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Thread: What are the chances of other life in space?

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    Question What are the chances of other life in space?

    in my opinion there is 100% chance of other life..No one knows how big space is and its neverending and its just undescribable.

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    Welcome to BAUT, Mich.


    Well, there's really no way to know unless we find evidence of some alien life. But that being said, we know now that there are extrasolar planets which lie in the "goldilocks zone", just the right distance from their sun for liquid water. We know that the basic elements necessary for life are found commonly all over the universe, even in the most distant galaxies. We know that the complex organic compounds that make up life as we know it are found in nebulas, meteors, comets, space dust, and around newly-formed stars. So the potential for life is widespread, and that's leaving out worlds like Europa which have oceans under ice and volcanic sources of energy.

    What he have no idea of is how often that potential actually gives rise to life, and under exactly what conditions. We know it's possible, because it happened here. But we have no way of knowing how often it happens, whether it's commonly or rarely.
    I'm a cynical optimist. I think the only way out is through, but once we get through it'll be better. Very different, but better. Howard Tayler

    It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. Charles Darwin

    Power, Lord Acton says, corrupts. Not always. What power always does is reveal. Robert A. Caro

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michfoust View Post
    in my opinion there is 100% chance of other life..No one knows how big space is and its neverending and its just undescribable.
    Why has life only arisen on Earth once? All life studied so far has a common ancestor. Ideal conditions here, should'nt it be popping up all the time?

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    Well intelligent life "as we know it" certainly seems to be very rare to non-existent. One possible reason for this is that the starting of life is very rare to non-existent. However most people do not currently believe this is the reason, because life started pretty quickly on the Earth as soon as conditions permitted it.

    We live in interesting times, because this possible reason for the non-existence of extraterrestrial civilisation may be given an answer one way or the other quite soon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ravenhill View Post
    Why has life only arisen on Earth once? All life studied so far has a common ancestor. Ideal conditions here, should'nt it be popping up all the time?
    Maybe it does, and just gets eaten or outperformed by its more-evolved and more-diverse competitors.
    I'm a cynical optimist. I think the only way out is through, but once we get through it'll be better. Very different, but better. Howard Tayler

    It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. Charles Darwin

    Power, Lord Acton says, corrupts. Not always. What power always does is reveal. Robert A. Caro

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    Quote Originally Posted by kzb View Post
    Well intelligent life "as we know it" certainly seems to be very rare to non-existent.
    We can't know that unless we've closely observed and explored a bit more of the Universe. Right now we've briefly put a toe out on our porch and have looked at a few square feet of our own backyard.


    Quote Originally Posted by kzb View Post
    We live in interesting times, because this possible reason for the non-existence of extraterrestrial civilisation may be given an answer one way or the other quite soon.
    We don't know if it is non-existent. The visible Universe is huge, it's got room for millions of Kardashev class-III civilizations to get lost in. And that's just the parts we know about.
    I'm a cynical optimist. I think the only way out is through, but once we get through it'll be better. Very different, but better. Howard Tayler

    It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. Charles Darwin

    Power, Lord Acton says, corrupts. Not always. What power always does is reveal. Robert A. Caro

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michfoust View Post
    What are chances of other life in space?
    In my opinion, chance of extraterrestial life is almost certain. Our knowledge of universe and its laws practically dictate it.

    Quote Originally Posted by ravenhill View Post
    Why has life only arisen on Earth once?
    We cannot know it for sure. There could be multiple more or less failed starts that were later eaten by each other and current winner.

    Quote Originally Posted by ravenhill View Post
    Ideal conditions here
    Bzzt, error - bad assumption. No "ideal conditions" currently here on Earth.

    In fact, currently there are extremely bad conditions for potential new life. From utterly toxic gas everywhere on surface that will kill and burn anything that is not sufficiently protected to way too many life that would like free snack.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kzb View Post
    Well intelligent life "as we know it" certainly seems to be very rare to non-existent. One possible reason for this is that the starting of life is very rare to non-existent. However most people do not currently believe this is the reason, because life started pretty quickly on the Earth as soon as conditions permitted it.

    We live in interesting times, because this possible reason for the non-existence of extraterrestrial civilizations may be given an answer one way or the other quite soon.
    Doesn't matter whether there are millions of civilizations out there. What matters is, is it possible to make contact if they are there? The problem faced by all is the vast distances between stars and galaxies in conjunction with our relatively small window of time. We consider ourselves to be intelligent, but we are unable to travel long distances through space. The only form of fast communication technology we have is radio signals. But these at best can take hundreds to millions of years to reach other potential life based planets. By which time they may not be detectable enough for E.T to recognize. I believe the universe is teeming with life but we just can;t see them yet.

