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Assumptions on life forms

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    Posted: 10 Dec 2010 at 20:53
Bit of a random topic really... Star Trek III is on for the tenth time in about a week and it got me thinking about scientific assumptions on extra terrestrial life forms.  To date and to my knowledge, scientific assumptions on extra terrestrial life forms have assumed animal and plant form.  Surely  other branches of non-microscopic life can exist.  But what could it be and how might it look? How could it extract and process nutrients and energy? 

Here is a little on extant domains and kingdoms of life: http://biology.about.com/od/evolution/a/aa041708a.htm


Edited by Zagros - 10 Dec 2010 at 20:58
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Dec 2010 at 21:51
Oh dear! What if there are actual beings of light and thought, from somewhere in the universe or another dimension, that survive off of the most powerful form of intelligent energy man can ever know? Why that almost sounds like, Oh never mind....?

That is a good question. Unfortunately, i believe the knowledge of the scientific community has never experienced non-microscopic intelligent life as yet. I don't think that means it doesn't exist. Just that we either have not encountered it, or just have a hard enough time as it is just wrapping our brains around the little amount of knowledge we've already acquired, as well as sharing our current experiences with one another. Even in doing that, the latter is still a most dangerously explosive proposition!

D@mn Zagros, can't you think of a harder question next time?SmileWink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Dec 2010 at 22:00
Interesting topic. 

We assume elements needed for life would be relatively constant everywhere - carbon, potassium, oxygen, etc.  And we are one planet of life forms orbiting one star out of c.300 sextillion stars.  As a freshman in college, one of the subjects I hated was statistics, but numbers like those seem to make it more than conceivable that life could be supported by other combinations of elements (or maybe just one?) or that there are life-supporting elements that we don't know about.

The only realistic chance we have to find out anything other than what we know is to study perhaps Mars and the few moons that can be reached, and that we can look at.  AFAIK, only two or three moons around Jupiter and Saturn have any kind of atmosphere, but Enceladus may have liquid water below its silicate surface.  I think one of Neptune's moons has some sort of atmosphere.

Does life require an atmosphere?  Does it require water?  If we can't get closer, it is all assumptions, as Zagros says.  It is also frustrating that all the inquiry may not be worth the expense.

Life forms thousands of light years away will probably always remain unknown.  The crushing reality of Einstein's thought may permanently consign interstellar travel to science fiction.  And certainly Stephen Hawking doesn't think it is a very good idea to try to initiate "first contact" with any life forms that might be able to "think."

Goddammit, I am such a party pooper.

 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Dec 2010 at 22:29
We Organians have been visiting this nature preserve for primitive live for quite a long time.
 
It is interesting to observe how cellular life is so magnificently egocentric to the point of being dangerous.  But then, we find the dropping of reminders as "Angels of the Lord" most topical and at times quite amusing.


Edited by drgonzaga - 10 Dec 2010 at 22:32
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Dec 2010 at 22:44
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

We Organians have been visiting this nature preserve for primitive live for quite a long time.
 
It is interesting to observe how cellular life is so magnificently egocentric to the point of being dangerous.  But then, we find the dropping of reminders as "Angels of the Lord" most topical and at times quite amusing.


"Angels of the Lord..."

How much angelic DNA can be harvested from the head of a pin?  Wink



 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2010 at 01:41
Well Pike the first thing that popped into my mind when I saw the thread was a weird banshee-like wail intoning Caaaaarl Saaaaagan and that glorious waste of tax-payer funds that more or less made the nature trails around Arecibo extensions of "Big Brother". The SETI project was his so-called contribution in the "hard" sciences [we will not mention those silly designs etched into Voyager...] despite the the overwhelming evidence on interstellar distances and the finality that is the hallmark of organic life forms. Are we to project our god-myths outward so as to await the "coming"?
 
Oh, oh, my battery lights are flickering its either time to recharge with interstellar gas or simply transmogrify into one of the local primitives. Mass is so much easier to handle than Energy...


