# ARCHIVE: Signals from space aliens or random chance?

#### Granite

##### New member
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Given the terms of the scenario I'd say it was a genuine signal.

#### Pekkle

##### New member
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?

If we encountered a race of aliens that spoke of a god exactly like yours with a prophet whose circumstances were almost identical to Jesus's and a religion almost identical to christianity I would certainly be very swayed as to it's authenticity.

I would not be at all challenged by the civilization you suggest, for instance scientologists have sexual reproduction, care for their children, believe in good and evil, speak of a creator who sent a prophet to us about 20-100 years ago.

#### chickenman

##### a-atheist
Gold Subscriber
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It would clearly show us intelligence out in space somewhere.

To Johnny, ThePhy, Layla and others who have commented on probabilities, here's my post from the Ask the Atheist thread...

I continue to see an appeal to probabilities. During discussions (on this thread, at least) about all the billions of things that must line up in order for chance to become reality, I see an acknowledgement that the odds of one "roll of the dice" producing life from non-life are astronomical, but a continued appeal to the increasing probability over time. Therefore, given enough time, it becomes very likely.

But probability is not reality. Probabilities are only useful in making predictions. Playing Yahtzee, I have 6 to the fifth combinations (minus 4, since I can't roll a 1, 2, 3, or 4 with 5 dice). I can start out planning on making 5 rolls and make a guess (based on mathematical probabilities) as to how many times x result will occur. But after I complete my first roll, my odds are exactly the same on the second roll: I still have the same odds (1:7,772) chance of rolling x result. Long term probabilities are completely irrelevant on each independent roll.

Now if you roll billions of dice, and each time you add to the equation countless variables, most of which create unfavorable conditions, then you're in trouble. And by unfavorable conditions, I don't just mean something that prevents a consistent roll (like sticking a rock in front of me on one roll that I have to bounce the dice off of). I mean things that change the nature of the dice, change the numbers, add number/sides, etc. Calculation of long-term probabilites is impossible in this case and, again, 100% irrelevant.

Those people here who have appealed to probabilities should consider forgetting that appeal. It simply doesn't work.

chickenman :chicken:

#### SingedWing

##### New member
If we encountered a race of aliens that spoke of a god exactly like yours with a prophet whose circumstances were almost identical to Jesus's and a religion almost identical to christianity I would certainly be very swayed as to it's authenticity.

I would not be at all challenged by the civilization you suggest, for instance scientologists have sexual reproduction, care for their children, believe in good and evil, speak of a creator who sent a prophet to us about 20-100 years ago.

So like some christians you wouldn't believe in any god that had more variables?

How about if six races came down and all six had about six varied prophets in the last 1-3000 years who all spoke of good and evil and had a god as similiar as the major religions on earth? What if all six had scientologists on their planet and all six thought they were idiots too?

#### Servo

##### Formerly Shimei!
But probability is not reality. Probabilities are only useful in making predictions. Playing Yahtzee, I have 6 to the fifth combinations (minus 4, since I can't roll a 1, 2, 3, or 4 with 5 dice). I can start out planning on making 5 rolls and make a guess (based on mathematical probabilities) as to how many times x result will occur. But after I complete my first roll, my odds are exactly the same on the second roll: I still have the same odds (1:7,772) chance of rolling x result. Long term probabilities are completely irrelevant on each independent roll.

Exactly! Billions of tries with failed results do not make the next try any more likely to produce the desired result than the very first try did. That is why I do not understand why unlimited time would have anything to do with a random event producing something that could be deemed as intelligent.

A signal from outer space with a clear message must be from some form of intelligence, there is no other option.

#### Stripe

Hall of Fame
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.
Luckily you don't get banned for being stupid. If none of us know anything about probability why are you so certain?

#### Toast

##### New member
Fantastic post Knight! I'd rep you if I could.

#### Nathon Detroit

##### New member
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?
The hypothetical is strangling you isn't it?

Just imagine the message is whatever you want it to be. Whatever would make SETI think they found what they were looking for. Maybe it was patternized waves that spelled out "hello earth" in morse code.

##### New member
:singer: There are 178 viewing the religion section. :think:

#### Stripe

Hall of Fame
The hypothetical is strangling you isn't it? Just imagine the message is whatever you want it to be. Whatever would make SETI think they found what they were looking for. Maybe it was patternized waves that spelled out "hello earth" in morse code.
What was the message we sent out attached to the Voyager spacecraft? Imagine it were the radio wave equivalent, ie an introduction to another planet's lifeforms...

#### Nathon Detroit

##### New member
Roll call!

Roll call!

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.

Add a yes from Layla and Mr. Jack and you have a 100% clean sweep. All of them without exception (the lone hold-out is SUTG who can't grasp the hypothetical and therefore hasn't answered yet) would be compelled to believe the signal was from intelligent life!

But why?

What compels them to believe this signal is a product of intelligence and not the product of blind chance and luck? After all, if a tennis ball can pass through a brick wall by chance and a picture of Marilin Monroe juggling fish can be generated by throwing random pixels together why not a simple message from outer space? Why all of you appeal to intelligence for a somewhat simple series of signals yet are confident that random chance can (and will) produce ridiculously complex things like tennis balls slipping through brick walls?

It makes me wonder....

How do you folks distinguish a product of intelligent design between a product of random chance?

#### DoogieTalons

##### New member
I simply think it could be either, wieghted in intelligence's favour but further analysis and study would be needed.

The problem with infinity as a definition is this, where as some say a hundred monkeys typing at random will eventually type shakespear there is also a chance they will hit the same key into infinity. Improbable but just as possible.

Oh the tennis ball thing, never gonna happen. No matter how the atoms align. The strong force of the walls atoms will always repel the balls atoms no matter what the alignment. Not even a probability. Just never gonna happen. ThePhy's welcome to keep trying though. Its like saying if you throw the negative end of a magnet at another negative end it will eventually attract... it wont.

