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Author Topic:   Life could be abundant in the Universe
Vanessa
Member (Idle past 1797 days)
Posts: 38
Joined: 05-06-2012


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Message 1 of 32 (662960)
05-20-2012 2:21 PM


I think one of the biggest reasons why people believe life on Earth is a 'lucky one-off' is that we don't see life on other planets. We appear to be alone in the universe. This gives support to the notion that life is arbitrary, without intent, without a plan. But could there be another explanation?

Limited perception is a common feature in Nature. For example, to you and me a field is a cacophony of insect noises, but to the grasshopper, who has a very narrow auditory range, a field is a silent lonely place in which he hears his own kind. This limited perception ensures his survival - for he can identify a mate or rival at distance without the interference of other insect noises.

We are well aware of auditory spectrums, visual spectrums and it is very possible that we live within a density spectrum, in which we only perceive that which exists within our spectrum.

We take for granted the fact that our visible spectral range represents a very small fraction of the full electromagnetic spectrum; and we take for granted the fact that our audible sound range represents a small part of the sound spectrum. We hear between 20-20,000 Hz. The bones of a dolphin's ear are almost identical to a human ear, but dolphins communicate at frequencies up to ten times the audible limit of the human ear. Bats communicate between 25-50kHz. Everyone has seen a dog or cat perk up their ears to a noise that completely evades us.

Science has discovered that we only perceive 4% of our universe. That means 96% we don't perceive! We know there is 'something out there' because of how the universe and bodies in the universe 'act'. The discovery of limited perception is important because it shows that matter acts like light and sound - there is a spectrum of perception and we only perceive that which lies within our range. Like grasshoppers in a field, our perception could be limited by Nature to ensure our survival.

There could be life on other planets in our solar system, on other planets in other solar systems that exist alongside us but within different density spectra. Our limited perception then becomes an identifying feature of evolution (which again is common in Nature) in that it acts like the shell of an egg - isolating us as we develop/evolve.

Edited by Vanessa, : as requested - to make myself better understood


Replies to this message:
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 Message 6 by NoNukes, posted 05-21-2012 9:32 AM Vanessa has responded
 Message 8 by Taq, posted 05-21-2012 12:49 PM Vanessa has responded
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 Message 12 by New Cat's Eye, posted 05-21-2012 6:28 PM Vanessa has responded

    
Admin
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Message 2 of 32 (662961)
05-20-2012 2:46 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Vanessa
05-20-2012 2:21 PM


Hi Vanessa,

The title of your post is about the possible abundance of life in the universe, but after the opening paragraph you talk only about limited ranges of perception. Could you add a few sentences of clarification to your post that make clear how you're connecting the two? For example, are you saying that there could be planets of dark matter harboring life?


--Percy
EvC Forum Director

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Vanessa
Member (Idle past 1797 days)
Posts: 38
Joined: 05-06-2012


Message 3 of 32 (662962)
05-20-2012 3:07 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by Admin
05-20-2012 2:46 PM


I hope my additional paragraph helps to clarify my point.
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Admin
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Message 4 of 32 (662964)
05-20-2012 3:57 PM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Life could be abundant in the Universe thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
RAZD
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Message 5 of 32 (663034)
05-20-2012 8:57 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Vanessa
05-20-2012 2:21 PM


Hi Vanessa,

Life could be abundant in the Universe

I agree, but for different reasons. See Panspermic Pre-Biotic Molecules - Life's Building Blocks (Part I):

quote:
My Conclusions

From these information sections it seems to me that the building blocks needed for beginning the creation of life were plentiful, not just on Earth but in space in general and from the earliest of times. Probably they have been around since long before even the Earth formed from the cosmic debris left behind by the life and death cycle of previous stars and planets, back to the beginning of time. These "seeds of life" no doubt extend through the far reaches of the universe as well as the depths of time (cue Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young ... "We are star dust ...").

