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(The Atlantic)   US government official says he "absolutely" believes there is life on other planets   (theatlantic.com) divider line 298
    More: Interesting, NASA, Mars Rover Spirit, Charles Elachi, planets  
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12522 clicks; posted to Main » on 02 Nov 2012 at 2:17 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-11-02 06:19:23 PM

T.rex: If i had a trillion grains of multi-colored sand, and tossed them up in the air, and measured how they landed, that doesn't mean that i could ever exactly replicate that ever again, even if i tried an infinite number of times.


If you tried an infinite number of times, you would. The fact that it's possible for the sand to come down in that pattern, and given an infinite number of tries makes it inevitable. Not only would you replicate the pattern, unless there was some sort of "If we have matched it we stop", then you would continue with the experiment. And in that case, you would replicate the pattern an infinite number of times.

The number of planets in the universe, while massive, isn't actually infinite, so it doesn't really have a direct correlation to the "life on other planets" argument.

Personally, I think it's highly likely there are other planets with at least some form of life, based primarily on the math, but it's a belief, not a known fact. We have reasonable knowledge of very few planets, and of those, we know of life on one. Out of the billions of planets out there, most of which we will never even send a robot to, it seems likely that some have life.
 
2012-11-02 06:22:52 PM
I'm with Stephen Hawking. It's OK to LISTEN for intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, but we should not be broadcasting our own presence any more than we can help it. If there are intelligent beings who have figured out the time warp/wormhole thing, and can travel between stars practically, they are literally going to eat us when they get here. Or hunt us for sport. Even if they intend benevolence, we'll still wind up as serfs, at best.
 
2012-11-02 06:26:39 PM

Nightsweat: Lawman, beating up the wrong guy?


Oh man, look at those cavemen go
 
2012-11-02 06:34:47 PM

JuggleGeek: Out of the billions of planets out there, most of which we will never even send a robot to, it seems likely that some have life.


I have a hard time thinking life is some kind of fluke relegated only to earth. I think it's inevitable that there is life on other planets, and probably intelligent life.

However, look how distinctly different species that have been isolated in one tiny region, for even a fairly short time, can turn out compared to their closest relatives in other regions. Or just how drastically life can differ from one part of the earth to another.
Given that observation regarding only one planet, beings on other planets are probably going to be DRASTICALLY different than us, to the point where even if they are as intelligent or more than us, we probably cannot communicate, and may not even recognize each other as sentient. Even given a planet with the same climate and layout as the earth, life easily could have evolved in a different manner. Just one event, can cause a completely different type of organism to become dominant. 
We can't even effectively communicate with the other sentient life on earth, and we have a huge ego. Our species is unlikely to be able to communicate with life from other planets, and many people wouldn't even be willing to recognize them as sentient beings.
 
2012-11-02 06:37:02 PM

exick: FlashHarry: the universe is almost infinitely big and 14 billion years old. to think we're the only planet to develop intelligence is just incredibly improbable. however, this vastness also means that it's incredibly improbable that we'll ever contact another intelligent species.

The likelihood of any other intelligent species being too far away to contact, the possibility of them not being advanced enough to have the ability to receive any sort of radio communication, let alone of the interplanetary variety, and of having no way of interpreting each other's communications anyway makes me sad.


We're probably using the wrong forms of communication. If someone tried to communicate with us using, say, X-Ray transmissions, what the hell are the odds we'd hear it?
 
2012-11-02 06:41:38 PM
To the people who are talking about finding planets that humans can survive on. I think that there are only a handful. Not because I think that there's a dearth of rocky planets with water but because of all of the other tiny things that also have to be just right for us to survive. Humans are fragile beings. Just a small list of other things that have to be "Just right" includes:

An atmosphere with just the right mix of the right gasses. Carbon dioxide and oxygen or methane and oxygen or really anything other than nitrogen and oxygen as a base is out of the question.

An iron core to generate a magnetic field strong enough to deflect cosmic radiation. Sunburns would be the least of our problems.

Just the right type and percentages of minerals in the crust and soil. Too much or too little of, lets use potassium as an example, will kill us.

If we find such a place then there's also a good chance that life there has already developed to some degree. Anyone remember the stories about smallpox and the Indians with no immunity to it? Yeah, now we're talking about just about every microbe, virus and bacteria on an alien planet to deal with instead of just one that nearly decimated an entire continents population.

