General Question

chyna's avatar

If UFO’s do exist, and I do believe they do, why does the government think they need to hide it from us?

Asked by chyna (51301points) 3 weeks ago from iPhone

Do they think our minds will explode if we know the truth?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

163 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

If the government can’t explain it, the government can’t control it. And if the government can’t control something, government is seen as weak and untrustworthy.

Not admitting UFOs has nothing to do with our ability to understand the phenomenon. It has to do with government control.

gorillapaws's avatar

Of course UFO’s exist. Any flying object that’s unidentified is a UFO. Extraterrestrial UFO’s on the other hand…

Blackwater_Park's avatar

There are a lot of smoke and mirrors with this subject

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

UAP is the new term for UFO.

MrGrimm888's avatar

If this question makes the additional assumption that “they” are in possession of, and/or in contact with ETs, I actually think that would be really hard to cover up.

Let’s face it, the US government barely functions.

If they are merely aware of them, but have little knowledge of them, it could be sensible to avoid alarming the public.

Space is SO vast, if we find a crashed one, it doesn’t mean we would see one again. But how could we be sure?
With a possible alien attack in back of everyone’s minds, I doubt some could focus on anything else.

But. What if the crashed ship traveled for millions of years, and it’s original sender is long extinct. We’d have people shooting at the skies, and going nuts.

Or….
The ET threat is 100% real.
They are indescribably more advanced than us, and we have no diplomatic relationship, or hope of even communicating.
Again. It doesn’t make much sense to tell everyone to board up their windows, if there is a threat capable of defeating our world’s defenses.

It’s relevant to this thread, to mention the “War of the World’s,” a science fiction novel read aloud on public radio.
People allegedly took it seriously, and the results were suicides and panic.

chyna's avatar

^Or perhaps they could be here to help us. Maybe they realize the earth is in danger and they want to help us navigate through the same things they have been through.
All just theories, but fun to think about.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^Oh yeah. Absolutely fascinating. Thought provoking.

I personally think that “UFOs” are us, from the future.

There could be “aliens” inhabiting the Earth currently, but they’re not really in this dimension.

I know some people who think we are in contact with 12 different species of aliens.
Something about a galactic war.

All pretty crazy.

Yet. The universe, is SO vast, and so much time has already gone by.

Thousands of alien worlds may have risen, and fallen in the past dozen billion years.

Almost nothing is out of the question. Yet. I feel if they’re out there, they may be beyond our imaginations.

I’d love for us to just find ANY concrete evidence, before I die.

An ancient space station, on the back of the Moon would be sick!

JLeslie's avatar

I think the government isn’t covering up anything regarding possible visitors from space, and so that would explain why they don’t release information on the topic.

As far as UFO’s, there are UFO’s, and if the government is unsure what was seen then they can’t release information, because the government doesn’t know.

If there are flying objects from outer space that the government knows about with possible alien beings, the government probably wouldn’t release the info, because people would be afraid and maybe it would create a dangerous situation. It’s bad enough we have segments of the population buying arms and gearing up war, but they seem trigger happy and easily provoked.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

I think for the simple reason they are afraid it would cause mass panic, I would like to think they do exist but if they have such advanced technology why would they want anything to do with us?

flutherother's avatar

Which government? They would all have to conspire together to keep the secret.

seawulf575's avatar

I suspect it comes down to how the public would take the information. As a species, we aren’t always the most sane or logical. When we feel threatened or even excieted, we can do some really stupid things.

Kropotkin's avatar

By UFOs, I presume you mean that the lots of publicly available footage of UFOs is actually strong evidence that species from other planetary systems come here in impossibly advanced vehicles capable of interstellar travel, and it is this conclusion that is perfectly suppressed by every major government in the world.

The thing about this conspiracy of silence is that the aliens themselves would need to be in on it too. It seems strange to me that they would travel 100s of trillions of miles just to flit about and show up as difficult to ascertain images on blurry video footage, and then let themselves become hostages to secret government programs.

The usual rationale for governments hiding them is to avoid a mass panic, which is really unconvincing and speculative in my opinion.

A more plausible argument in my view, is that because aliens are a highly advanced and vastly more intelligent species, they have likely perfected social, political and economic organisation to create a utopia on their own planet(s). This would necessarily make them a threat to the status quo and intrinsically anti-capitalist, which is unconscionable to the ruling elites of the USA and the rest of the world.

In conclusion: the reason you don’t hear about the aliens is because they’re damn godless commies.

seawulf575's avatar

Another part of this question seems to be why would aliens want to visit our planet? The answer is very simple: for the same reason as we look for other life. We listen to radio waves coming from outer space, we sent up the Voyager mission to gather information and send it back to ourselves, we put a giant telescope in space to see what we can see…we are curious. We want to know about those things around us as well as far off in the distance. We learn from things we observe. An alien species capable of interstellar flight obviously has this same kind of curiosity, or else why create interstellar flight?

MrGrimm888's avatar

^Wulf. Haven’t you ever been walking somewhere, when you notice a screaming mentally ill vagrant shouting at passersby and thought “I’m not even gonna get near this person?”

I would think one look, would be enough to keep most intelligent life away.

seawulf575's avatar

@MrGrimm888 The difference is one of time. The screaming meemy is only going to live a limited number of years and is gone. A species might live for thousands or millions of years. What you are seeing today may not be what we will be like in 500 years. Of course it might also be that the aliens are in need of resources that our planet can provide. It’s hard to tell. It would really depend upon the biology of the alien species.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Well, people narrow this phenomenon down to a couple of familiar things. This is modern folklore. We assume that if these are aliens they will have our intelligence type, but this is unlikely. It’s more likely to be like an octopus in the sense that we’ll be so different that we can’t communicate. If these things are indeed real and have our type of intelligence it is more likely that they’re related to us and come from this very planet, seeded this planet, or are from the future or past. We assume it is aliens but we don’t know. We hear rumors about these things, yet we have no proof. IMO most of the recent news about this is likely bullshit. If it’s not I highly doubt the gov’t is keeping it tight-lipped because of “space communism or religion” That’s just silly. It would be because the apparatus keeping it contained is more controversial than the subject itself at this point. I have yet to see anything concrete that I would be willing to use to form an opinion on. That said, it does make my imagination run wild and that’s the fun part.

bob_'s avatar

To borrow a phrase from Aaron Sorkin’s “A few good men”, y’all can’t handle the truth.

Plus, some of the suspicious activity might be secret military stuff, which needs to remain, you know, secret.

Caravanfan's avatar

You should see The UFO Movie THEY Don’t Want You To See. Bonus, at the end I have some astrophotographs on display in the credits.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

If aliens exist than probably the government is reverse engineering their technology.

Smashley's avatar

By definition, if they are unidentified, their identities are not known. No possible conspiracy could be keeping this under wraps. If the UFO’s really are aliens, the government isn’t saying they are because no one can actually confirm it.

KNOWITALL's avatar

If it’s real they don’t want us to know they’re in cahoots, and have been.
Another theory is they live here in the ocean and predate man. They choose to observe and not interfere.

jonsblond's avatar

I agree with @seawulf575 about how the government is worried about how the public will react.

Coincidentally I just finished watching the movie Deep Impact where the government hid the fact for a year that an extinction level event asteroid was heading towards earth.

chyna's avatar

I seriously would love to hang out with each of you and discuss this around a campfire.
I lurve all of your answers.

filmfann's avatar

Some Christians feel that the revelation of Extra Terrestrial Life disproves the existence of God.
It doesn’t.

Smashley's avatar

@filmfann – definitely would create some new questions to rationalize their way through, though.

I love the idea that the US government could keep such things under wraps for so long. Every other policy can be short sighted, poorly implemented, or for immediate political advantage, with leaks happening everywhere, all the time, but this one thing is the thing every administration for 75 years has agreed on, and has executed absolutely perfectly.

seawulf575's avatar

@Smashley I’ve personally been in on many things the government kept secret, that the general public did not know about. When they no longer matter, they are declassified and released to the public. I was on a special projects submarine. I was not allowed to know all that went on when we went to sea. I wasn’t allowed to know where we were going, where we were at any given time, what we were doing. And I was not alone. Picture a 400’ tube loaded with machinery and equipment and carrying 100–110 people. Of those people only probably 30 knew what the special project was and of those 30 probably only 10 knew fully what the mission was.

