Challenge Match: Druid42 vs OpinionatedB: Are We Alone?

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posted on Jul, 4 2012 @ 08:26 PM
The topic for this debate is "There is no extra-terrestrial intelligent life, and Earth is the only inhabited planet.”

Druid42 will be arguing the "Pro" position and begin the debate.
OpinionatedB will be arguing the "Con" position.

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posted on Jul, 5 2012 @ 02:46 AM
I'll open this debate by giving a sincere thanks to The Vagabond for presiding over this discussion, and express appreciation for my opponent, OpinionatedB, for wishing to participate in a challenge about such a controversial subject. I also wish to thank the members that take the time to read this debate.

"There is no extra-terrestrial intelligent life, and Earth is the only inhabited planet.”

Since this is such an expansive topic, I'll begin with a few brief points which outline my position:

Our solar system is unique. Our planet is even more so, being balanced in the "Goldilocks Zone", with a self-regulating biosphere, and a magnetosphere that protects us from solar radiation. The balance is precarious, with life on this planet defying various laws of thermodynamics, a very rare event that is subjected to periodic set backs. I'd like to consider that any developing planet would suffer from the same setbacks as ours has had.

Given the fact that there have been five extinction level events in our archaeological record, and the first anatomically correct humans appeared only 200,000 years ago, coupled with the fact that our planet was in a glacial period 12,000 years ago, the development of civilization on a planet is no easy task. Our latest successful attempt at civilization derives back to the Indus Valley, approximately 6000 years ago.

Between asteroid impacts and volcanic activities which upset the biosphere, humanity itself has had quite a struggle to get where we are. The same experiences should be applied to any extra-terrestrial civilizations.

We also have the problem of interstellar distances. If there was a civilization that managed to overcome the setbacks we have experienced on this planet, they would also have to travel vast distances to make contact with other civilizations. With a light year (ly) being about 10 trillion kilometers (6 trillion miles), and the nearest star being Proxima Centauri at 4.2 ly away, astronomers adopted the parsec (pc) which is about 3.26 light years, to measure and scale the distances between stars. The Milky Way galaxy itself is about 30,000 parsecs across. Our galaxy is one out of billions.

It would seem feasible that at least one of those billions of galaxies would have succeeded in producing a planet which is capable of supporting life. Perhaps they have produced simple bacteria, if you believe in Panspermia, but that's where we run into the Fermi-Hart Paradox.

If even a very small fraction of the hundred billion stars in the galaxy are home to technological civilizations which colonize over interstellar distances, the entire galaxy could be completely colonized in a few million years. The absence of such extraterrestrial civilizations visiting Earth is the Fermi paradox.

I will postulate that the reason that we have not had open and direct contact with extra-terrestrials is because they don't exist. To place a perspective, if we had interstellar travel, we would go into a new planetary system and make ourselves known, especially after having traveled so far. We would need resources, and negotiate trade.

I'll refrain from any Socratic Questions at this point, as I have been very broad in my opening post. I'll give my opponent the opportunity to present their opening, and solidify the focus of their position.

posted on Jul, 9 2012 @ 09:20 PM
First I would like to thank Vagabond for setting up the debate, Druid42 for agreeing to have me as a debating partner, and the members of ATS who are reading this debate. I also would like to thank everyone for their patience with me this last week, as this debate has had a very slow start on my part.

The debate centers around the question:

"There is no extra-terrestrial intelligent life, and Earth is the only inhabited planet.”

To this point I will start by saying that while our solar system is uniquely capable of sustaining life, this multiverse is exceedingly large and multifaceted, and it would be ignorant of us to assume, based soley on what little knowledge we as a civilization currently hold, that ours is the only system in the multiverse capable of, and inhabited by, intelligent life.

We are a very young civilization, and only now coming into our own intellectually as a human race yet even still we have a very long ways to go. Just because we see what our behavior might be, we must look again at what even older civilizations might do.

First consideration when considering contact would be would that contact bring diseases to either of the races which might cause one to become extinct.

Secondly; would any technology we brought be detrimental to the contacted civilization because they were not fully evolved enough to handle its uses.

