's Forum Archives - Non-Cycling Discussions

Archive Home >> Non-Cycling Discussions(1 2 3 4 )

Friday poll: Life on other planets?(33 posts)

Friday poll: Life on other planets?Silverback
Aug 1, 2003 9:02 AM
Overheard a discussion on this at a local anti-Starbuck's this morning, begun by a news story about looking for life on Mars, and it got pretty heated because the no-life guy interpreted any other view as an attack on his religious beliefs.
His position: God created us--JUST us--in his image, and there's no possibility of life anywhere else in the Universe. The Bible says so, and that's all he needs.
The other view: There are trillions of stars, many or most of them no doubt with planets. Surely the law of averages alone makes it very unlikely that our puny planet, circling a pretty pedestrian star, is the only place where life arose.
I'm in the second camp. Anybody else?
Where does the Bible say that?Humma Hah
Aug 1, 2003 9:22 AM
I've got a sister like that. Preacher says its so (I can't find it). Bible's God's Word and can't be challenged (ain't so ... some prophesy in the Bible attributed to the creator, but, in fact, most of it is a history and the accounts of Genesis are legends ... they do not purport to be an account delivered by God. The Koran is very different ... delivered in a relatively short time to one individual, and purports to be directly from The Man himself.

But start calling somebody's belief a "creation myth" always rubs them the wrong way. Everybody else's creation myth is a creation myth, tho'.

Interesting observation: all present research suggests that the biochemistry of life is created readily in anything approaching an Earth-like environment. Life may be virtually inevitable on a planet like this one, given a few hundred million years to cook. Stars, in fact, are ideal factories for the four elements on which life is based. Which begs the question, was this Universe DESIGNED for life?
Better question....was the universe designed?bicyclerepairman
Aug 1, 2003 5:38 PM
Don't know, but. . .czardonic
Aug 1, 2003 9:43 AM
. . .I don't personally put much stock in the "law of averages" theory.

If life developed as current science believes it has, there are as many factors contributing to the development of life on Earth as there are other planets in the Universe. Especially when you consider that the gravitational fields of all the other objects floating around the Universe combine to make Earth's orbit just exactly the way it needs to be to provide the required environment.
Aug 1, 2003 10:15 AM
I guess on one level I'm surprised to hear you say that. (On a different level that shows how LITTLE we know about one another as a function of this detached coversational medium.)

Still, I'd tend to believe that there are enough similar systematic confluences of circumstances that exist such that life is probable. Now, whether or not that life is what we imagine it to be in our extremely limited conceptual understanding of an impossibly large universe is another issue.

As for the religious aspect, there have actually been studies by RAND and CNA about extraterrestrial life, its discovery and the resultant potential impact to global society/religion. I can imagine a lot of chaos....
I'm kinda with czar on this one.OldEdScott
Aug 1, 2003 10:32 AM
For life as we know it (note the qualification) to exist, everything has to be JUST SO. We live in an almost scarily narrow zone of opportunity. The tiniest shifts (in a cosmic sense)would render Earth lifeless.

Sure, there's beellions and beellions (as KS would say) of planets out there, and probably enough that the unique conditions on Earth would be reproduced on at least a few of them. Unlikely there would be very many, or that they would be close enough in space and time to ever communicate with one another.

STILL. I want to add one thing:


I don't care what Reason tells me, I believe it because it simply MUST be so for me to be happy.
Who's KS??? (from a Carl Sagan fan)bicyclerepairman
Aug 1, 2003 5:37 PM
I guess it depends on your definition of "life".czardonic
Aug 1, 2003 10:37 AM
I think that the likelihood of the combination of circumstances that created life as we know it are pretty infintesimal. I'm not saying that it is not possible, just that it is also possible that we are alone.

But within the small but existing likelihood that there are other life-forms out there, what are the chances that we would be able to recognise or communicate with it? I think that is a far more interesting question. For all we know the Universe, or even our own planet, is teeming with life that we are unable to concieve of.
Aug 1, 2003 10:40 AM
Let the chaos begin.
re: Friday poll: Life on other planets?Captain Morgan
Aug 1, 2003 9:56 AM
I saw a Carl Sagan special once (probably about 10 years ago) where he calculated the probablility. He ended up with an estimate of about 10 planets in the universe with "intelligent" life forms.
was one of them earth? :) nmmohair_chair
Aug 1, 2003 10:06 AM
Not to disagree with C.S., but that seems...rwbadley
Aug 1, 2003 10:24 AM
Really a low number.

