If there's life like us out there, then it's possible they could be interested in, say, sending a probe to study Titan. There are humans interested in a Titan mission, so hypothetical aliens similar to us could possibly interested in a Titan mission also.Added: Even if there is life out there, it won't be like Earth's life; and if it is like us, that's reason alone to make the trip!
If there's life unlike us out there, then it's still possible they could be interested in a Titan mission.
Now, maybe Titan is unremarkable in our galaxy. Maybe there are plenty of exomoons similar to it, and there's nothing sufficiently novel about it to warrant the interest of hypothetical aliens. But we have no evidence to support this hypothesis yet. We have no observational evidence of exomoons, and great uncertainty in theoretical models of exomoons.
Basically, we just don't know. And that's just one example--a moon which we've at least gotten a good enough look at to see some of what's interesting (to us) about it. For the overwhelming majority of solar system bodies, we haven't even gotten a good enough look at them to even know how mysterious they may be to us.
I gave the example of the Pluto system. Despite the high profile that Pluto has enjoyed since its discovery nearly a century ago, we don't even know how many moons it has. What little we do know is remarkable. When New Horizons zooms past the Pluto System, its sensor data will certainly open up more questions than it closes.
i) RAF was arguing non-uniqueness (non 'interestingness') in our Solar System (with the exception of 'us') and;
ii) Isaac countered, arguing for uniqueness (or 'interestingness') in our Solar System, although he qualified it with his usual speculative term: 'possibility'.
The way I see it, we really have no idea of the scales of applicability for 'uniqueness' or 'non-uniqueness', of planetary sized objects within the distribution of known Solar Systems in the observable universe. When it comes to things of the size of living 'beings', within things of the scale of solar-systems, we do know that there aren't any communicative space-faring human beings living elsewhere in our particular Solar System (which supports RAFs statement). Neither argument seems to be comparable to me (yet). Overall, it seems the uniqueness/non-uniqueness arguments gravitate towards an 'unknown' state.
(Does that make sense ? .. I hope so).
I am yet to understand what solar system moons, and their atmospheres have in common with life, which enables us to correlate the two together and distinguish uniqueness from non-uniqueness ??
Can you explain why you are comparing the two ?
Last edited by Selfsim; 2012-Jul-14 at 07:45 AM. Reason: changed exo-moons to solar system moons
Isaac's point was that we don't know enough about the solar system to rule out unusual things. The responses he got were the sort of reponses he would have deserved if he'd said something silly - if he'd said there is definitely life elsewhere in the solar system, for instance.
Frankly, the Copernican Principle is typically taken way beyond its domain of applicability, (eg: down to inappropriate scales), and I think that's the problem at the heart of all this(??)
We seem to desperately 'need' to rely on the 'comfort' it provides ... in spite of the amount of uniqueness we see around us.
Its kinda like a 'tug-o-war' between astronomical and biological camps (??)
I'm not.Can you explain why you are comparing the two ?
The question is what sort of "interesting" things could exist in our solar system--interesting enough to warrant a space mission. R.A.F. is among those who argue that there's definitely nothing in our solar system which wouldn't be plentiful in other star systems, except for "us". I take "us" to refer to mean Earth life forms in general, rather than just humans.
I find that rather presumptive. There are plenty of other things in our solar system which are interesting enough to warrant us sending a space mission. Maybe these are all boring and commonplace to hypothetical aliens. Maybe not. We don't know enough yet, but we're starting to learn about other star systems. What we have learned so far has shown our Solar System to be less typical than we had expected.
I'm arguing that maybe there could be something else interesting in our Solar System. Certainly, there are other things interesting to us. What we don't know is whether or not any of these things are so commonplace in other star systems as to be uninteresting to hypothetical aliens.
I cannot help but wonder if possibility of extrasolar planets before 1995 would be for you "beyond domain of applicability of CP". Sorry, but parallels write themself.
About topic... alien invasion as in those silly sf movies will never happen. It is possible to aliens having contradictory interest to ours, but we would have no say in it or any chance to oppose, if aliens would choose to ignore our interests. Movie would be rather short...
Anyway, most probable reason - as other said - is to study us (implying non-interferrence). Anything else that aliens would need they can get elsewhere. In my opinion it is even worse: no one study us, no one care. Just like that.
Personally, I am inclined to believe that life in the universe is relatively rare, and intelligent life even more rare. Please note, I make a very strong distinction between belief and knowledge. But, I am unwilling to discount the possibility of other life in the universe simply because of what we do know about life on earth. We know that life on earth arose almost immediately after the Late Heavy Bombardment, which is probably just about as early as it was able to exist. Absent some other mechanism for creation, that leads me to believe that it is not difficult for life to, at minimum, get started. Some form of life probably started many times on the ancient earth. It's unlikely that mother nature got it right on the first try.