Third; is this a warring race, if you are not a warring people you might want to keep an eye on such a race without speaking aloud your presense so that when they did become knowledgable enough to venture off their planet you would have forewarning.

We also have signs outside of logic for the possible existence of other worlds and other beings. Religion comes to mind in this area, one religion in particular I know for a fact speaks of the existence of beings on other planets as close as 120 light years away.A distance we currently do not even have the capability of seeing.

In Drakes equation there should be a great number of extra terrestrial civilizations in our universe, and I do not believe we can discount it simply because we have yet to see any open forms of contact with such civilizations.

I believe this will do it for my opening statement, and now I leave it to Druid42

posted on Jul, 10 2012 @ 07:11 PM
First rebuttal:

I'll agree with my opponent's assessment that we are a very young civilization. Compared against the age of the multiverse, we are in our infancy of development. It would be negligent of us if we didn't address all aspects of extra-terrestial life.

So in response, I'll disseminate the impossibility of an ancient extra-terrestrial civilization or civilizations.

My opponent expresses that there would be several mutable factors which would prevent contact, the first of which would be the spread of disease. While it's true that the early immigrants from England brought diseases to the North American natives, just as one example, I would like to think that as well as developing the ability to travel amongst the stars, ET civilizations would have had equal advancements in biology. It would seem feasible to invoke a well rounded advancement in all the physical sciences before they even attempted interstellar travel, and had the equivalent of the best medical personnel on board every space ship. In short, a precursor to interstellar travel would entail to ability for genetic manipulation, and perhaps even, the ability to eradicate any disease from their genome, and also the ability to negate any other known pathogens that they may encounter. H.G. Wells, in his "War of the Worlds", forgot to include that ability.

The consideration of bringing advanced technology to us has been used before, by Gene Roddenberry, in his popular "Star Trek" franchise. It's called the "Prime Directive." Popular culture often implants certain notions called memes, and they often span generations. It would be a shame that an advanced civilization, after arriving in our solar system, decided that we were too primitive to be acceptable. I deem that any advanced civilization would want to make contact with others, especially after having traveled many light years to make said contact. Additionally, it would seem almost counter-productive to spend the resources to travel to another planetary system and not make yourself known.

There's another possibility to consider, and that is if an extra-terrestrial race is peaceful or war-like. I'll posit that by nature, any ET civilization would be peaceful. Wars and destruction would need to be abolished on their home world, and if not, the race of beings would fall into the category of a civilization that destroyed itself. Hostile aliens are a figment of many a good author's stories, nothing more.

There are many ancient texts and pictograms which could be interpreted as contact with extra-terrestrials if my opponent wishes to use them. I'm of the opinion that most ancient societies had a caste system, with literate scribes that dictated believable stories to the illiterate commoners. Often, religion was used as a method of control. One particular example is the Sun God Ra, who traveled across the sky daily on his scarab beetle, bringing light, and health, to the Ancient Egyptians. An eclipse was an omen, and gave the priests control over their subjects, re-enforcing their religious beliefs. Today, we are able to describe the phenomena accurately, using astronomy and astrophysics, and there's no required mythology to explain it.

Frank Drake invented an equation in 1961 after attempting search for signals from ETs.

Criticism of the Drake equation follows mostly from the observation that several terms in the equation are largely or entirely based on conjecture. Thus the equation cannot be used to draw firm conclusions of any kind.

One reply to such criticisms is that even though the Drake equation currently involves speculation about unmeasured parameters, it was not meant to be science, but intended as a way to stimulate dialogue on these topics.

Drake's equation has been thoroughly discussed, and remains speculative, at best.

Socratic questions:

1) Is there any proof of extra-terrestrial life in the historical record?

2) Do you think that beliefs in ETs are based on facts, or based upon popular opinion?

posted on Jul, 13 2012 @ 07:19 PM
First Rebuttal:

I begin by pointing out that the absense of evidence is NOT the evidence of absense, which truely appears the entire premise of your argument. There are a great many things we have not seen, but nevertheless are - they exist, in spite of our failure to see them. If that were not the case, new discoveries would never be made - there would be nothing left unobserved for us to newly "discover".