That they have kept things secret wouldn’t surprise me. Look at it this way: When they classify materials, those that are allowed to know about them are basically sworn to secrecy under the threat of punishment. It isn’t worth talking about if you could go to prison for it. Yet people do talk and things slip out. So the government denies them and denounces those talking about it as conspiracy theorists guilty of spreading misinformation. Sound familiar? Disinformation board, anyone?

flutherother's avatar

One possibility is that an alien life form has already taken control of government but does not want to announce it just yet. Their spaceship is cloaked and sitting next to the White House. That is why anyone approaching the White house Lawn is either shot or carted off to a lunatic asylum.

Smashley's avatar

@flutherother – I lean toward secret Jelly Belly factory where children are rendered for gelatin. Hey, it’s a possibility!

Caravanfan's avatar

@Smashley UFO people, like other cultists, have their minds made up. It’s hard to confuse them with the facts.

seawulf575's avatar

@Caravanfan How about logic? The universe is an awfully big place. Even just the Milky Way is enormous. To believe we are the only life in all this huge expanse isn’t even logical. Statistically, even by random chance, there should be more life. And to believe it is more advanced than us isn’t any more illogical.

I think that those that are anti-UFO are the cultists.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

OMG I am actually going to agree with @seawulf575 on a topic what is the world coming to?^

seawulf575's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 It isn’t political. I’m not such a bad sort outside of political conversations.

Caravanfan's avatar

@seawulf575 I never said I believed we are the only life in the universe. In fact, I think it is a near statistical certainty that we are not alone. But there is no evidence that any of those other life forms have visited Earth and it is, in fact, almost physically impossible. We are isolated and will remain so.

I highly recommend watching that movie I linked to earlier.

RocketGuy's avatar

The laws of physics that we know of say that it’s pretty much impossible for any aliens to get here within a reasonable amount of time.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Like I said earlier, these UFOs are probably not aliens. It’s more likely to just be smoke and mirrors.

jca2's avatar

Stephen Hawking wanted us to stop reaching out to other civilizations and broadcasting that we’re here.

2016: https://www.sciencealert.com/stephen-hawking-warns-that-we-might-not-want-to-reach-out-to-aliens

Caravanfan's avatar

That’s just silly. We are broadcasting 24/7/365. We are basically yelling to the universe

Brian1946's avatar

According to what I just Googled, the first radio transmission sent to space was in 1974.

So this November will be the 50th anniversary of the Arecibo signal.

If the transmission duration was at least 24 hours and widely transmitted, then perhaps it’s formed an approximately spherical signal cluster with a radius of almost 50 light years.
So if there are any extraterrestrial civilizations with radio-receptive technology within that distance, then they’ve received our transmission.

If there are any within 25 LY, then we may already be in a 2-way electronic conversation with them.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Well ole dementia-Don did say they were people crossing your southern border speaking language nobody has ever heard, from countries(perhaps planets?) nobody has ever heard?

Zaku's avatar

That would be telling.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Radio signals decay below the noise floor and are mostly undetectable before they reach the closest stars. We have sent a few signals powerful enough to make it to them but they were brief and not repeating.

seawulf575's avatar

@Caravanfan I started watching the video you posted. I watched about the first half hour or so. What I saw was interesting, but not convincing. It actually argued with itself in some points. One of the biggest problems with the video is the hubris of the basis of it. It assumes everyone everywhere wants to be us. They think like us. They only do things we can do and no more. If we developed with those same bases, we’d still be living in caves, hunting and gathering. The video takes the barriers we have run up against and said “See? They couldn’t be visiting us!” because our limitations have to be theirs.

In the end, it told us all the problems we have with visiting other civilizations. We know what those are. But given our continuing interest in advancing ourselves, we break our own barriers all the time. Those problems may be overcome in the future.

The way I see it is that if aliens are visiting us, they are curious about us. They happened upon us through whatever method and are just checking it out. What their motives are is unknown. As I said before, it could be they are looking for natural resources. They could be looking for scientific purposes…cataloging life in the universe for instance. They could be looking for any number of reasons. And any that show up here are likely just checking things out. Why put forth a lot of effort until you get enough intel to tell you if it is worth it?

But the problem I had with your previous post is the dismissiveness of calling anyone that believes in UFOs “conspiracy theorists”. That is what people do when they are so arrogant they want to dismiss anyone with a different viewpoint. Is that you?

Smashley's avatar

@Caravanfan – I agree that there are a lot of cult aspects to UFO enthusiasm, and every story that claims to know the truth is full holes, or, more often, lies and delusions. The weird thing is that the lunatics could, in broad strokes, actually be right. Of course technology we don’t understand is possible, of course life out there is possible I just don’t see the possibility of an effective, massive, long term conspiracy of silence around something as shatteringly significant as extra terrestrial life.

Smashley's avatar

(There’s also, notably, UFO elements to some cults)

Kropotkin's avatar

Despite the 100s of billions of planetary systems in the Milky Way, once you start filtering for habitability and likely hosts for the evolution of life, which necessarily combine a host of specific conditions, you’re left with a small fraction of that number—maybe just a few million planets.

These planets are 10s to 1000s of light years away. The Milky Way itself is 100,000 light years across.

It took 4 billion years for a technologically capable species to evolve on Earth, and it took us another 200,000 years to develop a truly technological civilisation (which might not last long.)

A planet capable of hosting and evolving life doesn’t guarantee the development of a technologically capable species, which has a whole host of its own specific conditions.

It’s for these reasons that I think an alien civilisation at least as capable as our own is rare and might not exist at all within our galaxy.

Now, even being wildly optimistic and assuming there is an alien civilisation somewhere within the 100,000 light years span of the Milky Way that is technologically more advanced than us, you still have to face the hard physical limitations of the laws of physics.

The main law of physics that scuppers interstellar travel is the speed of light.

I could assume there exists a spacecraft that can traverse vast distances at some significant fraction of the speed of light (warp drives and wormholes are basically fantasy and will not be considered) and that this craft has solved all the extremely challenging problems associated with such travel: life support, radiation shielding, energy requirements, propulsion, navigation, protective shielding, and anything else I might have missed.

Time dilation means there is a significant temporal gap between craft and home planet, and there is no communication due to the speed and distance involved. The aliens would have to travel back over decades to share their information, and then show on their home planet centuries after they first left.

It seems far more plausible to me, that a civilisation capable of travelling across space and motivated to colonise space, would do so gradually across its very nearest planetary systems, creating outposts along the way. There appears to be absolutely no evidence of such an alien civilisation within any reasonable range of us.

There’s also an issue that any particular planet’s life would certainly have a unique biochemistry that would incompatible with any other’s, and which could be mutually harmful. Physically interacting with aliens could be harmful to one or both of us.

TLDR: Aliens aren’t visiting us on super-duper advanced spacecraft from half way across the galaxy, and definitely not from any other galaxy.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@seawulf575 It’s only paranoia/conspiracy theory if it’s NOT true. Haha!

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
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seawulf575's avatar

@Kropotkin All of your claims are assuming all life would be like us. Carbon based, even. That isn’t necessarily so.

You also make it sound like we have had 200,000 years to develop current technology. That is partially true. But stop and consider that 99% of all technological advances have happened within the last 150 years. We went from the Cotton Gin being amazing to carrying around a supercomputer in your pocket being a normal thing.

As for your bit about interstellar travel, you threw in “warp drives and wormholes are basically fantasy and will not be considered” That is convenient, but is also a bogus claim. Consider that nuclear submarines were first considered in 1870 when Jules Verne wrote about them in 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea At that time it was called fantasy and not to be considered reality. The first nuclear submarine, The USS-Nautilus, SSN-571 was commissioned in 1955. Same with From the Earth to the Moon by Verne from 1865. Of course that was not the earliest idea of men going to the moon. That would have been A True Story (or A True History) which was written by Lucien Samosata in the second century A.D. It, too, was fantasy. Yet in 1969, men were walking on the moon.

In short, your entire view is skewed, not realistic, and devised only to sound intelligent.

Caravanfan's avatar

@seawulf. How would thay get here?

seawulf575's avatar

@Caravanfan How about technology we don’t have yet? It could be any number of reasons or ways. Here’s a concept: their planet was destroyed but they got a large portion of the population off before it happened and they are living on giant starships that are blasting through the cosmos at something less than, but close to, light speed? They could be around the galactic corner from us right now and are just looking for a place to settle. Or, despite @Kropotkin cynicism, they could have developed warp technology or figured out how to use wormholes.

