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#173489 - 06/28/06 05:01 PM Re: Extraterrestrials [Re: Hagen von Tronje]
Achilles Offline


Registered: 11/19/05
Posts: 223
Mirrors my view on the issue perfectly.

The odd thing about alien sightings is that they are almost always described resembling lifeforms on earth.
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#173490 - 06/28/06 05:41 PM Re: Extraterrestrials [Re: Hagen von Tronje]
Carkosa Offline


Registered: 07/17/02
Posts: 359
Quote:

As a general statement, the odds of it being anthropomorphic are slim and none...The odds of said planet having conditions vaguely resembling earth are ridiculous.




Very true. I do personally take this all into consideration. There was a program a while back on National Geographic called "Extraterrestrials" that explained and showed animation on what life on other planets may look like and how their lives would be like on those planets. They were far from humanoid. The concept of the "Greys" and other popular humanoid type aliens is very unrealistic. Life on another world would have physical and mental charactoristics far beyong our comprehension or imagination.


Quote:

Therefore, questions about whether this life is "intelligent" or "peaceful" or whether it gives a shit at all are all moot. This life will almost certainly not have anything in common with us except replication and the presense of survival mechanisms. What those mechanisms are (intelligence, for example, is a survival mechanism), statistically speaking, is probably nothing we know much about.




Again, very good points and probably the most accurate conclusion...for life in distant worlds and perhaps even in our own galaxy. Do you think there could be a possible chance of intelligent life if it were closer to Earth? Say for example our own solar system. The only way I see this being possible is if the whole ancient astronaut theory was correct. According to that, humans are the product of genetic manipulation by aliens. They also don't give a shit about humanity, they are only taking over for their own survival.

Alot of those theories are based on interpretation of ancient text so it is no reliable proof. However, you do have to wonder how the ancients (some of them stone age people) knew so much. There are airplane models thousands of years old in the Cairo Museum, blatent flying saucers in medieval paintings. Was it pure imagination? Or was it something they actually saw? They also knew details of distant stars without the aid of the most powerful telescopes. Look at the Dogon people for example. How could they have known this?

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#173491 - 06/28/06 06:36 PM Re: Extraterrestrials [Re: DickSteele]
Discipline Offline
CoS Warlock

Registered: 08/25/03
Posts: 6796
Loc: Forever West
I have a feeling that there is something out there. However, it is the here and now that I must make my priority.

But if there truly is nothing else out there, I would not think of the immenseness of space as a waste. I would think of it as one gigantic playground to explore, expand, and even (just between you and me) exploit to my benefit.
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#173492 - 06/28/06 09:38 PM Thank you. [Re: Chess]
Nemo Offline
CoS Magister

Registered: 10/06/02
Posts: 12557
Loc: Point Nemo s48:52:31:748, w123...
I was not aware that most of the major moons always face the planet they orbit with the same side.

Are you quite certain of this?

In looking this up this seems to be a factor of gravity, distance and relative size:

Quote:

Occurrence

Moons
Most significant moons in the Solar System are tidally locked with their primaries, since they orbit very closely and tidal force increases rapidly (as a cubic) with decreasing distance. Notable exceptions are the irregular outer satellites of the gas giant planets, which orbit much further away than the large well-known moons.

Pluto and its moon Charon are an extreme example of a tidal lock. Charon is the biggest moon in the Solar System in comparison to its planet and also has a very close orbit. This has made Pluto also tidally locked to Charon. In effect, these two celestial bodies revolve around each other (their mass center lies outside of Pluto) as if joined with a rod connecting two opposite points on their surfaces.

The tidal locking situation for asteroid moons is largely unknown, but closely-orbiting binaries are expected to be tidally locked, as well as, obviously, contact binaries.



Source.

Thank you for teaching me something new!

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#173493 - 06/28/06 10:06 PM Re: Extraterrestrials [Re: Hagen von Tronje]
Bill_M Offline
CoS Reverend

Registered: 07/28/01
Posts: 11554
Loc: New England, USA
>>The odds of said planet having conditions vaguely
>>resembling earth are ridiculous.

That's an excellent point. In fact, there's no telling whether any alien "life" would even be DNA-based. And even if we do assume the starting conditions were the same and gave rise to amino acids and DNA, and assumed climates were the same as they have been on earth, there's still no telling how things evolved from there.
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#173494 - 06/28/06 11:45 PM Re: Extraterrestrials [Re: Bill_M]
Old_Pig Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 3969
Loc: The Deep South
There is always the possibility of a form of life so radically different to us that we can look right at it and don't recognize it as such.

Maybe some of the same planets we have already studied and discarded as "lifeless" are actually inhabited by something so "alien" that our probe's sensors can't detect it at all.

Just a thought...
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#173495 - 06/29/06 12:43 AM Re: Universal Life [Re: Hagen von Tronje]
Drake_Bamboozle Offline
CoS Reverend

Registered: 06/25/02
Posts: 10568
Loc: England
>> Therefore, whatever life exists elsewhere will have evolved under very different circumstances and will almost certainly bear no particular resemblance to life on earth <<

You appear to be limiting yourself.

