Invisible Extraterrestrials? World-Leading Physicist Says "They Could Exist in Forms We Can't Conceive" (A Galaxy Classic)
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June 20, 2010

Invisible Extraterrestrials? World-Leading Physicist Says "They Could Exist in Forms We Can't Conceive" (A Galaxy Classic)


Greece-forest-fires-view-from-space-smoke-plumes-over-ocean-mediterranean-sea-satellite-image-nasa-earth-observatory-greek-greece-coastline-country-shape-ocean-photoThe intriguing remark was made by Lord Martin Rees, a leading cosmologist and astrophysicist who is the president of Britain’s Royal Society and astronomer to the Queen of England. Rees, who last month hosted the National Science Academy’s first conference on the possibility of alien life, said he believes the existence of extra terrestrial life may be beyond human understanding.

“They could be staring us in the face and we just don’t recognize them. The problem is that we’re looking for something very much like us, assuming that they at least have something like the same mathematics and technology."

“I suspect there could be life and intelligence out there in forms we can’t conceive. Just as a chimpanzee can’t understand quantum theory, it could be there as aspects of reality that are beyond the capacity of our brains.” 

During the conference entitled ‘The Detection of Extra-terrestrial Life and the Consequences for Science and Society’, Rees asked whether the discovery of aliens would cause terror or delight on earth, the Telegraph reported.

However, Frank Drake, the founder of SETI and Drake's Equation, told the conference that satellite TV and the “digital revolution” was making humanity invisible to aliens by cutting the transmission of TV and radio signals into space. The earth is currently surrounded by a 50 light year-wide “shell” of radiation from analogue TV, radio and radar transmissions. According to Drake, digital TV signals would look like white noise to a race of observing aliens.

Although the signals have spread far enough to reach many nearby star systems, they are rapidly vanishing in the wake of digital technology, said Drake. In the 1960s, Drake spearheaded the conversion of the Arecibo Observatory to a radio astronomy center. As a researcher, Drake was involved in the early work on pulsars. Drake also designed the Pioneer plaque with Carl Sagan in 1972, the first physical message sent into space. The plaque was designed to be understandable by extraterrestrials should they encounter it.

Milan Cirkovic of the Astronomical Observatory in Belgrade, points out that the median age of terrestrial planets in the Milky Way is about 1.8 gigayears (one billion years) greater than the age of the Earth and the Solar System, which means that the median age of technological civilizations should be greater than the age of human civilization by the same amount. The vastness of this interval indicates that one or more processes must suppress observability of extraterrestrial communities.

Since at this point, there is no direct and/or widely apparent evidence that extraterrestrial life exists, it likely means one of the following:

We are (A) the first intelligent beings ever to become capable of making our presence known, and leaving our planet. At this point, there are no other life forms out there as advanced as us. Or perhaps extraterrestrial life does exists, but for some reason extraterrestrial life is so very rare and so very far away we’ll never make contact anyway—making extraterrestrial life nonexistent in a practical sense at least.

Or is it (B) that many advanced civilizations have existed before us, but without exception, they have for some unknown reason, existed and/or expanded in such a way that they are completely undetectable by our instruments.

Or is it (C) There have been others, but they have all run into some sort of “cosmic roadblock” that eventually destroys them, or at least prevents their expansion beyond a small area.

Since Earth’s placement in space and time appears to be unremarkably random, proposition “A” seems fairly unlikely. Assuming humans evolved like other forms of life into our present state due to natural selection, then there's really nothing all that mystical, special or remarkable about our development as a species either. Due to the shear numbers, there are almost certainly other planets capable of supporting at least some form of life. If that is so, then for Earthlings to be the very first species ever to make a noticeable mark on the universe, from a statistical perspective, is incredibly unlikely.

For proposition “B” to be correct would defy all logic. If potentially thousands, or even millions of advanced extraterrestrial civilizations exist in the known universe, then why would all of them, without exception, choose to expand or exist in such a way that they are completely undetectable? It’s conceivable that some might, or perhaps even the majority, but for all of them to be completely undetectable civilizations does not seem likely either.

Proposition C in some ways, appears to be more likely than A or B. If “survival of the fittest” follows similar pathways on other worlds, then our own “civilized” nature could be somewhat typical of extraterrestrial civilizations that have, or do, exist. Somehow, we all get to the point where we end up killing ourselves in a natural course of technological development and thereby self-inflict our own “cosmic roadblock”.

Casey Kazan via The Telegraph

Comments

Proposition D: Aliens went to Digital themselves and are now watching Bloggo & The Two Moon Twins in High Def. Their signals are "white noise" to us as well, hence not discovered or discoverable.

Hmmm yes well that's all fine an dandy ...but there is also an indefenit amount of posabilitys for life after earth ... One example is that life out there whoeva whateva , have been able or are born , in tachyons or some other form we haven't herd of/ descoverd yet..
this meaning they move soo fast all the time we seem like we arnt moveing at all
so they cood be here watching us taking notes touching us as we speek , and we wood neva no,
to them on earth its as if time has stoped ...?

Alien civilizations could all be corrupted like all earth governments. Individuals rationalize immoral actions who hold power, and fight for world dominance. Unless a species evolves with technological intelligence, and is socially benevolent by nature to others like themselves, including those who hold great power, then alien civilizations will eventually destroy themselves.

