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Re: starship-design: GRB's

> From: L. Clayton Parker <lparker@cacaphony.net>
> To: Starship-Design <starship-design@lists.uoregon.edu>
> Subject: starship-design: GRB's
> Date: Thursday, June 24, 1999 4:36 PM

> Paul Davies, a visiting physicist at Imperial College, London, says the
> basic idea for resolving the paradox makes sense. "Any Galaxy-wide
> sterilizing event would do," he says. However, he adds that GRBs may be
> brief: "If the drama is all over in seconds, you only zap half a planet.
> planet's mass shields the shadowed side." Annis counters that GRBs are
> likely to have many indirect effects, such as wrecking ozone layers that
> protect planets from deadly levels of ultraviolet radiation.

Tenuous arguments. Here we have: 1. No ET to study for psychology, biology,
and existence; 2. No information on how many civilizations actually do
exist; 3. No proof that an ET ecological system needs to be based around an
ozone layer; and yet we have a theorem to explain why ET's aren't here. It
is truly amazing what someone with tenure can spread around...we have no
information, but we can invent some and make a solution. They are, in my
opinion, doing the fallacy of Venus all over again. Carl Sagan warned not
to do this, and I think people like Annis and Davies, and everyone, should
take this seriously. There is an even simpler explanation why there are no
ET's here...we aren't interesting. Not for physics, not for knowledge that
is discovered by us. They already know that stuff. So why would they be
interested in us? Anthropological reasons. Would they study us? Sure. Would
they make contact to study us? No. Ask an anthropologist how they would
make clean observations of a race without distorting their actions. You
simply don't let them know you are there. Then you can observe like the
proverbial 'fly on the wall.' Would they ever make contact? That depends on
who the race is. Some probably would not, others probably would. Making ad
hoc assumptions about something we have no information on is not
scientific. Interesting conjecture, but not science. I am a "hardball, nuts
and bolts, belt and suspenders" type of person. I am an experimentalist, an
observationalist. I am not a theorist. IMHO, the scientific community would
be far more scientific if we had less theory clogging up everything, and
more experiments. I.E., If a theory says no, but an experimental result is
not available yet, keep the theory as a valid possibility, but don't go
shouting "It must be this way!" You will likely be proven wrong. (this goes
for other theories too...Stochastic electrodynamics, "ZPE" stuff,
relativity, autodynamics, whatever.)
By the way, the Venus fallacy was one of the stupidest things that ever
happened. It is a good example of how ingenious yet stupid scientists can
be. An astronomer looked through his telescope at Venus. "I can't see a
thing. The surface is obscured by clouds. Hey, if there are clouds, there
must be a lot of water! It must be covered in swamps. And if there are
swamps, there might even be dinosaurs." Later on it is found that there is
a ton of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of Venus. One scientist says,
"There must be tons of petroleum on the surface. Coal, oil, etc." To which
another says, "No, you're wrong. Venus is covered by an ocean of seltzer."
Then we find that there is no water in Venus' atmosphere. Scientist says:
"Must be covered by desert. The clouds must be fine silicate dust." We now
know that all these pictures were wrong. Observation: Couldn't see a thing.
Conclusion: Dinosaurs, seltzer, petroleum, etc. We like to pretend that
scientists are not that gullible anymore. That's not true at all.
Scientists still are, and (in some other situations) have made some very
stupid conclusions. Be careful what you buy just because a tenured
professor/scientists says it. Caveat Emptor.

The opinion contained here is my own, and having the legal right to it, I
said it. ;)