What Are the Odds of Finding Intelligent Life in Our Galaxy?

What Are the Odds of Finding Intelligent Life in Our Galaxy?

Are we alone in the Universe? How likely is it that we have other species out there trying to contact us? Let's look at the numbers.

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So your just repeating what Extra Credit has already done now?

Extra Credits: Funding XCOM (Part 1)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gm_tN6wHEaI&list=PLhyKYa0YJ_5DlX-j-KnPUbAA29X85fElx&index=24

Extra Credits: Funding XCOM (Part 2)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RF4D4k2AVLA&list=PLhyKYa0YJ_5DlX-j-KnPUbAA29X85fElx&index=25

I hope we find them...then we can purge the alien scum.

Meh, its still fun to theorize things.

1. if life exists where is it? It does sound like there should be life in the universe if your things you are taking to be true ARE true. For instance you could be mistating a fundamental law of the universe. you SEE 170 galaxies or billions of billions of stars, but maybe its all just some giant gravity mirror.

2. Maybe we are first, seems odd since the dinosaurs and once we went intel it only took us a couple million years for that route but SOMEONE has to be first. and first RELATIVILY. like within RADIO WAVE SPEED

cuz society will only communicate via radio waves for a couple hundred years, we didn't use them much prior to 1900 and won't much after 2100 when we get better things, hell societies might bypass it altogether. Aquatic life for instance could be intellegent and have no need for radio waves that transmit out of their water.

Telepathic life, Deaf Life that communicates some other way (scent....something else)

so what you are really looking for is odds of another HUMAN-life race to have developed somewhere else in the universe, which balls to the walls is very very much worse odds.

3. so lets say there are 6 other human races in the galaxy. that are in that 200 year time span and can send a return signal. 1. How long would it take to reach us? dont be a dumb bad at math individual, its got to go out hit some planet they'll debate it for at least 5 years then possibly send something back.

Radio waves travel at the speed of light. theres like 2 planets within 50 light years, so if theres no life there in that time window which is damn likely theres not going to be any response for over 100 years.

4. Finally this assumes life would WANT to talk to us. why would intelligent life want to talk to a race like ours?

I suppose since we're on the subject of radio communication...
http://what-if.xkcd.com/47/

The problem with this math is that we only have one known instance of sentient life. We do not have enough data to base statistical analysis or probability off of such a limited sample. Not only that, but we can't even verify with 100% certainty that there isn't even another sentient species on the same planet, let alone solar system or galaxy.

So we're actually going to have to find sentient life to even start to be able to quantify this statistically.

Kumagawa Misogi:
So your just repeating what Extra Credit has already done now?

Extra Credits: Funding XCOM (Part 1)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gm_tN6wHEaI&list=PLhyKYa0YJ_5DlX-j-KnPUbAA29X85fElx&index=24

Extra Credits: Funding XCOM (Part 2)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RF4D4k2AVLA&list=PLhyKYa0YJ_5DlX-j-KnPUbAA29X85fElx&index=25

Are you trying to make an argument for people never discussing a topic that has already been discussed? I'm pretty sure people have already made that argument before.

I guess the question you should be asking at the end is that if there's a civilisation out there that's possessed of enough intellect to both know of our existence and hide its own from us, would it WANT to reveal itself?

I tend to go through phases. Sometimes I marvel at the advances of the human world, of the leaps of technology that we've made, at how our progress continues to grow exponentially as our collective brains increase both in number and in their ability to collaborate with one another.

At other times, I genuinely despair of there being intelligent life IN our solar system, let alone outside of it. Mostly when looking at banner ads, hearing auto-tuned pop music, or trying to follow an in-depth discussion on the latest MTV reality show. (And yes, I've enjoyed both pop music and reality shows... don't think I or anybody else has ever enjoyed a banner ad though. Anyway, I'm not excusing myself from this analysis.)

And would we look like life to an alien being? It's evolved in an entirely separate part of the universe, in conditions that are likely to be substantially different to our own. If it lived on a cold planet, it might be some kind of sentient goo-thing that can adjust itself to never freeze. If it lived on a firey one, it might not need water or oxygen to survive (and there are enough living entities on earth right now that survive on carbon dioxide, not oxygen, so that's not that far-fetched. Hell, look at photosynthesis.)

My point here is that maybe this theoretical space lifeform would just look like a rock to us. Maybe we'd look like a rock to it. Maybe its intelligence manifests in a completely different way to ours, and instead of building tools to survive, it changes itself into different forms or something. Like "The Thing". Although I rather hope there isn't one of THOSE lurking out there somewhere.

