Chance of life on other planets

Discussion in 'Astronomy, Exobiology, & Cosmology' started by James R, Sep 4, 2010.

  1. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    BTW: There are two interesting estimates relating to life elsewhere in the universe.
    • How many planets in a galaxy can be expected to have living organisms?

    • How many planets in a galaxy can be expected to have a technological culture? Id est: Intelligent life.
    I think the Drake equation is a poor approach to estimating either of the above.

    A better estimate can be obtained by carefully analyzing the history of the earth, taking into consideration both the habitable zone of a galaxy & the habitable zone of a solar system. After the analysis, make your best guess based on that analysis and/or use the analysis to make your best guess at parameters for the Drake equation.

    I prefer the SWAG approach over using the analysis to guess at Drake parameters.

    BTW: A SWAG (Sophisticated Wild Ass guess) is better than a WAG.

    My SWAG is that life of some sort is likely to have occurred several times or more in a galaxy like ours. Guessing that we are the only technological culture in our galaxy is not a bad SWAG. I would expect many galaxies to have never had a technological culture & very few to have had more than one.

    The history of the earth strongly suggests that the existence of a technological culture is a lucky fluke rather than an evolutionary inevitability. Most people seem to think that evolution is almost certain to result in a technological culture. This is counter-indicated by the history of the earth.

    BTW: Both the habitable zone of a galaxy & the habitable zone of a solar system are larger for the existence of simple life forms than for a technological culture. Both zones must stay habitable for 3-5 billion years in order for a technological culture to evolve. They need stay habitable for perhaps a billion (maybe less) years for simple life forms to occur.
     
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  3. nietzschefan Thread Killer Valued Senior Member

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    We just don't have enough information yet, there is no point in rushing the guesswork.
     
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  5. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    Nietzschefan: I think the following is cop-out.
    Do you expect to have significantly more information in your life time?

    From your point of view is the following a valid statement?
    • Based on our current knowledge there could be no other life of any kind in the universe or there could be thousands of technological cultures in each galaxy.
    Id est: Would you say that zero life elsewhere is as likely as a universe teeming with technological cultures?
     
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  7. Spud Emperor solanaceous common tater Registered Senior Member

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    I doubt that. With life on Earth as our only mode, I'd have to believe that the set of laws and patterns and sequences which seem to have a fairly uniform structure would be similar in other life forms ( I don't doubt that there are life forms in the universe that we can't comprehend) and this would lead to technological cultures.

    I'd imagine that bees or ants or shit,... Chimpanzees would escalate to a technological culture given enough time. How much time is there? Infinite.
     
  8. IamJoseph Banned Banned

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    James' error:

    He is deducing retrospectively, namely from the end point and after assuming in his favor others exist. But if it is measured from the POV of known and unknowns subsequent to the contemporary data, the math only allows a negative deducement of his conclusion.

    Otherwise, surveys and polls have no meaning. It begs the Q: why even conduct a survey - why go to the moon and conduct a first hand survey if all space bodies are lifeless or not - why not wait till every nook and corner is thoroughly investigated? And what impact has such a poll on math - if any? Why conduct DNA tests that work on % of observed imprints? What need to survey part of the population to deduce what the rest think if the sample has no meaning?

    Math and science work on probabilty factors - not on possibility factors, because the latter does not favor any one sector, while it can be used to negate or make positive assessments which have no mathematical or scientific value. The fact remains that if one has to make a valued assessment of life in the unknown, at the point of knowledge of a small sector of the known - it means that the unknown MUST be concluded as the same as the known - more so than not so. This is correct even if there is a POSSIBILITY of life in the unknown - even if life s actually discovered later.

    Those who concur - must see that there are a host of slight of hand casino science out there - unquestioned and accepted by the multitude! Mostly, while such questions are not related to any theological issues, it does impact widespread held scientific premesis: that the environmant is the sole causer of life - a big tabboo if it impacts on ToE! See - now even you probably reject what the good math says!

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  9. nietzschefan Thread Killer Valued Senior Member

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    Neither, I personally think "Life" strives to completely dominate the previously completely dead universe. I suspect that is the Universe end-game.

    I have no proof at all. Again we don't have the slightest clue how common life is out there, but if it's even a fraction of our solar system(very abundant water and conditions) then yes the universe will eventually be teeming with life.
     
  10. IamJoseph Banned Banned

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    Consider a host of other factors which impact. It is assumed that all space bodies are too far and all not older than the earth. But this is not a valid view. If some space bodies are older and life existed, there is no way it can be assumed their knowledge and mental prowess is less greater than earthly humans - this being the result of the time factor. Some would - nay must - prevail any distance factors, this eronous reason tended when this question s considered.

