Poll: Do you believe in psychics, extraterrestrial life, time travel, other universes?

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  1. #401
    Quote Originally Posted by Osmeric View Post
    I'll save others 12:27 of their lives and tell you that nowhere there does NdGT say life is likely elsewhere in the universe. He says it's POSSIBLE life is out there, and I would agree with him. But he never says it's impossible, or even unlikely, that it's not out there.

    Where I would part is his statement that it would be egotistical to believe we are alone. Science is about evidence, not moral character; one cannot justify a scientific statement by saying you're a bad person if you don't believe it. Of course someone who is arguing that we are alone (not just that it's possible that we're alone) will have to cough up evidence to justify that.
    I think you're just misconstruing his "it would be egotistical" statement - he's not putting a moral judgement on the premise, he's pointing out that it would be unreasonable to assume that something that has quite clearly occurred once has ONLY occurred once; if anything, it's pointing the finger at those who DO connect the emergence of life on Earth with unscientific/moral judgements, i.e. that Earth is special or that humans are special, etc. etc. The most reasonable assumption for something that has happened in one place is, scientifically speaking, that it could happen in other places as well. That doesn't mean it DID happen (and he didn't say that), but to assume it DIDN'T would be egotistical, because it would imply uniqueness or a special case for Earth.

    As NdGT has pointed out many times, if he's not moving within a strictly scientific sphere, when the choice comes down to ease of understanding or precision, he'll choose ease of understanding every time. Using a word like "egotistical" may seem unscientific, but it conveys the basics of the underlying thought (which is scientific) in a way that's easy to grasp for non-experts - even if it doesn't go into the details properly. You can argue with that, sure, but let's not forget he is first and foremost a science communicator rather than a scientist in most of what he does.
    Last edited by Biomega; 2021-10-17 at 04:49 AM.

  2. #402
    Quote Originally Posted by Ielenia View Post
    Why would they be killed? Who would want them killed? If someone has a supernatural power, if they reveal themselves-- and prove they have actual "real deal" supernatural power-- they'd become internationally famous.
    Fame is not necessarily a good thing.

    I mean, lets be honest here: If, as you say, someone revealed themselves and PROVED they had a "real deal" supernatural power, how exactly do you think the global religious community (and by this I mean the combination of EVERY group of religious bodies on the planet) would react? 99% chance you end up with a fairly even split of largely two results: One group attempts to claim them as a religious prophet/messiah/evidence of god/etc, and another faction declares them spawn of the pit in need of immediate extermination. Literal crusades would be fought over this person. The whole world would go to hell in a hand basket as religion fought over them.

    And that's only "religion". That doesn't even touch on Science. Or government. Or the general crazy/unstable element in society at large. I mean, look at the literal screaming psychotic shit happening right now all across the USA sparked entirely because of Critical Race Theory, where groups of crazies are pitching hysterical fits in schoolboard meetings based entirely around a boogyman idea they barely understand. Now try to imagine what that would translate into if someone revealed that literal superhumans with comic book style mental powers actually exist. It would be fucking Armageddon. Mobs with torches and pitchforks would pale in comparison. Especially once social media got it's claws into it and started amping the conspiracy elements into the stratosphere.
    Last edited by Surfd; 2021-10-17 at 06:39 AM.

  3. #403
    Quote Originally Posted by Osmeric View Post
    Why do you think that? It's quite possible that it doesn't exist, as I've argued strenuously in various places in here.
    All it takes is liquid water for microorganisms to develop.

  4. #404
    Quote Originally Posted by kranur View Post
    All it takes is liquid water for microorganisms to develop.
    This statement isn't supported by evidence.
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  5. #405
    I am Murloc! Darththeo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ielenia View Post
    And those people are called "conspiracy theorists". For those same "reasons" I can say that JFK's assassin actually intended to murder the driver, but missed the shot and hit JFK by complete accident.


    I'm sorry, but no. You said, and I quote: governments have killed to protect secrets. And if that is true, that they're willing to kill indiscriminately simply for the risk that they may or may not get their secrets leaked, why aren't whistleblowers not being killed? Just saying "because reasons" is not an answer.
    Distraction, deniability for other things, etc ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Osmeric View Post
    This statement isn't supported by evidence.
    Hey, something we finally agree on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Osmeric View Post
    Why do you think that? It's quite possible that it doesn't exist, as I've argued strenuously in various places in here.
    You have argued that the odds could be so low that it won't happen because there could be something we do not know that limits the development.

