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Heroes Community > Other Games Exist Too > Thread: Probability of Alien Civilizations?
Thread: Probability of Alien Civilizations? This thread is 4 pages long: 1 2 3 4 · NEXT»
artu
artu


Promising
Undefeatable Hero
My BS sensor is tingling again
posted December 27, 2020 07:17 AM

Probability of Alien Civilizations?

The subject is popular and during the last few years, I have come across many “popular science” articles that handles the question of “is there anybody out there” in quite opposite directions.

Some seem to claim that the universe is so vast, that there must certainly be other civilizations out there. Even if they are too far to reach out or even if they have already ended, they do exist if we have to guess by statistical probability. There are even new versions of the famous Drake Equation.

The other camp seems to argue that although life is quite probable, civilizations are another story and that for a civilization to emerge, too many evolutionary dices have to roll one after another. They say even if we had to replay life in our own Earth (which is quite the jackpot for us), thousands of times again, chances of a civilization appearing is slim. You dont only have to have stable conditions, but have them for a quite long period for intelligent life to rise, and then, even intelligence itself is not enough, you must have the mutations that enable language, you must have conditions for intelligence to be an advantage over having great dexterity or strength or ability to fly etc. etc.

So, is there anything close to a “scientific consensus” to the probability of alien civilizations if we skip aside ridiculous abduction conspiracies or the fictional world of sci-fi. What are the chances of their existence, even if we are never going to get in contact?

Also, if you happen to know any serious (as opposed to clickbait junk) articles related to the subject, please link them in here.

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Galaad
Galaad

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posted December 27, 2020 10:21 AM

Sounds like a cool game.
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Blizzardboy
Blizzardboy


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posted December 27, 2020 11:28 AM
Edited by Blizzardboy at 11:57, 27 Dec 2020.

I don't know about very basic life, but as far as complex civilizations, the more time that passes the more obscure that seems to become. I watched this TED talk when it first came out and it doesn't address the Drake equation directly, but it does show how outdated it is:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m64Wz_RBp2s&t=137s
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NoobX
NoobX


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Now, this is a paradox...
posted December 27, 2020 12:49 PM

artu said:
Some seem to claim that the universe is so vast, that there must certainly be other civilizations out there. Even if they are too far to reach out or even if they have already ended, they do exist if we have to guess by statistical probability. There are even new versions of the famous Drake Equation.


This could very well be the case.  We're certain there isn't another civilization in our solar system, but that's about as much as we can tell right now.  Anything further than that is free real estate for extraterrestrial life to form and advance and we wouldn't even know it.  Right now we're not in a position to do more detailed searches for any signs of intelligent life except for trying to pick up some radio signals which may or may not be coming from a random appliance in the vicinity.  Knowing how long light/information takes to traverse the vast distances between two systems, it might even seem too optimistic to think that we could catch anything for the short time we've been actively looking for alien signals. There are just way too many variables that take part in our effort.  Looking at the right place at the right time with the right equipment and right personnel in a right environment for the right signal... it just gets too demanding.  Not saying that we can't catch a stray signal maybe from who knows how long ago, but I wouldn't get my hopes up that it'd happen any time soon.  But it might, and I'd be happy about it.

Quote:
The other camp seems to argue that although life is quite probable, civilizations are another story and that for a civilization to emerge, too many evolutionary dices have to roll one after another. They say even if we had to replay life in our own Earth (which is quite the jackpot for us), thousands of times again, chances of a civilization appearing is slim. You dont only have to have stable conditions, but have them for a quite long period for intelligent life to rise, and then, even intelligence itself is not enough, you must have the mutations that enable language, you must have conditions for intelligence to be an advantage over having great dexterity or strength or ability to fly etc. etc.


Even if it's unlikely for all the pieces to fall into place, the sheer size of the universe and the amount of stars/planets make it seem not an impossible occurrence.  But leaving a trace of existence can be a daunting task, let alone keeping a civilization going through ages.  And that's what we're looking for - a trace of a civilization existing outside our immediate neighborhood.  Again, there are a lot of variables that can aid or hinder that undertaking.  We're so used to having a controlled environment for our experiments and observations that we forget that the universe does not act in that way.  Right now, we should focus on searching for life forms (both existing and extinct) on Venus, Mars and maybe even Titan or Europa.  Getting familiar with where life might spring and under which circumstances can provide a stable base for further predictions to narrow our scope of search, thus increasing our efficiency down the line.  Further, looking for an Earth 2.0 only is pointless, if not absurd.  We've already seen life take hold in some of the more extreme environments here, so who is to say it can't happen elsewhere in the universe, on worlds where our "extreme" becomes "normal"?  Thing is - we're so focused on finding a twin Earth with twin humankind that we start to forget the bigger picture.

