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New “Astrobiological Copernican Limit” claims 36 intelligent civilizations


Amid much fanfare:

Using the assumption that intelligent life forms on other planets in a similar way as it does on Earth, researchers have obtained an estimate for the number of intelligent communicating civilizations within our own galaxy -the Milky Way. They calculate that there could be over 30 active communicating intelligent civilizations in our home Galaxy.

Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Nottingham, Christopher Conselice who led the research, explains: “There should be at least a few dozen active civilizations in our Galaxy under the assumption that it takes 5 billion years for intelligent life to form on other planets, as on Earth.” Conselice also explains that, “The idea is looking at evolution, but on a cosmic scale. We call this calculation the Astrobiological Copernican Limit.”

First author Tom Westby explains: “The classic method for estimating the number of intelligent civilizations relies on making guesses of values relating to life, whereby opinions about such matters vary quite substantially. Our new study simplifies these assumptions using new data, giving us a solid estimate of the number of civilizations in our Galaxy.

The two Astrobiological Copernican limits are that intelligent life forms in less than 5 billion years, or after about 5 billion years – similar to on Earth where a communicating civilization formed after 4.5 billion years. In the strong criteria, whereby a metal content equal to that of the Sun is needed (the Sun is relatively speaking quite metal rich), we calculate that there should be around 36 active civilizations in our Galaxy.”

University of Nottingham, “Research sheds new light on intelligent life existing across the galaxy” at Eurekalert

Paper. (paywall)

The Mirror has some great sci fi pix:

We are not alone – with 36 intelligent alien races living in our galaxy, according to a new study.

British scientists have calculated that there could be dozens of other extra terrestrial lifeforms within the Milky Way.

But they said it is likely the average distance to such civilisations would be 17,000 light-years – making detection and communication “very difficult” with our present technology.

Mark WaghornUp to 36 ‘intelligent alien races’ could be living in our galaxy, scientists say” at Mirror

It’s all malarkey. In the real world, it would be awfully nice to find fossil bacteria on Mars. Good chance it came from Earth. When that seems to be taking some time, we hear about 36 alien civs.

That’s because there’ll always be a market for We Are Not Alone. The thing is, it used to be called religion, not science. And it still is religion, not science. See Tales of an invented god for more on that.

Hat tip: Ken Francis, co-author with Theodore Dalrymple of The Terror of Existence: From Ecclesiastes to Theatre of the Absurd

Francis asks, “Why not 37 alien races? Or 39? What about 24-and-a-half? Or 63?”

Because 36 is a much nicer number.

