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ET still hasn’t phoned Frank Drake

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But he has gotten used to it. From Chau Tu at ScienceFriday:

More than 50 years later, the renowned astronomer is surprised by the cultural impact of his Drake Equation.

No one else is.

What might be the next best ‘candidate’ on Earth for gaining intelligence?

There’s an obvious one, the chimpanzees. Or the bonobo—that’s the closest thing in physiology and social life to humans, so the bonobos are the prime candidate for our successor, if we ever wipe ourselves out or allow ourselves to be wiped out. If the planet gave them a million years to evolve, they would become us.

Another creature I always cite, which is half-joke and half-serious, is squirrels. If you look at the fossil record, our own most ancient ancestor 65 million years ago was a small mammal that was almost like a squirrel; it was the same size, it ran on four legs on the ground. And then 65 million years later, that became us. Squirrels are very smart—they can get at any bird feeder; you can’t hide food from them; they stand on their rear legs and their front paws as hands to manipulate things just the way we do; and they’re always watching us. You can see they’re saying, ‘Just give me time, I’m going to take over.’ [Laughs] More.

Note that, despite the claim that evolution is supposed to be without direction, there is the persistent belief that chimpanzees are “entering the Stone Age.” That is, a forward direction to history. Were that true, we suspect the chimps would find a colony of ravens squatting there …

Because we are now into science fiction anyway it is tempting to wonder what a bird-based civilization would be like.

See also: Are apes entering thethe Stone Age?

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One Reply to “ET still hasn’t phoned Frank Drake

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    More than 50 years later, the renowned astronomer is surprised by the cultural impact of his Drake Equation.

    Which is just as well because, as a scientist, he ought to be surprised. His equation is a probability calculation that is based on very generous, even unfounded, speculations as to the probability of another intelligent civilization being in the universe. In other words, his equation, as it is currently set up on speculations, is based more on imagination than it is based on known science.

    On the other hand, since his equation came out just as America was entering the space race against Russia, then it is not really all that surprising that the popular imagination in America at that time gave his speculative equation much more fame than it deserved.

    Frank Drake (1930-present) proposed, in 1961, advanced life should be fairly common in the universe. He developed a rather crude equation called the ‘Drake equation’. He plugged in some rather optimistic, speculative, numbers and reasoned that ten worlds with advanced life should be in our Milky Way galaxy alone.

    Criticism towards the Drake equation follows from the fact that several of its terms are conjectural, the net result being that the error associated with any derived value is very large such that the equation cannot be used to draw firm conclusions.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drake_equation

    In the following video, Carl Sagan, using speculative numbers, calculates that 10 technologically advanced civilizations may exist in the milky way galaxy alone.

    Carl Sagan – Cosmos – Drake Equation – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-rc6S1JHdw

    Much to the disappointment of Star Trek fans, the avalanche of recent scientific evidence has found the probability of finding another planet with the ability to host advanced life in this universe is not nearly as likely as astronomer Frank Drake, and Carl Sagan, had originally predicted.

    Eric Metaxas – Does Science Argue for or against God? – (Sagan’s estimate based on the Drake equation shown to be overly optimistic) – animated video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjGPHF5A6Po

    Contrary to the handful of parameters that Drake reasoned would have to be met in order for advanced civilization to be possible on any given planet, the fact of the matter is that it is now known that hundreds of parameters would have to met in order for advanced civilization to be possible on any given planet.

    In fact, there are currently a total of 816 known parameters which have to be met for complex, intelligent, life to be possible on Earth, or on a planet like Earth. Individually, these limits are not that impressive but when we realize ALL these limits have to be met at the same time and on the same planet, and not one of the limits can be out of its life permitting range for any extended period of time, then the probability for a world which can host advanced life in this universe becomes very extraordinary. Here is the final summary of Dr. Hugh Ross’s ‘conservative’ estimate for the probability of finding another life-hosting world in this universe.

    Linked from Appendix C from Dr. Ross’s book, ‘Why the Universe Is the Way It Is’;
    Probability Estimates for the Features Required by Various Life Forms:
    Excerpt:
    Requirements to sustain bacteria for 90 days or less:
    Probability for occurrence of all 501 parameters approx. 10-614
    dependency factors estimate approx. 10^-303
    longevity requirements estimate approx. 10^22
    Probability for occurrence of all 501 parameters approx. 10^-333
    Maximum possible number of life support bodies in observable universe approx. 10^22
    Thus, less than 1 chance in 10^311 exists that even one such life-support body would occur anywhere in the universe without invoking divine miracles.

