If an advanced civilisation wanted to tell us not to attempt interstellar colonisation, why would they use such an ambiguous method as sending flying orbs that are explicable as camera glare and mylar balloons?

It's as if, in your analogy, instead of Sam being explicitly told to ask about royal propriety, the stranger left graffiti of a crown or a Burger King wrapper in the toilet and expected him to deduce that he was royalty from those ambiguous hints.

The anti-colonization aliens could send an unambigous message without revealing anything much about themselves. For example, they could simply have a clearly artificial and alien probe broadcast a message ('ALL THESE WORLDS ARE YOURS UP TO THE OORT CLOUD - ATTEMPT NO LANDING ELSEWHERE'), then self-destruct.

Perhaps the aliens have secretly sent an unambiguous message to Earth elites who have chosen to keep it secret. But if they want to warn a whole civilisation against expansion, why would they only contact elites, who might suppress, ignore and forget the message? It seems like it would be more robust to warn a whole civilisation.

The ambiguous message of merely demonstrating extraordinary capabilities doesn't seem like it would deter expansion. It might spur elites to fund telescopes to find the alien home planet, and even interstellar probes. Elites might also wrongly conclude that the aliens are time travellers or from another dimension, which would not deter expansion.

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Why wouldn't they get caught on camera a bit more distinctly then? Like go fly above a super bowl for a couple minutes to really provide a ton of evidence they exist, instead of only appear in debatable settings?

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The Quirk parable, as incredibly strained as it is, is still far from analogous to our actual situation with UFOs. You need the royal pedo-stalker to wax and wane with Sam's paranoid fantasies and not change or evolve over time (but continue to be weirdly low-tech like whispers in a bathroom), and for Sam to regularly record these monitory whispers and show they were actually overhead conversations about the recent coronation or something, and only 1 or 2 out of the many thousands he obsessively investigates seem to ever hold up, while he is now being targeted by scammers and conmen who have heard about his royal-propriety hallucinations and are hacking his computer to use the speaker at night, all this while the royal family has been bankrupted and rendered ordinary citizens by republican activism, with regular reports from historians that all the royals have died without offspring, and so on and so forth. Only when you add on a bunch of these, does Sam's position actually begin to approximate humanity's position with the vast corpus of UFO reports being regularly debunked, fabricated, retold into legend, increasing for clearly sociological/fictional reasons while defying tech advances, scientific research into SETI turning up ever vaster null results... If there was all this, and Sam kept hearing auditory hallucinations about persecution with no accompany visual or physical evidence, he would be well-advised to check himself into therapy for paranoid-schizophrenia while it's still treatable before he develops more serious psychosis.

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Presumably the fact that after thinking about it for what, a few years, this seems like the most likely explanation to you shouldn't be very strong evidence to anyone. I mean the vast vast vast majority of theories that anyone comes up with about anything are false and this seems to be particularly far in the speculative direction not to mention is the result of a single person speculating without others to poke holes in it.

To be clear, that's not a reason not to share it. That's literally doing the work that needs doing. Just clarifying the epistemic status.

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I have never seen any UAP report that I found to be convincing or impressive. The very best ones seem to be reports taken from fast moving aircraft. What's the best two or three reports? What report isn't likely to be?:

-Optical artifacts from digital recordings

-Automatic image stabilization and re-orientation

-Close things that are appear to be far away and other perspective-based illusions

-Two different things that are being perceived at the same time and mistaken for one thing

It is possible that a) our part of the galaxy is full of undetectable life and b) one of our cousin-civilizations is ideological about expansion or being visible in a very specific way and c) they have a perfect record of being *almost* detected hundreds of thousands of times; they know exactly where every detector is and what's capabilities are d) they want to communicate very much and do so very frequently but they want to only do that in the most oblique, subtle way that is only taken seriously by: astrologers, your aunt who keeps getting tricked by new pyramid schemes, and your friend from high school who lives with his parents because they are the only ones who can get him to take his Haloperidol.

I think the odds of that causal chain being the explanation for UAPs to be less than 1-in-1,000,000,000. I think the odds that some pretty convincing UAP observations are actual a mylar party balloon showing up on radar at the coincidental same time a drone becomes visible to a pilot nearby.

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May 8·edited May 9

If the alien civ wanted to prevent neighboring planets from spawning civs and expanding, why not just destroy the other civs, or make the nearby planets inhospitable before they spawn civs?

