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To paraphrase the great Carl Sagan : the only way that Earth is the only life bearing planet in the Universe is that it is the first or the last.

Life has evolved to occupy every corner of the Earth, every time it has been on the point of extinction it has fought back and survived. Personally I think simple life is everywhere and hope we will find it within our solar system in my life time. Complex life is a different matter. I'm sure it exists but I'm also sure it is rare.

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I don't think we are in any position to estimate the probablities because we don't know what the required parameters are. However, instinct tells me that the universe will be teeming with life. 'Intel

What is everyone's opinion on extra-terrestrial life? Do you believe we are alone in the universe and are unique or do you think the probability of life in other solar systems is almost 100%? I p

by the odds theres got to be life out there, weather its managed to become intelligent, well we havnt managed it here yet. do thay visit? I dout it, if thay where advanced enough to travel 1000s of ly

I don't think we are in any position to estimate the probablities because we don't know what the required parameters are. However, instinct tells me that the universe will be teeming with life. 'Intelligence,' though, is a human word describing a human characteristic. It might take all sorts of forms.

Not entirely off topic, check this out if you haven't seen it and prepare to be astonished.

Olly

 

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Everyone seems to focus on the probability of life becoming intelligent, but a lot of signs point to the probability of any multi-cellular life being extremely low.

Single-celled life emerged on Earth as soon as the conditions were right. Multi-cellular lifeforms, however, didn't emerge until 2 billion years later. That's 1/7th the age of the entire Universe. So, personally, I think simple life may be everywhere but (combined with the Fermi Paradox) there's a distinct chance we're the only community in the Universe grinding mirrors.

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8 hours ago, ollypenrice said:

I don't think we are in any position to estimate the probablities because we don't know what the required parameters are. However, instinct tells me that the universe will be teeming with life. 'Intelligence,' though, is a human word describing a human characteristic. It might take all sorts of forms.

Not entirely off topic, check this out if you haven't seen it and prepare to be astonished.

Olly

 

Looks like me trying to get comfy in bed. 

That is both astounding and scary at the same time. I hadn't seen that.

Ant

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Just now, Ant said:

Looks like me trying to get comfy in bed. 

That is both astounding and scary at the same time. I hadn't seen that.

Ant

Yup. I think it's scary because it says that we may be greatly under-estimating animal intelligence.

Olly

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10 minutes ago, ollypenrice said:

Yup. I think it's scary because it says that we may be greatly under-estimating animal intelligence.

Olly

Whats realy scary is that a Crow or Octopus might be more intelligent than the great apes.

Alan

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I'm not sure that the act of making an hammock is that great on its own - it could just be mimicking. However getting in it, seeing that its too small and knowing what to do to make it bigger is incredible. 

Absolutely - there are numerous animals that are really quite clever. Making and using tools for very specific jobs is increasingly seen :)

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9 hours ago, ollypenrice said:

Not entirely off topic, check this out if you haven't seen it and prepare to be astonished.

Olly

I'm not surprised as Oran Utangs build 'nests' out of branches every night and the ability of a great ape to apply it's skills in a new situation. That doesn't mean I am not impressed :-)

Edited by Stub Mandrel
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On ‎14‎/‎02‎/‎2017 at 16:04, kilix said:

I find the thought of us being the only intelligent being in the Universe as ignorant and archaic as the thought of the Earth being in the center of the Solar system.

We are nothing special. We live on an average rocky planet near an average star, in an average galaxy. One grain of sand on Earth is more significant (relative to the Earth) than we - humans - are relative to the Universe.
The thought, that we are the only intelligent lifeform seems ridiculous to me, when in the Universe every physically possible thing exists in billions or trillions of instances. It does not make any sense to me. We are nothing special, it's our human egocentric nature to think we are, but the truth is the opposite.

I think the law of averages suggests their is probably life elsewhere in the Universe, whether there is intelligent or not who knows.

As for "nothing special" I think we are very special as a species, even when just considering life on Earth.

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The best over-view of humanity I've read in a long time is this. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sapiens-Humankind-Yuval-Noah-Harari/dp/0099590085/ref=pd_bxgy_14_img_2?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=Z50FZJ0KSK3B8XKMCE7Y

It is hard to take an over-view of yur own species but I think this guy does pretty well.

Olly

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As an organic-chemist, I see life as a natural occurance that's an inevitable result of well-established chemical reactions which is about as 'miraculous' as liquid water having a freezing-point and boiling-point that changes with the amount of pressure exerted by the effects of an atmosphere.

