Dark Matter and Dark Energy — “Could Signal the Presence of a Vastly Advanced Billion-Years-Old Alien Intelligence”

 

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Just underneath the surface of many famous paintings, such as those by Leonardo da Vinci, is another hidden painting. Sometimes, these ghostly images, known as pentimento, are apparent to the naked eye if you look closely. More often, they are revealed by restoration processes, x-rays, and careful investigation by art historians.


A renowned astrophysicist has put forward an interesting thought experiment this week: what if a civilization of extraterrestrial life was advanced enough that it's possible that we might not recognize its presence hidden within the laws of physics –a form of cosmic pentimento.

Alien life could be so advanced it becomes indistinguishable from physics. "It’s a great mind-bending twist for a book," says Caleb Scharf, director of astrobiology at Columbia University, in a new article in Nautilus.

"Perhaps hyper-advanced life isn’t just external," says Scharf. "Perhaps it’s already all around. It is embedded in what we perceive to be physics itself, from the root behavior of particles and fields to the phenomena of complexity and emergence.

"It would neatly explain why we have yet to see advanced intelligence in the cosmos around us, Scharf adds, "despite the sheer number of planets it could have arisen on—the so-called Fermi Paradox. perhaps our universe is one of the new forms into which some other civilization transcribed its world."

In other words says Scharf, "What we think might be the effects of mysterious forces such as dark energy and dark matter in the Universe, could actually be the influence of alien intelligence – or maybe even aliens themselves."

Scharf is far from alone in his speculations: Some of the world's leading astronomers — including Great Britain's former astronomer royal, the Cambridge physicist Lord Martin Rees — believe aliens, rather than using different radio waves or visible light to signal, may be using an entirely different communication medium such as neutrinos or gravitational waves (ripples in the fabric of space-time) or using communication mechanisms we cannot even begin to fathom.

Scgarf's proposal is basically an expansion of Arthur C. Clarke's law that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

“The fact that we have not yet found the slightest evidence for life — much less intelligence — beyond this Earth," said Arthur C. Clarke, "does not surprise or disappoint me in the least. Our technology must still be laughably primitive, we may be like jungle savages listening for the throbbing of tom-toms while the ether around them carries more words per second than they could utter in a lifetime."

Lord Rees, a leading cosmologist and astrophysicist who was the president of Britain’s Royal Society and astronomer to the Queen of England believes the existence of extraterrestrial life may be beyond human understanding.

“They could be staring us in the face and we just don’t recognize them. The problem is that we’re looking for something very much like us, assuming that they at least have something like the same mathematics and technology. I suspect there could be life and intelligence out there in forms we can’t conceive. Just as a chimpanzee can’t understand quantum theory, it could be there as aspects of reality that are beyond the capacity of our brains.”

 

 

 

"I think it very likely – in fact, inevitable – that biological intelligence is only a transitory phenomenon… If we ever encounter extraterrestrial intelligence, I believe it is very likely to be postbiological in nature, wrote Arizona State's Paul Davies in "The Eerie Silence".

Davies suggests that advanced technology might not even be made of matter. That it might have no fixed size or shape; have no well-defined boundaries. Is dynamical on all scales of space and time. Or, conversely, does not appear to do anything at all that we can discern. Does not consist of discrete, separate things; but rather it is a system, or a subtle higher-level correlation of things.

"Are matter and information," Davies asks, all there is? Five hundred years ago, Davies writes, "the very concept of a device manipulating information, or software, would have been incomprehensible. Might there be a still higher level, as yet outside all human experience, that organizes electrons? If so, this "third level" would never be manifest through observations made at the informational level, still less at the matter level.

We should be open to the distinct possibility that advanced alien technology a billion years old may operate at the third, or perhaps even a fourth or fifth level -all of which are totally incomprehensible to the human mind at our current state of evolution in 2016.

If machines continue to grow exponentially in speed and sophistication, Scharf observes, "they will one day be able to decode the staggering complexity of the living world, from its atoms and molecules all the way up to entire planetary biomes. Presumably life doesn’t have to be made of atoms and molecules, but could be assembled from any set of building blocks with the requisite complexity. If so, a civilization could then transcribe itself and its entire physical realm into new forms. Indeed, perhaps our universe is one of the new forms into which some other civilization transcribed its world."

Perhaps the current mismatch of astronomical models and observations is evidence not just of self-interacting dark matter, but of dark matter that is being artificially manipulated. Perhaps the behavior of normal cosmic matter that we attribute to dark matter, says Scharf, is brought on by something else altogether: "a living state that manipulates luminous matter for its own purposes. Consider that at present we have neither identified the dark-matter particles nor come up with a compelling alternative to our laws of physics that would account for the behavior of galaxies and clusters of galaxies. Would an explanation in terms of life be any less plausible than a failure of established laws?"

In other words, concludes Scharf in his noble thought-experiment, "part of the fabric of the universe is a product of intelligence or is perhaps even life itself. Life might not just be in the equations. It might be the equations."

The Daily Galaxy via Nautilus Cosmos. Read more here

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