Your argument also presumes that we have NOT seen them, and potentially misinterpreted what we saw. In that potential, I offer you this article on the potential alien origin of an object observed in 1991, called "1991 VG" :

It's a 6 page scientific peer-reviewed and refereed article on the potential for that observed object to have been an alien probe on a reconnaissance mission, written by an Australian scientist, Duncan Steel. We apparently have an encounter with it every 15 or 16 years.

Just because we don't see something does not prove it is not there to be seen, if we know where to look and what to look for.

The Drake Equation was about exploring the possibilities, which are endless, rather than it being a hard and fast rule. This is what science is about, exploring all the possibles, rather than simply living in denial of those possibilities due to ignorance.

There is nothing to say that extra terrestrial intelligent life would even necessarily have either the ability or desire for inter stellar travel, there is also nothing to say that they would even think or act like human beings. Yet, you appear to have decided both of the above, which is not some hard and fast rule in the realm of the possible. We are an intelligent species yet we do not have the capability to go outside of our solar system, in actuality we are far from accomplishing travel even within our own solar system, yet you would not argue that we were not intelligent due to this.

The notion of catching disease from extraterrestrials should be viewed in light of the probability that alien organisms will have an entirely different DNA structure than Earth organisms. What kills us could very well be something they eat for breakfast, and vice versa. If they are more advanced then us then this would be something they would easily want to take into consideration.

There is absolutely NO reason to assume that war must have been abolished among aliens to make star flight possible. War was not abolished on Earth to make room for the expansionsim in the age of exploration. As a matter of fact, war facilitated it and in some cases drove it. Even now, almost all of our scientific advances in application are initiated, developed, or advanced by the various militaries, with an eye towards military application. Without that stimulation for development, many discoveries would languish in the laboratories of their inception. The internet itself started with military research and application as DARPANET.

Answer to Socratic question 1 - there is no "proof" either way, and in all likelihood never will be. there is only "evidence", which is not the same thing as "proof". Evidence supports a contention, proof is hard and fast and cannot be refuted.

Answer to Socratic question 2 - What "belief" in ETs is based upon is irrelevant. We are not debating belief, we are debating existence, and whether or not there is any objective evidence or reasoning to support it. The specific debate topic is "There is no extra-terrestrial intelligent life, and Earth is the only inhabited planet.” It does not involve "belief", or even ET visitations of Earth. It is a simple arument of existence or not - not visitation, travel, or anything else beyond "Is it there, or is it not?" There is no reason whatsoever that the existence of life elsewhere requires it to have visited Earth.

Socratic Question to Druid42 1) Do you have any proof of there not planets outside our own that are inhabited by intelligent beings?

posted on Jul, 15 2012 @ 02:12 PM
Second Rebuttal:

Answer to Socratic question:

1) Do you have any proof of there not (being any, sic) planets outside our own that are inhabited by intelligent beings?

NASA's awesomely named deep-space observatory, the Kepler Planet Hunter, has been designed to scour space for planets less massive than Earth. The latest data, released on Feb. 2, is an astronomer's dream come true: The Planet Hunter has tagged 1,235 objects as possible planets.

The best contender for a habitable planet is 20 lya, called Gliese 581d, but as more data is reviewed, other candidates are possible. To be more direct in an answer, yes, there are planets out there, but the question of habitability comes well before the question of an intelligent civilization residing there. I cannot, nor anyone else, provide evidence that there are or aren't such planets, the distances are simply too far to verify such information.

I will propose that peaceful planetary co-habitation is a prerequisite for interstellar travel, and use our civilization as an example. While the Internet was the end result of a military project named Darpanet, the design specifications were to include the ability to survive a global thermonuclear attack. Most technological advancements have always had a military bias, with funding provided by the government of a nation seeking an edge over a competing nation. This militaristic attitude towards technological development has given us the unique ability to destroy ourselves, and likely most life on this planet. This same competition for survival would more than likely apply to any evolving race of beings. Survival fitness has been the mechanism by which life has flourished on this planet through several extinction events, and the result is a unique biodiversity which has spawned only one truly intelligent species.

