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Grinning Cat commented on Sydni Moser's group Coffee Break
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Stephen Brodie commented on Loren Miller's blog post Brian Tyler Cohen on Roe and a Pending SCOTUS Case
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We are a worldwide social network of freethinkers, atheists, agnostics and secular humanists.

A Few Thoughts.

Just a few of my thoughts about observations I have made and what I have learnt through my life!

What amazes me are people whether religious or not who wear blinkers. The blinkers being:- Either believing with jaundiced vision in unproven words of men from long ago or believing with jaundiced vision in proven words of men, of yore and today.

Both religion and science can be blinkers when you allow them to be.

The first place their faith in a single book of many books but chosen with bias of the men of old. While the second place their faith in many books of theories both proven and unproven whilst ignoring information that shows without having to resort to assumptions that something can be predicated outside of a related theory or a mechanism can work without having to assume an unknown factor.

At the time that Einstein was formulating his theory of relativity and scientist predicated black holes without it being within a theory. Recently another group of scientists showed that galactic lensing happens without having to resort to dark mass and energy.

Personally I hold the view:- believe everything that I am told, that I read, that I see but only truly believe 10% of it. As for internal personal experiences:- find descriptors for the experience then analyse it, draw on psychology to rule out self deception and hallucinations. Refer to other sources that may help. So far nothing can explain the actual experiences that I have. Descriptors that are available are inadequate, there is no lexicon in any language in this material bound space time continuum that has the power to convey what I experienced fully. Therefore I cannot describe adequately what I experienced so therefore cannot effectively describe those experiences to the outside world.

I am more likely to be self deceptive in regards to relationships than in internal experiences and I have not had an hallucinatory episode in my life as far as I am aware of what an hallucination is. I am not in to drugs except for a nicotine habit which is being kicked and the very odd occasion where I have had to take medications. As for alcohol only periods in my life where I consumed excessive amounts has totalled about 15 times in my life while just having one or two beers would be about 250 in 15,330 days of my adult life to date and now I have given it up nearly completely exceptions being my birthday, my wife's birthday and the New Year which on each occasion I imbibe in two glasses of either wine or sparkling wine. I had to take medication for depression for 12 months only, 12 years ago.

Were I to couch it in the framework of a religion then it would be accepted as being true by the followers what ever religions framework I put it in without much questioning on the experiences. While on the other hand the non-religious sceptics will explain it away as hallucinations or some other psycho-babble or ask you to repeat it so they can put to their material based instruments to measure it and when either you cannot repeat it or you do repeat it but their instruments remain dumb or take inconclusive readings they dismiss it as a load of poppycock and codswallop.

Now getting away from the spiritual side of life.

The Fermi paradox is a conflict between an argument of Scale and Probability and a lack of Evidence

A more complete definition could be stated thus:

The apparent size and age of the universe suggest that many technologically advanced extraterrestrial civilisations ought to exist.

There is a formula called The Drake Equation

N = R* fp ne f fi fc L.

R* = the average rate of star formation per year in our Galaxy
fp = the fraction of those stars that have planets
ne = the average number of planets that can potentially support life per star that has planets
fℓ = the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop life at some point
fi = the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop life
fc = the fraction of civilisations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space
L = the length of time for which such civilisations release detectable signals into space.
I am well aware that it is a simplistic equation with terms that we can only guess at for the moment.

James Kasting, in his book "How To Find A Habitable Planet", gives the equation as

N = R* ,Hg fp ne f fi fc fL

where the first term on the right hand side of the equation is the number of stars in the galaxy. fL, which is the fraction of a planet's lifetime during which it supports a technical civilisation. He notes that this is the most uncertain factor in the equation.

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. Then the focus becomes how to proceed experimentally. Indeed, Drake originally formulated the equation merely as an agenda for discussion at the Green Bank conference.

It gives the number of likely planets that could give rise to an an intelligent life forms.

What the planet hunters are doing is showing us that planets are more prolific in the universe than once was thought and that they orbit a variety of different stars right throughout the colour spectrum of stars.

For a more detailed look go to this site

Planets named Kepler – 16b, – 22b, – 30d, – 34b. – 35b – Have orbits that are less than the Earth's orbital time in days but I believe were they in a goldilocks orbit they would have had a good chance of developing a sentient race with technological abilities.

It will be a good day when they do find such a planet. For to my thinking that we not only need to have a planet in a goldilocks orbit but we need it to have a reasonable slow orbital speed so that a complex web of life can evolve on the planet. This all has to do with the conservation of momentum of a spinning mass. The planets they have found so far are close to their parent star. So as stated above only 4 having slow orbital times. This means that the other planets have high orbital speeds due to the conservation of momentum. But had they been at the distances of from the star like our Saturn or Jupiter then their orbital speeds would also be proportionally slower. I doubt that they would have been as easily detected as well.

