Is life rare in the universe?

General discussions about future technology and the human race.

Is life rare in the universe?

Postby TreeHandThing on Sun Mar 13, 2011 4:29 am

In our solar system, there are three places that could possibly harbor life; Earth, Europa, and Enceledus. And we do know that one of those places does harbor life. So, is microscopic life rare in the universe?

Another thing that I found interesting was the concept of a bracewell probe, which, is designed to find signals from intelligent alien life:

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Re: Is life rare in the universe?

Postby Prolite on Sun Mar 13, 2011 6:56 am

Microscopic life is probably very abundant actually in my opinion. Intelligent life such as our own is probably very rare though in our universe. The chances of very intelligent life forms existing in the universe at this current moment in time is probably extremely rare. Stephen Hawking believes that we are the only intelligent life forms in our entire galaxy. In my opinion, there's probably only a handful of us in the entire universe at the moment.
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Re: Is life rare in the universe?

Postby Craven on Sun Mar 13, 2011 5:13 pm

We still don't exactly know how life came to be. If it emerged on Earth on it's own, then I'd say it's probably very common. But if came from outer space, and that seems likely given how incredibly fast after formation of planet life popped up, it's hard to tell.

Another thing is - you said Earth, Europa, and Enceledus, but there actually could be microscopic life underground Mars. Fluctuating methane clouds are really interesting thing. That would pimp that number of places for life to exist to 4. But then again someone else can say that realistically only Earth has conditions for life as we know it. And in that case we have 100% presence of life on celestial bodies that can sustain life :)
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Re: Is life rare in the universe?

Postby crzer07 on Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:49 am

Alright let's get down to it and be outright. This question is ultimately philosophical in nature, because:

We don't know what "life" exactly is, or all agree on what the definition of life. I'd say the line between the living and non-living is not as clear-cut as we usually have our impression to be. Looking at a scientifically reductionist point of view, to me life is basically a rare occurance of chemical processes propagating itself through natural means from inorganic forms of matter. In essence, that is basically what we are.

The REAL question you may be wondering is whether reductionism is a viable approach in answering this question. Which then goes back to abiogenesis.

And I doubt us pseudo-intellectuals are able to give valid and constructive arguments.
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Re: Is life rare in the universe?

Postby Craven on Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:38 am

I think it becomes problematic when you study viruses and some primitive lifeforms. When it comes to ET-life it would be quite simpler - if there are eating, defecating, breathing, self replicating things, that move or react to their world then it clearly is life.
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Re: Is life rare in the universe?

Postby Italian Ufo on Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:37 am

so far it seems that life in the universe is extremely rare, however, some are convinced that extraterrestrial civilizations are hiding from us.
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Re: Is life rare in the universe?

Postby Craven on Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:52 am

Not hiding, it just ain't easy to find aliens among 400 billion stars ;)
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Re: Is life rare in the universe?

Postby Italian Ufo on Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:07 pm

Craven wrote:Not hiding, it just ain't easy to find aliens among 400 billion stars ;)


Then we dont know, they might have developed a technology that prevents us to see them :) anyway i cant wait to meet an alien civilization one day
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Re: Is life rare in the universe?

Postby Craven on Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:41 pm

You may not like it if they come to eat our brains :twisted:
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Re: Is life rare in the universe?

Postby crzer07 on Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:05 pm

Italian Ufo wrote:Then we dont know, they might have developed a technology that prevents us to see them :) anyway i cant wait to meet an alien civilization one day


How we tend to make unfalsifiable claims and then assign unreasonable truth values to them. That is until we develop a tech that will enable us to detect them, like the monolith on the Moon.
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