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# Using the mathematical formula to prove E.T.'s exist

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posted on Oct, 2 2005 @ 10:22 AM
I will begin with this quote.

Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the Seti Institute in Mountain View, California, said signs of intelligent life - if any existed - would be found within 20 years.

His claim was based on accepted assumptions about the chances of alien civilisations existing and on projected increases in computing power on Earth.

Mr Shostak also estimated the number of alien civilisations in the Milky Way that might be broadcasting radio signals.

He used a formula created in 1961 which includes factors such as the number of stars with planets, how many of those planets might be expected to have life, and the likelihood of life evolving to an advanced stage.

He concluded that there should be between 10,000 and a million transmitting aliens in the galaxy, according to a report in New Scientist magazine.

What I've really been interested in, for as long as I can remember, is this 1961 formula. What is it? What does it take into account? Can it be taken seriously? After much thought, I think I may have figured it out.

The equation:

N = R x fp x ne x fl x fi x fc x L

Here is the description of the equation:

R is the rate at which stars have been born in the Milky Way per year, fp is the fraction of these stars that have solar systems of planets, ne is the average number of "Earthlike" planets (potentially suitable for life) in the typical solar system, fl is the fraction of those planets on which life actually forms, fi is the fraction of life-bearing planets where biological evolution produces an intelligent species, fc is the fraction of intelligent species that become capable of interstellar radio communication, and L is the average lifetime of a communicating civilization in years.

Now this equation looks brilliant, and indeed it is. Everything has been taken into account, and while most of the variables can be filled in with numbers now, some will have to wait until our own knowledge of the galaxy is expanded.

Now for the crutch. L ... the average lifetime of a communicating civilization. The lifetime of the civilization is a needed variable, but so are other things concerning time. Things such as what time was the civilization active? When you are talking about billions of years, the chances that multiple intelligent civilizations exist at the same time with comparable levels of intelligence and technology looks to become miniscule. Maybe there was a civilization close to us who lived two billion years ago. Maybe 50 million years ago. But within the same 20, 000 years? Assuming thats how long an average civilization may last?

Does anyone have anything to add to this thought? Just to restate it, I think that within the lifetime of the galaxy, and he planets, the chances of having more than a single intelligent species exist and be ale to communicate across the expanse of space is very small.

posted on Oct, 2 2005 @ 10:32 AM
It's called the Drake Equation and the only problem is knowing what numbers to use.

posted on Oct, 2 2005 @ 10:38 AM
Yes, I know it is called the drake equation and I don't think that the only problem is knowing what numbers to use. While this is a big problem, the equation doesn't account for the time that the civilization may exist.

Or does it? If you can explain how, please do so.

posted on Oct, 2 2005 @ 10:43 AM

where:

N is the number of extraterrestrial civilizations in our galaxy with which we might expect to be able to communicate

and

R* is the rate of star formation in our galaxy
fp is the fraction of those stars which have planets
ne is average number of planets which can potentially support life per star that has planets
fl is the fraction of the above which actually go on to develop life
fi is the fraction of the above which actually go on to develop intelligent life
fc is the fraction of the above which are willing and able to communicate
L is the expected lifetime of such a civilization

en.wikipedia.org...

posted on Oct, 2 2005 @ 10:58 AM
I'm starting to think you didn't read my post.

While the life time of the civilization is important, so is the time they existed.

if 10-20 thousand years is the expected lifetime of a civilization, when do those 10-20 thousand years take place? Is it 50 million BCE, or is it 2000 CE? Do you see what I am getting at?

It could be that I am just not being clear enough. Or it could be that you didn't read/understand my post.

My concern with this equation, is that there is no placement of the civilization on a time-map. I have only about 80-90 years of life, what are the chances that I would be born in the 20th century and not in the fifth? That I am having this conversation with you depends not only on how long we live for, but also in what time.

posted on Oct, 2 2005 @ 11:15 AM
Are you attempting to insult me son?

posted on Oct, 2 2005 @ 11:28 AM
I wouldn't do that, son.

I am just trying to get a discussion going on the reliability of the drake equation. Even if we substitute reasonable numbers into the equation, does the result actually reflect a true representation?

I may not understand the equation fully, but it seems to me that it doesn't solve for two civilizations existing at the same time.

