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Do you think there's life beyond Earth?

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View Poll Results: Is there life outside our planet?
Yes, but only simple (eg microbial)
5
9.43%
Yes, probably intelligent life too
46
86.79%
No
2
3.77%
Voters: 53. You may not vote on this poll

Do you think there's life beyond Earth?

Old 11-11-19, 07:09 PM
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Seattle Forrest
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Do you think there's life beyond Earth?

We'll (probably) never know for sure, so take your best guess.
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Old 11-11-19, 08:38 PM
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I'd say no. If there is, it'll probably something very simple, like bacteria or simple worm-like lifeforms, whose size and complexity is limited by the extremes of the environment they are living in. Definately not little green men with complex brains and death-ray weapons. Life probably won't have the same biochemistry as us (carbon-based organisms that breath oxygen) and won't have the nice, stable environment we humans have (temps, pressures, atmosphere, etc) that allowed evolution to progress, get more complex, and create the diversity of animals and plants we know today.
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Old 11-11-19, 08:51 PM
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I would not be surprised if we weren't the supreme beings of our galaxy. The odds of us being the supreme being of the entire universe(s) seems to me very remote. (Are we even the supreme being here? If you call supreme the most destructive entity, clearly yes. As the being that can best survive it's environment for long periods of time? Are we going to last another 500 years?)

I read recently that it appears that water is far more common than once thought. If that's true, life could be rather commonplace.

Ben
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Old 11-11-19, 09:34 PM
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Yes, but the two yes choices are too constraining.
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Old 11-11-19, 10:04 PM
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Absolutely, 100% sure that Earth is not uncommon & humans are not particularly special...or really as intelligent as we fancy ourselves to be, for that matter. Carbon isn't even the only base for life here on Earth.

Whether or not we are ever able to communicate with an interstellar intelligence that is of a compatible level of development...I tend to think odds are pretty long.
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Old 11-11-19, 10:32 PM
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Almost certainly. Both life as we know it and life in forms we may not be able to detect. It will likely be a long time before we learn much about it.
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Old 11-11-19, 11:01 PM
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There are billions of stars in our galaxy, and billions of galaxies. On average there's a planet for every star - that's based on what we've been able to detect so far which is only large planets. Life appeared pretty quickly here once it became possible; the oldest known fossils are 3.8 billion years old and the early bombardment ended 4 billion years ago. The odds can't be stacked very heavily against life forming if it happened that quickly. It seems impossible that we're alone.

But the distances are so vast that we'll almost certainly never find another example.
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Old 11-12-19, 02:41 AM
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I'm a yes if we include animal intelligence as "intelligent life", which I do.

We've had several major extinction events on earth, and animal intelligence emerges often. (The last couple times at least; I'd have to go look about the others.)

Primitive life seems easier to achieve and is probably common in the universe. And once you have that, given a stable environment, higher orders emerge, so .. yes.

Intelligent life like us? I think we're kind of specialized, and not "all that".

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Old 11-12-19, 03:06 AM
  #9  
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Since we've thrown numerous spacecraft out there, and we probably haven't been perfect in keeping them completely sterile, it is a certainty there is now (if there wasn't already) complex, microbial life outside of planet Earth.
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Old 11-12-19, 04:58 AM
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There are an estimated 10,000,000,000 galaxies in the observable universe. Our galaxy, the Milky Way, has an estimated 100,000,000,000 stars in it. If you assume the other galaxies have a similar number of stars, there are about a billion trillion stars in the universe. Our brains can't really comprehend those numbers.

So if you're in the camp that we're here by random chance alone, based on the incomprehensible large number of stars, then life probably exists elsewhere. We can't even find all the planets our own galaxy, let alone galaxies at the theoretical edge of the universe.

If you're in the camp that we're here because of divine intervention I'm not sure why you'd assume only one planet in all that space would be inhabited by life, and that humans would be the epitome of the life that exists.
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Old 11-12-19, 08:22 AM
  #11  
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For the sake of life, I certainly hope so.
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Old 11-12-19, 08:55 AM
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I think that yes, most definitely there is other intelligent life in the universe. Far too vast for there not to be. I am semi convinced that in one fashion or another they have likely already found us and are smart enough to stay hidden.
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Old 11-12-19, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by base2 View Post
Absolutely, 100% sure that Earth is not uncommon & humans are not particularly special...or really as intelligent as we fancy ourselves to be, for that matter. Carbon isn't even the only base for life here on Earth.

