# ARCHIVE: Signals from space aliens or random chance?

#### chickenman

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I took it off topic with my comments about SingedWing, Stripe. And that's what led to Pekkle's reply. So it's my fault. Sorry for the distraction.

#### ThePhy

##### New member
ThePhy. Your proposal proves what you want it to prove. Now will you address the point of this thread?
My proposal was to illustrate that the mathematics does not support Knight’s claim that the Marilyn Monroe picture would never appear. If the math is correct, it is not because it is “mine”. The math would be equally true for you, or for Knight. So let’s say it in regular straightforward English. Knight said the MM image would NEVER (his caps) appear. Was his claim a) true or b) false? Can you give a direct one –word (“True” or “False”) answer?

#### Pekkle

##### New member
What's it going to take to get a decent response, one that is on topic, from this lot? :sigh:

Phrase it as a question and I'll try to answer it, I haven't followed this thread.

The chances of the message being background radiation are so low that they would require an incredibly large time in which we are listening for messages. We have only have the capability for 50 odd years, less even. The probability of such a random an unprobabilistic even occuring during the 14.7 billion years of this universe, let alone during the 50 odd years we've been listening to them are so low it is ridiculous.

#### Stripe

##### Teenage Adaptive Ninja Turtle
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My proposal was to illustrate that the mathematics does not support Knight’s claim that the Marilyn Monroe picture would never appear. If the math is correct, it is not because it is “mine”. The math would be equally true for you, or for Knight. So let’s say it in regular straightforward English. Knight said the MM image would NEVER (his caps) appear. Was his claim a) true or b) false? Can you give a direct one –word (“True” or “False”) answer?
Knight's claim was true.

#### Stripe

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Phrase it as a question and I'll try to answer it, I haven't followed this thread.

The chances of the message being background radiation are so low that they would require an incredibly large time in which we are listening for messages. We have only have the capability for 50 odd years, less even. The probability of such a random an unprobabilistic even occuring during the 14.7 billion years of this universe, let alone during the 50 odd years we've been listening to them are so low it is ridiculous.
Pekkle. If you received a radio signal that was the ET equivalent of the message stamped on the side of the Voyager spacecraft, ie an introduction to life on another world, would you consider the message to be randomly generated or of intelligent origin?

#### ThePhy

##### New member
That's patently unfair, ThePhy. The maths is perfectly simple. The chances of 211 alphanumeric characters randomly generating a message from space aliens is way more likely than an image of Marilyn showing up on an untuned TV monitor. I'm quite comfortable with the fact that the numbers have been dealt with and believe you are using this topic to avoid the conflict between the general atheist views on this topic and the other topic.
Nothing unfair about addressing a fallacy that Knight himself brought directly into this thread. See this post.

I think you will have a hard time showing that I have claimed that the answer to the MM issue determines the answer to the intelligent signal issue. If the MM issue is settled, then I am perfectly willing to focus on what the intelligent signal means. But the reason I (and a number of others) chose “intelligent” over “random” for the signal hinges crucially on the same type of math as the MM issue. Are we ready to proceed to the intelligent signal issue, with a direct acknowledgment in place that Knight’s ridicule of any possibility of the MM pic was incorrect?

#### Pekkle

##### New member
Knight certaintly was not correct in saying it would never happen.

Pekkle. If you received a radio signal that was the ET equivalent of the message stamped on the side of the Voyager spacecraft, ie an introduction to life on another world, would you consider the message to be randomly generated or of intelligent origin?

Intelligent origin of course.

This is no argument for intelligent design though.

On the issue of the complexity of life there are three options:
1. Random (no one believes this)
2. Evolution
3. Intelligent design

In the space alien analogy there are two options:
1. Random
2. Intelligent design

#### Stripe

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Nothing unfair about addressing a fallacy that Knight himself brought directly into this thread. See this post.

I think you will have a hard time showing that I have claimed that the answer to the MM issue determines the answer to the intelligent signal issue. If the MM issue is settled, then I am perfectly willing to focus on what the intelligent signal means. But the reason I (and a number of others) chose “intelligent” over “random” for the signal hinges crucially on the same type of math as the MM issue. Are we ready to proceed to the intelligent signal issue, with a direct acknowledgment in place that Knight’s ridicule of any possibility of the MM pic was incorrect?
You're basing everything here on the 1 in close-enough-to-infinity chance that you might be wrong. Why not just discuss the issue instead of quibbling over nothing?

Knight certaintly was not correct in saying it would never happen.
No, he wasn't. Do you believe it will happen?

Intelligent origin of course.
We are still all in agreement :thumb:

This is no argument for intelligent design though.
On the issue of the complexity of life there are three options:
1. Random (no one believes this)
2. Evolution
3. Intelligent design
Evolution is not responsible for life being created. No one believes this.

#### Stripe

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Nothing unfair about addressing a fallacy that Knight himself brought directly into this thread. See this post.
Oh! I get the point you're making now. The difference wasn't between the alien message and the picture of Marilyn. It was between the picture and the tennis ball!

The chances in increasing mathematical unlikelihood go:
Alien message.
Picture of Marilyn.
Tennis ball through a brick wall.
FedUpWithFaith confessing his saviour... :noid:

All of which are impossible without the direct input of intelligence.