We also know that the entire universe, including where both of us are sitting, started in the same initial conditions. So, unless Earth is really special, it is mathematically unlikely that no other life exists. Of course, as you would say, the mathematical likelihood of something happening does not constitute evidence. And I agree with that, which brings me to my final point.
No one is assuming that life exists. The exact statements were all of the variety of "I wouldn't assume life does not exist." You are equating "I assume something" with "I do not assume not-something" when they are not logically equivalent. To make any kind of assumption, a reasonable person requires evidence to back up that assumption. We almost universally reject the notion that sasquatch exists because we have explored almost every square foot of the land surface of the earth and never found any evidence to confirm his existence, yet we have found evidence of all other types of life spanning billions of years. Therefore, it is absurd to assume Sasquatch exists because the overwhelming evidence says he does not.
In the case of Sasquatch, we have clear and overwhelming evidence of absence. In the case of alien life, what we have is absence of evidence. Again, evidence of absence and absence of evidence are not equivalent. A doctor who thoroughly examines a patient and finds no evidence of cancer can safely say, "I assume there is no cancer." But a doctor who has examined only the tip of a patient's nose can only say, "I cannot assume that there is not cancer." No other statement about whether or not the patient has cancer can be logically made.
In the case of the question of existence of alien life, the absence of evidence overwhelms the evidence of absence. We have only closely examined a vanishingly small part of even our own solar system. We don't even know how to look for extraterrestrial life. We don't know if there are microbes in the middle cloud layers of Venus, the supposed oceans of Europa, or the hydrocarbon lakes on Titan. We know so little about them that it is logically impossible to assume that life does not exist. The only thing we can do is to not assume that life does not exist. If you are not assuming something, it means that you are assuming nothing. Taking any other position with so little information available cannot be logically supported.
EDIT: Selfsim, you consider this my response to your post as well, because the way I am reading it we basically agree with one another. I do have a couple points of contention with your reply to me, but I don't want to contribute any more to the further sidetracking of this thread. Maybe I will just start a new thread with this.
Last edited by primummobile; 2012-Jul-14 at 03:33 PM. Reason: addendum
If I didn't want any competition on the block--I wouldn't use nukes--just shove an asteroid and let it do my job for me. They wouldn't even know I was there.
"These Earthers don't have much of a space program--and most of their spacecraft aren't bigger than our dustbins."
"If you were a highly advanced culture about to invade a relatively primitive culture, you would not do it with a flourish of ships showing up in the heavens, and take the risk of being fired upon. That's the type of warfare less evolved mortals would get into. You would begin by creating intense confusion, with only inferences of your presence, inferences which cause controversial disagreement (Note: It is interesting that the major Intelligence projects designed to discredit UFO witnesses and cause confusion and contention among -- and infiltration of -- various UFO research organizations have been traced back to the Nazified NSA-CIA, which in turn maintains, as this is being written, continued ties with the Grays. - Branton).
"You would go to the most secret and powerful organizations within the society. In the case of the United States, you would infiltrate the CIA, and through the use of techniques unknown to them, you would take over some of the key people in their innermost core group. You would proceed in the same fashion to take over key members of the KGB. You would also create great dissension among the public at large, some individuals and groups insisting that they have seen UFOs, others insisting with equal vehemence that such a thing is not possible, and that they are either liars or deluded.
"You would involve the planet's two major nations in an on-going idiotic philosophical dispute, keeping them constantly at each other's throats over such questions as whether Thomas Jefferson was greater than Karl Marx or vice-versa (that is, whether 'Capitalist' tyranny or 'Communist' tyranny is worse than the other. By the way, don't confuse Communism with Communalism, and don't confuse Capitalism with Democracy. Communalism and Democracy are sovereigntist movements that respect the personal rights and freedoms of others. So-called unrestrained Communism and Capitalism are co-dependent collectist evils. Capitalist tyranny created Communist tyranny, and Communist tyranny justifies its existence as a force to fight Capitalist tyranny. Insane world we live in, is it not? - Branton). You would keep them continuously occupied with quarreling like two adolescent boys trying to prove their masculinity over who has which piece of territory, whether one has the right to invade Afghanistan or the other has the right to invade Nicaragua, persistently exchanging threats and insults like a couple of macho teen-agers, while arguing whether one should dismantle one type of nuclear warhead, or the other should dismantle another type of nuclear warhead. As you watched all this, you would sit back and you would laugh, if you had the capacity to laugh...
