Seth Shostak Bites Back! (a SETI discussion)

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Seth Shostak Bites Back! (a SETI discussion)

Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Fri Aug 08, 2008 1:01 am

http://www.space.com/searchforlife/0808 ... tions.html

A great article that addresses the ETH and "true believers" who are not interested in careful, methodical, and skeptical-sans-evidence application of the scientific method. He expresses exactly how I feel when people on forums attack me for presenting a balanced, scientific approach.

Recommended reading,
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Re: Seth Shostak Bites Back!

Postby skylar » Fri Aug 08, 2008 1:09 am

I'm coming up with a blank page for that link. Could you repost that link? Thanks :)
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Re: Seth Shostak Bites Back!

Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Fri Aug 08, 2008 2:58 am

skylar wrote:I'm coming up with a blank page for that link. Could you repost that link? Thanks :)


Works for me and several of my friends. But here it is again...

http://www.space.com/searchforlife/0808 ... tions.html

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Re: Seth Shostak Bites Back!

Postby skylar » Fri Aug 08, 2008 3:42 am

Was able to bring that page up in I.E. but not Firefox.
Read it over and all I can say is that before I saw a UFO (and I'm not talking about a dot in the sky), I never was sure what to think about them because it's just one of those things that one has to pretty much see for themselves to truly acknowledge that such a phenomenon exists. Before I had that experience, I thought UFOs were really just manifestations of one sort or another, of the spirit world, which like so many people out there -- world wide, are very much aware of regardless that most of us in the western world keep such experiences and encounters with stuff like that to ourselves -- and for good reasons too!

But for those of us who have had spiritual experiences throughout our lives, if we should be so fortunate to have also experienced a sighting of a UFO of all things.. naturally, we are going to put that phenomenon within the context of it being a manifestation of something interdimensional because we already have a frame of reference in this area to refer to and to work with and PROCESS. But for those who have never had spiritual experiences of any sort, naturally those ones are going to try to fit the UFO experience within the context of a Nuts and Bolts world view and perspective.

So IMHO, in this case, it's best to err on the side of caution -- so the long and the short of it is.. When it comes to UFOs, I'm like Buddha... I shoot for the Middle Way and I think it's time for all of us to take a new fresh look at the UFO phenomenon and consider that none of us so far has been right about it yet, none of us have been wrong about it either... the answers lie somewhere in the middle. :)
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Re: Seth Shostak Bites Back!

Postby Access Denied » Fri Aug 08, 2008 4:33 am

Err… have you ever heard of the Psychosocial Hypothesis (PSH)? As far as I know it’s the only one that hasn't been falsified. 8)

Unfortunately the "UFO" sightings that were being discussed on Larry King that night have all been debunked and Seth Shostak was no doubt unprepared for the extremely unprofessional attacks since I presume he was unaware of the research that has been done on those cases.

Too bad I wasn’t there, things might have turned out a little differently. :D


P.S. You’re not the only who’s seen a UFO and had spiritual experiences. ;)
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Re: Seth Shostak Bites Back!

Postby Chorlton » Fri Aug 08, 2008 9:27 am

Yep, link works OK for me too, love the article and I'm with Ray.
Just sad we dont get Larry King here.

Every other week we hear of a new date for this so-called 'Disclosure' but it just never comes, most probably because there simply is nothing to disclose.
Looking back in history there is simply no evidence of any real 'visitation' by any species from another world.
We are all supposed to bow down at the alter of people like Greer who want this disclosure and who collects nutcases better than squirells, but they still cant come up with any hard and solid evidence.
Photos and videos of phenomena are simply that, phenomena, things we simply dont understand.
Bloody hell Science still cant do anything about a common cold and people expect scientists to come up with explanationsfor things they cant get their hands on.
Im not touching the 'spiritual' aspects of UFO's. Spirituality is something IMHO that exists in a persons head, nowhere else.

I, personally dont expect any 'Disclosure' at any time, as I simply dont think theres anything to disclose. I think its for people who really need to believe there's something else and cant face the idea that we really are alone, in our Galaxy at least.
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Re: Seth Shostak Bites Back!

Postby lost_shaman » Fri Aug 08, 2008 11:39 am

Chorlton wrote:Photos and videos of phenomena are simply that, phenomena, things we simply dont understand.


