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Author Topic:   Sentient life in the universe
anglagard
Member
Posts: 2185
From: Socorro, New Mexico USA
Joined: 03-18-2006


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Message 31 of 42 (558612)
05-03-2010 2:17 AM
Reply to: Message 28 by Zoinks
05-02-2010 1:41 PM


Life Shoud be Reasonably Common
Welcome to EvC Zoinks, prepare to be challenged

Zoinks writes:

Alien life is mentioned in the Bible.

Ezzeikel Chapter 1 is the best example.

As mentioned before, your interpretation of this chapter is open to question, namely that it does not reference alien life forms but rather a quite imaginative description of one person's encounter with the supposedly divine. Notice the description includes human faces and hands, something one would not expect from an alien life form but more likely a bronze age vision (whatever the cause).

Athiests suggest that the universe exists as a fluke.

Not being an atheist myself, I find it difficult to speak on their behalf.

If we are alone then there is every possibility we are here by chance.

If we have a universe full of Alien life, that suggets that the universe is intelligenty designed.

I find your position concerning this subject somewhat irrational. After all you should realize that organic compounds have been found in space and amino acids have been found in meteorites. You should realize that life has been found on earth flourishing 2 miles deep in solid rock, in boiling vents both undersea and on the surface, and under two miles of solid ice in Antarctica.

Life, at least in its simplest form, appears to be able to adapt to extreme conditions no worse than Mars, Europa, Ganymede, or Titan may offer. And even this may be an underestimate.

It would be a lot more surprising and indeed supportive of some purported micromanaging 'intelligent design' if life is confined to one planet rather than as a natural consequence of physical laws, regardless of the origin of such laws, be they divine or mundane.

Now as to intelligent or technological life, it is not impossible, however unlikely, that humans are first, according to some human definitions.


The idea of the sacred is quite simply one of the most conservative notions in any culture, because it seeks to turn other ideas - uncertainty, progress, change - into crimes.
ó Salman Rushdie

This rudderless world is not shaped by vague metaphysical forces. It is not God who kills the children. Not fate that butchers them or destiny that feeds them to the dogs. Itís us. Only us. - the character Rorschach in Watchmen


This message is a reply to:
 Message 28 by Zoinks, posted 05-02-2010 1:41 PM Zoinks has acknowledged this reply

    
Zoinks
Junior Member (Idle past 3186 days)
Posts: 9
Joined: 05-02-2010


Message 32 of 42 (558650)
05-03-2010 2:37 PM
Reply to: Message 29 by Blue Jay
05-02-2010 11:38 PM


The chance of us being alone in the universe is 1 billion trillion.

There are hundreds of billions of stars in our own galaxy, the Milky Way, and hundreds of billions of other galaxies in the universe.

A lot of these stars have planetry systems. Life is out there but in our corner of the galaxy we maybe alone.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 29 by Blue Jay, posted 05-02-2010 11:38 PM Blue Jay has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 33 by Blue Jay, posted 05-03-2010 5:46 PM Zoinks has responded
 Message 34 by Rahvin, posted 05-03-2010 6:13 PM Zoinks has responded

    
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 807 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 33 of 42 (558667)
05-03-2010 5:46 PM
Reply to: Message 32 by Zoinks
05-03-2010 2:37 PM


Hi, Zoinks.

Zoinks writes:

The chance of us being alone in the universe is 1 billion trillion.

First, you didn't really express a probability here: I'm going to assume you meant "1 billion trillion to 1 against."

Second, you seem to be basing this probability estimate on the number of planets in the galaxy, and the number of galaxies in the universe. Have you any estimates for the proportion of planets on which suitable conditions for life exist? Or for the proportion of suitable planets that actually will result in life? Or for the proportion of suitable planets on which God would be interested in creating life?

Frankly, you've got estimates for the quantity of planets, but no way to correlate this data with the quantity of life, so you still have to start with an assumption about the abundance of life in relation to the quantity of planets in order to say how abundant life is.

This is circular reasoning, which means it is meaningless.


-Bluejay (a.k.a. Mantis, Thylacosmilus)

Darwin loves you.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 32 by Zoinks, posted 05-03-2010 2:37 PM Zoinks has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 37 by Zoinks, posted 05-04-2010 3:42 PM Blue Jay has responded

  
Rahvin
Member (Idle past 1296 days)
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 34 of 42 (558668)
05-03-2010 6:13 PM
Reply to: Message 32 by Zoinks
05-03-2010 2:37 PM


The chance of us being alone in the universe is 1 billion trillion.