The point is that all the arguments against aliens possibly being here make gross assumptions that are not based in fact. They assume aliens are genetically similar to us. They assume they are bound by the same science we have discovered so far and that they couldn’t possibly have pushed that envelope. I find that ironic because the first assumption is that they are technologically superior to us to be able to visit another planet but then we try to shoot that in the foot by using our own advancements as the measuring stick of all that is ever going to be possible. @Kropotkin even relegated any other options that what we have to being fantasy, which is, as I pointed out, laughable.

To ask me what their technology is equally laughable. If I knew how it worked or had a clue about it I would have used it already and I’d be typing from Pluto or somewhere.

Caravanfan's avatar

@seawulf575 It’s not a question of technology. It’s a question of physics. All technology follows the laws of physics, and the physics says it’s not possible.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@Caravanfan thank you for using “Critical Thinking” ! ! !

Kropotkin's avatar

@seawulf575 I will address some of your points one by one, because I am polite that way. The lazy way would be to pick on one thing, and claim that one thing is a refutation of everything.

“All of your claims are assuming all life would be like us. Carbon based, even. That isn’t necessarily so.”

No, they don’t. However, for organic life, carbon is pretty much the only good candidate for life. I know there’s speculation about silicon and germanium as a basis for biochemistry which Carl Sagan famously proposed. Carbon is just far better than either of these and more abundant. Non-carbon life, if it exists at all, would be vastly rarer, so there would be even less reason to expect a germanium or silicon based alien to be visiting Earth from 100s of light years away.

“you threw in “warp drives and wormholes are basically fantasy and will not be considered” That is convenient, but is also a bogus claim..”

They’re things that are mathematically possible, but physically almost certainly impossible. Because they’re mathematically possible, they’re used in sci-fi where special effects and imagination can be used to magic the required technology into being.

It also doesn’t follow that because some imagined things in the past became realised through technological progress that all imagined things will do so.

Verne’s Nautilus was battery powered, by the way.

“In short, your entire view is skewed, not realistic, and devised only to sound intelligent.”

I hope that I have addressed your two contentions to your satisfaction, as I think I have. You didn’t actually address my entire view as such, or even all the points I made.

I’d like to point out that asserting my motivation is only to sound intelligent is an actual example of cynicism on your part.

“The point is that all the arguments against aliens possibly being here make gross assumptions that are not based in fact.”

“They assume aliens are genetically similar to us.”

I specifically mention that aliens would necessarily have different biochemistry, albeit very likely still carbon based.

“They assume they are bound by the same science we have discovered so far and that they couldn’t possibly have pushed that envelope.”

I specifically allowed for all technological and engineering problems associated with interstellar travel to be hand-waved away. Aliens, however, still don’t get to break the laws of physics.

”@Kropotkin even relegated any other options that what we have to being fantasy, which is, as I pointed out, laughable.”

Star Trek isn’t a documentary. It’s literally fantasy and there is zero evidence of these technologies will ever exist outside of the realm of TV and movie magic. If they did exist, they would also leave signatures that our current technology could detect—and does not.

RocketGuy's avatar

Star Trek is “historical records” ...

BTW, we’ve been transmitting RF for over a hundred years: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_radio
so aliens with a super radio telescope within 100 lightyears will have heard us by now. The catch is: getting here.

MrGrimm888's avatar

According to quantum physics, everything is possible.

I read about it often. Admittedly, the math is over my head.
But. The concepts are as plausible as any others.

MrGrimm888's avatar

To be clear.
Propulsion is just not going to cover the distances of the universe.
To master space, one would have to master time as well. And possibly some forces we don’t fully understand yet.
If something is moving around the universe, it’s probably using “worm holes,” either from other parts of the universe, or even another dimension.
The laws of physics could be different in each universe.

It’s possible something might make it here, but not he able to return.

Caravanfan's avatar

@MrGrimm888 “According to quantum physics, everything is possible.”
No. Only according to Deepak Chopra

RocketGuy's avatar

If only we could design a finite improbability machine then plug in the improbability of an Infinite Improbability Drive, we would be able to generate one out of thin air: https://hitchhikers.fandom.com/wiki/Infinite_Improbability_Drive
Then we could avoid most of these Physics limits altogether.

Kropotkin's avatar

@RocketGuy Who are we to say whether such a thing is possible or not.

Caravanfan's avatar

@RocketGuy Yeah, Rocketguy. And who are we to say that a wizard can cast a fireball at 4th level? Oh, no wait…

Blackwater_Park's avatar

We have been transmitting RF sure, but it’s not even really getting to the nearest stars. The inverse square law is brutal. If there are aliens who care, have the technology to decode radio, and are close enough to have decoded the handful of transmissions that made it their way then possibly we were heard. They would also have to be listening at the perfect time to receive them. Since the few powerful signals at frequencies that can traverse long distances we sent were mostly directed, short, and non-repeating, the odds are strongly against any aliens even realizing we exist.

Caravanfan's avatar

@Blackwater_Park Honestly, a single photon can travel completely across the universe. So it’s not out of the range of possiblity that on Proxima Centauri which has an Earth sized planet in the habitibility zone started seeing I Love Lucy reruns decades ago. Of course by my writing “not out of the range of possibility” means

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Would they be able to distinguish and decode a TV broadcast level radio signal once it’s down in the dirt of the noise floor? I doubt I Love Lucy made it. Radar pulses possibly though. The Arecibo message maybe.

seawulf575's avatar

@Caravanfan Yep, they have to follow physics…until they find something that puts it to shame. Remember when the Big Bang theory was IT and everything was explained and it had to be THE FACT. Until they started finding evidence that shot it down. That’s how science works. You come up with an idea, you test it over and over and over until you can say it is a “theory”. We start using that information for more and more things, all of which are challenges (tests) in themselves. If you find something that challenges your theory, you have to resolve it. Your theory my be 100% accurate under certain circumstances. But maybe there’s more to it.

By your thinking, the world should still be flat. After all, that was what mankind thought for thousands of years. They were sure the sun rotated around the Earth. No one dared to challenge it because it was known to be true. That model fit every aspect they could test for at the time. When someone came up with the idea that the Earth was round, they were laughed at and ridiculed and accused of being a conspiracy theorist or making up fantasy.

Even as we debate this, there has been a new challenge to the Special Theory of Relativity. This is how science works.

seawulf575's avatar

@Kropotkin Trying to put your biases back into play isn’t proving your point. You are applying limitations onto other civilizations that may or may not apply. Hell, for that matter they may not apply to our civilization except we don’t know how to get past them…yet. That is the whole point.

You keep wanting to discount as fantasy and unrealistic any ideas that you can’t prove today. But the list of things that were first seen in sci-fi books and other media that now exist. Cell phones, tablet computers, two-way wrist radio and video phone (Thank you Dick Tracy), defibrillators, rockets to the moon, AI, space stations, lab-grown meat, tasers, ear buds, digital billboards, driverless cars, 3d holograms, bionic arms, 3d printers, credit cards and so many more. Even video calls were used in the Jetsons decades before they became a reality. The list is long and illustrious. But hey, if we just assume we can’t do something that doesn’t exist now we might as well stop trying, eh?

”@RocketGuy Who are we to say whether such a thing is possible or not.” apparently you are. After all, that would just be fantasy and isn’t physically possible, right?

MrGrimm888's avatar

@Caravanfan Quantum physics are very important to your celestial viewing hobby.
You shouldn’t sweep aside something that will be the basis of physics in regards to everything from space travel, to alloys, new elements, and construction materials.

Exactly the type of physics a space faring race, would have to master to hypothetically get here.

One of the primary goals of AI, is to do massive quantum calculations.

Demosthenes's avatar

I believe there are unidentified flying objects. I don’t believe any of them are extraterrestrial though, sorry, I know, I’m boring. :(

MrGrimm888's avatar

^That’s exactly what an alien would say!

Kropotkin's avatar

@seawulf575 I’m not proving anything.

I gave arguments for why I think an advanced alien civilisation isn’t visiting us in space craft.

