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Author Topic:   Life could be abundant in the Universe
Rahvin
Member (Idle past 193 days)
Posts: 3966
Joined: 07-01-2005


(1)
Message 26 of 32 (663254)
05-22-2012 5:34 PM
Reply to: Message 18 by Vanessa
05-22-2012 1:46 PM


Like others, I'm having some trouble understanding what you mean by "density spectra." The closest I can gather is that you're suggesting that we may not be able to see the forest because we're only looking at the trees, but I don't think that's quite it.

Your cell analogy suggests that you're really talking about a difference of scale, but we readily observe and are quite capable of comprehending scales that range from the subatomic to the scale of galactic clusters, even if we haven't completed our examination and investigation of either. So I don;t think that's quite what you mean, either.

The final thought that occurs to me is that you're really trying to describe something akin to the more popular idea of "higher planes of existence," where there may be "other dimensions" that we cannot yet perceive and yet which could contain other life that what we know. Something akin to the idea that all entities have a specific "vibration," and are only perceptible or capable of interacting directly with other entities of a compatible "vibration," leaving large stretches of a much larger Universe nearly imperceptible to human beings. Is this something akin to what you're actually trying to suggest?

I am proposing that life exists on other planets in different density spectra, that we can never perceive.

This brings two primary questions:

1) How do you think you know what you think you know?

For example, I know that there is a 20oz bottle of Coca-Cola on my desk. I know this because I directly observe it; I see it even in my peripheral vision as I type this sentence. My knowledge is gained through direct sensory input, as opposed to "just knowing." Because of this, any passing observer can also gain knowledge of my bottle of soda; where if I "just knew" that it was there, I may have knowledge that does not actually correspond to a real soda bottle in reality.

By what mechanism did the possibility of life existing in "different density spectra" occur to you? Did you gain knowledge through the use of your senses, aided or unaided by technological equipment? Was the knowledge imparted to you by another individual? Is it simply an idea you had?

The reason this is relevant is simple: ideas are all well and good, but ideas that result from a careful examination of evidence that can be repeatedly and independently tested by any number of other individuals regardless of whether they currently believe a given hypothesis is always going to be far more likely to actually reflect reality than ideas that simply come from within the mind.

2) Assuming or the sake of argument that life does exist in a "different density spectrum," how would we be able to tell?

Imagine that some alternate-density life exists in a garage somewhere on your home street. What tests can we perform to determine which garage contains this life, and which do not?


“The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it.”
- Francis Bacon

"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers

“A world that can be explained even with bad reasons is a familiar world. But, on the other hand, in a universe suddenly divested of illusions and lights, man feels an alien, a stranger. His exile is without remedy since he is deprived of the memory of a lost home or the hope of a promised land. This divorce between man and his life, the actor and his setting, is properly the feeling of absurdity.” – Albert Camus

"...the pious hope that by combining numerous little turds of
variously tainted data, one can obtain a valuable result; but in fact, the
outcome is merely a larger than average pile of shit." Barash, David 1995.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 18 by Vanessa, posted 05-22-2012 1:46 PM Vanessa has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 27 by Vanessa, posted 05-22-2012 6:19 PM Rahvin has replied
 Message 32 by 1.61803, posted 05-25-2012 9:56 AM Rahvin has taken no action

  
Rahvin
Member (Idle past 193 days)
Posts: 3966
Joined: 07-01-2005


(2)
Message 28 of 32 (663261)
05-22-2012 6:41 PM
Reply to: Message 27 by Vanessa
05-22-2012 6:19 PM


Those terms smack of New Age explanations, which always seem too obscure to get a grip on. I do not mean to be obscure. I thought 'density spectrum' would be self-explanatory - the more dense something is, the more impenetrable it is. The less dense it is, the more ethereal it becomes. In comparison to Earth, Venus has a dense atmosphere, whereas the atmosphere of Mars is less dense than the Earth.

And so your proposal includes forms of life that are so diffuse that we cannot detect them - ethereal life, in other words. Spirits and ghosts, essentially, but with a rationalization (supremely low density) for why we cannot detect them via conventional means?

It's extremely similar to the "vibration" hypothesis in what it attempts to do (explaining the lack of detection of certain entities), differing mainly in the specific mechanism.

Aside from the sense of distaste, what separates your hypothesis of differing density from the hypothesis of varying vibration? Is there some additional evidence-based argument that makes "density spectrum" life more likely to actually exist than life "vibrating at a different frequency?" Is there good reason to believe that one, both, or neither might accurately reflect some part of reality?

This is where I am not been clear. In the mid-1980s, in the Far East, I learned a completely different explanation for evolution - no meteor strikes, cosmic collisions or mutations in sight. It was a fascinating and clever theory, with supporting evidence and argument. More importantly it made predictions, which at the time seemed far-fetched and now are proving true. It's time I put the explanation forward.

While I;d very much like to see that hypothesis, for the sake of accuracy a few points should be mentioned.

Meteor strikes have nothing to do with evolution, save when a sufficiently large strike has altered the environment such that the previously active selective pressures acting on extant populations were significantly changed. That's rather more specific to history than to the actual Theory of Evolution. Evolution only requires that populations of life forms exist, that they reproduce and imperfectly pass heritable traits to their offspring, and that resources necessary for life are limited. Beyond those factors, evolution is inevitable. Meteor strikes are incidental, just as any other natural disaster.

Cosmic collisions are even less relevant, as beyond meteorite impacts there have been no cosmic collisions with the Earth since life formed. The Moon was likely formed via a cosmic collision, but that impact would have killed off any and all life that may have existed previously. Certainly, cosmic collisions are not at all a prerequisite of either life or evolution.

Mutation, finally, is an observable event. We can see it happen, proven beyond any reasonable doubt, any time we like. The most obvious example would be bacterial colonies beginning with a single bacterium. Since there is only one in the beginning and bacteria reproduce by simply dividing with no input of additional genetic material, it's very easy to test to see if mutations actually occur - simply allow a large colony to form from a single progenitor,a nd then test a few of the billions of resulting offspring. If mutations do not occur, then all of the offspring should be genetically identical to the original parent and each other. If mutations do occur, then the offspring should have some small (but potentially significant) differences. As those are the only two options when using a sealed petri dish in a sterile environment using only nutrients and a singe bacterium, the results are as conclusive as any experimental result can possibly be. And, of course, this experiment has been performed a multitude of times, and mutations do in fact occur. Regardless of whether or not your alternative hypothesis requires mutation, mutation does in fact happen. We know this with at least as much certainty as we know that gravity will cause a thrown ball to fall back to the Earth, or that opposite magnetic charges will attract each other.


“The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it.”
- Francis Bacon

"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers

“A world that can be explained even with bad reasons is a familiar world. But, on the other hand, in a universe suddenly divested of illusions and lights, man feels an alien, a stranger. His exile is without remedy since he is deprived of the memory of a lost home or the hope of a promised land. This divorce between man and his life, the actor and his setting, is properly the feeling of absurdity.” – Albert Camus

"...the pious hope that by combining numerous little turds of
variously tainted data, one can obtain a valuable result; but in fact, the
outcome is merely a larger than average pile of shit." Barash, David 1995.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 27 by Vanessa, posted 05-22-2012 6:19 PM Vanessa has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 29 by Vanessa, posted 05-23-2012 2:49 AM Rahvin has taken no action

  
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