Edited by drgonzaga - 11 Dec 2010 at 01:42
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2010 at 10:02
Some findings of microbial life at least extends the range of possible environments and ways of metabolism among living organisms:
 
 
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Arsenic-Eating Bacteria Opens New Possibilities for Alien Life
One of the basic assumptions about life on Earth may be due for a revision. Scientists have discovered a type of bacteria that thrives on poisonous arsenic, potentially opening up a new pathway for life on Earth and other planets.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2010 at 10:45
Essentially this is just a question of the definition of life.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2010 at 12:13
Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:

Oh dear! What if there are actual beings of light and thought, from somewhere in the universe or another dimension, that survive off of the most powerful form of intelligent energy man can ever know? Why that almost sounds like, Oh never mind....?

That is a good question. Unfortunately, i believe the knowledge of the scientific community has never experienced non-microscopic intelligent life as yet. I don't think that means it doesn't exist. Just that we either have not encountered it, or just have a hard enough time as it is just wrapping our brains around the little amount of knowledge we've already acquired, as well as sharing our current experiences with one another. Even in doing that, the latter is still a most dangerously explosive proposition!

D@mn Zagros, can't you think of a harder question next time?SmileWink


I am not specifically referring to intelligent life or particularly complex life forms like animals.  Just life.  The first multi-celled forms of it on Earth were pretty bizarre to say the least but were not in any way sentient. 

So plants photosynthesise and also extract nutrients, largely, from the soil.  Animals consume other life forms which they actively look for.
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2010 at 12:16
Originally posted by pikeshot1600 pikeshot1600 wrote:




Does life require an atmosphere?  Does it require water?  If we can't get closer, it is all assumptions, as Zagros says.  It is also frustrating that all the inquiry may not be worth the expense.




Yes these are the questions that I was pndering.  I suppose our assumptions have simply been framed with a bias to our own reality, which is atmospheric, carbon based and requiring of water.


Edited by Zagros - 11 Dec 2010 at 12:18
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2010 at 12:19
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Essentially this is just a question of the definition of life.


Or branches thereof, if you think of life as the broad term.
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2010 at 15:01
Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:

Originally posted by pikeshot1600 pikeshot1600 wrote:




Does life require an atmosphere?  Does it require water?  If we can't get closer, it is all assumptions, as Zagros says.  It is also frustrating that all the inquiry may not be worth the expense.




Yes these are the questions that I was pndering.  I suppose our assumptions have simply been framed with a bias to our own reality, which is atmospheric, carbon based and requiring of water.
The most common such assumption is the challengeable one that life is based on a cell structure.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2010 at 19:11
Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:

Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:

Oh dear! What if there are actual beings of light and thought, from somewhere in the universe or another dimension, that survive off of the most powerful form of intelligent energy man can ever know? Why that almost sounds like, Oh never mind....?

That is a good question. Unfortunately, i believe the knowledge of the scientific community has never experienced non-microscopic intelligent life as yet. I don't think that means it doesn't exist. Just that we either have not encountered it, or just have a hard enough time as it is just wrapping our brains around the little amount of knowledge we've already acquired, as well as sharing our current experiences with one another. Even in doing that, the latter is still a most dangerously explosive proposition!

D@mn Zagros, can't you think of a harder question next time?SmileWink


I am not specifically referring to intelligent life or particularly complex life forms like animals.  Just life.  The first multi-celled forms of it on Earth were pretty bizarre to say the least but were not in any way sentient. 

So plants photosynthesise and also extract nutrients, largely, from the soil.  Animals consume other life forms which they actively look for.


Yeah, i got to thinking about it a bit more after wards and feel a bit like an a$$. The thought of any  life not based on carbon, like perhaps an atom based silicon existence in the lower levels of a extraterrestrial planet, has let me wondering if it is perhaps possible for life to exist in an extremely harsh environment, such as let's say like one of our gaseous neighbors?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2010 at 19:27
Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:

Yeah, i got to thinking about it a bit more after wards and feel a bit like an a$$. The thought of any  life not based on carbon, like perhaps an atom based silicon existence in the lower levels of a extraterrestrial planet, has let me wondering if it is perhaps possible for life to exist in an extremely harsh environment, such as let's say like one of our gaseous neighbors?
 
