Author Topic: Episode #681  (Read 2516 times)

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Offline Pats

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Re: Episode #681
« Reply #15 on: August 02, 2018, 03:53:20 PM »
I find it annoying when conclusions are made based upon the Drake equation, when nothing at all is known about the most important factors: the likelihood of life arising, the likelihood of intelligence arising given life, and the likelihood of technology that gives evidence of itself given intelligence. With n=1, the only thing we know is that none of these likelihoods can be zero.

There is, however, one inference that can be made that I haven't seen spelled out (perhaps it's obvious). Because we are alive and have technology, it is possible that:
- the likelihood of life is extremely low, but given life the likelihood of technology is significant,
- the likelihood of life is significant, but given life the likelihood of technology is extremely low,
- both likelihoods are significant.

But if both the likelihood of life and the likelihood of technology given life are extremely low, then we wouldn't be here with our technology. So we can conclude that either life is very prevalent, or if life is very rare then a significant proportion of the few places with life will also have technology.

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Re: Episode #681
« Reply #16 on: August 02, 2018, 04:53:06 PM »
I find it annoying when conclusions are made based upon the Drake equation, when nothing at all is known about the most important factors: the likelihood of life arising, the likelihood of intelligence arising given life, and the likelihood of technology that gives evidence of itself given intelligence. With n=1, the only thing we know is that none of these likelihoods can be zero.

There is, however, one inference that can be made that I haven't seen spelled out (perhaps it's obvious). Because we are alive and have technology, it is possible that:
- the likelihood of life is extremely low, but given life the likelihood of technology is significant,
- the likelihood of life is significant, but given life the likelihood of technology is extremely low,
- both likelihoods are significant.

But if both the likelihood of life and the likelihood of technology given life are extremely low, then we wouldn't be here with our technology. So we can conclude that either life is very prevalent, or if life is very rare then a significant proportion of the few places with life will also have technology.

We can conclude noting.

We just don't have enough to go on. We can't even estimate the number of systems that have planets in the goldilocks zone. Nor what proportion of those have liquid oceans and oxygen in the atmosphere (or even of those things are necessary for development of complex life forms).  And there's lots more we just don't have enough information to make any kind of reasonable estimate much less the kind of either or conditional conclusion you're suggesting.
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Online The Latinist

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Re: Episode #681
« Reply #17 on: August 02, 2018, 05:01:15 PM »
I find it annoying when conclusions are made based upon the Drake equation, when nothing at all is known about the most important factors: the likelihood of life arising, the likelihood of intelligence arising given life, and the likelihood of technology that gives evidence of itself given intelligence. With n=1, the only thing we know is that none of these likelihoods can be zero.

There is, however, one inference that can be made that I haven't seen spelled out (perhaps it's obvious). Because we are alive and have technology, it is possible that:
- the likelihood of life is extremely low, but given life the likelihood of technology is significant,
- the likelihood of life is significant, but given life the likelihood of technology is extremely low,
- both likelihoods are significant.

But if both the likelihood of life and the likelihood of technology given life are extremely low, then we wouldn't be here with our technology. So we can conclude that either life is very prevalent, or if life is very rare then a significant proportion of the few places with life will also have technology.

This is bad reasoning.  It is entirely possible for two low probability events to happen, especially given literally the entire universe and all of time for it to happen in.
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Offline PabloHoney

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Re: Episode #681
« Reply #18 on: August 02, 2018, 05:49:38 PM »
I find it annoying when conclusions are made based upon the Drake equation, when nothing at all is known about the most important factors: the likelihood of life arising, the likelihood of intelligence arising given life, and the likelihood of technology that gives evidence of itself given intelligence. With n=1, the only thing we know is that none of these likelihoods can be zero.

There is, however, one inference that can be made that I haven't seen spelled out (perhaps it's obvious). Because we are alive and have technology, it is possible that:
- the likelihood of life is extremely low, but given life the likelihood of technology is significant,
- the likelihood of life is significant, but given life the likelihood of technology is extremely low,
- both likelihoods are significant.

But if both the likelihood of life and the likelihood of technology given life are extremely low, then we wouldn't be here with our technology. So we can conclude that either life is very prevalent, or if life is very rare then a significant proportion of the few places with life will also have technology.

This is bad reasoning.  It is entirely possible for two low probability events to happen, especially given literally the entire universe and all of time for it to happen in.

Agreed.  They both can be low. 
The universe is *so* vast though - even if the likelihood of both is extremely low, seems far-fetched to say that it's only happened once.  Not to mention the possibility that the universe is infinite. 

Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Episode #681
« Reply #19 on: August 02, 2018, 06:47:55 PM »
"Low" is relative here, though. What is a "low" probability? 10%? 1%? 0.000001%? It entirely depends on the context, and we don't even know that.