Planetary life is rare in the Milky Way, because life bearing planets have a lot of necessary conditions, meaning they’re only a small fraction of the total number of planets in the Milky Way.

Out of the planets on which life can emerge, only some of them will harbour intelligent life.

Out of the planets with intelligent life on them, only some will become technological civilisations.

Out of the planets with technological civilisations, only some of them will reach the stage of being space faring civilisations.

The more advanced the hypothetical civilisation, the less probable it is to exist in the galaxy, because the more conditions are required for such a civilisation to emerge.

Even granting the emergence of a highly advanced space faring civilisation, traversing beyond anything but the nearest planetary systems (orbiting other stars), even at 80% or more of the speed of light, would take decades or centuries of travel.

In science-fiction, we let our imagination loose, and don’t constrain ourselves too much by distances or things like the speed limit of the universe, and so tropes are invented that allow for civilisations to travel anywhere in hours, minutes, or even instantly, which is where wormholes and warp drives come in.

These are not real things. They’re not predictions of the inevitable progress of technological advancements. They are story writing devices because it’s fun for Captain Kirk or Picard to visit fictional alien civilisations far far away. They do have some mathematical basis to them, and they’re also impossible to implement in reality because they invoke things that do not exist in the universe.

Caravanfan's avatar

@MrGrimm888 Your post to me makes no sence. Sorry.

Caravanfan's avatar

@seawulf575 Big Bang Theory is still the accepted model for the early Universe. Eric Lerner is leading a quack science site. You can read about it here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Lerner

The second weblink is just bullshit science. The Special and General theory of relativity is one of the mose consistently proven theories on the planet.

seawulf575's avatar

@Caravanfan “The Special and General theory of relativity is one of the mose consistently proven theories on the planet.” So was the Earth being flat. Right up until it wasn’t. The point is that in science we always question, always test, and always prove things. And what happens is that we find irregularities that shouldn’t be, given the firm belief. So we have to explain those irregularities. That is going on right now with the Big Bang Theory. There are irregularities.

The biggest problem with science is that it breeds a whole lot of nay-sayers, such as yourself, who only want things to be one way. You don’t want to believe your views could be wrong or only temporary.

My view is very simple. Do our current laws of physics exist? Absolutely. Because we know no other explanations and we seem bound by them. But that doesn’t mean, to me, that there aren’t things that could be wrong with them. Looking back in our own history has shown that many, many things that had to be true ended up being disproven in time. If an alien race were advanced enough to find ways to get around being bound by our laws of physics they could travel intergalactically. They could have found physical and/or temporal anomalies that exist that led to their breakthroughs.

And it should be pointed out that if you believe in the Big Bang, you also believe that the laws of physics didn’t exist at that time.

gorillapaws's avatar

@seawulf575 “The biggest problem with science is that it breeds a whole lot of nay-sayers, such as yourself, who only want things to be one way. You don’t want to believe your views could be wrong or only temporary.”

I can assure you that if there was new scientific discoveries with solid evidence to support how warp drives might be possible, folks like @Caravanfan and myself would be the happiest people in the world to be proven wrong. The thing is, they understand that science is about WHAT IS, and not about WHAT WE WANT IT TO BE.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

@seawulf575 The current understanding of physics is some of the most thoroughly vetted knowledge humans possess. The thing about crackpots is they always have some huge theory that undermines all of that current understanding and they’re generally short on credentials like understanding the math properly. They often have fancy websites and videos that will fool those without a scientific background. If it was some small detail they were arguing and had a good argument + some evidence that would be both more believable and exciting.

seawulf575's avatar

@gorillapaws “I can assure you that if there was new scientific discoveries with solid evidence to support how warp drives might be possible, folks like @Caravanfan and myself would be the happiest people in the world to be proven wrong.” Yep, I’m right there with you. But does that mean we aren’t looking into the idea? Trying to come up with the math and the science to make them so? That’s the point I’m making. Things that were completely impossible even 100 years ago are common place today. And the curiosity and the research continue to try expanding those boundaries.

You all seem to believe I don’t believe in science. The exact opposite. I believe very much in science. But because I do, I know that what we know today could be shattered tomorrow. The fact that we haven’t come up with some revolutionary breakthrough doesn’t mean that some far away civilization hasn’t either.

seawulf575's avatar

@Blackwater_Park “The current understanding of physics is some of the most thoroughly vetted knowledge humans possess.” Yes. But those understandings continue to be challenged all the time. That is how science works. The Standard Model (which is what most of you are referring to) covers a lot of stuff, but many physicist will admit it isn’t complete. There are things that don’t fit. Other models are being considered and tested all the time. String Theory is an example.

Caravanfan's avatar

@seawulf575 The only thing you wrote that is correct is “My view is very simple”. I expected better from you than paraphrasing Hamlet.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@Caravanfan some people prefer Science Fiction . . . .

Kropotkin's avatar

I’m still waiting for my anti-gravity powered hover board. 10 years overdue now.

I’ll be really disappointed if I can’t upload my mind at some point.

And think of the convenience of instantaneous teleportation. No more traffic jams or crowded public transport.

Also looking forward to the replicator making restaurants and home cooking obsolete.

Come on scientists! Make it happen! Don’t be so restrained by “physics”.

Caravanfan's avatar

@Tropical_Willie Hell, I like science fiction. But I know what is fiction and what is not.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@Caravanfan that was my point . . . .

Pandora's avatar

Lets play what if. What if they do exist and have always been here but the governments of the world still have not figured out their objective or how to fight them if need be. Or what if they are slowly coming over and have such advanced technology that they can squash us like a bug or eliminate all life and take over the planet? What if they have been impregnating women or using human subjects to study and again our government hasn’t been able to actually defend or protect. So you tell that to the public and mass hysteria happens. People start to turn on each other paranoid they may be partial alien. Hell, Americans can barely handle aliens from another nation. They go nuts about that, now imaging Aliens from space. So I see every reason for them not to fess up in those cases. Now, imagine that maybe there are no aliens and everything is human design or a hoax from other nations. Do you fess up that they have ways to escape our detection or there are spys maybe living here undetected. Still not a good look.

Caravanfan's avatar

@Tropical_Willie I know. I was agreeing with you.

MrGrimm888's avatar

I’m afraid nobody knows what is, or isn’t possible.

We don’t even understand some very basic things about how/if the universe began, and must be honest with ourselves about the fact that “scientific fact,” is overturned by better ways of collecting data.

A person claiming they know what is possible in this universe must realize that they are just reproductions of other people who thought they had things figured out.

At one point, the hip cats were full of themselves because they had accepted that the stars/heanens revolved around the Earth. Even the Sun, revolved around Earth.
-Geocentric Theory.

Later, the more scientifically aware decided that the stars/heanens, and even the Earth, revolved around the Sun.
-Heliocentric Theory.

It kind of goes on like that, until now.

Wulf. String theory is part of Quantum Physics.

Quantum physics uses more than just the basic theory of relativity to make sense of our universe.
There ARE flaws to the theory of relativity.
Einstein and his peers, made a lot of headway, without the abilities to really prove many theories.

Now. We have particle accelerators, and Quantum mechanics.
This new concepts have been advancing particle physics for decades. The hadron coliders have separated particles into two groups. Boson, and fermions.
Particle physics addresses things that have matter, or energy/radiation.
The Quantum world, addresses forces we cannot see, but are the reasons for how matter behaves.
@Caravanfan You are in the medical field. I will give you this analogy.
The physics you are aware of is like Anatomy class.
Quantum physics, would be Physiology class.

As with current medical education teaching A and P simultaneously, one day all physics will be taught with Quantum mechanics.

The limits you place on life, and interstellar travel, are not based on current scientific research.

Caravanfan's avatar

@MrGrimm888 Thank you for your patronizing remark. I am also an astronomer with a physics and math background and have read many books on theoretical physics so I’m pretty well versed in it.

Let’s break down your statements.
“We don’t even understand some very basic things about how/if the universe began,”
That’s about as untrue as you can get. There is a tremendous amount known about it and it has been extensively studied.