It also seems to me that the natural processes for forming more complex structures from those basic building blocks were likely prevalent on the earth 4.5 billion years ago in a variety of forms, levels of completion and locations. We end with a scenario that has a random combination of plentiful and multitudinous organic molecules forming amino acids all over the earth, with a membranous system to contain and concentrate those molecules and their interactions within a protocell type capsule. We also see that random combination of plentiful and multitudinous amino acids into peptides and proteins is feasible, and that concentration and recombination within the membranous protocells enhances the probability that random combinations of them into the first "replicators" (the predecessors to RNA and DNA) is not as far fetched as it seemed at first. A simple building block process where the probability of a successful combination is almost inevitable: it is no longer a matter of "if" but of "when" it will occur under these conditions ... and once self replication occurs the frequency of replication will necessarily outpace the random action, and replicators that are faster and stronger will outpace their competition ... life seems inevitable when given the conditions for life.

That is my take on the probability of life on earth.


That was written in 2005 and more has been learned since then, information that makes it more feasible now, as we see more and more planets that could fall in the range of habitability in other regions of space, and information that provides greater detail about other planets and moons in our solar system.

Enjoy


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click)

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NoNukes
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Posts: 9998
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
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Message 6 of 32 (663078)
05-21-2012 9:32 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Vanessa
05-20-2012 2:21 PM


There could be life on other planets in our solar system, on other planets in other solar systems that exist alongside us but within different density spectra.

Does the term "density spectra" have meaning, or am I reading your OP too literally?


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal and hasten the resurrection of the dead. William Lloyd Garrison


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Vanessa
Member (Idle past 1797 days)
Posts: 38
Joined: 05-06-2012


Message 7 of 32 (663103)
05-21-2012 12:11 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by NoNukes
05-21-2012 9:32 AM


NoNukes writes:

Does the term "density spectra" have meaning, or am I reading your OP too literally?

I mean it literally - just as we perceive within a sound spectrum and a light spectrum, so we perceive within a density spectrum.


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Taq
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Posts: 7196
Joined: 03-06-2009
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(4)
Message 8 of 32 (663111)
05-21-2012 12:49 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Vanessa
05-20-2012 2:21 PM


I think one of the biggest reasons why people believe life on Earth is a 'lucky one-off' is that we don't see life on other planets. We appear to be alone in the universe. This gives support to the notion that life is arbitrary, without intent, without a plan. But could there be another explanation?

I think there is probably life elsewhere in then universe. I also think that there is no plan for life. It simply exists. What plans we do have are the ones we invent for ourselves. It is quite apparent to me that the universe ticks away without really caring if we exist or not. Past mass extinctions are a good example of this.

Science has discovered that we only perceive 4% of our universe. That means 96% we don't perceive!

How do we know this? The only way you can come up with such a figure is if we are able to perceive, through whatever means, the entire 100%. You forget that we have made tools that allow us to measure the entire EM spectrum, as one example. The limitations of the senses we are born with is not a limitation of science.

There could be life on other planets in our solar system, on other planets in other solar systems that exist alongside us but within different density spectra.

No one disagrees that it may be difficult to discover life on other planets if it differs greatly from the life we are used to. For example, there could be life on Titan that is based on liquid methane. This life could move so slowly that it would be difficult for us to detect, but not impossible. Also, there are some that are hoping to find life on Europa.

With that said, there is one fundamental concept that should help us find life: the existence of high energy molecules where they should not be. For example, the oxygen in our atmosphere. If there were no life it would not be there. If all life vanished from the face of the Earth it would only take a few thousand years for the oxygen to combine with rocks and other elements. What you look for when looking for life is its metabolic waste, such as oxygen. No metabolism, no life. I really don't see a fundamental hurdle that would stop us from finding life using this very basic tool.


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NoNukes
Member
Posts: 9998
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 2.2


(1)
Message 9 of 32 (663116)
05-21-2012 2:23 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Vanessa
05-21-2012 12:11 PM


mean it literally - just as we perceive within a sound spectrum and a light spectrum, so we perceive within a density spectrum.

I ask the question, because taken literally the idea that we would perceive within a density spectrum seems inane assuming that density is taken to mean mass per unit volume. You must mean something different than what I expect by the term.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal and hasten the resurrection of the dead. William Lloyd Garrison


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by Vanessa, posted 05-21-2012 12:11 PM Vanessa has responded

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 Message 16 by Vanessa, posted 05-22-2012 1:13 PM NoNukes has responded

    
RAZD
Member
Posts: 19089
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 2.5


(3)
Message 10 of 32 (663120)
05-21-2012 3:02 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by NoNukes
05-21-2012 2:23 PM


Hi NoNukes.

... because taken literally the idea that we would perceive within a density spectrum seems inane ...