    You are arguing that because our knowledge is imperfect, we cannot be relatively certain of what the odds could be.
    Last edited by Darththeo; 2021-10-17 at 11:26 AM.
    Peace is a lie. There is only passion. Through passion I gain strength. Through strength I gain power.
    Through power I gain victory. Through victory my chains are broken. The Force shall set me free.
    –The Sith Code

  6. #406
    Quote Originally Posted by Darththeo View Post
    You have argued that the odds could be so low that it won't happen because there could be something we do not know that limits the development.

    You are arguing that because our knowledge is imperfect, we cannot be relatively certain of what the odds could be.
    I'm arguing that we don't know what we don't know. You seem to be willing to jump to conclusions just from wishful thinking and blatant non sequiturs, even if we don't have the evidence.
    "There is a pervasive myth that making content hard will induce players to rise to the occasion. We find the opposite. " -- Ghostcrawler
    "The greatest use of a life is to spend it on something that will outlast it." -- William James
    "The Oculus, but it's the whole expansion!" -- Brianna Royce, Massively OP, on Dragon Riding

  7. #407
    Quote Originally Posted by Osmeric View Post
    This statement isn't supported by evidence.
    Not yet.

    We're still extremely limited in our observations though.

    But still, to assume that 1 and only 1 planet is capable having life out of quintillions is not realistic.

  8. #408
    Quote Originally Posted by kranur View Post
    Not yet.

    We're still extremely limited in our observations though.

    But still, to assume that 1 and only 1 planet is capable having life out of quintillions is not realistic.
    So, you say it's not realistic, but you don't have evidence to justify that position.

    This sounds more like the dogma of a religious cult than something that could be called science.
    "There is a pervasive myth that making content hard will induce players to rise to the occasion. We find the opposite. " -- Ghostcrawler
    "The greatest use of a life is to spend it on something that will outlast it." -- William James
    "The Oculus, but it's the whole expansion!" -- Brianna Royce, Massively OP, on Dragon Riding

  9. #409
    I am Murloc! Darththeo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osmeric View Post
    I'm arguing that we don't know what we don't know. You seem to be willing to jump to conclusions just from wishful thinking and blatant non sequiturs, even if we don't have the evidence.
    Again, using different words doesn't change what you are doing.

    I am going to the conclusion that data and evidence suggests, you are mistreating data and evidence because our knowledge on the subject is imperfect. There is nothing but the mere thought experiment that it is hypothetically possible that life could be so low it doesn't exist.

    Again, you can't see how arrogant an argument that is, because you convinced yourself it was the right one.

    Again, you haven't refuted the claim that life is likely to exist elsewhere, you dismissed it. Refutation requires reasons to support your statements made in dismissal. Because all it takes to equally refute is to use your own argument against you, what evidence do you have to support that the probability of the existence of life elsewhere could be so low?

    Also, please stop using terms you don't fully understand. You accused NdGT of an ad hominem when he didn't make one, you throw out non sequitor because you can. Just stop.
    Last edited by Darththeo; 2021-10-17 at 12:15 PM.
    Peace is a lie. There is only passion. Through passion I gain strength. Through strength I gain power.
    Through power I gain victory. Through victory my chains are broken. The Force shall set me free.
    –The Sith Code