These are just some of the big picture things to think about. There's going to be smaller things to deal with that can be just as deadly.

We ain't leaving this rock anytime soon (and by soon I mean eons and eons from now) if ever.
 
2012-11-02 06:43:34 PM

exick: The likelihood of any other intelligent species being too far away to contact, the possibility of them not being advanced enough to have the ability to receive any sort of radio communication, let alone of the interplanetary variety, and of having no way of interpreting each other's communications anyway makes me sad.


I can't remember the creator of the formula, but basically:
Odds of a solar system having planets (high)
Odds of a planet being within the proper zone(low)
Odds of a planet within the zone being of the proper composition(low)
Odds of life developing on that planet (???)
Odds of intelligent life developing
Odds of the intelligent life developing a technological civilization
Odds that the civilization won't wipe itself out

If I remember right, the SETI scans would only detect a duplicate Earth's transmissions from 6 ly. It increases to 50 ly if you assume that they're tight beaming a transmission with the power of ALL radio transmissions directly at us.

If you take common assumptions for the first 3 and asusme the last 4 are nearly 100%, that still puts the average alien civilizations at something like 500 ly apart.

On a slightly different point, I figure that the odds of intelligent life developing to be really low(on any given planet that develops life) - consider how long dinosaurs were the dominant lifeform, and how stupid they were. I think that it took a rather lucky series of events to get multicellular life, much less intelligent. I mean, consider our moon. It's the largest in the solar system and while we aren't the smallest planet, we're still below the average for planet size.

Basically, some really low probability events happened to the Earth during it's early formation, quite probably setting up the conditions for life and subsequently intelligent life to evolve.

Now, the odds are higher than that, I'm sure there's multiple paths. But I still see the odds as incredibly rare, at least on a per solar system basis. However, even if the odds end up being about the same as winning 3 lotteries in a row, there's plenty of stars out there that should harbor intelligent tool using life. It's just that the average distance between them will be so far as to make communication unlikely. At least until we've developed to the point that there are more humans in space than on earth.
 
2012-11-02 06:45:14 PM
 
2012-11-02 06:50:12 PM
Look I'm gonna break it to you. According to old series Dr. Who, the Fendahl's skull fell to Earth. It influenced evolution so that Terran life would elicit food, aka the life force of humans. Which would be available for later devouring once earth humans developed their technology enough to stupidly awaken the skull.

So we are simultaneously copies of humanoids found throughout the galaxy* and intelligently-designed snacks.

i154.photobucket.com
What a woman possessed by the Fendahl might look like

*or it was just easier for 70's-80's era BBC to videotape interplanetary adventures involving very human-looking characters and this plot gave them a good excuse. 
 
2012-11-02 06:50:22 PM

Radioactive Ass: Yeah, now we're talking about just about every microbe, virus and bacteria on an alien planet to deal with instead of just one that nearly decimated an entire continents population.


How likely is it that those microbes would also be able to survive in us though? With the Indians we're talking about illnesses being spread between two of the same species. As I mentioned above, even an earth-like planet probably isn't going to have the same life as here, and even on earth many bacteria, parasites, and viruses are not able to pass between other species and humans, or at least need the correct intermediate host.
So I wonder what the chance of those organisms on a completely different planet being able to survive on us is, or how quickly they'd even be able to evolve to do so given they'd have much more adequate native hosts. 

I'm not trying to hypothesize in either direction, since we have no basis to even guess. Just something to be curious about.
 
2012-11-02 06:51:13 PM

austin_millbarge: Obvious answer? Hardly. Canned answer based on ignorance? yes,


A director at NASA is ignorant? Either you're an arrogant ass, or you need to re-read my post.


austin_millbarge: You and BigNumber12 ought to get together and wipe the drool off each others mouths.


I'm really starting to wonder. What exactly do you think my position is on this issue, that you're fixating on me and foaming at the mouth in rage?
 
2012-11-02 06:52:30 PM
*ahem*
 
2012-11-02 06:53:46 PM

Firethorn: I figure that the odds of intelligent life developing to be really low


Agreed. This is why you probably don't actually exist, but are just another subroutine in the computer simulation that I call "life".

The odds of intelligent life developing anywhere are much lower than the chance that those same intelligent creatures eventually discover a way to create a very "real" simulation. If I'm inside the simulation, how do I tell it's not real?

It's more likely than not that this is all just some weird experiment or game.
 
