UFOs, ET, and other speculation

El_Machinae

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I have no real way to tell, but my suspicion is that biological life itself would be the less-likely step. Like I said, spectroscopic analysis will tell us that. Hopefully within the life-time of some people here. This is why of the reasons why we really should be doing stuff that speeds our advance as a species (and this problem needs to be tackled from a huge variety of angles).

There's near-term hope for seeing distant plants, using our Sun as a gravitational lens.

https://www.universetoday.com/14921...a-planet-at-proxima-centauri-would-look-like/
 

EvaDK

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The Drake Equation suggests a series of variables to determine the odds of intelligent and technically advanced civilizations. To me, the critical variable is the 'intelligent life' variable. The reason for this is that here on Earth, evolution worked its way through more than a Billion different species of life in the last Billion of years or so. Only a few of these species developed advanced brains and only one survived to today - Homo Sapiens aka humans. Evolutions attempt to specifically increase the size of the brain in a species, increasing its potential survivability, came relatively late compared to all the other early evolutionary branches we have discovered so far. All plant life to our knowledge never developed brains, there even exists animal life with no brains. It's not a foregone conclusion that life will materialize in the development of a brain. With that said, we can only base such hypotheses on what we know and we only know the history of evolution on our own planet.
 

Rg339

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This is why of the reasons why we really should be doing stuff that speeds our advance as a species (and this problem needs to be tackled from a huge variety of angles).
Strongly agree on general principle that the rate of innovation should be present in the minds of people. Anything done to improve it, in the long run, is likely to be beneficial, at least to the material circumstances faced daily
The Drake Equation suggests a series of variables to determine the odds of intelligent and technically advanced civilizations. To me, the critical variable is the 'intelligent life' variable. The reason for this is that here on Earth, evolution worked its way through more than a Billion different species of life in the last Billion of years or so. Only a few of these species developed advanced brains and only one survived to today - Homo Sapiens aka humans. Evolutions attempt to specifically increase the size of the brain in a species, increasing its potential survivability, came relatively late compared to all the other early evolutionary branches we have discovered so far. All plant life to our knowledge never developed brains, there even exists animal life with no brains. It's not a foregone conclusion that life will materialize in the development of a brain. With that said, we can only base such hypotheses on what we know and we only know the history of evolution on our own planet.
There is, however, an existing long term trend towards greater intelligence. Mammals have, on average, more complex intelligences than dinosaurs, who if I’m not mistaken were more complex than life forms seen in the Permian.

May be that, if a trend towards greater intelligence exists on Earth, most exoplanets hosting life would see a similar trend and produce a sapient species comparable to humans with time
 

Valka D'Ur

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No, I’ve not. Between chess, civ and Pdx games, my free time is, uh, not really my own. It belongs to the games, I guess. The adaptations made to no FTL travel do however sound entirely plausible; there’d be pretty radical but necessary social adjustments that’d need to be made should humanity ever endeavor to colonize the stars
Someone created a game based on Cherryh's novels. Its name is "The Company Wars". I haven't played it myself, as I've never been able to find a copy.

I highly recommend her books, though. She's a multi-award-winning science fiction author who I'd rank on par with the best of the best, in her diligent extrapolation of plausible science, economics, the workings of merchant ships, warships, starbases, and how these and the social sciences work over vast interstellar civilizations. I'd specifically recommend Downbelow Station, Cyteen and its sequel Regenesis, and the various novels about the Merchanters (ie. Finity's End, Tripoint Station, Rimrunners, etc.). I've had the pleasure of meeting C.J. Cherryh twice (she was the Guest of Honor at the first SF convention I ever attended, in 1982 and was a return guest some years later). I consider Cyteen to be her best novel. It's huge, and a gourmet feast for the science-literate reader. I've read it many times and gain new insights with every re-read.