“String theory is part of Quantum Physics.” Sort of but you do NOT need string theory to prove the Stadard Model is true. String theory which has zero experimental proof is an attempt to explain how the Basic Model and Relativity are compatable. Loop Quantum Gravity is another hypothesis

“Quantum physics uses more than just the basic theory of relativity ” Actually quantum physics does not require Relativity. And the Standard Model and Relativity are the most rigorously proven theories besides evolution by natural selection

seawulf575's avatar

@Kropotkin Hoverboard? It’s almost there! Lexus started working on one back in 2015 but technological advances have changed that direction a whole lot.

Teleportation? That’s being looked at as well!

Replicator? It’s being considered as well. 3D printing is what started that path

Oh wait…you were being facetious. Sorry. I thought you were looking for real world examples of all those fantasy things you are poo-pooing. Pardon me. I was being the lunatic that was seeing facts. Go back to your ridicule.

seawulf575's avatar

@Caravanfan “But I know what is fiction and what is not.” No, you know what is currently possible, and not even all of that. What you can’t seem to comprehend is that there is massive advances out there that have yet to be resolved. But hey, keep a closed mind. That always makes things better. Besides, with a closed mind you can ridicule anyone that challenges your narrow mind.

Caravanfan's avatar

@seawulf575 You don’t have time to watch a relevent movie I asked you to watch and you have the time to read a 20 year old 88 page bullshit paper? Did you even look at it or did you just Google? You do realize that paper has a chapter on psychic teleportation, right?

Kropotkin's avatar

Who are we to say whether psychic teleportation is possible or not?

Caravanfan's avatar

Oh for fucks sake. Who are we to say that flying unicorns don’t fart rainbows?

SQUEEKY2's avatar

All we know an alien society could be light years ahead in knowledge and technology that makes ours look like we are still in caves howling at the moon.
I don’t get why they would want anything to do with us ,except for maybe a small morbid curiosity but that is about it.

Brian1946's avatar

@Caravanfan

Please feel free to cool your Sheldon Cooper; I believe @Kropotkin was being at least somewhat facetious. ;)

Caravanfan's avatar

Ah. my apologies

MrGrimm888's avatar

^I wasn’t being patronizing.
Instead of claiming absolute knowledge of the universe, I thought you might enjoy actually hearing about the most recent scientific research on the subject.

It’s extremely interesting.

There is a massive debate about whether there is dark matter, or dark energy in astrophysics.
Previous models of the big bang, and expansion are not correct.
And yes. It flies in the face of your understanding.

We have multiple telescopes in space. The Hubble taught us a lot about the observable universe.
Things we applied old theories to, and weren’t too far off. Or I should say that previous models were plausible.
@Kropotkin may be being sarcastic. But if you bother to look up teleportation, you would see that it was first achieved in 1997, and more recently we have been able to teleport photons of light. Do I need to explain proof of concept, or do you understand that if we can learn how to teleport the pieces that make up physical objects we can in theory, eventually teleport all of the ingredients that make up a living creature.

Quantum physics, combined with the computational power of AI, WILL result in MANY things your closed mind refuses to believe.

The observable universe is important.
The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST,) uses infrared to view the universe.

Again, if you bother to look into it, you would see that almost all astrophysicist are now pretty sure that our previous models are incorrect.

The discoveries of galaxies older than 13.8 billion years old, and some in really strange places, all but dispoves our previous models.

The gravity calculated from observing binary stars orbiting each other breaks the current laws of physics.
It turns out, there may be countless observations that disprove our current laws of physics.

The universe is expanding.
But it is expanding unevenly, and is not slowing down bit speeding up. This small tidbit indicates a large flaw in basic physics. What goes up, doesn’t have to come down.

I’m very pleased with your knowledge. It’s just obsolete.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Many are far to hung up on propulsion.
It has no real use for transportation of living beings, due to inertia.
Even if we could travel at or beyond the speed of light, our physical bodies (and likely ANY alien that isn’t pure light,) would not tolerate the acceleration and deceleration.

We will have to think outside of the box.

Kropotkin's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 It’s conceivable a hypothetical advanced alien civilisation knows about our planet because of how old it is, and they’d know it’s habitable and has life on it, and they might even be able to detect the sort of life it had on it—by however many light years away they are.

There does not seem to be any evidence of any such hypothetical civilisation being near enough to know about modern humans and our current civilisation, however.

If we’re talking about an alien civilisation in an entirely different galaxy, there’s basically no chance they can know about us or would ever travel here, since the nearest is over 2 million light years away. Even assuming they had telescopes with incredible resolution and orders of magnitude more powerful than what we have, they’d still be receiving the light from Earth that is 2 million or more years old.

@MrGrimm888 Quantum teleportation is not physical teleportation. The teleportation is of “information” in entangled pairs of particles.

Everyone is aware that physics is “incomplete”. Potentially modifying and unifying current theories to explain new observations or anomalies doesn’t imply that impossible things could really maybe be possible. Anomalies themselves doesn’t “disprove” current theories, which have mostly incredible predictive and explanatory power.

“Many are far to hung up on propulsion. It has no real use for transportation of living beings, due to inertia. Even if we could travel at or beyond the speed of light, our physical bodies (and likely ANY alien that isn’t pure light,) would not tolerate the acceleration and deceleration”

I’m really sorry, but this is amazing nonsense. It reminds me of critics of trains in the 1800s who thought high speeds would cause brain damage, or even cause the body to melt.

You can reach 99% of the speed of light at an acceleration of 1g in 2.57 years from reference frame of the travellers. (I used an online calc and other sources)

For interstellar travel, you’d want a constant acceleration, because that way you can not only simulate gravity, you will get to where you want in reasonable time frames—which from the passengers perspective, would be significantly shorter due to length contraction and time dilation.

There are incredible engineering problems with travel at these speeds, like the massive amounts of kinetic energy in the tiniest bits of dust, but they have absolutely nothing to do with inertia.

Magic teleportation of macro-scale objects across trillions of miles of space and time is not a thing.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^I NEVER said they teleported physical matter. They proved a concept, that was previously considered “impossible.”

The constant acceleration required to keep inertia manageable, IS the problem.

You would also have to take years to decelerate.

Making a zillion mile journey in 600 years, is not going to help current humans.

And yes, the sheer amount of variables to take into account to even travel at such speeds make it a formidable challenge.

Scientists use smaller experiments to prove/disprove concepts ALL the time.

Science isn’t ever carved in stone. It has to withstand constant scrutiny, from other scientists.

There are currently not 1, but 6 galaxies detected by the JWST that according to our measurements were fully formed only 500 million years after the big bang. This “anomaly” of 6 galaxies, each containing their own billions of stars and all the things that come with an entire galaxy, cannot exist if our current models of “the big bang,” are correct.

Again. If anyone wanted to research it themselves, it is published.

And yes “magic” is not a thing.
Hadron colliders, particle accelerators, and any number of new technologies are.

I can’t think of a scientist from 500 years ago, that would opine that the device I am communicating with you on right now, would have been possible.

I have watched/read hours of interviews and articles by the scientists involved with the JWST. There is a common theme most share.
They expect our current understanding to be incorrect.
Many say that the biggest mission for the JWST, is coming up with the right questions to ask. Considering most experts in astrophysics openly admit their own limitations due to technological constraints.

I find it interesting that some of you believe you both know more than most physicists, but that you must also have the computational power of a large server farm.
But. I am not totally surprised.

Let’s just say I believe that most people are humble enough to understand their place in time, and how that effects their potential to understand things.
Clearly.

Anomalous findings do not always disprove theory. That is correct. But only a fool, would sweep aside something that plausibly casts doubt on our understanding of the sciences.

I am not attempting to insult anyone. The research is available. The JWST is actually available to the public.
I’m sure you guys already knew that. But. There is a website where you can ask the people working on the project to use the space telescope to look at something. You just have to have a very unique question.
Since you don’t believe me, feel free to contact the General Observers program.
You will need to design a JWST program in APT.

Write, and submit your proposal, and you’ll have to coordinate the timing of the location of the JWST, in relation to your target.

With you guy’s knowledge, you should be able to prove/disprove some of the anomalies. Please do hurry.
The Big Bang Theory, IS in trouble.

With such concrete support of the theory, perhaps you can explain why the expansion is not constant, nor slowing but instead speeding up.

MrGrimm888's avatar

To address space exploration with propulsion, that has already been made hypothetically possible.

Scientists say that sending robots, (that can withstand inertia, radiation, etc.) And having human operators control ,or even have their consciousness downloaded into them.