So what this means is that the confidence in find the tell tale presence of extra solar life and also an intelligent life form is growing all be it ever slowly.

Are there intelligences out there in our Universe?

To my thinking! Yes!

There are because of the age of the Universe itself and also the length of time life has been on this planet we call Earth, Terra, Gaia. Means that the possibility of other star systems harbouring life and evolving intelligent lifeforms are greater than our Primate minds want to admit.

Some of those intelligences will be to some degree or other, older than ours so therefore more than likely there would be lifeforms that are way ahead of us in the use of technology and the sciences. But on the other hand there are going to be lifeforms that are at our stage of evolution and adept to a degree in the use of technology and the sciences as we are. Then there are also bound to be intelligent lifeforms that are behind us in both technology and the sciences that are just begin their journey from their evolutionary homes towards civilisation and ultimately their journey to the stars.

Are they belligerent?

The ones that are in advance of us I very much doubt it because of just the sheer logistics, the sheer amount of materials and knowledge that is required for its citizens to just even traverse between the planets in a stellar system requires a stable and non-belligerent society where the main focus of the society is acquiring knowledge. As we ourselves have found that the more we explore and explain our place in the Universe the more questions are raised than what is answered by the exploration. So it would be with Alien races as it is I believe a trait that belongs to any intelligent species. You can send robotic machines to do your exploration but ultimately you have to go because machines can only do so much and do not have the capabilities of a brain such as yours. You will notice things that the machine would over look because of its relevance within it environment.

We as a species are just starting to learn that co-operation and good will to other members of our species has a greater reward in the long term than being belligerent towards each other for short term gains.

Here is something to think about!

Were I to be from an intelligent race that had the ability to traverse the stars I would have no need for sophisticated weaponry to destroy a planet!

Were I to have the desire to destroy a planet. I would instead strap a throw away,low technology rocket engine and guidance controls to a few asteroids in the planets solar system and head them towards the planet. But then why would I want to do that? What would be the purpose of doing so? What would it achieve? {Or I would by subterfuge begin a religion or two and watch them destroy each other over whose religion was the better and more loving and peaceful religion. So they would eventually destroy their world and themselves.}

I would be the poorer for doing so because I lose an opportunity learn about a race that has a different psychological make-up, a different set of histories and stories, a totally different culture to mine, for me to learn about. Why would I want to destroy a civilisation that is on its journey to the stars? Why rake and sift through the remains of a civilisation I destroyed when I can learn directly from that civilisation?

It is the quest of KNOWLEDEGE, this is and what is driving our species to the stars.

The desire to know different shores and lands was one of the motivators that drove the Europeans to explore the world and rediscover the rest of the world. It was greed and the drive to be top dog in Europe that drove the colonisations of the newly rediscovered lands and the destruction of native cultures some of which had mores and ethics that were higher than those of the European culture that destroyed them.

We cannot impose our psychology on an alien race! Since although they would have had a similar evolution history but the history of their race would not be the same as ours so their psychology would be nearly similar but still alien to ours. Those that say and depict aliens as being belligerent are forcing their own xenophobic and belligerent Primate mentality on to an alien society.

Our mentality at the moment is xenophobic, belligerent and down right disgusting and that is just among ourselves!

  1. What would an extraterrestrial Being actually do in the advent that they discovered a stellar system with sentient beings on a planet or travelling between the planets of their home stellar system?

    1. What would they do? Where inhabitants the planet were at the beginning of their journey to the stars?

    2. What would they do? Where the inhabitants of the planet are civilised but lacking in the technologies and sciences we on Terra have!

    3. What would they do? Where the inhabitants of a planet are as technologically advanced as we are with the sciences and technologies that we have to date!

    4. What would they do? Were they to encounter a stellar race advanced as they are!

    5. What would they do? Were they to find a race that was more advanced in both technology and the sciences!

These are the same questions that we ourselves are starting to ask as we tentatively begin our first hours of space travel.

You can answer the question yourself but be aware of you own phobias and biases as you answer the questions!

This also raises another question “ Is it possible to travel between the stars?”

I believe so though at the present time we have not the technology nor the mathematical constructs to develop a technology to build an FTL ( Faster than Light ) drive from. I am well aware that there is a mathematical formula that on the face of it say that it is impossible to travel faster than light but that formula cannot show what happens at light speed and above which means the formula is incomplete!!

There is a factor or factors that are missing from the formula that is why it cannot show what happens at light speed and higher than light speeds.

Just because we do not have the knowledge or the technology to construct a FTL drive does not mean that other races do not have that know how.