You have forgotten to consider the possibilty that life on earth originated elsewhere. There is definite and very real grounds for this hypothosis (either through a process known as panspermia or something else). It is certainly as valid as any other theory in explaining the sudden expolsion of life on this planet.

Also, life is part of the universe. Not just earth. The whole universe and everything therein is made up of certain materials that fall into set parameters. We may not yet be aware of what all those parameters are but I'm pretty sure the objects and bodies that make up this physical world are all made up of materials that we can recognise. The basic building blocks are universal, not unique to earth.

The universe is a quantifiable machine. It is not half as complicated as one might think.

In short: humanoid, reptillian or whatever life is all part of the physical universe and probably is not unique to earth. The possibility that there are recognisable life forms out there is more probable than them not being recognisable.
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#173496 - 06/29/06 01:31 AM Re: Universal Life [Re: Drake_Bamboozle]
Hagen von Tronje Offline

CoS Priest

Registered: 06/28/01
Posts: 10123
Warlock UVRay,

I did not mean to imply that we could not recognize them as alive. We almost certainly would, unless they were entirely immobile, resembled a naturally occuring formation of some kind (i.e. a rock, or simply invisible) and had a replication cycle so long that we never observed it.

On the other hand, Mr. UVRay, it could not possibly be "reptilian" in the strict sense of the word, as it is a safe bet that it is not related to the clade of reptiles, even if they did somehow have characteristics in common with earth reptiles.

Biological probability suggests that whatever life exists elsewhere will likely have a few things in common with earth life (there's only so far off template you can go, as far as science can be aware; a lifeform must have "food" of some kind, or some energy source at least). My point is that within the bare minimum parameters that we know all life must adhere to in order to be both "alive" and physically possible, there exists such a broad range, and such a broad range of possible conditions on other planets (just look at the variance on earth in where life is found; lakes buried under thousands of feet of ice on Antarctica, and Death Valley or a hot spring!) that we should recognize our anthropomorphic fantasies of aliens as just that.

I'm also aware of the cross-contamination theory of life on earth; the most likely candidate for that is, in fact, Mars, though this is single-celled organisms we're talking about and the only shared ground we have with the theoretical "carrier" organisms is the presence of DNA as a replication blueprint. No guarantee that alien life would use DNA, it could just as well use something analogous but quite different in chemical makeup (to wit, some earth life uses RNA, not DNA, as its basic building block). In all probability, if there is life on Europa, for example, it is more likely to resemble a jellyfish than us (and only a jellyfish coincidentally, since we can be quite sure that Europan life, if it exists, is not related to our jellyfish).

So yes, we will likely recognize it, but will we have much in common with it? Statistics say no.
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#173497 - 06/29/06 01:43 AM Re: Universal Life [Re: Hagen von Tronje]
Drake_Bamboozle Offline
CoS Reverend

Registered: 06/25/02
Posts: 10568
Loc: England
>> So yes, we will likely recognize it, but will we have much in common with it? Statistics say no. <<

What statistics? There are no statistics regarding extra-terrestial life forms.


I should have added that my whole reply was not directed at you. Merely the initial part about Panspermia which was an addition to waht you were saying that does require consideration.

However I will add that the universe is elementary, my dear Watson. And if the basic building blocks are fundamental, how can anything be fundamentally different?

The basic building blocks throughout the universe are constant. So yes we would have much in common - about as much in common as we do with a fish. Which is more than one might think.
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#173498 - 06/29/06 01:45 AM Re: Extraterrestrials [Re: Carkosa]
Hagen von Tronje Offline

CoS Priest

Registered: 06/28/01
Posts: 10123
Actually, given the fact that all worlds in our solar system that we know anything about have conditions radically different from earth, if there is life in this solar system it almost surely is very, very different from us in a fundamental way. The only possible commonality would be if we were actually cross-contaminated by extraterrestrial life (i.e. microbes hitching a ride on a meteor and somehow making it over here, a theory that has some mild plausibility), and even then we'd probably only have the commonality of DNA as a replicating mechanism.

Yes, it is "possible" that we are a science project for ET, but that's "possible" in the same sense that it's possible that a giant spook put us here. You can't prove it's not true because you can't prove a negative (most of the time), but that's as far as it goes. The "validity" of ancient texts as evidence applies equally well to most religious books.

The Dogon are interesting. There is some skeptical belief that Europeans introduced them to their belief in Sirius, but it seems like strange knowledge to me for a European to care to share with savages. I say the jury is out on that one.

I, however, tend to look for the simplest explanation for things, even if I'm making radical speculation. I think it far more likely (even if still unlikely, strictly speaking) that the ancients had more knowledge than we credit them with or that we are aware of than spacemen telling the Dogon about Sirius (not a good solar system to be a candidate for supporting life, by the way; Sirius B is a parasitic star on Sirius A, and the entire system is surely quite a hostile place if it has planets at all). I don't "believe" that there were necessarily prehistoric advanced civilizations as there is no proof of that either, but given that we do know that there is at least intelligent life here...we can conclude that if some intelligent life informed the Dogon (or someone before them who told the Dogon in turn) about arcane astronomical knowledge, it was probably the intelligent life we know to exist, namely us.

