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204116Re: Universal language for communicating with space aliens

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  • Jim Henry
    Jul 24, 2014
      On Thu, Jul 24, 2014 at 12:23 PM, Daniel Bowman
      <danny.c.bowman@...> wrote:

      > most deeply believe each of us would have in common: physics. If an alien
      > intelligence does not comprehend the laws of physics, then they are
      > automatically excluded, as there is no comprehensible way in which they
      > could build the detectors necessary to receive our message. Physics may

      I'm not sure that's the case. Development of theoretical physics from
      the 17th century onward sped up our technological development a lot,
      but we'd developed a pretty decent amount of technology without it; it
      seems plausible to me that some aliens somewhere might eventually
      develop radio by pragmatic trial-and-error engineering without ever
      developing a theoretical understanding of electromagnetism. It would
      probably take longer than it took us, but I don't see why it's

      > not be the basis of our *human* language, and it is perhaps not the best
      > basis for *any* language, but it is hard to imagine any other basis on
      > which to build a communication system with an intelligence with which we
      > have no known things in common except our ability to produce and transmit
      > interstellar messages.

      Basic math and logic seem a little more likely to be universal than
      theoretical physics. *If* the aliens have developed theoretical
      physics, they'd have the same theoretical physics we do, maybe more or
      less advanced. But they might be more pragmatic and less interested
      in theory than we are. Or they might be so interested in pure math
      and logic that they never develop much technology, and we'd have to
      make contact in person; I think the aliens in Robert L. Forward's
      _Rocheworld_ were like that, with much more advanced math than ours
      but stone-age technology.

      Jim Henry
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