In layman's language: It's a boringly simple and commonplace likelihood.

Nothing to see here,

Dave - <Yawn!>

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4 hours ago, Dave In Vermont said:

As an organic-chemist, I see life as a natural occurance that's an inevitable result of well-established chemical reactions which is about as 'miraculous' as liquid water having a freezing-point and boiling-point that changes with the amount of pressure exerted by the effects of an atmosphere.

In layman's language: It's a boringly simple and commonplace likelihood.

Nothing to see here,

Dave - <Yawn!>

And yet Dave for some something so boringly commonplace we have yet to create it in a lab nor have we found it in our solar system. Maybe not so boringly obvious after all. Just a thought :) 

 

Jim

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We seem able to synthesize all the ingredients of life now. ;)

Sequencing - Modifying DNA seems quit commonplace too?
WAY back, I was excited by Scientific American reporting on
self-replicating (entirely lifeless!) cell-like (Lipid) bodies? Now
we happily add new Nuclei / material to pre-existing cells...

Hardly a week goes by (c.f. Last Week?) without someone
finding that: "Life is OLDER than we previously thought"!
But we still seem a long way off from creating actual LIFE?
I'm not trying to posit any praeternatural  explanation! :evil4:

(Organic Chem was/is more fun than Physics though...) :D 

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1 hour ago, Macavity said:

Organic Chem was/is more fun than Physics though... :D 

Yeah Chris but think of all the test tubes you have to clean up.:hiding:

Hey, if it squeaks it's Biology, if it smells it's Chemistry and if it doesn't work it's Physics. :) 

Jim

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40 minutes ago, saac said:

Yeah Chris but think of all the test tubes you have to clean up.:hiding:

Hey, if it squeaks it's Biology, if it smells it's Chemistry and if it doesn't work it's Physics. :) 

Jim

In my school, none of them worked!

Doug.

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In thinking about this I also tend to reflect upon the difficulty of extinguishing life. Ask the poor souls charged with ridding hospitals of bacteria. Complex life forms are vulnerable but simpler ones (microbes in rocks, for example) take some getting rid of.

Dave may be right but not all organic chemists think so. I suspect that there is a mechanism yet to be discovered, a mechanism which makes life probable. It would, in some ways, be a mechanism analgous with evolution by natural selection. The powerful thing about Darwin's theory (or one of them) is that it makes complexity probable. I have no idea what this mechanism might be and have none of the expertise needed to hypothesize one but I will not be surprized if one is found. A mechanism driving, if you like, an impulse towards life.

Olly

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Well the proton gradient perhaps points the way. We just need to fill in the gaps :) Good old energy differential and we are back to physics again  - tongue firmly in cheek. 

 

Jim

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23 minutes ago, saac said:

 ell the proton gradient perhaps points the way... ...Good old energy differential and we are back to physics again

So Jim, the physicist has done his job it up to the chemist and biologist to step up to the plate and do theirs to create life?

Regards Andrew

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18 minutes ago, andrew s said:

So Jim, the physicist has done his job it up to the chemist and biologist to step up to the plate and do theirs to create life?

Regards Andrew

Well if we put our heads together we should have life cracked by tea time then we can sort out cold fusion.  The only thing left of any interest after that is to explain why toast always lands butter side down :hiding:

Jim

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On 3/5/2017 at 20:18, saac said:

Well if we put our heads together we should have life cracked by tea time then we can sort out cold fusion.  The only thing left of any interest after that is to explain why toast always lands butter side down :hiding:

Jim

A cat will always land on his feet. - So strap a slice of buttered toast to his back ( butter side upwards) - and hey-presto, you have an anti-gravity device.

John

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On 04/03/2017 at 12:53, ollypenrice said:

The best over-view of humanity I've read in a long time is this. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sapiens-Humankind-Yuval-Noah-Harari/dp/0099590085/ref=pd_bxgy_14_img_2?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=Z50FZJ0KSK3B8XKMCE7Y

It is hard to take an over-view of yur own species but I think this guy does pretty well.

Olly

Chris Evans was interviewing the author of this book on Radio 2 this morning (might be available on-demand). I was very interested in what he had to say but Mr. Evans, although not disrespectful or dismissive was probably not the best man for the job.

It's ages since I bought a book. I might just get back into the habit!

 

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