Agreed, with present tech, it is not exactly practical. If you’re a starfaring civ that can approach light speed, it becomes much more practical. Even with current practical difficulties, however, if ET were proven beyond dispute tomorrow, we would immediately begin devoting resources at a considerable scale to their study. People who’ve studied competition would be aware that regardless of observed behavior/stated intent, the possibility of ET power being projected would merit close attention.
I wonder if we would grow up or if it would become a fiasco as depicted in Carl Sagan's novel Contact and the movie based on it. Granted the movie is unlike the novel in many aspects, but the point is the divide between science and religion, as each side has its own view of the meaning of the Message.

Presuming human behavior is unexceptional, it’s easy for me to imagine things like establishment of observation posts. Other than the implosion of the universe itself, what existential threats would a starfaring species face? Little to none, the sole possible exception being warfare with another advanced, sapient, tool-making species. It’s the one thing that’d register and provoke the threat radar to action.
Starfaring species wouldn't be immune to accidents, unexpected stellar events, or biological consequences if something goes wrong medically or genetically.

But with that said, I don’t think you can assume aliens would act in a way you’d find entirely rational. You mention pranking us, and alotta supposed encounters do seem like horsing around. Doesn’t seem rational.
Of course it doesn't seem rational. Given the vast distances and resources and time required for interstellar travel, to go to a planet and "prank" the indigenous life is extremely irrational.

thing is though, across the world today, more than one man will take a woman to a zoo and decide that it’d impress said woman if he “bravely” jumps into the Gorilla enclosure. If humans are unexceptional, aliens may similarly determine that what appears at first to be irrational is a justifiable risk if it could lead to some sort of potential social reward.
Any woman who would be impressed by such a stunt is an idiot.

BTW, I rewatched the Cosmos scene in which Sagan discusses Democritus. Thank you for the reminder, as I found all the Greek-related content of that series to be utterly fascinating. So much was lost over the centuries for various reasons and we had to retrace steps to rediscover it, or at least make use of the initial ideas and do proper research to see where they would lead.


The Drake Equation suggests a series of variables to determine the odds of intelligent and technically advanced civilizations. To me, the critical variable is the 'intelligent life' variable. The reason for this is that here on Earth, evolution worked its way through more than a Billion different species of life in the last Billion of years or so. Only a few of these species developed advanced brains and only one survived to today - Homo Sapiens aka humans. Evolutions attempt to specifically increase the size of the brain in a species, increasing its potential survivability, came relatively late compared to all the other early evolutionary branches we have discovered so far. All plant life to our knowledge never developed brains, there even exists animal life with no brains. It's not a foregone conclusion that life will materialize in the development of a brain. With that said, we can only base such hypotheses on what we know and we only know the history of evolution on our own planet.
I just rewatched the Drake Equation scene from Cosmos, and the problem with this equation is that it provides a sentence structure, but not the actual objectively correct words. It's a beautiful equation that has lent itself to beautiful ideas - I've seen cross-stitch projects made from this equation.

But the fact is that while we can estimate the number of stars and at the time of Cosmos Sagan didn't know about all the exoplanets we know about now, plus the fact that Cosmos was made during the Cold War when nuclear destruction was a very real possibility, we are still guessing at most of the variables in that equation.



On the issue of intelligent life on Earth, humans are not the only ones if you go by criteria other than how many doodads have ever been manufactured. I'm talking about gorillas (some have been taught to communicate with humans via sign language), whales and dolphins (research is ongoing), elephants, and crows (are much more intelligent than most give them credit for, and they use tools).

If we're to find intelligent life, we need to stop with the myopic notion that it has to look like us, or even be mammalian.

May be that, if a trend towards greater intelligence exists on Earth, most exoplanets hosting life would see a similar trend and produce a sapient species comparable to humans with time
So far I've not heard of any exoplanets that has the scientists jumping for joy to discover one that could host life similar to what we have currently. A rocky core is not enough by itself. There are a host of other variables that are needed to make it more likely.

As for "comparable to humans"... we just might not be the higher form, and intelligent life could be in a form that literally doesn't notice us because we're too different.
 