Why are you trying to kill the discussion?

posted on Oct, 2 2005 @ 11:31 AM

Originally posted by Enrikez
While this is a big problem, the equation doesn't account for the time that the civilization may exist.

Or does it? If you can explain how, please do so.

You are touching on a topics near the “Anthopic Principle”, follow some of the conceptualizations and equations and you may find a clearer direction to answer you questions.

The anthropic cosmological principle asserts that the laws, constants and basic structure of the universe are not completely arbitrary. Instead they are contrained by the requirement that they must allow for the existence of intelligent observers, ourselves.

Controversial, but it leads to some interesting stat sets, functions and good philosophical arguments if you follow the many directions it may take you.

Two good initial starts are:

Anthropic Principle (introductory)

Site with further explanation and good recommendations

And opposing view (great paper!):

The Beginning of the End of the Anthropic Principle

.

[edit on 2-10-2005 by cjf]

posted on Oct, 2 2005 @ 11:49 AM

Originally posted by Enrikez
I am just trying to get a discussion going on the reliability of the drake equation. Even if we substitute reasonable numbers into the equation, does the result actually reflect a true representation?

Yes, it can.

I may not understand the equation fully, but it seems to me that it doesn't solve for two civilizations existing at the same time.

It's not supposed to. Given the number of stars out there, it would be equally likely that there is only ONE world with any degree of civilization on it at any given 100,000 year time period.

YOU are supposed to tell it how many civilizations there are ("fi" in the equation.)

Until we actually meet and establish relations with another civilization (as in, they show up at Disneyland and they have regular trade meetings with world leaders and establish embassies in world capitals -- buildings that you can walk into and talk to them -- and have regularly appearing guest lecturers for astronomy programs), then we have no way of knowing which numbers we should use for any of that.

posted on Oct, 2 2005 @ 11:51 AM
The way that I understand the Drake Equation , is that it solves for the Fraction of Planets in the Milky Way Galaxy that would have Communicating Civilizations at any given time.

So if you caluclate the Drake Equation as N = 10,000 then what that number means is that 10,000 planets in the Milky Way would have communicating civilizations at any one given time.

posted on Oct, 2 2005 @ 07:15 PM
Hmmm. Interesting. I was thinking that the equation solved for total civilizations, not really at anyone time.

Maybe I'm just being dense, but this formula cannot possibly be used to get any reliable prediction on advanced civilizations in the milky way. There is just too much that is unknown and the time issue is something I just cannot get over.

posted on Oct, 2 2005 @ 09:38 PM
Also do not confuse the Drake equation with UFO's. The two do not have anything to do with each other.

The Drake equation will estimate the number of civilizations capable of having a radio conservation with us (whether one-way or two-way). This does not imply in any way that the other civilization has developed the technology for interstellar travel, which is an exponentially greater order of technology than radio communication.

posted on Oct, 2 2005 @ 10:03 PM
Enriquez, your point is well taken. You might want to add another multiplier to the denominator, which would be

[your guess as to the life of a technological civilization]
divided by
[the amount of time during which such a civilization could come to life].

For example, if we assume (and everything is an assumption here) tht it takes the first 3 Gyears for a cooling planet in the 'goldilocks' zone of a G-class star's system to reach the potential for radio-makers to evolve, and that the average Type II star in the Universe is about 6 Gyears old, then you, divide 20,000 years of endurance by (6-3) or 3,000,000,000 years to come up with the statistical probablility of civilization "X" being around at any particular time (like now). This probablility is 0.000000666, which cuts down your number of radio makers around today by a factor of 6.66 X 10^6.

posted on Oct, 3 2005 @ 03:09 PM

Originally posted by Enrikez
Hmmm. Interesting. I was thinking that the equation solved for total civilizations, not really at anyone time.

If you wanted to solve for total Civilizations , you just need to leave out the Time varibles (*) , and fL , and drop the communication varible fc.

And you have this equation for total Intelligent Civilizations, N = N fp ne fl fi

Maybe I'm just being dense, but this formula cannot possibly be used to get any reliable prediction on advanced civilizations in the milky way. There is just too much that is unknown and the time issue is something I just cannot get over.

Its math so the equation is as accurate as the accuracy of the values you input. We know that the Earth qualifies for all the Values in the Drake equation.

