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Thread: 10 unsettling answers to the fermi paradox

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    Big Leaguer nullnor's Avatar
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    10 unsettling answers to the fermi paradox

    i really enjoyed my conversation with rhd. he was right about everything he said. i didn't feel the need to quote him and point out everything he said was right. i assumed he knew i knew he was.

    but he taught me something i didn't know. not to make assumptions about the expansion of the universe.

    the really the scary thing about the expansion of the universe. it's the thing that keeps scientists up at night. it's a period in the universe where we really are not sure if we really have everything we need to know about it.

    still... the universe will expand, and life and civilizations will be isolated. and what does it mean.

    there are so many questions about existence. and i think one of the tools that can be used in our favor is that the universe is so vast that it can be used to eliminate some of the doubt. for example, if we are so special, than why is space so big. if we are somehow being tricked than why would you need so big of a field to trick us.

    and why would future civilizations never know there was a beginning? yet wouldn't everyone need to know there was a beginning? why is space so big?


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    Hall of Famer johnnya24's Avatar
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    Number 5 (Rare) is a theory that has been deepened with recent biochemical research into the origins of life on Earth. It suggests, that if the conditions for simplistic life (single cellular) can exist, they probably will. Therefore we will probably find simple bacterial life everywhere in the galaxy (possibly even our own solar system!). Life is probably abundant in the universe. Good, right? Well no. However, it also suggests that complex life (multi cellular) is far far far rarer than previous imagined. There is no necessary evolutionary connection between single and multi cellular life forms, as I think most of us imagined. The jump from abundant single cellular life (bacteria etc) to complex multi cellular life occurred only ONE TIME in the 4 billion year history of earth. ONE TIME! All non-single cell life on earth is related to a single freak occurrence of successful endosymbiosis - that is, to put in simply, a bunch of these single cell lifeforms got trapped inside each other, and survived to form unique roles within the cell, which lead to the explosion of multi cellular life. All non-bacterial / archaea (that is, all plant and animal life) on earth are related back to this one freak occurrence.

    Add this parameter to number 5, it will seem almost impossible that we will discover intelligent life in the universe. It will be far rarer than even number 5 suggests. But we will probably find bacteria and archaea everywhere.

    It's not often you read a book and have a mind-blowing insight like "oh shit, we may as well be alone in the universe". But that was my reaction when I read Nick Lane's book, The Vital Question (Good Reads link) about 2 years ago. It's not about the possibility of alien life at all, but about the biochemical origins of life in general. The 2 are indelibly related.

    Nick Lane, The Vital Question (amazon link)

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    Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.

    Plus studying space gives us something to play with. God's gift to us.

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    Hall of Famer johnnya24's Avatar
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    You gotta respect the relentless of Christian trolls. Like all trolling, driven by a deep sense of insecurity and fear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnnya24 View Post
    You gotta respect the relentless of Christian trolls. Like all trolling, driven by a deep sense of insecurity and fear.
    How is that trolling? It is my comment/answer to the question.

    Also the deep fear that is described as far as being alone in the universe, I do not experience.

    I can assure you my comment was not trolling nor was it born out of insecurity and fear.

    Why do you feel the need to make this type of comment about my comment? Was that trolling? Do you have insecurity and fear about a Christian perspective?

  6. #6
    I think about the Fermi Paradox all the time, probably too much. Today, I'd go with "aliens have been here but before we were sentient/earth is in a galactic backwater/we don't recognize alien life/signals as alien life/signals" combo explanation
    "You know what's wrong with America? If I lovingly tongue a woman's nipple in a movie, it gets an "NC-17" rating, if I chop it off with a machete, it's an "R". That's what's wrong with America, man...."--Dennis Hopper

    "One should judge a man mainly from his depravities. Virtues can be faked. Depravities are real." -- Klaus Kinski

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Fresno Bob View Post
    I think about the Fermi Paradox all the time, probably too much. Today, I'd go with "aliens have been here but before we were sentient/earth is in a galactic backwater/we don't recognize alien life/signals as alien life/signals" combo explanation
    I always go with the "it's a hell of a long ways between galaxies theory", myself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nullnor View Post
    i really enjoyed my conversation with rhd. he was right about everything he said. i didn't feel the need to quote him and point out everything he said was right. i assumed he knew i knew he was.
    Gee thanx, Nully! I'm definitely not right about everything. I'm just a guy w a certain amount of knowledge and opinions, like everyone else.