Hilarious, "giving us a solid estimate of the number of civilizations in our Galaxy". Take some cosmological hand waving and presto, a "solid estimate", obviously superior to those earlier ones. And these guys get paid to do this sort of thing? Where can I apply? And then there is the " two Astrobiological Copernican limits are that intelligent life forms in less than 5 billion years, or after about 5 billion years". So the two limits are either before or after 5 billion years? What does that even mean? Are we sure that Eurekalert is not a satire magazine? Fasteddious
It is well known among the true astrophysical scientific community that the actual number of ETI civilizations in our galaxy is zero. But the estimate of ~35 from some fantasy "astrophysicists" at least is closer to reality than that of their predecessors, e.g. Carl Sagan's "Billions and Billions". MikeW
Even just looking at the millions of species of life on earth we know that, given the right metal rich conditions on earth, that intelligent life is not, more or less, guaranteed to evolve. (as they erroneously assumed in their calculation,) They define 'intelligent life" by our ability to communicate, (i.e. "intelligent, communicative life"). yet our ability to communicate information is itself, evolutionary speaking, a complete mystery. Leading Evolutionists themselves admit that our ability to communicate information is a complete mystery:
Leading Evolutionary Scientists Admit We Have No Evolutionary Explanation of Human Language - December 19, 2014 Excerpt: Understanding the evolution of language requires evidence regarding origins and processes that led to change. In the last 40 years, there has been an explosion of research on this problem as well as a sense that considerable progress has been made. We argue instead that the richness of ideas is accompanied by a poverty of evidence, with essentially no explanation of how and why our linguistic computations and representations evolved.,,, (Marc Hauser, Charles Yang, Robert Berwick, Ian Tattersall, Michael J. Ryan, Jeffrey Watumull, Noam Chomsky and Richard C. Lewontin, "The mystery of language evolution," Frontiers in Psychology, Vol 5:401 (May 7, 2014).) Casey Luskin added: “It's difficult to imagine much stronger words from a more prestigious collection of experts.” http://www.evolutionnews.org/2014/12/leading_evoluti092141.html
The late best selling author Tom Wolfe was so taken aback by this honest confession from leading Darwinists that he wrote a book on the subject. Here is a general outline of his main argument;
“Speech is 95 percent plus of what lifts man above animal! Physically, man is a sad case. His teeth, including his incisors, which he calls eyeteeth, are baby-size and can barely penetrate the skin of a too-green apple. His claws can’t do anything but scratch him where he itches. His stringy-ligament body makes him a weakling compared to all the animals his size. Animals his size? In hand-to-paw, hand-to-claw, or hand-to-incisor combat, any animal his size would have him for lunch. Yet man owns or controls them all, every animal that exists, thanks to his superpower: speech.” —Tom Wolfe, in the introduction to his book, The Kingdom of Speech
In other words, that humans should master the planet due to his unique ability to communicate information is completely contrary to the ‘survival of the fittest’ thinking that undergirds Darwinian thought. i.e. Although humans are fairly defenseless creatures in the wild compared to other creatures, such as lions, bears, sharks, etc.., nonetheless, humans have, completely contrary to Darwinian ‘survival of the fittest’ thinking, managed to become masters of the planet, not by brute force, but simply by our unique ability to communicate information and also to, specifically, infuse information into material substrates in order to create, i.e. intelligently design, objects that are extremely useful for our defense, basic survival in procuring food, furtherance of our knowledge, and even merely for our pleasure. What is more interesting still about the fact that humans have a unique ability to understand and create information, and have come to dominate the world through the ‘top-down’ infusion of information into material substrates, is the fact that, due to advances in science, both the universe and life itself, are now found to be ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis.
"The most fundamental definition of reality is not matter or energy, but information–and it is the processing of information that lies at the root of all physical, biological, economic, and social phenomena." Vlatko Vedral - Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford, and CQT (Centre for Quantum Technologies) at the National University of Singapore, and a Fellow of Wolfson College - a recognized leader in the field of quantum mechanics.
It is hard to imagine a more convincing proof that we are ‘made in the image of God’, than finding that both the universe and life itself are ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis, and that we, of all the creatures on earth, uniquely possess an ability to understand and create information, and have come to ‘master the planet’ precisely because of our ability to infuse information into material substrates.
Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. John 1:1-4 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and that life was the Light of men.
I guess a more convincing proof that we are made in the image of God could be if God Himself became a man, defeated death on a cross, and then rose from the dead to prove that He was God. And that is precisely the proof claimed within Christianity.
Shroud of Turin: From discovery of Photographic Negative, to 3D Information, to Quantum Hologram - video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-TL4QOCiis The evidence for the Shroud's authenticity keeps growing. (Timeline of facts) - November 08, 2019 What Is the Shroud of Turin? Facts & History Everyone Should Know - Myra Adams and Russ Breault https://www.christianity.com/wiki/jesus-christ/what-is-the-shroud-of-turin.html Minimal Facts vs. Maximal Data Approaches to the Resurrection: A Conversation with Dr. Lydia McGrew https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUt3r3dXBr4
