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Aliens- do they exist?? Poll section  

77 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you think aliens exist?

    • yes
      57
    • no
      5
    • maybe
      15
  2. 2. If aliens do exist, do you think we should fear them or befriend them?

    • lets all just get along..
      16
    • humans can't handle each other, we sure can't handle aliens.
      24
    • depends on the aliens..
      38
  3. 3. If aliens were to arrive on earth tomorrow, how would you react?

    • Run
      2
    • Panic
      14
    • Fight
      4
    • Ask for an alien telescope (they came from space, maybe they have superscopes)
      58


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this is a question that has haunted me since my early childhood, when i saw E.T. for the first time. its really why i got into astronomy,and its why i stayed interested so long. i debate this with my mom, my dad, my siblings, my grandparents, my relatives, my friends (the times when i have friends) and any random person who is willing to discuss it. now that i have access to a huge community of people who share my interests, this is really a dream come true for me. i won't state my opinion (yet) first ill listen to both sides of the argument for a while. i know this might turn into a argument rather than a discussion, but lets all keep our posts and comments kind and considerate so the discussion doesn't get shut down, since i have wanted to discuss this with other people like me for as long as i can remember. one rule: DO NOT put someone arguments down, just explain why you think you are wrong. there will also be a poll where you can vote with your opinion, it would be great if everybody uses it!! thanks for reading this, and lets make this a interesting discussion for everybody.

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My personal view is that there is plenty of life out there. Statistically I think it must be the case. I'm not a firm believer in the Earth being seeded with life from space, I think it developed

Daniken was a man before his time ... he was born for Satellite 'documentary' channels full of 24-hour pseudo-science.

Of course we exist. Just relax, Earthlings. You'll figure it out soon enough. Nice place you've got here.

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yes thay do, out buy pluto theres a big sign post saying " KEEP OUT ! IF YOU PAST THIS POINT YOU MAY BE EATEN OR WORSE." . you only have to look in the mirror to see one, the life on this planet had to come from somewhere. :happy7: charl. 

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When there's a lack of firm evidence either way we must as scientists admit the possibility that aliens exist.  It's also possible that they don't exist of course. I think the best we can do at the moment is to make some intelligent guesses at how we look for the sort of evidence that might reveal their existence. The most exiting thing is that we are at the beginning of having the sort of technology that should enable us to find them if they're there. 

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It's statistically almost certain that life exists elsewhere given the number of planets suitable for life as we know it and goodness knows how many with life as we don't know it. I assume by aliens you mean intelligent animals capable of interstellar flight?

As for that who knows?

If I met one I'd respond with a cocktail of fear, excitement, concern and hope.

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I am a firm believer that basic life is very common in the universe, intelligent life could be rare but looking at earth every animal group has an intelligent member, the hard part is getting to a technological stage that could announce yourself to the rest of the universe. I do think we should be looking though for signals and other evidence but actually meeting up would only end bad for us "how to serve man" springs to mind.

Alan

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I tend to think that life will eventually be found somewhere else in our solar system but it could well take a fairly basic form. As for what one might term Intelligent life, perhaps that creates and uses tools and technology, I think this is much, much rarer.

Mind you, when you look at an image such as the Hubble eXtreme Deep Field, which is only a tiny portion of the sky, you realise that the Universe is a very, very, very big place :shocked:

https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hubble/science/xdf.html

Lots of space out there for all sorts of things to exist and 14 billion years for things to have happened !

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I'll do my terrible Brian Cox impression, there are billions of gallaxies with billions of stars in each, some will have planets orbiting them. You're not telling me that our little planet is the only one with intelligent life. I just hope they are nicer to each other and their planet than we are.

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No matter what we may think, wish, hope, deny, or speculate, at the present time any assumptions or rationalisations are just fanciful, as we do not have the required data to make any equations meaningful. Specifically, we do not understand the process whereby non living components can transform into what we term life. Without this information we are stuffed. Note this in the words of astrobiologist Paul Davies;

https://www.space.com/33374-odds-of-life-emerging-new-equation.html

Quote

We don't know the mechanism whereby nonlife turns into life, so we have no way of estimating the odds … It may be one in a trillion trillion (it's easy to imagine that), in which case, Earth life may be unique in the observable universe," Davies told Space.com in an email. "But Pa may be quite large. We simply can't say."

Personally I believe that life exists in a form that is not constrained by the laws governing the observable universe, speed of light etc, and that as such, this life is non observable, and yet at the same time is demonstrable to anybody with a truly open mind. However if we start looking at it with an assumption, a preconception, a preference, a bias, or worst, a dogma, then we are wearing the wrong trousers for the job at hand.

