What Are the Odds of Finding Intelligent Life in Our Galaxy?

Rhykker

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Feb 28, 2010
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What Are the Odds of Finding Intelligent Life in Our Galaxy?

Are we alone in the Universe? How likely is it that we have other species out there trying to contact us? Let's look at the numbers.

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red255

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Apr 22, 2014
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Meh, its still fun to theorize things.

1. if life exists where is it? It does sound like there should be life in the universe if your things you are taking to be true ARE true. For instance you could be mistating a fundamental law of the universe. you SEE 170 galaxies or billions of billions of stars, but maybe its all just some giant gravity mirror.

2. Maybe we are first, seems odd since the dinosaurs and once we went intel it only took us a couple million years for that route but SOMEONE has to be first. and first RELATIVILY. like within RADIO WAVE SPEED

cuz society will only communicate via radio waves for a couple hundred years, we didn't use them much prior to 1900 and won't much after 2100 when we get better things, hell societies might bypass it altogether. Aquatic life for instance could be intellegent and have no need for radio waves that transmit out of their water.

Telepathic life, Deaf Life that communicates some other way (scent....something else)

so what you are really looking for is odds of another HUMAN-life race to have developed somewhere else in the universe, which balls to the walls is very very much worse odds.

3. so lets say there are 6 other human races in the galaxy. that are in that 200 year time span and can send a return signal. 1. How long would it take to reach us? dont be a dumb bad at math individual, its got to go out hit some planet they'll debate it for at least 5 years then possibly send something back.

Radio waves travel at the speed of light. theres like 2 planets within 50 light years, so if theres no life there in that time window which is damn likely theres not going to be any response for over 100 years.

4. Finally this assumes life would WANT to talk to us. why would intelligent life want to talk to a race like ours?
 

Lightknight

Mugwamp Supreme
Nov 26, 2008
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The problem with this math is that we only have one known instance of sentient life. We do not have enough data to base statistical analysis or probability off of such a limited sample. Not only that, but we can't even verify with 100% certainty that there isn't even another sentient species on the same planet, let alone solar system or galaxy.

So we're actually going to have to find sentient life to even start to be able to quantify this statistically.

Kumagawa Misogi said:
So your just repeating what Extra Credit has already done now?


Extra Credits: Funding XCOM (Part 1)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gm_tN6wHEaI&list=PLhyKYa0YJ_5DlX-j-KnPUbAA29X85fElx&index=24


Extra Credits: Funding XCOM (Part 2)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RF4D4k2AVLA&list=PLhyKYa0YJ_5DlX-j-KnPUbAA29X85fElx&index=25
Are you trying to make an argument for people never discussing a topic that has already been discussed? I'm pretty sure people have already made that argument before.
 

TheMadDoctorsCat

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Apr 2, 2008
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I guess the question you should be asking at the end is that if there's a civilisation out there that's possessed of enough intellect to both know of our existence and hide its own from us, would it WANT to reveal itself?

I tend to go through phases. Sometimes I marvel at the advances of the human world, of the leaps of technology that we've made, at how our progress continues to grow exponentially as our collective brains increase both in number and in their ability to collaborate with one another.

At other times, I genuinely despair of there being intelligent life IN our solar system, let alone outside of it. Mostly when looking at banner ads, hearing auto-tuned pop music, or trying to follow an in-depth discussion on the latest MTV reality show. (And yes, I've enjoyed both pop music and reality shows... don't think I or anybody else has ever enjoyed a banner ad though. Anyway, I'm not excusing myself from this analysis.)

And would we look like life to an alien being? It's evolved in an entirely separate part of the universe, in conditions that are likely to be substantially different to our own. If it lived on a cold planet, it might be some kind of sentient goo-thing that can adjust itself to never freeze. If it lived on a firey one, it might not need water or oxygen to survive (and there are enough living entities on earth right now that survive on carbon dioxide, not oxygen, so that's not that far-fetched. Hell, look at photosynthesis.)

My point here is that maybe this theoretical space lifeform would just look like a rock to us. Maybe we'd look like a rock to it. Maybe its intelligence manifests in a completely different way to ours, and instead of building tools to survive, it changes itself into different forms or something. Like "The Thing". Although I rather hope there isn't one of THOSE lurking out there somewhere.
 
Oct 20, 2010
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Everybody loves to state the astronomical odds of life, while failing to take into account the Octarine Equation:

...Wizards however, have calculated that Million-to-one chances crop up Nine times Out of Ten.


More OT: Why is it I never see the possibility that all these civilizations occur at VASTLY different periods in time?

Or if you will, at "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..."

Or is that next week?
 

Lightknight

Mugwamp Supreme
Nov 26, 2008
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SilverStuddedSquirre said:
Everybody loves to state the astronomical odds of life, while failing to take into account the Octarine Equation:

...Wizards however, have calculated that Million-to-one chances crop up Nine times Out of Ten.


