View Poll Results: do you believe in aliens(extra terrestrials)?

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Do you believe in aliens(extra terrestrials)?

This is a discussion on Do you believe in aliens(extra terrestrials)? within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; A lot of this confusion has to do with the assumption that substance cannot be anything but atomic. Substance could ...

  1. #136
    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    A lot of this confusion has to do with the assumption that substance cannot be anything but atomic. Substance could easily have a number of other possible states (even parallel to the atomic).

    Remember, "What is substance?" is not addressed by contemporary science, which (to it's credit) always deals with discrete objects or catagories of objects (what is a thing made of? Matter. What is matter "made of"? Atoms. What is an atom made? Sub-atomic particles. Of what are sub-atomic particles made? Eventually you have to say "this thing is best described by it's behaviour" (eg. wave functions)" in three+ dimensions...).

    The reason substance is not addressed is that it is not that meaningful. Pure, non-atomic substance can only have a limited number of (easily deduced) properties, not including things like density, in the end leading to a circular or tautological conclusion: those properties unique to substance define it as such, meaning there is really only one substance possible and all matter is composed of that.

    So it may seem irrelevent, but keep in mind all our current grand theories of reality depend on the actual existence of substance, which "actually existing" is a one of the properties unique to substance which define what it is (all actually existing things are derived from substance).

    Part of the reason so many scientists are so interested in the big bang and the "first few seconds" today is that this is when the current laws of (nuclear, atomic) physics could and probably did develop (they did not have to exist "before" this, so we have a moment zero when the concept of time becomes applicable in the universe; hence there really may be parallel, non-atomic states of substance "outside of time").

    If you don't believe that "substance" has always been a consideration (explicit or implicit) consider that the "atomic weight" of an element is really its physical size.
    Last edited by MK27; 03-08-2009 at 12:17 PM.
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  2. #137
    Captain Crash brewbuck's Avatar
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    I'm not sure what you guys are talking about. The question of what an electron "really is made of" is irrelevant, as this knowledge would not help us to determine its physical properties. As soon as you start postulating things which have no bearing on the physical observables, you are in philosophy, not physics. It does not matter if some object has property X if that property has no influence on the object's behavior or interactions. If no experiment can be devised which can detect property X, or a theory which predicts how property X should influence the behavior of the world, then we're not being scientific.

    "What the world is really made of" is something we'll probably understand once we're dead. I can be patient.
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  3. #138
    Registered User whiteflags's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abachler View Post
    ultimately all senses can be explained through neurology. If you can perceive it, and it is an actual quantity that really exists, you are sensing it and therefor are using one of your senses.
    True, but you're claiming an experience like pain is one of the senses, when you can only perceive it through one of the actual senses (tactile mostly)... there is a difference.

  4. #139
    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    @brewbuck: You are right, then you are wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by brewbuck View Post
    I'm not sure what you guys are talking about. The question of what an electron "really is made of" is irrelevant, as this knowledge would not help us to determine its physical properties. As soon as you start postulating things which have no bearing on the physical observables, you are in philosophy, not physics.
    The nature of substance is usually addressed as a philosophical question in science, however, keep in mind that the realm of philosophy to which is addressed would be deductive logic, since science (to it's credit) is concerned with what you would call in philosophy "the empirical" (computer science stresses the deductive a little more than physics, for example).

    It does not matter if some object has property X if that property has no influence on the object's behavior or interactions. If no experiment can be devised which can detect property X, or a theory which predicts how property X should influence the behavior of the world, then we're not being scientific.
    Well, that is the point made when I wrote that some properties of atomic matter do not apply to substance itself, such as density (a proton does not have a "density" because it is made of substance).

    The possibility of substance having other states is subject to experimentation; superstring theory leads in this direction. However, a weakness of superstring theory is that it is not easily "proven"; we are too limited in our current ability to experiment.

    "What the world is really made of" is something we'll probably understand once we're dead. I can be patient.
    We already do understand that. As I said, explicitly, logically, THERE IS ONLY ONE POSSIBLE ANSWER: Is it cheese? NO. Is it atoms? NO. Is it water? NO. Is it time? NO. I am not advancing some wacko theory (and I did not invent the word, "substance"), I'm just elucidating some premises.