Rg339

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So far I've not heard of any exoplanets that has the scientists jumping for joy to discover one that could host life similar to what we have currently. A rocky core is not enough by itself. There are a host of other variables that are needed to make it more likely.

As for "comparable to humans"... we just might not be the higher form, and intelligent life could be in a form that literally doesn't notice us because we're too different.
The scale of material in the galaxy is such that rocky exoplanets that satisfy all the conditions are likely at least available, if not abundant. Though, planets may not be necessary at all. Large orbital stations could probably fulfill the same role if there is scarcity of hospitable exoplanets.

As to the capabilities of the human form relative to other potential species, part of me wonders if, beyond a certain point, the biological capabilities really matter.

If a species is smart enough to create/decipher writing, they mostly escape the generational “knowledge reset”. Accumulation of knowledge takes off. Perhaps the sum of their knowledge naturally reaches a point at which the species can build tools/AIs sophisticated enough that their own biological ability/memory is superseded to the extent that they themselves are no longer really relevant to the pace of discovery.

It may be that a species might not need to be prodigiously gifted intellectually to go full-scale interstellar. Might only need a passing grade with things like writing and a bit of time to develop.
I highly recommend her books, though. She's a multi-award-winning science fiction author who I'd rank on par with the best of the best, in her diligent extrapolation of plausible science, economics, the workings of merchant ships, warships, starbases, and how these and the social sciences work over vast interstellar civilizations.
I’ll remember that the next time I visit the bookstore. Alotta science fiction authors are impressively formidable in their imagination of the future.
Any woman who would be impressed by such a stunt is an idiot.
Such stupid men and women do exist, though. There are a ton of actions humans take daily that are seemingly irrational, yet increase social fitness, which justifies risk tolerance in the minds of actors.

For another example, I’m not sure there’s a rational reason to make a solo crossing of Antarctica. It’s very dangerous. Why cross a frozen wasteland, vast distances across which there’s little of value? It’s because of the expectation they’ll get social rewards from the endeavor that justify the risk. ET actors may behave similarly, if they exist.
 

Valka D'Ur

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The scale of material in the galaxy is such that rocky exoplanets that satisfy all the conditions are likely at least available, if not abundant. Though, planets may not be necessary at all. Large orbital stations could probably fulfill the same role if there is scarcity of hospitable exoplanets.
Life doesn't evolve on orbital stations that pop up out of nowhere (even though that's basically how the Lalande scenario of Civilization II: Test of Time operates; once you get the VTOL tech you can go into orbit and start building cities there, though some platforms need a lot of terraforming before you can grow enough food to support the population). Planets have to come first.

Honestly, though, I highly recommend that you read Cyteen and Downbelow Station. They go into all kinds of details of how humans can build gigantic stations that orbit stars that don't have any habitable planets (planets are better than no planets, but the important thing is having enough raw materials to refine into what you need to build star stations). One of the fascinating things about the universe Cherryh created is how the people living on the planets, those living on the stations, the families who operate their generation-merchanter ships, and the people who crew the warships interact over relative time and get to the point where there are some social concepts that one group takes for granted that the others simply don't understand because the environment in which they grew up didn't come with the idea that understanding these concepts means the difference between life and death.

There's a part of Cyteen that talks about cloning a famous physicist due to the original's sheer genius capabilities, and the geneticists discovered that merely cloning the physical person and teaching them physics isn't enough. What is necessary is to give the cloned person not only the knowledge, but the environment to live and work in that makes it essential to understand the branch of physics that they want to recapture and build on. This is why, when they decide to clone the protagonist after her predecessor is murdered, they don't just clone the person and stuff her full of knowledge. They put her into the environment her predecessor lived and worked in, gave her as close an approximation to the family and friends and high/low points of her life as possible, and hope for the best. And the best turns out to be pretty damn spectacular. It blows Frank Herbert's ghola method of recreating people in the Dune series right out of the proverbial water.

