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ARCHIVE: Signals from space aliens or random chance?

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  • kmoney
    replied
    I think it was a clean sweep for intelligent life.

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  • Nick M
    replied
    24 pages already. So, are the alien signals random or intelligent? Is that decided yet?

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  • ThePhy
    replied
    Originally posted by Quasar1011 View Post
    Interesting that you should pick sand, to compare to man's place among the stars. So did God.

    Genesis 22:17a
    I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore.
    The difference is the Genesis reference to sand and stars was probably symbolic of large numbers. My reference to sand was to illustrate the amazing conceit that men have about declaring their own importance in the universe.

    You do realize that with both sand and stars, if you take all the people that have existed on the earth in the past 5000 years, you are going to have less than 1% of 1% of 1% of the number of sand grains or stars? That's an error of over a million times too few.

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  • Quasar1011
    replied
    Originally posted by ThePhy View Post
    The same as the chances that a randomly picked grain of sand on a huge beach has the most advanced microbes on it of any grain on that beach.

    The microbes might think they are hot stuff, but that is without them knowing what is on even one other grain of sand.
    Interesting that you should pick sand, to compare to man's place among the stars. So did God.

    Genesis 22:17a
    I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore.

    Leave a comment:


  • ThePhy
    replied
    Originally posted by Quasar1011 View Post
    Quite a few people are discussing randomness. What are the chances that humans from Earth are actually the most intelligent creatures in our universe?
    The same as the chances that a randomly picked grain of sand on a huge beach has the most advanced microbes on it of any grain on that beach.

    The microbes might think they are hot stuff, but that is without them knowing what is on even one other grain of sand.

    Leave a comment:


  • Quasar1011
    replied
    Originally posted by kmoney View Post
    Since the length of time that SETI has been in operation is important to you, how long would SETI need to be searching for signals for you to say it was just a random occurrence?
    Quite a few people are discussing randomness. What are the chances that humans from Earth are actually the most intelligent creatures in our universe?

    Leave a comment:


  • kmoney
    replied
    Originally posted by PyramidHead View Post
    well, for the small amount of time that we have been sending those signals up, it is vastly more likely to be intelligent life.
    Since the length of time that SETI has been in operation is important to you, how long would SETI need to be searching for signals for you to say it was just a random occurrence?

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  • kmoney
    replied
    I just read read through this entire thread. It is a good one.

    There seem to be 3 events in the foreground of the conversation and a 4th one that is mainly in the background. Those events are the "wow" message that SETI received and that Knight posted, Knight's hypothetical message, the random MM pixel picture, and the tennis ball going through a wall. To list them by probability (highest to lowest):

    1) "wow" message: The only one we have seen happen and we say it was random

    2) Knight's hypothetical message: could happen randomly but if it did happen we'd say it was a result of intelligence

    3) MM picture: random

    4) tennis ball: random

    I may have 3rd and fourth switched but in a way I'm not sure that part is significant.

    Just to focus on the 2 messages for now.....people say the first was random but if the second one occurred it would not be random. I assume it is because Knight's message has a much greater degree of complexity. Is that a good assumption? And is everything I said accurate so far?

    If so, how complex must something be for intelligence to be assigned to it? Let's say we give a 3rd message that SETI receives. This one just says "earth". Would you say it was a result of randomness or intelligence?

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  • PyramidHead
    replied
    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 looking to see if any of these signals demonstrate the hallmarks of intelligence i.e., some type of pattern. Said in short... they search the heavens for intelligent life in the universe.

    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?

    What many of you have been arguing in another thread leads me to believe that you COULD NOT determine that the message was from an intelligent source and instead it was simply "bound to happen" sooner or later because of the probability of random things eventually looking ordered (by chance). In the thread I referenced ThePhy stated that a tennis ball if thrown against a brick wall enough times would occasionally "slip through" a solid brick wall every now and then simply because the atoms and molecules might line up just right. In fact, he argued that it would, and will, happen several times if the ball was thrown enough.

    Notice what thePhy stated on the other thread...
    Therefore ThePhy's argument is... "it's bound to happen!"

    Now, I am pretty sure that a signal coming from outer space that had 40 words in a comprehensible order... (i.e., "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.") is still FAR, FAR, FAR, more likely to occur by chance than a tennis ball passing through a brick wall or a picture of Marilyn Monroe juggling fish, accidentally generated on a computer screen by random pixels.

    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.
    well, for the small amount of time that we have been sending those signals up, it is vastly more likely to be intelligent life.