There are hundreds of billions of stars in our own galaxy, the Milky Way, and hundreds of billions of other galaxies in the universe.

A lot of these stars have planetry systems. Life is out there but in our corner of the galaxy we maybe alone.

Incorrect. The chances of us being alone in the Universe are unknown. We simply don;t have sufficient data to calculate probability for something like intelligent life in teh Universe. We know of exactly one instance, and one instance only, of it ever happening anywhere. That's enough to serve as a proof-of-concept (regardless of how life arises, whether through divine Creation, abiogenesis, or anything else, if it can happen here, it can happen elsewhere given the same conditions), but is not sufficient to tell us how frequently it can happen.

You are correct that there are trillions of stars, and that planetary systems seem to be relatively common, as do the chemical building blocks for life (we see organic chemicals and water naturally all over the place). However, we have not yet firmly established the conditions that give rise to life (whether that be conditions favorable to abiogenesis or simply the whim of a deity), and so cannot possibly determine how common those conditions are.

That said, since it has happened here, and the number of stars potentially hosting Earth-like planets is staggeringly large, I'd tentatively place myself in the "we're probably not alone" camp.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 32 by Zoinks, posted 05-03-2010 2:37 PM Zoinks has responded

Replies to this message:
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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16093
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 9.0


Message 35 of 42 (558674)
05-03-2010 7:02 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by slevesque
01-05-2010 11:21 AM


And although the Bible doesn't rule out sentient extraterrestial life, it leaves little place for it in the way it positions humankind above all the rest of creation.

Not over all creation.

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

Presumably aliens would get dominion over their own planets.

What I tried to say here is that even the cultural background simply to understand the life of Jesus would be far too complicated to tell them ...

I don't think that would be so much of a problem as you suppose. After all, the Roman Empire of the 1st century A.D. is so remote from our own experience that the Gospels might as well be set on another planet. I've never seen a slave or a shepherd or a fig-tree or a centurion or a crucifixion or a leper or ... well, you get the point. Nonetheless I can follow the story.

I can also follow science-fiction stories which are set on other planets amongst aliens which are deliberately made as alien as the author can possibly devise.

The other option would be that Jesus's sacrific would only pay for humankinds sin. And that each other sentient life would have had their own son of God who would pay for their sins.

You've missed an option, which is the possibility that no other species fell. Maybe God learned from the whole Eden incident not to leave forbidden fruit lying around.

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.


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 Message 10 by slevesque, posted 01-05-2010 11:21 AM slevesque has not yet responded

  
Zoinks
Junior Member (Idle past 3186 days)
Posts: 9
Joined: 05-02-2010


Message 36 of 42 (558799)
05-04-2010 3:26 PM
Reply to: Message 34 by Rahvin
05-03-2010 6:13 PM


Life finds a way to adapt. So I don't subcribe to the theory that you need certain conditions for life to survive.

There are creatures on earth that can survive in conditions that science would concider impossible.

Recently there has also been primitive life discovered on earth that does not need oxygen to survive.

Of course you cannot be certain that other life exists out there in the universe. The odds are increasing all the time as we learn about the mystery of the universe.

There is enough knowlegde available to make a resonable guess that we are unlikely to be alone, and possibly we could have a universe teeming with life.

It's only a matter of time before we find simple forms of life like bacteria.

Intelligent life though is another matter. We may be alone in our own galaxy as any intelligent not many light years from ours would know we are here! This planet is so noisy.

Intelligent life just seems to far away.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 34 by Rahvin, posted 05-03-2010 6:13 PM Rahvin has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 38 by Rahvin, posted 05-04-2010 5:27 PM Zoinks has not yet responded
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 Message 42 by Blue Jay, posted 05-05-2010 3:04 PM Zoinks has not yet responded

    
Zoinks
Junior Member (Idle past 3186 days)
Posts: 9
Joined: 05-02-2010


Message 37 of 42 (558801)
05-04-2010 3:42 PM
Reply to: Message 33 by Blue Jay
05-03-2010 5:46 PM


Hi, bluejay.

We are finding possible earth like planets in other galaxies all the time now.