I'd like to clarify another point at this time. My opponent has stated a position of whether an ET civilization would have the desire or ability to travel the stars. Due to the vast amount of resources required for such an undertaking, I find it unfeasible for a war-like civilization to be able to achieve such an endeavor. There's a huge bottleneck to overcome, and it's not ability, but rather greed. There is a lack of funding on this planet for such projects, so most designs are stuck in the design stage. While it's true that alien civilizations need not have the same basic motivations the we as members of this planet do, or even for them to look like us, I would venture to think that they have the basics instincts for survivability and reproduction that we do. Intelligence would require them to consider such topics, so even if they did take a different evolutionary line away from bi-pedal locomotion and binocular vision, their common factor of intelligence would be the deciding factor in their actions, both as individuals and a civilization as a whole.

As far as accepting 1991 VG as an alien artifact, I'll lean heavily to the side of it being a man-made object. It has a periodicity of 15 years, and a predictable orbital path. We've built a global system of communication since then, so any alien probe will have missed out on a lot of details. Think of all the advancements of the last fifteen years, and then consider the inefficiency of such a probe. As a technical detail, it is being tracked as a celestial object:

Due to crash into the earth in 2101, with a Torino Scale of 0. (No harm whatsoever.) I do not see the logic behind a self destructing probe. Shouldn't it be programmed to return to it's own star system? Speculation could offer hundreds of design flaws, so it's more logical to assume it's not an ET artifact.

While the absence of evidence works fine as a defense in the criminal justice system, we must consider the millions of cases of UFO sightings, reports of human abduction, and sightings of humanoid creatures. Surely, the weight of evidence should confirm our belief in extra-terrestrial life. There are however, no exemplary examples of a satisfying confirmation. Short of a globally televised broadcast of a live video feed of a mothership landing and ETs descending from landing ramp, there are always inconsistencies to consider.

Socratic question: Given the example in my last sentence, wouldn't contact be a requisite for denoting the existence of ETs?

posted on Jul, 16 2012 @ 10:43 PM
Second Rebuttal:

In 1991, there was only one "known" planetary system outside of ours - 5.9 ly away at Barnard's Star. Within 5 years of that date, the Barnard System vanished, apparently a figment of Peter van de Kamp's wishful thinking, and was replaced by several others. Now those "others" number

623 planetary systems and 777 planets
catalogued at The Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia and are by no means nearing exhaustion, because of selection bias, current searches are limited to truly huge planets in close orbits to the parent star. Within a few years, we may be closer to finding Earth-sized planets in a proper orbit for life support, but that is currently just beyond our detection threshold.

As far as a planet being habitable that in and of itself in quite subjective since we find creatures here on earth that survive in areas of this planet we could never. As we know, things evolve in order to adapt to the environs in which they find themselves in. as well intelligence itself evolves over time

Concerning whether or not the building blocks of life exist outside of this planet the answer to that is also yes. We find in the article: Organic Matter in Carbonaceous Meteorites: Past, Present and Future Research by Mark A. Sephton

Philosophical Transactions: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences , Vol. 363, No. 1837, Astronomy and earth science (Dec. 15, 2005), pp. 2729-2742
Published by: The Royal Society
Article Stable URL:


"Many compound classes detected in [the meteorite] Murchison are also present in terrestrial living systems, raising the possibility that extra terrestrial organic matter may have seeded the origins of life on Earth."

You seem to have made the statement that it's necessary to abolish warfare in order to make technological advancements, but then proceeds to list all the reasons that war would be a REQUIREMENT for tech advancement -

Interstellar travel may have a technological barrier - it may be a trade off of generations to travel star to star. At some point, a civilization may be forced to send out generation starships that travel subluminally for generations before arriving at a destination, rather than a "Star Trek" universe of superluminal velocities for travel in a single life time. That tech is impossible with current physics, and it has the potential to be an absolute travel barrier.

It could be that physics turns out to be the bottleneck, rather than greed.