    Leave a comment:


  • Aimey
    replied
    theoretically speaking of course,

    my answer is yes, I would presume that string of words to be an intelegible message from some life form or other. Of course hoaxes ruled out and conclusive evidence that the 'message' did indeed come from farther away than any message a human could have concocted would be necessary, but yes, that would indeed be something!

    I dont buy the ball bit one bit though I must say.

    the Marilyn comment was pretty good too.

    Leave a comment:


  • Quasar1011
    replied
    Originally posted by Knight View Post
    "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."

    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"?[/B]

    What would be your assumption and why?

    Thank you in advance for your honest answer.
    I'd choose door #3: that there was intelligent life in another dimension, posing as intelligent life in the physical universe. In other words, demons whose agenda is to mis-lead us.

    Leave a comment:


  • chickenman
    replied
    Originally posted by ThePhy View Post
    Can you get Knight to add a feature to automatically link any occurences of "ath" to some good atheist site?

    Leave a comment:


  • ThePhy
    replied
    Originally posted by Knight View Post
    So basically what you are saying is randomness could produce a blob of mud in the shape of a living cell, or super simplistic blurry image that might subjectively represent a recognizable image, I don't disagree with that. But can randomness produce a detailed picture of Marilyn Monroe juggling fish or a self replicating living cell?
    The simplistic image was produced by randomness. You want a whole lot more detail in the image, fine. Double the number of pixels. Now it may take a lot more time before the likelihood of the right image having appeared becomes appreciable. But that has not been contested. The point is, if you have to wait a lot longer, then wait. If it was likely to appear in the simplistic TV, given a more complex TV, you may have to wait a lot longer. But there is a very definite mathematical relationship that relates the odds of the simple case to the more complex TV. (And this branch of statistics is not the type that gets routinely parodied as “you can prove anything with statistics”) Nothing is different in the two cases, outside of the number of trials needed to reach a certain likelihood of seeing the desired picture.
    The specifics of what makes something complex happens to make all the difference in the world. When we see "pictures" in the clouds we imagine what we think the cloud looks like subjectively. Yet when an airplane writes... "Eat at Joe's Cafe" in the sky we don't assume that the clouds randomly produced such a message.
    Because the odds of that happening are so astronomically low as to be effectively (not identically) flat zero. Just like your SETI message.
    If we are only shooting for simplistic representations of complex things we haven't achieved complexity and therefore we haven't achieved anything.
    The way the relevant statistical mathematics are derived is by examining simple cases and discerning what the mathematical relationships are. When those are under your belt, moving on up to big numbers (big TVs) can be done with well-understood mathematics backing it. Gut level judgments are fine (and often a good starting point), but gut-level feelings can be shown to be very misleading in some cases. We have achieved a whole lot. Developing firm mathematical rules based on the simple, we can better handle the complex.

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  • ThePhy
    replied
    Originally posted by chickenman View Post
    The software is identifying "The" as "Thesallonians" abbreviated.
    Can you get Knight to add a feature to automatically link any occurences of "ath" to some good atheist site?

    Leave a comment:


  • Knight
    replied
    Originally posted by ThePhy View Post
    Good example. Looks like the “TV” you embedded in your post is about a 10 row, 10 column pixel one. Each pixel seems to have 2 intensity levels. Using Stripe’s basic formula, we come up with 210x10 possible patterns on your TV.

    Now display your Marilyn Monroe pic on that TV, so we can see exactly what pattern we are looking for.

    Then on the very first random pattern I see, the odds of it being the MM one are 1 part in 210x10. Not likely to be the first one, but not a zero percent chance either. Definitely not “Never”.

    In fact, in the eternity you allude to, how does the number of years in eternity compare to the number of years in 210x10 seconds (assuming one frame per second)? Is your god going to short-change you by giving less that an infinite number of seconds in your eternity? Remember an infinite number of seconds is somewhat bigger than 3.14159 x 123 x 87.4 x 210x10 seconds. (The 3.14159 is a magic number, the significance of which I am not at liberty to divulge. The 123 is about how many people come to DBC. The 87.4 is how many wacko ideas the prime moderator of these forums comes up with annually.)
    So basically what you are saying is randomness could produce a blob of mud in the shape of a living cell, or super simplistic blurry image that might subjectively represent a recognizable image, I don't disagree with that. But can randomness produce a detailed picture of Marilyn Monroe juggling fish or a self replicating living cell?

    The specifics of what makes something complex happens to make all the difference in the world. When we see "pictures" in the clouds we imagine what we think the cloud looks like subjectively. Yet when an airplane writes... "Eat at Joe's Cafe" in the sky we don't assume that the clouds randomly produced such a message.

    If we are only shooting for simplistic representations of complex things we haven't achieved complexity and therefore we haven't achieved anything.

    Leave a comment:

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