    Why only one possibility? The only reason you would possibly think there could be (or should be or need be) more than one is because you are distracted by properties of atomic matter (density, color, strength), etc. But just because substance does not possess any of these (so you cannot identify it as a particular kind), does not mean that it is nothing, that it is irrelevant (as it if it weren't there at all, or as if it could be "something else").

    In fact, the incredible complexity of atomic matter (think of all that balance and repetition of forms) is awe-inspiring because it perfectly corresponds to what otherwise might seem an abstract philosophical principle -- the unity of all substance. If such were not the case, atomic physics would never, ever work...so it is really true: all things are made of the same stuff BECAUSE (deductive logic) there is only one kind of stuff possible, logically: you could not assert any other possibilities if you tried (go ahead -- what kind of substance could there be which would be different? How?) Atomic "theory" is really the ultimate in symmetry between the inductive (empirical) and the deductive; if the deductive philosophy just meant to you "Well, in theory 2+2=4", how 'bout your internet connection?
    Last edited by MK27; 03-08-2009 at 10:48 PM.
    C programming resources:
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    The C Book -- nice online learner guide
    Current ISO draft standard
    CCAN -- new CPAN like open source library repository
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    cpwiki -- our wiki on sourceforge

  5. #140
    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Oh this is substance related too:

    Digital Physics

    Which is pretty neat, since it's partly derived from Konrad Zuse.
    C programming resources:
    GNU C Function and Macro Index -- glibc reference manual
    The C Book -- nice online learner guide
    Current ISO draft standard
    CCAN -- new CPAN like open source library repository
    3 (different) GNU debugger tutorials: #1 -- #2 -- #3
    cpwiki -- our wiki on sourceforge

  6. #141
    Malum in se abachler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whiteflags View Post
    True, but you're claiming an experience like pain is one of the senses, when you can only perceive it through one of the actual senses (tactile mostly)... there is a difference.
    whats teh shape of pain, or the texture, is it rough or smooth?

    Pain is obviously not tactile in nature. There are specific receptors for tactile sensation, and completely seperate and unrelated receptors for pain. It is a seperate sense at the most fundamental level.
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  7. #142
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    Quote Originally Posted by abachler View Post
    whats teh shape of pain, or the texture, is it rough or smooth?

    Pain is obviously not tactile in nature. There are specific receptors for tactile sensation, and completely seperate and unrelated receptors for pain. It is a seperate sense at the most fundamental level.
    Do you have any medical reference links that would verify that claim?
    I've only heard of 5 senses (or 6 if you count ESP) throughout my whole life.

    Pain can be sharp or dull or burning...
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  8. #143
    Reverse Engineer maxorator's Avatar
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    I've heard there are 4 types of receptors: cold, hot, touch and pain. In fact I think I just studied this last year...
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  9. #144
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    Quote Originally Posted by maxorator View Post
    I've heard there are 4 types of receptors: cold, hot, touch and pain. In fact I think I just studied this last year...
    And my tongue can taste Sweet, Sour, Salty & Bitter; and my eyes can see Red, Green & Blue...
    Those are just sub-functions that make up the larger sense.
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  10. #145
    Disrupting the universe Mad_guy's Avatar
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    I've only heard of 5 senses
    A human being has far more than 5 senses. The 5-senses thing doesn't give your body credit, really.

    For example, close your eyes and touch your fingers at the tips while your eyes are closed.

    Was that so hard?

    No, but that's only because your muscle tissue has sensory information about the location, movement and tension of your muscles at any given time. This sense is what allows your body to know what it's doing and still function, even when you can't see your movement and limbs directly.

    You also have a sense of balance. While you certainly do use your ear to hear things, it is also fundamentally important in establishing an equilibrium and balance in your body - this sense of balance is also known as Equilibrioception.

    Your skin also has different receptors. You can differentiate the reception of hot, cold, pain, itch and pressure.

    Your body is filled with chemosensors that detect a change in chemical stimulus in the environment. Chemosensors in your body for example, monitor your breathing rate and they inform your body when you need to inhale more and breathe more rapidly, for example.

    Your body has a host of physiological senses and sensory receptors besides the '5 senses' which we were all taught. I suppose it depends on your direct definition of the word 'sense' in this context, but either way, your body does sense more than just those 5 things.

