Science. It just doesn’t quite meet.

Science is amazing ūüôā

Science has brought us thousands of benefits as a species, and many benefits to other species too. It has elongated life, taken us to the moon, enabled medicine the likes of which would have been considered miraculous only generations before, and continues to inspire us.

The Scientific method is a great tool ūüėÄ

The scientific method, (‘systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses.’ – Google), is a wonderful tool. Time and again it has been the best way to filter out unhelpful or noisy results, and show us the good stuff; the things that work, the theories that hold. Without this form of critical observation we would not have scientific discovery.

I wouldn’t be here without science ūüôā

I’ve needed antibiotics about ten times in my life. Some of those times after an operation. Without that medicine, and without those operations, I wouldn’t be alive at 39.

Science is limited ūüė¶

Anthropologists of science, however, note that the human brain (the thing that uses that wonderful scientific method tool) is not as capable of objective thought as scientists like to assume. In an everyday sense this means people intending to do good science will nevertheless discount results they don’t want to see, postulate theories whilst not giving others due consideration, and build new assumptions based on previous ones when those previous ones are still works in progress.

Science is also limited in the sense that once we’ve got our story complete, once we’ve got our narrative, our working theory, we tend to go home and give up the search for anything else. We currently believe there isn’t much left to learn about the physical universe because the levels we now explore this at are pretty fundamental – perhaps they couldn’t get any more fundamental. So we assume we have physical laws sewn up.

Science takes that assumption and treats it as fact.

Science is also limited because, as George Monbiot said recently in conversation with James Lovelock, it is split into disciplines and the disciplines don’t talk to each other. That’s why Lovelock’s ‘gaia’ theory was so ground-breaking; it required employment of several disciplines to bring together a unified holistic theory.

Scientists stopped being holistic when our body of knowledge started to exceed that which could be mastered¬†by one person in one lifetime. However, physical reality hasn’t stopped being an integrated whole, so we have a cognitive problem.

Science tends to save itself from itself ūüôā

Every now and again, perhaps once per generation in a given field, someone makes a discovery that challenges one of those assumptions, such that the assumption has to be rewritten. That then becomes the new fact.

Science saves itself from itself through the bloody mindedness of the few, or the egotistical ambition of the few.

Scientists vs. superstition :{

Some scientists dread that we may be returning to some sort of superstitious age, or that we haven’t left the previous one behind. For Richard Dawkins this is evinced in the fact that we haven’t left behind the idea of ‘God’ in our culture and thinking.

Superstition is indeed still rife, of course. And you can find it in the ‘new age’ / ‘enlightenment’ arena just as much as in Evangelical forms of Christianity, or just about any culture.

In the ‘enlightenment’ camp we sidestep ‘God’ with glee, nodding to ourselves that we are so over that simplistic idea of God. But we tend to spiritualize things as signs because we have esoteric evidence that the universe does have a kind of serendipitous life-logic to itself the likes of which science is a million years from understanding.

But that means we also over-spiritualize, making us no better than medieval farmers fascinated with the fortune teller’s crystal ball.

I don’t think science is bad. I just think it’s limited.

Science from a different tack :\

I wonder what it would be like to try science from a different angle. Start with something esoteric like all life in the cosmos has one common source existing in a different dimension and this results in a level of singular consciousness, or like telepathy, or like seeing the future, or like the people of Andromeda are humanoid and involved in contact work with Earth. How are they doing it?

Then work backwards, taking that esoteric idea as the working theory, to look for the blank spots in science. Then start doing science in those blank spots.

Nobody’s gonna take me up on that are they!

I can’t wait for science

How come it’s going to take millenia for us to have a scientific language for things which as a human being I can feel and experience on a day to day basis? I don’t have millenia to wait! So, I can’t wait for science.

Science is going to be amazing one day. Will we even call it science by then?

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Timelines, Glacials, Habitable Zones, and ETI contact

Ever since my first post about timelines

I’ve been fascinated by human history timelines; as graphical communications of great efficiency in showing us just how ancient we are as a species, how much we don’t know about ourselves, and how ridiculously short today’s western culture, habits, ideas, and patterns are.

Amazingly, there are very few decent scientific (yes, read non-Creationist) human history timelines freely available on the Web. Unless my googling abilities are just a bit screwed today.

The one below magnifies the last 50,000 years before present (BP).

 

‘[Mitochondrial Eve]¬†lived approximately 200,000 years ago…

Approximately 70,000 years ago humanity was down to around 15,000 people. It showed the reason behind the bottleneck was an [interglacial period]¬†that lasted about a 1,000 years.’ [Source.]