#### Granite

##### New member
Hall of Fame
The message is direct and specific. The fact that it arrived at all would be persuasive enough for me to be inclined that it was the real deal.

#### ThePhy

##### New member
Mark PlastikBuddha down for attributing the signal to intelligence.

Mark Pekkle down for attributing the signal to intelligence.

Mark ThePhy down for attributing the signal to intelligence.

Mark Granite down for attributing the signal to intelligence.

Add a yes from Layla and Mr. Jack and you have a 100% clean sweep. All of them without exception (the lone hold-out is SUTG who can't grasp the hypothetical and therefore hasn't answered yet) would be compelled to believe the signal was from intelligent life!

But why?

What compels them to believe this signal is a product of intelligence and not the product of blind chance and luck? After all, if a tennis ball can pass through a brick wall by chance and a picture of Marilin Monroe juggling fish can be generated by throwing random pixels together why not a simple message from outer space? Why all of you appeal to intelligence for a somewhat simple series of signals yet are confident that random chance can (and will) produce ridiculously complex things like tennis balls slipping through brick walls?

It makes me wonder....

How do you folks distinguish a product of intelligent design between a product of random chance?
As I stated in my post that you quoted in the OP, the amount of time for the MM or tennis ball result is almost incomprehensible. By contrast, we know that life made it onto the scene, and it appears that occurred within the last 25% of the time the universe seems to have existed. So given the option of choosing as an explanation something that is known to have happened at least once in our universe, and something that would be unlikely given trillions of universes lasting trillions of times as long as ours, what does Occam’s Razor say?

#### Nathon Detroit

##### New member
Oh the tennis ball thing, never gonna happen. No matter how the atoms align. The strong force of the walls atoms will always repel the balls atoms no matter what the alignment. Not even a probability. Just never gonna happen. ThePhy's welcome to keep trying though. Its like saying if you throw the negative end of a magnet at another negative end it will eventually attract... it wont.
I think you are making a great point. Probabilities and mathematical equations don't always translate into reality.

No matter what folks say....
A tennis ball is never going to pass through a brick wall and a picture of Marilyn Monroe juggling fish isn't going to be generated by random pixels, instead you will simply get "snow" one frame after another frame.

Doogie why do you suppose that all the same folks that appeal to these crazy random results turn around and appeal to intelligence for a far more simple event (signal from space)?

Isn't a message from space "bound to happen" through random chance?

#### ThePhy

##### New member
I simply think it could be either, wieghted in intelligence's favour but further analysis and study would be needed.

The problem with infinity as a definition is this, where as some say a hundred monkeys typing at random will eventually type shakespear there is also a chance they will hit the same key into infinity. Improbable but just as possible.

Oh the tennis ball thing, never gonna happen. No matter how the atoms align. The strong force of the walls atoms will always repel the balls atoms no matter what the alignment. Not even a probability. Just never gonna happen. ThePhy's welcome to keep trying though. Its like saying if you throw the negative end of a magnet at another negative end it will eventually attract... it wont.
Is there a wavefunction associated with the tennis ball? Is the height of the energy barrier presented by the wall finite (though maybe astoundingly large)?

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#### SUTG

##### New member
Playing Yahtzee, I have 6 to the fifth combinations (minus 4, since I can't roll a 1, 2, 3, or 4 with 5 dice).

I think your math is wrong here.

I can start out planning on making 5 rolls and make a guess (based on mathematical probabilities) as to how many times x result will occur. But after I complete my first roll, my odds are exactly the same on the second roll: I still have the same odds (1:7,772) chance of rolling x result. Long term probabilities are completely irrelevant on each independent roll.

I agree with all of this. (except for the 1:7,772 odds)

Now if you roll billions of dice, and each time you add to the equation countless variables, most of which create unfavorable conditions, then you're in trouble. And by unfavorable conditions, I don't just mean something that prevents a consistent roll (like sticking a rock in front of me on one roll that I have to bounce the dice off of). I mean things that change the nature of the dice, change the numbers, add number/sides, etc. Calculation of long-term probabilites is impossible in this case and, again, 100% irrelevant.

Hmmmm....not sure if this is too good of a case. Of course, with rolling dice, the person rolling will eventually die, etc. Bouncing the dice off of rocks will not chance the probabilities at all. Then of course, dice can be lost, etc.

But if you are using this to argus against abiogensis, then you have to consider that there can be more favorable conditions that arise along with the unfavorable conditions.

#### Nathon Detroit

##### New member
As I stated in my post that you quoted in the OP, the amount of time for the MM or tennis ball result is almost incomprehensible.
Well in 1977 SETI received a "wow" signal. The "wow" signal was a pattern that was abnormal compared to all the other patterns they received to date.

Do you suppose that the "wow" signal was intelligently designed or a product of randomness?

#### SUTG

##### New member
Exactly! Billions of tries with failed results do not make the next try any more likely to produce the desired result than the very first try did. That is why I do not understand why unlimited time would have anything to do with a random event producing something that could be deemed as intelligent.

I don't think that anyone is claiming that the probabilities change on individual rolls. (except for chickenman in the last post I responded to)

What happens it that the probabilities increase as the series gets longer. This is basic probability. If Bob rolls a die once, and Sally rolls a die 100 times, Sally is more likely to have rolled a 5.

#### Nathon Detroit

##### New member
Hmmmm....not sure if this is too good of a case. Of course, with rolling dice, the person rolling will eventually die, etc. Bouncing the dice off of rocks will not chance the probabilities at all. Then of course, dice can be lost, etc.

<------ SUTG
Hypothetical questions --->​

Sorry Mary, I borrowed this joke from you.