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    [QUOTE=MaDeR;1894097]In my opinion, chance of extraterrestial life is almost certain. Our knowledge of universe and its laws practically dictate it.


    QUOTE FROM MaDeR: We cannot know it for sure. There could be multiple more or less failed starts that were later eaten by each other and current winner.

    -No evidence for other 'starts' found so far. Why should it be so hard to find? Conditions here ARE ideal. Take a look around you. Life should be starting all the time. Even if you are blaming the absence of other 'starts' on human pollution activity there was plenty of time before we arrived for it to 'start' and leave evidence. Life as it is probably started in a far more toxic environment than you imagine.
    [FONT="Arial Black"]

    QUOTE: Bzzt, error - bad assumption. No "ideal conditions" currently here on Earth.
    In fact, currently there are extremely bad conditions for potential new life. From utterly toxic gas everywhere on surface that will kill and burn anything that is not sufficiently protected to way too many life that

    -What a weird reply. Life does'nt mind toxic..look up 'hydrothermal vents'. Your anscestor may have started out there. The error/bad assumption is yours.

    (-Think ive messed up the quoting thing here)

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    [QUOTE=ravenhill;1895066]
    Quote Originally Posted by MaDeR View Post
    In my opinion, chance of extraterrestial life is almost certain. Our knowledge of universe and its laws practically dictate it.


    QUOTE FROM MaDeR: We cannot know it for sure. There could be multiple more or less failed starts that were later eaten by each other and current winner.

    -No evidence for other 'starts' found so far. Why should it be so hard to find? Conditions here ARE ideal. Take a look around you. Life should be starting all the time. Even if you are blaming the absence of other 'starts' on human pollution activity there was plenty of time before we arrived for it to 'start' and leave evidence. Life as it is probably started in a far more toxic environment than you imagine.
    [FONT="Arial Black"]

    QUOTE: Bzzt, error - bad assumption. No "ideal conditions" currently here on Earth.
    In fact, currently there are extremely bad conditions for potential new life. From utterly toxic gas everywhere on surface that will kill and burn anything that is not sufficiently protected to way too many life that

    -What a weird reply. Life does'nt mind toxic..look up 'hydrothermal vents'. Your anscestor may have started out there. The error/bad assumption is yours.

    (-Think ive messed up the quoting thing here)
    No, the toxic environment he's talking about is oxygen. It's deadly to most fragile newly-formed complex organic compounds. Only because we've had billions of years to adapt to it are we using it metabolically; for most of Earth's existence, it was a deadly poison to any living thing that existed at the time.

    The conditions under which life began are immensely different from the conditions that life has, perforce, currently adapted to. You need to do some basic research into the early history of life on Earth before casting stones.
    I'm a cynical optimist. I think the only way out is through, but once we get through it'll be better. Very different, but better. Howard Tayler

    It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. Charles Darwin

    Power, Lord Acton says, corrupts. Not always. What power always does is reveal. Robert A. Caro

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    Somewhere in the Universe, sometime in the past 13.7 billion years = 99% probability of microscopic life and 98% probability of life more advanced than present humans. Even for our Earth and our solar system, my guess is several percent probability of life arising multiple times. We may never know, so numbers are guess work. The fossil record is far from complete, for even the last few centuries. Neil

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    [QUOTE=Noclevername;1895112]
    Quote Originally Posted by ravenhill View Post

    No, the toxic environment he's talking about is oxygen. It's deadly to most fragile newly-formed complex organic compounds. Only because we've had billions of years to adapt to it are we using it metabolically; for most of Earth's existence, it was a deadly poison to any living thing that existed at the time.

    The conditions under which life began are immensely different from the conditions that life has, perforce, currently adapted to. You need to do some basic research into the early history of life on Earth before casting stones.

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    What a charming manner you have.

    What are the conditions 'which life began' of which you are so knowledgable?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ravenhill View Post
    What a charming manner you have.

    What are the conditions 'which life began' of which you are so knowledgable?
    Back in the 1920s, Alexander Oparin and J.B.S.Haldane argued that life sprung from an environment that was chemical reducing (i.e. rich in hydrogen), and not in an oxidizing environment.

    The Miller-Urey experiment, and other experiments like it, confirmed that molecules such as amino acids form easily from a mixture of gases which includes plenty of hydrogen atoms, and not too many oxygen atoms.

    Scientists have different models for the composition of Earth's atmosphere when life began here, three to four billion years ago. But I think it is generally agreed that there was little if any free oxygen (O2) in the mixture. That happened later: an event sometimes called the "oxygen catastrophe".