As to the capabilities of the human form relative to other potential species, part of me wonders if, beyond a certain point, the biological capabilities really matter.
Is a computer human, without any human biological component? Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a man's mind. :nono:

If a species is smart enough to create/decipher writing, they mostly escape the generational “knowledge reset”. Accumulation of knowledge takes off. Perhaps the sum of their knowledge naturally reaches a point at which the species can build tools/AIs sophisticated enough that their own biological ability/memory is superseded to the extent that they themselves are no longer really relevant to the pace of discovery.
I agree with your first sentence, as long as nothing catastrophic happens. All it takes is a war, plague, or natural disaster to wipe everything out and let the archaeologists sort it out millennia later and get much of it wrong, or at least just scratch the bare surface of what could have been wonderfully complex.

It may be that a species might not need to be prodigiously gifted intellectually to go full-scale interstellar. Might only need a passing grade with things like writing and a bit of time to develop.
Then you end up with the Pakleds, who were so non-gifted that even the Borg didn't consider them worth assimilating.

I’ll remember that the next time I visit the bookstore. Alotta science fiction authors are impressively formidable in their imagination of the future.
:thumbsup:

She has a new Alliance-Union novel out, but I haven't had the chance to read it yet. I wish she'd write a sequel to Regenesis, since it introduces the idea of terraforming a planet that's in an ice age. It's not whether it can be done that's so intriguing, but rather if it should be done. The ethics of science is a huge part of the Cyteen/Regenesis story.

Such stupid men and women do exist, though. There are a ton of actions humans take daily that are seemingly irrational, yet increase social fitness, which justifies risk tolerance in the minds of actors.

For another example, I’m not sure there’s a rational reason to make a solo crossing of Antarctica. It’s very dangerous. Why cross a frozen wasteland, vast distances across which there’s little of value? It’s because of the expectation they’ll get social rewards from the endeavor that justify the risk. ET actors may behave similarly, if they exist.
There are penguins living on that continent - several species, who are increasingly at risk due to climate change. When entire colonies are wiped out because the ice shelf they live on breaks off and melts under their feet, it's a catastrophe for the species.

Antarctica is one of the training grounds for a manned Mars mission, due to the terrain, temperatures, and isolation factors.

There's a lot of value there, if people would just stop and really think about it.
 

Rg339

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Life doesn't evolve on orbital stations that pop up out of nowhere (even though that's basically how the Lalande scenario of Civilization II: Test of Time operates; once you get the VTOL tech you can go into orbit and start building cities there, though some platforms need a lot of terraforming before you can grow enough food to support the population). Planets have to come first.
Yeah, here, I was thinking of objects for potential colonization. In retrospect, it’s clear you were referring to the place where evolution takes life from simplistic to complex. For emergence of complex life, agree that a hospitable exoplanet provides serious advantages.

Terrestrial ones work, that we know. You probably need an atmosphere, and a large quantity of compounds life can make use of. Water works there. Star would have to cooperate, too. Can’t be prone to releasing harsh solar flares.

Once this initial check is passed, I would maintain the complex life that successfully emerges could spread across vast distances without further need of any planets, though. As Cherryh seems to have also speculated, with enough will and sufficient resources, you could make orbital platforms could fulfill most criteria you’d need for successful habitation.
Is a computer human, without any human biological component? Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a man's mind.
If it’s possible to hit tech singularity, it may be so advantageous you can’t afford to refuse it. Herbert may have written AI out of Dune, and GW took it outta 40K, but realistically, I dunno if real societies would have a choice. It’d depend on the strength of the benefits the AI provides.

If society A decides to reap the benefits of tech singularity, and the advantages are strong, they’re probably going to overwhelm society B, which refuses to adapt because of moral or ethical concerns. Eventually, the A societies are all that remain. It’s harsh.

Society A may not even mean to harm society B. It’d still likely happen. Technological disparities so seldom work out well for those with less sophisticated equipment.
 

EvaDK

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I just rewatched the Drake Equation scene from Cosmos, and the problem with this equation is that it provides a sentence structure, but not the actual objectively correct words. It's a beautiful equation that has lent itself to beautiful ideas - I've seen cross-stitch projects made from this equation.