Everybody loves to state the astronomical odds of life, while failing to take into account the Octarine Equation:

...Wizards however, have calculated that Million-to-one chances crop up Nine times Out of Ten.

More OT: Why is it I never see the possibility that all these civilizations occur at VASTLY different periods in time?

Or if you will, at "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..."

Or is that next week?

SilverStuddedSquirre:
Everybody loves to state the astronomical odds of life, while failing to take into account the Octarine Equation:

...Wizards however, have calculated that Million-to-one chances crop up Nine times Out of Ten.

More OT: Why is it I never see the possibility that all these civilizations occur at VASTLY different periods in time?

Or if you will, at "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..."

Or is that next week?

This is actually the biggest argument for why we haven't found life yet. That through the vastness of time and space, entire civilizations spanning even hundreds of thousands of years have come and gone. But time and space are both so very vast that the likelihood of coexisting in both space and time at once is highly unlikely.

The graphic says "WHAT ARE THE OODS OF FINDING INTELLIGENT LIFE IN OUR GALAXY?" Oods. Oods are, we can't find any on this planet, I say. XD

ODDS: SLim to None

Why? Because when they say 'Intelligent Life' what they mean is 'Life Displaying Human-Like Intelligence'

Which if you think about it, is very limiting. We hold ourselves as the example o intelligent life so we only consider life intelligent if we observe behaviour similar to our own. Intelligence that falls into our narrow definition of intelligence.

BigTuk:
ODDS: SLim to None

Why? Because when they say 'Intelligent Life' what they mean is 'Life Displaying Human-Like Intelligence'

Which if you think about it, is very limiting. We hold ourselves as the example o intelligent life so we only consider life intelligent if we observe behaviour similar to our own. Intelligence that falls into our narrow definition of intelligence.

Not really, it's just the higher level reasoning that includes knowledge of self and subjectivity. I'm not sure what kind of problem you could have with that qualification.

Cool! And we could use the lessons learned to try to find intelligent life on Earth!

Lightknight:

BigTuk:
ODDS: SLim to None

Why? Because when they say 'Intelligent Life' what they mean is 'Life Displaying Human-Like Intelligence'

Which if you think about it, is very limiting. We hold ourselves as the example o intelligent life so we only consider life intelligent if we observe behaviour similar to our own. Intelligence that falls into our narrow definition of intelligence.

Not really, it's just the higher level reasoning that includes knowledge of self and subjectivity. I'm not sure what kind of problem you could have with that qualification.

Well consider it this way. You define food as being peanut butter and then walk into a supermarket looking for food. Sure after a bit of searching you'll find peanut butter but there's lots of other food and edibles you've missed because you were just looking for peanut butter. Consider awareness of self.. is that really pivotal to intelligence? Does a being have to recognize itself as an individual .. what if the being sees itself merely as an extension of others and vice-versa?

"You are Me, I am You, There is No Me."

I mean you wouldn't consider a tree intelligent but studies have shown that plants are probably a little more sentient than we believe, the ability to say communicate, the fact that some plants actually respond in specific ways to specific circumstances which indicate constant environmental evaluation.

Again it boils down to. We define intelligence as 'Us' so we're looking for ourselves. If it's not 'Us' we can't comprehend it's intelligence.

BigTuk:

Lightknight:

BigTuk:
ODDS: SLim to None

Why? Because when they say 'Intelligent Life' what they mean is 'Life Displaying Human-Like Intelligence'

Which if you think about it, is very limiting. We hold ourselves as the example o intelligent life so we only consider life intelligent if we observe behaviour similar to our own. Intelligence that falls into our narrow definition of intelligence.

Not really, it's just the higher level reasoning that includes knowledge of self and subjectivity. I'm not sure what kind of problem you could have with that qualification.

Well consider it this way. You define food as being peanut butter and then walk into a supermarket looking for food. Sure after a bit of searching you'll find peanut butter but there's lots of other food and edibles you've missed because you were just looking for peanut butter. Consider awareness of self.. is that really pivotal to intelligence? Does a being have to recognize itself as an individual .. what if the being sees itself merely as an extension of others and vice-versa?

"You are Me, I am You, There is No Me."

I mean you wouldn't consider a tree intelligent but studies have shown that plants are probably a little more sentient than we believe, the ability to say communicate, the fact that some plants actually respond in specific ways to specific circumstances which indicate constant environmental evaluation.