I don't see how anyone can rule out the possibility of life existinig in any environment whatever, if the only definition of living is that it takes in nutrients, reorganises them and expels waste. And I'm not even sure that those are all necessary.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2010 at 21:11
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:

Yeah, i got to thinking about it a bit more after wards and feel a bit like an a$$. The thought of any  life not based on carbon, like perhaps an atom based silicon existence in the lower levels of a extraterrestrial planet, has let me wondering if it is perhaps possible for life to exist in an extremely harsh environment, such as let's say like one of our gaseous neighbors?
 
I don't see how anyone can rule out the possibility of life existinig in any environment whatever, if the only definition of living is that it takes in nutrients, reorganises them and expels waste. And I'm not even sure that those are all necessary.


I would describe life as something that consciously or programmatically strives to perpetuate itself.  So it doesn't have to sustain itself, necessarily, in the conventional ways. 
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Dec 2010 at 06:38

One possibility is that alien life forms have made a leap from biological evolution to machine evolution. There are some attractions to this. A being’s life might be extended immensely, even indefinitely, if it were to shed flesh and adopt a more durable container. Super computers today perform a huge amount of tasks simultaneously; one could make the prediction that the proposed beings, if in some like form to a computer, would experience a massively expanded intellect.

 

It’s quite possible that some life form that looks like this model would not even need a planetary existence, but could float through space, harvesting solar radiation.

 

An interesting question then would be the changes wrought in their psychology, for there must certainly be some. How would these creatures consider the passage of time, if they could expect to be around for tens, even hundreds of thousands of years? A defining characteristic of human life is the passage through fairly well defined stages with limited time frames. All bets may be off if these expand beyond what is imaginable.

 

One fallout of this is that space travel would then be somewhat doable, although not quite in the sense we humans have so far imagined. Given many thousands of years, travel between the stars is quite possible. Perhaps these type of beings are out there, thinking, and perhaps doing, things that would be difficult for us to visualize at our present stage of development.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kowalskil Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Apr 2011 at 23:27
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

One possibility is that alien life forms have made a leap from biological evolution to machine evolution. There are some attractions to this. A being’s life might be extended immensely, even indefinitely, if it were to shed flesh and adopt a more durable container. Super computers today perform a huge amount of tasks simultaneously; one could make the prediction that the proposed beings, if in some like form to a computer, would experience a massively expanded intellect.

 

It’s quite possible that some life form that looks like this model would not even need a planetary existence, but could float through space, harvesting solar radiation.

 

An interesting question then would be the changes wrought in their psychology, for there must certainly be some. How would these creatures consider the passage of time, if they could expect to be around for tens, even hundreds of thousands of years? A defining characteristic of human life is the passage through fairly well defined stages with limited time frames. All bets may be off if these expand beyond what is imaginable.

 

One fallout of this is that space travel would then be somewhat doable, although not quite in the sense we humans have so far imagined. Given many thousands of years, travel between the stars is quite possible. Perhaps these type of beings are out there, thinking, and perhaps doing, things that would be difficult for us to visualize at our present stage of development.


Laws of nature are said to be the same everywhere in the universe. Because of this I tend to think that live, more or less similar to what we have exist only on planets similar to ours. Yes, one can speculate that life exists in stars, like our sun, or even in black holes, but how can such speculations be validated?

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tes  forms of life  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Apr 2011 at 12:45
Originally posted by kowalskil kowalskil wrote:

Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

One possibility is that alien life forms have made a leap from biological evolution to machine evolution. There are some attractions to this. A being’s life might be extended immensely, even indefinitely, if it were to shed flesh and adopt a more durable container. Super computers today perform a huge amount of tasks simultaneously; one could make the prediction that the proposed beings, if in some like form to a computer, would experience a massively expanded intellect.

 

It’s quite possible that some life form that looks like this model would not even need a planetary existence, but could float through space, harvesting solar radiation.

 

An interesting question then would be the changes wrought in their psychology, for there must certainly be some. How would these creatures consider the passage of time, if they could expect to be around for tens, even hundreds of thousands of years? A defining characteristic of human life is the passage through fairly well defined stages with limited time frames. All bets may be off if these expand beyond what is imaginable.

 

One fallout of this is that space travel would then be somewhat doable, although not quite in the sense we humans have so far imagined. Given many thousands of years, travel between the stars is quite possible. Perhaps these type of beings are out there, thinking, and perhaps doing, things that would be difficult for us to visualize at our present stage of development.