If 1991 VG is a man-made object, why has no one been able to identify which one in the past 21 years? One would think 21 years would be sufficient time to sort through the very limited number of possible rockets it could be, and have determined a likely candidate for it's identification. The "crash potential" is negligible. It has already made at least one course correction, whether intentional or accidental, and there is nothing to preclude it doing so again if it has done so once.

Assuming that it be necessary to return to the home system is ludicrous. Out of all the probes WE have sent out, how many have been return missions? Now add to that the fact that interstellar travel times could be on the order of THOUSANDS of years, why would one assume that any alien probes sent out on exploratory missions be return probes, with thousands of years outbound, indeterminate dwell times, and then thousands of years to return home?

The "millions of sightings of UFOs" mentioned by my opponent are just that - UNIDENTIFIED Flying Objects. No reason to assume them to be extraterrestrial, and so they really have no bearing on the question of the existence of extraterrestrial life. They could be anything from extradimensional to entirely imaginary to simple misidentification of the mundane.

I reiterate my earlier statement, contact is not a requirement for existence.

"Answer to Socratic question: While contact is certainly one means of denoting the existence of intelligent extra terrestrial life it by no means is the only one. When you denote it is a sign or an indicator, contact is much more than just an is full on proof.

In order to find an indication of intelligent live you would only need constucted objects which did not originate on earth in the universe, or another planet with some sort of constructions, art work, etc."

Socratic Question 1) why is it necessary for alien life to visit Earth, when there may be literally thousands of other candidates for them to visit, closer to their location?
edit on Tue 17 Jul 2012 by The Vagabond because: Answer to Socratic question edited in because it was accidentally omitted

posted on Jul, 17 2012 @ 02:18 PM
Third, and final, Rebuttal:

It's given that there are an astronomical amount of planets in our universe. Our own solar system contains eight of them. Our own galaxy, the Milky Way, contains 200-400 billion stars, as do many of the other galaxies out in space.

The Hubble Deep Field image contains 10,000 galaxies. At 2.5 arcminutes, that's roughly 1/2,000,000 of the visible universe in any direction. So if we multiply 3,000,000,000 x 10,000 x 2,000,000 we get 6 sextillion or 6,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets in the visible universe.

Surely, there should be life on one or more of them. However, denoting the existence of life is a far cry away from life that has developed intelligence. We remain unique on this planet, and intelligence is a rare quality of life.

While we have discovered life forms that can survive in extreme climates, such as the tardigrades that live in the icy regions of our planet, and the D. radiodurans bacteria that can withstand thousands of times the lethal dose of radiation, those organisms have adapted to survive that particular niche in their environment, and are hardly suited for adapting to a new environment. In other words, specialized organisms are at an evolutionary standstill, content and thriving with no particular reason to evolve.

I do not see a technological barrier for extra-terrestrial life if it were to exist. While our own planet is consumed with greed, allowing little opportunity to develop new methods of propulsion and scientific research into the feasibility of interstellar travel, there are groups working on such problems. I see potential, once quantum mechanics is better understood, to utilize currently unknown technology, and with technology growing at an exponential rate due to the sharing of information through our global communication system, the potential could be realized within a few decades. What is required to make it a reality is a re-examination of current policies.

If 1991 VG is a man-made object, why has no one been able to identify which one in the past 21 years?

There are resolution problems with an object so small. It's the same reason why telescopes on earth, for example, can't get high quality images of say, the Apollo Landing site. There are issues with atmospheric lensing, as well. It would require an orbit with less time than 15 years, and then perhaps we'd be able to focus different imaging and focusing systems on it, and study it more carefully. Once again, there are also issues with funding, and a lack of interest in a celestial object that appears to have no detrimental effect on this planet. Also, celestial objects are always changing their orbital paths, not making "voluntary" course corrections, but rather being perturbed by the gravitational forces of other interstellar bodies.

I can recall in recent history that a comet named Shoemaker-Levy 9 actually got trapped in the gravity well of the planet Jupiter, and left earth sized blotches captured in the image above.

Socratic Question 1) why is it necessary for alien life to visit Earth, when there may be literally thousands of other candidates for them to visit, closer to their location?

