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Life in the universe.

by Whateverworks
Tags: life, universe
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Whateverworks
#1
Jun21-11, 03:30 PM
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Hello PF.

I will give you my thoughts about the chance of there being life in the universe and I would like you too write what you think and maybe come with arguments against me. I am not very pro in any way at all so I may be incorrect in some things and if I am I would be happy if you can correct me. Most of this knowledge I have learned come from Neil deGrasse Tyson I should say and I share his beliefs.

I should say I talk about intelligent life and my definition of intelligent life in this thread is the knowledge too send radio waves, communicate and send objects into space.

Our atoms are made of hydrogen,oxygen,nitrogen and carbon. Our body is 60 percent water = H2O = 2 H atoms and 1 O atom our DNA is based on Carbon and Nitrogen occurs in all living organisms we know. If we look at the most common atoms in the universe we find the exact same atoms; hydrogen,oxygen,nitrogen and carbon. We know, because of modern astrophysics, how those atoms are made they are traceable to the crucibles that cooked light elements into heavy elements in their core under extreme temperatures and pressures. These stars exploded, what we would call a supernova i guess, scattering their atoms across the galaxy.
These ingredients become part of gas clouds that condense, collapse, form the next generation of solar systems stars with orbiting planets. And those planets now have the ingredients for life itself.

IMHO the universe is too vast, there is way too many stars, way too many planets throughout the universe with those ingredients for life itself, that life would not drive of one of those planets would be very ego too suggest.

One could argument that, yes we haven't found life yet but IMO that argument is not really valid when we consider how big the universe is contra how much we have looked.

In my very humble opinion life is just an invertible consequence of complex chemistry.

Now;

Do you agree with me or do you think I am completely wrong?

/WeW/

By the way sorry for my bad English but I am from Denmark and don't get too write or talk English that much.
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Drakkith
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Jun21-11, 07:08 PM
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I mostly agree. When you look at the simply enormous scale of the universe it seems almost silly that there isn't any other life out there.
Nabeshin
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Jun21-11, 07:37 PM
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The thing is, it really isn't a question of opinion or how you feel or anything like that. The rate of star formation, the rate of planet formation, the fraction of planets within the habitable zone, the fraction of those which have water etc. are all well defined quantities. That is to say, all the terms in the drake equation are perfectly well defined -- we simply do not know their values (and hence, the variations of those values).

Space is, of course, inhumanly big, so it is no wonder that many of us 'feel' that there 'must' be other life out there. However, us humans are also notoriously bad with large and small numbers, and it could be the case that the formation of, say, planetary bodies within the habitable zone is an extraordinarily rare event such that, probabilistically, there is next to no chance of life. (Disregard for a moment what we actually know about this process -- The point is that people have been making the claim that surely life 'must' be out there for much longer than we've had any idea about such things!)

My point is that it's a question of facts and data, and one should not appeal to intuition for any kind of answer to this question.

Drakkith
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Jun21-11, 08:26 PM
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Life in the universe.

I understand you Nabeshin, but unfortunantly the facts and available data are woefully inadequate to form an informed opinion either way really. All we can look at is the sheer size of the universe and take a guess and form an opinion.
marcus
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Jun21-11, 09:07 PM
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Quote Quote by Whateverworks View Post
...
I should say I talk about intelligent life and my definition of intelligent life in this thread is the knowledge too send radio waves, communicate and send objects into space.

These ingredients become part of gas clouds that condense, collapse, form the next generation of solar systems stars with orbiting planets. And those planets now have the ingredients for life itself.
...
One could argument that, yes we haven't found life yet but IMO that argument is not really valid when we consider how big the universe is contra how much we have looked.

In my very humble opinion life is just an in[CONTRO]vertible consequence of complex chemistry.

/WeW/
Quote Quote by Drakkith View Post
I mostly agree. When you look at the simply enormous scale of the universe it seems almost silly that there isn't any other life out there.
I agree with Drakkith. I mostly agree with WeW.

One must have carefully reviewed opinions and hunches (intuitive suspicions) in order to decide on questions like exoplanet research budget. It is rational to have guesses about stuff we don't know in order to set scientific priorities. In a democracy (like Denmark) there is a role to be played by informed public opinion. That includes informed opinion about what is still unknown, and only a possibility. Scientists form opinions about what could be and what might be interesting to discover. So must also the Public be able to form opinion of probabilities about what is still unknown. Or so I think. If it is a real democracy.