What about the mind of intelligence and DNA codes? Somethings are just smarter then others. Like intelliegence is a gift that some have and some dont. Those are the one things to unlocking ANY species of life. these are probably more important to aliens
then really studying us or other planets. and when you start unlocking the mind to do crazy things we couldnt even imagine, and also have super DNA to do unbelievable things, that you could almost create more then you could find out in space. like unlocking secrets about humans and other origin of human life can be more important then going to the cosmos. Like its a personal thing rather then curiousity. there has to be more to perception of reality that we just havent figured out yet. i dont get why we havent seen evidence of intelligent life yet. or maybe they know that if they know you dont know they exist, what really do they have to worry about? but they are out there in all degrees of evolution of technology.

and what about the computerized life forms that more then likely exist out there who are in a sense alive and concious but like, can live forever because they can construct themselves or their civiliztions from parts of life. Like robots who are almost like perfectionists of coordination and unbelievably fast recognition and intelliegence that is combined through all of their kind. doesnt that sound plausible to have ever existed.

I still can't figure out why a super intelligent race would want to even contact humans. Would be like a human trying to communicate with a chicken, you could try but what's the point ?

Proposition D:

Our universe and lives is simply a computer simulation, and the "programmer" has simply not programmed any aliens into our particular simulation.

This is actually the most likely scenario. If there is a vast universe out there, in which relatively vast numbers of intelligent technological oriented life forms evolve, then those "aliens" will eventually go on to create an even greater number of "simulations" of reality.

Thus comparing the number of true "living" aliens, with simulated aliens, there are greater simulations then there are "real" aliens.

Ergo, we are more likely to be one of those simulations, then the real deal.

i'm lost, they need to make it so that they are known to us and help us change our ways for the good.

what if we are the exception? like an episode of the next generation or voyager and there is alien life in sub space or fluid space and we are the one of a kind species that exists in what we think is "normal space" this is why we havnt found em yet?

someone explain please, what is sub space and is there even a theory for fluid space or just a random nonsense episode..>?

LOL
LIFE is LIFE, set to a template that is most efficient.... THEY are among earthlings already... LOL

Please read the post by Observer. There are many way in which this could be true. Even if they have contacted other intelligent life forms, it may have not been useful to them so they might not try it again. Maybe their understanding is that any alien contact is dangerous, and they are probably right. The obvious one would also be what Observer posted about them being so far advanced that if they can't eat us there not being any point in contacting us, like humans with chickens.

@velocity.wave: the simulation idea works, but if we are a simulation then there is no reason to suspect that the laws of physics and time that we know are not simply the imagination of the programmer, and therefore anything you predict about the real world would be irrelevant, as our standards for predictions are not necessarily correct. This means that your idea makes the theory invalid. So it remains a possibility, but with no logic for or against.

Please read the post by Observer. There are many way in which this could be true. Even if they have contacted other intelligent life forms, it may have not been useful to them so they might not try it again. Maybe their understanding is that any alien contact is dangerous, and they are probably right. The obvious one would also be what Observer posted about them being so far advanced that if they can't eat us there not being any point in contacting us, like humans with chickens.

@velocity.wave: the simulation idea works, but if we are a simulation then there is no reason to suspect that the laws of physics and time that we know are not simply the imagination of the programmer, and therefore anything you predict about the real world would be irrelevant, as our standards for predictions are not necessarily correct. This means that your idea makes the theory invalid. So it remains a possibility, but with no logic for or against.

why is there a picture of the Peloponnesse in flames in this article???

why is there a picture of the Peloponnesse in flames in this article???

The alternate prepositions are all conjectural. There can be many more too. About the observance or lack of it, the point is worth consideration. We see not with our eyes but with the use of our 'mind' a mysterious constituent of the body/soul complex, along with the brain. The latter is not mastered yet by science, specially its capacity to overlap with the external to body interactions! These aspects are being studied currently by Neurologists the world over. Mysteries still around how the neurons in the brain get activated through external stimuli even when the entire body has been completely sedated scientifically through drugs! The role played by consciousness, individual and cosmic, appears to provide some explanation. But then where such interactions get recorded remains unanswered!

stuff sucks - the end. be kind to each other or else.

It looks to me like we are in the process of entering "C." We are running out of the resources vital--not just to interplanetary, let alone interstellar, travel--but also to our entire technological civilization. A truly intelligent species wouldn't suck its planet dry in 200 years. I would suggest that most truly intelligent species either realize they don't have the resources for space travel and just enjoy life on their home planet. Another possibility is that there are relatively low-tech modes of space travel that, for whatever reason, we have not discovered--something to do with creating a directed wormhole and jumping into it.

This leads me to my own "D"--anybody smart enough not to burn out their home planet, and smart enough to figure out how to at least communicate with,if not travel to, to other inhabited planets, is gonna be smart enough to conceal themselves from us if they feel that's appropriate--and, given our overall levels of insensitivity, greed, shortsightedness, general stupidity, and aggression, I can understand why they might choose to leave us alone until we grow up--or maybe it's "to see IF we grow up."

I believe that intellegent life out there is deliberately uncontactable, they may not want to mess with our technological advancements and evolution and perhaps there is an abundance of superior intellegent civilisations all contacting each other in a way we have not discovered yet, they could be waiting for us to find that way without interfering and if we dont, we may not be worth contacting. Just a thought :)


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