Nikhil Sinha wrote: >>"JS Bangs" <[log in to unmask]> likis: >>But Nikhil asked a more interesting question--is it possible to >>communicate without language? I think the answer is no. Even mathematics >>presupposes a sort of metalanguage that we use to learn it, so it's hard >>to see how any communication could be had with creatures from a different >>biology. There have been some attempts, though. Read Sagan's _Contact_ for >>a fairly plausible discussion of aliens contacting *us*, and how we >>decoded their message. >> >> > >I have heard that mathematics could be used as an intergalactic language. >But, I don't think thisis possible. Even mathematics uses notations like >+, -, * and /, which aliens might not underrstand. > They won't. There isn't only one maths notation used here (e.g. polish and reverse polish). If we could establish what numbers meant, we could do something like 3 * 1 = 3 3 + 1 = 2 3 * 2 = 6 3 + 2 = 5 3 * 3 = 9 3 + 3 = 6 3 * 4 = 12 3 + 4 = 7 and hope they work out what *, + and = mean, but there are more interesting things to say so beyond numbers, maths would be low on my list of things to say. >They may, however, understand numbers. > > Only if we somehow predifined them. Which was the point of the numbers on the top of the Arecibo thing, but I don't think the predefinition is useful: which way is up? is 0 in there somewhere? It's only a piece of a complicated and possibly meaningless puzzle, not in any way a key. Tristan.