I am of the opinion that with the number of stars available (what is it? 70 million trillion? I saw it somewhere the other day, 70 followed by 22 zeroes) even tossing out the trillions that have no planets, the likelyhood of 'intelligent life' would have to boil down to something more than 10 planets.

Life will spring up anywhere; given enough time, and half a chance. I have a hard time believing we are that 'alone' in the universe.

We are indeed unusual, I will grant that. Too bad we work so hard at diminishing our chances of species survival.

The odds of life beginning could be inconceivably smallContinental
Aug 1, 2003 11:04 AM
I think that man will be able to create life from the basic elements within the next 50 years. We will then understand the conditions and probabilities for life beginning. I expect that the odds of life beginning at random will be so small that 70 sextillion opportunities over the life of the universe will still result in a very, very low probability of life forming. About a week ago I made an analogy of dumping 25 colored dice out of a bag, and if you did it every second on 70 sextillion planets since the beginning of time, you still would only have an 0.3% chance of getting a specific sequence. Since life is based on macromolecules, it could require thousands of improbable events to occur in a specific order. Even if the macromolecues assemble to for simple life, the development of consciousness could be even more improbable. I doubt if the universe is teeming with life. So, feel special, enjoy every moment, and don't deprive others of the opportunity to appreciate their consciousness.

Continental "70,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars in the known universe" 7/22/03 12:28pm
Unless ...OldEdScott
Aug 1, 2003 11:12 AM
There is somehow in the Universe a WILL to life. That presumes the Universe has intent, and cares. Mystical proposition: The Universe wills life, because it needs Consciousness to regard itself.

Oh those damn Thai sticks ...
Ed, Lay Off the Hooch!!!Jon Billheimer
Aug 1, 2003 11:20 AM
Now you're anthropomorphizing Consciousness. Sheesh!!!! Leave it to a bored, drunken, cracker-liberal. Now go slop the Hawgs!!
Speakin' of cracka ...Live Steam
Aug 1, 2003 2:42 PM
anyone have the chance to see Tom Simmons? I think he would fit in with this bunch. Very funny guy. His link below will give you a god sense of what he's about. Yes Ed even conservatives have a sense of humor :O) Tom is definitely a liberal, but a funny one! We saw him at Atlantis while on the honeymoon.
Don't call me cracker!OldEdScott
Aug 4, 2003 5:02 AM
Crackrican-American, thank you very much.
even less pcDougSloan
Aug 4, 2003 6:26 AM
he did 2 calculations.dr hoo
Aug 1, 2003 12:22 PM
One with the most pessimistic values in the equation, one with more optimistic values. The low estimate was 10. The high estimate was hundreds of millions (or something like that).

Of course he also said even if there was intelligent life we would probably never know it, as the distances between any two cultures of similar technological levels would be astronomical ( heh ).

The equation for estimating life can easily be found on the net i am sure, if you are interested.
that is just idioticmohair_chair
Aug 1, 2003 10:14 AM
I have no doubt that this guy is picking and choosing which parts of the bible influence his beliefs, because there is some pretty crazy stuff in there. Does this guy own any slaves?

Where in the Bible does it say he can drink coffee?

I have no idea if there life on other planets. It seems likely that with all the galaxies and solar systems out there, there is probably a planet that has some form of life on it.
correctionJS Haiku Shop
Aug 1, 2003 10:21 AM
trillions = at least 70 sextillion, remember?

there's life all over this universe. abundant.

once we solve the speed & distance riddles, we'll prove it to ourselves.

even then, it will be refuted by religious fundamentalists.
re: Friday poll: Life on other planets?Skip
Aug 1, 2003 10:51 AM
The proper question is, not whether, but how much, where, and in what form.
Depends on how you phrase the question?Len J
Aug 1, 2003 11:45 AM
1.) Intelligent life as we know it?
The odds are pretty small that there are all that many species like us in the Universe. It's possible but as someone else mentioned, the odds of all of the billions of conditions that gave rise to the billions of genetic mutations that resulted in the human species are pretty small.