Two options:

a) An ancient civilization achieved high enough technology to build a telescope. Highly unlikely, but at least it only requires that we have a gap in our knowledge of history.

b) Aliens told them. Requires that we stipulate that there are aliens, that they singled out a bunch of savages to share their wisdom with, and that this wisdom was the location of a parasitic star, as opposed to something useful like the formula for steel, or agricultural techniques, or maybe the wheel...

Of course, the skeptics have an edge here in that the theory that a European told them in the last century requires only that we believe that a European explorer somehow saw fit to relate this knowledge which serves no apparent purpose and that the Dogon thought this was somehow a religious experience, as opposed to either of the above theories that both require much more suspension of disbelief. But out of those two speculative theories, the first one seems less far fetched to me.
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"The devil I'll bring you," answered Hagen. "I have enough to carry with my shield and breastplate; my helm is bright, the sword is in my hand, therefore I bring you naught."

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#173499 - 06/29/06 01:54 AM Re: Universal Life [Re: Drake_Bamboozle]
Hagen von Tronje Offline

CoS Priest

Registered: 06/28/01
Posts: 10123
The universe isn't quite that simple. Quantities, as you say, aren't exactly relative to the universe. Quantities by themselves are non-dimensional (a single point) and an array of them forms one dimension (a line). All quantities can be represented by a one-dimensional line, yet the universe is visibly composed of three dimensions, and theoretically composed of a fourth spatial dimension (not an "alternate universe," but a spatial dimension that we are unable to percieve).

Numbers alone cannot even accurately represent two dimensions in total fullness, let alone three (to prove it, try relating the shape of a square using absolutely nothing but numbers, no symbols of relativity).

I simply submit that in such a complicated universe, a universe where we are not even aware of what composes the vast majority of matter in the universe (so-called dark matter), where high school physics teaches you about three kinds of particles out of the vast array of real occuring particles, where we are not even 100% sure of what the fuck happens in the formation of an alleged "black hole," something that utterly defies normal physics, the certainty that we know what we think we know is small indeed. The wisest man is the one who knows that he knows so very little.
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"The devil I'll bring you," answered Hagen. "I have enough to carry with my shield and breastplate; my helm is bright, the sword is in my hand, therefore I bring you naught."

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#173500 - 06/29/06 01:59 AM Re: Universal Life [Re: Hagen von Tronje]
Drake_Bamboozle Offline
CoS Reverend

Registered: 06/25/02
Posts: 10568
Loc: England
Are you saying there are not fundamental laws that apply to to how the universe operates?

You see, what you have said above is what I would call obfuscation.
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#173501 - 06/29/06 02:27 AM Re: Universal Life [Re: Drake_Bamboozle]
Hagen von Tronje Offline

CoS Priest

Registered: 06/28/01
Posts: 10123
I'm saying that "fundamental laws" may exist but it does not follow that those laws are what we think they are.

In all of mankind's history, we've repeatedly thought something only to prove ourselves wrong again a short time later.
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"The devil I'll bring you," answered Hagen. "I have enough to carry with my shield and breastplate; my helm is bright, the sword is in my hand, therefore I bring you naught."

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#173502 - 06/29/06 02:38 AM Re: Universal Life [Re: Hagen von Tronje]
Drake_Bamboozle Offline
CoS Reverend

Registered: 06/25/02
Posts: 10568
Loc: England
Quote:

I'm saying that "fundamental laws" may exist but it does not follow that those laws are what we think they are.

In all of mankind's history, we've repeatedly thought something only to prove ourselves wrong again a short time later.




But there is much we have confirmed.

When you say "in common with" it depends whether you are speaking about biology or sentience.

It is pretty certain that we would share acute similarities in our physical make-up in the biological sense.

But certainly another being might not share my penchant for sitting down and listening to a Sex Pistols album or watching a film.

Not to labour the point but I probably possess a greater understanding of cultures completely alien to our own than you do.

You see, as a baby I was abandoned in Dublin Bay and left for dead. I was discovered, and subsequently raised, by Dolphins.

I must add, I have enjoyed this little discussion.
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#173503 - 06/29/06 04:41 AM Re: Extraterrestrials [Re: Carkosa]
Jack_Lantern Offline
CoS Member

Registered: 07/06/05
Posts: 2785
Loc: America
I actually think that if there is any form of life out there which is in any way intellegent, in a way that is even vaguely recognizable as being intellegent, that it would have passed out of existance long before humans started knapping stone tools from pieces of flint. In other words, there might just be work out there in space for an archeologist. 11.2-20 Billion years is a lot of time for two civilizations arising very (VERY) far from one another to actually meet up and say hi. But it makes for good science fiction.
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