Laws of nature are said to be the same everywhere in the universe. Because of this I tend to think that live, more or less similar to what we have exist only on planets similar to ours. Yes, one can speculate that life exists in stars, like our sun, or even in black holes, but how can such speculations be validated?

Ludwik Kowalsk (see Wikipedia)
.
 

tes  forms of life  


Yes but let's not make any assumptions that we know them all or their every implication or eventuality.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Yanko bin Madyan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Apr 2011 at 16:06
Quote The SETI project was his so-called contribution in the "hard" sciences [we will not mention those silly designs etched into Voyager...] despite the the overwhelming evidence on interstellar distances and the finality that is the hallmark of organic life forms.


Carl Sagan was a rare person, an American intellectual with moral integrity. So, I am not surprised that he gets dissed by the Americans in this conservative forum. Nevertheless, you can keep the nonsense level down: Sagan had many contributions to hard sciences in the planetary exploration field. He was one of the most important scientist working with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. At least read the goddam Wiki. SETI was a good project and even if it were absolutely useless it would still have been valuable because it got so-called 'taxpayers money' away from Reagan's Star Wars nonsense (which I believe is the source of your conservative whining regarding someone like Sagan).

Quote The crushing reality of Einstein's thought may permanently consign interstellar travel to science fiction.  And certainly Stephen Hawking doesn't think it is a very good idea to try to initiate "first contact" with any life forms that might be able to "think."


Nothing in Einstein's thought prohibits interstellar travel. To the contrary, relativistic effects make it feasible.

As to Hawking, aliens will not come to steal our resources. Universe is full of 'resources' floating around without needing to lift them out of a gravitational well, if you can travel between the stars. Aliens can come to investigate us, though. Like some of you wrote, extraterrestrial life is highly likely to be totally different than us. If interstellar aliens decide to kill us for one reason or another, though, we are history. In that sense Hawking is right. But unnecessarily paranoid/sensationalist IMHO.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Seko- Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Apr 2011 at 22:05
Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:

Originally posted by pikeshot1600 pikeshot1600 wrote:




Does life require an atmosphere?  Does it require water?  If we can't get closer, it is all assumptions, as Zagros says.  It is also frustrating that all the inquiry may not be worth the expense.




Yes these are the questions that I was pndering.  I suppose our assumptions have simply been framed with a bias to our own reality, which is atmospheric, carbon based and requiring of water.


Not just our perspective but one that is a by product of star formation as well. Water is essential. Of course so is an atmosphere for those of us on Earth. Any life that depends on a star's (sun) energy will also depend on water. Let me quote Wiki:

. When stars are born, their birth is accompanied by a strong outward wind of gas and dust. When this outflow of material eventually impacts the surrounding gas, the shock waves that are created compress and heat the gas. The water observed is quickly produced in this warm dense gas.

Water has been detected in interstellar clouds within our galaxy, the Milky Way. Water probably exists in abundance in other galaxies, too, because its components, hydrogen and oxygen, are among the most abundant elements in the universe. Interstellar clouds eventually condense into solar nebulae and solar systems such as ours.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Apr 2011 at 22:40
I believe Hal Clement, in his great book entitled "Misson of Gravity", explored just such alternative life. As have numerous others in the field of Sci-fi.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Apr 2011 at 03:28
Originally posted by Seko Seko wrote:

Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:

Originally posted by pikeshot1600 pikeshot1600 wrote:




Does life require an atmosphere?  Does it require water?  If we can't get closer, it is all assumptions, as Zagros says.  It is also frustrating that all the inquiry may not be worth the expense.




Yes these are the questions that I was pndering.  I suppose our assumptions have simply been framed with a bias to our own reality, which is atmospheric, carbon based and requiring of water.


Not just our perspective but one that is a by product of star formation as well. Water is essential. Of course so is an atmosphere for those of us on Earth. Any life that depends on a star's (sun) energy will also depend on water. Let me quote Wiki:

. When stars are born, their birth is accompanied by a strong outward wind of gas and dust. When this outflow of material eventually impacts the surrounding gas, the shock waves that are created compress and heat the gas. The water observed is quickly produced in this warm dense gas.

