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Searching for gravitational waves is like searching for alien intelligence 
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Post Re: Searching for gravitational waves is like searching for alien intelligence
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Or, I would add, our instruments aren't powerful enough to detect an alien signature.


I agree with the above.

Also, we simply might not know what an alien signature of advanced technology IS.
The technology might be something vastly different than what we are expecting.

"I'll know it when I see it" is arrogant presumption.



Wed Apr 15, 2015 9:59 am
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Post Re: Searching for gravitational waves is like searching for alien intelligence
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One is yet waiting for the explanation of how searching for gravitational waves can be equated to s.e.t.i., considering the ever so slight differences in contributing elements of prediction, prediction, supporting data and finally method.


Who is this "one" that is waiting for an explanation, L?
Is it a person?


BTW,

The reason for the title of post is because Lanroid had mentioned/asked if we should stop searching for gravity waves if we take the question I posed seriously (at what point does a working hypothesis become dead in the water).

I happen to know the difference between the two and I challenged Lanroid in this post to explain how his question can not or should not be used in any way as a justification for a search for ET.

You are missing context, L, and are being overly presumptuous.



Wed Apr 15, 2015 10:08 am
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Post Re: Searching for gravitational waves is like searching for alien intelligence
Hmm actually it was earlier denied that it had anything to do with that other thread, i.e. was purely a question rather than a contention that emerged from there. Anyway.

Again, could just answer what happens if over an arbitrary timeperiod nothing is found in either case. What it means and what follows.

Now on the less self-contradicting part, Stanislaw Lem in Master's Voice had depicted quite neatly how the complete disconnect, hence complete failure in communication (even one-way) could occur due to the vastly different "other" civilisation.

Although it may seem like a cynical novel, it actually does (quite a few decades back) postulated that even if we had something tangible in front of us, we may not even realise what it is - or arrive at numerous, even conflicting, interpretations of the same thing.

So any such search is by definition intricately linked to our own grasp on what "it" may be... hence very constrained parameters, unless one is seeking hoped-to-be "universal" signatures (e.g. based on thermodynamics fundamentals). But Lem may well be right ultimately :)


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Wed Apr 15, 2015 10:49 am
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Post Re: Searching for gravitational waves is like searching for alien intelligence
Quote:
So any such search is by definition intricately linked to our own grasp on what "it" may be... hence very constrained parameters, unless one is seeking hoped-to-be "universal" signatures (e.g. based on thermodynamics fundamentals). But Lem may well be right ultimately


Yes, that's true. but if some form of signature is beyond a fundamental understanding of ours, it's more than likely we would'n't have a clue what it was we were looking at.

What would the power source of an advanced technology of an alien race a billion years old be?
Would it be based on power sources we currently utilize? Why?

What would a sign of intelligence from a 10 billion year old alien civilization look like?
Would it be wires sticking out of a rock?


What experience do we have in identifying alien intelligence?
Is it our intelligence that acts as the necessary experience to identify other forms of intelligence billions of years ahead of ours?
Interbane seems to think he is qualified to identify alien intelligence because he's an agnostic atheist.



Wed Apr 15, 2015 11:07 am
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Post Re: Searching for gravitational waves is like searching for alien intelligence
That's how in Lem's case even a signal that could be received by us with our current technology and actually decrypted ends up showing N different things, all amazing in their own way but in entirely different areas of science. So the sum total of the findings is more intriguing than the individual ones.

Of course over the years, the "signs are outside our current science" have led to some truly (sometimes amusing) wild shoots... like that chap with his organological (if I recall correctly) waves, and others looking for "biological waves" that may transcend time and space as we know it. And probably many other less "publicised" methods...

Problem is, once we do move outside 'conventional' science and established methodologies of proving/disproving a hypothesis and self-correcting others, we open an "anything goes" portal into sometimes demented (but somehow always profitable) mumbo-jumbo.

When latter is at its best, then it can't even be disproven by traditional means - so any attempt to say xy thing is downright idiotic actually fuels the mumbo-jumbo (cue conspiracy theories, too).

There was a wonderful caricature somewhere of an alien (a stereotypical Roswell one) typing in an office, and behind him (it?) there is a poster with an Airbus A320, with the inscription under it: I want to believe :)


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ant
Wed Apr 15, 2015 11:16 am
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Post Re: Searching for gravitational waves is like searching for alien intelligence
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Problem is, once we do move outside 'conventional' science and established methodologies of proving/disproving a hypothesis and self-correcting others, we open an "anything goes" portal into sometimes demented (but somehow always profitable) mumbo-jumbo.


