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ARCHIVE: Signals from space aliens or random chance?

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  • #46
    Originally posted by Knight View Post
    Yet on the other thread I argued that a picture of Marilyn Monroe juggling fish would NEVER be generated on a computer screen if you were feeding the display random pixels. Each and every one of you claimed I was wrong and the picture would indeed occur.... eventually.
    I asked you not to put words in my mouth. All I said was that it would become far more likely with time. I did not say it would definitely occur.

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    • #47
      In the hypothetical, I'd definitely have to say that it was evidence of intelligent life elsewhere.


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      • #48
        Again, I hate to be annoying, but it comes down to the probabilities involved. (That is why I waited for ThePhy to answer the tennis ball question)

        As I said, I am guessing that SETI is looking at EM waves. I'm too lazy to Google it, and it is irrelevant anyways. But what is relevant is the actual probability of the signal received in the amount if data examined. How do the electromagentic waves correspond to the letters in the message you posted? What types of patterns are they looking for? Is it encoded in ascii?

        So, we are disregarding a hoax, and I assume we are disregarding the whole issue of the fact that the message is in English...or are we? That is what is unclear.

        If we assume that the signal stream is all lower case letters, commas, spaces, and periods, we sill still have enough characters to generate Knight's hypothetical message. His message is 211 characters, with 29 possibilities for each position, so I'd say it is pretty unlikely. A random string of 211 characters from the character set would have a one in 29^211 chance of being Knight's message.

        There you have it, or at least pretty close. The messages in a continuous stream of characters could be any length, not just 211, so I think the probability of a similar message randomly occuring would be higher. I'll agree to ignore that.

        So, if they only looked at 10,000 characters, and their equipment was not faulty, there was not a hoax, etc., and my only two choices were random event or signal from aliens, I'd go with the aliens. If they looked at 29^1000 characters, I'd be surprised if they didn't find Knight's message.
        Last edited by SUTG; May 18th, 2008, 07:58 PM.

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        • #49
          Originally posted by Knight View Post
          This is a bit long, I apologize in advance for that but there is no way for me to ask this question any more brief than this.


          And in all those years the SETI project has had really only one "wow" moment where a signal resembled something "other" than random noise. Now of course this "wow" moment didn't really amount to much other than a few characters lined up a tad more orderly than usual. I attached the "wow" signal below so you could see the minor order in the sea of randomness.

          But lets imagine that on the weekend you were visiting something much more than a "wow" moment occurred. Lets imagine that a signal was detected emanating from the depths of space that read.....

          "people of earth, we would like to introduce ourselves to you we are a race of intelligent creatures that lives in a galaxy far, far away and we want to communicate to you that you are not alone in the universe."

          Obviously, this message would be one of the most incredible discoveries in the history of mankind.

          But what would you believe? Would you believe it was actually sent from an intelligent life source from another galaxy? Or would you believe it was merely an amazing coincidence of chance that caused a random signal to just appear to have that amazing understandable order?


          Therefore, I would love an honest answer from all of you to the following question.... (finally I get to my question)

          Would you be able to determine based on that signal from space that their was intelligent life in the universe, and they were trying to communicate with us? Or would you deny the existence of intelligent life and write off the message as being merely the product of random chance that was "bound to happen"?


          What would be your assumption and why?

          Thank you in advance for your honest answer.
          "I will guard my ways That I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle While the wicked are in my presence." I was mute and silent, I refrained even from good, And my sorrow grew worse. My heart was hot within me, While I was musing the fire burned; Then I spoke with my tongue:"LORD, make me to know my end And what is the extent of my days; Let me know how transient I am. NASB

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          • #50
            The short answer is that although it is possible that the message is random, it is far more probable that the message is the result of intelligence.

            But as ThePhy correctly noted, given enough time, the chance of any possible scenario in the universe happening approaches 1.
            “There's nothing I like less than bad arguments for a view that I hold dear.” - Daniel Dennett

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            • #51
              Originally posted by OMEGA View Post
              KNIGHT ,

              They are just different kinds of DEMONS that are have been Imprisoned here

              since Satan's Rebellion. They are just trying to deceive people into thinking

              that they are from outerspace but they are really stuck here until God and Jesus

              come back and throw them in the Fire.


              Also, why is ""Imprisoned" capitalized? I don't understand some capitalizations around here sometimes. Or was it a random capitalization mistake?