But the fact is that while we can estimate the number of stars and at the time of Cosmos Sagan didn't know about all the exoplanets we know about now, plus the fact that Cosmos was made during the Cold War when nuclear destruction was a very real possibility, we are still guessing at most of the variables in that equation.

On the issue of intelligent life on Earth, humans are not the only ones if you go by criteria other than how many doodads have ever been manufactured. I'm talking about gorillas (some have been taught to communicate with humans via sign language), whales and dolphins (research is ongoing), elephants, and crows (are much more intelligent than most give them credit for, and they use tools).

If we're to find intelligent life, we need to stop with the myopic notion that it has to look like us, or even be mammalian.
The Drake Equation is fairly worthless in attempting to calculate an actual number, because all the variables can be anything you determine them to be. It's all guesswork at best. It's the variables themselves that highlight the parameters we should be looking for, when searching for extraterrestrial life in the Cosmos.

Yes, intelligent life is not just restricted to humans on Earth, but I speculate that dolphins are in no hurry to develop radio signals, splitting the atom or formulating a theory of quantum mechanics. ;)
 

Valka D'Ur

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The Drake Equation is fairly worthless in attempting to calculate an actual number, because all the variables can be anything you determine them to be. It's all guesswork at best. It's the variables themselves that highlight the parameters we should be looking for, when searching for extraterrestrial life in the Cosmos.

Yes, intelligent life is not just restricted to humans on Earth, but I speculate that dolphins are in no hurry to develop radio signals, splitting the atom or formulating a theory of quantum mechanics. ;)
So far they haven't needed to, plus the problem of lacking opposable thumbs or other body parts that lend themselves to manipulating tools.

But at least they said so long and thanked us for all the fish. :p
 

Samson

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We have finally started our search for aliens in earnest

More than 15 months after landing in Jezero Crater on Mars, NASA’s Perseverance rover has finally begun its hunt for ancient life in earnest.

On 28 May, Perseverance ground a 5-centimetre-wide circular patch into a rock at the base of what was once a river delta in the crater. This delta formed billions of years ago, when a long-vanished river deposited layers of sediment into Jezero, and it is the main reason that NASA sent the rover there. On Earth, river sediment is usually teeming with life.​

The rover will spend the next few months exploring the Jezero delta, while mission scientists decide where they want to drill and extract rock samples.​

Spoiler Pictures :

The Site

The hole

The area
 
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Aiken_Drumn

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Are we able to detect evidence of past life in situ, or will we need to return samples to Earth?
 
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Samson

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Are we able to detect evidence of past lift in situ, or will we need to return samples to Earth?
They are always talking up the sample return bit of the mission, for which they do not yet have the tech and is not slated to happen for at least 10 years. So they mostly talk about getting samples for return, but there are mentions:

If the Jezero delta trapped this type of organic matter, the rover could find it by rolling across the formation and drilling
It has a fair bit of kit, you would have thought it would be able to do something.
Spoiler The sensors :
 

warpus

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What grinds my gears is the people who don't seem to grok that UFO stands for Unidentified Flying Object and that technically anything that is in the air and can't be identified is a UFO. No, it doesn't mean that since you can't identify a bird as an albatross, that it's immediately a UFO. A UFO would be something that people have had generally trouble identifying. Right? Am I crazy about what UFO means? This is about nobody in particular here, as I have not even read any of this thread (I admit). It's just a generic complaint that pertains to popular culture and such

UFO does not mean "green men in a saucer". "Hey I saw a UFO!" doesn't mean you think you've seen aliens from another planet. "It wasn't a UFO! Aliens don't exist!" doesn't make any sense as a statement.

With that out of the way.. Personally I feel that the vast majority of UFOs are natural phenomena or experimental Hungarian hovercraft.