What methodologies have been established that can identify and communicate with alien intelligence?
Are they completely distinguishable from pseudo science at this point?



Wed Apr 15, 2015 11:21 am
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Post Re: Searching for gravitational waves is like searching for alien intelligence
Method was referring to trying to observe something that we know the laws of, and can be measured and/or generated in reproducible ways, e.g. EM activity if someone's idea is that "they" may produce as byproduct and/or communicate actively via them.
Quite a bit different from looking via 'biological waves' or whatever, that have no theoretical foundation even, no postulated or identified laws, not measured, not reproduced, no actual science exists (except claimed by some profitable books of mumbojumbo, where the key to success is that "well it is outside all existing science therefore how could we observe it, reproduce it,measure it etc etc").
In that sense, something that relies on 1st law of thermodynamics is a bit different from someone's made-up mumbojumbo... of course it doesn't mean that former can actually catch what it is looking for, but both it and the framework used for it can be objectively analysed and reproduced, same goes for the findings via it.


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Post Re: Searching for gravitational waves is like searching for alien intelligence
I found this abstract interesting:

Title:
The Problem of the SETI: A Methodological Error in Cosmology and Astrophysics
Authors:
Kalanov, Temur Z.
Publication:
American Physical Society, APS April Meeting, April 22-26, 2006, abstract #D1.057
Publication Date:
04/2006


Quote:
As is known, the problem of the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) is not solved till now. The fact is that ``Cosmos keeps silence.'' In this connection, within the framework of the approach [1], a new analysis of the problem of the SETI is proposed. The new theoretical results are as follows. (1) The problem of the SETI cannot be solved within the framework of the special sciences (physics, astrophysics, biology, etc.), since this problem is a philosophical problem [1]. (2) The philosophical problem of the SETI is formulated as follows: What is essence of the Universe? This problem can be solved only within the framework of the new philosophy and gnosiology [1] based on formal logic, dialectics, system approach, and information theory. (3) The main statement of the new philosophy and gnosiology is that information is essence of the Universe, and material objects and processes are manifestation of essence. (4) The Universe is controlled by means of information. (5) Human Reason and development of Mankind is consequence of existence of Supreme Reason (in other words, existence and development of Mankind is the main proof of existence of Supreme Reason). Consequence: the generally accepted idea of the SETI is a methodological error in cosmology and astrophysics


(emphasis mine)

http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2006APS..APR.D1057K

http://meetings.aps.org/Meeting/APR06/Event/47249


I think we might have more of a conceptual problem than we even realize or suspect when it comes to defining intelligence - particularly the development of intelligence throughout the cosmos and perhaps even the universe as a enormously complex information system far beyond our mental "umph"

Now I know some people have developed the habit of believing their intelligence is an adequate tool for deciphering cosmic conundrums and thus graft grand metaphysical conclusions on to our scientific modest discoveries which are only a couple of hundred years old.
However, a cosmos as timeless, infinite, and as complex as ours may be of an essence that is as far beyond as we are in comparison to a bug.


I think there is more than a technological problem.
There is a deep philosophical problem (challenge) as well.

Meanwhile, Len Kraus, Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Interbane continue to make grand metaphysical claims based on a philosophy of materialism and atheism.



Last edited by ant on Wed Apr 15, 2015 5:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Wed Apr 15, 2015 5:45 pm
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Post Re: Searching for gravitational waves is like searching for alien intelligence
Quote:
In that sense, something that relies on 1st law of thermodynamics is a bit different from someone's made-up mumbojumbo... of course it doesn't mean that former can actually catch what it is looking for, but both it and the framework used for it can be objectively analysed and reproduced, same goes for the findings via it.


yes, yes, that sounds impressive.

how will that help us identify alien intelligence?
how will that help us communicate with an alien civilization a billion years our senior?
can you give me an example?

say "hi - we are human and can tell you what the 2nd law of theormodynamics is and does" to an alien civilization billions of years ahead of us.

Will their science be our science?
If so, what evidence do you have to prove that would be the case?



Wed Apr 15, 2015 5:51 pm
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Post Re: Searching for gravitational waves is like searching for alien intelligence
It neither sounds nor intends to sound impressive, as it is fundamental to any mentionable method.