Sure, I'd agree with that in large part. Adding that for every photo or video (of the actual phenomena) there are likely thousands of people who simply observe these type of phenomena.



Chorlton wrote:Bloody hell Science still cant do anything about a common cold and people expect scientists to come up with explanations for things they cant get their hands on.


I'd disagree with you here though. Neil deGrasse Tyson was on Cspan the other day and he touched on this subject by talking about, I'm paraphrasing, all the things Science does and is capable of doing without ever getting near or touching anything. It's the electromagnetic spectrum that allows us to do all of this.

I of course agree with Tyson, so putting this reality of Science in the context of a phenomena that observers report to be visual in nature, we don't need to get our hands on anything we just need to get better instruments and get them in the right places at the right times. That is something that has already happened for several decades now at Hessdalen.


Chorlton wrote:I, personally dont expect any 'Disclosure' at any time, as I simply dont think theres anything to disclose.


If you're talking about an E.T. presence on Earth I'd agree, but if you're talking about the "unknowns" that are observed there could be plenty of information Governments might eventually release.

Chorlton wrote: I think its for people who really need to believe there's something else and cant face the idea that we really are alone, in our Galaxy at least.


Shostak at the very least believes that it's very likely other technological civilizations exist and are detectable in our Galaxy.

Do you disagree?
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Re: Seth Shostak Bites Back!

Postby Chorlton » Fri Aug 08, 2008 12:21 pm

lost_shaman wrote:Shostak at the very least believes that it's very likely other technological civilizations exist and are detectable in our Galaxy.
Do you disagree?


I think Shostak was just covering his arse when he said that as he probably didnt want to come over as a complete sceptic
But, disagree with his word of 'likely' ? Yes its Ridiculous.
Its likely that I will receive a Knighthood in the Queen's New years Honours list. Totaly improbable but likeley.
Disagree with the entire statement, YES.
If any 'technological civilisation' existed in our Galaxy, where are they? and if they are detectable why havent we detected them. There are many millions of Radio Amateurs out there (Im one of them) and many millions of Astronomers out there who would report any 'technological civilisation' if it transmitted anything more than a beep, but where's the reports of these 'technological civilisation'?. Weve been transmitting Radio and TV signals into the blue for 65 odd years now, but no one's ever come back to us.
You see, thats my basic point with all believers, they can say whatever they want, because there simply isnt any proof either way is there?. Thats how dickheads like Barry King, James Casbolt John Lear and many many other gobshites, get away with their delusions and lies. They make it all up, because there isnt any evidence to dissprove most of their rubbish and they like the attention it brings, they like the money they get for their books and public appearances. People so much WANT to and NEED to believe that they will believe any shaman or snake oil salesman that comes along with even the most way out theories. 'Soul catchers' 'Deep Underground Military Bases' that murder, eat and genetically modify children. What total utter bollocks. In any other fields, these morons would be locked up for being mentally deranged.
.
I am a sceptic Yes. But I would be happy to call myself every detrimental name in the world if one day, a saucer or beam or whatever arrived on Earth. I would love there to be civilisations out there.
But as yet, Ive seen no evidence for anything anywhere other than right here on earth.

Heres another take on things
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/ ... lanet.html
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Re: Seth Shostak Bites Back!

Postby lost_shaman » Sat Aug 09, 2008 9:45 am

Chorlton wrote:I think Shostak was just covering his arse when he said that as he probably didnt want to come over as a complete sceptic


Not hardly. Read his work outside the context of Larry King shows. Shostak himself estimates the Milky Way Galaxy is home to between 10,000 and one million Radio transmitting civilizations.

Chorlton wrote:If any 'technological civilisation' existed in our Galaxy, where are they? and if they are detectable why havent we detected them.


Nobody said it was easy to do. Thus the need for SETI in the first place, and thus SETI's need for the Allen Telescope Array and the planned Square Kilometre Array. Not to mention the super computers that would actually detect the signals. Even with the ATA it will take about 20 years according to Shostak to search a million systems which will possibly be sufficient by Shostak's prediction to discover one transmitting civilization.


Chorlton wrote: Weve been transmitting Radio and TV signals into the blue for 65 odd years now, but no one's ever come back to us.