If we wish to stray into slightly more extraordinary territory, the next level up for me would be alien billionaires. The alien 0.1%, who have their own space yachts, fly around the galaxy, and do whatever they want. Or freelance alien scientists. IMO these scenarios are more probable than "Alien civilization's central government on a scouting or scientific mission". Or hey, it could easily be an alien civilization that's highly individualistic, with no central government. They leave their planet on a one by one basis, and each one of them does their own thing, in whatever corner of the galaxy that interests them.

If you want me to take this a bit more seriously, some of the strange phenomena, if it absolutely isn't something natural... why not some sort of a monitoring device controlled via a wormhole, from far away? Maybe it is almost impossible to cross the large distances between the stars in any non-super-crazy-slow way.. Maybe the only thing alien civs can do is probe around w/ flimsy wormholes that project holograms in order to study whatever they're studying? Maybe the range and capability is very limited, which is why these UFOs seem to be so elusive.. we can only photograph blurry images of them? And there's never been any physical evidence? That sounds suspect to me. So, that's what lead to me think.. why not holograms.

Or hey, it could easily be ghosts. If we're going to go that far, we have to admit that maybe it's beings from another plane of existence, who we occasionally see cause our realities are grinding up against each other. You know, like in that ______ episode.

But I mean, at this point we're theorizing to such a degree that there's almost an infinite number of options. It could easily be that we live in a simulation, and what we are seeing are system admins doing maintenance, or time-travelling historians/police.

Until there is some solid enough evidence, I'm going to have to defer to natural or man-made phenomena for now.
 

MaryKB

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I do not believe in extra-terrestrial intelligent life, and definitely not alien visitors to our world. You can call me agnostic on these things. Please don't try to convince me otherwise. Something I find fascinating is how many people can't handle my belief and not only try exhaustively to convince me otherwise without any proof, but often also seem to get irate. Funnily enough many of such people are atheists who don't see the irony.

I also don't believe in the multiverse or time travel. I also don't believe we will ever successfully send people beyond our solar system. And one last thing I just thought of - I feel that the idea we are living in a simulation is extremely silly.
 

Rg339

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Maybe the range and capability is very limited, which is why these UFOs seem to be so elusive.. we can only photograph blurry images of them? And there's never been any physical evidence?
Well, there’s evidence of UFOs, accepting your original definition that a UFO is simply an unidentified flying object. There isn’t physical evidence they’re extraterrestrial, as yet, nor interdimensional or other often speculated things. There are many incidents where something was captured by instruments. There are mundane explanations for nearly all such events, but this doesn’t totally guarantee they all are mundane: until conclusive evidence is presented, they’re still UFOs. The US Navy has been most forthcoming with videos from the Nimitz and Roosevelt, and there are some better quality videos captured by civilians.

The objects captured in the leaked videos from the Navy pretty conclusively satisfy your stated definition of UFO, though. Physical objects that remain unidentified.

But I mean, at this point we're theorizing to such a degree that there's almost an infinite number of options. It could easily be that we live in a simulation, and what we are seeing are system admins doing maintenance, or time-travelling historians/police.
Well, the likelihood somebody believes ET is involved usually comes down to their assessment of how commonly/rarely life originates and to what extent it spreads. I think it’s likely common, and long existent. If that turns out to be true, given the age of universe, ET visiting Earth has probably been happening for millions of years.

Some do bring their beliefs in the paranormal into it. There’s overlap. Sorta a tension point in the UFO watcher hobbyists, too. If you put alotta UFO believers in a room, the paranormal, interdimensional stuff, sometimes called the “woo”, does create controversy. Jacques Vallee, a long term leader of interdimensional speculation has referred to himself as a “heretic amongst heretics” because of said controversy

grammar edit
 
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Kyriakos

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What grinds my gears is the people who don't seem to grok that UFO stands for Unidentified Flying Object and that technically anything that is in the air and can't be identified is a UFO. No, it doesn't mean that since you can't identify a bird as an albatross, that it's immediately a UFO. A UFO would be something that people have had generally trouble identifying. Right? Am I crazy about what UFO means? This is about nobody in particular here, as I have not even read any of this thread (I admit). It's just a generic complaint that pertains to popular culture and such

UFO does not mean "green men in a saucer". "Hey I saw a UFO!" doesn't mean you think you've seen aliens from another planet. "It wasn't a UFO! Aliens don't exist!" doesn't make any sense as a statement.