    Requirements to sustain unicellar life for three billion year:
    Probability for occurrence of all 676 parameters approx. 10^-859
    dependency factors estimate approx. 10^-303
    longevity requirements estimate approx. 10^22
    Probability for occurrence of all 676 parameters approx. 10^-578
    Maximum possible number of life support bodies in observable universe approx. 10^22
    Thus, less than 1 chance in 10^556 exists that even one such life-support body would occur anywhere in the universe without invoking divine miracle

    Requirements to sustain intelligent physical life:
    Probability for occurrence of all 816 parameters approx. 10^-1333
    dependency factors estimate approx. 10^-324
    longevity requirements estimate approx. 10^45
    Probability for occurrence of all 816 parameters approx. 10^-1054
    Maximum possible number of life support bodies in observable universe approx. 10^22
    Thus, less than 1 chance in 10^1032 exists that even one such life-support body would occur anywhere in the universe without invoking divine miracle
    http://www.reasons.org/files/c....._part3.pdf

    Of related note to the uniqueness of earth, there is now found to be an anomaly in the Cosmic Background Radiation that, of all places, strangely lines up with the earth and solar system.

    Why is the solar system cosmically aligned? BY Dragan Huterer – 2007
    The solar system seems to line up with the largest cosmic features. Is this mere coincidence or a signpost to deeper insights?
    Caption under figure on page 43:
    ODD ALIGNMENTS hide within the multipoles of the cosmic microwave background. In this combination of the quadrupole and octopole, a plane bisects the sphere between the largest warm and cool lobes. The ecliptic — the plane of Earth’s orbit projected onto the celestial sphere — is aligned parallel to the plane between the lobes.
    http://www-personal.umich.edu/.....uterer.pdf
    Here is the actual graph of the alignment from the Huterer 2007 paper (worth a thousand words):
    http://i44.servimg.com/u/f44/1.....is_o10.jpg

    What Is Evil About The Axis Of Evil? – February 17, 2015
    The Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) Radiation contains small temperature fluctuations.
    When these temperature fluctuations are analyzed using image processing techniques (specifically spherical harmonics), they indicate a special direction in space, or, in a sense, an axis through the universe. This axis is correlated back to us, and causes many difficulties for the current big bang and standard cosmology theories. What has been discovered is shocking.
    Two scientists, Kate Land and João Magueijo, in a paper in 2005 describing the axis, dubbed it the “Axis of Evil” because of the damage it does to current theories, and (tongue in cheek) as a response to George Bush’ Axis of Evil speech regarding Iraq, Iran and, North Korea.
    (Youtube clip on site)
    In the above video, Max Tegmark describes in a simplified way how spherical harmonics analysis decomposes the small temperature fluctuations into more averaged and spatially arranged temperature components, known as multipoles.
    The “Axis of Evil” correlates to the earth’s ecliptic and equinoxes, and this represents a very unusual and unexpected special direction in space, a direct challenge to the Copernican Principle.
    http://www.theprinciplemovie.com/evil-axis-evil/

    Is there a violation of the Copernican principle in radio sky? – Ashok K. Singal – May 17, 2013
    Abstract: Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR) observations from the WMAP satellite have shown some unexpected anisotropies (directionally dependent observations), which surprisingly seem to be aligned with the eclipticcite {20,16,15}. The latest data from the Planck satellite have confirmed the presence of these anisotropiescite {17}. Here we report even larger anisotropies in the sky distributions of powerful extended quasars and some other sub-classes of radio galaxies in the 3CRR catalogue, one of the oldest and most intensively studies sample of strong radio sourcescite{21,22,3}. The anisotropies lie about a plane passing through the two equinoxes and the north celestial pole (NCP). We can rule out at a 99.995% confidence level the hypothesis that these asymmetries are merely due to statistical fluctuations. Further, even the distribution of observed radio sizes of quasars and radio galaxies show large systematic differences between these two sky regions. The redshift distribution appear to be very similar in both regions of sky for all sources, which rules out any local effects to be the cause of these anomalies. Two pertinent questions then arise. First, why should there be such large anisotropies present in the sky distribution of some of the most distant discrete sources implying inhomogeneities in the universe at very large scales (covering a fraction of the universe)? What is intriguing even further is why such anisotropies should lie about a great circle decided purely by the orientation of earth’s rotation axis and/or the axis of its revolution around the sun? It looks as if these axes have a preferential placement in the larger scheme of things, implying an apparent breakdown of the Copernican principle or its more generalization, cosmological principle, upon which all modern cosmological theories are based upon.
    http://arxiv.org/abs/1305.4134

    At the 13:55 minute mark of this following video, Max Tegmark, an atheist, finally admits, post Planck 2013, that the CMBR anomalies do indeed line up with the earth and solar system

    “Thoughtcrime: The Conspiracy to Stop The Principle” – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=0eVUSDy_rO0#t=832

    Verse:

    Isaiah 45:18-19
    For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens, who is God, who formed the earth and made it, who established it, who did not create it in vain, who formed it to be inhabited: “I am the Lord, and there is no other. I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth; I did not say to the seed of Jacob, ‘seek me in vain’; I, the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.”

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