Whether or not we are ever able to communicate with an interstellar intelligence that is of a compatible level of development...I tend to think odds are pretty long.
this right here. math dictates there must be other life both intelligent and simple. Carbon is extremely abundant in the universe and there is probable other carbon based life out there.

If you disagree, i think maybe you dont understand the scale and size of cosmos...also large numbers....

JAG
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Old 11-12-19, 09:25 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by Juan Foote View Post
I think that yes, most definitely there is other intelligent life in the universe. Far too vast for there not to be. I am semi convinced that in one fashion or another they have likely already found us and are smart enough to stay hidden.
If they are smart enough to know we are here, then chances are they are much smarter than us. They would have to be at least as well developed as us to know about us, and then might be smarter by any factor you care to attach (10x, 10,000x, 10,000,000x...?). Out of that entire range of possibilities, they are probably much, much smarter than us. Then the question is, what kind of ethics do they have toward inferior life forms?

If I want to move in a house and find it has termites, I'll spray first for termites. I won't try to communicate with the termites and set up friendly diplomatic relations. In that possible relationship with aliens, we are likely to be the termites. They may just 'spray' the planet to clear it out before moving in.
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Old 11-12-19, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by ridelikeaturtle View Post
Since we've thrown numerous spacecraft out there, and we probably haven't been perfect in keeping them completely sterile, it is a certainty there is now (if there wasn't already) complex, microbial life outside of planet Earth.

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Old 11-12-19, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by chewybrian View Post
If they are smart enough to know we are here, then chances are they are much smarter than us. They would have to be at least as well developed as us to know about us, and then might be smarter by any factor you care to attach (10x, 10,000x, 10,000,000x...?). Out of that entire range of possibilities, they are probably much, much smarter than us. Then the question is, what kind of ethics do they have toward inferior life forms?

If I want to move in a house and find it has termites, I'll spray first for termites. I won't try to communicate with the termites and set up friendly diplomatic relations. In that possible relationship with aliens, we are likely to be the termites. They may just 'spray' the planet to clear it out before moving in.
This discussion could readily turn to a politico-social commentary, so just keeping it light...
I would like to think that "higher" life forms with "advanced" intelligence would have adopted a Star Trek-esce First Directive type view when considering contact with us. We tend to be reactive and certainly with violent and warlike reaction to that which we feel is a threat. If Earth were a waystop along their way somewhere it would require much less resource just to cloak (stay hidden), pop in and get the resources they needed, and be on their way.
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Old 11-12-19, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by sirjag View Post
this right here. math dictates there must be other life both intelligent and simple. Carbon is extremely abundant in the universe and there is probable other carbon based life out there.

If you disagree, i think maybe you dont understand the scale and size of cosmos...also large numbers....

JAG
Even on our own planet, there are various forms of life that show certain degrees of "intelligence". Does that necessarily mean that the scale and size of the cosmos is an indicator of anything like ours?

The premise that scale and size somehow leads towards a mathematical proof is like considering physics without the metaphysics. Way too limited.
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Old 11-12-19, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by sirjag View Post
this right here. math dictates there must be other life both intelligent and simple. Carbon is extremely abundant in the universe and there is probable other carbon based life out there.

If you disagree, i think maybe you dont understand the scale and size of cosmos...also large numbers....

JAG
Yeah, in Mono Lake there is Arsenic based microbes. Lobster have copper based blood. Other extremophiles use sulphur in place of oxygen. It's hard to discount "Life" as anything but just really advanced chemistry.

Check out potentially viable "other" DNA
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Old 11-12-19, 10:25 AM
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If there is life out there and I believe there is I will join the dark side of the force if there is a female Sith Lord like her.