Also from ‘todayifoundout.com’:

To give you an idea of just how old Gobekli Tepe is

consider the following timeline:

  • 1644 AD¬†‚Äď Construction on the¬†Great Wall of China¬†ended with a total length in excess of 20,000 km.
  • 1400-1600 AD ‚ÄstThe¬†moai¬†on Easter Island were erected.
  • 1372 AD¬†¬†– The¬†Leaning Tower, in Pisa, Italy, was completed after 200 years of construction.
  • 1113-1150 AD¬†‚Äď The Khmer of Southeast Asia built the enormous temple to Vishnu,¬†Angkor Vat.
  • 200 AD¬†‚Äď The¬†Pyramid of the Sun¬†in Teotihuacan, Mexico was completed.
  • 220 BC ‚ÄstConstruction on the¬†Great Wall of China¬†began.
  • 432 BC¬†‚Äď The ‚Äúapotheosis of ancient Greek architecture,‚ÄĚ the¬†Parthenon, was completed.
  • [Added from source] 1000 BC – a rough age of Derinkuyu – an underground city for 20,000 people in Turkey discovered in the 1960’s; [but it’s really hard to date accurately so could be older. One theory is that a glacial period gave people the drive to build down, which would date Derinkuyu to about 75,000 years BP.
  • [Source] 1894 BC – Babylonia
  • [Added from WikiPedia] 1627 BC The Theran eruption buried the Akrotiri Settlement:¬†three-storey houses, plumbing, drainage. The Knossos part of this civilization was only discovered in 1900, and the Akrotiri part only in the 1960’s.
  • 3000-1500 BC¬†‚Äď About 5,000 years ago, a group of¬†crazy Neolithic Britons¬†hauled enormous four-ton stones over 140 miles to erect¬†Stonehenge¬†on Salisbury Plain.
  • [Source] 3,800 BC – Ur (until recently believed to have been the first city state)
  • 4500-2000 BC¬†‚Äď Pre-Celts cut and placed over 3,000 stones in¬†Carnac, France.
  • 9130-8800 BC¬†‚Äď The first 20 round structures at¬†Gobekli Tepe¬†were built.

(I’ve left the Egyptians out of this completely, but anyway, mainstream opinion puts Phaeronic culture way more recently than Gobekli; and controversial opinion would put the Great Pyramid and Sphynx into the previous warm period – which if found to be provable would only underline the argument I’m making here.)

You could then also add:

  • 11,000 BC – Most recent¬†glacial period
  • 68,000 BC – A¬†warm period
  • 138,000 BC – A glacial
  • 148,000 BC – A warm period
  • 200,000 BC – Mitochondrial Eve

What I want to know is…

When we consider Gobekli Tepe pre-dating the Egyptian pyramids by more than 5,000¬†years, when Akrotiri seems so incongruously modern compared to Stonehenge and when its technology shames that of the Romans and Greeks which it pre-dates, yet has only been excavated since the 1960’s…

…when Mitochondrial ‘Eve’ is not one but two warm periods¬†in the past…

what are the huge chunks of our social, cultural, technological history we don’t know because glacial periods have swept away the evidence, volcanoes have buried the buildings, or our theories have become persuasive enough to call off the search for any evidence that may contradict.

Advanced human cultures of the sort entertained by those who like to postulate about ‘ancient aliens’ suddenly seem more plausible in this context because we don’t¬†know what we don’t know.

Much more than that;¬†because Earth is on the edge of its habitable zone (yup, that’s right, Earth is not super-habitable which may put it in the minority for ‘Earthlike planets’), and we have glacials we may never get to find out all that once was.

We are truly ancient.

We may have traveled to the stars once before already.

We are old enough to have done so.

According to some storytellers on the Internet, we’re about to find out.

There’s an even bigger question though

If Earth is not super-habitable like some of its neighbouring peer worlds are now thought likely to be, evolved life on those worlds may have very roughly speaking an

180,000 years head start

on our own species.

We’ve gone from industrial revolution to Honda’s Asimo in just over 200 years. Just think what a 180,000 year handicap might add to techno/physio/psycho logical advancement for our neighbour species.

There’s a popular argument going round right now that given just how many habitable planets there must be, it makes no statistical sense that we haven’t made contact with ETI’s yet. So it must be¬†because intelligent life has a habit of either making itself extinct or breaking through that barrier and growing past that self-extinction point. The argument continues that all our neighbours must have killed themselves off, so what are we about to do? The same? Or grow past that point.

It’s a strange theory to me; it projects human problems into the cosmos for a start. But even with that aside, it’s based on the SETI approach for contact-making with radio signals; the only reason for the radio silence is because intelligent life tends to self-destruct. That’s what the argument is postulating.

If Earth’s habitability is indeed less than average, giving us our ice ages and the evolution of intelligent life on Earth a stop-start pace with 50,000 to 100,00 year set-backs, we should start taking a less proud, less human-centric perspective on ETI.

Because even if you take into account other evolutionary set-backs which must be cosmos-wide (meteors, volcanoes);¬†holding¬†an Earth human history timeline in hand, all our local ETI’s have a 50 to 100,000 years head start on us and the start of our search for radio signals (if they ever had them) is a little late to say the least.

In our galactic region we could easily be coming into the high technology game last – not first. Our neighbours could well have forgotten what radio signals or for that matter digital¬†signals even were. I mean, do we remember what technology we had in the warm period of Mitochondrial eve? No! We don’t even remember what happened two warm periods after that because until recently, we thought we came out of Africa.

Now it transpires that we didn’t come out of Africa; we simply recovered out of Africa after the last great global event, and that we had spread out around the globe quite well at least once before.