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  #21  
Old 06-25-2010, 05:06 PM
Futureguy Futureguy is offline
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It's possible that in relation to the rest of the universe, we are the equivalent of the ant.
But then take the ant world...organized, task oriented, with delegated authority. I believe that they communicate by chemical means, though they can sense things with their antennae. This means of communication is complex, but incapable of being "created" by independent intelligence. Their functions are more or less "hot wired" into their behavior. They may very well be trying to communicate with us, but other than certain smells being associated with their presence, it is at best an indication of their behavior, not a rational communication.
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  #22  
Old 06-25-2010, 05:07 PM
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The boredom of the Gods, I like that.


I think that the tension between the horrors of mortality and the dreams of immortality is one of the main human problems.

We cannot imagine to be no more at some day and we have always hoped to be immortal. Ancient civilisation had sun and moon gods and the key feature about sun and moon is that they regularly die and get reborn, i.e. death is not permanent.
Later monotheistic religions became dominant and there the basic idea is that God decides not that you life forever but how, in agony or in delight.

But then again the folks who have thought about immortality, be it in form of the Greek gods, Tolkien's elves or the Q continuum in VOY have all come to the same conclusion, it most be boring to live forever.

So we don't want to accept our mortality but realize that immortality isn't too desirable either. Neither alternative is acceptable and I belief that this creates a certain tension and uneasiness.
Again this is clearly reflected in let's say in Tolkien's humans who want to achieve the most in their short lifespan compared to the elves or, to pick again an example from Trek, the difference between Soran and Picard.
"It's our mortality that defines us" is only one side of the coin, the desire to become immortal and how we deal with it is the other side. Picard (and Kirk) decided against eternal delight and chose to make a difference which is an indirect but perhaps better road to immortality via being remembered by many following generations.

Last edited by horatio : 06-25-2010 at 05:11 PM.
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  #23  
Old 06-25-2010, 05:13 PM
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But Picard and Kirk also had another aspect to their choice. Their eternal delight was artificial. None of it was real.
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Old 06-25-2010, 05:19 PM
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But then take the ant world...organized, task oriented, with delegated authority. I believe that they communicate by chemical means, though they can sense things with their antennae. This means of communication is complex, but incapable of being "created" by independent intelligence. Their functions are more or less "hot wired" into their behavior. They may very well be trying to communicate with us, but other than certain smells being associated with their presence, it is at best an indication of their behavior, not a rational communication.
I don't think the ants have any conception of us at all.
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Old 06-25-2010, 05:26 PM
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I don't think the ants have any conception of us at all.
Apparently you have never stepped on a mound of fire ants!
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  #26  
Old 06-25-2010, 05:29 PM
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they have response to stimuli,that's not the same thing as conception.
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Old 06-25-2010, 05:31 PM
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they have response to stimuli,that's not the same thing as conception.
Agreed! Though my foot would have said otherwise!
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  #28  
Old 07-13-2010, 11:09 AM
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What the OP is talking about is the "X method" of interstellar communication. It was something that Phillip Morrison first thought about shortly after Project Ozma came up with a negative result: it could be that we just don't quite qualify as "intelligent" yet (by interstellar standards) because we haven't become smart enough to discover the "X" technique to talking to everyone else.

Or, it could be (as much as I think it's wrong, I need to mention it) that we're the only ones around. It's just possible that, even though there are lots and lots of "M class" planets around, and life is everywhere, we may be the only ones within a few million light years that have developed tool usage, mathmattics, and the scientific method. i.e. there could be intelligent creatures out there, but they aren't intelligent in the same way as we are... dolphins are intelligent, but are not technological. The same with whales. Crows are tool users, but so far they haven't shown much conception of logic...

Although planets may be as common as grass on a golf course, and life as abundant as insects living in that self same grass, the number of golfers out there may amount to just a handful... and seperated by unimaginable distances.
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Old 07-13-2010, 11:24 AM
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There's another possible problem with contact: Time vs. duration of existance.

I was out to a 4th of July fireworks display over that weekend with an astronomer friend of mine, and we got onto this very subject. And their explaination of why we haven't been contacted was very persuasive... She waited for the fireworks display to set off one of those "bomb" type mortars... you know the ones, they mostly consist of a bright flash and a bang that makes your teeth rattle.
<KABOOM!>
"There. Right there! Imagine that as being the average lifespan of an intelligent civilization! Bam! By the time standards of the universe, that's all we, or any one else adds up to: a flash and a bang!"
We waited several moments, then a second one was set off...
"Although they happen, they almost never go off at the same time... they are seperated by millions of years. Just like stars themselves, even if we were to detect one, that wouldn't mean they'd still be there by the time we established communication over thousands of years."
Flash! Bang!
Another pause. They set off crysanthumums, colorful burning rings, shooting stars... but it was a good five minutes before another bomb mortar went off...
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