Skip to comments.Where Are The Aliens? How The ‘Great Filter’ Could Affect Tech Advances In Space
Posted on 05/13/2014 1:43:32 PM PDT by BenLurkin
As Snyder-Beattie explained in the article, the Great Filter is a response to the question of why we cant see any alien civilizations. The Great Filter deals with similar issues as the Drake Equation, which talks about the probability of communicating civilizations outside of Earth, and the Fermi Paradox, which asks where the civilizations are.
Simply speaking, the idea is that if a civilization continues to expand (especially at the technological pace we humans have experienced), it wouldnt take all that long in the lifespan of the universe for artificial processes to be visible with our own telescopes. Yes, this is even taking into account a presumed speed limit of no more than the speed of light. So something could be preventing these civilizations from showing up. Thats an important part of the Great Filter, but more details about it are below.
Here are a few possibilities for why the filter exists, both from Snyder-Beattie and from the person who first named the Great Filter, Robin Hanson, in 1996.
Read more: http://www.universetoday.com/111660/where-are-the-aliens-how-the-great-filter-could-affect-tech-advances-in-space/#ixzz31d9mu0xO
(Excerpt) Read more at universetoday.com ...
Maybe the big natural activities of those beyond Earth just happens to look exactly as if they are not there. Hanson said it seems rather unlikely, as it would be a remarkable coincidence if advanced artificial processes were actually responsible for all the astronomical phenomena we do explain from natural occurrences,- from pulsars to dark matter
In before the Ancient Aliens memes!
I’d imagine we will eventually run into aliens that have visited many planets and we will find out that they are ardent anti-communists because they found so many extinct civs that became communist right before they went extinct...
I always thought there should be a multiplying factor to the Drake equation, whose value is 1 or 0. And the factor is if God wanted their to be life elsewhere. 1 if yes, 0 if no.
Ancient Aliens memes!
I think they should pay social security and income tax also.
I’d say that if there is such a thing as ETs, chances are 50/50 they’d want to exterminate us.
Maybe there simply aren’t any alien civilizations. I personally don’t doubt there’s life but would prefer that they weren’t intelligent.
I was somewhat impressed with the Drake Equation — until I learned that he was just one of Sagan’s cronies.
Good stuff Maynard.
The ET’s saw our politicians and immediately put a quarantine around earth so we can’t contaminate them. That’s your Great Filter.
I’m skeptical on the existence of alien civilizations. Fermi’s Question “where are they?” is compelling. My big laugh is the “contactee.” Here one has a civilization investing their wealth in developing and manufacturing a space ship, training a crew, then embarking on the extremely dangerous journey across interstellar space all to contact Joe Shlunk in a cornfield at 3:00 A.M. Joe Shlunk’s local time.
That’s some deep thinking there!
Maybe if half the astrophysics community didn’t take the approach of global warming ‘scientists’ we might have an answer. Instead, they play the same games, politics ect with their papers/journals, backbite each other and do little actual science.
Only recently could the mere IDEA that aliens ‘could’ exist be spoken in public without the entire community coming down on itself.
Lastly, Scientists aren’t as smart as they think they are. 500 years ago they were putting each other in jail for hersey. They only barely grasp the generalities of the big things they can see on a cosmological scale, much less fully understand them. Overall, they are like a kid with his first copy of Guitar World thinking he can play Steve Vai solos after reading the interview.
The “great filter” is distance. It’s a long way from here to anywhere, our radio traffic (the most distantly traveled part of our civilization, going relatively fast and starting early) has traveled through an insignificant percentage of our galaxy.
Here’s the scale to really get it:
And of course that’s one way, if somebody near the edge of that heard us recently and sent a reply we’ll find out around 2100. And that’s with all kinds of assumptions about them having the technical specs to do it (we only use a fraction of the possible carrier wave spectrum), were actually listening, or care about the implications.
If there are billions of galaxies, and the distance between most of them are hundreds of millions of light years then two things are fairly certain. 1)There no doubt are many civilizations out there.2) Given the laws of physics and the fact that the speed of light is the universal speed limit, there is no way any biological entity or mechanical construction from an alien civilization has ever or ever will visit earth. However Earth has been transmitting data in analog form for over one hundred years and in algorithmic digital form for over thirty. It is quite possible that alien civilizations have linked up with one another by relaying data (with long travel times) to each other. Perhaps in thirty years or so some computers on earth will be “infected” with a truly wondrous virus.
Indeed. You can just imagine the two of them cooking it up over late night beverages or “cigars” — and then expect people to take it seriously!
The measure of a man is what he does with power.
We’ve busted open the atom, and have seen down to scales where Higgs bosons may lurk,
Looked out as far as has ever been seen, and possibly found the greatest evidence for God yet in mathematical sequencing.
Far too many speculations based on wrong assumptions about the universe in that article...
” Id say that if there is such a thing as ETs, chances are 50/50 theyd want to exterminate us.”
Sounds about right
Maybe we should move underground and let the alien exterminate the liberals who live in mud huts while we prepare for a counter attack...
I think we were already visited by aliens from outer space. They didn’t like what they saw so they don’t come back anymore.
And by the very same reasoning muslims don’t allow polio vaccinations!
No Jewish vaccinations for our kids!!!
Yes. But that is the beginning. That is a mere ‘quantum’ of what ‘is’ and what there is yet to discover/learn/know.
It is, IMO, delusional for a people confined to their planet/solar system (and Voyager is one little highly limited exception) to think they can definitively say SQUAT about this particular issue. That is stupid arrogance.
Was Sagan Jewish? Would it really make a difference if he were?