The time issue is addressed twice in the equation,( *) represents the rate of Star formation i.e. A new star is born on average of every ten years.

And Fl represents the fraction of a planets life span that a communicating Civilization exists on that planet. i.e. 100 years = 1/100,000,000th 10,000 years = 1/1,000,000 th

posted on Oct, 3 2005 @ 08:48 PM
I happen to believe that there are other civilizations in space, but I don't really see what the Drake Equation has to do with it. The numbers don't tell the story any more than the common sense reasoning that the universe is too large for there not to be at least one more form of "intelligent" life out there somewhere.

I think the real error of logic is that an advanced civilization must have radio telecommunications. An awful lot of "advanced" civilizations came and went before Tesla gained the first patent for radio communication and Marconi made it economically feasible and even if they do have the technology, finding the evidence for such is a very long shot, indeed, and communication is, in all likelihood, out of the question.

Drake did well to endeavor to quantify the variables of such a possibility, but there is no guarantee that such an equation would yield any figure that would bear any relationship to reality.

What's more, there is no evidence that would preclude our being the only form of "intelligent" life in the universe, not even Drake's Equation. In fact, there is no reason to believe that we are not alone, except for probablity and hope.

posted on Oct, 3 2005 @ 09:08 PM

I happen to believe that there are other civilizations in space, but I don't really see what the Drake Equation has to do with it.
-[snip]-

“The Drake Equation” just estimates the general number of currently ‘possible’ existing civilizations in the galaxy. “The Drake Equation” doesn't take into account the extent of those civilizations may have migrated, “spread-out” etc. (see previous post)

These functional equations are based upon assumptions (best guesses in ‘categorical’ areas of cultural, physical and biological estimates) tied to our own limited knowlege (or lack thereof).

Try asking a logical statistician, the probability purported is 1.0
.

posted on Oct, 4 2005 @ 07:52 PM

It's called the Drake Equation and the only problem is knowing what numbers to use.

Pretty much yeah...we don't know the variables, so until then we're guessing at the inputs.

In my opinion, the Drake equation is missing another key factor...

fr fraction of the above which is communicating in a manner which we can detect and read.

For example, say all of the other variables were met, and a civilization is streaming out greetings by the terrabytes, only it's using "metatron" transmissions, and we haven't even developed an inkling about how to detect, decode, etc. metatron transmissions!

[edit on 4-10-2005 by Gazrok]

posted on Oct, 4 2005 @ 08:20 PM

Originally posted by Gazrok
For example, say all of the other variables were met, and a civilization is streaming out greetings by the terrabytes, only it's using "metatron" transmissions, and we haven't even developed an inkling about how to detect, decode, etc. metatron transmissions!

There's a lot of information from ourselves that we can't access because it is stored in formats for which we no longer have machines to run them on. Making contact by RF with extra-terrestrials is infinitely more complex.

posted on Oct, 5 2005 @ 02:29 PM
Exactly my point. We can't even read some of our own crap these days, without finding an antique to play it on... Now extend this to an extraterrestrial society and THEIR inventions...

Hence, my suggestion of the addition of that factor to the equation....

posted on Oct, 5 2005 @ 10:02 PM
I have had fun the last few minutes playing with the Drake Equation.

Because the equation is actually a calculation of the Number of planets that meet certain conditions you can change just a few of the variables , the questions , as long as the function of the equation stays the same you still have a working equation.

This was an interesting one I did calculating the number of civilizations that would develop the technology for Extra-Solar Travel. Of course as with any calculation of the Drake equation, its mostly guess work.

R - Rate of formation of suitable stars in our galaxy (aggregate number)
R = 200billion

fp - Percentage of those stars with planets
fp = 40%

Ne -Number of planets per star that could sustain life like earth
Ne = .33

fl - Percentage of those planets where life actually develops
fl = 10%

fi - Percentage of planets from fl with intelligent life
fi = 2%

ft - Percentage of planets from fi where technology for Extra-Solar Travel develops
ft = 2%

L - "Lifetime" of E-S Traveling civilizations (years)
L = 1 / 10,000th (1,000,000 years)

R * fp * Ne * fl * fi * ft * L = N

N = 105.60000000000001

N - Number of Extra-Solar Traveling civilizations

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