Again it boils down to. We define intelligence as 'Us' so we're looking for ourselves. If it's not 'Us' we can't comprehend it's intelligence.

We look/test for intelligence in animals and objects around us all the time. What makes you think we'd suddenly stop looking for it or that we have ever defined it as only us? We have only made the claim that out of all the creatures we have observed that we are the only known species to operate at such a high degree of intelligence and sentience. In fact, what makes you claim at all that we're only looking for intelligence like ourselves? Trees having more "intelligence" than we thought doesn't mean they're like dolphins or even necessarily even as smart as ants. It doesn't mean that some new kind of intelligence exists either. Only that there may be a method to their actions which is more than we'd have thought. What's more is that you just said that "studies have shown that plants are probably a little more sentient than we believe". You basically just made the claim that humans don't look for a-typical sentience and then cited a study in which people were looking for a-typical sentience, thereby disproving your own claim by presenting evidence.

The real question is: will we discover it before the sun goes red giant and kills the planet?

Nurb:
The real question is: will we discover it before the sun goes red giant and kills the planet?

er. no the question if you want to get morbid would need to be answered before I die. which is probably going to be before the sun does that.

if you want a mass extinction of the human race, a meteor or solar flare or something will come along before the sun goes giant.

2166 Is the date for that then, dark matter quake apparently, whatever that is.

That equation is so silly though...

Yes, the only possible life in the universe must have exactly the same characteristics as us. Everything is carbon-based, everything must breathe oxygen, and everything must drink water. Sure.

How can you call it a "Garden Planet" if those who evolved specifically to live in it are the ones deciding that? The attributes of Earth and any similar planets wouldn't be considered anything special to a species that doesn't rely on those attributes.

I go with 50/50 we'll wake up one day and they're there. Or they're not. Math it up all you want, til we observe them or their lack thereof, its a 50/50 chance. Do I care if it isn't logical? I find all these big equations of probability fascinating ways of wasting time on something we'll either know one day or never know and it won't be because of math equations or probability estimates.
But hey, thats still a nifty explanation of it.

About as F-All as finding intelligent life here on Earth.

Lightknight:

BigTuk:

Lightknight:
Not really, it's just the higher level reasoning that includes knowledge of self and subjectivity. I'm not sure what kind of problem you could have with that qualification.

Well consider it this way. You define food as being peanut butter and then walk into a supermarket looking for food. Sure after a bit of searching you'll find peanut butter but there's lots of other food and edibles you've missed because you were just looking for peanut butter. Consider awareness of self.. is that really pivotal to intelligence? Does a being have to recognize itself as an individual .. what if the being sees itself merely as an extension of others and vice-versa?

"You are Me, I am You, There is No Me."

I mean you wouldn't consider a tree intelligent but studies have shown that plants are probably a little more sentient than we believe, the ability to say communicate, the fact that some plants actually respond in specific ways to specific circumstances which indicate constant environmental evaluation.

Again it boils down to. We define intelligence as 'Us' so we're looking for ourselves. If it's not 'Us' we can't comprehend it's intelligence.

We look/test for intelligence in animals and objects around us all the time. What makes you think we'd suddenly stop looking for it or that we have ever defined it as only us? We have only made the claim that out of all the creatures we have observed that we are the only known species to operate at such a high degree of intelligence and sentience. In fact, what makes you claim at all that we're only looking for intelligence like ourselves? Trees having more "intelligence" than we thought doesn't mean they're like dolphins or even necessarily even as smart as ants. It doesn't mean that some new kind of intelligence exists either. Only that there may be a method to their actions which is more than we'd have thought. What's more is that you just said that "studies have shown that plants are probably a little more sentient than we believe". You basically just made the claim that humans don't look for a-typical sentience and then cited a study in which people were looking for a-typical sentience, thereby disproving your own claim by presenting evidence.

It may turn out that recognizing a non-existent "self" is the ultimate sign of un-intelligence. Is there a self, really? We became aware of one, as the story goes, but that doesn't establish its existence. Science hasn't established its existence either: in fact just the opposite - that every part of us and every mechanism depends on some other part outside of ourselves. The line between inside and outside hasn't been drawn anywhere else than in our imagination, so the animals may very well be smarter in failing to believe that there is such a line.

