archiv~1.txt: Re: SETI-L: Everybody may be afraid & a Answer

Re: SETI-L: Everybody may be afraid & a Answer

mbernstein@c0t.org
Sat, 27 Mar 1999 12:25:50 -0600 (EST)

> > Yes, but what if there is some other fundamental type of wave that
> > "aliens" broadcast with? Until Maxwell's laws, we had no ideas about
>
> This line of reasoning normally results in wild fantasies. Yes it
> is true that there may be other means of communication that we have
> not discovered, but except for including an unquantifiable term for
> percentage of communicating civilisation using EM transmissions into the
> Drake equation, we cannot make even as good guesses about such alternatives
> than the fundamental physicists whose profession includes finding any
> that may exist.
>
> A particularly bad example of this is the reasoning that, because light
> travel time is an impediment to long distance communications, aliens
> must be using faster than light means. The reality is that our best
> current estimate is that such means cannot exist, and the fact that the
> universe is a difficult place without them is not a reason why they must
> exist; it may mean that there is not much communication, because it is
> fundamentally too difficult.

To us it's fundamentally difficult. So far I don't see too much empirical
data that proves it impossible. People didn't think flight was possible.
Same thing with this.

>
> Now, if someone discovers FTL communication tomorrow, those advocating
> FTL communication will claim they were right all along, but in reality
> they will still have been using false reasoning. The one case in which
> it would be wrong to dismiss the possibility would be if real evidence,
> or an elegant mathematical model made it possible, and experiments were
> not carried out to confirm this.
>
> > electromagnetic waves. What about anti-matter waves? What I'm getting at
>
> We already have a reasonable understanding of anti-matter waves, which
> are actually just a sub set of matter waves, which in turn are just
> material objects! (A problem, of course, with anti-matter is that its
> life expectancy in the local part of the universe is rather small!)
>

it was just something that came to mind, it's just a generic statement
that other things could be ways of communicating.

> To me, anti-matter waves, as used here, seems more like the use of a
> buzz word.
>

look above.

> > is extremely limited in total spectrum when compared to the other possible
> > ways of transmission. Who says aliens will be broadcasting anyways? Why
>
> You are assuming that there are other possible means. This is unproven.
>
> > would they care about broadcsating to us. We're assuming the aliens are
>

i like to keep an open mind. walt disney said , if you can dream it, you
can build it. I try to go by that.

> This factor, is I think, already in the Drake equation, and, although it
> is a social science question, rather than a physical science question, is
> almost as difficult to answer. The one thing here is that we are in a
> soft science area and there are no fundamental laws, as far as we can tell,
> that would prevent someone wanting to communicate and then one just relies
> on chance that they happen to be within range.
>

hence the line, serindipity.

> Science fiction writers can invent solutions to problems for their own
> convenience (the Star Trek transporter is a solution to the problem that
> filming a miniature shuttle craft is was more expensive than filming a
> transporter effect!), but in the real world we have to live with the
> possibility that we might actually know the absolute limits in some
> areas of physics. We may be wrong, but so is wishful thinking, when it
> diverts too many resources.
>

back in homer's time, science fiction as you call it was about man flying
with wings and such. It's amazing how no one ever thought that was
possible. Science fiction writers aren't given enough credit.

> We look in the EM spectrum because we know it is possible. We don't look
> for chronon particles++, because, as well as having no evidence for their
> existence, we don't know how to look for them. We can only use them when
> and if another part of man's search for knowledge, fundamental physics,
> finds them.
>
> PS People answering threads like this need to be aware that many people
> do not feel constrained to work within known science, so the response
> about optical SETI clearly showed a misunderstanding of the question.
> (On the other hand, it is sometimes possible to assume someone is wildly
> off track when they simply haven't explained themselves well.)
>
> ++ A fictional type of radiation in Star Trek.
>

mbernstein@c0t.org