1. Mercury
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    Mercury Active Member

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    Are we alone?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Mercury, Oct 1, 2006.

    Ok, so SETI (the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) has been at it for thirty years now without so much of a whisper of a signal from an alien race. So where are they?

    Consider, life has been on Earth for nearly 4 billion years, of which intelligent life has been around for less than half a million years. A tiny fraction of the history of life on Earth. So, life may teem throughout the universe, but intelligent life may be incredibly rare.

    We really may be alone out here. What do you think?
     
  2. Spherical Time
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    Spherical Time Contributing Member

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    If there is other life throughout the universe, it may simply be too far away for us to find, or in a form that would be unrecognizable to us.

    I'll keep hoping to find something though.

    (Anyone else in the U.S. see the new Doctor Who premiere on SciFi last night?)
     
  3. Mercury
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    Mercury Active Member

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    Well, if life is so rare that it's extra-galactic, we may as well be alone - communication will be forever impossible.

    I suppose that SETI observers are rather anthropocentric in expecting ET's to communicate in ways we would expect them to, but I suppose it's the only yardstick we have.

    Given the universe's physical make-up, though, any complex and intelligent life will have a far better chance of having evolved to such if it's carbon-based, so we would expect some sort of recognisability.
     
  4. Mercury
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    Mercury Active Member

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    Doctor Who? I've seen a few, not really into it much, though it's not bad.
     
  5. Spherical Time
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    Spherical Time Contributing Member

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    I think that looking for radio signals is an intelligent idea. It is the most recognizable signal coming from this planet, anyway.

    "Carbon-based" covers a lot of possibilities. What if they need a different environment than we do. We may never interact with them the way that aliens in Star Trek interact.

    Ah, the season premiere was about humans finally having unequivocal proof that we aren't alone in the universe. It was fairly interesting.
     
  6. Mercury
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    Mercury Active Member

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    Well, looking at the plethora of environments that the Earth has had over it's history (for most of that history, it's atmosphere would have been toxic even to us) it's almost definite they will need a different environment.

    Some methods of communication we can expect to be universal constants, though. Radio is one. It's do damned obvious we can expect any developing intelligence to utilise it.

    So, with an assumption that complex and intelligent life may well be a radio using, carbon-based lifeform, the galaxy should be full of signals. Unless, as I suspect, intelligent life is incredibly rare and very likely an improbable proposition for most environments in the universe.

    If it isn't rare, we return to Enrico Fermi's paradox, 'so where are they?'.
     
  7. WhispWillow
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    WhispWillow Contributing Member

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    Of course we're not alone. My martian friend Bob will tell you that.
     
  8. Mercury
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    Mercury Active Member

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    Ah well , looks like we're not going to get the deep scientific/philosophical debate this subject has drawn on other forums.

    Never mind, I might re-try it when the forum has grown.
     
  9. WhispWillow
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    WhispWillow Contributing Member

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    Ok I willl be serious.

    Personall, I think no, we aren't. I mean there are so many other planets out there and so, why only have one speices inhabiting just one planet?
    What's the point of all those other planets. Come on now, realistically, they aren't there just for the hell of it. They have some purpose but what that is, no one knows.
     
  10. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    I personally beg to differ. I believe in a young earth as a 4 billion year old earth has yet to be proven.

    But yes, I think we are alone as far as alien life is concerned.
     
  11. Mercury
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    Mercury Active Member

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    A young earth? You mean the creationist argument for an Earth that's just a few thousand years old?

    Well, there is sedimentation in rocks dated to around 4 billion years ago. Plus there's the evidence from uranium decay dating for an age to the solar system. Also, how do the creationisits explain the fossil record? The evolution and exctinction of so many millions of species in just a few thousand years?

    That's a very different debate, though, but still an interesting point.
     
  12. DagunZain
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    DagunZain Member

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    I believe there is intelligent life somewhere in the universe. I think it's just a question of if we find them, or if they find us.

    What if there is intelligent life near us in the universe, that DOESN'T want to be found by creatures like us?
     
  13. Spherical Time
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    Spherical Time Contributing Member

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    That's interesting. I believe nearly the opposite. I believe in a 4.56 billion year old Earth because a 6000 year old Earth has yet to be proven.

    :) But, as Buddha said, these sorts of questions are only a distraction from the questions that actually matter.
     
  14. d00m5day
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    d00m5day Member

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    i dont think Earth can be a few thousand years old. if it was, it must have been SUPER fast to have nothing evolve into prehistoric creatures, then dinos, then ice age, then humans. if you add up all the generations of mammoths alone, they would have lived up to about 100 years. and you can find PLENTY of mammoth skeletons. think about it. :D
     
  15. WhispWillow
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    WhispWillow Contributing Member

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    Earth was around for millions of years, I don't think anyone can argue about it. Like doom5day said, things need time to evolve and so I draw to the conclusion that the earth has been around much longer than us, yetI belive we will be the last speices. Although imagine if we get wiped out like the dionsuars and another speices takes our place. Though I highly doubht that.
     