Blood Brain Barrier:
It may turn out that recognizing a non-existent "self" is the ultimate sign of un-intelligence. Is there a self, really? We became aware of one, as the story goes, but that doesn't establish its existence. Science hasn't established its existence either: in fact just the opposite - that every part of us and every mechanism depends on some other part outside of ourselves. The line between inside and outside hasn't been drawn anywhere else than in our imagination, so the animals may very well be smarter in failing to believe that there is such a line.

While the notion that animals are secretly smarter and that distinguishing self is bad may be relevant in philosophical, PETA and some religious (primarily Buddhist) circles, it really isn't all that functionally applicable anywhere else. Just as most people would appreciate religion be kept out of science, so too should we desire a barrier between philosophy in any kind of formative sense. Until such a day as someone actually develops any kind of evidence for such a nonsensical statement (nonsensical scientifically, not inherently like in some of the circles I mentioned) I will continue to believe that the beings capable of even postulating the notion that maybe they're wrong about in-depth philosophical questions of self are the more intelligent species. Let me also point out that any beings like animals that have failed to recognize a non-existent self would also prove worthless for all of our intents and purposes unless it's some crazy intelligent but otherwise incapable of self analysis creature.

We really just want beings that we can communicate with. That have a culture and a high enough level of understanding that they can actively teach us things and perhaps even learn from us. Finding a six-legged alien tiger on a distant planet that doesn't understand self anymore than a four-legged tiger here would be interesting but functionally no different than finding the exact same creature here on earth.

FYI, if you're coming at this from the Buddhist tradition then they make no claim that animals don't also fall prey to the "illusion of self". You're also incredibly wrong that science hasn't distinguished between self and outside entities. Almost every area of science routinely observes that things which impact one body regularly do not impact another except when some causal link is present. The Dalai Lama's ethics for a new millennium states that we are all subsets of a set and then makes the claim that since we are all members of the same set we are hurt when the set is hurt (aka, another subset is damaged/removed). But this is a fundamental flaw in logic to support a religious concept. If I have a bag of marbles and remove a yellow one and smash it, the blue ones are not somehow now damaged or really impacted in any way. The set is impacted but not all of its individual components. I should mention here that I specialized in Tibetan and Himalayan religions. So you may feel free to respond with any traditional rebuttals or anything like that. But I apologize if you weren't trying to approach it from this route. It's just highly unlikely that you'd have come to this method of looking at it in the absence of Buddhist religion and philosophy.

Lightknight:

Blood Brain Barrier:
It may turn out that recognizing a non-existent "self" is the ultimate sign of un-intelligence. Is there a self, really? We became aware of one, as the story goes, but that doesn't establish its existence. Science hasn't established its existence either: in fact just the opposite - that every part of us and every mechanism depends on some other part outside of ourselves. The line between inside and outside hasn't been drawn anywhere else than in our imagination, so the animals may very well be smarter in failing to believe that there is such a line.

While the notion that animals are secretly smarter and that distinguishing self is bad may be relevant in philosophical, PETA and some religious (primarily Buddhist) circles, it really isn't all that functionally applicable anywhere else. Just as most people would appreciate religion be kept out of science, so too should we desire a barrier between philosophy in any kind of formative sense. Until such a day as someone actually develops any kind of evidence for such a nonsensical statement (nonsensical scientifically, not inherently like in some of the circles I mentioned) I will continue to believe that the beings capable of even postulating the notion that maybe they're wrong about in-depth philosophical questions of self are the more intelligent species. Let me also point out that any beings like animals that have failed to recognize a non-existent self would also prove worthless for all of our intents and purposes unless it's some crazy intelligent but otherwise incapable of self analysis creature.

We really just want beings that we can communicate with. That have a culture and a high enough level of understanding that they can actively teach us things and perhaps even learn from us. Finding a six-legged alien tiger on a distant planet that doesn't understand self anymore than a four-legged tiger here would be interesting but functionally no different than finding the exact same creature here on earth.

FYI, if you're coming at this from the Buddhist tradition then they make no claim that animals don't also fall prey to the "illusion of self". You're also incredibly wrong that science hasn't distinguished between self and outside entities. Almost every area of science routinely observes that things which impact one body regularly do not impact another except when some causal link is present. The Dalai Lama's ethics for a new millennium states that we are all subsets of a set and then makes the claim that since we are all members of the same set we are hurt when the set is hurt (aka, another subset is damaged/removed). But this is a fundamental flaw in logic to support a religious concept. If I have a bag of marbles and remove a yellow one and smash it, the blue ones are not somehow now damaged or really impacted in any way. The set is impacted but not all of its individual components. I should mention here that I specialized in Tibetan and Himalayan religions. So you may feel free to respond with any traditional rebuttals or anything like that. But I apologize if you weren't trying to approach it from this route. It's just highly unlikely that you'd have come to this method of looking at it in the absence of Buddhist religion and philosophy.