WeW, you should say "incontrovertible" for undeniable, something you cannot argue against.
I hope you practice your English with us. Your ideas are good. You just need more practice---then you will be indistinguishable from a native English-speaker.

Also the words "to" and "too" are different. They sound the same but mean different things.

"to" forms the infinitive and also expresses motion towards. I go to school. I want to learn.

"too" expresses the idea of "in addition" "more of the same added on" and sometimes "excess" (like "too much" is more than you need or want).
DaveC426913
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Jun21-11, 09:23 PM
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Note that there are two critical factors that are very important to us where those probabilities fall short, and, if not in our favour, makes the rest moot.

These one-or-many extraterrestrial lifeforms must occur frequently enough to raise the probablities that at least some of them are:
a] near enough in space for us to locate them (let alone study or communicate with)
b] near enough in time that they are here when we are.

If life is not so common that either of the above fall below some threshold (lots of lifeforms - but they're 10,000 light years away - or - lots of lifeforms but shortlived, and all died out a billion years ago), then the mere probability of life in the whole universe is meaningless.

What we concern ourselves with is the vanishingly tinier probability of life within observational distance anid at this time in the univers's lifetime.
marcus
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Jun21-11, 09:29 PM
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WeW why don't you ask two separate questions both restricted to LIFE IN OUR GALAXY? Restricting the question just to our galaxy makes it more practical to address.

A. is there some other life in our milkyway galaxy?

B. is there some other life in our galaxy that builds radios?

It is more practical to address questions like this, because we know how many stars, we know what they are like (numbers of different types of stars) we have a sample of planetary systems. We have rough estimates of planets with liquid water etc etc. IN OUR GALAXY limits the numbers so you are more able to calculate probabilities.

It is also more practical because there are more real decisions to make based on the information, if it becomes available.

Life in a distant galaxy 100 million lightyears away we don't have to take seriously. Sure there might be. But we could never hold a radio conversation, or send a robot visitor to them. It is an abstract question whether there is some radio-able life in a distant galaxy.
Probably there is, but so what? The information has no practical consequences and is not very easy to test.
DaveC426913
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Jun21-11, 09:45 PM
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Quote Quote by marcus View Post
Sure there might be. But we could never hold a radio conversation, or send a robot visitor to them. It is an abstract question whether there is some radio-able life in a distant galaxy.
Probably there is, but so what? The information has no practical consequences and is not very easy to test.
More to the point, it is not merely unknown, it is virtually unknowable. You might as well go looking for God.
bcrowell
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Jun21-11, 10:02 PM
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Well, to go to another galaxy you have to get to like warp factor 13, and also you have to break through the energy barrier at the edge of the galaxy.

But in the meantime, this book is pretty interesting:

Ward and Brownlee, Rare Earth: Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe
DaveC426913
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Jun21-11, 10:08 PM
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Quote Quote by bcrowell View Post
Well, to go to another galaxy you have to get to like warp factor 13, and also you have to break through the energy barrier at the edge of the galaxy.
Ah yes, the Energy Barrier.

Ever get the feeling they were sitting around in the writer's war room and said to themselves "What's the dumbest sci-fi techno-nonsense we can get away with and still get the fans to swallow it?"

But back to the thread, before it gets derailed...
Drakkith
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Jun21-11, 10:21 PM
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Quote Quote by DaveC426913 View Post
Ever get the feeling they were sitting around in the writer's war room and said to themselves "What's the dumbest sci-fi techno-nonsense we can get away with and still get the fans to swallow it?"
Probably the fact there are hundreds if not thousands of species in about 1/4 of the galaxy that looks 90% just like humans.
bcrowell
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Jun21-11, 10:23 PM
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Quote Quote by DaveC426913 View Post
But back to the thread, before it gets derailed...
You're telling me there's no Energy Barrier??
bcrowell
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Jun21-11, 10:25 PM
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Quote Quote by Drakkith View Post
Probably the fact there are hundreds if not thousands of species in about 1/4 of the galaxy that looks 90% just like humans.
I complained to my running buddy the other day about Vulcans being able to interbreed with humans, etc. He launched into an intense explanation of why this is actually possible in the Star Trek universe. Sometimes it's good to know that you aren't the biggest geek in the whole world.