This suggests that simlilar Earth like planets may be quite common.

Also possibly when our solar system came into existence, Both Earth and Mars were somehow very similar. Where as Earth has flourished with life, water somehow has dissapered on Mars leaving it a dead barren world.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 33 by Blue Jay, posted 05-03-2010 5:46 PM Blue Jay has responded

Replies to this message:
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Rahvin
Member (Idle past 1296 days)
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 38 of 42 (558807)
05-04-2010 5:27 PM
Reply to: Message 36 by Zoinks
05-04-2010 3:26 PM


Life finds a way to adapt. So I don't subcribe to the theory that you need certain conditions for life to survive.

There are creatures on earth that can survive in conditions that science would concider impossible.

Recently there has also been primitive life discovered on earth that does not need oxygen to survive.

I didn't say survive. Once life exists, it does seem to be extremely adaptable to a wide range of environments.

I was talking about the conditions necessary for life to form, in the first place. We have multiple ideas at this pioint as to what those conditions might be. Theists tend to believe that teh only required "conditions" are the whim of a deity. Those who subscribe to abiogenesis have a variety of hypotheses regarding the necessary conditions.

But the point I was making is that we don;t know currently the type of environment needed for life to form, and so then we do not know how common those conditions are in the universe, and thus we do not know how probable other life in the Universe is.

One in a hundred solar systems could contain a planet capable of producing life (producing, not sustaining). Or it wcould be one in a thousand, or one in a million, or one in a trillion - we just don't have enough data to be able to say. Your comments regarding the probability of alien life require a level of knowledge that we do not have. You are speculating based on inadequate information and pretending your assertions carry weight.

They do not.

Of course you cannot be certain that other life exists out there in the universe. The odds are increasing all the time as we learn about the mystery of the universe.

No, they aren't. They remain "unknown." We need still more data. We need a working theory for how life originates (be it abiogenesis or anything else) before we can make such statements.

There is enough knowlegde available to make a resonable guess that we are unlikely to be alone, and possibly we could have a universe teeming with life.

There is enough knowledge available to suggest only that there are lots and lots of stars, and apparently lots and lots of planets, and that organic compounds and water exist commonly throughout the Universe.

That supports the notion that Earth-like life may exist elsewhere, but it does not in any way give us sufficient grounds to calculate the probability of the existence of extraterrestrial life.

Alien life, from what we know, is extremely plausible. We have insufficient data to determine how probable. Do you see the difference?

It's only a matter of time before we find simple forms of life like bacteria.

Perhaps. perhaps not. Bacteria really aren't all that simple, you know.

More poignantly, what makes you think that extraterrestrial life will have any sort of Earth analogue? Given formation and evolution in an environment that isn;t simply exotic on Earth but is in fact literally otherworldly, what makes you think whatever life we find will be able to be classified as bacterial, or even anything similar?

What makes you think we would even recognize alien life when we first see it?

Intelligent life though is another matter. We may be alone in our own galaxy as any intelligent not many light years from ours would know we are here! This planet is so noisy.

Intelligent life just seems to far away.

Our world is indeed noisy, but not all transmissions are strong enough to be picked up at interstellar distances, and they fade with distance (blocked by impediments, simple dispersion of the signal until it's too weak to be picked up, etc).

But think of this: our galaxy is somewhere around 100,000 light-years across. We are most of the way out on one arm.

We've been broadcasting radio signals that could be detected by aliens for some 60 or so years. That means we're detectable to species that have a presence roughly 60 light-years away or less. That's 0.06% of the diameter of just our galaxy.

"Too far away" to be detected on a galactic scale (let alone an intergalactic one) doesn't have to be very far at all.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 36 by Zoinks, posted 05-04-2010 3:26 PM Zoinks has not yet responded

  
Phage0070
Inactive Member


Message 39 of 42 (558832)
05-04-2010 8:34 PM
Reply to: Message 36 by Zoinks
05-04-2010 3:26 PM


Zoinks writes:

Life finds a way to adapt. So I don't subcribe to the theory that you need certain conditions for life to survive.

And yet we don't find life in molten lava, or the entire plasma phase of matter. We have every reason so suspect that life as we define it can only exist within a certain range of conditions. That range is wide enough that it can certainly be found elsewhere however.

Zoinks writes:

There are creatures on earth that can survive in conditions that science would concider impossible.

