Unfortunately, Virginia, it seems we are alone in the universe

Despite an article referred to in this weeks TA Sunday School, an article promoting the idea that we are and have not been alone as the only intelligent life in the universe, when we listen to space we hear no evidence of intelligent life. If they were out there during a timeframe during which we might now be receiving signals from their version of radio and/or TV, we're not hearing it. We're seeing lots of galaxies and stars, and signals in that part of the spectrum travel at about the speed of light just like the light we're seeing from the stars, so where is the evidence of intelligence?

While it defies imagination, the hypothesis that we're absolutely unique, a one-off in terms of intelligent life, is far from disprovable.

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The Fermi Paradox asks "Where is everybody". (also an old Sunday School article).

That's a lot more reading than I'm up for today, and a lot of it would probably go over my arts and philosophy major head anyway. 

I just feel that since we can see them, and if there are so fucking many as some scientists feel must be out there, we should be able to hear at least some small percentage of them. Instead, we get silence (in the form of noise).

For now, I find the "we are alone" postulate the one with the most actual evidence going for it (if you count the absence of evidence as evidence of absence, at least provisionally).

While the Universe is about 13.8 billion years old, we humans have only been aware of other galaxies (billions of them), each of them containing billions of stars, within the last 20 years. Basically we have only started to look. Even as a species we have only existed for (say) 200,000 years. So thousands of civilizations could have come to exist and perish without us ever knowing. We don’t even know what “they” would look like.

In my own opinion I suspect that there are other types of protein based “extremophiles” in existence but I think we may be the only self-aware form of life.  In a philosophical sense maybe we are the consciousness of the Universe as we try to explain it to itself.

Homo Sapiens about 200,000 years old.

Our ancestors about 6 million years old.

Civilization about 6 thousand years old.

Industrialization only started in the 1800's.

Our planet about 4.543 billion years old.

The Universe is about 13.82 billion years old.

So lets do the math: 13.82 billion - 4.83 billion = 8 Billion nine Hundred ninety Million.

It took almost 9 billion years before the earth was formed. Don't you think that other galaxies, solar systems, planets, habitable planets had to have a head start? 

From Google.com: Kornreich used a very rough estimate of 10 trillion galaxies in the universe. Multiplying that by the Milky Way's estimated 100 billion stars results in a large number indeed: 100 octillion stars, or 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars, or a "1" with 29 zeros after it.May 31, 2014

We would really have to be the most conceited things in the universe if within' over 100 octillion stars there are no planets, other than ours, that allowed intelligent life to form. In Carl Sagan's "Contact" the protagonist said, "If we are all there is what a waste of space".

I'm not a gambling man but with that many stars the chances of us being the only ones that evolved intelligence have got to be low.

All the galaxies we can see, most with probably hundreds of billions of stars, got a head start. In fact, some of them probably are long gone. Their light got here but where are the intelligible radio signals one would expect to come with the light?

Right now, when it comes to actual evidence, we seem to be alone.

Radio signals would be incredibly attenuated after not too many light years.  Probably undetectable even at the puny range ours have reached since we started making sparks jump across gaps in morse code.

Pope Beanie suggested possible other methods, and you told him he was grasping at straws, but I tend to think we would need another method to communicate unless they're next door neighbors.

I'm not a gambling man but with that many stars the chances of us being the only ones that evolved intelligence have got to be low.

Agreed. Maybe they just communicate with neutrinos or gravity waves, or something else we're new at playing with.

Reaching for straws. LOL

Exactly Pope Beanie!

Maybe they're not even carbon based. Maybe they're silicon based and they communicate at the 20 hz region of the audible spectrum; which means they feel sound waves rather than hear them. Maybe lower frequencies waves degrade faster than higher frequency waves.

We evolved on this planet by acclimating ourselves to the physics of this planet. We breathe oxygen. On a planet with little oxygen who's to say life doesn't breathe ammonia? We're comfortable having 14.5 psi of pressure on our bodies; who's to say there aren''t life forms that have acclimated to being comfortable in 1 ton of pressure? Sperm whales dive very deep and their bodies withstand the weight of a lot of water on top of them.

Just on our planet alone there are life forms that live and survive in freezing temperatures and others that live in under sea volcanoes. 

I can sit here and imagine all sorts of shit...LOL!

which means they feel sound waves rather than hear them.

We feel those waves; they would hear them.  Or maybe not.

We already know of species that use ultrasonic frequencies (>20Khz) to communicate (dolphins) and as sonar (both dolphins and bats).  There's at least one species that uses magnetic fields to hunt (platypus).

However, most people who spend their time thinking about such things find it difficult to imagine a technological civilization starting under water, since it's hard to imagine smelting metals there.  This could be just a failure of our imagination, or it could be a real limitation.  Perhaps the move onto land is an essential part of being able to communicate with intelligences in other systems.  And if it turns out that move is unlikely (for instance, maybe most worlds don't have an ozone layer and the land is therefore uninhabitable) it will reduce the answer that comes out of the Drake equation.

A high civilization based on sound or pressure waves alone. Maybe it's a failure of imagination, but I can't imagine how it might work. How would planet-wide instant communications work to make anything similar to our use of the radio spectrum possible?

Perhaps instantaneous (or almost instantaneous) comm isn't necessary.

But sound waves certainly cannot be used for interplanetary, much less interstellar, comm; they require a medium that isn't a near perfect vacuum.


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