2012-11-02 06:57:55 PM

Harv72b:
The relatively simple concept of there being a beginning or end to everything is one that I cannot wrap my brain around


Quanta seem to be able to pull that trick, but nothing bigger that I am aware of. I am not arguing that spacetime popped into existence ex nihilo. Only that time as our math plays with it is a consequence of the existence of mass and motion. If you could get outside somehow, what you would be doing is making a reference point where there wasn't one before, and it would still stay a consequence of mass and motion, only it would now including a factor external to the bubble. Except there isn't really an outside, even in multiple universe theory. There isn't anything.

Hey, who knows, if we CAN get outside the membrane, maybe its a method of getting FTL rolling, by in essence, getting outside the rules. Though that brings with it a whole 'nother set of potential issues, until we invent a Gellar field.
 
2012-11-02 06:58:16 PM
of course there is life on other planets.

-we're here...so there must be someone "out there".

plus...as a side note...i've seen one of their probes.

i do not know if it was an unmanned drone...or manned.

but it was real...and it happened.
 
2012-11-02 07:00:05 PM

Evil High Priest: And there is no saying that our universal truths about gravity, mass, etc., are at all the same in the bubble next door.


I've always presumed that they aren't. Nor, for that matter, that these universal truths have remained constant throughout the existence of our own.
 
2012-11-02 07:09:54 PM

Bauer: of course there is life on other planets.

-we're here...so there must be someone "out there".

plus...as a side note...i've seen one of their probes.

i do not know if it was an unmanned drone...or manned.

but it was real...and it happened.


Please describe the probe, sir.
 
2012-11-02 07:10:14 PM

hairywoogit: Hey, who knows, if we CAN get outside the membrane, maybe its a method of getting FTL rolling, by in essence, getting outside the rules. Though that brings with it a whole 'nother set of potential issues, until we invent a Gellar field.


Isn't this just the "hyperspace" mentioned in so many movies/novels?

And don't get me started on the speed of light. ;)

hairywoogit: Quanta seem to be able to pull that trick


Unless, of course, there's even smaller stuff out of which quanta are made.
 
2012-11-02 07:11:25 PM

Harv72b: Nor, for that matter, that these universal truths have remained constant throughout the existence of our own.


That idea is even spookier than the rest.
 
2012-11-02 07:12:53 PM

keiverarrow: Statistically, it's ridiculous to argue otherwise. However, it should be noted that we've never even been able to communicate effectively with the domestic house cat, among the other creatures our planet has to offer. Let's hope they're more like dogs if we ever meet any.


That only proves that cats are, in fact, an incredibly sophisticated form of alien life. They've got us opening doors for them, feeding them, cleaning up their poops, catering to their every whim....and believing we can't understand them. All without saying a word!
 
2012-11-02 07:18:10 PM

Gyrfalcon: keiverarrow: Statistically, it's ridiculous to argue otherwise. However, it should be noted that we've never even been able to communicate effectively with the domestic house cat, among the other creatures our planet has to offer. Let's hope they're more like dogs if we ever meet any.

That only proves that cats are, in fact, an incredibly sophisticated form of alien life. They've got us opening doors for them, feeding them, cleaning up their poops, catering to their every whim....and believing we can't understand them. All without saying a word!


Yeah, which species is domesticated has been a long running debate. The cats seem to have it pretty good.
 
2012-11-02 07:19:01 PM
The whole dang universe is only 14 billion years old... Earth's been around for a big chunk of that time. We have a few more years to go to reach infinite possibility status.
 
2012-11-02 07:20:15 PM

T.rex: The whole dang universe is only 14 billion years old... Earth's been around for a big chunk of that time. We have a few more years to go to reach infinite possibility status.


An infinite number of years, as it were. ;)
 
2012-11-02 07:21:35 PM

Evil High Priest: Harv72b: Nor, for that matter, that these universal truths have remained constant throughout the existence of our own.

That idea is even spookier than the rest.


Not really.

We are the speck on the speck of the eleventy-billionth speck of a spectacle on the speck on the speck the eleventy-minus one-billionth, you get the idea, speck of dust in the vastness of the universe, and this is our dialogue?

