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Author Topic:   Separating belief in ET life from belief in UFOs
Briterican
Member (Idle past 2338 days)
Posts: 340
Joined: 05-29-2008


Message 1 of 36 (529280)
10-08-2009 6:13 PM


We are but one tiny planet on one tiny sun in a galaxy of 100 billion stars. We estimate that there are at least 100 billion other galaxies visible to us in the universe. 100 billion x 100 billion is a bloody lot of stars (of course I'm generalising, the actual figure is probably orders of magnitude higher). Given this evidence, I find it highly unlikely that we would be the only bastion of life in the universe. Quite the contrary, I am confident the universe is teeming with life.

Now... why is it that laymen seem to think this means that I believe in UFOs? To my way of thinking, the idea that we, on this tiny speck of a world, would be visited by advanced extraterrestrial life, presumably for no purpose more nefarious than to watch our television and cuddle up to our politicians, is ludicrous.

This may not warrant being a topic, but I'm just curious if anyone else has encountered this anomaly, and/or how you would respond to it. My standard response is that, short of some sort of warp-drive technology, the distances are simply too great to travel. To go one step further, even with some form of FTL travel, the immensity of our galaxy alone would make visitation astronomically (literally) unlikely.


Replies to this message:
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Message 2 of 36 (529377)
10-09-2009 7:44 AM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Separating belief in ET life from belief in UFOs thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.

  
hooah212002
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Posts: 3183
Joined: 08-12-2009


Message 3 of 36 (529432)
10-09-2009 10:23 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Briterican
10-08-2009 6:13 PM


We are but one tiny planet on one tiny sun in a galaxy of 100 billion stars. We estimate that there are at least 100 billion other galaxies visible to us in the universe. 100 billion x 100 billion is a bloody lot of stars (of course I'm generalising, the actual figure is probably orders of magnitude higher). Given this evidence, I find it highly unlikely that we would be the only bastion of life in the universe. Quite the contrary, I am confident the universe is teeming with life.

I concur.

Now... why is it that laymen seem to think this means that I believe in UFOs? To my way of thinking, the idea that we, on this tiny speck of a world, would be visited by advanced extraterrestrial life, presumably for no purpose more nefarious than to watch our television and cuddle up to our politicians, is ludicrous.

I have yet to experience this since most all of the people I know either agree with me about it, or are crazy christians and I don't talk about it with them.

This may not warrant being a topic, but I'm just curious if anyone else has encountered this anomaly, and/or how you would respond to it. My standard response is that, short of some sort of warp-drive technology, the distances are simply too great to travel. To go one step further, even with some form of FTL travel, the immensity of our galaxy alone would make visitation astronomically (literally) unlikely.

Firstly, in my opinion, or at least what I would hope: is that there is a more advanced species out there that has learned the technology to do so.
Then, reality kicks in. The time man kind has been around to record this sort of information, or had the ability to view the outer reaches of space, is but a blink of an eye compared to how long the universe has been around. Therefor, IMO, a more advanced civilization possibly has come and gone, or is in the current stage of evolving to that point, or won't be around for eons to come.

I first got my "understanding", so to speak, of the immensity of the cosmos and how teeny tiny we are, from the opening sequence of the movie "Contact" with Jodie Foster. The view pulls back away from Earth, through the Milky Way, then past Andromeda, then by the Horsehead Nebula. It really puts things in perspective as to how minuscule and unimportant we are in the universe/s.

Sorry I really didn't exactly respond, but this is an interesting subject for me and I wanted to keep tabs on some of the others members experiences.

Edited by hooah212002, : No reason given.


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Perdition
Member (Idle past 1627 days)
Posts: 1593
From: Wisconsin
Joined: 05-15-2003


Message 4 of 36 (529502)
10-09-2009 4:27 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Briterican
10-08-2009 6:13 PM


Sleep Paralysis
I agree with your assessment of the probability of life on other planets. As the highly missed Carl Sagan said (paraphrased), "If there's no one else out there, it's an awful waste of space."

Now, while I agree there are probably other life forms out there, the probability of intelligent life is probably less than any life whatsoever. I think there's probably some out there, but the odds of intelligence occurring close to other intelligence seems to be very low, and until we show that Einstein's speed limit is not really a limit, distance and time become extremely limiting factors. As such, it seems highly unlikely that we have been visited by anyone.

