On Sun, Feb 11, 2018 at 11:24 PM, John Clark <johnkcl...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sun, Feb 11, 2018 at 3:21 AM, Telmo Menezes <te...@telmomenezes.com>
> wrote:
>
>>
>> >
>> the argument ignores the possibility that civilizations
>> might be able to thrive for a very long time without ever expanding
>> much beyond their original planet.
>
>
> I'm sorry but that argument just makes no sense. Unless the laws of physics
> are very different from what we think they are then nanotechnology is
> possible, if so then intelligence is going to have a major impact on the
> large scale structure of the universe; the fact that we can't observe the
> slightest sign of this happening has profound implications.

What if nanotech *is* the filter? Then, the civilizations that survive
could be the ones that avoid that trap somehow.

Another possibility is that nanotech is possible and civilizations do
eventually build dyson spheres around their stars, but have absolutely
no incentive to go beyond their star system -- this is easily
justifiable by the speed of light limit. We haven't seen one of those
either, but it is also not true that there isn't the slightest sign:

https://www.seti.org/whats-up-with-tabby-star

Another possibility is that another scientific discovery tends to come
before nanotech is at that stage, and that discovery X makes your
program of expansion pointless, but you only get it after you know X.

>
>>
>> >
>> Even if a
>> civilization figured out a way to tolerate interstellar voyages taking
>> thousands or millions of years,
>
>
> Civilizations don't have to figure out ways to tolerate interstellar
> voyages, only Von Neumann probes do, and that would be easy for them.

Maybe they are not computationalists, and find it pointless to
terraform star systems that they cannot reach themsleves.

>>
>> >
>> Without fast communication channels, they would fragment-- perhaps like
>> the Roman Empire.
>
>
> Yes. So what? Fragmented or not Intelligence
> would be a major force effecting the large scale structure of the universe.

A two-star-system civilization would already be fragmented, unless it
is somehow possible to transcend the speed of light constraint. If
not, it seems reasonable that things would not scale to "large scale
structure" effects.

>> >
>> It could be that this idea that the external space is more interesting
>> than the internal is just an obsession characteristic of our stage of
>>
>> development.
>
>
> Not plausible. All it would take is one individual in one civilization to
> take an once or so of matter and turn it into a Von Neumann  Probe

Can you build an atomic bomb? Do you know anyone that can?

> and then build a rocked far less powerful than Elon Musk's recently launched
> Falcon Heavy and we're off to the races. But this has clearly not happened,
> the ET equivalent of
> Elon Musk
> does not exist in the observable universe
> and I can
> only
> thin
> k
> of two explanations for this that doesn't sound ridiculously contrived.

Your lack of imagination is not a very good argument...

>>
>> >
>> Perhaps the mysteries of the external space are exhausted
>> in a few millennia past our current point, and then all that is left
>> is to invent new things within artificial computational environments.
>> Who knows?
>
>
> It's not as if we're talking about some huge expensive commitment, once you
> have Drexler style nanotechnology its not only possible its easy to turn the
> galaxy into a power station, and doing so would be literally as cheap as
> dirt too.

Yes, but aren't you a bit too quick to assume that a technology that
has only been theorized is necessarily feasible?

>
>>
>> >
>> Well... you talked about Von Neumann probes. I also imagine that as a
>> way to expand a civilization. But then, who knows what transformations
>> the entities go through? Do they merge with machines, or opt to be
>> totally emulated by machines?
>
>
> I don't need to answer those questions if I'm trying to figure out why
> intelligence has
> not shaped the universe, they're irrelevant.
>
>>
>> >
>> At what time scales will they operate
>> then?
>
>
> 50 million years would be enough time to reshape our 13 bullion year old
> galaxy, and that is
> making the absurdly conservative assumption that ET can't send probes any
> faster than we could in the 1970's.

If the technology is feasible. And if it is (or is about to become),
consider the immense power that it grants. A civilization interested
in self-preservation would have to figure out a way to not be
destroyed by it. That process could interfere with the plan of
terraforming the entire galaxy, correct?

>
>>
>> >
>> And needing which type of resource?
>
>
> All a Von Neumann probe needs is energy and atoms, carbon being the most
> important although other elements would come in handy. Stars provide lots of
> energy and there are plenty of nice juicy atoms in asteroids and planets.

All that and the probe itself, which does not exist circa now....

>>
>> >
>> And how do they obtain them?
>
>
> By going to stars and asteroids and planets in a small rocket.
>
>
>>
>> >
>> Aren't you expecting that something absurdly advanced in relation to
>> us is readily recognizable by us?
>
>
> Certainly. We're absurdly advanced compared to Neanderthal culture so if you
> dropped Mr. Neanderthal down in the middle of Manhattan he wouldn't
> understand a lot about what was going on but he'd understand that this was a
> special place, this was something fundamentally different from mountains and
> valleys and lakes and rivers, which was all he had ever seen before.

If a completely isolated Neanderthal tribe was found by serious
scientists, do you figure they would throw them in the middle of
Manhattan? Or do you figure they would look for a way to study them
without disturbing them?

>>>
>>> >
>>> >
>>> I don't see why a galactic civilization would give a damn if we knew
>>> about
>>>
>>>  them or not, and even they can't hide from the second law of
>>> thermodynamics.
>>>
>>>  Where is the galactic civilization's waste heat??
>>
>>
>> >
>> They could do it for our benefit. Or for the opportunity to study us. Or
>> both.
>
>
> That explanation strikes me as contrived as hell, and you still haven't told
> me where there waste heat went.

I don't know. I believe you know more physics than me so I concede the point.

Telmo.

>
>>
>> >
>> If they can maintain a civilization at the galactic scale -- with
>> communication and all -- then they clearly know some physics that we
>> don't.
>
>
> No new physics is required to reshape the galaxy, it just needs improved
> engineering skill.
>
> John K Clark
>
>
>
>
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