High-larious

*)
 
2012-11-02 07:25:38 PM

Ihaveanevilparrot: How likely is it that those microbes would also be able to survive in us though? With the Indians we're talking about illnesses being spread between two of the same species. As I mentioned above, even an earth-like planet probably isn't going to have the same life as here, and even on earth many bacteria, parasites, and viruses are not able to pass between other species and humans, or at least need the correct intermediate host.
So I wonder what the chance of those organisms on a completely different planet being able to survive on us is, or how quickly they'd even be able to evolve to do so given they'd have much more adequate native hosts.

I'm not trying to hypothesize in either direction, since we have no basis to even guess. Just something to be curious about.


If (and that's a big if) the planets macro conditions (atmosphere, chemical composition and so on) were able to sustain human life that would mean that the chemistry (and their ratios) that we are composed of should be the same as (or very close to) any indigenous life forms. Life as we understand it is predatory in its nature. Everything eventually eats everything else in one way or another, in fact its mandatory in our ecosystem or our planet would end up a toxic sludge as dead life forms built up. Based on that I think that it's very likely that there would be at least some microbes on a planet capable of sustaining us that our bodies would be defenseless against.

Of course that could go the other way around too. We could accidentally bring the microbe(s) that decimates an entire planet rendering it almost lifeless as far as indigenous life forms go. A Genesis bug if you will. Who knows?
 
2012-11-02 07:39:00 PM

ciberido: titwrench: Great Janitor: The dumbest argument for not believing in aliens was a girl who said "The bible doesn't mention aliens so they aren't real." I responded with "Penguins."

That is going to be my rebuttal for every argument from now on.

What do you expect from flightless birds who live in The Land without Bears? 

I still find it remarkable that an entire continent is named after the fact that there aren't any bears there. i mean, we don't call North America NoGiraffestan.


I would support nameing it such though ....
 
2012-11-02 07:54:08 PM
www.ingenesist.com


It could be entirely empty.

What I find to be more interesting to discuss is the effects perceptions on this and similar topics have to our species and environment. How does a man/society act that thinks he is alone, or those that are certain they are not. How does a man/society think when they feel there very existence is some form of manifest destiny, or that regardless of whether or not we are alone, if we will ultimately have to live with the consequences of our decisions and priorities. Are we to not worry because we'll escape to another planet... or a benevolent being will lift us up at our 11th hour....

Important to point out that all of this, everything is the product of the human mind. How we perceive things. Assumptions we make. (and you know what they say about assumptions :)

I do not believe we are alone in this universe. In so far as any truly scientific person can "believe" anything. But the fact is we have no data except our own existence to base our assumptions on. And seeing as how we can prove evolution but not the method of life's creation itself, our existence is shaky ground to base assumptions on period.

We have trouble with beginnings and ends, we do pretty good on identifying observable processes though. It's the same when we discuss the universe as a whole, we seem to know what it is, what it's doing (roughly), however our theories on the alpha and omega are more statements about our inability to understand things beyond us than it is sound scientific theory. Our equations at some point devolve into philosophy.

I believe life is probably everywhere in this universe, but all things being equal it could be just as likely we (and possibly everything else) were placed here by something we are completely unable to imagine or conceptualize.

And it is also possible that we might be the only intelligent life (by our own standards). Given the loose odds people throw around regarding the likelihood of intelligent life again we have no data to point either way. I find it surprising people do not point to the very fact no truly intelligent life seems to have developed during the existence of the dinosaurs as a counterpoint. Sure, it was a more hostile environment but we are talking about an absolutely massive window of time for intelligence to present itself. (maybe it did, we just don't know it)

So, maybe we are alone? Probably not. But should we at the least entertain that possibility, it would be wise for our species to act as if we are alone.
For if we act on that premise and make our preservation and that of our habitat our primary goal instead of short term immediately realized (selfish) ends... well if we are later proven wrong this could be a pleasant surprise.

But to assume we aren't and that the life on this planet isn't beyond rare, that it might not be entirely unique, we could be pissing away intelligent life's one chance at existence.

Not because we dared to hope otherwise, but how those theories and assumptions will eventually play out in the priorities we have in pursuing technology and the priorities we have regarding stewardship of our planet.
 
2012-11-02 08:02:34 PM

Bauer: of course there is life on other planets.

-we're here...so there must be someone "out there".

plus...as a side note...i've seen one of their probes.

i do not know if it was an unmanned drone...or manned.

but it was real...and it happened.


So have I...and that's EXACTLY what I thought when I saw it: This looks like a probe from another planet.
 