But if I really wanted to derail the thread, I'd mention how Klingon babes are totally hot.
Drakkith
#14
Jun22-11, 12:23 AM
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Quote Quote by bcrowell View Post
But if I really wanted to derail the thread, I'd mention how Klingon babes are totally hot.
I always liked the depiction of strong and decisive women lol.
Too bad it wont be like that for real.
Ryan_m_b
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Jun22-11, 02:55 AM
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For the most part I don't think it is reasonable to assert that it is probable that there is life anywhere else but Earth, especially so for intelligent life. Obviously it's happened once so it could happen again but we have very little idea of how abiogenesis works and consequently no idea of how likely it would be that given another primordial Earth abiogenesis and evolution would occur. It could be that the odds are incredibly high and once you have the right chemical mix/temp etc it is only a matter of time, it could also be that Earth was extremely lucky.

You can ditto that for the evolution of multicellular life, development of central nervous systems, evolution of social animals and evolution of tool-using animals. Looking at it from an Evo-Bio stance we have nothing to base our probabilities on and so cannot really guess at an answer.
Whateverworks
#16
Jun22-11, 07:57 AM
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Quote Quote by marcus View Post
WeW, you should say "incontrovertible" for undeniable, something you cannot argue against.
I hope you practice your English with us. Your ideas are good. You just need more practice---then you will be indistinguishable from a native English-speaker.

Also the words "to" and "too" are different. They sound the same but mean different things.

"to" forms the infinitive and also expresses motion towards. I go to school. I want to learn.

"too" expresses the idea of "in addition" "more of the same added on" and sometimes "excess" (like "too much" is more than you need or want).
I will practice English and quite frankly' I did not know the difference between "to" and "too" so thank you for clearing that out.


Quote Quote by marcus View Post
WeW why don't you ask two separate questions both restricted to LIFE IN OUR GALAXY? Restricting the question just to our galaxy makes it more practical to address.

A. is there some other life in our milkyway galaxy?

B. is there some other life in our galaxy that builds radios?

It is more practical to address questions like this, because we know how many stars, we know what they are like (numbers of different types of stars) we have a sample of planetary systems. We have rough estimates of planets with liquid water etc etc. IN OUR GALAXY limits the numbers so you are more able to calculate probabilities.

It is also more practical because there are more real decisions to make based on the information, if it becomes available.

Life in a distant galaxy 100 million lightyears away we don't have to take seriously. Sure there might be. But we could never hold a radio conversation, or send a robot visitor to them. It is an abstract question whether there is some radio-able life in a distant galaxy.
Probably there is, but so what? The information has no practical consequences and is not very easy to test.
I totally agree with you Marcus. The question about life in our galaxy or a nearby galaxy would definitely be the most relevant question to impose given that the data we have on those galaxy's is of course more reliable than galaxy's we have little or no data off.

Quote Quote by Drakkith View Post
I mostly agree. When you look at the simply enormous scale of the universe it seems almost silly that there isn't any other life out there.
I of course agree with you Drakkith.

Quote Quote by DaveC426913 View Post
More to the point, it is not merely unknown, it is virtually unknowable. You might as well go looking for God.
Yes there could be anything, something or nothing we simply do not know and probably we'll never figure it out. So all that's left is "empty" guessing.

/WeW/
Ryan_m_b
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Jun22-11, 08:14 AM
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Quote Quote by Whateverworks View Post
Yes there could be anything, something or nothing we simply do not know and probably we'll never figure it out. So all that's left is "empty" guessing.

/WeW/
No all that is left is to methodically design and implement research
DaveC426913
#18
Jun22-11, 08:26 AM
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Quote Quote by ryan_m_b View Post
For the most part I don't think it is reasonable to assert that it is probable that there is life anywhere else but Earth, especially so for intelligent life. Obviously it's happened once so it could happen again but we have very little idea of how abiogenesis works and consequently no idea of how likely it would be that given another primordial Earth abiogenesis and evolution would occur.
Well, I'm not really sure it's a total mystery, but maybe I'm optimistic.

Lipids tend to form naturally, which tend to form closed self-contained bubbles. Amino acids tend to form naturally. From amino acids you get proteins and you're at least on your way toward chemical complexity.


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