This makes no sense. Once we have found it, it becomes part of science and scientific knowledge.

Zoinks writes:

Recently there has also been primitive life discovered on earth that does not need oxygen to survive.

Anaerobic life isn't a new concept; ever hear of tetanus, or botulism? Those are anaerobic bacteria.

Also, life actually created the vast majority of the oxygen in our atmosphere in period called the Oxygen Catastrophe. Some organisms developed the ability to produce oxygen as a byproduct of their metabolism which was highly toxic to other organisms. This caused mass extinctions, and a great shift over toward aerobic metabolic processes. Extremely primitive life that function without oxygen would appear to be the rule for Earthly life, not the exception.

Zoinks writes:

Of course you cannot be certain that other life exists out there in the universe. The odds are increasing all the time as we learn about the mystery of the universe.

We can be certain if we find it, but regardless the odds don't change as we learn things.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 36 by Zoinks, posted 05-04-2010 3:26 PM Zoinks has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 40 by Dr Adequate, posted 05-05-2010 8:54 AM Phage0070 has not yet responded

  
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16093
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 9.0


Message 40 of 42 (558860)
05-05-2010 8:54 AM
Reply to: Message 39 by Phage0070
05-04-2010 8:34 PM


And yet we don't find life in molten lava, or the entire plasma phase of matter ...

In defense of "Zoinks", I should point out that a couple of decades ago you could have added "... or that can live in boiling water" to that list.

The things we don't know of can't yet be deemed impossible, they may simply not yet have been discovered.


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 Message 39 by Phage0070, posted 05-04-2010 8:34 PM Phage0070 has not yet responded

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 807 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 41 of 42 (558925)
05-05-2010 2:58 PM
Reply to: Message 37 by Zoinks
05-04-2010 3:42 PM


Hi, Zoinks.

Zoinks writes:

We are finding possible earth like planets in other galaxies all the time now.

No, we're not. We know of about half a dozen extrasolar planets that are even close to Earth, though all of them are significantly larger than Earth, and none of them really seems to meet the requirements for life as we currently theorize them to be.

The closest thing we've found to an Earth-like planet is Gliese 581 c, which is twice the size of Earth, and it probably isn't even in the habitable zone of its solar system.

Also, all extrasolar planets found so far have been in this galaxy, so you're wrong about the "in other galaxies" part too.

-----

Zoinks writes:

Also possibly when our solar system came into existence, Both Earth and Mars were somehow very similar. Where as Earth has flourished with life, water somehow has dissapered on Mars leaving it a dead barren world.

There are all kinds of stories about what Mars might have once been, about how Europa has oceans that might be teeming with alien life, etc. None of this is really meaningful to the discussion of how likely life is to exist until life is confirmed in one of these locations.

All we know is that life exists on Earth, and we suspect that conditions at least vaguely similar to Earth are required for Earth-like life to exist elsewhere. In reality, we have no idea how often life will crop up even if the conditions are just right, so any prediction about the commonness of life in the cosmos is still complete speculation.

A strong case could be made that there is probably plentiful opportunity for life to arise in the galaxy, but we just don't know how opportunity translates into reality, and we also don't really know what constitutes an opportunity anyway.

So, it's just a complete shot in the dark.

-----

By the way, since you're new here, why don't you click on the "peek" button at the bottom right corner of this message, and that will show you the codes I used to make quote boxes and text formats.

In the "Reply to Message" screen, you've also got a "dBCodes On (help)" option on the left-side menu: that will tell you all you need to know about formatting messages using codes.


-Bluejay (a.k.a. Mantis, Thylacosmilus)

Darwin loves you.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 37 by Zoinks, posted 05-04-2010 3:42 PM Zoinks has not yet responded

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 807 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 42 of 42 (558926)
05-05-2010 3:04 PM
Reply to: Message 36 by Zoinks
05-04-2010 3:26 PM


Hi, Zoinks.

Zoinks writes:

Intelligent life though is another matter. We may be alone in our own galaxy as any intelligent not many light years from ours would know we are here! This planet is so noisy.

Just like we know whether or not they are there?


-Bluejay (a.k.a. Mantis, Thylacosmilus)

Darwin loves you.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 36 by Zoinks, posted 05-04-2010 3:26 PM Zoinks has not yet responded

  
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