"You would occasionally let your ships be seen by some of the ordinary citizens, so that the elite governmental groups would become involved in attempts to keep them quiet, clumsily squelching attempts to make information about UFO activity public. This would result in the mass population losing confidence in the veracity of their elected officials. There would be constant arguments between the authorities and the public as to whether or not the persistently reported phenomena genuinely existed, thereby setting the population and the government at each other's throats. You would have already set the two major super-powers at each other's throats. By subtly causing economic turmoil, you would set the "Haves" and the "Have Nots" at each other's throats. In all possible ways, you would plant the seeds of massive discontent.
"After you had manipulated the population to the point where your covert control over it was complete, you might decide to go overt, and let a few ships land in public. But you would not go from covert to overt until you were sure of the totality of your control...
Those who have experienced UFO sightings or ET close encounters will constantly be at odds with the government, which will continue to retaliate by stigmatizing them as liars or deluded... The impoverished will become even more impoverished, and more filled to overflowing with explosively righteous anger. The wealthy will cling even more greedily to the wealth that they already have, creating a social atmosphere of sheer desperation and complete confusion. To add to that, there will be series after series of 'natural' disasters, some genuinely natural, some human-induced through aberrant scientific activities such as underground nuclear testing, others deliberately induced by the Grays through the (Scaler-type? - Branton) technology they are in possession of. When approximately three-quarters of the planet's population has been eliminated in this fashion, the Grays can then make an overt appearance as saviors from the skies, distributing food and medicine to the survivors. As the survivors line up to recieve their guotas of food and medicine, implants will be inserted, supposedly to aid in further food distribution, actually to guarantee complete Gray control with no possibility of rebellion (Note: Electronic chip implants have already been developed. These operate on bodily temperature changes and it is interesting that the part of the body which experiences the greatest ranges of temperature change are the forehead and the hands.These chips will not only serve to control individuals, but will also be able to track their every movements by satellite. One individual who worked on such a chip stated that the implant would decay after a certain period of time, at which point a poisonous virus would be released into the bloodstream of those who had recieved it, eventually killing the person and effecting a type of automatic "population control" for the electronically-controlled society. - Branton). From the point of view of the Grays, terrestrial humanity will have been reduced to manageable numbers and to eternal submission.
"Humanity is not about to be invaded. Humanity is not in the middle of an invasion. Humanity has been invaded! The invasion has taken place, and is NEARLY in its final stages. Great invasions do not happen with thundering smoke and nuclear weaponry. That is the mark of an immature society. Great invasions happen in secrecy." Branton
-End of the hypothetical scenario-
Buying our planet with our solar system resources would cost them nothing. Once they owned most of the real estate and businesses they would quickly get their investment back in rent and food payments. The money just goes round in circles and they effectively own us. Quite legally I might add.
Biological engineering ,especially in such a hostile environment as space, has its disadvantages. Now instead of just life support for the crew, you got to provide it for the whole ship.
Long term radiation exposure could cause problems as well.
STARGAZING: All I see are the lights of a billion places I'll never go. --Howard Tayler, Schlock Mercenary
Fission and fusion is another matter, though . . .maybe?
An organic laser sounds like an interesting concept to try to think up.
Life processes tend to be fairly low energy.
Really, it's just a question of whatever it is they would like us to do, and what means they would use to get us to do it. The former is mysterious and mystifying. I mean, who can say what aliens would want us to do? If they're anything like us, this could include all sorts of weird things ranging from producing and broadcasting The Real Housewives of Atlanta to mass mailing AOL coasters. If they're not like us, then the things they could want us to do could be even weirder!
The latter, though, could be straightforward. We humans can be motivated by payment and/or threats and/or deception and/or simply asking. Simple observation of the ways we motivate/manipulate each other could provide hypothetical aliens with all of the information they require in order to figure out how to use the same methods on us.
Aliens are likely to have incompatible biologies. It would make sense to convert our biomass into something more usable by their own systems. Perhaps by using some grey goo. Just rain it into the atmosphere...
Instead, imagine a galactic culture where basically anything can be replicated, anything one needs, anything one want; basically a post-scarcity society.
It would make sense, at least to me, the thing that would be valued most would be originality, newness.
Imagine a group, lets call them cultural pirates, who snap up the cultural legacy of planet bound species for, what are to them, beads and baubles, and make like bandits.
By the time the planet bound join the galactic community, they find themselves destitute as all they have to offer has already been sold, hyped, and exhausted of interest.