What if we are really alone in the universe?

by zagor 29 Replies latest jw friends

  • zagor

    Thank you all, each of your views are appreciated and true when looked at from certain angle. Which does testify to certain type of evolution, evolution of our thoughts that changes and is being shaped as we go through life's stages. But truly there must be the ultimate truth about it all irrespective of what we hold in our minds as a 'local truth' or as someone we all knew used to call it 'present' or 'current truth'.

    James Thomas, thank you for the video and Caedes for referring to mathematical foundations of 'abundant-life-in-the-universe' assumption. You are probably referring to Drakes equations which indeed when taken on the face value or in the way Drake used it would suggest or according to some ?prove? that intelligent life is everywhere in the universe, particularly considering extreme age of the universe. It was certainly a motivating force that has driven Charles Sagan own quest for extraterrestrial life.
    Though thinking about that one recalls to mind Enrico Fermi's statement - If there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, where is everybody? Because according to the same mathematical foundation it would suggest that many civilizations are thousands and even millions of years ahead of us in development. Hence, even if distance were too great for travel at least something else would have to reach us in relative abundance, their radio transmissions.
    Which is exactly why SETI was formed i.e. to catch stray alien radio transmissions. Because according to Drakes equation odds are pretty good to catch one. ...

  • sass_my_frass

    My conclusion so far is: if god exists, he doesn't care about us, so why should we love him? Or if he cares about us but doesn't have the power to do anything to help, why should we fear him? If god exists, I don't think it cares what we think of it, and how or whether we worship it. If it did, it would have made it a lot easier to work out. Meantime, being a nice chick is working out for me.

  • zagor


    so here it is: alt

    R* is the rate of star formation in our galaxy (10)
    fp is the fraction of those stars that have planets (0.5)
    ne is average number of planets that can potentially support life per star that has planets (2)
    fl is the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop life (1)
    fi is the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop intelligent life (0.01)
    fc is the fraction of the above that are willing and able to communicate (0.01)
    L is the expected lifetime of such a civilization (50,000)

    i.e. N = 50

    Which sounds rather great, 50 technologically savvy civilizations at this present moment in our galaxy alone. The trouble is some of those parameters are pure speculations, and because of this formula actually being a Product if even one of those parameters approaches zero so does the entire result. When Drake devised it many of current conditions and low probability that earth-like planets survive initial stage of solar formation where not know back in 1960s. So here?s the same equation if we plug in ?current? values that we estimate:

    R* (6)
    fp (0.5)
    ne (2)
    fl (0.33)
    fi (0.0000001)
    fc (0.01)
    L (420)

    N = 0.0000008
    Rather unimpressive number.

  • zagor

    Unsurprisingly, a new rival theory called Rare Earth hypothesis was formed. Which, taking some of the latest understandings of our universe, states that earth-like planets would be extremely rare in the universe, not only our galaxy. Of course, both of those views are but representation of how human though evolves, in next 20-50 years we might have even sharper understanding of it all.
    The sad thing is we might destroy ourselves before we are even able to find answer to that question. Wouldn't that be sad if where were the only ones in the universe with intelligent life forms, and managed to screw it all up?
    Universe is truly majestic place and I would hate to think that we were just a blip on it. Hence, I'm not surprised that many are seeking spiritual foundations of it all, because after all universe truly is divine in appearance.
    When I posed the same question to one of my colleagues the other day, he, to my astonishment, quoted a passage from the bible in which Jesus said 'In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you'
    (Rather interesting view when applied to universe itself rather than illusive heavens.) After all, he said, why would life always have to be carbon-based?!? He asked me then, could it be that some alien civilization is at such a high level that we would perceive then as spiritual beings?!? If that were the case, they would probably not use clumsy radio transmissions. After all if we sent people even to Mars we could not communicate directly with them because of 20 minutes lag.
    I have to admit, I was taken aback by his comment, bearing in mind that to the world he is an atheist. Such thinking is truly interesting because again it testify to evolution and development of our own thinking and changing nature of what is considered as acceptable view on every stage we are on. But what is the ultimate truth? The truth we are still to acquire and ascertain; are we starting to go down the path of spirituality more and more due to lack of any other plausible explanation?
    Or could he be really right on the money with his current (secret) belief? I'm not sure. I'm not sure what to believe myself sometimes. Sometimes it looks I'm going in circles and coming back where I started. But if we were truly one off incident in vastness of the universe, would that not incite us to be appreciative of what've got. Somehow, I get a feeling that as a species we simply don't give a damn. Like spoiled children who inherited fathers hard earned cash and are spending it like there?s no tomorrow. Well maybe there?s really none.

  • Satanus


    It's commendable (hope that isn't a wt word) that your collegue can take a broader view. The scientific astablishment takes a much narrower view in it's search for other beings in this universe. Some science fiction books have suggested that life forms could be based on other materials besides carbon, as it is on this planet. Some posibilities are silicon, plasma, electromagnetism, or what we call spiritual. As your collegue demonstrates, these lines of thought could be compatable w atheism.


  • Satanus

    It follows then, if there are life forms that are so fundamentally different than us, communication between us and them would be unlikely to start, and if started, would be much more difficult than the people at seti think, at this time.


  • zagor
    It follows then, if there are life forms that are so fundamentally different than us, communication between us and them would be unlikely to start, and if started, would be much more difficult than the people at seti think, at this time.

    Agree, scientific protocol is quite clear; any straying from it would be observed as dipping into metaphysical. Unless aliens make a first step somehow.

  • catbert

    A physicist named Lee Smolin has a theory that baby universes are born from the black holes of other universes. The physical laws of the baby universe are inherited from its mother. Through natural selection, the universes that have traits that promote the breeding of new universes propagate themselves. Natural selection at a universal scale.

  • moshe

    While is is conceivable that intelligent life exists in other worlds, the odds are a trillion to one that we would ever be able to communicate with them. It has only been in the last 30 years or so that humans have been able to listen for space signals- maybe in another 100 years man will be back to the hunter-gatherer stage due to climate changes and human generated disasters. Maybe we evolved much slower or faster that other worlds- so our chances of being on the same evolutionary ladder rung are slim. If we get a call from outer space in the distant future, I am convinced that Man will have left the building by then.

  • Nathan Natas
    Nathan Natas

    Personally, I do not believe that there exists another "realm" resembling the invisible heavens, populated with invisible "spirit creatures."

    If there is life elsewhere in this cosmos, it will be built from the same star-stuff that we are. Probably not in the same combinations that we are but similar. Being therefore like us, they too will be mortal beings looking for their own version of a hot meal and a warm bed for the night.

    Perhaps even these creatures do not exist. Probably I will never know for sure.

    I believe that there is an objective universe, and that what interpretation I make of the world I see does not effect this objective universe.

    What is, is.

    None of us are experiencing a miraculous supply of manna in our cupboards, nor do we find that our oil tanks are perpetually resupplied from some invisible realm. When I announce, "We are alone," it doesn't suddenly cut somebody off from their cosmic food stamps or snap the invisible telephone cord that they use for talking to god. Even if those things existed, I don't think we live in a magical world where denying them would make them cease to exist.

    Likewise, imagining that there is a cosmic free lunch counter does not bring one into being.

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