Since this thread is about Shostak, his opinion (taken directly from one of his published articles) is that "The nearest sentients are surely hundreds of light-years distant or more". Following his thoughts on the distance of our closest possible neighbors then 65 years simply isn't enough time for our signals to even reach our cosmic 'next door' neighbors.


Chorlton wrote: People so much WANT to and NEED to believe that they will believe any shaman or snake oil salesman that comes along with even the most way out theories. 'Soul catchers' 'Deep Underground Military Bases' that murder, eat and genetically modify children. What total utter bollocks. In any other fields, these morons would be locked up for being mentally deranged.


In 'other fields' people wouldn't be locked up they would be ignored.

Science is evidence based, and I think people forget that there is plenty of evidence for an observable phenomena in our atmosphere. There is ZERO evidence of an "E.T." type visitation just as there is ZERO evidence for sleeper/Lear's 'Soul catchers'!

The catch 22 here is this,... just think of how many people given the voluntary choice to discuss "E.T." visitation, "Soul catchers", and "atmospheric phenomena" will choose to talk about "atmospheric phenomena"!



Chorlton wrote:I am a sceptic Yes. But I would be happy to call myself every detrimental name in the world if one day, a saucer or beam or whatever arrived on Earth. I would love there to be civilisations out there.
But as yet, Ive seen no evidence for anything anywhere other than right here on earth.


Of course you haven't seen evidence for anything out side of Earth. But remember that when talking about "E.T." visitation and evidence of an observable phenomena in the atmosphere you are actually talking about two different things (even if the "E.T." visitation crowd likes to point to observable "atmospheric phenomena" as evidence for their own claims).
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Re: Seth Shostak Bites Back!

Postby Access Denied » Sun Aug 10, 2008 4:29 am

Good post LS, starred and flag… err, wrong web site. :mrgreen:

Don’t make me have to call you a pseudoskeptic Chorlton! :)

Chorlton wrote:If any 'technological civilisation' existed in our Galaxy, where are they?

You mean why aren’t they here? If so, there could be lots of reasons…

1. They have the technology to traverse the stars but they went somewhere else… closer… or sent a probe… and missed.

2. No one has the technology because…

a. It’s just too damn hard.

b. No civilization has as survived long enough to develop it before wiping themselves out or being wiped out by some other idiot’s malfunctioning spaceship or going the way of the dinosaurs or being consumed by their sun or…

3. They already know they’re not alone and have better things to do.

4. We are the most technologically advanced civilization in the Galaxy.

That’s just a few possibilities I can think of…

Chorlton wrote:and if they are detectable why havent we detected them.

Actually it’s debatable whether or not we’re detectable amongst all the noise but assuming they are (e.g. deliberately directing a high power signal at us) there could be lots of reasons…

1. Their signal is too weak for us to detect with current technology.

2. We haven’t looked in the right place at the right time yet.

3. We’re not using the right eyes and ears. (i.e. the signal is not what we expect)

4. Maybe we already have…

Image

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wow%21_signal

Also, who’s to say “they” aren’t already here and we are them? 8)
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Re: Seth Shostak Bites Back!

Postby Chorlton » Sun Aug 10, 2008 10:40 am

Access Denied wrote:Good post LS, starred and flag… err, wrong web site. :mrgreen:
Don’t make me have to call you a pseudoskeptic Chorlton! :)
Chorlton wrote:If any 'technological civilisation' existed in our Galaxy, where are they?

You mean why aren’t they here?


No, I meant what I said, 'Where are they'?

Chorlton wrote:and if they are detectable why havent we detected them.

Actually it’s debatable whether or not we’re detectable amongst all the noise but assuming they are (e.g. deliberately directing a high power signal at us) there could be lots of reasons…


But the quote was:

"Shostak at the very least believes that it's very likely other technological civilizations exist and are detectable in our Galaxy. "
Not 'Detectable in the future' or 'detectable when were looking in the right place'

When someone says something I dont try and interpret what they mean. Shostak 'believes they are detectable'
I say to him, 'show me where anyone has detected them then'. Not a single "WOW" if any intelligence was transmitting anything it wouldnt be a single signal, it would be a repeated signal
If he meant something else he should have said so.