But in this context, all it means that in whatever is presumed to be the instrument and method to zoom in on what overlaps with us in the Drake-Sagan formula (if anything at all) is based on known and practical means. So it may not help at all with something entirely different, and this was stated from the start - therefore how would one give example about something unrelated...
As example of what was stated, if they are technological in 'our' ways, again a narrow overlap in the formula, then the mentioned law would show energy budget imbalance.

Again it doesn't mean it helps communicating with something outside that overlap - that was stated many times and/or obvious, even referred to Lem on the philosophical front.

The mumbojumbo referred to is claiming to use methods and instruments that have not had even elementary validity or proof of existence, whilst claiming to be searching for even the mentioned overlapping segment of what in general one might (possibly in futile manner in our times) to look for.

Whether their science is our science: this was again already addressed and referred to - but, big but, within the bounds of what applies in general. Hence 1st law of thermodynamics was not a random pick.

We can't "mystify" other civilisations' otherwise possible huge differences by throwing out what so far is empirically demonstrated and applicable in all observed range of the Universe (and we are looking for something that may live inside that range).

If we throw those universal laws out, then we are going back to pure sophism.


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Post Re: Searching for gravitational waves is like searching for alien intelligence
Quote:
lehelvandor wrote:
We can't "mystify" other civilisations' otherwise possible huge differences by throwing out what so far is empirically demonstrated and applicable in all observed range of the Universe (and we are looking for something that may live inside that range).


Thanks for this, despite virtually anything being possible, mystification obfuscates a common sense, institutional approach for ET.



Thu Apr 16, 2015 11:43 am
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Post Re: Searching for gravitational waves is like searching for alien intelligence
Is SETI Science?
Published by Steven Novella under General Science

I recently received the following e-mail question:

Got a question for you: do you consider the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence to be science or pseudoscience? I recently got into an online debate and found myself in the minority because I maintained that the central thesis — that if intelligent life exists somewhere out there in the greater universe, we would be able to recognize it based upon patterns in radio waves — is not falsifiable.

It would seem to me that the only way to truly falsify SETI, we’d need to map quite literally every body in the universe and rule them out one by one and say that they don’t have anything there in terms of extraterrestrial intelligence. Unlike other complex hypotheses that are limited by available technologies, I’m not convinced that the task of mapping the universe is even possible, even with a sufficiently advanced technology.


I have received some version of this question many times over the years, always by people who are trying to be skeptical and apply what they have learned about the differences between science and pseudoscience. It therefore seems like an excellent opportunity to explore this important issue.

SETI is the search for extraterrestrial intelligence and refers to a number of programs over the years that have listened for intelligent radio signals from space. NASA for a time had a SETI program, but this was canceled in 1993. The SETI Institute now carries on this endeavor with private funding.

Whether or not you think SETI is a good idea, is it real science? The issue here is how do we define science. One major criterion for science is that a scientific hypothesis must be falsifiable. This, however, is not strictly true and is an oversimplification.

A hypothesis does not need to be falsifiable in the sense that it is possible to be proven 100% wrong. All that is necessary is that the hypothesis is testable – there is some observation or experiment that you can perform that will make the hypothesis more or less likely to be true.

Sometimes a hypothesis can be stated in such a way that a single counter-example will disprove it. The now classic example is that all swans are white. A single non-white swan will falsify this hypothesis. How thoroughly do you have to search, however, before we can conclude that all swans are white? Would you have to simultaneously survey every swan in the world? If it takes 10 years to conduct a thorough survey can you be sure that a black swan was not born in the last 10 years?

The problem here is in thinking in absolutes. Scientific theories, rather, often deal with probabilities and are not necessarily wrong when exceptions are found. In the case of swans, the more thoroughly we look for non-white swans without finding them the greater our confidence is that all swans are white, and we can certainly conclude that most swans are white and that any exceptions are rare.

Of course this is the classic example because black swans were discovered in Australia.

With regard to SETI the hypothesis is this – life arose spontaneously on Earth, there is nothing special about the Earth and therefore it is possible for life to arise elsewhere in the universe. It is possible that some of that life evolved intelligence, and some of that intelligence developed technology. One method for a technological civilization to communicate across stellar distances is through radio signals. Therefore, perhaps the Earth is being bathed at this moment with intelligent radio signals from other worlds.

Every link in that logical change is perfectly reasonable. The best way to test that hypothesis is to simply look. Looking is part of science. It is a valid way to test many hypotheses. It is not necessary to be able to prove that there are no intelligent radio sources anywhere in the universe in order for this endeavor to be properly scientific.