Answer: I would think that intelligent species would want to make contact with other intelligent species, just as people communicate with other people. It's a consciously bound trait, to reproduce and share information, beyond just mere survival. I'll refer back:

The Fermi Paradox is the apparent contradiction between the high probability extraterrestrial civilizations' existence and the lack of contact with such civilizations.
If there are colonies in other galaxies, there is no way for us to prove their existence. No contact leads us to doubt their existence. The same could be said of unicorns and dragons. Without proof, even though a person may want to believe, there is only the imagination.

Of course, if an intelligent civilization develops space travel, there would be evidence of colonies or artifacts of some sort. Perhaps even something identifiable as a von Neumann probe. A lack of radio signals or types of communication also bothers us, even though we have programs such as SETI in place. It's possible that we don't know how to communicate with them, but even more likely that they simple don't exist.

posted on Aug, 5 2012 @ 08:08 PM
Third and final rebuttal:

The analysis presented gives a good overview of the complexity and vast stellar population of space, but it omits the vast distances involved between all of those stars and planets. Even though there are in all probability a huge number of planets scattered across the universe, space is mostly empty space, with huge distances between the stars. There are very good reasons, according to the current understanding of physics, that may preclude discovery of alien civilizations even if they are scatterd all over the universe. Some of these reasons will be presented in due course.

In the discussion of "life" vs" intelligent life", it is worthy of note that intelligence is not always accompanied by technology. Technology is dependent on tool use, rather than intelligence itself. One may be extremely intelligent, yet utterly incapable of building anything at all, for lack of ability to use tools. Dolphins are an earthbound example. Most estimates place their native intelligence on par with humans, yet they are entirely incapable of using tools, because they don't have hands or opposable thumbs. Intelligence is not measured by artifact construction, but rather by a native ability to think and reason. Ants can build like nobody's business, and dolphins cannot, but there is little question as to which is the more intelligent.

The argument against an alien abrogation of a technological barrier is by no means a given. Under our current understanding pf physics, there are real barriers to technological development, especially in the area of space travel. That is not to say that such barriers can not be overcome, but that it is by no means a given that they can be. There is a lot of science fiction "theory" that would allow for superluminal travel, but they all run up against a barrier when measured against current real-world physics. Current physics is adamant that the speed of light in vacuum is an absolute speed limit. Physics itself will have to be expanded in order to account for superluminal travel, something that our current level of understanding has not done, and may indeed be unable to do. Just as Einstinian Physics accounted for and expanded upon Newtonian Physics, it may be that there is more to be discovered that will account for and expand Einstinian Physics in the same way, providing for new capabilities. Still, that is as yet undiscovered, and we must therefore work within the framework we have currently. Speculation is fine, and it drives development, but it cannot be employed to justify itself.

In the matter of extremophiles, we should not assume that because extremophiles have found a "niche" here, that they would be niche-bound everywhere. That's unlikely to be the case. In particular, in places where what we consider an "extreme" here are instead the norm, the same selection pressures would be in play that drive change and development in the "norm" here. In those places, alien "extremes" may in fact BE our "norm" here. They may be thinking that a planet with a 21 percent oxygen atmosphere and an average temperature of 57 degrees farenheit is far to extreme to support anything more than bacteria, the only sort of life found in such "extreme niches" there on their own world.

Regarding the matter of 1991VG, we cannot assume that a visual confirmation is the only way to identify it. No one has yet been able to propose which rocket remnant it could be, and so speculation that it is indeed the remnant of an Earth rocket is no less speculative than speculation that it may be an alien probe, such as a Von Neumann Probe. The simple fact is we don't know, and no rocket has been proposed to start an identification process as Earth generated debris. No one has even been able to propose WHICH one of the rockets to look for, so a visual confirmation is moot - no one has been able to say which is likely to be confirmed in such an observation run. The fact that it is in a heliocentric orbit rather than a geocentric one is also a crucial factor which limits the potential rockets even further - it would have to be one of the few launched beyond Earth orbit in the proper time frame, or else some mechanism for breaking free of earth's gravity must be proposed.