Of supplemental note: The title of their paper "The Astrobiological Copernican Weak and Strong Limits for Intelligent Life" also shows that, scientifically speaking, they really have no clue what they are talking about. Specifically, the Copernican principle itself has now been overturned by our best theories in science, i.e. General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics respectfully:
November 2019 - despite the fact that virtually everyone, including the vast majority of Christians, hold that the Copernican Principle is unquestionably true, the fact of the matter is that the Copernican Principle is now empirically shown, (via quantum mechanics and general relativity, etc.., etc..), to be a false assumption. https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/intelligent-design/so-then-maybe-we-are-privileged-observers/#comment-688855
Colossians 1:15-20 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Their assumption(s) that they used in their calculations are erroneous,
The Astrobiological Copernican Weak and Strong Limits for Intelligent Life Tom Westby and Christopher J. Conselice - 2020 June 15 Excerpt: Our calculation involves Galactic star formation histories, metallicity distributions, and the likelihood of stars hosting Earth-like planets in their habitable zones, under specific assumptions which we describe as the Astrobiological Copernican Weak and Strong conditions. These assumptions are based on the one situation in which intelligent, communicative life is known to exist—on our own planet. This type of life has developed in a metal-rich environment and has taken roughly 5 Gyr to do so. https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/1538-4357/ab8225
First, their assumption for "the likelihood of stars hosting Earth-like planets in their habitable zones" is far too optimistic,
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 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://d4bge0zxg5qba.cloudfront.net/files/compendium/compendium_Part3_ver2.pdf The Known Habitable Zones (For a Planet) – Hugh Ross – December 2016 Excerpt: in addition to the water habitable zone, there are seven other known habitable zones. 1. Water habitable zone 2. Ultraviolet habitable zone 3. Photosynthetic habitable zone 4. Ozone habitable zone 5. Planetary rotation rate habitable zone 6. Planetary obliquity habitable zone 7. Tidal habitable zone 8. Astrosphere habitable zone ,,, Typically, these zones do not overlap,,, A planet is a true candidate for habitability only if it simultaneously resides in all eight habitable zones. So far, the only known planet that dwells in all eight is Earth.,,, Now, a ninth habitable zone has been discovered— 9. Electric wind habitable zone.6 http://www.salvomag.com/new/articles/salvo39/zone-9-in-outer-space.php How weird is our Solar System? Is it odd like your quirky uncle, or odd like a leprechaun riding a unicorn? - May 2015 Excerpt: "It's increasingly seeming that the solar system is something of an oddball," says Gregory Laughlin, a planetary scientist at the University of California, Santa Cruz in the US.,,, Once you get over the fact that planets are as common as stars, you're faced with their startling diversity. "We kind of always vaguely hoped and expected planets to be common," Laughlin says. "And that's absolutely right - they are common. But they are weirder than our own solar system would lead us to expect.",,, "Having nothing interior to Mercury's orbit and having Jupiter itself - a massive planet on a Jupiter-like orbit - combine to make us unusual," Laughlin says.,,, "Every indication right now looks like we might be rare," Walsh says.,,, "There's zero evidence that Earth-like environments are common," Laughlin says. "There's zero evidence that life is common." http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20150515-how-weird-is-our-solar-system (Our) Rare Solar System Gets Rarer - Hugh Ross - November 5, 2018 Excerpt: Astronomers have detected and measured the mass and/or orbital features of 3,869 planets in 2,887 planetary systems beyond the solar system.1 This ranks as a staggering rate of discovery, given that the first confirmed detection of a planet orbiting another hydrogen-fusion-burning star was as recent as 1995.2 What do the characteristics of these systems reveal about potential habitability for advanced life?,,, How many of the known multiple-planet systems exhibit these life-essential features? The answer for the 638 known multi-planet exoplanetary systems is zero.13 How about the known exoplanetary systems where only one planet has been discovered? Of these 2,249 systems, they either lack a cold Jupiter closer than 14 times Earth’s distance from the Sun or the planet they contain possesses characteristics that would rule out the possible existence of another planet in the system capable of sustaining advanced life. The presumption back in 1995 was that astronomers would find many exoplanetary systems where the probability of advanced life possibly existing in that system would be greater than zero. More than twenty-three years later, with a database of 2,888 planetary systems and 3,877 planets, only one planetary system and only one planet possess the characteristics that the possible existence of advanced life needs. It requires little effort to discern the identity of that single planetary system and single planet. https://www.reasons.org/explore/blogs/todays-new-reason-to-believe/read/todays-new-reason-to-believe/2018/11/05/rare-solar-system-gets-rarer
Second, their assumption that, simply given the right "metal-rich environment", then intelligent life will be, more or less, guaranteed to evolve, (for lack of a better term), is grossly simplistic. Shoot, the probability against 'simple' life itself, (not intelligent life mind you), spontaneously appearing on that hypothetical life supporting planet are, no pun intended, astronomical. Stephen Meyer, using very optimistic assumptions, calculated that the odds of 'simple' life spontaneously forming are one in 10 to the 41,000th power.