2012-11-02 08:44:52 PM

ciberido: titwrench: Great Janitor: The dumbest argument for not believing in aliens was a girl who said "The bible doesn't mention aliens so they aren't real." I responded with "Penguins."

That is going to be my rebuttal for every argument from now on.

What do you expect from flightless birds who live in The Land without Bears? 

I still find it remarkable that an entire continent is named after the fact that there aren't any bears there. i mean, we don't call North America NoGiraffestan.



Well... YOU don't, at least. But all the REAL Nogiraffistani do.
 
2012-11-02 08:59:19 PM

FloydA: ciberido: titwrench: Great Janitor: The dumbest argument for not believing in aliens was a girl who said "The bible doesn't mention aliens so they aren't real." I responded with "Penguins."

That is going to be my rebuttal for every argument from now on.

What do you expect from flightless birds who live in The Land without Bears? 

I still find it remarkable that an entire continent is named after the fact that there aren't any bears there. i mean, we don't call North America NoGiraffestan.


Well... YOU don't, at least. But all the REAL Nogiraffistani do.

Real

persons don't need to qualify themselves much b/c they exist really in their worlds, interacting and making their presence known in a cognizant way, or not.

The cognizant ones, self-described mind you, cogitate at will, otherwise uninfluenced by the influencers, and make policy with mind.

Mind out.

*)
 
2012-11-03 12:22:09 AM

Sybarite: I tend to believe the Rare Earth hypothesis that while simple, unicellular life is probably fairly common, highly complex life is likely to be quite rare.


Depending on what variables you plug in to the Drake Equation, you can get anything from one to hundreds of communicating species in the Milky Way. Unfortunately in order for another civilization to be close enough for us to actually communicate with them at our level of technology there would have to be thousands or tens of thousands. The galaxy is farking huge and the inverse square law is a biatch.

Rare Earth only looks at one of the 7 variables in the Drake Equation. Personally, I don't think there's any evidence to support it. The opposite theory (Copernican Principle) argues that the Earth is an unexceptional planet around an unexceptional star in an unexceptional galaxy. Everything we've learned about exoplanets in the last 5-10 years lends credence to this theory and undermines Rare Earth.
 
2012-11-03 12:23:56 AM

MurphyMurphy: Important to point out that all of this, everything is the product of the human mind. How we perceive things. Assumptions we make. (and you know what they say about assumptions :)


Now you're just talking to air. We have to assume we exist. Je pense donc je suis. If we take away that assumption, then everything is meaningless.
 
2012-11-03 12:27:07 AM
Hmm, I guess this thread is probably dead by now but I wanted to stop by and throw out something I didn't see mentioned here.

Harv72b: Shut up, fairies have tails and nobody can convince me otherwise.


First of all it's a well known fact that faeries wear boots.

Secondly, I find the concept of a Von Neumann Probe, in regards to intelligent life, an interesting concept. For those unfamiliar with the idea and who don't feel like reading wikipedia, it's just a probe sent out into space to explore and replicate itself when or if it finds suitable materials to do so. Possibly transmitting information back to the originators of the probe.

The potential implications and various permutations of these probes are all great fun to think about in my opinion. At what point would you consider these self-replicating probes a life-form of their own? Could they aid intelligent civilizations spread far across the universe in locating one another, and if so how could we apply this to our own search for ET? What level of technology would it take to make a successful self-replicating exploratory probe, and what are some likely forms of communication it could use to transmit information to its originators? What sort of timeline would it take for it to spread through the galaxy? To neighboring galaxies, etc? Would it be wise to give it information to pass along to other sapient beings, or have it stay and observe planets with complex life and wait for intelligence to come about?

Remember that after you send the first probe out you can afford for any subsequent offspring to wait around forever and only "activate" if certain conditions are met, no matter how exceedingly slim the chances of such an occurrence are. With that in mind, we really do need to thoroughly check out the Lagrangian points in our solar system, there's the potential for some really awesome, or horrible, shiat to be lurking there.

How...romantic...it would be to find one of these probes and discover that its originators had long since disappeared!
 
2012-11-03 01:11:09 AM
cache.g4tv.com
 
2012-11-03 01:22:59 AM

Harv72b: Counter_Intelligent: I'm of the opinion that if we do ever meet extraterrestrial intelligence, it'll be just as retarded as we are.

Then you'd also be of the opinion that we'll never meet any.


Touchy!
 