    Oh, and because I didn't read the rest of this, my answer to the original question in the title: sure. Douglas Adams wrote "Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly hugely mindboggingly big it is. I mean you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." I'm more inclined to think that the entire universe is not just a big piece of space wasted on us, but instead full of things we haven't seen. :]
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  11. #146
    Reverse Engineer maxorator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cpjust View Post
    And my tongue can taste Sweet, Sour, Salty & Bitter; and my eyes can see Red, Green & Blue...
    Those are just sub-functions that make up the larger sense.
    I didn't say they weren't...
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  12. #147
    Hail to the king, baby. Akkernight's Avatar
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    But ain't pain just a harder touch, a colder cold (as in very cold) and a warmer heat (as in very hot)?
    Like, isn't pain just more energy from each of those other things? Plus some other things, I guess :P
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  13. #148
    Registered User whiteflags's Avatar
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    Well, yes, extremes in temperature like burning or freezing will cause pain, but there are pain receptors in your skin that would be at work if you suffered an injury, while your temperature receptors could be receiving anything at all really. People in this thread are being a bit pedantic though. Having done at least a degree more research on this, I'd say the somatosensory system is what is commonly known as the sense of touch.

  14. #149
    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whiteflags View Post
    Well, yes, extremes in temperature like burning or freezing will cause pain, but there are pain receptors in your skin that would be at work if you suffered an injury, while your temperature receptors could be receiving anything at all really. People in this thread are being a bit pedantic though. Having done at least a degree more research on this, I'd say the somatosensory system is what is commonly known as the sense of touch.
    You should not be bound by your commitments to an institution, whiteflags. It is you that will suffer the most because of it
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  15. #150
    Resu Deretsiger Nightowl's Avatar
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    In answer to the poll, I'd say that yea, there are other lifeforms. They probably are nothing like us, with what we would consider odd designs and evolutionary choices. Perhaps they have an external digestive system . . . perhaps they breathe in benzene and exhale other hydrocarbons.

    As for the *number* of ET civilizations? Well, that's debatable. I'd guess, randomly, pulled-out-of-a-hat, that there's not a whole lot of 'em. Like, say 15 as a maximum in the milky way.

    For reaching out the thousands of lightyears . . . physics has been proved wrong before. It could happen again.

    Worst-case scenario: Einstein was correct, you can't travel faster than the speed of light. We contact one or two races over lifetimes, because of the advances in medicine, we live thousands of years, so it only takes two or so lifetimes to hold a conversation. Assuming we don't trip and kill ourselves first, that is.

    Best-case scenario: Einstein was wrong. Using artificial wormholes or some other technology that we can't imagine right now, we can travel quite quickly between the stars and galaxies, a matter of seconds, minutes, hours, days between different points of the milky way. We meet and form relationships with alien races (probably not many of them friendly, judging by human character, it's a pretty safe bet that competitiveness isn't fully weeded out of other races by evolution yet).

    Anyhow . . .

    My take on things . . .

    Our perception of time started with the Big Bang (called BB for short hereonin). It's a logical sequence of events that always happens in a certain order. The next "slice" of time is determined by the current "slice" of time. (assuming here that time cannot be infinitely divided, which is probably a bad assumption.) Gravitational, magnetic, and electrostatic forces are created in this way. Time being described as a fourth dimension is a good enough way for now. At this point in time (heh).

    The universe extends as far as there is matter. Matter, when accelerated past the speed of light, becomes "dark matter". Dark energy is simply magnetic and/or electrostatic energy caused by accelerating particles of dark matter. It is possible to travel faster than the speed of light, of course (though how this is possible is a tad sketchy. Most likely with acceleration around a black hole or large mass of sorts.) Wormholes between different points in the universe exist, but are extraordinarily rare. Since natural wormholes exist, artificial ones should be able to be created . . .

    This is starting to sound a little bit like the background for a game, isn't it?

    Life is simply a chance alignment of a primordial "soup". When the right chemicals are combined, and some kind of energy source is applied (this being an endothermic reaction . . .), then a self-replicating cell is created. From there, it is just more and more chance that that cell will evolve into an intelligent entity.

    Anyhow, veering off topic a little there
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