Signature in the Cell by Stephen Meyer - Book Review - Ken Peterson Excerpt: If we assume some minimally complex cell requires 250 different proteins then the probability of this arrangement happening purely by chance is one in 10 to the 164th multiplied by itself 250 times or one in 10 to the 41,000th power. http://www.spectrummagazine.org/reviews/book_reviews/2009/10/06/signature_cell
Professor Harold Morowitz, working from a more realistic thermodynamic perspective, showed that the Origin of Life 'problem' escalates dramatically over Dr. Meyer's optimistic 1 in 10^41,000 figure :
"The probability for the chance of formation of the smallest, simplest form of living organism known is 1 in 10^340,000,000. This number is 10 to the 340 millionth power! The size of this figure is truly staggering since there is only supposed to be approximately 10^80 (10 to the 80th power) electrons in the whole universe!" (Professor Harold Morowitz, Energy Flow In Biology pg. 99, Biophysicist of George Mason University) DID LIFE START BY CHANCE? Excerpt: Molecular biophysicist, Harold Morowitz (Yale University), calculated the odds of life beginning under natural conditions (spontaneous generation). He calculated, if one were to take the simplest living cell and break every chemical bond within it, the odds that the cell would reassemble under ideal natural conditions (the best possible chemical environment) would be one chance in 10^100,000,000,000. You will have probably have trouble imagining a number so large, so Hugh Ross provides us with the following example. If all the matter in the Universe was converted into building blocks of life, and if assembly of these building blocks were attempted once a microsecond for the entire age of the universe. Then instead of the odds being 1 in 10^100,000,000,000, they would be 1 in 10^99,999,999,916 (also of note: 1 with 100 billion zeros following would fill approx. 20,000 encyclopedias) http://members.tripod.com/~Black_J/chance.html Harold Joseph Morowitz was an American biophysicist who studied the application of thermodynamics to living systems. Author of numerous books and articles, his work includes technical monographs as well as essays. The origin of life was his primary research interest for more than fifty years.
Moreover, the odds against intelligent life supposedly evolving from that 'simple' life are even more astronomical,
“In Barrow and Tippler's book The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, they list ten steps necessary in the course of human evolution, each of which, is so improbable that if left to happen by chance alone, the sun would have ceased to be a main sequence star and would have incinerated the earth. They estimate that the odds of the evolution (by chance) of the human genome is somewhere between 4 to the negative 180th power, to the 110,000th power, and 4 to the negative 360th power, to the 110,000th power. Therefore, if evolution did occur, it literally would have been a miracle and evidence for the existence of God.” - William Lane Craig - If Human Evolution Did Occur It Was A Miracle - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUxm8dXLRpA "In another book I wrote with Fuz (Rana), Who Was Adam?, we describe calculations done by evolutionary biologist Francisco Ayala and by astrophysicists John Barrow, Brandon Carter, and Frank Tipler for the probability that a bacterium would evolve under ideal natural conditions—given the presumption that the mechanisms for natural biological evolution are both effective and rapid. They determine that probability to be no more than 10-24,000,000. The bottom line is that rather than the probability for extraterrestrial intelligent life being 1 as Aczel claims, very conservatively from a naturalistic perspective it is much less than 10^500 + 22 -1054 -100,000,000,000 -24,000,000. That is, it is less than 10-100,024,000,532. In longhand notation it would be 0.00 … 001 with 100,024,000,531 zeros (100 billion, 24 million, 5 hundred and thirty-one zeros) between the decimal point and the 1. That longhand notation of the probability would fill over 20,000 complete Bibles." - Hugh Ross- Does the Probability for ETI = 1?
BobRyan, I see your point. I’ve heard that Nobel Laureate, physicist Richard Feynman, once said that outside his or her field, a scientist is just as dumb as the next guy. Another Nobel Laureate, Baron Rees, said much the same about his friend Stephen Hawking’s pronouncements on philosophy and religion. Dr Rees once told the Guardian newspaper, “I know Stephen Hawking well enough to know that he has read little philosophy and less theology, so I don’t think his views [on those subjects] should be taken with any special weight.” jawa
Jawa: You used one of my favorite quotes to show why Hawking never should have been in physics. He was a mathematician playing physicist. “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist,” He admits there is a law of gravity, but never stops to consider how the law came into being. If the Big Bang created a chaotic universe, as Hawking believed, then how can any law exist? The laws show order in the universe, which could not have come about from chaos. Only chaos comes from chaos. He actually believed the universe created itself out of nothing. You cannot get something from nothing and is clearly the result of Darwinist thought. The universe could not have been created by Intelligent Design, therefore it must have made itself magically appear, complete with all the laws of physics. Magic is used to explain away anything that does not fit the Darwinist view. BobRyan
Francis asks, “Why not 37 alien races? Or 39? What about 24-and-a-half? Or 63?” Duh! Obviously, because there’s a transitive law in math. :) Here’s the proof: “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist,” -Stephen Hawking. jawa

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