2012-11-03 01:46:27 AM
Stop the presses!
 
2012-11-03 02:35:56 AM

T.rex: Yes... because when i want an unbiased opinion about extra-terrestrial beings, i ask the guy who's job depends on the perceived need for space travel.

If i had a trillion grains of multi-colored sand, and tossed them up in the air, and measured how they landed, that doesn't mean that i could ever exactly replicate that ever again, even if i tried an infinite number of times. I don't care how big the universe is... That doesn't mean, the impossible will suddenly turn possible.


That's a terrible analogy because basic physics and chemistry creates precursors to life and automatically assembles these molecules into configurations that are amenable to the creation of life. For example, if chemical processes create a phospholipid molecule, those molecules spontaneously arrange themselves into a cell membrane like bilayer in water due to having hydrophobic tails and hydrophilic heads. Based on what we know, it seems like it is actually unlikely life would not arise with the correct mix of basic elements and physical conditions because physics and chemistry favor it so heavily.
 
2012-11-03 02:44:52 AM
That said, you do have to wonder how early a technological civilization could arise in the universe. It takes at least a couple generations of stars to build up enough heavier elements to create tools and technology, and you also have to have millions of years of prior biological life to create fossil fuels to help you bridge the gap between pre-industrial living and an advanced civilization with fusion and renwlewable energies. If you have life originating too early in the history of the universe, they could remain stuck at a pre-industrial level of technology without the resources necessary to create an interstellar civilization.
 
2012-11-03 02:51:22 AM

saintstryfe: MurphyMurphy: Important to point out that all of this, everything is the product of the human mind. How we perceive things. Assumptions we make. (and you know what they say about assumptions :)

Now you're just talking to air. We have to assume we exist. Je pense donc je suis. If we take away that assumption, then everything is meaningless.


Well no, that's why in the next sentence I said:

"But the fact is we have no data except our own existence to base our assumptions on."

We could discuss whether or not we actually exist, or if reality is real, but you are correct that is (usually) a fruitless discussion.

I'm suggesting that given we do exist that this somehow is valid to base so many other commonly accepted theories and assumptions on regarding life (intelligent or otherwise) elsewhere is simply not scientifically sound.

This is why we search so hard for that first glimmer of evidence that it's possible. Because until then all we can do is hypothesize. Believe, or don't believe. All matters of faith.

Without data to the affirmative from beyond our little blue ball, there can not be any serious theory regarding extraterrestrial life.
 
2012-11-03 02:57:51 AM

Mad_Radhu: Based on what we know, it seems like it is actually unlikely life would not arise with the correct mix of basic elements and physical conditions because physics and chemistry favor it so heavily.


And yet we've never been able to successfully recreate it though we have all the presumed ingredients required.

Likely presumes you have statistics, mathematics on which to base your statement. We know as little about the beginnings of life as we do about the beginnings of the universe.

We see ripples in the pond and study them for a theory about what made them, but nothing we can prove.
 
2012-11-03 02:59:56 AM
The assumption of water being a prerequisite for life has always amused me.

upload.wikimedia.org
 
2012-11-03 08:10:07 AM

indarwinsshadow: There's probably life. So exotic, foreign and frightening we'd never understand it. I doubt there's anything remotely like us anywhere else in the entire universe though. My best guess is there's lots of lower order...things...but zero if anything remotely like us. Our journey has been so unique, what're the odds of anything going through the same process to get where we are.


I may be wrong but I think space biologists have theorized that humanoid forms would be a highly probable model for intelligent life forms. The details would be quite disparate but the basic bi-pedal, human form is considered a basic archetype.

I don't think the question should be does intelligent life exist outside Earth but "what is intelligence"? Having the ability to abstract reality beyond basic existence might not be the optimal choice. The Universe may have had numerous species that took our same route and eventually ditched it in favor of less "intelligence": finding it to be the more intelligent choice.
 
2012-11-03 08:16:25 AM

Tom_Slick: dababler: Dolphins. Why? Dolphins are the frat boys of the sea, but smarter than average actual human frat boys.

I've always considered dolphins the golden retrievers of the sea, much smarter than frat boys.


Dolphins probably think they evolved from humans but have you ever noticed how much their squeaks and whistles sound like laughing. They are laughing at us. Dolphins can teleport and have ESP.
 