I understand that we're beginning with some data points (1. we are early in the universe, 2. we see no civs in distant stars, 3. UFOs might be extraterrestrials ), and then thinking of ways to explain those data points.

But an explanation that makes more sense to me is that a nearby alien civ has chosen to delay its expansion, because expansion will make it detectable. It knows it will eventually meet (and likely fight) other civs, and it wants to collect useful data before this happens. So while it is remaining quiet (not expanding) it sent probes to neighbors to collect data on other civs as they emerge and develop, thus gaining insight for its eventual contact with competitor civs.

This would explain why the probes (UFOs) do not explicitly reveal themselves, but are still vaguely observable. They are trying to collect data on us without disturbing our development, because that would contaminate the experiment.


(edit): Delaying expansion would be a gamble. Essentially it boils down to a bet that territory is less valuable than data (on independently-spawned civs), when you eventually contact other expansionist competitor civs.

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This doesn’t make any sense to me.

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Sorry, I don't understand why either of the following seem likely (given the existence of aliens advanced enough to have the relevant powers):

1. "That civilization chose to prevent any part of itself from leaving to colonize the universe..."

2. "The main motive was to prevent ... “panspermia sibling” civilizations from violating their rule against expansion."

What am I missing? Thanks, Robin!

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If an alien wanted to send a positive message, how would they do it without creating chaos on Earth? Isn’t it plausible that there’s no way for them to communicate in a way we would trust?

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> Many suggest that UFOs-as-aliens would put us in a position of radical uncertainty

In other words, this is what it would take for them to admit their natural limitations as human beings? Sheesh.

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This make sense although it does not but creativity is 100%


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May 8·edited May 8

To me the weak part of your argument is your introduction of the rule against expansion. That seems to me to come out of left field with little support from your observations. I find it at least equally plausible that they just want to observe us and they have no interest in interacting with us directly. Think of scientists observing a rare animal in its wild habitat trying to learn all they can from close-up observation, but not seeking to touch or even be seen by the animals. The scientists might try to hide out of view so as not to affect the behavior by revealing their presence to the animals, but they wouldn't necessarily be totally perfectionistic about it.

The advanced civilization might be in that same situation with regards to humans. They don't necessarily hide for sinister or ominous reasons, nor to play tricks on us, but just to observe us as long as they can without our becoming too aware of them at the level of our entire species, i.e. perhaps they wouldn't fret over individuals or small groups being aware of them because they realize this is unlikely to persuade a majority of humans of their existence. (This is of course assuming you are correct that some of the evidence has no other equally plausible explanation.)

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My general impression of this is the ships could be larger, and more clearly NOT human, while sticking to the overall strategy.

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It's funny how people perceive the presence of 'aliens' but at the same time ignore the possibility of a greater being. The need to colonize is written into our DNA, but even after we colonize the very last planet, what next? One thing is certain, human life is finite, only the soul is infinite, this life is temporary and that's what we actually fear.

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Not sure how you get that the alien civ is c. 100M years old?

That may be the rough expected development date given panspermia type assumptions, but seems like it should be weighed against the likelihood that they can survive and maintain a rough stasis for such a long time.

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Consider an alternative: An advanced civilization of aliens (possibly many more than one species) has examined their own history, their history of contact with other planets, as well as their exploration of planets where intelligent civilizations has long ago risen and become extinct.

They have concluded that if contacted by the broader interstellar community too early, intelligent species tend to miss out on some of the most important steps in the process they must follow to become a mature and resilient species with a coherent identity and culture. This is bad. On the other hand, they've noticed that if intelligent species aren't contacted at all, they risk turning their increasingly brilliant minds to more entertaining things, and fail to do the difficult work required to truly leave the nest, leading them down another path to eventual extinction.

So what to do? You can't contact them and *give* them technology and philosophy. They have to come up with it themselves. But you don't want to sit by and watch them jack themselves into video games en masse and fail to work on harder things like physics, engineering, and perpetuating their own species. That's bad, too. And pretty depressing to witness.

What about showing up every now and again, inexplicably, and in ways that don't leave evidence, and are nuanced enough not to serve as undeniable proof? You're not *contacting* them. You're teasing. Poking. Reminding them that actually, there might be cooler things out in the universe than their video games. So they should keep their eyes open and keep doing the very hard work to make their way out there one day.

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