Last edited:

#### Pekkle

##### New member
No, he wasn't. Do you believe it will happen?

It may, it may not, what I believe is irrelevant, as long as there is a probability > 0 it is incorrect to say it will never happen.

Evolution is not responsible for life being created. No one believes this.
Notice I said complexity of life.

If you want to talk about origins of life then it is nothing but speculation.

#### Door

##### New member
FedUpWithFaith confessing his saviour... :noid:

All of which are impossible without the direct input of intelligence.
:rotfl:

#### Nathon Detroit

##### New member
Oh! I get the point you're making now. The difference wasn't between the alien message and the picture of Marilyn. It was between the picture and the tennis ball!

The chances in increasing unlikelihood go:
Alien message.
Picture of Marilyn.
Tennis ball through a brick wall.
FedUpWithFaith confessing his saviour... :noid:

All of which are impossible without the direct input of intelligence.
:first:

:rotfl:

POTD

#### Nathon Detroit

##### New member
Are we ready to proceed to the intelligent signal issue, with a direct acknowledgment in place that Knight’s ridicule of any possibility of the MM pic was incorrect?
Just because there is a mathematical probability that a tennis ball can pass through a brick wall doesn't mean that it is ever going to happen. That's the funny thing about math and probabilities.... they eventually part ways with reality.

Your faith in these things is far greater than my faith in these things happening.

The ironic thing of course is that you willingly acknowledge that you side more with me when it comes to reality and I present the simple space message as my evidence. After all, if you are correct and all probabilities will eventually come to pass a message from space (as the one I described) WILL come to earth by random chance at some point in time, yet you still acknowledge it's intelligently generated.

The truth is, you rightly recognize that it isn't going to happen randomly even though there is a slight chance it might happen randomly.

At this point in the thread you are merely arguing against your own instinct.

#### SUTG

##### New member
The chances in increasing unlikelihood go:
Alien message.
Picture of Marilyn.
Tennis ball through a brick wall.
FedUpWithFaith confessing his saviour... :noid:

All of which are impossible without the direct input of intelligence.

...and it looks like we have a contradiction!

The Picture of Marilyn and Tennis ball through a brick wall examples did not invoke the direct input of intelligence, so according to Stripe they are both impossible.

Although, also according to Stripe, the Picture of Marilyn is more likely than the Tennis ball through a brick wall.

#### Stripe

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...and it looks like we have a contradiction!

The Picture of Marilyn and Tennis ball through a brick wall examples did not invoke the direct input of intelligence, so according to Stripe they are both impossible.

Although, also according to Stripe, the Picture of Marilyn is more likely than the Tennis ball through a brick wall.
:chuckle: You got me.

#### Nathon Detroit

##### New member
How about generating a picture with Yahtzee dice of Marilyn Monroe passing effortlessly through a brick wall while visiting the SETI institute?

Chickenman, can you calculate the odds on that?

#### chickenman

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Odds are...I'd stab myself in the eye with my pencil trying to figure that one out.

#### Nathon Detroit

##### New member
Keeping the scoreboard alive!

Keeping the scoreboard alive!

Again lets review..... all the folks (below) believe that unintelligent random chance can (and in fact WILL) create highly complex things (such as a tennis ball passing effortlessly through a solid brick wall) all acknowledge that a simple 40 word message from space would have to be generated by intelligent design!

Apparently none of them believe that in the real word randomness is a very likely cause for complex (or even simple) results.

I'd accept that as conclusive evidence of intelligent life.
Mark Mr Jack down for attributing the signal to intelligence.

I'd probably be inclined to believe it was intelligent life.
Count Layla in for intelligence being the source of the signal.

I would say intelligence.
Mark PlastikBuddha down for attributing the signal to intelligence.

I would believe it, seeing as background interference from stars would not form itself into anything resembling a coherent coherent sentence.
Mark Pekkle down for attributing the signal to intelligence.

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.
Mark ThePhy down for attributing the signal to intelligence.

Given the terms of the scenario I'd say it was a genuine signal.
Mark Granite down for attributing the signal to intelligence.

the probability that such a string of letters (which depends on the letter coding method of the sender that you did not specify) could have appeared by chance , even in the entire 14 billion years of the Universe, is miniscule
Mark FedUpWithFaith down for attributing the signal to intelligence.

Because at some level we all make the judgment call that it is more likely there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe beaming us a signal than it is that the signal was randomly generated without any sort of selection mechanism in place.
Mark Johnny down for attributing the signal to intelligence.

as a reasonable man, would not only assume intelligence behind it but that said intelligence has intimate and privileged knowledge pertaining to us.
Mark Edmond_Dantes down for attributing the signal to intelligence.

Not a signal dissenter. :think:

#### SUTG

##### New member
Again lets review..... all the folks (below) believe that unintelligent random chance can (and in fact WILL LIKELY) create highly complex things (such as a tennis ball passing effortlessly through a solid brick wall) all acknowledge that a simple 40 word message from space would most likely have been generated by intelligent design!

All of them believe that in the real word randomness can be a cause for complex (or even simple) results.

fixed it for you.