Like the search for non-white swans, a single example is all that is necessay, in this case to prove that the hypothesis is valid. The more we search without success the more information we will have about the density of radio-transmitting civilizations in the universe. This survey will never be complete, but that is irrelevant.

The broader issue here is the importance of understanding that science is not one method but a collection of various methods. It is important to a proper understanding of science not to have an artificially narrow view of what counts as science. As long as there are hypotheses that are testable with empirical evidence, you are doing science (whether or not you are doing rigorous high quality science is a separate issue).

Frequently the opponents of science try to limit what counts as science in order to deny legitimate science (it is a major tactic of denialism). To be clear, the e-mailer is not doing that here, and he states later in his e-mail that he supports SETI as an endeavor.

It is, however, a common ploy of creationists. They try to deny the legitimacy of all historical sciences because what has happened in the past was either not directly observed or cannot be run as an experiment in the lab. Historical sciences, however, can still make observations and generate hypotheses that can be tested with further observations. There is even a field of experimental archaeology that conducts experiments to test hypotheses about how things were done in the past.

So, yes, SETI is legitimate science. It is searching for evidence that directly tests a very interesting hypothesis. The fact that it can never prove a negative version of that hypothesis (there are no intelligence radio sources in the universe) is irrelevant.

http://theness.com/neurologicablog/inde ... i-science/


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Post Re: Searching for gravitational waves is like searching for alien intelligence
Taylor wrote:
Thanks for this, despite virtually anything being possible, mystification obfuscates a common sense, institutional approach for ET.


Well, it is one of the classic fallacies: some say "they must be so complex and advanced, that they are not subject to any known laws of the Universe" - completely missing, often intentionally, the little fact that the vastly complex Universe actually uhm universally obeys remarkably simple laws. Vastness and complexity does not mean, based even on huge amount of empirical observation, that it automatically has vast complex fundamental laws beyond anything ever imagined and/or encountered.

The other classic fallacy is that such e.t.i. "must" automatically (automagically) operate in that beyondness... Aside from the fact that this seductive proposition is along the lines of the superb mumbojumbo we see in the Star Trek universe (e.g. inertial dampener, Heisenberg compensator etc., used admittedly to get around some absurdities in the functioning of some of their central gizmos), it commits a fundamental logical error, too.
Namely, starting from an obvious fact (that any current method for searching a needle in a haystack is limited by the needle having to be a 'conventional' one, i.e. one looks for fundamentals again, and the haystack, whilst vast, it obeys a bunch of very basic laws) it leaps to the conclusion that *all* needles must be outside those limitations, hence cannot be sought via any such method. It is a stunningly often seen inverse logic.

On the side, M. Kaku's The Physics of the Impossible is a neat little book for the "beyondness"... with a typically lucid but playful meditation on a lot of mystification, too.


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Post Re: Searching for gravitational waves is like searching for alien intelligence
Taylor wrote:
Thanks for this, despite virtually anything being possible, mystification obfuscates a common sense, institutional approach for ET.


Well, it is one of the classic fallacies: some say "they must be so complex and advanced, that they are not subject to any known laws of the Universe" - completely missing, often intentionally, the little fact that the vastly complex Universe actually uhm universally obeys remarkably simple laws. Vastness and complexity does not mean, based even on huge amount of empirical observation, that it automatically has vast complex fundamental laws beyond anything ever imagined and/or encountered.

The other classic fallacy is that such e.t.i. "must" automatically (automagically) operate in that beyondness... Aside from the fact that this seductive proposition is along the lines of the superb mumbojumbo we see in the Star Trek universe (e.g. inertial dampener, Heisenberg compensator etc., used admittedly to get around some absurdities in the functioning of some of their central gizmos), it commits a fundamental logical error, too.
Namely, starting from an obvious fact (that any current method for searching a needle in a haystack is limited by the needle having to be a 'conventional' one, i.e. one looks for fundamentals again, and the haystack, whilst vast, it obeys a bunch of very basic laws) it leaps to the conclusion that *all* needles must be outside those limitations, hence cannot be sought via any such method. It is a stunningly often seen inverse logic.

On the side, M. Kaku's The Physics of the Impossible is a neat little book for the "beyondness"... with a typically lucid but playful meditation on a lot of mystification, too.


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Post Re: Searching for gravitational waves is like searching for alien intelligence
... and apologies for duplication, it froze on me and by the time it thawed, it somehow managed to post it twice, despite not having reacted to any clicks for a long time :)


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