Water has been detected in interstellar clouds within our galaxy, the Milky Way. Water probably exists in abundance in other galaxies, too, because its components, hydrogen and oxygen, are among the most abundant elements in the universe. Interstellar clouds eventually condense into solar nebulae and solar systems such as ours.

 
My original point was that, when we look out beyond the envelope of human knowledge, by definition we draw a blank. As human psychology does not enjoy blanks, we quite understandably fall back on what we know. What else do we have? But it may not be enough.
 
If we were to try and explain where our energy and focus was being expended as human beings to even our nearist biological relatives, the bonobo monkey, or the chimpanzee, we would not get far. Now multiply this problem by untold orders of magnitude, to compensate for possibly millions, or even billions of years of evolution, starting from an entirely different biology, one that we may not even have thought possible, given our present level of knowledge. How would communication work now?
 
It is merely our limited intellect, and our self-indulgence, that lets us assume that we can understand whatever is out there, and moreover that any other sentient beings would be drawn into relations with us.
 
How much water does your computer use? Is it based on carbon, or silicon? And if we are talking about a lfe form that has been around for a few million years or so, your computer, or something corresponding to it, may predate the earliest museums recorded in that alien civilization, if we can use that term.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Seko- Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Apr 2011 at 14:42
CV I read your initial post and you are fixated about the possibility of inorganic machinery. If that is the case then anything that is not organic can be construed to mean life according to your examples. Maybe we should determine what life is first of all. I am in the line of calling them organisms. Not robots and definitely not computers. However, I am open to your arguments. if you can show a better definition. 

Edited by Seko - 18 Apr 2011 at 14:42
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Apr 2011 at 14:56
Well how's this one? Computers are nothing more than parasites entirely dependant upon their "hosts" for sustenance and function.
 
Here's some food for the maintenance of thought--
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Seko- Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Apr 2011 at 15:06
Silicon neurons, simulation of brain activity, artificial intelligence is fine and dandy for a gloried calculator. I think we need to resolve what the definition of life is before we go on into making the inanimate animate.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Apr 2011 at 03:39
Originally posted by Seko Seko wrote:

CV I read your initial post and you are fixated about the possibility of inorganic machinery. If that is the case then anything that is not organic can be construed to mean life according to your examples. Maybe we should determine what life is first of all. I am in the line of calling them organisms. Not robots and definitely not computers. However, I am open to your arguments. if you can show a better definition. 
 
Seko- the point I am trying to make here is that if we want to try and visualize the larger universe, and to try and make some sense of what is outside of our ken, then it is necessary to think outside the box. I think this must clearly be the case, when we look at all the unknowns in science. In some cases, we don't even know what questions to ask, and so thinking in mundane contemporary terms is not likely to lead us to revalation.
 
Examples of thinking inside box are that if life exists outside of earth, then it is probably something like us. It may look a little different, have better technology perhaps, but likely shares many of our values. Even the luminary Steven Hawking made, I believe, a roundabout suggestion that maybe if "they" are out there, they may want to make war, steal resources, etc. In other words, human attibutes. Or, as you have suggested, if they are computers, then they are like what sits in front of us. Oh yes, more advanced, but the same in principal.
 
When we look at scientific discovery though, often it shows us that the universe is entirely different from what was previously thought. One hundred years ago, the universe was thought to be the milky way galaxy. Now we know it is infinitely bigger. Quantum mechanics is showing us that the universe is stranger than we would have imagined- our maybe can imagine.  Many aspects of life today would seem incomprehensible to one from a few centuries past.
 
If we do encounter life out there, it is very possible that it will be not just different, in the sense that we may well have predicted, but completely different, in ways not yet understood. To claim otherwise is to assume a body of knowledge that is unsupportable.
 
Far from fixating on machinery, or anything else, my point is that we should not fixate on what we think we know, because clearly there is much more. The example of biological/machine convergence is just one possiblity of how extraterrestrial life may have evolved. It is one that allows for space travel, because the massive distances might just be palatable for a being that "lives" for thousands of years, due to a technological form.
 