  10. #410
    Quote Originally Posted by Ielenia View Post
    You'd think someone with those kinds of abilities would be left unprotected after they prove themselves to have real super-powers.
    Why?
    Quote Originally Posted by Ielenia View Post
    And since you're talking about mind-readers
    Never mentioned mind reading. I mentioned knowing the winning lottery numbers and knowing to play the stock market. But since this is the "fun" forum and gods knows most of us have read science fiction I'll play along;
    Quote Originally Posted by Ielenia View Post
    and/or those who predict the future, I think it'd be a good idea to not mess with someone who can expose your secrets as easily as one can blink.
    Or that "someone" would know pissing off people that will shoot you is a death sentence.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ielenia View Post
    Oh, look. Another claim pulled out of where the sun doesn't shine. So now supernatural abilities are sentient and give you advice? Who ever said "my psychic abilities are telling me to not go public?" You're just making yourself sound more and more ridiculous, here.
    Oh? The mechanism matters to you? It doesn't. Whether the person sees things in a dream, feels a tingle, listens to the ghost of dear departed loved one, or whatever, the results are what matters.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ielenia View Post
    Yeah, this isn't a comic book, bucko.
    But you want to argue superpowers and helping people. But if you want reality. Fine. As someone who has lived on the wrong side of the tracks there isn't a question as to whether you work for "others" at all. You will.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ielenia View Post
    "Always keep an open mind" is the same thing as saying "always keep your mouth open". Flies and other kind of harmful stuff can end up getting inside. It's like the saying goes: "keep your mind open but not so open your brain falls out."
    Insults...great thank you for playing. If you don't want to play anymore there's the ignore function.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Surfd View Post
    Fame is not necessarily a good thing.
    It gets a person a level of scrutiny that is creepy as hell. People of all stripes going through your whole life's history...and then there are the stalkers. The bigger celebrities have to travel with teams of security. And those celebrities who are such because of the wealth they have, such as Bezos, and Gates, have a small army of security...
    Quote Originally Posted by Surfd View Post
    I mean, lets be honest here: If, as you say, someone revealed themselves and PROVED they had a "real deal" supernatural power, how exactly do you think the global religious community (and by this I mean the combination of EVERY group of religious bodies on the planet) would react? 99% chance you end up with a fairly even split of largely two results: One group attempts to claim them as a religious prophet/messiah/evidence of god/etc, and another faction declares them spawn of the pit in need of immediate extermination. Literal crusades would be fought over this person.
    Omg yes..but this goes into a whole level of crazy that we probably don't want to explore. I have no probs going down the rabbit hole with Alice and trying a magic mushroom to see if it's really magic or the other kind of "magic." But umm...some holes...no. They kinda stink.

  11. #411
    Honorary PvM "Mod" Darsithis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osmeric View Post
    We don't know enough to say this. And, no, the fact that there's a very large number of stars and planets out there does not do the trick.
    Sure it does. No matter how small the chance of life forming is, the fact that is has means that in the enormity of the universe it has to have happened before and it will again.

  12. #412
    The Insane Ielenia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Surfd View Post
    Fame is not necessarily a good thing.
    I agree. It's not. But there is a difference between "fame" and "infamy". "Fame" means the majority of the eyes that are on you are positive, meaning they like you and would like you to be well. Meaning that if something were to happen to you, there would be an uproar. Fame also means more reach, and more resources for yourself. You would be protected. I imagine it'd be a similar thing with the pope. Look how famous the guy is, and how many other people dislike him, especially from other religions. And yet he hasn't been killed yet.

    I mean, lets be honest here: If, as you say, someone revealed themselves and PROVED they had a "real deal" supernatural power, how exactly do you think the global religious community (and by this I mean the combination of EVERY group of religious bodies on the planet) would react? 99% chance you end up with a fairly even split of largely two results: One group attempts to claim them as a religious prophet/messiah/evidence of god/etc, and another faction declares them spawn of the pit in need of immediate extermination. Literal crusades would be fought over this person. The whole world would go to hell in a hand basket as religion fought over them.

    And that's only "religion". That doesn't even touch on Science.
    What about science? Why would science want to kill off someone with supernatural powers? Science thrives off new ideas and ways of thinking. Someone bringing a previously never-seen-before thing, like supernatural powers, would become a metaphorical gold mine for more studies and breakthroughs.

    Or government.
    Why would the government want to kill someone with supernatural powers?

    Or the general crazy/unstable element in society at large.
    You really think rando Joe Shmoe with a gun would be able to kill a worldly famous, protected person? I imagine they wouldn't be able to even get near that person, much less have an opportunity to kill them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Darththeo View Post
    Distraction, deniability for other things, etc ...
    But for some reasons those "distractions, deniability" and other kind of nonsensical pseudo-reasons cannot be applied to those with supernatural powers, because....?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowferal View Post
    Why?
    "Why" what? Would you kindly be more specific in your questions? Or at least more eloquent?

    Never mentioned mind reading. I mentioned knowing the winning lottery numbers and knowing to play the stock market.
    Your entire argument predicates on the person with supernatural powers become a "liability" and spread government secrets, especially since you compared them to whistleblowers.

    By the way? Knowing how to play the stock market doesn't require even an ounce of "supernatural powers". And the "CIA needing more funding therefore strongarm psychics" is a laughable example.

    Or that "someone" would know pissing off people that will shoot you is a death sentence.
    Again, how would "revealing themselves" piss someone off so much it "warrants a death sentence"?

    Oh? The mechanism matters to you? It doesn't. Whether the person sees things in a dream, feels a tingle, listens to the ghost of dear departed loved one, or whatever, the results are what matters.
    You're dodging the question. The entire point was the fact you made another claim without even a shred of evidence, that "their powers are telling them to remain in secrecy", all to support your "no true scotsman" fallacy from earlier.

