We Are Alone

Why I believe there is no other intelligent life in this galaxy

reaction from Nils Wormsbächer

Nils Wormsbacher from Namibia had a look at my flags site and came accross these pages. He says he doesn't disagree with my theory, but he would like to take the following points into account

Nils Herman
1.) c - limit

Consider the possibility that the speed of light is in fact the maximum speed of travel and that there are no other ways to travel between the stars. (I admit that we do not know what scientific progress might be made in the future, and that a lot of great minds in the past have been wrong in declaring what might and might not be possible.)

Also, if electromagnetic waves are the only way to observe/communicate over the fast distances of space, it becomes very difficult just to find a suitable new planet "in time" let alone to travel to it at sub-c speeds. Will it be feasible for a race to just travel to the nearest POSSIBLY habitable planet if that planet is say, 100 lightyears (or even much further) away, knowing that the data you are basing your desisions on is outdated and probably not very accurate anyway, given the quality of the EM wave over such a distance? Will it not make more sense to terraform planets in your solar system or to build big orbiting colonies like the O'Neal colonies? Will individuals be willing to undergo potentially aimless voyages to nowhere where the ship will arrive many lifetimes after their departure?

Furthermore, considering how long a far-off EM signal will take to reach us (if we will even be able to firstly find it, and then recognize it with our prejudice ideas of what a "intelligent" signal must look like) and for what a small window on the cosmic time scale we have been monitoring space for messages, it could be that SETI doesn't meen much anyways. Anyways, SETI only monitors a narrow frequency band (and human-style modulation types: i.e. AM,FM, etc) very carefully, due to computer/money/time constraints.

Your point is valid, Nils, but rather pessimistic. If the usual calculations are correct, then the Galaxy is swarming with earth-like planets. These can be reached, even with present-day technology, in periods of mere years.

I choose to believe that Man's future is among the stars, and if that is true, then my arguments hold.

If it is on the other hand true that we shall never reach any other planets, because they do prove to be too far, then that also alters the data used in the "commonly accepted" theories that would suggest that the Galaxy is swarming with Intelligent Life.  Either way, we Are alone.

2.) My biggest argument is that we might not recognize "intelligent" ET life if it stares in the face, so to say. We base our ideas of what "life" must be on our field of experience, and since all life on this planet is remarkably similar in many respects we are unable to really imagine what forms life can come in, or what even qualifies something other than terran life to be considered as being "alive". (The 4 rules for living things are based on terran observations!). We have even less of a chance to guess at ET life's behaviour, since we don't even completely understand human behaviour, let alone the behaviour of some animals on this planet which is still a complete mystery to us. My point is this: How do you know that they will even be interested in: colonizing/traveling/science or even technological development? Maybe they are like our own Himba tribe: happy to just be herding cattle for thousands of years with no scientific advances, or even a written language for that matter. If nobody interfered they would have gone on like that for ever, maybe...

The biggest consideration for not recognizing ET intelligence, in my humble opinion,might be our perception of time: A human lifespan is minute on a cosmic time scale, so consider an ET organism that uses several Earth days just for one single mental process. Will we even be able to recognize a message where a simple "hello" might span several years?

Another quite valid point. My only answer would be that my main argument is concerned with them not having colonised us.

I don't know what we will find out there, but I do know that it will not be anything that could be conceivably called intelligence higher than ours.

Such intelligence should, in my opinion, have the same basic urges as we have for contacting us.

Which they have not.

3.) ET intelligent life makes itself invisible to us.

I think it is safe to assume that if you are capable of FTL travel that you will be able to hide your presence from relatively primitive races like ourselves. While I also don't believe in big cover-ups and conspiricy theories, I think older ET races might also be more mature in the sense that they might observe without interfering. Maybe there are SO many primitive races out there that they have no need to come here in the first place.

A well-known theme in Science Fiction : the Sentinal (2001), the Prime Directive (Star Trek). They know about us, but they don't interfere so that we can devellop for ourselves. A very fine moral thought, which I admire.

But it's not like that. If there has already been a civilisation of the level we are talking of, it must have come tens of millions of years ago. At that time, there was no "moral" reason not to colonise Earth.

Especially if the theories are right, and life (but not yet intelligence) has sprung up all over the place.

The civilised races that want to colonize should have no qualms about using planets that have life, since they should all have some.

4.) Highly developed ET races might have transcended the physical world.

A popular SF belief but maybe not so impossible... There is definitely a lot to the metaphysical we don't know about. Maybe races are able to transcend into the "other" realm before they are able to develop FTL. I mean, why hassle with the physical world and its laws and limitations if it's all in the mind anyways... While I'm very sceptical of any "mind tricks" per-se, there seems to be enough evidence that we are capable of more than we think.(I have personal experince of a friend of mine that has almost certainly convinced my that he is capable of out of body experiences. The experiment involved throwing a coin out of a window and him traveling outside with his mind and seeing which way the coin landed....After quite a few tries he had a 100% success rate...)

Maybe one of your best arguments.

It would solve everything at once. They are "out there" but they don't need to come "over here".

As for your friend, I've seen magicians do quite extraordinary things without having to believe in supernatural phenomena.

Finally I would just like to add that many of my arguments have probably been mentioned before and that maybe we shouldn't ask whether there is intelligent ET life out there, but whether there is intelligent ET life similar to ourselves out there... Isn't that the same question ?

I am quite willing to do the same for other writers who would like to present their ideas.

by Nils Wormsbächer, Namibia and Herman De Wael, Antwerpen, Belgium

written 2000-04-06

weRalone@email.com / Copyright ©2000