belong to our "tree of life" would be a near definitive sign that the rise alien life is inevitable in the universe and that our searching does not feel hopelessly in vain at some point.

From my recollection, Davies has stated there remains an enormous amount of terrestrial microbial life that has been totally bypassed by science and taken for granted as originating from the same tree of life as ours.
We'd have to examine each finding to confirm it's terrestrial kinship. For all we know, something overlooked may have properties so different, that an finding of ET would be called for. Say, for instance, life that has a vastly different DNA coding structure, or life that is so different it can't be classified as an extremeophile. But then again, because we no nothing precise enough about what the trunk is of our tree of life and how deep it goes, we could very well find "weird life" and not be able to confirm unquestionably that is originated from a different tree trunk than ours.
The abio genesis hypothesis is no help here (despite some people's misrepresentation of it being an explanation for life).

Keep in mind that defining life and the difficulties involved is just the beginning of it all. Not only do we face this, we also face the issue of recognizing intelligence that's alien to us, let alone the way it might be attempting to communicate with us, OR has attempted in the PAST.
"We will know it when we see it because WE ARE INTELLIGENT" is totally anthropocentric and may be totally useless.

Another consideration is that an attempt by ET to communicate may have been a form of biological messaging.
Encoding intelligence could be done biologically, because nature has already shown us its possible.
By what means? by VIRUS.

VIRUS is a magnificent carrier of information.
If part of an advanced ET technology is a mastery of bioengineering, then perhaps there are biological messages that have yet to be discovered by us.
An advanced alien civilization that died out perhaps millions of years ago might have sent out bio messages throughout the universe as a means of communication to future life. We just might not be capable of discovering and reading their messages.

These are my words:
Perhaps we've already found signs of intelligence, but have drawn the wrong conclusions.
You know, like when you hear arm chair philosophers in the present day saying nature is dumb and blind?
Why shouldnt we at some point say this?
After all, we need to use our imagination and think outside the box.
Confining our imaginations is not going to get the job done. There's just too much out there.



Last edited by ant on Sat Feb 21, 2015 7:16 pm, edited 3 times in total.



Sat Feb 21, 2015 7:07 pm
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Post Re: Paul Davies - The errie silence: Are we alone in the Universe?
Thanks for the video, enjoyed it very much. In the first few minutes Davies says "The question 'Are we alone' became part of science in April of 1960 when Frank Drake began sweeping the skies with the Greenbank radio telescope."

One misconception I had that was cleared up in the Q&A was I thought we were looking primarily for passive signals from ET, sort of like our radio and TV signal propagations over the past 100 years. Davies said our current instruments, including even the upcoming Square Kilometer Array, are not sensitive enough to pick up such signals, so they would have to be deliberately beamed at us to be detected. Gotta admit, that lowers the chance of success quite a bit.

However, Davies mentions that no matter how speculative a concept is, if it can be researched at very low cost, it is worth pursuing. And that's the case with SETI at the moment. He was talking about students reviewing photos of the moon looking for alien artifacts at virtually no cost, but this holds true for radiotelescope instruments as well - they're built for astronomy - SETI just uses the same raw data and applies different analysis.

Another interesting point is Davies estimates there are 10^23 earth-like possibilities in the visible universe, but it is entirely possible that the probability of intelligent life is only 1 in 10^23 so we are in fact alone.

I'd be up for discussing Davies' book on BookTalk.

Ant wrote:
Whereas some people will defend SETI in its entirety simply because "scientists are doing it"(Interbane, Lanroid).

No. I listed reasons why SETI is based on science previously, but obviously won't bother repeating since you didn't apprehend it the first time.


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Sat Feb 21, 2015 7:20 pm
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Post Re: Paul Davies - The errie silence: Are we alone in the Univerce?
One clear sign of evidence for alien intelligence is that it hasn't attempted to contact us.

Edited:

Its methods are based on science, Lanroid.
Saying its "based on science" is saying something different.

You need to be aware of that



Last edited by ant on Sat Feb 21, 2015 7:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Feb 21, 2015 7:26 pm
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Post Re: Paul Davies - The errie silence: Are we alone in the Univerce?
Who wants to bet me that if life evolves on other planets the same way as on earth that somewhere in the universe is a unicorn and a fairy?

I win because i wont stop searching as long as someone gives me money to keep searching.



Sat Feb 21, 2015 7:35 pm
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Post Re: Paul Davies - The errie silence: Are we alone in the Univerce?
Here's an interview with Davies just before he gave the lecture up top.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sjrga5LROc



Sat Feb 21, 2015 7:37 pm
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Post Re: Paul Davies - The errie silence: Are we alone in the Univerce?
LanDroid wrote:
Here's an interview with Davies just before he gave the lecture up top.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sjrga5LROc


Thanks

Paul Davies is superb. I cant say enough about him.
i recommend him years ago but most of you couldnt put "The God Delusion" down.

Edited:

Started watching this.
Horrible interviewer.



Last edited by ant on Sat Feb 21, 2015 7:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Feb 21, 2015 7:42 pm
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Post Re: Paul Davies - The errie silence: Are we alone in the Univerce?
They're colleagues working closely together. I liked the interviewer because he thoroughly understands the subjects they discuss and has very probing questions. Heh, they discuss "The God Delusion". Hang in there 'til the end for the part about cancer - they collaborated on a paper on it.

https://beyond.asu.edu/news/origin-canc ... -throwback
http://iopscience.iop.org/1478-3975/8/1/015001


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Sat Feb 21, 2015 8:08 pm
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