Thinking in the short term, then of course, computers are machines, and that is all. But in astronomical terms we must widen the horizons considerably. In a million years, or a 100 million, or a billion, how might evolution play out? It could be that any such lifeform like that suggested above may have long since forgotten, or lost interest in caring about, the distinction between technology and biology.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Apr 2011 at 03:49
A being that defies the limitation of time and space and possesses "life" far beyond human comprehension has already been envisioned by our puny carbon based brains: We call it "God"...take that Hawking!
 
Musings on extra-terrestrial being--specially beyond the limitations of the corporeal premised on terrestrial chemistry--is hardly a novelty and to premise the Physical Sciences on such is to simply transport these notions into the realm of the metaphysical.


Edited by drgonzaga - 19 Apr 2011 at 03:50
Honi soit qui mal y pense
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Seko- Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Apr 2011 at 15:00
CV, thinking outside of the box is no problem for I have one of the most imaginative minds that I know of (smirk). I just don't like certain cardboard box's as much. Too flimsy. Let us go back to the initial focal point from Zagros - Surely  other branches of non-microscopic life can exist.  But what could it be and how might it look? How could it extract and process nutrients and energy?

First let's examine his statement. I believe he made an error in the first sentence by adding the words, 'non-microscopic'. Microscopic means to be diminutive, small, infinitesimal, while 'non' is a prefix that indicates a negation. In other words what he asserts is an absence of microscopic life. I know I could go as far outside of the box as the next guy but how does one go outside of the tiniest particles in existence especially when those tiny parts such as hydrogen, protons, electrons and neutrons make bigger parts? Atoms, and hence, multiple bigger parts. Thus, we need to throw that segment of his statement out. Which leaves us with "But what could it be and how might it look? How could it extract and process nutrients and energy?"

We could also throw out the appearance question too since we would not be able to know what a non-microscopic being would look like anyway even if it stared us in the face since all biological life (in the box or out), which has a physical state and that can be seen by the human eye (with or without a microscope) is made up of atoms. Little parts that make up bigger parts. Even if we couldn't see this entity it would still need to be made of tiny particles to function.

Thus we are left with, "How could it extract and process nutrients and energy?" There are a few clues in that statement and that tells us what kind of life he is looking for. One, that it processes nutrients. Two, that it is a physical living being and not a ghost, apparition or imagination. It is a being that functions by ingestion, respiration, photosynthesis or other mechanisms in the break down of molecules.

So, according to the opening question in this thread we need to assume that this is search for a life form that can be big or little and will need a mechanism for the extraction of nutrients (vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and fatty acids) and energy (metabolic fuel, heat, kinetic, mechanical, light, potential, nuclear, and electrical among others). Computers and there ilk are ruled out since they do not process nutrients. And no, electricity is not a nutrient. However, if the statement were to read, 'How could it extract and process nutrients OR energy' then we could revise our operative expectation of a life form which would be a non-biological entity if it were to only to consume energy.

My assertion is that life forms which fit the newly corrected questions first posed by Zagros need one valuable substance and that is H2O.

Now this gets me to thinking. Perhaps there already are life forms in existence that consume energy and that are not biological. What are Angels and Jinn (demons) if they presumed to be none other than entities that are either created out of light or travels the speed of light, in regards to the former and fire for the latter? Now this stuff is getting weird.








Edited by Seko - 19 Apr 2011 at 20:19
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Apr 2011 at 16:02
What of the theory that we are all holographic projections from the surface of an event horizon? 

Link: http://www.astroengine.com/2009/01/is-the-universe-a-holographic-projection/

That is something beyond our comprehension.


Edited by Zagros - 19 Apr 2011 at 16:04
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Apr 2011 at 16:02
Originally posted by opuslola opuslola wrote:

I believe Hal Clement, in his great book entitled "Misson of Gravity", explored just such alternative life. As have numerous others in the field of Sci-fi.
Mission of Gravity is an excelent book, but Clement's characters especially the skipper Barlennan are psychologically entirely human. Even physically they are the same kind of being, albeit evolved on a high-gravity, flattened disk type world.
 
For a collection in one place of examples of varying types of creature that have been dreamed up, James White's Sector General series of multispecies hospital stories is good. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sector_General
 
It posits of course the not entirely out of the way thesis that living creatures are all things that can get sick.
Citizen of Ankh-Morpork.

Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.

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