So...............are 'they' out there?
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  1. #1

    Default So...............are 'they' out there?

    Just curious if anyone believes, isn't sure, or doesn't believe there are other..........creatures...........in the universe? Me? I fall in the middle. Nowhere near convinced but have heard things (the occasional needle in the haystack) that makes me go 'hmmmmm?' Add to that the universe being a very big patch of real estate.

    Just curious...

  2. #2

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    Well, I'll take the bait on this one ... your last statement (well the one before just curious) sorta sums up my feelings on the whole thing ... the universe is just TOO INCOMPREHENSIBLY BIG a place for this one little rock to be the only place with life.

    So, in a word, YES, I believe there is other life out there, but I believe it's also highly unlikely that we will discover one another. I think we're more likely to destroy ourselves before we develop the technology necessary to travel the awesome distances required to find other life in the universe. A depressing thought ... yes ... but one that I believe is consistent w/ the human record to date.

    jim

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn R. L. View Post
    Just curious if anyone believes, isn't sure, or doesn't believe there are other..........creatures...........in the universe? Me? I fall in the middle. Nowhere near convinced but have heard things (the occasional needle in the haystack) that makes me go 'hmmmmm?' Add to that the universe being a very big patch of real estate.

    Just curious...
    Hmmmn.....OK let me play Devils Advocate here.

    You are wiling to believe in the existance of a Deity/Creature/Person/Entity that has omnipotent powers, without any physical evidence and yet you remain hesitant to believe in another form of physical life?

    (And no Shawn, I'm not trying to have a go at you or your faith, merely pointing out a slight dichotomy in thought.
    As you know I have no religious belief, but the whole description of an entity with "powers/capabilities" so well above our own level of comprehension, could equally apply to a Extra-Terrestrial Lifeform).
    Last edited by Dragonsreach; 08-06-2010 at 03:48 AM. Reason: Image link failure, Also can't type this morning
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  4. #4

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    My thoughts when it comes to this question is right there with sivous. Logic tells me that there has to be other lifeforms out there but with the universe being theoretically infinite and with absolutely most planetary bodies moving away from each other we will most likely be extinct before meeting anyone we are able to communicate with. I do believe we will find life on other planets though and probably relatively soon, I'd say within the next 100 years.
    Last edited by Chrome; 08-06-2010 at 06:01 AM.

  5. #5

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    Personally I think there must be life elsewhere given the huge number of stars with planets.

    Taking the universe as a whole I think the chances that there is no other life, other than on our rock, are nil*; even in our own galaxy I think that multiple planets support life, possibly a large number. Whether that life evolves much beyond simple microorganisms is another question.

    *Let's look at some numbers. If we assume that life can only begin and evolve on a planet which allows for liquid water, the number of possible contenders is pretty massive. Sticking with being very conservative, if only a thousandth of one percent of all stars aren't too dim, too bright or give off too much radiation etc. to rule them out this leaves a staggering number of systems. Again being extremely conservative so as not to over-egg the pudding, if only 0.1% of those had planets and only 0.1% of those had one in the right zone and only 0.1% are in the right stage of their development that's still a pretty large number of contenders where life of our type might arise - 100,000,000 based on one estimate of the number of stars in the universe, 1,000,000,000 by another estimate. Different people will have their own ideas on the chances that life will have arisen just once among all those; remember, over the whole lifespan of the stars either number is multiplied by a thousand, so possibly a trillion chances over many billions of years.

    If on the other hand we assume that we were created by an omnipotent omniscient god then all bets are off. We could be the only experiment he/she/it is running in the entire universe (at least this one). Alternatively every system with a planet like ours could have life bubbling away since it could look at all of them simultaneously every moment.

    Einion

  6. #6

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    Oh, and just to space out here(pun kinda intended) there's always the possibility of non-carbon based lifeforms undetectable with our current level of technology as well. There are an awful lot of substances and atoms out there we haven't discovered or catalogued yet and even though it is a lot more complete than the good old earth, wind, fire and water theory our periodic table is far from complete and I'm willing to bet my money on it becoming insufficient later.

  7. #7

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    I think it was in a recent telly programme, or at least in the promotion for it that the scientist (that deceptively young looking one, working on the Hadron collider) gave the math that all but proved there had to be life out there. Even with so many variables needing to be "just right", a little bit off with heat/gravity/water etc and life "as we know it" couldn't exist. It's a tiny chance that any galaxy has a life supporting planet, but there's no shortage of galaxies so eventually one is bound to also throw up a life supporting planet.

    Infinity, what a bonus eh. A nutter could take that further. With that one could presume that eventually there's a life supporting planet out there where the dominant life form is a race of people evolved from plankton, where the ruling family all possess a passing resemblance to Summer Glau.

  8. #8

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    I believe that life will begin anywhere it has a chance to.

    Given the infinite size of the universe, the chances of life being 'out there' are also infinite.

    Now, intelligent life would be more rare. As would, given the estimated 13 billion year old Universe, having that life fall within the same era as our own.