So "resolution problems" are a moot point. Capture by the jovian gravity well (i.e Shoemaker-Levy) is also a moot point. 1991 VG is not orbiting Jupiter, nor is it ever, at any point in it's orbit, close enough to be trapped by Jupiter. In order for orbital preturbations to account for the course correction, one must explain which body had the influence to preturb it's orbit and change it. The only possibilities are the Earth, the Moon, or the Sun, or potentially a wandering comet or Earth-crossing asteroid. All other solar system bodies, especially the large ones with large gravity wells, are overridden by those. Proximity is the determining factor when dealing with gravitational perturbations, and no proximities have been shown to account for the course correction that would have been required to leave the object in it's current orbit if it had an Earth origin.

The Fermi paradox may be rebutted by pointing out that alien communication methods may be... ALIEN! We may not have the right equipment, or be searching the right frequencies. Radio communications on Earth are only about 100 years old, meaning that our extrasolar radio signature extends for a mere 100 light years or so from us, certainly limiting who may know of our existence at all beyond that limit. How long before we develop a more efficient means of communication? How do we know that an alien "radio envelope" spanning the time from their invention of radio to their abandonment of it hasn't alreeady bypassed us? In short, any civilization more than a mere 100 light years away has no way of knowing of OUR presence, any more than we can know of theirs. Just because we don't know of their existence does not preclude their existence - that logic would also preclude our own existence, because they do not and can not know of us.

Also problematic with radio communications on an interstellar level is the "inverse aquare" law. As any radiation, whether light, radio, or what have you propagates outward, it produces an ever enlarging sphere. You have the same amount of radio or light energy being spread ever thinner, until it gets too thin and weak to detect at all. The inverse square law is expressed as 1/(d^2), meaning that if you doubler the distance, signal strength falls to 1/4 (i.e 1/(2^2)). If you triple it, it falls to 1/9 (1/(3^2)). In other words, our already weak radio signals rapidly fall to undetectable.

To counter that, radio can be sent out in a tight, focused beam like a spotlight, but then it has to be aimed very precisely at the recipient, and no one may know we are here to recieve it, so it becomes a catch-22.

What if "they" are already entirely beyond the radio stage, and we don't have the equipment to receive whatever they are sending?

Von Neumann machines are self-replicating robotic probes. Von Neumann made the calculations that one could be sent to every star in the Milky Way galaxy in just a few million years, stopping to replicate themselves from materials in each new solar system they encounter and sending even more daughter probes out from there. The proposal rests on several assumptions - assuming that aliens would send out probes to begin with, assuming they would use currently receivable communications technology, assuming they would announce themselves rather than just do reconnaisance, etc. There is just as much chance that 1991 VG is a von Neumann probe as there is that it's an errant Earth rocket. No one knows, so it could be either. All possibilities are possibilities.

WE are an intelligent species, and WE have not sent out von Neumann probes. WE are an intelligent species, and WE have no radio signature at all beyond 100 light years. We should not assume other intelligences out there are any different, barring a somewhat larger or smaller radio signature - keeping in mind that larger ones may be weak below detectability. Just our galaxy, the Milky Way, is about 100,000 light years in diameter. It could be lousy with civilizations that we would have no way of knowing about.

posted on Aug, 5 2012 @ 10:14 PM
Closing Statement:

Under our current understanding pf physics, there are real barriers to technological development, especially in the area of space travel. That is not to say that such barriers can not be overcome, but that it is by no means a given that they can be.

Our own problems with achieving interstellar are the same problems any other civilization would need to embrace. I'll agree, that such hurdles are why we are still on this planet, and besides a much disputed foray onto the nearest orbiting body, there are dangers of interstellar travel on biological tissue. Gamma rays would be very harmful to long term space flight. We have no current understanding of such factors, but we are creeping along.

As stated before, there are differing opinions why we don't see extra-terrestrials on a regular basis. I'm willing to accept many different plausibilities as speculation, but the fact remains that there is no solid proof.

In summary, we can look to the following possibilities:

1) They don't exist.
2) They are too far away.
3) They wish to remain anonymous, and non-influential.
4) They are here with us.