It means you're too dense to see ghosts ...

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click)

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dwise1
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Posts: 2970
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 3.5


(2)
Message 11 of 32 (663125)
05-21-2012 3:33 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Vanessa
05-20-2012 2:21 PM


Your OP doesn't make any sense. Whatever does limitations of our own sensor organs compared with those of other animals have to do with whether there's life elsewhere in the universe? In the end, in the final paragraph that you had added to "clarify {your} point", it appears that all that was just meant as some kind of back-hand swipe at evolution. But even when view thus, it still does not make any sense!

Many people, including most "evolutionists", are of the opinion that the chances of life not also existing elsewhere in the universe are vanishingly small. In fact, most of the people who assume that life only exists here on earth hold that opinion because of their religious beliefs, that the earth and all life on it hold a central place in the universe, having been especially created by their god and holding that god's entire attention; IOW, creationists, quite the opposite of "evolutionists".

Thus, it would not be evolution that would limit our visions and keep us from considering the likelihood of life elsewhere in the universe, but rather it would be creationism and its associated theologies that so limits us.


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New Cat's Eye
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Posts: 11766
From: near St. Louis
Joined: 01-27-2005
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 12 of 32 (663147)
05-21-2012 6:28 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Vanessa
05-20-2012 2:21 PM


I think one of the biggest reasons why people believe life on Earth is a 'lucky one-off' is that we don't see life on other planets. We appear to be alone in the universe. This gives support to the notion that life is arbitrary, without intent, without a plan.

I've seen more people argue that the scarcity of life suggests design than I have the above.

I don't see how the amount of life suggests either one... can you expound your argument?

Limited perception is a common feature in Nature. For example, to you and me a field is a cacophony of insect noises, but to the grasshopper, who has a very narrow auditory range, a field is a silent lonely place in which he hears his own kind. This limited perception ensures his survival - for he can identify a mate or rival at distance without the interference of other insect noises.

And we have determined things like that by reducing the limitation on our perception through technological advancement.

We are well aware of auditory spectrums, visual spectrums and it is very possible that we live within a density spectrum, in which we only perceive that which exists within our spectrum.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by a "density" spectrum? "Auditory" and "Visual" are adjectives describing what the spectrum encompasses but "density" is a noun, its a property of matter, mass per volume... how can that describe a spectrum?

Science has discovered that we only perceive 4% of our universe. That means 96% we don't perceive! We know there is 'something out there' because of how the universe and bodies in the universe 'act'.

Well, have we discovered it or are we not perceiving it? Those seem mutually exclusive.

The discovery of limited perception is important because it shows that matter acts like light and sound - there is a spectrum of perception and we only perceive that which lies within our range.

Discovering that we can only see and hear certain wavelengths of light and sound, does not necessitate that some other specific thing must also exceed our perception.

Like grasshoppers in a field, our perception could be limited by Nature to ensure our survival.

That analogy falls apart when we bypass those limitations with technology.

There could be life on other planets in our solar system, on other planets in other solar systems that exist alongside us but within different density spectra. Our limited perception then becomes an identifying feature of evolution (which again is common in Nature) in that it acts like the shell of an egg - isolating us as we develop/evolve.

So then, it seems to me that we need to focus on improving technology more so that we can then discover these life's that might exist out there.

Life could be abundant in the Universe

Yes, it could. And? Go on...


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Vanessa
Member (Idle past 1797 days)
Posts: 38
Joined: 05-06-2012


Message 13 of 32 (663215)
05-22-2012 12:14 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by RAZD
05-20-2012 8:57 PM


RAZD writes:

From these information sections it seems to me that the building blocks needed for beginning the creation of life were plentiful, not just on Earth but in space in general and from the earliest of times. Probably they have been around since long before even the Earth formed from the cosmic debris left behind by the life and death cycle of previous stars and planets, back to the beginning of time. These "seeds of life" no doubt extend through the far reaches of the universe as well as the depths of time.

Brilliant RAZD! I absolutely agree! Nature works by building up and breaking down. Life comes from life.

PS: Thank you for the link to your previous post, it is very long - I only skimmed the contents.

Edited by Vanessa, : No reason given.


