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Coffee!!: Favourite quote from yesterday

By Gleaner here at Rob Sheldon’s story on extraterrestrials:

If for some reasons the aliens are actually interested in us, I think they are probably already here, and given a certain level of technology, if would probably be easy to hide from us, even on a daily basis.

Yes, I should think so. Termites do it all the time. So do the rats at a nearby dumpster. (That’s why the rule of thumb is, for every rat you happen to spot, there are a dozen.)

Now, what I’d be interested to know is, the ETs never phone, they never write. Why do we assume they exist?

Most of the reasons I have heard are based on attitudes, values, and beliefs, not science.

For example, why can’t we be alone in the universe? Maybe we just are. One can interpret that fact in various ways.

The least plausible explanation I hear is that we can’t be alone because that would imply we are special. Why? If we don’t know why there isn’t anyone else out there, it’s a meaningless assumption, unless our tradition of thought offers other lines of reasoning as well.

Suppose I am out hiking in the far north, and the proposition is put to me that I cannot be the only human being within a hundred kilometre radius. I protest that that is impossible. “They” must be out there.

As a matter of fact, in Canada’s far north, it is quite possible that I am indeed the only human being currently within a hundred kilometre radius, and there is no They there.

Of course, it would be boring if there are no ETs. But we can’t rule it out. There are no other high intellect creatures on our own planet, despite overblown claims made for great apes.

Well, to riff off Marlene Dietrich, I don’t want to be alone, but must be prepared to get used to it, if it is true.

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4 Responses to Coffee!!: Favourite quote from yesterday

  1. The real problem is that if what we have learned of physics thus far is all there is then we are pretty much stuck where we are and the same would apply to any alien life-forms.

    Imagine trying to run a galactic Federation or Empire when you only have radio for communications. You transmit a message to a planet a thousand light years away – not very far on the scale of a galaxy – asking how they are doing. You and many generations of your descendants would be long dead before a reply came back.

    As for travel, the amount of energy required to propel a spaceship up to a respectable fraction of the speed of light is colossal. Physicist Lawrence Krauss once calculated that to accelerate the starship Enterpise to one-half the speed of light and bring it to a halt again – using its fusion-powered “impulse engines” – would require a tank of hydrogen around 7,000 times the mass of the entire ship!

    The hard reality is that, unless there’s something warp-drives or Stargates or jump-gates or large, stable wormholes or something even more exotic somewhere out there in our future, we ain’t goin’ nowhere anytime soon. We’ll just have to be content with pottering around in our own cozy little solar system for the foreseeable future.

  2. (Previously Absolutist)
    It would really be a miracle if lives were to form elsewhere in the universe by some unguided evolutionary processes (other than by the evolutionary processes themselves) and even more miraculous if they were conscious intelligent beings able to communicate. For the chance that consciousness under the right conditions would pop into existence in more than one place in the universe seems ridiculously low.

    It would be equally curious why an all powerful God would allow life to exist elsewhere and make it practically impossible (under the current travel constraints listed by Seversky) to communicate with each other. But there could be reasons unknown to us as to why that would be the case. In my mind the God alternative at least seems possible.

  3. Seversky at #1:

    While I think Dr. Krauss is a fine fellow, I would recommend the following books for a more balanced view on the possibilites of interstellar travel:

    “Unconventional Flying Objects” by Paul R. Hill, a former NASA aeronautical engineer, and “Flying Saucers and Science”, by Stanton T. Freidman, also formerly of NASA. One of the differences bewtween them and Krauss is that the former were “hands-on” engineers who actually designed and built things. As far as I can tell about Dr. Krauss, although a brilliant fellow, and very likable, he lacks that hands on experience that these guys have.

  4. I have not ruled out the possiblity of aliens, as God could have created other worlds. But I have come to accept the possiblity mankind is alone in the vastness of the universe. Some think because the universe is so big it has to contain other life forms. And some believe if there is a God, why would He have created so much space just to house little ole earth.(?)

    If I meet an alien I will not be surprised. If I never do, then I will accept that God created all that vastness just to give mankind something to think about. It’s not wasted space after all…

    Glen
    “Lov’n the Lord & Liv’n the Life…”

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