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Old 11-12-19, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Juan Foote View Post
This discussion could readily turn to a politico-social commentary, so just keeping it light...
I would like to think that "higher" life forms with "advanced" intelligence would have adopted a Star Trek-esce First Directive type view when considering contact with us. We tend to be reactive and certainly with violent and warlike reaction to that which we feel is a threat. If Earth were a waystop along their way somewhere it would require much less resource just to cloak (stay hidden), pop in and get the resources they needed, and be on their way.
I don't think a discussion of theoretical alien ethics is going to bring down the ban hammer. We have only this anecdotal example here of 1984 vs. a Brave New World fighting for control. As technology advances, it's easy to see one or the other taking over for good, and who knows how it all plays out after that? I'm with you in hoping the aliens' higher intelligence leads to greater displays of virtue, but we have no way to predict, no reason to hope beyond just hoping.
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Old 11-12-19, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by chewybrian View Post
If they are smart enough to know we are here, then chances are they are much smarter than us. They would have to be at least as well developed as us to know about us, and then might be smarter by any factor you care to attach (10x, 10,000x, 10,000,000x...?). Out of that entire range of possibilities, they are probably much, much smarter than us. Then the question is, what kind of ethics do they have toward inferior life forms?

If I want to move in a house and find it has termites, I'll spray first for termites. I won't try to communicate with the termites and set up friendly diplomatic relations. In that possible relationship with aliens, we are likely to be the termites. They may just 'spray' the planet to clear it out before moving in.
If you buy a house and there's termites ... that's the only house available to you unless you're really rich.

If you're capable of interstellar travel, Earth is one of billions of planets in the galaxy. If you evolved on a different planet, this one might not even be habitable to you. On ours, plants "eat" chemicals in the soil, because that's what's available to them and what they adapted to. Trees can't eat people, aliens wouldn't be able to either. There's ice, metal, etc on many planets and asteroids, no reason to want Earth really.

So whether they have a "do no harm" ethic or not, they almost certainly wouldn't want our planet. Plus, it's light years to the nearest star and intelligent life can't be that common, chances are it's thousands of light years away.
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Old 11-12-19, 12:30 PM
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Paging Dr. Arroway. Call for Dr. Arroway.
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Old 11-12-19, 12:42 PM
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Other intelligent, sentient or self-aware life? Yes, probably. But I doubt it's anything like us or the cliches in scifi, most of which are conveniently humanoids who communicate pretty much as we do.


Any complex life form beyond Earth is likely to be more like what H.P. Lovecraft depicted in The Colour Out of Space. Interstellar travel is more likely to occur in the form of light and radiation, and independent of our concept of linear time. Some Star Trek episodes touched on this theory through various encounters with energy beings and subsequent mishaps and hijinks.

There was also the conveniently humanized Q, of course, and "Kevin," the Douwd energy being who took human form for awhile. Just an attempt to convey "other" in a humanoid meatsack form to be more relatable for unimaginative human viewers. All borrowed from earlier human myths but still interesting departures from the dull creatures who populated and infested most of Star Wars, ST Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise. ST jumped the shark with the preposterous and laughable blue Andorians. Even Jeffrey Combs couldn't salvage a believably dramatic role out of Blue Uncle Martin from My Favorite Martian.

I suspect that most human conceptions of gods, demons and monsters derived from epiphanies in which mundane humans suddenly realized there may be forms of existence and "thought" beyond themselves. What they thought of as gods and monsters may have been the experience of an interstellar energy traveler disrupting human electrical meat-based computers. Or perhaps it was just the bicameral mind theory proposed by Julian Jaynes.

The X-Files episode "War of the Coprophages" illustrated a more likely scenario for extended humanoid exploration into deep space: send bugs or robots. Heck, send bugs that have been genetically altered to have some form of intelligence or ability to observe, record and transmit their findings, passed on genetically. Bugs so bred could breed and feed on each other indefinitely, traveling throughout the universe while recording and transmitting for eventual retrieval and decoding. "Moon" with Sam Rockwell depicted a melancholy and somewhat terrifying variation of this.
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Old 11-12-19, 03:23 PM
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Is there life on Earth?
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Old 11-12-19, 03:50 PM
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Debatable, if you mean intelligent life. My philosophizing friends and I debate the issue of consciousness. They lean toward the notion that we're just programmable meat puppets.

Often I'm inclined to agree, especially after reading comments on news/editorial articles. But I have a hunch there's just enough wiggle room in our programming to enable some of us to occasionally break out of the matrix, and for most of us to occasionally have that epiphany even if we slip back into the matrix.

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Is there life on Earth?
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