    But you want to argue superpowers and helping people.
    "Helping people" is now something out of comic books? Okay. First: tell me the difference between "supernatural powers" and "superpowers".

    But if you want reality. Fine. As someone who has lived on the wrong side of the tracks there isn't a question as to whether you work for "others" at all. You will.
    Insults...great thank you for playing. If you don't want to play anymore there's the ignore function.
    "Insults"? Where is the insults? I never, ever insulted you. Are you really this thin-skinned that me simply comparing your argument to something else insults you so?

    And last, but not least: there is a key in your keyboard labeled "enter". Learn to use it. I mean, this is how your post looked for me when I pressed 'reply with quote':
    Why? Never mentioned mind reading. I mentioned knowing the winning lottery numbers and knowing to play the stock market. But since this is the "fun" forum and gods knows most of us have read science fiction I'll play along; Or that "someone" would know pissing off people that will shoot you is a death sentence. Oh? The mechanism matters to you? It doesn't. Whether the person sees things in a dream, feels a tingle, listens to the ghost of dear departed loved one, or whatever, the results are what matters. But you want to argue superpowers and helping people. But if you want reality. Fine. As someone who has lived on the wrong side of the tracks there isn't a question as to whether you work for "others" at all. You will. Insults...great thank you for playing. If you don't want to play anymore there's the ignore function.
    I had to manually reformat the entire thing. Is this some kind of strategy to "win" by attrition? So you can declare "victory" because the other side has decided to stop responding to you because it's not worth the hassle of reformatting your posts to fit a more coherent form?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Osmeric View Post
    We don't know enough to say this. And, no, the fact that there's a very large number of stars and planets out there does not do the trick.
    Dude, think about this: imagine you throw one hundred dice, and you write down the specific results: dice #1 rolled a 6, dice #2 rolled a 3, dice #3 rolled a 4, etc.

    How many stars are there in the universe? I recall reading there are at least a billion stars. Now assuming there is at least one planet per star (a conservative estimate, IMO), grab those one hundred dice again, and throw them again one billion times more. My question to you is: is there a chance that you can get that exact same result rolled on the exact same dice again at least once?

    I would say the chances are very high.
    Quote Originally Posted by Varodoc View Post
    Torturing someone is not an evil thing to do if it is done for good reasons and as a last, drastic measure.
    Oof...

  13. #413
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ielenia View Post
    But for some reasons those "distractions, deniability" and other kind of nonsensical pseudo-reasons cannot be applied to those with supernatural powers, because....?
    I am not making that argument they cannot or even would not, you asked a question and are now asking me to say something I am not saying.

    Why would if the government need people with superpowers to even act as a distraction for something? If the government was using psychics to gain covert knowledge, the last thing they would want is it to be publicly confirmed psychics are real.
    Peace is a lie. There is only passion. Through passion I gain strength. Through strength I gain power.
    Through power I gain victory. Through victory my chains are broken. The Force shall set me free.
    –The Sith Code

  14. #414
    The Insane Ielenia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darththeo View Post
    I am not making that argument they cannot or even would not, you asked a question and are now asking me to say something I am not saying.
    You said "governments would kill to protect secrets" as a reason as to why the government would kill off people with supernatural powers. I asked why the same "willingness to go the extra mile" to protect secrets isn't applied to whistleblowers.

    Why would if the government need people with superpowers to even act as a distraction for something? If the government was using psychics to gain covert knowledge, the last thing they would want is it to be publicly confirmed psychics are real.
    Related question: do you believe in "Area 51", government hiding aliens, aliens building pyramids, etc? Because all that sounds remarkably similar to the kind of stuff conspiracy theorists speak regarding aliens.
    Quote Originally Posted by Varodoc View Post
    Torturing someone is not an evil thing to do if it is done for good reasons and as a last, drastic measure.
    Oof...

  15. #415
    I am Murloc! Darththeo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ielenia View Post
    You said "governments would kill to protect secrets" as a reason as to why the government would kill off people with supernatural powers. I asked why the same "willingness to go the extra mile" to protect secrets isn't applied to whistleblowers.


    Related question: do you believe in "Area 51", government hiding aliens, aliens building pyramids, etc? Because all that sounds remarkably similar to the kind of stuff conspiracy theorists speak regarding aliens.
    Just because government would kill to protect secrets doesn't mean they will kill everyone to protect secrets. That's why you are saying something I am NOT arguing for. You are asserting that if X is true, it must be true in all circumstances, I am not arguing for that.