2.) Intelligent life?
I think the odds are large that there are meny intelligent species in the universe. There are to many stars with too many planets that have existed for way too long for the entire rest of the universe to be devoid of life. Wether we will recognize it or be able to communicate with it is another question entirely.

The Fundamentalist view that is (and always has been) so Earth (and human) centric, is frankly damn arrogant. Not only does it put us above the Universe but is bringing God down to our level, defining God by our limited intellect.

Plenty of life out there.

Sub poll--would ET intelligent Life use Shimano or Campy? nmContinental
Aug 1, 2003 12:11 PM
Neither--Suntour, Paul and Phil Wood. nmsn69
Aug 1, 2003 12:34 PM
NOW you're talking out-of-this-world components! nmOldEdScott
Aug 4, 2003 5:24 AM
I seem to remember a few years backsn69
Aug 4, 2003 9:24 AM
that one of the various magazines featured a road bike with all American componentry, including hubs by Real, cranks by Cook, Grafton, Kooka or somebody like that, and a really nifty drivetrain by Paul.

That said, I'm about to start building a commuter out of an Ibis Spanky frame I recently acquired. I've already decided on downtube shifters and MA4 hoops, but the other comps are still up for discussion. Recommendations would be greatly appreciated,...and I'll be certain to give my Old Blue Grass buddy due credit when the mother ship comes to take me back to Rigel.
Seems inconceivable to me there ISN'T life elsewherecory
Aug 1, 2003 12:18 PM
I'm not hampered/helped (take your pick) by religious beliefs in this area, so it's pretty easy for me: Given all the opportunities just in the part of the universe we know of, I can't believe there ISN'T life (defined as creatures that are at least borderline sentient and have the ability to reproduce) on other planets. If you don't regard God as the creator, then it's just a matter of having the right conditions, whatever they are, and enough time.
But I admit that the instant when the spark occurs, when a collection of carbon and whatnot becomes a living thing, gives me pause....
my betDougSloan
Aug 1, 2003 12:36 PM
My bet is that life is out there, but we'll never confirm it. Space is so vast, and our time here so brief, that I just can't conceive of any evidence of at least intelligent life getting from us to another life form, or from them to us.

Maybe it's that way on purpose?

The mere numbers of stars would suggest that life *must* be elsewhere. However, life is not a random event. It requires very precise, as far as we know, circumstances to co-exist for it to happen, and then *intelligent* life developing from that is orders of magnitude more difficult and complex. This concept became more apparent to me after the study of the chimps typing not long ago. There was always suggested that given enough time, a chimp typing would eventually create the works of Shakespeare (after words, sentences, etc.). However, when they actually tested this, they found chimps fixating on particular letters and typing strings like "ffffffffjjjjjjjjjjxxxxxxxx", not random at all. In other words, it doesn't make sense to discuss events in terms of randomness that aren't random. So, there actually might be a chance that we are alone as intelligent life, or at least that it may appear in the universe far less frequently than might be estimated, and then so sparesly that we may well never know of any.

I wondered...Jon Billheimer
Aug 1, 2003 5:24 PM
...when someone was going to challenge the randomness idea! Good job, Doug. The fact is none of us has a clue, and our guesses/opinions are probably as much dictated by our hardwired projections as by any kind of logic. Personally, I like Old Ed's justification: there must be life elsewhere because it makes him feel good!!
re: Whats the singletrack like?jrm
Aug 1, 2003 5:38 PM
Do i need UST tires or am i cool with olivers yes tubes? peace out...
re: Friday poll: Life on other planets?Skip
Aug 1, 2003 8:10 PM
There has to be more intelligent life than us in the universe; and given our inability to get along, on our small piece of real estate of the universe, time & space make the best fence between us and our neighbors.
maybe the ideaDougSloan
Aug 2, 2003 9:18 AM
Maybe the idea of such huge vastness is that by the time, if ever, a life form creates the technology to travel to other forms, they will have sufficiently morally advanced, too. Not according to Gene Roddenberry, apparently.