Quote:
So, is there anything close to a “scientific consensus” to the probability of alien civilizations if we skip aside ridiculous abduction conspiracies or the fictional world of sci-fi. What are the chances of their existence, even if we are never going to get in contact?


There never will be a scientific consensus as long as there is science.  No matter how much evidence you stack up at one point, it will never be enough to make it all undisputable.  That's just the philosophy of science at work.
As for the numbers themselves, it's impossible to tell.  We know so little and such an estimate requires a lot of data to be taken into account - data that we don't posses.
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artu
artu


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My BS sensor is tingling again
posted December 27, 2020 02:44 PM

A scientific consensus doesnt mean that it’s an unfalsifiable final verdict, Noobx, it means there is a conclusion or an estimation that the vast majority of scientists agree upon for the moment. And of course, although everything is falsifiable hypothetically, some things are really not, like the earth is not going to turn out flat etc.
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Stevie
Stevie


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posted December 27, 2020 03:22 PM

The probability of alien civilizations existing somewhere in this vast universe is exactly the same as the probability of the simplest, self-sustaining, replicating cell to arise by means of purely unguided, natural phenomena. Zero.
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FirePaladin
FirePaladin


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posted December 27, 2020 04:07 PM

Alien civilizations, yes.
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NoobX
NoobX


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Now, this is a paradox...
posted December 27, 2020 07:21 PM

artu said:
A scientific consensus doesnt mean that it’s an unfalsifiable final verdict, Noobx, it means there is a conclusion or an estimation that the vast majority of scientists agree upon for the moment. And of course, although everything is falsifiable hypothetically, some things are really not, like the earth is not going to turn out flat etc.


Yeah, yeah, I went off the rails there.  But I highly doubt a consensus will be reached when it comes to this question - I think the majority of scientists will be sitting on the fence with not enough data to actually pick a certain side on that matter - unless you'd consider that indecisiveness as a consensus.

Stevie said:
The probability of alien civilizations existing somewhere in this vast universe is exactly the same as the probability of the simplest, self-sustaining, replicating cell to arise by means of purely unguided, natural phenomena. Zero.


Oh, no...
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FirePaladin
FirePaladin


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posted December 27, 2020 07:29 PM

It's official, chances for me to exist are lower than Erwin returning to make a new HoMM games.

I doubt HC is the place to talk about this though. There's lots I could come up with, but this will end up like the political threads, so I'll instead keep posting my VW propaganda lol.
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artu
artu


Promising
Undefeatable Hero
My BS sensor is tingling again
posted December 27, 2020 08:07 PM
Edited by artu at 08:45, 31 Dec 2020.

Stevie said:
The probability of alien civilizations existing somewhere in this vast universe is exactly the same as the probability of the simplest, self-sustaining, replicating cell to arise by means of purely unguided, natural phenomena. Zero.

Uhuh, unfortunately, intelligent design is crap and has no scientific value whatsoever. So the answer is not zero, no matter how slim the chances are.
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JollyJoker
JollyJoker


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posted December 27, 2020 10:36 PM

I think, the problem isn't even existing.

We are an intelligent civilization (or at least what we are is supposed to be one). Now, since we do exist, there are two possibilities:

1) We are the only intelligent civilization that is, was and will ever be, or
2) Since there is an infinite amount of suns and planets and galaxies and possibly even universes we are a common occurence and there is an infinite number of them.

Option 1 is obviously bollocks - Ockham's Razor. If there was any power guiding this one civilization to come into being - why making such a fuss? Such a vast creation? Makes no sense.

A planet has many tries, obviously. Earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old. "Life" has been proven to be about around 3.7 billion years ago. It obviously took some time from "first life to "intelligent life". However, our sun is at about half its life cycle. It has another 4.5 to 5.5 billion years.
So intelligent life COULD HAVE taken a few billion years more to develop - no problem.
We could also destroy ourselves - and in a billion years a new intelligent species might develop.

If we had destroyed ourselves 1963 ... it was a real possibility. And it's quite probable that a lot of intelligent alien species would do just that: destroy themselves at a stage where they can't really make any impact in terms of interstellar communication.

If we are still around in a million years - which is a ridiculously short time span in cosmic standards -, we'll quite probably know a lot more in that regard. Or we might be extinct for a long time.

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Celfious
Celfious


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posted December 28, 2020 10:45 AM
Edited by Celfious at 10:54, 28 Dec 2020.

There is far to much evidence on this planet to deny other and greater civilizations.

There is probably more than 1000s of areas, events, and various proofs suggesting space aliens or some form of divinity etc.

One of the most supporting discoveries to me is this map right here. With accurate charting of artic areas UNICED charted by Piri Reis  in 1513.
How did anyone come upon such a map with this pristine accuracy when the land shown here was and mostly still is underneath all the SNOW and ice lol?  Actual snow...