    The correct math says of the trillions of space bodies, some must possess life more advanced and some would be abe to conquer the distance factor - being in a relativity of a ratio not too far and older than earth. This is based on the very factors used in ToE - namely life forms are subject to evolution - possitive changes and elevations?

    The other corruption is that only one tiny space bodie's environment is conducive to life - because we are told there is no life in the known universe due to the absence of perfect environment conditions. This makes survival of the fittest and natural selection somewhat biased, no?
     
  11. IamJoseph Banned Banned

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    Correction! We do have a slight clue which has to be factored. There is no non-earthly life imprints on earth for 5 B years; and some 15 B years in the surrounding known universe examined. Analyse that!

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  12. IamJoseph Banned Banned

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    Point to ponder.

    A greater paradigm shock for humanity than discovering life - is the realisation there is none out there in all the vast universe - and we are alone. Its implications are so stunning it boggles the mind.

    When/if we discover life - it will become passe as fast as the net and mobile phone discoveries did. But if the reverse applies - what then? - is everything we depend on still normal - does ToE still stand - is Creationism still a myth? Whoah - not so fast. My own deduction based on science and math - NEGATIVE! Ponder it.
     
  13. D H Some other guy Valued Senior Member

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    Oh, please. Stop spamming the science part of this forum with your archaic nonsense, Joseph.

    nietzschefan has it right: we don't know. Yet. Just because we are a bit on the clueless side right now does not mean we will be that way forever. Our knowledge of how solar systems formed and how life began is every increasing. Our ability to find planets in other solar systems is a very recent capability.

    A couple last points:
    1. It is even a bit premature to count out Mars as lifeless. Yet. There certainly are some tantalizing signs that Mars is not dead.
    2. Suppose we look and look for a long long time and never do find another sign of life. All that that will mean is that life is probably rare. It will never mean that we are unique. The universe is simply too big to be able to say that. There will always be room for "we don't know."
     
  14. IamJoseph Banned Banned

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    Niechzs is NOT right, nor is Mars a definitive or valid example. We have a survey pole backed by a time factor of no life imprints for 15 B years. This time factor negates distance. Its about math - not how big the universe is. The universe will always be too vast.
     
  15. kmguru Staff Member

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    My thought is life (including the egg) is made of H, C, N, O atoms plus few others that is present in vast quantities through out the Universe. So, Egg is not separate from the box, it is the box. Think about it.
     
  16. D H Some other guy Valued Senior Member

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    Where did you ever get a goofy idea like this? We have no such capability. Yes, we can see galaxies as far back in time as 13+ billion years. GALAXIES. Not stars. Not planets. Galaxies. We can't even distinguish individual stars in those galaxies, let alone planets. There is no way to tell whether those ancient galaxies bore life. None. That said, there is good reason to think that those ancient galaxies did not bear life like ours for the simple reason that the carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen did not yet exist in any sizable quantity. It was the deaths of that very first generation of stars the released the first batches of carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen to the universe. So that argument about 15 billion years is wrong and it is a red herring to boot.

    So, let's go a lot closer to home. We haven't been able to see planets in other star systems until very, very recently -- and those are star systems very close to Earth. Our survey pole to detect planetary systems barely extends beyond the reach of our solar system. (The Kepler mission is increasing that view, at least in one direction, by quite a bit.)

    Our ability to detect life elsewhere is nonexistent. There is no such survey pole. We do not know if Mars is dead, or Europa for that matter. We don't know much of anything about planets beyond our solar system. We do not know if there is life out that is completely different from the DNA/RNA life that we do know very well.
     
  17. IamJoseph Banned Banned

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    Analogising the universe as a box filled with a lot of different marbles is more conducive to a box maker than not. This is how my small mind works.

    Making leaping deductions about Mars being possibly harbouring life - before any life was actually discovered there - is - surprise, surprise - a leap of the imagination outside of math and science. Being such an important, pivotal subject, one would expect science to wait till the fat lady even begins to sing! There's been no imprints of life for 15 B years - and such an absence of life residues don't lie.
     
  18. D H Some other guy Valued Senior Member

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    The only lying going on in this thread, Joseph, are your own lies about our ability to detect life back to 15 billion years ago.
     
  19. IamJoseph Banned Banned

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    Aah, now you got me. No need to even specificy my lies. Its a science thread, right! :shrug:
     
  20. kmguru Staff Member

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    You are right. Black Swans do not exist. Or was that do not exist in a small mind? Who knows...

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  21. D H Some other guy Valued Senior Member

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    ORLY? Emphasis mine.
     
  22. jmpet Valued Senior Member

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    According to Wilipedia, the best guess answer is there 2.31 planets like us in a galaxy with 200 more in the stone age. Our odds of meeting them in the next 100,000 years is probable.
     
  23. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    Jmpet: Could you post a link to the following?
    Perhaps just provide a search key.
     

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