    I do believe, once we are technologically advanced to really detect it, life out there will be almost commonplace.

  9. #9

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    It would be highly improbable that we are the only ones in the entire universe.. what a freak of nature if we are though
    On a slightly more serious note though we should be looking at the probability of life in our own galaxy if we want to try and calculate our chances of finding any life. Our galaxy is large enough to move around in let alone try to move through the massive distances inbetween them. That said there may even be life in our own solar system ( other than ourselves of course). The moons of Jupiter may just support life, albeit simple life, but that would prove that we are not the only ones.
    What you leave behind is not what is written on your tombstone but what is written in the heart of others.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonsreach View Post
    Hmmmn.....OK let me play Devils Advocate here.

    You are wiling to believe in the existance of a Deity/Creature/Person/Entity that has omnipotent powers, without any physical evidence and yet you remain hesitant to believe in another form of physical life?
    Well, most of us (including theists) use "believe" contextually, sometimes to mean "the evidence has intellectually convinced me", not "I have a religious faith in this". After all, a lot of people's religious faith actively disregards evidence because they see it as a separate matter.

    Of course with alien life, since there's no evidence for it yet, it's more a matter of deciding if you think the statistical likelihood favours it, or not. The famous Drake Equation has been approximated in Einon's post, and that sort of thing is about our best grounds for argument so far.

    I DO think the likelihood of extraterrestrial life being similar to that seen in the movies and SF books is virtually zero. And that our likelihood of encountering intelligent aliens who we can trade with and have Captain Kirk style kinky sex with is much lower even than that. Our best bet at knowing we're not alone is likely to be a mathematically-distinct radio signal, or finding astronomical evidence of an advanced megaproject so vast we can detect it from here with telescopes (ringworld, anyone?)
    Last edited by No Such Agency; 08-06-2010 at 09:17 AM.

  11. #11

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    Just to tackle this early on in the discussion, case this goes on a while: the universe isn't infinite. The space might be or might be considered to be, but the stuff inside it (interstellar hydrogen, gas clouds, dust, rocks, asteroids, planets, stars, dark matter) is most definitely finite as far as cosmologists are concerned. So no multiplying teeny tiny probabilities by infinity unfortunately - this would not only make the chances of life elsewhere a 100% certainty it would also suggest that there's an infinite amount of it.

    It must be said, the evidence is not good that life will arise spontaneously with alacrity - we only have life on Earth to go on and it took its sweet time here - but I believe while it's not likely it is a definite possibility given the right conditions and enough time (this is separate from considerations of different forms of life, which might exist in vacuum, be based on crystals or whatever). Other people believe that irrespective of the conditions and a huge timeframe that the chances are so low that the probability of life having arisen at all is infinitesimally small; but recent experiments may finally be chipping away at this idea to provide some evidence that the pessimist view may not really be viable. FWIW some scientists, Drake among them, estimate that chance as 1 - inevitable.

    On the Drake Equation: this is to determine the chances of technologically-advanced life in our galaxy, not just the chances of life. Even with generous numbers for some of the figures the equation can give a very, very low result; Sagan did it and arrived at a 10. FWIW Drake's solution was (is?) 10,000 (according to here). Also check out the Fermi Paradox if you're interested.

    Quote Originally Posted by No Such Agency
    I DO think the likelihood of extraterrestrial life being similar to that seen in the movies and SF books is virtually zero.
    Any or all? Thinking of many of the decent attempts at distinct alien species they haven't been all bad... it's just them being here that stretches credulity IMB.

    Quote Originally Posted by No Such Agency
    Our best bet at knowing we're not alone is likely to be a mathematically-distinct radio signal, or finding astronomical evidence of an advanced megaproject so vast we can detect it from here with telescopes (ringworld, anyone?)
    Or a Dyson sphere

    Einion
    Last edited by Einion; 08-06-2010 at 11:19 AM. Reason: Added link

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Einion View Post
    Just to tackle this early on in the discussion, case this goes on a while: the universe isn't infinite. The space might be or might be considered to be, but the stuff inside it (interstellar hydrogen, gas clouds, dust, rocks, asteroids, planets, stars, dark matter) is most definitely finite as far as cosmologists are concerned. So no multiplying teeny tiny probabilities by infinity unfortunately - this would not only make the chances of life elsewhere a 100% certainty it would also suggest that there's an infinite amount of it.
    Einion
    I understand giving a limitation to the argument as Infinity x any miniscule number still results in an infinite product.

    However, I disagree with the premise that the Universe in not infinite. Actually, not me personally, but scientists. (i've not the intelligence to understand all they refer to) The Big Bang Theory itself doesn't point to a finite amount of material, at least that is not the way many cosmologists view it. But, even granting that argument, saying that the universe is lets say encompassed in an incredibly large sphere...SOMETHING is on the outside of that. Thus infinity.