I think the preponderance of "alien abduction" stories comes from the same place as "demon" and "witchcraft" stories. A healthy imagination, fear, and a liberal sprinkling of sleep paralysis. I've experienced it once, and I can definitely see how people would believe the things they imagined had actually happened. Luckily, I had heard of the phenomenon, and upon waking, I was able to realize what had happened. But let me tell you, it was one of the freakiest things I've ever experienced.


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Taz
Member (Idle past 1681 days)
Posts: 5069
From: Zerus
Joined: 07-18-2006


Message 5 of 36 (529504)
10-09-2009 4:34 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by Perdition
10-09-2009 4:27 PM


Re: Sleep Paralysis
Perdition writes:

..distance and time become extremely limiting factors.

Actually, some scifi writers have tackled this problem by coming up with an advance civilization that got too lonely and so built wormholes all over the place while playing around with life on a kazillion planets to have intelligence develop at relatively the same time so that there'd be a community of intelligent races all over the universe. I read a couple stories like this many years ago but can't for the life of me remember the title or the author.


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Briterican
Member (Idle past 2338 days)
Posts: 340
Joined: 05-29-2008


Message 6 of 36 (529507)
10-09-2009 4:51 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by Perdition
10-09-2009 4:27 PM


Re: Sleep Paralysis
...but the odds of intelligence occurring close to other intelligence seems to be very low...

That makes a lot of sense.

I think the preponderance of "alien abduction" stories comes from the same place as "demon" and "witchcraft" stories. A healthy imagination, fear, and a liberal sprinkling of sleep paralysis

There is a chapter in Sagan's book The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark devoted to the subject of alien abduction stories that agrees with this interpretation.

Given the premise then that life may be abundant and intelligent life very scarce, what a treat it would be to get a glimpse at the mid-level stuff out there. As much as I like to imagine that I'm educated (on any of this stuff), I'm not. I struggle to imagine what another earth-like world might have on it. Would such life have DNA, or some facsimile thereof? (It seems that it must by necessity, in order to procreate.) Would many of the same forms we are accustomed to seeing here on Earth be likely to develop on other worlds? (Things like binocular vision seem very useful indeed and thus likely to develop in other long evolutionary chains.)

If anyone wishes to shed any light on these issues, or point me to a thread that does, I'd be grateful.


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slevesque
Member (Idle past 3030 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 7 of 36 (529509)
10-09-2009 5:07 PM


If a statistical analysis of alien abductions showed that christians are drastically less likely to experience an 'abduction story' as compared to any other group of people, how would that affect your perspective of this issue ?

This is an open question for everyone, juste a thought I had.


Replies to this message:
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Perdition
Member (Idle past 1627 days)
Posts: 1593
From: Wisconsin
Joined: 05-15-2003


Message 8 of 36 (529515)
10-09-2009 5:29 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Briterican
10-09-2009 4:51 PM


Other "Earths"
It would stand to reason that any natural processes we see in our corner of the universe will hold in other areas. As such, the process of evolution should work just as well on "Earth Prime" as it does here. The neat thing is that evolution is not working toward a goal, and while selection is a non-random process, the mutations are. There are probably many solutions to a particular environmental pressure, and the odds of life on another planet ending up wiht the same one as we find here seems to be small. There will be some weird life forms out there, just as there are on Earth.

I would guess some convergent evolution, but just as juch divergent evolution, especially if the ET life isn't carbon based, or if it uses different amino acids for life than we do. Maybe it uses some sort of 4 starnded DNA, rather than the 2 strands we do, making 4 genders the norm, etc...strange stuff.


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Perdition
Member (Idle past 1627 days)
Posts: 1593
From: Wisconsin
Joined: 05-15-2003


Message 9 of 36 (529516)
10-09-2009 5:31 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by slevesque
10-09-2009 5:07 PM


Interesting idea. I would want to see other similar stories that Christians may be using for similar phenomenon that others explain with alien abductions. For example, if Christians claim fewer alien abductions, but the gap is nicely filled in by claiming demonic possession or witchcraft stories with similar elements, I think it would go a lomng way to showing that these events are not external to the person and are filtered through the person's worldview.

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Briterican
Member (Idle past 2338 days)
Posts: 340
Joined: 05-29-2008


Message 10 of 36 (529539)
10-09-2009 6:11 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by slevesque
10-09-2009 5:07 PM


slevesque wrote:
If a statistical analysis of alien abductions showed that christians are drastically less likely to experience an 'abduction story' as compared to any other group of people, how would that affect your perspective of this issue ?