    The best conspiracy theories are ones with just enough truth to be reasonable, regardless of how ridiculous the theory is.

    First off, I don't "believe" in Area 51, it is a real place that exists. Do I believe Area 51 has Aliens? No. Do I believe the government is using Area 51 as a cover to hide the fact they have aliens somewhere? Also no. Do I believe in aliens building pyramids? No, because more pyramids we know why and even how they were built. I am treating this conversation as a thought experiment, nothing more.
    Peace is a lie. There is only passion. Through passion I gain strength. Through strength I gain power.
    Through power I gain victory. Through victory my chains are broken. The Force shall set me free.
    –The Sith Code

  16. #416
    Quote Originally Posted by Osmeric View Post
    So, you say it's not realistic, but you don't have evidence to justify that position.

    This sounds more like the dogma of a religious cult than something that could be called science.
    WTF are you talking about? It's called a theory based on what exists.

    A religious cult is what you're doing "It has not been proven therefore it does not exist."

  17. #417
    Stood in the Fire MoFalcon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MoFalcon View Post
    what's silly is your reasoning. and it appears there is nothing I can do to help you. have a nice day! your tape is stuck in a loop
    just because you dont understand something, doesn't make it false there...Slingblade

  18. #418
    Quote Originally Posted by Darsithis View Post
    Sure it does. No matter how small the chance of life forming is, the fact that is has means that in the enormity of the universe it has to have happened before and it will again.
    That's an intuition many people have, but it's quite wrong. It would be interesting for you to introspect a bit and figure out why you think that's true.

    To see that it's wrong, let's state the situation more formally (as I did earlier in these comments). Let N be the number of places in the universe (stellar systems, planets, whatever) where life could arise. Let p be the average probability over those places that life will arise at any particular one. Then, the expected number of places life arises at is the product of N and p. We can constrain p > 0 since we know life CAN arise (we're here, after all.)

    Your statement there is: "if N is large enough, then for any p > 0 the product Np is greater than 1" (actually, much greater than 1, but let's be generous to you.)

    But this is clearly false: for any N, there is some p for which Np < 1. Indeed, the product Np can be made equal to any positive number, including numbers arbitrarily close to zero.

    I think your intuition stems from the notion that we can't be "too atypical". Life is here on Earth, so p must be pretty high, this idea goes. But that observation is wrong due to observer selection bias. We cannot constrain p just by observing ourselves, since that act of observation can only occur on a planets with observers; it's not on a planet randomly sampled from all the planets in the universe.

    Seeing even a single instance of life around another star WOULD allow us to conclude p is not very small (assuming we could rule out panspermia, but that looks unlikely at interstellar distances, so I think it would be safe.) But we have no such observation. Observing another biosystem on Earth (life with a fundamentally different biochemstry that must have arisen separately) could also be evidence, as it would mean OoL is so likely it happened twice in the same system. We don't see that, either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kranur View Post
    WTF are you talking about? It's called a theory based on what exists.

    A religious cult is what you're doing "It has not been proven therefore it does not exist."
    When I say you don't have evidence for your belief, I am not saying your belief is either true or false. What I am saying is that your belief is not justified by evidence. You are believing it as a matter of faith, not of reason.

    You seem to be thinking that I am forced to commit to either beliving life exists elsewhere or believing that it does not. I am telling you the rational position at this time is to believe neither of those.
    Last edited by Osmeric; 2021-10-17 at 04:16 PM.
    "There is a pervasive myth that making content hard will induce players to rise to the occasion. We find the opposite. " -- Ghostcrawler
    "The greatest use of a life is to spend it on something that will outlast it." -- William James
    "The Oculus, but it's the whole expansion!" -- Brianna Royce, Massively OP, on Dragon Riding

  19. #419
    Maybe life on earth is monkeys writing Shakespeare.

  20. #420
    Quote Originally Posted by Dilbon View Post
    Maybe life on earth is monkeys writing Shakespeare.
    Indeed. We can't at this time rule out the possibility that some step in Origin of Life here was akin to that at least in kind: an exponentially unlikely step.
    "There is a pervasive myth that making content hard will induce players to rise to the occasion. We find the opposite. " -- Ghostcrawler
    "The greatest use of a life is to spend it on something that will outlast it." -- William James
    "The Oculus, but it's the whole expansion!" -- Brianna Royce, Massively OP, on Dragon Riding

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