Communication with lasers, IS a current technology that is quite useful for covering the distances of space.

In theory. We could send drones to a place, and control them from here.

Particle accelerators can move protons at 0.99997 the speed of light. Again. Proving concept.

Physical matter, has ingredients.
If we can move some of the ingredients, in theory we may be able to move others.

canidmajor's avatar

100 posts here, the vast majority of them are “Is so!” “Is not!” from a very few people. When you decide whose is bigger, guys, do enlighten us. <eye roll>

Caravanfan's avatar

@canidmajor No. The issue is that @MrGrimm888 keeps throwing up nonscientific nonsense, and people like @Kropotkin are trying their best to show why it’s wrong.

Brian1946's avatar

Is testosterone teleportable? ~ JK

seawulf575's avatar

@MrGrimm888 You recognize that things do change. Past impossibilities are becoming possible. That is how we are. But you are trying to discuss that with people that just want to claim “It’s Impossible!!!”. Let them have their ignorance.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Again I am agreeing with Wulfie,what a strange world.

Kropotkin's avatar

@MrGrimm888 You wrote: “Do I need to explain proof of concept, or do you understand that if we can learn how to teleport the pieces that make up physical objects we can in theory, eventually teleport all of the ingredients that make up a living creature.”

When I informed you that it wasn’t anything to do with physical teleportation (it’s also not any sort of “proof of concept”), you retort with : ”^I NEVER said they teleported physical matter. They proved a concept, that was previously considered “impossible.””

Which is frankly very dishonest.

Quantum Entanglement was predicted in the 1930s. Einstein was incredulous and called it a “spooky action at a distance”. It was essentially a mathematical truth, a predicted mathematical structure of reality well before any empirical validation.

“You would also have to take years to decelerate.”

“Making a zillion mile journey in 600 years, is not going to help current humans.”

No. Deceleration does not add that many years. You can reach 99% of C in 2.57 years at a very pleasant 1g constant acceleration. Relativistic effects make any further journey anywhere in the galaxy doable within a few years from the reference frame of the travelling ship.

Deceleration at the same pleasant 1g (you turn the ship around) adds 2.57 years.

Centuries will pass for external observers back on the home planet. Unless you think General Relativity is “disproven” or something.

“I can’t think of a scientist from 500 years ago, that would opine that the device I am communicating with you on right now, would have been possible.”

So what?

This running argument that because current technology would have seemed impossible in the past, therefore we should be open to the seemingly impossible today, is so silly.

No one 500 years ago would have been able to even conceive of a smartphone or computer, because there were no technological precursors to such devices.

It’s thanks to theoretical physics that we have a much better understanding of what is and isn’t possible, and we’ve so many technologies around today, some mature, some nascent, that we can imagine vastly more future possibilities than any scientist 500 years ago could have.

But these future possibilities would still be consistent with the known fundamental principles of the universe we’re in. No one gets to break them, no matter how advanced the technology.

“Communication with lasers, IS a current technology that is quite useful for covering the distances of space. In theory. We could send drones to a place, and control them from here.”

Any communication or transfer of information is limited by the speed limit of the universe: the speed of light in a vacuum.

Kropotkin's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 If you find yourself in agreement with Wulfie, then it might be advisable to more closely scrutinise your opinion.

Caravanfan's avatar

@Kropotkin Again, my apologies for my stupid post above. You’re doing great. I’m sick with a flu-like illness and just don’t have the energy.

seawulf575's avatar

@Kropotkin “No one 500 years ago would have been able to even conceive of a smartphone or computer, because there were no technological precursors to such devices.” Exactly what I have been saying! You keep saying it, but you don’t actually apply it. My point has been very consistent. Yes, there are “laws” of physics that keep us away from certain things. But every day those “laws” are being challenged and holes are being found in them. If an alien race already went through these growing pains hundreds of our years ago (or even more) they could have found things we have not yet uncovered. That is the point. You and @Caravanfan keep arguing our current limitations as if they are all there ever will be and no further development could ever happen. Yet 500 years ago, we didn’t have the technology we have today. It was deemed impossible because the limitations at the time prevented it. That is exactly the point I have been making.

I get that you are threatened and cannot actually admit you might be wrong, but don’t start arguing on my side and then tell me I’m wrong.

filmfann's avatar

Is this question prompted by the Netflix series “3 Body Problem”?

Blackwater_Park's avatar

@seawulf575 The limitations of physics are a hard barrier, technological advances will not remove that barrier.

Caravanfan's avatar

@seawulf575 The only thing I feel threatened by is the explosion of fantasy thinking in mainstream circles. Don’t get me wrong, I would absolutely love us to be visited by aliens and it would be the thrill of my life and the greatest scientific discovery in human history. Science is science and belief is not science. I don’t “believe” in anything. I accept what the preponderance of the data show.

@filmfann 3 Body Problem is fantastic.

chyna's avatar

@filmfann No. I was watching The Unexplained on the History channel with William Shatner.

seawulf575's avatar

@Blackwater_Park But technological advances may show it isn’t as hard as it seems right now. That is my point. Humankind has done this over and over throughout our history. We’ve established hard limits and then broken them later in our existence.

Kropotkin's avatar

@seawulf575 No one was arguing on your side. You took one sentence I wrote, and then ignored the context and the follow-up.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

@seawulf575 We have done this well within the confines of what physics allows.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Look I don’t see eye to eye on anything political Wulfi says, but who says a distant planet physics out passes our earthly physics ,their knowledge could far outpass ours especially if they have found a way to travel here.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 Physics is the same on every planet. I think you mean technology

Zaku's avatar

I think @SQUEEKY2 did mean technology.

But, from an actually open-minded scientific perspective, we don’t know that physics operates exactly the same everywhere.

I would also say that in this thread, @seawulf575 makes several extremely good points, and I would say that at a high conceptual level, he is quite correct.

At most, physics can show that we don’t know how to practically travel astronomical distances with manned craft, and it does show that. But it fundamentally cannot show that there is no way to get to another star system, by means we haven’t thought of.

Also, even just launching a somewhat more advanced telescope recently, has caused astrophysicists to question several principles that had been believed to be established.

The first semi-successful airplane was only first flown in 1903.

Caravanfan's avatar

@Zaku I appreciate that sentiment, I really do. But saying “science may be different somewhere else” is not science but wishful thinking and is a conversation that is suited for theologans, philosophers, and non-serious crackpots. It isn’t a conversation for scientists.

Kropotkin's avatar

@Zaku This thread has been rife with bad and sensationalist pop-science claims (stuff related to the JWST is a massive culprit). JWST observations haven’t overturned anything, but has rather revealed gaps in knowledge that are already being filled with good hypotheses and more complete theories.

I’m also not sure that sci-fi tropes related to FTL travel are a plausible indicator of future technology or that speculated and unevidenced alien civilisations are already capable of anything like it.

The theoretical limits of technological progress is an interesting topic. Physics is absolutely a hard barrier to what is theoretically possible. Not everything theoretically possible is practically possible, and not everything practically possible is feasible or necessarily even desirable.

Of course, maybe physics doesn’t operate exactly the same everywhere. What we call knowledge is fundamentally based on unfounded assumptions, circularity, or infinite regress. Maybe I’m a brain in a vat and I’m hallucinating all of this, for example.

For pragmatic reasons, we limit or suspend our scepticism and accept a framework for knowledge, because for the most part it seems to work. A key assumption in physics is that it’s universal, but even if in some special cases it’s not, we’d probably detect that and account for it.

jca2's avatar

I agree with those on this thread like @seawulf575 who’ve said that maybe something that seems impossible to us is possible elsewhere. Just because it’s unknown to us doesn’t make it impossible. I was thinking before he wrote it about his comment about 500 years ago. When you think about cell phones, if you told someone even 50 years ago about an item that we’d carry around that will pick up something from the air that would enable us to communicate with each other and research things and would tell us where we are and how long it will take us to get somewhere, and could listen to a song and tell us what song it is, it would sound like lunacy.

I don’t say anything is possible but I say many things are possible, maybe more than we realize.

Zaku's avatar

@Caravanfan Yes, ”science may be different somewhere else” sounds like the wrong choice of word. But technology of course varies, even on Earth, and it is true that we don’t know that physics might not operate somewhat differently in other places. And what I take as @seawulf575 ‘s core theme, is that distant life may have much different knowledge and technology than we do, particularly since they may have had millions more years to develop it, and almost all of our revolutions in scientific understanding have been developed in the last few hundred years.