              All that aside, I think that receiving a transmission like the one Knight describes would be pretty solid as far as it being real (that would be exciting!). And I'm sure would be interpreted that way. I also believe there would be a lot of investigation into whether it was a fluke. But if it were received in conjunction with a number of other similar, but proven as random transmissions, it would be different. For example, if there had been a number of transmissions we had already determined to be "close-but-no-cigar," there would be reason to really question whether the transmission was real or random.

              A difference between random radio-wave transmissions from outer space and the chemical formation of life on Earth is condition-related. If there were specific conditions that we had determined were optimal to result in "random" radio-waves being received as strings of words, and we were scanning in an area where those conditions were optimal, there would be good reason to believe that it was not an actual transmission.



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              • #52
                Great thread, Knight. Makes me think of "improbability drive" in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

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                • #53
                  Originally posted by Knight View Post
                  ThePhy, Layla, SUTG, arglebargle, mebrainhurtz, are arguing that random chance WILL produce such events, they say it is inevitable. In fact they argue that far more less likely events will happen (like a tennis ball passing effortlessly through a solid brick wall because their atoms lined up "just right").
                  Actually I think a quantum event of that magnitude would be highly improbable even within the entire lifetime of this universe from the Big Bang until the last sun fizzles out.
                  Therefore, the mechanism is either intelligence, or chance.
                  I think a message emerging from nothing with no possible mechanism for its construction is more improbable than the tennis ball trick.
                  That is the question. You tell me, what would you answer be?
                  I would say intelligence.
                  "Those who have crossed
                  With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom
                  Remember us--if at all--not as lost
                  Violent souls, but only
                  As the hollow men
                  The stuffed men." ... T.S. Eliot

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                  • #54
                    Originally posted by Knight View Post
                    A hoax is ruled out.

                    It's either....

                    - A real signal from intelligent life.

                    Or...

                    - A product of random chance.
                    "people of earth, we would like to introduce ourselves to you we are a race of intelligent creatures that lives in a galaxy far, far away and we want to communicate to you that you are not alone in the universe."
                    A real signal from intelligent life who needed a lesson in capitalization and punctuation.

                    7:30 to 11:30 a.m. Mountain Time

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                    • #55
                      The opening post denoted intelligence. Anything to do with SETI I'm suspicious of, but for the question posed I would also answer with intelligence
                      Where is the evidence for a global flood?
                      E≈mc2
                      "the best maths don't need no stinkin' numbers"

                      "The waters under the 'expanse' were under the crust."
                      -Bob B.

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                      • #56
                        I would believe it, seeing as background interference from stars would not form itself into anything resembling a coherent coherent sentence.

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                        • #57
                          I hate to get thrown off the theology forum on my second post. But Knight the information theory and seti argument is not a good argument against evolution. It sounds wonderful like most of the probability and incredibility arguments but that's because few of of us really know anything about probability and information theory.

                          Intelligent messages in background radiation have nothing whatever to do with biology on the planet earth.

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                          • #58
                            Originally posted by Knight View Post
                            This is a bit long, I apologize in advance for that but there is no way for me to ask this question any more brief than this.

                            Imagine that you visiting your friend for the weekend and your friend works for the SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence), I am sure you are all familiar with them, they sit around all day, everyday for the last 48 years or so scanning the universe for signals that come from the darkness of space …

                            Thank you in advance for your honest answer.
                            Sorry, I was away till late yesterday. After I got back and found this thread, I wanted to read the to-date responses so I didn’t end up plowing already-plowed ground. So recognizing that most of the technical errors in Knight’s scenario have already been addressed, and he has made adjustments for them – I (and a whole lot of other SETIsts) would be ecstatically happy at what (barring any later disproof) was our first recognized extra-solar contact.

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                            • #59
                              I'd be less than pleased if the intelligent life we find is as fanatically religious as (intelligent?) life on earth and even half as intent on converting us.

                              We'd soon be hearing that science cannot disprove the existance of Tac, the tentacled reptillian father above.

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                              • #60
                                Originally posted by Pekkle View Post
                                I'd be less than pleased if the intelligent life we find is as fanatically religious as (intelligent?) life on earth and even half as intent on converting us.

                                We'd soon be hearing that science cannot disprove the existance of Tac, the tentacled reptillian father above.
                                How would you feel if they were not hominid but had sexual reproduction, cared for their children, believed in good and evil, and spoke of a creator who had sent a prophet to them about 1-3000 years ago?

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