It drives me to distraction the way we Primates think that we are the smartest monkey in the Universe. Were we the smartest monkeys we think we are we would be living in peace and harmony with each other. We would not be at each others throats for whatever reason we use to do so. Religion would be each man's own personal religion that would when discussed would be done with respect and dignity.

We would be out amongst the stars not grovelling in the mud still fighting over petty little ideologies and whose organised religion was better!

According to the laws of thermodynamics a closed/isolated system does not gain or lose energy. That being the case then how can scientists say that as the fabric of space time stretches a pair of virtual particles pop in to existence in our space time sometimes they annihilate each other but sometimes the positive particle remains in our space time continuum thereby adding energy to a closed system

Our universe is a closed/isolated system!!

So this addition of energy due to the fact that E = MC 2 Therefore breaks the Laws of Thermodynamics.

First law of thermodynamics: The energy of an isolated system is constant.

This could mean that we do not live in a 4 dimensional space time continuum but a multidimensional continuum. Where there is an exchange of energy between dimensions. Since the Universe is a closed/isolated system. A multiple dimensional Universe with the dimensions exchanging energy between each other does not break the laws of thermodynamics as each dimension is not a closed/isolated system in itself.

But that then begs the questions!

Could life in this 4 dimension space-time continuum be a product also of the multiplicity of dimensions of the Universe?

Is Life a node of several dimensions of which we experience the effects of four of those dimensions namely Length, – breadth, – depth and Time, directly whilst only being able to experience the ephemeral effects from the other dimensions?

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Comment was by Neal on February 24, 2012 at 10:48pm

I find it slightly disorientating that this could possibly makes sense.

Comment was by Jaume on February 24, 2012 at 9:11pm

Neal, can't you see it? We're talking about Politics 2.0.

At the moment politics is a 2-dimensional system. We've got width in the ideological spectrum (right and left wings) and the vertical in the bicameral legislature (upper and lower houses.) But that's barely enough, in an age where relativity is 100 years old and spacetime a concept familiar to all. Our political systems are in dire need of an overhaul. They need extra dimensions!

I propose that we relocate the Capitol, the Palace of Westmisnster, the Palais Bourbon and their counterparts all over the world into orbit - as far as possible: near-zero gravity will allow our representatives to hold their meetings using all 3 spatial dimensions as they see fit. They're so far removed from the common people's plights already, the distance from Earth will hardly make a difference.

Comment was by Neal on February 24, 2012 at 8:34pm

What the hell are you people talking about?  =)

Comment was by Michel on February 19, 2012 at 1:49pm

Up or down the well or the nucleus or the Great Attractor.

Comment was by Jaume on February 19, 2012 at 12:51pm

Up, down, that's just a convention for us to easily point out to massless citizens where the closest gravity well is.

Comment was by Michel on February 19, 2012 at 12:43pm

There is this up-down arrow. Everything at any scale you care to look at is currently falling.

Comment was by Jaume on February 19, 2012 at 12:25pm

Well, I could give many answers actually - but I'll stick to just one: if there were an arrow of length (or any spatial direction) instead of an arrow of time, you probably couldn't choose your next president since it would preclude any freedom for you to choose between left-wing and right-wing candidates. I'm not sure past-wing and future-wing politics would be an improvement over the present political spectrum - after all, politics is supposed to deal with present issues, isn't it?

Comment was by Adriana on February 19, 2012 at 12:07pm

@Michel: I don't think even Jaume can explain that one :-) Not that he would not try :-)

Comment was by Michel on February 19, 2012 at 11:58am

A question I like to ponder: Why do we appear to have freedom in the three spatial dimensions but appear to have none whatsoever time wise? Why isn't there an Arrow of Length? 

I have a feeling Jaume will explain this to me =)

As for ET's, of course they exist! Just look at the numbers.

But even if our civilization continued broadcasting radio for 5000 years, and that's quite a contract considering what we've done to the world in just a few centuries, our first electromagnetic "Testing, one, two..." signal would not have reached a tenth of our own ordinary galaxy's 100,000 light years diameter. And then we'd go extinct or transmuted ourselves into pure information or whatever. I assume the other guys would have the same problems.

And that's just the local issue. At the scale of the Virgo supercluster... Perhaps with the luck of the draw there is a twin system nearby and we're going to get a signal any day now, but what really matters with ETs is that we confirm their existence.

There is this one thing I try to keep in mind when I consider human civilization, our species accomplishments and catastrophes: we are evolving apes. There's this good old brain stem our cortex has yet to tame.

Comment was by Jaume on February 19, 2012 at 10:47am

we are the product of 4 billion years of evolution. It's about time we freaking start acting like it :-)

Wait, what? Don't you think A-bombs are highly evolved subspecies of the stick and stones genus?

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