  16. Mercury
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    Mercury Active Member

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    Yep, the fossil record indicates millions of species whose evolutionary lineage can be traced over the eaons. Also, given the rate of sedimentation, how could we have the millions of years of sedimentary rock strata that we do?

    As far as diversity of complex animal life goes, it only really appeared on Earth after the 'Cambrian Explosion' about half a billion years ago. for the previous 3.2 billion years, bacterial life dominated. It may be that a rare sequence of events led to the sort of oxygen rich atmosphere capable of sustaining animal life.

    If these sort of events are rare, the only sort of life awaiting us 'out there' may be microbial.
     
  17. Enkil
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    Enkil Member

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    Life hasn't been on earth for 4 billion years, it was only made 4.2 billion years ago. I bet for a billion years or so there wasn't even oceans on Earth.

    My grandmother always says, "The surest sign of intellegent life in the Universe is that they haven't contacted us yet." I know she's quoting it from someone though.

    I do believe there is other intellegent life out there, and that they're not all carbon based (I believe in this very strongly).
     
  18. Mercury
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    Mercury Active Member

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    Enkil, the first traces of bacterial life enter the fossil record about 3.7 billion years ago.

    Oh, and the latest theories put the earth's age at about 4.5 billion years.

    Also, we know from the periodic table that of all the elements, carbon is more suitable for forming complex compounds such as those in organic chemistry. You COULD do it with other elements I suppose, but it would be far more dificult to form complex creatures such as animals.

    Still, it's always possible, but more improbable.
     
  19. Nexus
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    Nexus Contributing Member

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    Did anyone here know that DNA, being the basis of life, was created in a volcano out of Silicon when the earth was first being formed? Interesting isnt it.

    About the main topic though, the universe is so huge their is no way that their is no more life out there. THe thing is, there is also no way for them to get to us and vice versa. We are certainly not alone but we might as well be.
     
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  20. Felony
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    Well I believe there may be more intelligent species out there..well intelligent enough to stay away from us..lol. But seriously there is no way we can be alone in the universe.
     
  21. Mercury
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    Mercury Active Member

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    Where did you get that info from? Silicon isn't even an element in organic chemistry. DNA is carbon based, and carbon is formed in stars during stellar nucleosynthesis.

    We can find organic compounds, such as those DNA is made from, in all manner of places such as comets, but nobody yet knows how DNA was first formed on the planet. Maybe yours is just one of those theories.
     
  22. Nexus
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    Nexus Contributing Member

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    Well, I got it off a TV program being presented by Sir David Attenborough. I forget, its not silicon, its a very similar compound. I agree, it could be wrong.
     
  23. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    Something like that, yes. I'm not saying it has to be, just what I choose to believe.

    One possibly explanation for the sedimentation is the flood (which I do believe). I'm a theist and I believe in the old testament account of a worldwide flood. This would create enough pressure to create the same effect as millions of years of decay.

    As for the fossil record - the fossil record is the embarrassment to evolutionists.
     
  24. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    Also, all of your are making the assumption that evolution is true. It is a theory. Basically the options are this:

    1. Evolution - Old Earth
    2. Creation - Old Earth
    3. Creation - Young Earth

    There isn't really room for a young earth evolutionists, which should be obvious.

    Back on topic...

    Think about it. What are the chances of life whatsoever invovling evolution? Miniscule. Near non-existent. Highly improbable. That means that homo sapiens are a result of chance. That the conditions to allow even the smallest life to form are difficult to understand the chances against it.

    In contrast, if we have billions or trillions of years behind us (or an infinate universe timewise) then chances are also that we aren't the only one's to have evolved. If that's so then other life would exist - and also would most likely be far more advanced than ourselves.
     
  25. Peter
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    It don't think it matters whether it is Creation or Evolution theory that is correct, all that matters is what theory serves mankind best. And at the moment that's Evolution. After thousands of years basing our ideas on religious texts and teachings, the 20th century saw for the first time massive and sustained progress in science and technology. Creation theory might serve us in the future, but Evolution is doing a fantastic job just now.

    As for whether or not we're alone, I think there are definitely other intelligent life forms out there. The universe is just too big. But I'm guessing if they or we do make contact, the chances are they would be as aggressive as ourselves, as the most important variable to progress is competition, violent, unflinching competition. I don't think civilisation will ever be able to weed that out. We've been trying for donkies but are still failing miserably.
     

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