Given the evidence that we have, the probability of technological life existing in the universe is 100%. It's just that the evidence we have is extremely limited and leads to unrealistic conclusions. We just don't know.
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Re: Episode #681
« Reply #20 on: August 02, 2018, 09:18:02 PM »
The Drake equation estimates the current number of intelligent civilizations in the Galaxy. Since the number of stars and planets in the Milky Way is finite and probably fewer than 1 trillion (estimates usually range from 100 to 400 billion), if the likelihood of a planet ever developing intelligent civilization is less than 1 in 1 trillion it could reasonably be guessed that we are likely to be alone.
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Episode #681
« Reply #21 on: August 02, 2018, 09:31:59 PM »
The Drake equation estimates the current number of intelligent civilizations in the Galaxy. Since the number of stars and planets in the Milky Way is finite and probably fewer than 1 trillion (estimates usually range from 100 to 400 billion), if the likelihood of a planet ever developing intelligent civilization is less than 1 in 1 trillion it could reasonably be guessed that we are likely to be alone.

In this galaxy. If there are a trillion other galaxies, then even a 1 in trillion chance means we're not alone in the universe.
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Online The Latinist

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Re: Episode #681
« Reply #22 on: August 02, 2018, 10:02:27 PM »
But that’s not what the Drake equation is talking about.  It’s explicitly about this galaxy.
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Episode #681
« Reply #23 on: August 02, 2018, 10:45:40 PM »
But that’s not what the Drake equation is talking about.  It’s explicitly about this galaxy.

Ah, fair enough then.
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Online The Latinist

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Re: Episode #681
« Reply #24 on: August 03, 2018, 08:23:43 AM »
You could easily extrapolate the equation to cover the visible universe by adding a term or two, of course, and it would be possible to make the same claim depending on the numbers.  But one could not expand it the the entire universe because we have no way at this point of putting an upper limit on the size of the universe.
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Offline PabloHoney

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Re: Episode #681
« Reply #25 on: August 03, 2018, 01:16:26 PM »
But that’s not what the Drake equation is talking about.  It’s explicitly about this galaxy.

Aaah, well that puts a whole different paint job on things, doesn't it! 
I can live with technological civilizations elsewhere in the universe, but not necessarily in our galaxy, thank you.

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Re: Episode #681
« Reply #26 on: August 03, 2018, 03:42:14 PM »
But that’s not what the Drake equation is talking about.  It’s explicitly about this galaxy.

Aaah, well that puts a whole different paint job on things, doesn't it! 
I can live with technological civilizations elsewhere in the universe, but not necessarily in our galaxy, thank you.

Too close for comfort? That's actually pretty funny.
and Donald Trump is President of the United States.

I'm not a doctor, I'm just someone who has done a ton of research into diet and nutrition.

Offline Pats

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Re: Episode #681
« Reply #27 on: August 04, 2018, 04:04:04 PM »
I find it annoying when conclusions are made based upon the Drake equation, when nothing at all is known about the most important factors: the likelihood of life arising, the likelihood of intelligence arising given life, and the likelihood of technology that gives evidence of itself given intelligence. With n=1, the only thing we know is that none of these likelihoods can be zero.

There is, however, one inference that can be made that I haven't seen spelled out (perhaps it's obvious). Because we are alive and have technology, it is possible that:
- the likelihood of life is extremely low, but given life the likelihood of technology is significant,
- the likelihood of life is significant, but given life the likelihood of technology is extremely low,
- both likelihoods are significant.

But if both the likelihood of life and the likelihood of technology given life are extremely low, then we wouldn't be here with our technology. So we can conclude that either life is very prevalent, or if life is very rare then a significant proportion of the few places with life will also have technology.

This is bad reasoning.  It is entirely possible for two low probability events to happen, especially given literally the entire universe and all of time for it to happen in.

I don't see where my reasoning is bad. If the likelihood of developing life is so low that it has happened only once in the observable universe, and if the likelihood of developing technology where there is life is equally low, then the age of the universe is not sufficient by many orders of magnitude for even one technological civilization to have appeared. So because we are here, one of the likelihoods has to be non-infinitesimal.

Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: Episode #681
« Reply #28 on: August 04, 2018, 04:08:21 PM »
Might be a dumb question, but does the Drake equation take into account the different times in which civilizations might arise? For example, our species arose at a specific point in time of the Earth's history. But we could imagine that an intelligent civilization arose by the time of the dinosaurs, and then since long has disappeared. In other words, there could be mismatch of timing.

I really liked the interview with Alethea Dean. I agree that the skeptical movement of Australia seems like a very friendly and welcoming one.

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Re: Episode #681
« Reply #29 on: August 04, 2018, 04:39:10 PM »
Might be a dumb question, but does the Drake equation take into account the different times in which civilizations might arise? For example, our species arose at a specific point in time of the Earth's history. But we could imagine that an intelligent civilization arose by the time of the dinosaurs, and then since long has disappeared. In other words, there could be mismatch of timing.

Yes, it does. Of course that estimation is open to the same sort of errors that any other part of the equation is.
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

 

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