Also, who’s to say “they” aren’t already here and we are them? 8)


Me. I'm to say that, because if we take your idea one step further then there should be evidence of us arriving here from elsewhere? And there aint ! There is ample evidence of mankind evolving here though.

Off topic> Shouldnt the name Seth Shostak be used to determine a level of intoxication?. Try saying it fast :|
Time for a cup of tea. :mrgreen:
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Re: Seth Shostak Bites Back!

Postby Access Denied » Sun Aug 10, 2008 11:43 am

Ah, I thought you were asking the question “Where are they?” posed by the Fermi Paradox. Never mind. :)

Anyway, Shostak is a true (as opposed to pseudo) scientist… he's trying to back up (test) his belief (hypothesis) with evidence (in this case obtained through rigorous experimentation) and you can be sure any positive results will be submitted for peer review.

You are correct, there is no evidence we arrived here from elsewhere and there’s ample evidence to show mankind evolved here. That said, until we understand exactly how life began here, there remains a (slim) possibility that the seeds (or “sparks’) of life (or alternatively the cause of evolutionary “leaps”) arrived here from elsewhere…

I find the idea of Von Neumann probes (self-replicating spacecraft) to be an intriguing concept…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-repli ... ann_probes

But I digress…
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Re: Seth Shostak Bites Back!

Postby Chorlton » Sun Aug 10, 2008 12:16 pm

I know my rhetoric must be bloody boring and I have read a little about Von Neuman,(even though he didnt actually relate his ideas to spacecraft).

Im just a person that needs evidence. Ive seen and spoken to so many people who've seen something, but no proof (thats doesnt negate their sighting but to me makes it more improbable) and so many people that reel of completely impossible stories, like those expounded by idiots King and Casbolt.

Its just too easy to come up with amazing 'happenings' and 'experiences' as inventions of one's own imagination, and then convince others, as King and Casbolt attempt to do, that what they have seen and experienced is real. Just too easy.

But I suggest that most everything that is stated as a UFO, are either human based secret planes, craft call them what you will, or experiments, or the effects of natural phenomena which we simply dont understand.

I suppose Im just a boring old fart really. :(

(But I can say Seth Shostak five times without getting my tongue in a twist :P )
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Re: Seth Shostak Bites Back!

Postby lost_shaman » Sun Aug 10, 2008 9:35 pm

Chorlton wrote:But the quote was:

"Shostak at the very least believes that it's very likely other technological civilizations exist and are detectable in our Galaxy. "
Not 'Detectable in the future' or 'detectable when were looking in the right place'

When someone says something I dont try and interpret what they mean. Shostak 'believes they are detectable'
I say to him, 'show me where anyone has detected them then'. Not a single "WOW" if any intelligence was transmitting anything it wouldnt be a single signal, it would be a repeated signal
If he meant something else he should have said so.


Chorlton,

I said exactly what I meant to say. That wasn't a direct quote from Shostak, if that is what you're thinking it was. Clearly no-one has 'detected' any signals to-date. However, that doesn't mean there are no signals to be detected.

Also, you don't need to try to interpret anything from that single line I wrote because I went on to describe what Shostak predicts it will take to detect the first signals i.e. 20 years and the use of the ATA and SKA in combination with powerful new supercomputers.

Of course there is also another way to look at this question Chorlton, and that is from the perspective that we already know the Milky Way Galaxy is home to at least one transmitting civilization and that is ourselves.

So then would our signals be 'detectable' if someone like 'us' is out there willing to listen for them?
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Re: Seth Shostak Bites Back!

Postby Chorlton » Mon Aug 11, 2008 9:21 am

I accept you points 100% and apologise for misinterpretting them

But

My views on ET harden every day, as do my views on hoaxers and Fame-seekers-by-lies who should IMHO be shot.
Whilst I accept that,mathematically its probable that there is life out there, I personally am not convinced.
I would love to be convinced. But I see no evidence.

Simply because something is unexplainable shouldnt have people running around in circles creating wild scenarios.

I see no point in SETI. whilst I understand that we have to start looking for another planet for Homo Sapiens to move to in the future, it hurts me to see people living in developed countries in squalor.
We need to get this planet and its people in order before we go out and start f***ing up other planets.
Lets sort out the unexplained on this planet before we start blaming it all on other civilisations (if indeed any other civilisations even exist, which I doubt)
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