In line with what Perdition said, I'd suspect that the gap would be filled with other "visions" not related to alien abduction, but it's an interesting question. Along those lines, I'd be curious to know how far back in history "alien abduction" stories have been reported, and what ties there might be between the culture of that day. For example, might native Americans have had "abduction visions" that took the form of being carried off by a great bird (rather than a space ship)?


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onifre
Member (Idle past 1340 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 11 of 36 (529543)
10-09-2009 6:12 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by slevesque
10-09-2009 5:07 PM


If a statistical analysis of alien abductions showed that christians are drastically less likely to experience an 'abduction story' as compared to any other group of people, how would that affect your perspective of this issue ?

Well they do accept an abduction story (resurrection), even though they don't claim to have experienced one.

I guess if you're too busy occupying your mind talking to an invisible celestial being, there's not much room there for other imagined things too, right?

- Oni


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slevesque
Member (Idle past 3030 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 12 of 36 (529555)
10-09-2009 6:22 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Perdition
10-09-2009 5:31 PM


I would think that christians don't usually claim demonic possession (or witchcraft stories I guess)

Normally they claim that non-christians are posessed, I think. this is just my own intuitive perception of the christian community

EDIT: Let's say for the sake of the discussion, that the gap would not be filled in by such other auxiliary stories. How would you perceive it ?

Edited by slevesque, : No reason given.


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onifre
Member (Idle past 1340 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


(1)
Message 13 of 36 (529566)
10-09-2009 6:38 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Briterican
10-08-2009 6:13 PM


Now... why is it that laymen seem to think this means that I believe in UFOs?

Here's a funny TRUE story that happened to me in St. Mary's, Georgia.

I'm having a beer at a military bar talking to a civilian who lives near by. Some how the talk gets into evolution and I explain how life may have emerged from chemicals found on any ordinary terestrial planet. I explain that there's probably many, many planets in our universe where some life has evolved; even just plant life and no animals. Maybe even planets that just have single celled organisms, or just bacteria, etc.

He flat out isn't "buying" what I was saying (his words). And asked me how I could believe that when clearly God created everything like the Bible says. Which I expected him to say. And he was cool about it, joking and not getting angry.

But here's where he shocks me (and I start laughing hysterically on the inside).

He asks me: "Do you really think some planet out there is filled with just plants or some weird animals just doing nothing? That they just somehow evolved from mud and crap like that? That's crazy! ... Anyway, let me tell you this story about my cousins neighbor who says he was abducted..."

What?! I asked myself, he doesn't believe that other things exist on other planets, but he believes that Aliens from other planets abducted his cousins neighbor? Is this guy fucking insane?

But I didn't have the heart to call him on his cognitive dissonance (he would have thought that meant I called him a fag), so I made a joke about it. I said: "Wait, God made other people on other planets and gave those assholes spaceships, while we're stuck here?" And he (In a moment of clarity) said: "Yea... what a dick." And we both laughed hysterically.

- Oni

*Sorry if this was off-topic, Britanican.

Edited by onifre, : No reason given.

Edited by onifre, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
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Briterican
Member (Idle past 2338 days)
Posts: 340
Joined: 05-29-2008


Message 14 of 36 (529569)
10-09-2009 6:51 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by onifre
10-09-2009 6:38 PM


Fantastic
onifre said:

But I didn't have the heart to call him on his cognitive dissonance (he would have thought that meant I called him a fag)

That's fantastic lol. I must admit to having close relatives in my state of birth (Texas) that would have the same reaction.

Nice story, and actually on topic in a tangential way. I didn't really expect this topic to go anywhere anyway, but the cosmology and exobiology stuff fascinates me the most and there seems to be a paucity of threads on these matters

Edited by Briterican, : "actually on topic in an obtuse way" was wrong: more like in a "tangential" way. I so wish I had a better command of the English language.


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onifre
Member (Idle past 1340 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 15 of 36 (529624)
10-09-2009 9:47 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by Briterican
10-09-2009 6:51 PM


Re: Fantastic
That's fantastic lol. I must admit to having close relatives in my state of birth (Texas) that would have the same reaction.

I didn't really expect this topic to go anywhere anyway, but the cosmology and exobiology stuff fascinates me the most and there seems to be a paucity of threads on these matters

I noticed that too. But really if you think about it, there isn't much to debate EvC related in astrobiology/chemistry that isn't already debated in abiogenesis.

In fact, I don't think we have any astrobiologiest/chemist in the forum (that I'm aware of), do we, anyone?

- Oni

*I had to look up tangetial and paucity. And the only thing I know about the word "obtuse" is that Andy Dufrain got 2 months in the hole for saying that word to the warden.


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