Caravanfan's avatar

@Zaku But the point is that even if they have different technology, the physics is the same.

Zaku's avatar

@Kropotkin “This thread has been rife with bad and sensationalist pop-science claims (stuff related to the JWST is a massive culprit). JWST observations haven’t overturned anything, but has rather revealed gaps in knowledge that are already being filled with good hypotheses and more complete theories.”
– Many clickbait articles have exaggerated that sort of thing, yes. But it does show the degree to which science is based on interpretations, theories and extrapolations, and that there is still much we don’t fully understand.

“I’m also not sure that sci-fi tropes related to FTL travel are a plausible indicator of future technology or that speculated and unevidenced alien civilisations are already capable of anything like it.”
– Yes, no one is sure, unless they’ve seen it.
– Sci-fi tropes are products of imagination, but I wasn’t suggesting they were more than that.

“The theoretical limits of technological progress is an interesting topic. Physics is absolutely a hard barrier to what is theoretically possible. Not everything theoretically possible is practically possible, and not everything practically possible is feasible or necessarily even desirable.”
– “Physics” is a branch of science. It’s not a barrier.
– It seems to me that it’s not particularly possible to prove something like travel from A to B is impossible. Particularly without assuming that you know everything. Which we clearly do not.
– Current physics says that as you add acceleration, time dilation occurs. While it means I couldn’t use acceleration to make a return trip faster than the speed of light from the perspective of the place I returned to, it doesn’t mean I couldn’t accelerate past light speed from my own perspective. But both time dilation, and physical and energy requirements, are massive practical barriers to interstellar travel.
– However, current physics does not say that there is no other way to bridge astronomical distances. It also doesn’t say it’s impossible to achieve higher-than-lightspeed movement by some (unknown hypothetical) means other than acceleration.

“Of course, maybe physics doesn’t operate exactly the same everywhere. What we call knowledge is fundamentally based on unfounded assumptions, circularity, or infinite regress. Maybe I’m a brain in a vat and I’m hallucinating all of this, for example.”
– Yes, or other possibilities.

“For pragmatic reasons, we limit or suspend our scepticism and accept a framework for knowledge, because for the most part it seems to work.”
– Yes.

“A key assumption in physics is that it’s universal, but even if in some special cases it’s not, we’d probably detect that and account for it.”
– Given the scale of the observed universe, and the scale of the places all of our observations have been made from, as well as the unimaginably small period of time over which those observations have been made compared to the time the observable light from the universe has originated from, I would not agree that it’s probable we would detect all variations in physical behavior throughout the universe.
– Not to mention, how often our physics has had strongly-held opinions on how physics operated, which have changed in major ways, in recent decades, let alone recent centuries, which is an infinitesimal fraction of the blink of an eye in terms of astronomical time scales.

Zaku's avatar

@Caravanfan You sound so sure about that. And it implies you think our knowledge of physics in 2024 is entirely accurate and complete. So did many people a few hundred years ago, when electricity, magnetism, gravity, or even heat weren’t even well known.

Caravanfan's avatar

@Zaku No, electricity, magnetism, gravity or heat weren’t even well understood. But the laws of physics were the same back then as they are now. It’s not that the laws changed, but that our understanding has improved.

Zaku's avatar

@Caravanfan No, again, physics is a branch of science, and its “laws” are just the current conclusions of physicists . The way you’re speaking of them, sounds to me like you think “the laws of physics” is the whole complete truth of the universe, and that we currently fully know and understand every aspect of that that could ever account for travel from one solar system to another.

We know a lot more about that than we did even a few hundred years ago, including countless major discoveries of new concepts, and many technologies our ancestors never imagined, and to me, that implies that in another thousand years, let alone another million years, we may learn some things that we don’t have any anticipation of now, that might in fact enable us to travel between parts of the galaxy, or even the universe, or maybe even other places we don’t know exist. Or, that reality itself is quite different than the way we now conceive of it.

And, hypothetical life that originated elsewhere in the universe, may have millions (or even billions) of years’ head start on us in studying such things.

After all, the Earth is only thought to be about 4.5 billion years old, and the observable universe is thought to be over 13 billion years old.

Caravanfan's avatar

@Zaku No. Physics is the basis of everything. It’s not just a branch of science. Everything obeys the laws of physics. You seem to think that physical laws are mutable based upon our understanding of them. They are not. It’s just our understanding that is mutable, and as we understand the laws of physics better, the theories get more refined and complete.

seawulf575's avatar

@Caravanfan

https://futurism.com/laws-physics-changing

https://www.quantamagazine.org/there-are-no-laws-of-physics-theres-only-the-landscape-20180604/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2019/07/05/no-the-laws-of-physics-are-not-the-same-forwards-and-backwards-in-time/?sh=60e4bc061ec8

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100909004112.htm

Apparently, despite your absolute surety, many in the science community disagree with you. And all these articles have one thing in common: they did not, as you did, stop with the “physics are absolute and can never change”. They continued to look at them and experiment with them. They’d find new information and try to fit them into the old molds and found they didn’t fit quite right. That is how science works. Always has, and probably always will. And what I’ve been saying is that right now, your picture of physics is, indeed, a limitation for us concerning interstellar travel. But we are learning more, speculating more, testing more and theorizing more every day. And if an alien civilization has, say, a couple thousand years more time doing this that we do, it is entirely likely they have technology that you wouldn’t even recognize and that would blow your mind.

flutherother's avatar

At the present time there isn’t even a theoretical possibility of teleportation of information or of faster than light travel. For that to change advances in physics are not enough we would need a whole new physics that explains the world in a quite different way from how we believe it works today.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

For f*** sake, just because we understand the laws of physics better now than we did in the past and may know a little more in the future does not mean the laws themselves will change. We know what they are.

Caravanfan's avatar

@seawulf575 Once again you try to flood the zone with your google searches with articles you have not read and don’t say thing things you think they say, relying only on editor’s catchy clickbait headline titles

Kropotkin's avatar

@Zaku Okay, so we’re equivocating definitions here. Physics is a field of study, but in this context, it’s also the conclusions based on the field of study. The cool thing about physics is it’s discovering mathematical structures that have pretty precise descriptions and are very reliable. When I say “physics”, it’s really referring to the mathematical structures that describe the universe at the most fundamental levels.

“Sci-fi tropes are products of imagination, but I wasn’t suggesting they were more than that.”

You weren’t, but most of this kicked off when I asserted wormholes and warp drives were basically fantasy and won’t be considered (they’re conceptually extremely problematic and are only mathematically possible because they’re consistent with equations that describe spacetime geometry) and then @seawulf575 went off on one.

” It seems to me that it’s not particularly possible to prove something like travel from A to B is impossible. Particularly without assuming that you know everything. Which we clearly do not.”

Why must we know everything? We’ve already sufficient knowledge to make good inferences. We’ve had a really good theory that describes the universe at the macro scale for over a century, namely General Relativity.

We know travel over vast distances in reasonable time frames is not possible without reaching significant relativistic speeds—regardless of technology, because this is a hard limit of the universe which we’re very very sure is true. This should not be a controversial point!

If someone is claiming that it could be possible to travel vast distances across galaxies or even to other galaxies, and all that’s needed is some new physics that would allow for such technology—they’d need to make a better case than what I’ve read here so far, which has amounted to rather weak inductive arguments based on how today’s possible things would have seemed impossible in the past, therefore what’s impossible today could be possible in the future (this is not an argument that really logically follows).

There’s also been a frequent conflation between technology and physics, as if mere new discoveries in physics will necessarily open the way for interstellar travel. Of course physics is related to technology, and has and does open up new technological possibilities, but sometimes it also tells us what isn’t possible: like turning lead into gold, perpetual motion machines, or travelling faster than the speed of light.

Caravanfan's avatar

@Kropotkin Just to quibble. There is nothing about physics that prevents travelling faster than the speed of light if you start out there. But you’d have to somehow start out there. Relativity just says you can’t travel AT the speed of light for reasons I’m sure you already understand.