The Berserker Theory was interesting but the problem I see with that is that a psychotic killer race of beings couldn’t cover the distances to stamp out life everywhere in the galaxy. Then there are other galaxies we might see signs of artificial phenomena from. Unless the theory is that every galaxy has a Berserker race in it that manages to extinguish all other advanced cultures before they produce an identifiable trace of themselves. Sounds extremely unlikely.
That's what you said.
Polio vaccinations are wrong in the "minds" of a billion people because the creator was Jewish.
The Drake equation is wrong because of Sagan.
Wiki says Sagan was raised a Reform Jew. I neither knew, nor cared. Happy now?
“I always thought there should be a multiplying factor to the Drake equation, whose value is 1 or 0. And the factor is if God wanted their to be life elsewhere. 1 if yes, 0 if no.”
Warning this is a rant. Read at your own risk.
You have been warned!
The Drake Equation is basically nonsense. Without actual knowledge of the probabilities of life - from an evolutionary perspective - it is simply garbage in and garbage out. It is actually an example of a logical fallacy because it is a false comparison. It does not mater how many stars there are or how many of them have planets. Yes, on one level it might even be truth but we have data to determine that level.
A+B=C but only when “A”,”B” &”C” have definitions beyond the literal phonetic because combining the “AHHH” or “AAAAE” sound with the “BEE” sound does not yield a “Cha” sound
His parents were Reform Jews according to Wikipedia.
I, for one, welcome our new alien overlords.
Perhaps we can agree that the Drake Equation is over-ballyhooed.
How about we are just in a crappy location. We are all alone (as opposed to being in a nebula) at the edge of spiral Arm, 2/3 on the way out.
Essentially, in Galactic terms, we are in the middle of nowhere in South Dakota.
The whole galaxy could be filled with life that talks to each other, but we are just so far away from it all
I believe God wants us to be curious about His existence, both within the universe, and even outside of space and time. That’s what makes M-Theory so interesting.
Held together by the consistency of math and physics, these things give us ever more interesting takes on being made “in His image”.
But how do you see signs of artificial phenomena from other galaxies? Remember as far as we know all “signs” we can access travel no faster than the speed of light. We literally have no idea what has happened in any of these galaxies for the last hundreds of millions of years. Our information on these galaxies is so post dated they aren’t even in those locations anymore, drift has moved them at least a galaxy length away.
I just can’t get past the sheer arrogance of it all. Literally 40 years ago, we could not verify the existence of a single planet outside the solar system. Not one.
Now, 40 years later, some liberal ivy tower whackjob in a lab coat/pocket protector can make a definitive statement saying we are alone? On it’s face it’s absurd.
Maybe we are. But These guys sure don’t have the evidence to prove it. We can’t even doc all the species on our planet yet. We find plants in volcanic vents where ‘life cannot exist’ almost regularly now.
Works for me.
Certainly! And doubtless Sagan was a part of the ballyhooment (if there is such a word!).
Still, the Drake equation is a fairly good attempt at bringing some rigor, some attempt at understanding the underpinnings of the Fermi Paradox 'where is everybody?'
We can argue about the terms Drake included, or left out, we can argue about the weight each term was given, have an endlessly debate the resulting value, we can even argue the validity of A+B=C on purely semantic terms (or we could even be anti-semantic).
BUT even if flawed, even if absolutely incorrect, the Drake equation is an intellectual tool, it provides a way of attempting to organize our perception of the universe and an attempt to understand our place in it, and invites each and every one of us to replace it with something better.
That would be the problem. Even stellar events like novas and pulsars would be hard to identify in other galaxies. So, keeping it just to our own galaxy, it still seems unlikely that a Berserker culture could cover the distances to kill all other advanced cultures. Even a half a dozen killer cultures evenly dispersed in our galaxy couldn’t do it.
If we were to assume that life evolved REMOTELY close to the way we did, and that the big bang theory is true just for argument, then only within the last couple hundredish years have any civs had radio.
Our own TV transmissions are still decades away from the closest star. Much less another galaxy.
That is an excellent explanation, and it ties in nicely with the thrust of the article.
(And I like “ballyhooment”. If it isn’t a word then it certainly should be one!)
Of course then it all depends on how advanced the advanced culture is. There are, purely theoretical relying heavily on unobtanium, cheats around the light speed limit. If they’re THAT advanced then they could be wiping out civilizations. Of course they still have to find them, and that would still in many ways be hampered by the speed limit (don’t care how fast your ship goes, our radio waves are still “only” going speed of light), so they have to get in the zone.
Which is why I think distance is the true great filter. Every way we have of announcing our presence, or detecting somebody else’s, take a long time to get anyplace and would carry extremely post dated information. The way I think about it is to “assume” there’s another civilization out there 200 light years away growing their technology at an identical rate to us. Their very first experiments in wireless telegraphy haven’t gotten here yet. We’re using very dim flashlights for a very large room.
The first TV transmission passed Alpha Centauri in 1932.
The Berserker Theory fails on many fronts.
More likely is the "fundamental technology that ends civilization" theory. The author wasted speculation on the ridiculous Glowbull Warming idea. How about the discovery of a virulent toxin, chemical or biological, that some crackpot releases and kills all life? Consider the insane things people do like kids attacking their schools, the Jim Jones cult, Muslims and so on so forth.
One intelligent but extremely psychotic nutball gets a hold of a planet-killing technology or substance and executes a plan to employ it. Perhaps neurosis is a fundamental aspect of biological life forms and sooner or later every civilization unwittingly creates the opportunity for one insane individual to wipe the whole thing out.
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