Piri Reis map. Some of the antarctica portion.


found in a discard pile a map charted in 1513 shows antarctica without its ice cap

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FirePaladin
FirePaladin


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posted December 28, 2020 03:04 PM

Ah yes, a classic.

Speaking of which, is this heavenly (should I say, alien?) guidance having you make this post the first post to be entirely understandable and readable after a long while on HC, no offense?
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PandaTar
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posted December 28, 2020 09:57 PM
Edited by PandaTar at 22:01, 28 Dec 2020.

Humans, brains and theories are simply too limited. Our perceptions, contraptions, senses, interests and assumptions are too limited. We have just our planet as reference. We are not even 100% sure we exist or we are just a computational simulation. And faith is just another tool, just as limited as humans are.

90% of our universe (observable, that is, which could mean another infinity of possibilities, so even that number is just hypothetical) is made of something people tagged a name on but have no idea of what it is. The rest is made of limited information, matter, based on long-range observations of the past, which might be blatantly different from what's really happening there.

We don't even know all stuff happening on our own planet, what's happening at the deepest depths of our oceans. We don't now how many species of creatures are present on this planet. We still find new elements to add to our chart, some new metal, gas, etc., keeping in mind we don't have other places to fumble upon. We have some organisms that survive at very extreme conditions, such as the tardigrades. And even that extreme condition is so partial. It's solely based on ourselves.

Other civilizations might not be even bothered with these questions. Might not even be limited to our 4 dimensional cage, might have a very different correlation with time – 1 second could be their whole civilization timespan, whilst others might evolve for the next trillion years and we'll not know. There will be plenty of starts by then, more stable ones. Or they might not exist on our 4 dimensional vector and are just wondering about other civilizations right now on this very planet, as much as 'now' means, that is, not able to perceive our existance.

Other life forms, even intelligent, might not be organized as a civilization. There might have another, more successful relationship between creatures of the same species, even proving civilization is bound to failure. What do we know? We observe animals, insects, ourselves. That's our cue.

I believe there are other forms of intelligence outside our minuscule and petty planet. But I rather understand religion-guided people. The hope is just akin to mine, just on different sides of the spectrum, but the essence is the same. A god could be just another life form. There's always a saying that the man cannot truly understand the designs of god, so how come people still say that god wants this and that all the same? Still, people simply choose to believe, that's their interpretation. It's not necessary a truth. Science is similar, there are many unknown factors out there, but scientists generally don't choose to believe about them, they theorize through observation and, at some point, interpretation as well. Either sides cannot prove the whys of a lot of unknown variables as for now, be that God's plans or what happens beyond the event horizon of a black-hole. Either sides simply choose an action to deal with that, whichever makes them feel more comfortable with, more loved, more curious, more exilarated, complete.

I personally think that having both things, advanced civilizations and a God is giving much more credit to God than focusing on our own, little bubble of air. That's the best scenario on my humble opinion. Creation and destruction is all around us. And we are not going to find all answers in our lifetime, nor in our afterlife, if such thing exists.
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FirePaladin
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posted December 28, 2020 10:01 PM
Edited by FirePaladin at 23:01, 28 Dec 2020.

Good points.

I personally think the so-called gods are very advanced kinds of alien beings. There actually are books studying or hinting that, among which sacred books of older and current civilizations.
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JollyJoker
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posted December 28, 2020 10:21 PM

"Gods" deserve their name only when they are involved in the creation of what we are living in - called universe.

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artu
artu


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My BS sensor is tingling again
posted December 29, 2020 08:59 AM

JJ said:
So intelligent life COULD HAVE taken a few billion years more to develop - no problem.
We could also destroy ourselves - and in a billion years a new intelligent species might develop.

They might. But the odds are extremely unlikely if you are talking about civilization building kind of intelligence. Dolphins, crows, dogs, chimps, they all have intelligence.
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JollyJoker
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posted December 29, 2020 10:21 AM

Huh? What do you mean?

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artu
artu


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My BS sensor is tingling again
posted December 29, 2020 01:45 PM

I mean the chances of intelligence evolving and the chances of civilization evolving are not the same thing, one is drastically smaller. Intelligence doesnt automatically result in civilization, in fact, it almost never does. So, just because humans, a civilized species evolved once in billions of years, doesnt mean it will most probably happen again in every few billion years.
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NoobX
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Now, this is a paradox...
posted December 29, 2020 02:14 PM

I doubt that a civilization-building species could evolve from water.  I am, of course, making a distinction between forming societies and building civilizations.  If we take into account that what we've achieved we've done so by using tools to aid us, I'd say that only cephalopods could be viable for that feat.  When it comes to dry land, I'd say other mammals, and especially primates would have a good chance at it.  We've already witnessed some of them use primitive stone tools (as in using rocks as means of cracking shells) and enter a "stone age".
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