So for others, you can not travel at sublight speed and accelerate through light speeds and then travel faster than the speed of light. And you can’t be at superluminal speeds and decelerate through the speed of light to subluminal speeds.

gorillapaws's avatar

And just to expand on @Caravanfan‘s point, Relativity is not some hypothesis conjectured about by nerdy guys in ivory towers (though that does happen). They have conducted experiments demonstrating physics obeying Relativity. For example In 1971 experimenters synchronized two clocks and then flew one around at very fast speeds and returned to compare the clocks and showed the one moving fast experienced time a bit slower than the other

Also, Sir Arthur Eddington in 1919 observed gravitational lensing during a solar eclipse which was more confirmation of Einstein’s General Relativity.

And we observe this gravitational lensing all of the time in astronomy I’m pretty sure it’s how we find black holes, estimate masses of things and I also think is’s used to smear out the spectrum of light somehow so we can make useful calculations about celestial bodies and their compositions, distances and velocities.

The point is, we observe Relativity occurring throughout the observable universe—near and far.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

GPS satellites have to have relativistic corrections made to their timing. We know the stuff that well.

Caravanfan's avatar

And Rocketguy helps design them.

Caravanfan's avatar

@gorillapaws I’m nerdy enough that one day years ago I sat down with the Lorentz equations and rederived the equations of the Special Theory of Relativity, using Einstein’s book as a guide.

It was the best way for me to understand the math at the time. I tried going on to the General Theory, but I didn’t have the scalar math skills.

Zaku's avatar

People have been thinking they’ve got the whole universe figured out, for a very long time. They keep discovering new things, and yet, people still think they’ve got it all figured out this time . . .

seawulf575's avatar

@Caravanfan And once again, you are being arrogantly dismissive and making gross assumptions. But hey, keep your close mind and continue to sound ignorant.

Caravanfan's avatar

@seawulf575 Ah, so you did read this paper before you posted the link? My mistake.

https://arxiv.org/pdf/2104.03902.pdf

Blackwater_Park's avatar

There is so much bullshit on the web now that is purported to be “science-based” that it’s hard for many people to distinguish. To them, it looks legit, especially if they use Google as their primary tool. For example, I got into a bit of a heated discussion with my sister on “Schumann resonances” Yes, it’s real but in practicality, it’s pretty much worthless for anything useful. It won’t “increase your energy” “make you sleep better” or “enhance your hifi system” It’s just a particular kind of RF noise, yet when you employ google you get all of this semi-legit looking stuff. The problem is it’s again, all bullshit.

Kropotkin's avatar

I think I get it. @seawulf575 is an alien who has travelled here from light years away. It’s the only explanation.

seawulf575's avatar

@Caravanfan I didn’t read all 79 pages, but I did spot read through them all. Did you?

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Kropotkin's avatar

@seawulf575 There’s no evidence for the “autodidactic universe” at all. It’s entirely conceptual, and isn’t supported by “many in the science community”.

The second article you linked is a discussion that the constants we observe in our universe could have been something else. The author, being a string theorist, is arguing that it’s string theory that is the answer to all the possibilities we don’t observe.

The third article is about one particular time symmetry violation, not that the laws of the universe are different anywhere else.

The last one is misleading, as it’s about one study measuring one constant called the fine-structure constant. Some studies find some very small variation, others none at all.

None of your links were saying what you thought they did. I preemptively apologise for being so arrogant and trying to sound intelligent.

seawulf575's avatar

@Kropotkin “It’s entirely conceptual” exactly, That is the entire point of all three of the links I provided. People are questioning. They are hypothesizing. They are researching. They do this all the time. Physics itself, or rather our understanding of it, have changed over the centuries. We have a belief. We test that belief. We look for agreement or disagreement with the belief. If we get disagreement, we try to figure out what that is telling us so we can adapt our belief. If we get agreement, it doesn’t mean that belief is set in stone. It still gets looked at over and over again. That is what you and that jackass are both failing to admit. Things have always changed. Eventually we will have the solution to all things. As yet we do not. To believe we do is just foolishness. We don’t have all the answers to every question. We are searching for answers. It’s what we do as humans.

This question came about starting with the idea that UFOs exist. You wanted to question that. Why? It was a given in the question. But you questioned it because something didn’t seem right. That is how we move forward. My viewpoint on the possibility of UFOs is that our planet is about 4B years old. the Universe is about 11B years old. If there is a civilization that is several billion years older than we are, they likely have technology and science we haven’t even considered yet. That technology may open a path for them to have interstellar travel.

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Kropotkin's avatar

@seawulf575 I gave my fun answer that indulged the premise of the OP question, which was that the aliens must be communists.

The later discussion moved to arguments about why there really are no aliens visiting us, which is basically that if they’re out there, they’re just too far away.

“Things have always changed. Eventually we will have the solution to all things.”

We do actually learn when things are also really not solvable. There’s no alien in the universe with a perpetual motion machine, or who is turning lead into gold.

” If there is a civilization that is several billion years older than we are, they likely have technology and science we haven’t even considered yet. That technology may open a path for them to have interstellar travel.”

Yes, I think if such a civilisation did exist, it would still only colonise the very nearest planetary systems. No such civilisation is near us, and probably nowhere in the entire Milky Way. You could say they’re hiding, but that just reduces the probability of such a civilisation existing even further.

Even imagining some idealised civilisation with billions of years of uninterrupted progress, I am not so sure it wouldn’t just plateau at some point far earlier. I am not a believer in a technological singularity or hyperbolic technological advancement that goes on forever.

A civilisation as old as you state could well have to deal with their own host star’s red-giant phase, in which case interstellar travel would be feasible and well-motivated endeavour—to the very nearest ones.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Wow. Who would’ve guessed this thread would light up so much?

I left for a few days, hoping it would become fun again, instead of where I was admittedly helping it derail.

“The 3 Body Problem.” Just watched it. I presume it was season 1?
I LOVED it. I don’t want to ruin it for anyone, but it is quite relevant to this thread. It’s uncanny, actually.

I think it actually covers some of the sciences being disputed on this thread. Exaggeration aside, I thought it was a fairly original and interesting idea.

I thought I should mention, that IF “they” ARE covering “it” up, maybe both of “them,” have been following this thread…

Have we proven, that we can be trusted with the knowledge that our species are in cahoots with ETs?

Caravanfan's avatar

@MrGrimm888 The book is fascinating, but a difficult read. I’m going to try it again and continue with the sequels. But it should be noted that even the Trisolarians don’t break the laws of physics. The one technological miracle they have are the Sophons.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^I’m just going to respond to the positive stuff. I haven’t read that before, but I thought Netflix crushed it. There will be another series right?

Caravanfan's avatar

@MrGrimm888 Hasn’t been greenlit yet AFAIK, but I assume they will. I hear the Chinese version on Prime is good but it’s also about 30 episodes so don’t have the stomach for it yet.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^I have a lot of trouble watching films, with dubbed voices. I can do the subtitles, and glean context from innovation of the actor speaking in their language.

Prime does have “The Expanse.”
THAT WAS MY SHIT. Wish it went on for several more seasons.

Caravanfan's avatar

@MrGrimm888 Three Body Problem on Prime is in Chinese with subtitles. The Expanse was great. If you want to know how the story ends, read the last book in the series.

MrGrimm888's avatar

I have a used book dealer online, that probably has everything.

I have definitely watched plenty of scientific fiction, and read a lot of novels about the subject.
I find it interesting that some of my older favorites, didn’t foresee cell phones. Not like they are now, anyway.
It’s crazy watching “Aliens,” with all of the advanced technology, they still had pretty crappy computers. But they also had droids.

Smashley's avatar

Anyways, happy First Contact Day everyone!

SQUEEKY2's avatar

And you’re just here to say hi?

kritiper's avatar

Some people are too stupid to be able to accept it. Otherwise, they will run around like chickens with their heads off, freaking out like Chicken Little.

Kraigmo's avatar

Look how Americans reacted to election conspiracy theories.
The revelation of interdimensional aliens would result in newer, more dangerous conspiracy theories that will cause nothing but chaos.
Imagine if the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency admitted there are very weird interdimensional beings that we have had some sort of contact with.
Most people would handle the information maturely.
But we already know that about 33% of Americans do not handle information maturely. They get all their ideas from political talk show hosts. If Sean Hannity or Tucker Carlson called for war against these interdimensionals…. we’d probably end up killing ourselves.
⅓ of the public can cause 100% of the damage.

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