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Uh oh...Is Drake's Equation really reliable?

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posted on Apr, 18 2008 @ 01:19 PM
reply to post by atlasastro

Perhaps I was. I didn't pick up your referral to a different discussion.

At the most I was simply trying to give an opportunity to you to tie those topics together.

No nit picking intended.

posted on Apr, 18 2008 @ 02:12 PM

Originally posted by MrPenny
Yeah, the equation could use some more variables.....but at least it has the value of "1" to work with.

Absolutely agreed. But the Drake Equation is essentially used by most people as a guide to try and estimate the number of other intelligent (or at least intelligent in a way that is similar to the way we are) civilizations in the galaxy.

We know that the equation at least equals one, but we already knew we exist. And since the Drake Equation doesn't really add anything to what we already know, I don't consider it particularly useful.

posted on Apr, 18 2008 @ 02:38 PM
reply to post by Nohup

And thus my reasoning when I attempted to introduce this;

“Complex life is separated from the simplest life forms by several very unlikely steps and therefore will be much less common. Intelligence is one step further, so it is much less common still,” said Prof Watson.

His model, published in the journal Astrobiology, suggests an upper limit for the probability of each step occurring is 10 per cent or less, so the chances of intelligent life emerging is low – less than 0.01 per cent over four billion years. Source

Try as I might, I cannot dig up the actual published I can get are abstracts and new releases.

Anyway....we may be preaching to the same choir...

posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 11:28 AM

Originally posted by Nohup

We know that the equation at least equals one, but we already knew we exist. And since the Drake Equation doesn't really add anything to what we already know, I don't consider it particularly useful.

Suggest you consider actually reading the Drake Equation definition.

Strictly speaking, we do not qualify as a 'communicating civilization', since we are not actively broadcasting a multi-Gigawatt signal.

We're merely passive listeners. The leakage into space of old TV signals doesn't really qualify.

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 01:51 AM

Originally posted by Badge01

Originally posted by rawsom
I believe that the Drake Equation is, in fact, quite correct and can be used to accurately calculate number of alien civilizations.

I basically agree with your comments, but, again, the DE is not designed to calculate if we are 'alone', or the number of alien civilizations in our galaxy.

My error.. It is designed to calculate number of those civilizations that we may get contact with.

There may be thousands of Type 0.5 agrarian civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy without the means or intelligence to broadcast a signal.

There may be lots of civilizations that are able to passively search for signals, but don't have the means or power requirements to broadcast actively.

In fact there may have been many thousands of civilizations that rose to prominance a million years ago but died out before Man first started walking upright.

Well, history is something that DE does not give results about. Not having a capability to send a signal out if of course a problem in this equation, but given that in that case there is not much hope for encountering that particular civilization, it does not really matter because number of such civilizations would propably be small enough for the resulting errror in averages to be meaningless.

But who knows, maybe intelligence is quite common but for that to result in high tecnology.. That's propably a lot more sparse (rare). I have sometimes wondered what would it be like if you encounter an intelligent alien race that has grapping limbs next to nothing. How could they use any tools, or invent any for that matter? Its very, very hard for me to imagine building of a space ship without any practical tools. You do need limbs that are suited for it.

Remember each planet is a closed biosphere. It's like a culture that lives in a glass bowl. Without the presence of some kind of renewing event, like plate tectonics or deep ocean currents, the lifespan or 'greenspan' of a typical Earth-sized planet may be short as they pollute their environment and die a toxic death.

Yes, but again DE does not predict history.

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