Well, to refute those options, I'll say I agree with option one. Option two is possible, but if they are too far away to ever make contact with us, then it becomes a purely speculative option. Say, perhaps, we received a signal from outer space, that said they would be here in 10,000 years. What good is that? We could wait, but society would be much changed by then. When they got here their society as well as ours would be so diverged from our current path that such arguments are reduced to absurdness. To date, there is no signal.

If they wish to remain anonymous, or perhaps not influence our development, it would seem that we would be able to somehow detect their presence. In the case of option number three, they would either have a dimensional portal back to their homeworld, which would give off energy signatures, (wormholes require vast energies to operate) or else have a huge mothership in orbit around our star, of which would also provide all their needs. Such a latter scenario would almost surely dictate running out of resources.

Option four is the least palatable of all. Surely with all the world wide radar systems and satellites in place we would have detected and positively identified such alien anomalies. We haven't. Without proof, we must disregard all speculative theories, and reside, sometimes unsatisfactorily, upon a simple premise:

We are alone in the universe.

I wish to thank my opponent, the host, and all the readers of this debate for contemplating my position.

posted on Aug, 7 2012 @ 01:41 PM
First I want to apologize. I am having some very serious personal problems and cannot think at all. I have considered forfeiting this debate for some days, but I hate to leave anything unfinished. I am so upset over my personal issues I appear to have taken up the fun past time of throwing up stomach acid constantly. I have not been this upset since my father passed years ago, and this is why I have not been fully here. My head is simply spinning.

I apologize for all that I have lacked in this debate, and I hope everyone can forgive me.

But I do not believe I will forfeit this debate, for one reason; I believe everything was already said to support my argument and my stance.

The debate itself was worded that there is NO extra-terrestrial intelligent life in the multi verse, and I believe all my arguments have shown this is not a statement we can make as there are too many things possible alongside too many limitations to our own intelligence. We are simply unable to go around making such grand and sweeping statements as if we know all there is to know; there are too many questions, too much that is possible and too much that we do know to make such statements.

Someday we may look back at this time in human history and laugh at our ignorance’s when making such statements. It won’t be us laughing, but through our intelligence and our scientific breakthrough’s now, our great grandchildren will be able to stand upon our shoulders and laugh.

We must never stop looking, never, because all things are possible, and nothing impossible, only limitations to our knowledge as a human race.

I close this debate with a quote from Carl Sagan:

Those afraid of the universe as it really is, those who pretend to nonexistent knowledge and envision a Cosmos centered on human beings will prefer the fleeting comforts of superstition. They avoid rather than confront the world. But those with the courage to explore the weave and structure of the Cosmos, even where it differs profoundly from their wishes and prejudices, will penetrate its deepest mysteries.
— Carl Sagan

I thank everyone, my opponent, the moderating staff, and my friends who are reading this now.

posted on Aug, 7 2012 @ 02:39 PM
Once again another great debate by two great fighters. It is unfortunte that OpinionatedB is going through the personal problems and I hope they can be resolved.

I think this topic can be difficult to debate due to the fact that we really don't know for sure either way. But both members did good presenting their sides.

In my opinion, OpinionatedB won this debate.

Druid42 had very good points including the fact that existence of life doesn't mean it has developed intelligence. But I feel his main focus on the debate was that we have not been visited by intelligent life, therefore we are alone. And OpinionatedB answered to that well, plus adding his own side.

Again, it must've been hard to debate a tough topic like this, and I think both did extremely well. Great job.

posted on Aug, 10 2012 @ 04:17 AM
I did make note that there has already been one jude provide a ruling. In all fairness, I have not read that deliberation and will now give mine.

I'd like to applaud both participants for this debate. I found it highly enjoyable and a great read.
Thank you both.

The logic displayed has been of a very high cailbre and remaining neutral throughout I was not swayed towards one side or the other until I read this one point.

that the absense of evidence is NOT the evidence of absense


That struck a chord and stayed with me for the rest of the debate.

As noted by both participants, we are still in our infancy as a developing species. We have so much to learn, so much to discover.

With that in mind, I would state that OpinionatedB won the debate.

Thank you both, and thank you mods for allowing this format to continue.


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