More OT: Why is it I never see the possibility that all these civilizations occur at VASTLY different periods in time?

Or if you will, at "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..."

Or is that next week?
This is actually the biggest argument for why we haven't found life yet. That through the vastness of time and space, entire civilizations spanning even hundreds of thousands of years have come and gone. But time and space are both so very vast that the likelihood of coexisting in both space and time at once is highly unlikely.
 

Pyrian

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The graphic says "WHAT ARE THE OODS OF FINDING INTELLIGENT LIFE IN OUR GALAXY?" Oods. Oods are, we can't find any on this planet, I say. XD
 

Lightknight

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Nov 26, 2008
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BigTuk said:
ODDS: SLim to None

Why? Because when they say 'Intelligent Life' what they mean is 'Life Displaying Human-Like Intelligence'

Which if you think about it, is very limiting. We hold ourselves as the example o intelligent life so we only consider life intelligent if we observe behaviour similar to our own. Intelligence that falls into our narrow definition of intelligence.
Not really, it's just the higher level reasoning that includes knowledge of self and subjectivity. I'm not sure what kind of problem you could have with that qualification.
 

Triaed

Not Gone Gonzo
Jan 16, 2009
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Cool! And we could use the lessons learned to try to find intelligent life on Earth!
 

Lightknight

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Nov 26, 2008
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BigTuk said:
Lightknight said:
BigTuk said:
ODDS: SLim to None

Why? Because when they say 'Intelligent Life' what they mean is 'Life Displaying Human-Like Intelligence'

Which if you think about it, is very limiting. We hold ourselves as the example o intelligent life so we only consider life intelligent if we observe behaviour similar to our own. Intelligence that falls into our narrow definition of intelligence.
Not really, it's just the higher level reasoning that includes knowledge of self and subjectivity. I'm not sure what kind of problem you could have with that qualification.
Well consider it this way. You define food as being peanut butter and then walk into a supermarket looking for food. Sure after a bit of searching you'll find peanut butter but there's lots of other food and edibles you've missed because you were just looking for peanut butter. Consider awareness of self.. is that really pivotal to intelligence? Does a being have to recognize itself as an individual .. what if the being sees itself merely as an extension of others and vice-versa?

"You are Me, I am You, There is No Me."

I mean you wouldn't consider a tree intelligent but studies have shown that plants are probably a little more sentient than we believe, the ability to say communicate, the fact that some plants actually respond in specific ways to specific circumstances which indicate constant environmental evaluation.

Again it boils down to. We define intelligence as 'Us' so we're looking for ourselves. If it's not 'Us' we can't comprehend it's intelligence.
We look/test for intelligence in animals and objects around us all the time. What makes you think we'd suddenly stop looking for it or that we have ever defined it as only us? We have only made the claim that out of all the creatures we have observed that we are the only known species to operate at such a high degree of intelligence and sentience. In fact, what makes you claim at all that we're only looking for intelligence like ourselves? Trees having more "intelligence" than we thought doesn't mean they're like dolphins or even necessarily even as smart as ants. It doesn't mean that some new kind of intelligence exists either. Only that there may be a method to their actions which is more than we'd have thought. What's more is that you just said that "studies have shown that plants are probably a little more sentient than we believe". You basically just made the claim that humans don't look for a-typical sentience and then cited a study in which people were looking for a-typical sentience, thereby disproving your own claim by presenting evidence.
 

Nurb

Cynical bastard
Dec 9, 2008
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The real question is: will we discover it before the sun goes red giant and kills the planet?
 

red255

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Apr 22, 2014
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Nurb said:
The real question is: will we discover it before the sun goes red giant and kills the planet?
er. no the question if you want to get morbid would need to be answered before I die. which is probably going to be before the sun does that.

if you want a mass extinction of the human race, a meteor or solar flare or something will come along before the sun goes giant.

2166 Is the date for that then, dark matter quake apparently, whatever that is.
 

garjian

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Mar 25, 2009
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That equation is so silly though...

Yes, the only possible life in the universe must have exactly the same characteristics as us. Everything is carbon-based, everything must breathe oxygen, and everything must drink water. Sure.

How can you call it a "Garden Planet" if those who evolved specifically to live in it are the ones deciding that? The attributes of Earth and any similar planets wouldn't be considered anything special to a species that doesn't rely on those attributes.
 

Imperioratorex Caprae

Henchgoat Emperor
May 15, 2010
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I go with 50/50 we'll wake up one day and they're there. Or they're not. Math it up all you want, til we observe them or their lack thereof, its a 50/50 chance. Do I care if it isn't logical? I find all these big equations of probability fascinating ways of wasting time on something we'll either know one day or never know and it won't be because of math equations or probability estimates.
But hey, thats still a nifty explanation of it.