Author Topic: Are we alone?  (Read 4955 times)

Re: Are we alone?
« Reply #15 on: October 03, 2016, 10:00:58 AM »
While the number of planets in the universe is absurdly large, the possibility for any particular evolutionary outcome is equally large.  It took 5 billion years for intelligence to accidently happen on Earth, and when it did, it resulted in highly imperfect life forms, one of which has a propensity for self destruction of its own species.
Yeah.  And consider that the world's most intelligent animals are a mixture of terrestrial mammal, aquatic mammal, and some bird species (with cephalopods as an honorable mention).

The species that came to dominate the planet is an odd-looing ape species with the incredibly good fortunate to develop intelligence, bipedalism (freeing up hands for tool use), and language.  That combination is not typical.  Intelligence itself might not be too difficult to evolve - increasingly cunning predators as an evolutionary response to increasingly elusive prey - but an intelligent, social, tool-using species - the kind that builds cities and machines - might be frustratingly rare in the universe.

Offline SGOS

Re: Are we alone?
« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2016, 10:43:03 AM »
Yeah.  And consider that the world's most intelligent animals are a mixture of terrestrial mammal, aquatic mammal, and some bird species (with cephalopods as an honorable mention).

The species that came to dominate the planet is an odd-looing ape species with the incredibly good fortunate to develop intelligence, bipedalism (freeing up hands for tool use), and language.  That combination is not typical.  Intelligence itself might not be too difficult to evolve - increasingly cunning predators as an evolutionary response to increasingly elusive prey - but an intelligent, social, tool-using species - the kind that builds cities and machines - might be frustratingly rare in the universe.

Yes, and our presence on the earth was not inevitable or a necessity.  The Earth has produced more species than we even know about, and some with far greater track records at evolutionary success than humans.  We are just one more freak that has established itself during a period of highly atypical but temporary environmental conditions that we are suited for.

And the whole ape family of the order primates is an odd set of creatures to observe.  When I look at apes in general, they seem like some crazy species that surely doesn't belong in this world.  While other species spend their time eating and reproducing, the apes spend a lot of time farting around, gawking at things, and seeing what happens when they stick something or other up a nostril.

Offline TomFoolery

Re: Are we alone?
« Reply #17 on: October 03, 2016, 12:40:34 PM »
Yeah.  And consider that the world's most intelligent animals are a mixture of terrestrial mammal, aquatic mammal, and some bird species (with cephalopods as an honorable mention).

This was discussed at length in my extraterrestrial life course last spring, and I think serves as an interesting case study in evolution. Virtually every biome on Earth has at least one species with remarkable intelligence, and many who are even theorized to have a concept of "self" and the ability to use tools. It seems like humans just sort of won the race to the top, but I like to think of things like elephants, raccoons, crows, orcas, chimps, and squid as understudies for the human race in the event we really do find a way to wipe ourselves out.
How can you be sure my refusal to agree with your claim a symptom of my ignorance and not yours?

Re: Are we alone?
« Reply #18 on: October 03, 2016, 12:52:55 PM »
This was discussed at length in my extraterrestrial life course last spring, and I think serves as an interesting case study in evolution. Virtually every biome on Earth has at least one species with remarkable intelligence, and many who are even theorized to have a concept of "self" and the ability to use tools. It seems like humans just sort of won the race to the top, but I like to think of things like elephants, raccoons, crows, orcas, chimps, and squid as understudies for the human race in the event we really do find a way to wipe ourselves out.
Raccoons have an edge on the others in your list, they already live in cities and use technology.
We 'new atheists' have a reputation for being militant, but make no mistake  we didn't start this war. If you want to place blame put it on the the religious zealots who have been poisoning the minds of the  young for a long long time."
PZ Myers

Offline Cavebear

Re: Are we alone?
« Reply #19 on: October 29, 2016, 11:20:41 AM »
If the universe is infinite (as is sometimes claimed), then there is someone somewhere exactly like me right down the the DNA, typing these ezact words RIGHT NOW and the previous typo at this very moment, all the other previous moments and possible typos, and at all future moments.  Does that seem to get a bit bizarre?
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!  b 1950

Offline Baruch

Re: Are we alone?
« Reply #20 on: October 29, 2016, 01:05:41 PM »
If the universe is infinite (as is sometimes claimed), then there is someone somewhere exactly like me right down the the DNA, typing these ezact words RIGHT NOW and the previous typo at this very moment, all the other previous moments and possible typos, and at all future moments.  Does that seem to get a bit bizarre?