    I all honesty, it's such a inconceivable topic that I'm not sure we, as humans, can begin to fathom it. I know there are many huge brains that try, but all we'll ever have is educated guesses.

    I do know one thing. The universe is incredibly vast and complex. It would seem such a waste if we were the only life. Or even Intelligent life.


    I got excited last week when a headline read "They've found evidence of life on Mars". It turned out that scientest just felt that a certain region of Mars would be rich in looking for fossils.

    Do any of you think finding live elsewhere changes anything? Changes your opinion on God? Changes the way we view oursleves?

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonsreach View Post
    Hmmmn.....OK let me play Devils Advocate here.

    You are wiling to believe in the existance of a Deity/Creature/Person/Entity that has omnipotent powers, without any physical evidence and yet you remain hesitant to believe in another form of physical life?

    (And no Shawn, I'm not trying to have a go at you or your faith, merely pointing out a slight dichotomy in thought.
    As you know I have no religious belief, but the whole description of an entity with "powers/capabilities" so well above our own level of comprehension, could equally apply to a Extra-Terrestrial Lifeform).
    I met Him.


    @
    Chrome - I've wondered the same thing. There's always the limit put on things such that life can ONLY be on an oxygen rich, H2O and carbon environment. Who's to say, there may be creatures on Mercury wondering how ANYTHING can exist with the horrific suffocating atmosphere on Earth and all that toxic water.

    @No Such Agency - Interesting how no matter where the Enterprise went there were hot babe's.
    Last edited by Shawn R. L.; 08-06-2010 at 12:34 PM.

  14. #14
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  15. #15

    Lightbulb

    ....I think we probably need to discover intelligent life on this planet first....

  16. #16

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    i think that there is a very good chance that there is other life. chrome makes a good point as well - the drake equation guesstamates the likelyhood of other life similar to our own. i am of the opinon that there is probably truely alien life out there, as well as organic life (all the right compunds are out there - giant gas clouds of AAs in deep space, comphy planets, water...).

    shit, we might have already found life, but are incaepeable of recognizing it. consider stars for a moment - superficially these celestial bodies have many of the requirements of life, and could be intelligent - but we'd never know it. they have metabolism and structure (super complex self-sustaining nuclear fission/fusion), are born, age, and die, are capeable of interacting with eachother (gravitational fields, electromagnetic fields, particle emissions), the list goes on....
    their level of complexity is unfathomable... would we be able to recognize a living star, to recognize self awareness as a pattern of reactive nuclear fission patterns? probably not, our lives are to short (hell life on our planet is too short) and our mind too narrow. would we recognize a self propigating and adaptable energy harmonic in a crystal lattice as (non-physical) life? probably not.

    but to cut the bs - organic life, almost certainly. there are as many galaxies as stars in our galaxy. numbers which are quite literally larger than those a human can mind can comprehend. the materials are abundant and the physical principals supportive (micells spontaniously form, we can grow spontaniously forming self replicating RNAs).
    Last edited by funnymouth; 08-06-2010 at 05:54 PM.

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    As usual I'm replying before I've read the responses so if I've stepped in something that smells but has already been hashed out I'm sorry.


    My view is "Why not?" That's my view to most things. It's a big world and universe and we know so little about our own back yard that it wouldn't surprize me if there was something out there. Could it have visited us yet? More than likely not but who knows? It it hostile? No idea. That's what makes life mysterious. There are things we have hints of but don't know for sure.
    We done done it now. We're finally hitched. We are now the dreaded two headed Roger - Liz - Bunting monster you have all feared.

  18. #18

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    gotta be something. doubt there is anything humanoid. prolly insectoid or similar. or smaller of course
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v433/freak-in-a-cage/freakinacage-1.jpg

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by No Such Agency View Post
    And that our likelihood of encountering intelligent aliens who we can trade with and have Captain Kirk style kinky sex with is much lower even than that.
    Killjoy! =P
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  20. #20

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    gotta be something. doubt there is anything humanoid. prolly insectoid or similar. or smaller of course
    Most likely the first extra terrestial life we find will be bacterial / microbe. Given that for most of us on the planet the conditions need to be just right for us to thrive, the chances of finding just the right conditions elsewhere in the galaxy are slim; but not impossible. Bacteria, on the other hand, can survive in the most unlikely of places. Even on Earth bacteria can be found at the bottom of the ocean near volcanic vents where there is no light and the water temperature is in the hundreds of degrees centigrade. Bacteria has even been found in arctic ice where it can survive the extreme cold by producing its own anti freeze.

    So that being the case we may find life on the moons of Jupiter or Saturn... if we can find out a fool proof way of testing that is.

    Will it change anything... to most people probably not. An extra piece of knowledge that does not really have any bearing on our day to day lives. To those of particular religious faiths who beleive that Earth is the only place to contain life because God say so, might have something to think about. Probably conspiracy theories about how other faiths or atheists have planted the "evidence" to subvert their teachings.
    What you leave behind is not what is written on your tombstone but what is written in the heart of others.

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