Forget about the Buddhist stuff, the Dalai Lama pisses me off too. The problem, as I see it, is that the self is a concept which existed before the scientific method. I don't know how it began, but it wasn't by science or any rational process. And it's really a metaphysical concept, so science really doesn't have anything to say about it, except about whatever physical aspects it brings to it. So it can talk about the biology of lifeforms, but the where is the border there? There is no human life without breathing, do we include air in the equation? The food we need to eat? All this is well before getting into philosophy and the limitations of our perceiving through an apparatus bound by time & space.

I don't quite understand what you say about impacts, or the relevance of the marble scenario so I can't comment, sorry.
Edit: Or maybe I do. In a physical sense, you CAN say the self exists, obviously. But isn't that a very limited sort of existence? Not in an airy-fairy 'spiritual' kind of way, but just that physics is, well, physics. It doesn't really say anything about existence - the objects it talks about are ones it has already decided exist. Newton didn't have to establish the existence of an apple before he started wondering about his laws of motion.

Rhykker:
Well, these questions lead to the Fermi paradox, and that's a topic for another week.

Or, y'know, we could just go re-watch the episode Extra Credits did on this like a year ago.

And remember, that even if all of those criteria are met, it still has to pass the Bechdel Test or it's just, like, indicative of prevailing sexist attitudes in our universe.

Ahem.

On a more serious note, I get that the spark that generates life to some extent is still the biggest variable missing from the equation, as we only have our own planet as a guide. Which got intelligent life, 100% (give or take), in about 3.6 billion years. But even Creationists are right when they say that the likelihood of life starting (or the strained thought of life beginning without a Bearded baby-Jesus Sky Daddy) seems to be a true miracle, in the sense that it must have been a set of very specific circumstances and chance occurances. Right?

Or can common materials in the universe actually settle into self-replicating parameters if given the right, and rather common, conditions?

Blood Brain Barrier:
Forget about the Buddhist stuff, the Dalai Lama pisses me off too. The problem, as I see it, is that the self is a concept which existed before the scientific method. I don't know how it began, but it wasn't by science or any rational process. And it's really a metaphysical concept, so science really doesn't have anything to say about it, except about whatever physical aspects it brings to it. So it can talk about the biology of lifeforms, but the where is the border there? There is no human life without breathing, do we include air in the equation? The food we need to eat? All this is well before getting into philosophy and the limitations of our perceiving through an apparatus bound by time & space.

I don't quite understand what you say about impacts, or the relevance of the marble scenario so I can't comment, sorry.
Edit: Or maybe I do. In a physical sense, you CAN say the self exists, obviously. But isn't that a very limited sort of existence? Not in an airy-fairy 'spiritual' kind of way, but just that physics is, well, physics. It doesn't really say anything about existence - the objects it talks about are ones it has already decided exist. Newton didn't have to establish the existence of an apple before he started wondering about his laws of motion.

Oh, so you're arguing against the concept of self but without the philosophical constructs laid out by Buddhism? That's interesting and more than a little surprising.

The notion of self is axiomatically born out of the ability to distinguish one object from another. If two objects may be distinct then each has a separate self.

Physics is hell bent on defining the properties of various forces and their interactions with one another. In defining the various components of a system you are distinguishing the components from one another. A yellow marble in a bag is not a blue marble in a bag. They may both be parts of a larger system but wholly distinct. Science is nothing but defining and distinguishing various things. It is an massive field that performs the role of a label gun. This force/vector does this. This chemical reaction is caused by that. This rock is comprised of this and that rock is comprised of that.

The notion that the self cannot be distinguished from other entities or that it is somehow irrational is instead itself irrational in that it is contrary to all observable interactions in the world. That some invisible thread binds us all together can never be anything more than the "airy-fairy spiritual" perspective that you disdain. Whether or not you find that to be limiting has no bearing on reality. You are not connected by some unseen thread to other things, no matter how more meaningful it would make life feel to you if it were true. You are just you, the sum total of your DNA and environmental factors that all led up to who you are. I personally consider the notion of individuality to be far less limiting then the absence of self. That it is difficult to easily define all the elements that make up the sum total of a distinct being doesn't negate the being's existence or distinctness. It merely makes life complex.

 

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