See Nietzsche's idea of Eternal Recurrence.  Infinity is a lot smaller than people imagine ;-)
שלום

Re: Are we alone?
« Reply #21 on: October 29, 2016, 01:33:17 PM »
If the universe is infinite (as is sometimes claimed), then there is someone somewhere exactly like me right down the the DNA, typing these ezact words RIGHT NOW and the previous typo at this very moment, all the other previous moments and possible typos, and at all future moments.  Does that seem to get a bit bizarre?
Actually, an infinite universe allows for infinite different actions. Doing the same thing over and over again is redundant and repetitive.
We 'new atheists' have a reputation for being militant, but make no mistake  we didn't start this war. If you want to place blame put it on the the religious zealots who have been poisoning the minds of the  young for a long long time."
PZ Myers

Offline SGOS

Re: Are we alone?
« Reply #22 on: October 29, 2016, 02:30:02 PM »
Actually, an infinite universe allows for infinite different actions.

Good point.  Well, I think it's a good point, but we are talking about infinity.

Offline Cavebear

Re: Are we alone?
« Reply #23 on: October 31, 2016, 04:23:50 AM »
Actually, an infinite universe allows for infinite different actions. Doing the same thing over and over again is redundant and repetitive.

How do you know we AREN'T repetitive?

How do you know we AREN'T repetitive?

How do you know we AREN'T repetitive?
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!  b 1950

Re: Are we alone?
« Reply #24 on: October 31, 2016, 11:54:12 AM »
How do you know we AREN'T repetitive?

How do you know we AREN'T repetitive?

How do you know we AREN'T repetitive?
I don't know we AREN'T repetitive. I do know that a branching causality is unlikely to repeat.
We 'new atheists' have a reputation for being militant, but make no mistake  we didn't start this war. If you want to place blame put it on the the religious zealots who have been poisoning the minds of the  young for a long long time."
PZ Myers

Offline Cavebear

Re: Are we alone?
« Reply #25 on: October 31, 2016, 11:57:06 AM »
I don't know we AREN'T repetitive. I do know that a branching causality is unlikely to repeat.

 Given infinite branches, doesn't there have to be repitition somewhere?
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!  b 1950

Re: Are we alone?
« Reply #26 on: October 31, 2016, 04:57:09 PM »
Given infinite branches, doesn't there have to be repitition somewhere?
Two branches would have to have the same antecedents. The closer to congruity, the greater the number of identical antecedents needed.
We 'new atheists' have a reputation for being militant, but make no mistake  we didn't start this war. If you want to place blame put it on the the religious zealots who have been poisoning the minds of the  young for a long long time."
PZ Myers

Offline SGOS

Re: Are we alone?
« Reply #27 on: October 31, 2016, 06:10:06 PM »
Maybe time is going faster all the time.  And what we have come to think of as an illusion of age is not an illusion at all.

Offline AllPurposeAtheist

Re: Are we alone?
« Reply #28 on: November 01, 2016, 04:20:05 AM »
Fact: We're all going to die. We can die alone, die with the friend or foe or we can die at the hand of the Borg. Resistance is futile.
I don't particularly care if we're alone in the universe or if there's a race of human sausage making maniacs on the loose just cruising through the galaxies.
All hail my new signature!

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Offline AllPurposeAtheist

Re: Are we alone?
« Reply #29 on: November 01, 2016, 04:22:19 AM »
Given infinite branches, doesn't there have to be repitition somewhere?
Obama is a reptile. It says so on the internet and they can't say things that aren't true on the internet.
Oh wait..R E P E T I T I O N.. I read reptilian..  IT'S THE SAME THING, DAMMIT!
« Last Edit: November 01, 2016, 04:24:10 AM by AllPurposeAtheist »
All hail my new signature!

Admit it. You're secretly green with envy.