With that out of the way.. Personally I feel that the vast majority of UFOs are natural phenomena or experimental Hungarian hovercraft.

If we wish to stray into slightly more extraordinary territory, the next level up for me would be alien billionaires. The alien 0.1%, who have their own space yachts, fly around the galaxy, and do whatever they want. Or freelance alien scientists. IMO these scenarios are more probable than "Alien civilization's central government on a scouting or scientific mission". Or hey, it could easily be an alien civilization that's highly individualistic, with no central government. They leave their planet on a one by one basis, and each one of them does their own thing, in whatever corner of the galaxy that interests them.

If you want me to take this a bit more seriously, some of the strange phenomena, if it absolutely isn't something natural... why not some sort of a monitoring device controlled via a wormhole, from far away? Maybe it is almost impossible to cross the large distances between the stars in any non-super-crazy-slow way.. Maybe the only thing alien civs can do is probe around w/ flimsy wormholes that project holograms in order to study whatever they're studying? Maybe the range and capability is very limited, which is why these UFOs seem to be so elusive.. we can only photograph blurry images of them? And there's never been any physical evidence? That sounds suspect to me. So, that's what lead to me think.. why not holograms.

Or hey, it could easily be ghosts. If we're going to go that far, we have to admit that maybe it's beings from another plane of existence, who we occasionally see cause our realities are grinding up against each other. You know, like in that ______ episode.

But I mean, at this point we're theorizing to such a degree that there's almost an infinite number of options. It could easily be that we live in a simulation, and what we are seeing are system admins doing maintenance, or time-travelling historians/police.

Until there is some solid enough evidence, I'm going to have to defer to natural or man-made phenomena for now.

You should always consult the chart:

upload_2022-6-7_22-49-3.png
 

Valka D'Ur

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If you want me to take this a bit more seriously, some of the strange phenomena, if it absolutely isn't something natural... why not some sort of a monitoring device controlled via a wormhole, from far away? Maybe it is almost impossible to cross the large distances between the stars in any non-super-crazy-slow way.. Maybe the only thing alien civs can do is probe around w/ flimsy wormholes that project holograms in order to study whatever they're studying? Maybe the range and capability is very limited, which is why these UFOs seem to be so elusive.. we can only photograph blurry images of them? And there's never been any physical evidence? That sounds suspect to me. So, that's what lead to me think.. why not holograms.
Non-blurry photos would reveal the exact make and model of the hubcaps used to simulate flying saucers. :p

Monitoring and wormholes are what Sagan used in his novel Contact (which was made into a movie starring Jodie Foster). The alien signal came from the vicinity of Vega, but that star is too young to have a stable bevy of planets, let alone any with complex life. Nor will it ever, since its destiny is to become a supernova. But that doesn't mean a "listening post" couldn't have been set up near there. It makes sense, given that Vega is one of the most prominently-visible stars we can see.

Until there is some solid enough evidence, I'm going to have to defer to natural or man-made phenomena for now.
Yep.

It's tempting to just say, "Hey, there's no mystery about Roswell - it was the Ferengi" and I just read an AU Star Trek story in which Gillian Taylor's time travel from the 20th to the 23rd century in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home causes an ever-widening change to the timeline, and she decides to return to the 20th century by stealing Scotty's new warp-capable shuttlecraft (it's equipped with a self-aware computer who she names "Archie"). Archie grows attached to Gillian and when she forgets her communicator before beaming down, he has no way to find her. So his searching for her for the 30 years it takes between her beaming down (she accidentally ends up in the 1950s rather than the 1980s) and Kirk et. al coming back to find her has resulted in a spate of UFO sightings that nobody can explain.

