What if someday we detect a signal from outer space that turned out to be the Fibonacci sequence? Would that be proof of extraterrestrial intelligence?
Be careful how you answer!
Technorati Tags: alien, extraterrestrial life, intelligence, signal
Nahhh… Curious to me is that even if we picked up a signal that translated into “! space is cold! Anybody out there?”, what if you don’t pick anything else up and haven’t even 50 years after that message. Oh the debates over whether it was real and not a hoax or something bounced back from Earth, etc, etc. Just seems like it could end up just as many ancient events do to ‘modern’ thinkers in that the further you get from the original occurrence, the less believed it is. We have testimony that an angel told shepherds a Savior was being born and where for crying out loud, but because these types of events don’t happen frequently enough to affect large numbers of daily lives, they don’t get mainstream respect. I’m a little off topic with my answer of course, but just trying to make the point on the theory IF such a message were actually picked up… unless you keep getting messages and more to work with I would just think it could be another “one of those things” like any typical ufo sighting.
Let me note that I am a Christian and actually agree with Mike’s position on extraterrestrial life which can be well understood from his previous post and talk from the God, Man, ET conference. I have no problem with there being other intelligent life, but no matter, in receiving a signal from space I would take it all with grain of salt considering that major events are always quickly turned into what the prevailing governments want them to be.
I think it depends on the context. Are there cosmological phenomena that can produce signals with Fibonacci sequences?
That is a curious question … how do you really know a signal is not by chance? Maybe such an interpretation could be due to pareidolia. After all, if intelligent life must exist due to the massiveness of the Universe, then it should be possible that somewhere in this massive Universe there is a transmission of a signal that would appear to be Shakespeare completely by chance (a perversion of monkeys with typewriters)!
How about the converse? How do we know noise is not signal? Noise could convey structure, right? What a funny idea! Suppose we could somehow encode a message into a distribution and then send noise sampled from this distribution! Maybe SETI is doing it wrong. They should be collecting noise and analyzing the noise distribution over time. Maybe there is a message!
I think the example was mostly aimed at being hypothetical. These sorts of things do occur in nature — but that’s the point. Intelligent design posits that they are a mark of intelligent design, whereas naturalists do not. I think there’s a good bit of truth in the idea that, if a radio signal was received from space that had the Fibonacci sequence, scientists would be very willing to consider it intelligent, whereas they are unwilling to do so in their own terrestrial back yard.
And for those comment lurkers: Here’s a classic case of intellectual bias in science journals against intelligent design:
I read his paper, “A second look at the second law,” and while it points out an interesting problem with the second law (which, admittedly, is not my expertise), it does seem too philosophical and seems devoid of the kind of content that is expected in a math paper (in my humble opinion).
The letter rejecting the paper is stated here:
Look for yourself:
Do you really think that is paper-quality? It’s all interpretation and philosophical discussion. With no disrespect to Dr. Sewell, but it looks like something you’d find written in a blog or a news site. I think his paper should include a simulation of the transport of entropy at the boundary. Perhaps he could show a simulation of entropy decreasing in one system and increasing in another? These could be interesting results. Maybe this could lead to technology that takes advantage of this phenomena.
While Dr. Sewell maybe a creationist, his paper points out a legitimate problem with the second law of thermodynamics regardless of religious belief. I think it just needs to be beefed up a little more.
The isn’t whether it’s peer quality. If the reviewers say no, they say no. But subsequently allowing people to criticize it in print with no opportunity for response shows bias. It simply isn’t fair play. Just reject it and move on.
After more thought, because the Earth receives energy from the sun, then the sun is part of the system. I would suspect that the total entropy still increases. That is, while the Earth’s entropy may decrease, the increase in entropy of the sun should be greater.
Another observation is that there are more phenomena where entropy locally decreases. Take crystals for example. Conceptually, highly structured crystals should reduce entropy. Diamonds, while not naturally beautiful like crystals, require immense heat and pressure to produce and these are quite structured (at least at a very low level). However, Dr. Sewell’s paper seems to imply that structure must be present to begin with and must flow from one system to the other, otherwise the decrease in entropy is extremely improbable (so my simulation idea is actually trivial … not a great result).
Again, this is not my expertise.
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