    Describing oxygen gas as a poison is funny, yet true. Earth's current oxygen-rich atmosphere is admittedly tolerated by some forms of life some in fact make use of the oxygen as an energy source but it is far from ideal for life to get started.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michfoust View Post
    in my opinion there is 100% chance of other life..No one knows how big space is and its neverending and its just undescribable.
    I guess life elsewhere in the universe is a distinct probability. I will not venture to put the percentage to it, though. Primary reason is that we know only one kind of life - our kind, and I think the life elsewhere might not necessarily follow the same evolution pattern.

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    The OP has been banned as a spammer. I've left the thread in place because it appears to have triggered a viable discussion.
    "Words that make questions may not be questions at all."
    - Neil deGrasse Tyson, answering loaded question in ten words or less
    at a 2010 talk MCed by Stephen Colbert.

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    I have read somewhere that if a human were somehow instantly transported to the time of dinosaurs, he/she would die of oxygen poisoning (too much oxygen). At the same time, if a dinosaur was somehow instantly transported to present time, it would die almost immediately due to a lack of sufficient oxygen.

    It's amazing how even different time periods on our own planet can have extreme repercussions, let alone other worlds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ravenhill View Post
    Why has life only arisen on Earth once? All life studied so far has a common ancestor. Ideal conditions here, should'nt it be popping up all the time?
    The conditions that resulted in early life coming into being on the early earth are gone for one thing. The chemistry is much different, we're not constantly being bombarded by organic molecule rich meteors, the atmosphere is oxygen rich and so are the oceans and every ecological niche is already occupied by well developed life forms. Any primitive life form that did appear would probably be promptly eaten.

    Given the size of the visable universe, the number of Galaxies and stars in those galaxies and the number of stars in safer areas for life to develope- outside the core, and in between arms in spiral galaxies where there are less large stars undergoing supernovas on a regular basis(cosmologically), then the chance that life exists on other planets somewhere must approach 100%.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Exposed View Post
    I have read somewhere that if a human were somehow instantly transported to the time of dinosaurs, he/she would die of oxygen poisoning (too much oxygen). At the same time, if a dinosaur was somehow instantly transported to present time, it would die almost immediately due to a lack of sufficient oxygen.
    Hmm, I was under the impression it's assumed to be more @ the other way around: the dinosaurs (and "fairly soon" after, the early birds) prospered in a lower oxygen content environment.

    As to the subject of whys and how of abiogenesis, maybe this (often posted by me) list of papers may be of some interest despite not being quite to the point of the OP:
    http://www.rationalskepticism.org/ch...45.html#p47054
    The dog, the dog, he's at it again!

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    The chances for other life in space are quite high. The real issue are the necessary modifiers to that question.

    1-The chances for complex life in space. Not good. The complexity of life here did not occur until several cataclysmic events, the iceball earth periods at the end of the neoproterozoic era and the oxygen catastrophy that occured earlier. Both events both threatened and drove the evolution of complex life. Had glaciation not been ended by the buildup of greenhouse gasses due to volcanic activity life could have been extinguished or kept at a very simple level. Our over sized moon in just the right orbit may have driven that volcanic activity. Ward and Brownlee -Rare Earth: Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe (2000), argue that a large number of fortunate geological and astronomical conditions allowed the evolution of us, anyone of which may have stopped our evolution had we not been lucky. The fact of our existence does not argue against this hypothesis. Obviously without our extreme luck we would not be here to argue about the existence of life in space.

    2-The chances for complex intelligent life in space. Not good. Complex tool using intelligence capable of building a space going technology did not exist for 99.99+ % of earth's history. Since it's inception the earth is undergoing a major extinction event as great as those that occurred in the past. It is not necessary for evolutionary survival and may not even be a survival advantage for us. Ask me again in 25 years.

    3-The chances for complex intelligent life in space close enough to communicate with us. Not good considering the arguments above. The universe is so vast someone has to win the lottery eventually. Obviously we did. What are the chances that your neighbor will win the lottery as well?

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    The metallicity of a star also seems to be important for the development of life, both in the types and sizes of planets formed around a star and the availability of elements for the devlopement of life.

    Maybe we're just a bit early for the rush of life being formed in the universe.

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    It seems that the laws of physics are no different here than elsewhere in the galaxy at least and that our star is not especially different from billions of other stars.
    So if the same laws physics exist elsewhere the probability of life elsewhere is greater than zero and thus given the scale of things the probability of life out there is 100%. The question is therefor not whether there is life but how much life.

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    Speaking of the lottery. If the chance of intelligent life is as good as winning the lottery then there should be more than 7000 star systems with intelligent life in the galaxy.

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    3-The chances for complex intelligent life in space close enough to communicate with us. Not good considering the arguments above. The universe is so vast someone has to win the lottery eventually. Obviously we did. What are the chances that your neighbor will win the lottery as well?
    Let's not sit around waiting for signs and signals, lets get together and get out there! Intelligent or not, lets find other life!!!

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