I do not believe in extra-terrestrial intelligent life, and definitely not alien visitors to our world. You can call me agnostic on these things. Please don't try to convince me otherwise. Something I find fascinating is how many people can't handle my belief and not only try exhaustively to convince me otherwise without any proof, but often also seem to get irate. Funnily enough many of such people are atheists who don't see the irony.
There's belief and there's evidence. I'd rather not bring religion into this, and don't appreciate the dig at atheists. I hope aliens exist, and it would greatly surprise me if at least primitive life is not found elsewhere in the solar system (ie. on Titan or some other moon of Jupiter or Saturn) simply because the materials for it are there. We just don't know yet if anything actually happened with them.

You're entitled to your beliefs, as are other people who disagree with you. As for alien life, of course it might seem ironic that people on Star Trek forums or who are into other varieties of science fiction are skeptics about this sort of thing in RL.

Carl Sagan himself loved science fiction as a child and enjoyed the John Carter of Mars books by Edgar Rice Burroughs. He points out, though, that even though he'd love it if aliens were real, he and science must stick with the evidence. This is where the tenet of "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" comes from. There have been many extraordinary claims made, but so far there hasn't been ordinary evidence, never mind extraordinary evidence.

I also don't believe in the multiverse or time travel. I also don't believe we will ever successfully send people beyond our solar system. And one last thing I just thought of - I feel that the idea we are living in a simulation is extremely silly.
It's a very bleak outlook that we won't make it out of the solar system. The Pioneer and Voyager probes have, which means it's possible for something to do so. It's going to take them a very long time to get anywhere, though, so that's one reason we need to step up the research to find a way. Even a generation ship would be better than nothing, and I'd expect that to be the only way we could manage it given our current understanding of technology and physics. It would be a one-way trip, though (thanks, relativity).

The multiverse is something the astrophysicists and cosmologists are researching. It's going to take a long time before they can come to any consensus over whether it's even possible, never mind whether or not it's real. But in the meantime it makes for some fun stories. Ditto time travel.

The thing is, though... physics doesn't care what we believe or what we find fun. Physics just is.

Well, the likelihood somebody believes ET is involved usually comes down to their assessment of how commonly/rarely life originates and to what extent it spreads. I think it’s likely common, and long existent. If that turns out to be true, given the age of universe, ET visiting Earth has probably been happening for millions of years.
Yet they left no evidence (and I'm not going to credit rock paintings resembling Louis Vuitton handbags as "evidence"). Sagan's minimum requirement for evidence is a tangible object that could not have been created on Earth, using any technology we have currently or did have in the past. He's not asking for made-up chemicals (ie. Star Trek's "unobtanium" that's commonly used in that franchise's technobabble). He just wants solid evidence of something that could not have been created by humans or any other native lifeforms here.
 

EvaDK

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My reservation is not with biological life in the Universe; it may be full of chemical activity and simple lifeforms, bacteria mostly. My reservation is with what we consider intelligent life with the capacity to develop sufficiently advanced technology, based on what we have discovered about the evolution of life on our planet. So, if there are extraterrestrial civilizations out there, I believe they are extremely rare, as in perhaps 1 civilization for each galaxy. Pure guesswork. :)
 

Valka D'Ur

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My reservation is not with biological life in the Universe; it may be full of chemical activity and simple lifeforms, bacteria mostly. My reservation is with what we consider intelligent life with the capacity to develop sufficiently advanced technology, based on what we have discovered about the evolution of life on our planet. So, if there are extraterrestrial civilizations out there, I believe they are extremely rare, as in perhaps 1 civilization for each galaxy. Pure guesswork. :)
Sagan said in Cosmos that "Star Wars are unlikely."

My own speculation on this is that part of the problem lies in recognizing that a lifeform exists, never mind if it's intelligent. So I'd guess that while humans and non-corporeal life would have trouble recognizing the other as life, never mind intelligent life, non-corporeal lifeforms would be more likely to recognize each other and assess accordingly. Ditto corporeal life, assuming that animals recognize animals and plants recognize plants (how smart are trees? The theory is that they communicate via chemicals, but we just don't know enough yet to figure out how complex it really is).
 
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