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Why we might never hear from alien civilizations

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<em>Teapot</em> Cobalt Blue Still another reason? From Leah Crane at New Scientist:

Grimaldi assumed that signals from an extraterrestrial emitter might get weaker or be blocked as they travel, so they would only cover a certain volume of space. It’s relatively simple to calculate the probability that Earth is within that space and so able to detect the signal. “Not all signals can be visible at the same time – only those that intersect with the Earth,” says Grimaldi.

He found that even if half of our galaxy was full of alien noise, the average number of signals that we would be able to detect from Earth is less than one (Scientific Reports, doi.org/b562).

This implies that, even if there are lots of aliens out there, we might never be able to hear from them. More.

Patchy Ausstechformen Colleagues, of course, disagree. They carry the torch for those aliens who never write, never phone, never visit. There’s something noble about it all if we have a great deal of time on our hands. 😉

Anyway, here are some other theories:

More often we are just told that we lack imagination, we have searched too narrowly: Moonless planets have been unfairly dismissed and sunless ones could maybe ferry life around the galaxy. Some argue that hardy Earth life forms could have made it to one of Jupiter’s moons and survived there. Jupiter’s moon Europa looks promising to many. NASA has talked of a “flying-saucer-shaped space boat” to Saturn’s moon Titan, some day. And the excitable word about another Saturn moon is, “Enceladus Now Looks Wet, So It May Be ALIVE!”

Exoplanets orbiting red dwarfs at a distance, it is said, may counterintuitively support life. So might exoplanets’ moons. Every month, we hear of a planet or moon capable of supporting hype.

More exotically, some seek life around failed or dying stars. If that doesn’t work, dark matter could make planets habitable (though we don’t yet know what dark matter is). And, should the laws of physics vary from place to place, life elsewhere might follow different laws. In that case, should the physics term “constant” be changed to “local variant”?

Lastly, encountering hard, doubting hearts, alien life proponents resort to moralizing: An editorial preaches “Uniqueness seems rather too presumptuous a claim for one small planet in an undistinguished corner of a vast cosmos.” Our vaunted respect for evidence is a mere cloak for pride and presumption!

See also: How do we grapple with the idea that ET might not be out there?

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6 Replies to “Why we might never hear from alien civilizations

  1. 1
    harry says:

    I hope some communication of extraterrestrial origin is received that atheistic scientists are convinced was composed by intelligent agents, yet their conclusion remains controversial. I can’t wait to hear their arguments explaining how legitimate science can determine that intelligent agency was a causal factor in some phenomenon coming about.

  2. 2
    kairosfocus says:

    News, we already have a message in the coded, alphabetical, algorithmic information in DNA. Just, ideological blinkers seem to be locking out the import of such things being older than cell based life on Earth. KF

  3. 3
    Barry Arrington says:

    Calling Dr. Fermi, calling Dr. Fermi.

  4. 4
    Dionisio says:

    harry,

    I can’t wait to hear their arguments explaining how legitimate science can determine that intelligent agency was a causal factor in some phenomenon coming about.

    Good point, but here are a few questions:
    Aren’t there professional activities based on that kind of reasoning?
    Doesn’t Sherlock Holmes come to mind? 🙂
    Is lack of explanatory arguments what keeps many denying the truth? Or is it something else?
    Please help with this. Thank you.

  5. 5
    Dionisio says:

    KF:

    […] we already have a message in the coded, alphabetical, algorithmic information in DNA. Just, ideological blinkers seem to be locking out the import of such things being older than cell based life on Earth.

    Excellent point.
    But sadly the truth denial will continue till the end of this age of grace.
    Then every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Christ is Lord of lords and King of kings.
    But then it will be too late for many who chose to deny the truth. Let’s ask God to gracefully open their eyes too, before it’s too late. Let’s show compassion to the spiritually blind and the lost.
    They break our loving Lord’s heart, hence they should break our hearts too, if we are true Christ followers, not just His fans.
    Now is the moment to repent and turn to our Maker. Tomorrow could be too late.
    Let’s humbly thank God for having so gracefully opened the eyes of those whom thus He made His children.
    And let’s thank Him for allowing us to see in awe a fraction of His marvelous creation and to experience true wonder beyond our limited imagination.
    Grace upon grace.
    All glory, all honor, all praise to our Maker.
    Let’s sing hallelujah and rejoice!

  6. 6
    harry says:

    Dionisio @ 4

    Aren’t there professional activities based on that kind of reasoning?

    Yeah, we both know there are, but contemporary Darwinian biologists refuse to consider that. If a forensic pathologist determines that a corpse was brought about by intelligent agency then the police start looking for the intelligent agent that was responsible. Archaeologists must determine whether an object is an artifact or an accident of nature. Nobody is upset with forensic pathologists or archaeologists assuming intelligent agency is detectable. Yet ID advocates are accused of being anti-science when they do that very thing. Why? Because if there is no plausible explanation of the emergence of life on this planet without including intelligent agency as a causal factor, then the implication is that atheism is bogus.

    Is lack of explanatory arguments what keeps many denying the truth? Or is it something else?

    The discoveries of modern science have rendered contemporary atheism irrational. They don’t even believe in the explanatory arguments provided by mathematics anymore. They have no answer for the fact that the probabilistic resources provided by the entire Universe since it began are not sufficient to explain a mindless and accidental emergence of the digital information-based functional complexity of the nanotechnology of life. See:

    DOUG AXE EXPLAINS THE CHANCES OF GETTING A FUNCTIONAL PROTEIN BY CHANCE

    Like the alchemists of old who were determined to turn lead into gold, today’s alchemists are determined to explain how abiogenesis took place mindlessly and accidentally, which is the equivalent of attempting to explain how self-replicating robotic equipment might have come about that way, which is to say it is idiotic.

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