[extropy-chat] When did intelligence first emerge in theuniverse?

Robert Bradbury robert.bradbury at gmail.com
Mon Jun 26 13:11:36 UTC 2006

On 6/25/06, John K Clark <jonkc at att.net> wrote:

> It sounds like you're bragging about your contempt for the conventional
> but that is not a virtue, it is far from it because the conventional wisdom
> is usually right, not always but usually; or at least it's usually more
> right
> than any alternative being offered. Rejecting the conventional wisdom
> should be painful and done only with great reluctance; you have not
> given me any reason why I should undergo such a rare and painful ordeal.

Ok, well lets see.  Most of the points I have been making presume that
advanced civilizations would possess robust MNT.  The "conventional wisdom"
generally assumes robust MNT is impossible. The concept that robust MNT is
*not* impossible is 47 years old if you use Feynman's 1959 talk, 25 years
old if you use Drexler's 1981 PNAS paper, 20 years old if you use EoC and 14
years old if you use Nanosystems as a publication date.  Given that *not*
having robust MNT is costing us 50+ million lives a year is it not
reasonable for me to have an extremely strong distaste for the 'conventional
wisdom'?  The same argument could be applied to the concept that radical
lifespan extension is 'impossible'.  Even now that we have the human genome
people who buck the conventional wisdom such as myself, Aubrey de Grey,
cryonicists, etc. are generally labeled as 'kooks'.  So, yes, I find it
perfectly reasonable, if not for your own life, but for the lives of the
people around you that you should take a *very* dim view of the
"conventional wisdom".

Now, I am not precisely sure what part of 'conventional wisdom' I am trying
to reject.  If you see some law of physics that I am violating, *PLEASE*
point it out to me.  But I started my entire exploration of the MBrain
concept based on assuming that known laws of physics are valid.  I'm not
invoking worm holes, FTL travel, sub-space fields, alternate universes or
any of a *host* of other 'creative' things that various physicists have
invented.  I am not even proposing that the Big Bang is wrong.

I am proposing that the conventional wisdom, including observed phenomena,
need to be seriously reexamined from the basic premise that there is a high
probability that many of the 'Earth's' which may exist in the galaxy are
much, much older than our own.

Lets start with (a) Galaxies *near* us (those whose rotational rates can be
measured) that appear to contain more mass than is visible and (b) dark
radio galaxies.

You are proposing undetected, non-interacting dark matter as the
'conventional' explanation.  I am proposing highly advanced advanced
civilisations obeying 'normal' laws of physics.

Please explain why something that cannot be seen or detected, i.e. a
'fantasy' concept, is any more valid than evolution of life, which we know
can exist.  Let us just confine ourselves to that.

If your only argument that dark matter must exist is based on theories of
the big bang nucleosynthesis then we will have to agree to disagree.  That
is because I believe that the physicists took local observed phenomena (e.g.
galactic rotational rates) and worked backward to 'cook' the big bang theory
with a fundamental assumption that the universe is now and must always have
been 'dead'.  I'm assuming that there is a problem with that (which is what
George's paper is somewhat related to and what this debate is all about).
I'm assuming that sometime starting perhaps 8 billion years ago (very
rarely) until now advanced civilizations have developed and gone through the
point we are at now with increasing frequency.  Thus a significant majority
of all observed astronomical data (and invented fantasy particles) needs to
be re-examined based on the concept that the universe is not dead but has a
continuous transition from dead, to not-so-dead, to very much not dead, to
dead is the rare case.

It makes that transition as we look at objects that are increasingly close
to us.  Since we are very much 'not' dead and unless something very tragic
happens are easily within 100 years of taking our star dark it makes
particular sense to look at our galaxy (where everything we see is less than
100,000 years old) from the perspective of it being 'not dead'.  So lets
just confine the discussion to our galaxy or the local group (so we avoid
debates about the history of the universe).

Is there any observational evidence you can offer that our galaxy is 'dead'
other than on this planet?  (Mind you since we have developed from the
bronze age to the singularity in less than 10,000 light years any assumption
anything you can say about the state of the galaxy *now* further out than
hundreds or perhaps thousands of light years has to include a probability
analysis that it has been dead and still remains dead.)

I have pointed out one very obvious flaw in your logic and done so
> more than once, but you have not responded. If we can observe
> that there was Dark Matter 13 billion years ago then how can it be
> made of Jupiter Brains?

I don't believe we can *observe* any such thing.  Since dark matter only
interacts by gravity and all we can see that is 13 billion light years away
is supernovas we have absolutely no idea what galaxies looked like or their
rotational speeds at those distances.  We also have no idea of the general
stellar composition or abundance in those galaxies.  All assumptions of what
the very old universe looked like rest upon the assumption that it must have
lead directly to this universe along a 'non-dead' path.  That there is no
gradual transition from 'non-dead' to 'alive' along the billions of years.

Perhaps you or Amara would care to comment on what is absolute furthest
distance at which we can (a) count individual G-class stars and (b) at what
distance we can actually measure their composition?  (I don't think those
numbers are much further out than a few hundred million light years).  So
*everything* beyond those distances is dealing with (a) galactic averages;
or (b) supernovas.  All of that data has been looked at from the perspective
that it what is "out there" must be identical to what we observe "here"
(just in an earlier state).  If we can't even prove that what is "here" is
absolutely and positively "dead" (other than us) then I can't see how any
chain of reasoning back from here is something one should assume is safe
ground to stand on.

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