2012-11-03 11:28:29 AM

Eddie Ate Dynamite: Secondly, I find the concept of a Von Neumann Probe, in regards to intelligent life, an interesting concept. For those unfamiliar with the idea and who don't feel like reading wikipedia, it's just a probe sent out into space to explore and replicate itself when or if it finds suitable materials to do so. Possibly transmitting information back to the originators of the probe.


That's actually one of the arguments I've seen used to "prove" that there isn't any other advanced intelligence in this universe, or even that there has never been. Since this makes so much sense in concept for any suitably advanced civilization to do, then it would stand to reason that had any other species reached that level of technology during the 14 billion years since the big bang happened, the universe would be overrun by these machines. Although I suppose it would then take billions of years for the probes to replicate themselves to that point.

It does make far more sense that whenever (or if) we do make "contact" with another intelligent life form it will be through some sort of machine, either ours or theirs, vs. some a true face to face meeting. In fact, barring the advent of faster-than-light travel one could argue that true homo sapiens will never talk directly to any life form originating from another planet.
 
2012-11-03 12:56:24 PM

BigNumber12: Incontinent_dog_and_monkey_rodeo: The lack of contact from intelligent beings suggests that 300,000 km/sec is a harsh mistress, that there are no shortcuts around the speed of light.


Maybe we're an uncontacted tribe, and they're just respecting our (rather retarded) rate of development.

[i187.photobucket.com image 390x273]


That's another good possibility, if you were an all powerful race you would have no incentive to let us know you existed. The mere knowledge may corrupt us or throw us into scientific stagnation. Alien psychologists may have already determined that early contact before a species has advanced a certain way on their own is harmful to interstellar social development. I could see contacted planets getting an inferiority complex pretty easily. Also, once contacted most native technology immediately becomes corrupted by advanced alien technology. Maybe early contact shuts down promising new scientific discoveries because the contacted species abandons their own tech research.
 
2012-11-03 01:41:57 PM

MurphyMurphy: Mad_Radhu: Based on what we know, it seems like it is actually unlikely life would not arise with the correct mix of basic elements and physical conditions because physics and chemistry favor it so heavily.

And yet we've never been able to successfully recreate it though we have all the presumed ingredients required.

Likely presumes you have statistics, mathematics on which to base your statement. We know as little about the beginnings of life as we do about the beginnings of the universe.

We see ripples in the pond and study them for a theory about what made them, but nothing we can prove.



Sixty years ago, we weren't really sure what DNA looked like or how it worked. Give us a little time, and we'll get this whole origin of life question worked out pretty well. All the evidence supports life being pretty easy to start, such as how quickly you see evidence of life after the formation and cooling of the Earth, the fact that you can create basic amino acids with lightning sparks in a collection of inorganic gases similar to what the early Earth would have had based on what we know of planetary formation, and just basic physics regarding how molecules arrange themselves. At this point there is so much evidence that it is fairly easy to get life going the burden of proof is on skeptics like you. We don't have a good hold on what the exact probabilities are going to be, but the general consensus from most biologists seems to be that there is nothing we have learned so far to suggest that life ISN'T a common occurrence in the right conditions.
 
2012-11-03 02:02:10 PM
way south

>>> OnlyM3: Why is a government employee saying (s)he believes in anything, NEWS?
>>> Other beliefs held by government employees:
>>> We can close the Patent office since everything possible has been invented
>>> Bush caused the Katrina storm
>>> Todd Akin do I really need to post his "beliefs"?
>>> We've believed there was a reasonable chance there was life on the moon . Remember this?...

It wasn't just fear of moon bugs, but also fear of how earth bugs in an irradiated environment might change, or how the astronauts immune systems may have been weakened by the situation.

Fifty years prior to this we were still figuring out how aircraft flew.
Going to the farking moon? That shiat was all new to everyone.

It paid to be cautious.

True. I wasn't saying it wasn't smart/wise to be cautious. My point was
a) What some govt. employee "believes" isn't news worthy
b) That real scientist have believed life off earth is possible, even likely for decades. It will be no earth-shattering shock if we ever find scientific evidence of it.
 
2012-11-04 05:53:14 AM

NephilimNexus: The assumption of water being a prerequisite for life has always amused me.

[upload.wikimedia.org image 260x195]


Which is why I prefer to say 'in the proper temperature range and composition for life to form'. For example, the Horta would fail the last question in the Drake equation - developing a technological civilization capable of radio(and/or space travel).
 
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