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Vanessa
Member (Idle past 1797 days)
Posts: 38
Joined: 05-06-2012


Message 14 of 32 (663222)
05-22-2012 12:56 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Taq
05-21-2012 12:49 PM


Taq writes:

It is quite apparent to me that the universe ticks away without really caring if we exist or not. Past mass extinctions are a good example of this.

Mass extinctions are a bug in my bonnet. I assume you mean the mass extinctions that are used to explain the punctuations in our fossil record (i.e. the extinction of the dinosaurs from an alleged meteor strike). Mass extinctions do not explain how life came back more evolved. I believe we are wrongly interpreting a common procedure in Nature - development through transformation.

If we did not know that caterpillars transform into butterflies we would never put the two together. If we saw hundreds of caterpillars in a cabbage patch, then went away and returned a few days later and found all the caterpillars gone and a collection of webs, we would assume there was a mass extinction of caterpillars - spiders ate them all. If we returned a few days later and saw a cloud of butterflies, we would say the spiders moved on after consuming all the caterpillars and the butterflies were free to move in.

What we see in our fossil record is better explained as transformation - for not only do the organisms transform but the environment does as well. Again this is a common feature in Nature. If you look at the life cycle of most organisms, they often develop in one environment before living their adult life in another - a baby develops in a womb, inside a body, cut off from breathable air; many insects develop as larvae in water, in soil, in the body of another insect before their maturity in air; chicks form in eggs before they take flight.

What we are looking at in our fossil record is strikingly similar to this procedure. The first cells on Earth developed in a hydrogen rich environment that was incredibly cold - nowhere on Earth exists like that now. Many dinosaurs could not exist on the Earth now, they were too big and would be crushed by gravity. They could only survive in water but we have determined they roamed on dry land. The environment on Earth was different to as it is now but it was perfectly suited to the developmental stage required by the organisms throughout evolution. This is precisely in tune to how Nature works.

It is premature to believe that "the universe ticks away without really caring if we exist or not". This is the consequence of accepting an explanation that, at its core, says life is all for nothing. But that explanation has not been determined as true, we still do not know how life evolved - irregardless of anti-religious rhetoric. I have never been able to understand how an attack on religion can be used to support a scientific theory. Like saying - swallow this pill for your ailment, I have no proof it works but the only other option is praying. No! I insist we find the true explanation of evolution.


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Taq
Member
Posts: 7196
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.1


(3)
Message 15 of 32 (663225)
05-22-2012 1:10 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by Vanessa
05-22-2012 12:56 PM


I assume you mean the mass extinctions that are used to explain the punctuations in our fossil record (i.e. the extinction of the dinosaurs from an alleged meteor strike).

I am talking about the disappearance of 95% of species, such as the P/T extinction event.

Mass extinctions do not explain how life came back more evolved.

Where did I say that they did? The mass extinctions are just that, mass extinctions. Life comes back "more evolved" because evolution continues in the species that survived the mass extinctions.

If we did not know that caterpillars transform into butterflies we would never put the two together. If we saw hundreds of caterpillars in a cabbage patch, then went away and returned a few days later and found all the caterpillars gone and a collection of webs, we would assume there was a mass extinction of caterpillars - spiders ate them all. If we returned a few days later and saw a cloud of butterflies, we would say the spiders moved on after consuming all the caterpillars and the butterflies were free to move in.

Actually, all we would need to do is compare the DNA of the caterpillar and butterfly. We would find that the two populations are one in the same. We would then study the caterpillar in the lab and witness the transformation of the caterpillar into a butterfly.

What we see in our fossil record is better explained as transformation . . .

How so? Are you saying that modern species have identical genomes as species from the Cambrian just as caterpillars and butterflies have identical DNA?

What we are looking at in our fossil record is strikingly similar to this procedure.

No, it isn't. With development the changes occur over a lifetime. In the fossil record, changes occur over millions of years over thousands and thousands of generations. They are very different.

Many dinosaurs could not exist on the Earth now, they were too big and would be crushed by gravity.

Say what? Do you really think that the Earth's mass has changed that much over the last 65 million years? What are you smoking?

It is premature to believe that "the universe ticks away without really caring if we exist or not". This is the consequence of accepting an explanation that, at its core, says life is all for nothing.

Does the presence of life on a planet somehow cause a force field to develop around a planet that prevents meteors from crashing into it? Is there some force field that protects planets with life from massive gamma ray bursts? Please explain to us how nature stops disasters from happening on planets that have life.


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