Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I Want To Believe

I wasn't abducted before, but I firmly believe that alien life forms exist. Why? Well on Earth we have life forms (e.g. bacteria) living in very hostile conditions like under kilometers of sea water or high-up on mount Everest. This, along with the fact that everyday we discover a couple of more "Earth-like" planets half the way across the universe is an enough proof for me that statistically it's very probable that somewhere on the other side of the universe there are some bacteria living in a water pond, maybe even as close as Europa!

The part with little green men in silver jumpsuits landing in secret is the one I hate. Let's be honest to ourselves, if aliens ever find us first there are only two likely outcomes: A. We build a very successful interplanetary economic relationship. B. They eliminate us. Let's take a simpler example, during the last couple of thousands of years we had very different civilizations on Earth come in contact with each other and the outcome was always one of the two above. China, Greece and Egypt have enjoyed periods of flourishing economic cooperation. While the Spanish empire managed to wipe out most several civilizations in it's conquest to colonize the New World. History doesn't tell us of "sightings" of Greeks in fancy white robes riding a circular horse-drawn wagon who regularly abducted Chinese people in the 3rd century B.C. and anally probing them later, right?


ZeRoCoOl said...

So chemotrophs are a sign of alien life form hmmmmm interesting bent :/

Feshfesh said...

I'm not good with biology, but my understanding of the Theory of Evolution is that we (humans) descended from a very simple life form. So assuming the very same simple life form is found elsewhere, chances are we'll start to see more complex organisms, right?

Munqy said...


Well, you're assuming something very wrong in terms of evolution, namely that we, as an intelligent lifeform, are an inevitable end result of evolution.

If you look at the animal and plant kingdom, some of the most successful lifeforms are the simplest. Evolution is not a linear progression, you don't have "better" or "worse", except in terms of the local niche that an organism has evolved to fill. The jump to multicellular organisms and the increase in complexity is not a certain evolutionary path, in fact if you compare the simple organisms with the complex ones just locally here on Earth, you'd see that us complex ones are far in the minority. I'd guess that the only alien life forms we can expect to find will be unicellular organisms like bacteria and amoeba and stuff.

See, because of the age and size of the universe, you would think that SOMETHING would have evolved other than us, and at least a few civilizations would have progressed past us technologically. But we haven't detected anything, so either nothing has evolved at all (which I find difficult to believe), they have evolved but not to the point of sapience (my bet), they have evolved sapience but FTL technology is simply not attainable for them to have contacted us (depressing, but possible given what we know of the laws of physics), they exist and have contacted us but the government is hiding it (conspiracy theorists, and no evidence in support. Plus why anal probing, are the aliens like extremely kinky? We travel the universe pegging different organisms, becuase it's like fun and shit) or finally they are watching us and waiting for us to reach a certain level of society and technology before contacting (too Star Trek for my tastes).

Feshfesh said...

ugh... since you want to have a nerdy discussion..... I had Drake's Equation in mind when I was witting this, so I agree with you, I just simplified it. In the original equation you first have a factor for the percentage of planets where life will evolve. Then you have another factor for the fraction of those where "intelligent" life will evolve.


Munqy said...

Yeah I'm familiar with Drake's equation, but it seems a bit ... off to me. There's too many things that aren't accounted for, both which could help evolve life forms and which could hinder it.

For example, life could evolve in ways and in environments completely different from our own. We could have Methane breathers or anaerobic organisms that live off sunlight. Which means that life may be more likely to evolve than his equation suggests.

Against this, the numbers were based on Earth, and are thus extremely anthropically biased. Earth may be a very unique situation, thus the equation may be way off and life is much less likely to evolve.

Either way, I believe that the Drake equation is at the very best a stab in the dark, and at the very worst something drawn up to give credibility to something often viewed as fringe science. It needs something to back it up. Oh and the values that everyone keeps throwing out are literally complete and utter guesswork.

Feshfesh said...

So I have two points:

1.You mentioned that Drake's equation can be off as it doesn't consider other life models (non-oxygen, non-carbon based). I agree. Yet, the bigger point I was making in my blog post is that I believe alien life form is there. So if this equation considers ONLY one model of life, then this reinforces my point, because if anything the numbers should be higher IF there are alternate models of life.

2.I understand that the values of the equation are heavily debated, when this was put forward in the 60's it was a best effort estimate. Now more and more effort is being put to refine those estimates based on research and observations of the universe. This is firming up the numbers and making them better, it's a process.

So to sum-up, I believe there are alien life forms. I consider Drake's equation a very powerful theory, yet it's not perfect. It's based on the ONE model of life we know works and applied only to our galaxy. In all fairness this is infinitely better than theorizing about a methane-based life model and then going ahead and trying to think of numbers for that, right?

…sorry to pick on your example :D

Munqy said...

Nah man, you're right, but I just think that Drake's equation is far too arbitrary to be used to truly calculate the possibility of life. I think it's best used to illustrate the different factors that MIGHT influence the formation of life. Drake's equation has one vital hole in it: 5 of the 7 variables have not and cannot be adequately measured until we find another alien civilization equal to our own (potential for life forming, actual life forming, intelligent life forming, technology, longevity). Until then it's just guesswork.

I had to look the equation up to know the variables btw, I'm not THAT much of a geek.

Feshfesh said...

yes... off course....me too.

>pssssssst, don't worry. Our secret is safe<