    Quote Originally Posted by nullnor View Post
    the really the scary thing about the expansion of the universe. it's the thing that keeps scientists up at night. it's a period in the universe where we really are not sure if we really have everything we need to know about it.

    still... the universe will expand, and life and civilizations will be isolated. and what does it mean.
    Some physicists are saying now that the universe may be cyclic, that it may stop expanding at some point and contract, eventually getting as small, hot and dense as it was rt after the big bang, at which point it will "bounce" and start expanding again. I have no idea what this future contraction is based on scientifically, nor what will make it "bounce". Cosmology seems to be getting more and more theoretical these days.

    Quote Originally Posted by nullnor View Post
    there are so many questions about existence. and i think one of the tools that can be used in our favor is that the universe is so vast that it can be used to eliminate some of the doubt. for example, if we are so special, than why is space so big. if we are somehow being tricked than why would you need so big of a field to trick us.

    and why would future civilizations never know there was a beginning? yet wouldn't everyone need to know there was a beginning? why is space so big?
    Yeah, why create such an incomprehensively vast universe w so much stuff in it if there will be intelligent life only in one small, dark corner of it w the inability to visit and interact w the vast majority of it? Seems a tremendous waste and doesnt seem to make sense. Of course that it should make sense presupposes that there is some purpose to the universe which I dont see how science can either prove or disprove. IMHO you have to use some other "discipline" to explore that issue. Which is why I dont think mixing science and things like God and religion in the same discussion is generally a good idea. You just get things even more mixed up and confused than they are already.

    Maybe intelligent life is rare now but may not be in the distant future. We're still in a very early stage of the universe. I saw a video recently that calculated what size of black hole would have evaporated by now if it was created at the time of the big bang and this turned out to be about the mass of a small asteroid several times the mass of the great pyramid. That would make an extremely small black hole, just 1/4 of a femtometer. The smallest solar black holes are several miles across and the biggest are billions of times bigger than the sun's mass. So the universe will be around a very long time (notwithstanding something like a quantum phase change or a collision w another universe). More to the point, red dwarfs will last tens and hundreds of billions of years, maybe even trillions of years. They emit massive solar flares when they are "young", which they all are now because the universe has been around only 13.8 billion yrs. These would seem to make it unlikely for intelligent life to develop. But as their rotation slows down over time, they may emit much less massive flares and less frequently, which may enable life to be sustained for incredibly long periods. I saw another video recently that said the type of star that might be the most suitable for intelligent life are neither red dwarfs nor yellow dwarfs like our Sun but orange dwarfs which are intermediate in size. These dont flare like red dwarfs and they live much longer than the Sun will, about 30-40 billion years and they're actually thought to be more abundant than yellow dwarfs. So in the distant future, the universe might be teeming w intelligent life.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve 2.0 View Post
    I always go with the "it's a hell of a long ways between galaxies theory", myself.
    My sentiments exactly!

  10. #10
    @rhd That is too much to quote.

    Who says this is all that much? Consider the scale of a microbe compared to the culture dish. You impose the limitations of human perception where they do not apply.

    I choose to think that it is a combination of unlikely events. Some candidates--the tides. We have good reason to think our moon is very atypical. Ice ages and warm periods may need a specific mix. No one understands why multicell organisms began, much less organ specialization.

    There is no other culture visible because there is no other culture in the history of the galaxy. As noted, other galaxies are far away and this is a case where such limits would apply.

    J
    Ad Astra per Aspera

    Oh. In that case, never mind. - Wonderboy

    GITH fails logic 101. - bryanbutler

    Bah...OJH caught me. - Pogues

    I don't know if you guys are being willfully ignorant, but... - Judge Jude

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