My personal life experiences and current understanding of the presented evidence lead me to the conclusion that there is indeed "extra terrestrial" life, and that it is inextricably linked with our own presence and destiny in the universe. But isn't this something everybody has to determine for themselves, it is an intensely personal situation whereby we find our particular place in the universe? It has to be said, astronomy is really helpful in this respect :)

But if you are just asking whether we are being buzzed by little blokes in a spaceship on a regular basis, then no, absolutely not! :D

 

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My personal view is that there is plenty of life out there. Statistically I think it must be the case.

I'm not a firm believer in the Earth being seeded with life from space, I think it developed here.

I also believe that we are separated from the other life by far too much distance and time for it to be likely that we will ever find or make contact with anything other than microbial life within the solar system. Given the billions of years which have passed, we have only been capable of communicating or detecting signals from such vast distances for what, 50 years? So the chance of that coinciding with receiving signals from other civilisations is pretty remote. Even then, if we detect a signal from somewhere 100,000 light years away, by the time we get a signal back to them, who knows what might have changed.

So, yes to life out there, no to ever having contact with it.

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1 hour ago, Tim said:

No matter what we may think, wish, hope, deny, or speculate, at the present time any assumptions or rationalisations are just fanciful, as we do not have the required data to make any equations meaningful. Specifically, we do not understand the process whereby non living components can transform into what we term life. Without this information we are stuffed. Note this in the words of astrobiologist Paul Davies;

https://www.space.com/33374-odds-of-life-emerging-new-equation.html

Personally I believe that life exists in a form that is not constrained by the laws governing the observable universe, speed of light etc, and that as such, this life is non observable, and yet at the same time is demonstrable to anybody with a truly open mind. However if we start looking at it with an assumption, a preconception, a preference, a bias, or worst, a dogma, then we are wearing the wrong trousers for the job at hand.

There are several ideas. Here's one which has some merit in my view

www.richarddawkins.net/2013/11/clay-likely-facilitated-the-formation-of-cells-and-the-evolution-of-life-on-earth/ 

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If you take the analogy that on a broad scale here on earth, if you can imagine it, then someone, somewhere has probably already done it, or at the very least thought about it. Patents are a classic example of this.

As a collective consciousness, we seem to all have similar dreams and pose similar questions.

I don't think there is a person on this planet that hasn't asked 'the' question at some point in their lives. Even the President of the United States was apparently tempted into looking at the classified X files!

There is always the chance, that other life forms do exist. But I think as Stu said, it's more likely that we would find microbial life rather than bi-pedal grey aliens with big eyes, like the movies suggest. 

My personal belief is that Man is quite alone within the universe, which despite having a touch of arrogance about it, makes for our existance all the more unique and the search for another 'us' all the more futile.

We can't say without any real certainty, yes or no.

 

https://www.space.com/25219-drake-equation.html

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13 hours ago, Dinglem said:

I'll do my terrible Brian Cox impression, there are billions of gallaxies with billions of stars in each, some will have planets orbiting them. You're not telling me that our little planet is the only one with intelligent life. I just hope they are nicer to each other and their planet than we are.

If I recall correctly at the end of the last program of one of his science series BC commented that he did not believe there was other life - of the intelligent form - out there and that therefore likely we were in effect alone.

From the exoplanet searches one thing that is apparent is that our solar system is not along the "normal" structure. There are lots of labels of "second earth" but the details of these second earths are not earth like. One "second earth" I think is 2x our gravity and 400C on the surface.

If there should be life, of intelligent and technological form, elsewhere I suppose the question is Will they find us or we find them? So far not a radio wave has suggested life, also the means to get between locations is I suspect likely to be impossible. Start Trek and other programs make it seem easy but it could well be impossible.

After 50 years not a workable fusion reactor exists. And from an artical about 8-12 months back the statement was After 50 years of research and knowing the principles we still have failed to have a controlled fusion reaction that is even close to 1 second duration, never mind continuous for power generation.

I am afraid we are not the advanced technological creatures we sometimes think we are. We drive by burning inflamable material, trains are the same but use diesel, and new ones use electric motors, planes fly on Sir Frank Whittles jet engines (prototype in 1937 according the Wiki). We have tweeked them to make them more efficent, then patted ourselves on the back for "the great step forward" but the base principle is old, nothing is "new".

At this time they (aliens) do not exist. we have not a piece of evidence for them. The idea that they "must" exist hs no real basis as it may be necessary to  have a galaxy of 100,000,000,000 stars to get 1 technological lifeform. Really it sounds a lot of stars but isn't. If that were true then the next step up could be the same: It takes 100,000,000,000 galaxies to get 1 galaxy that has 1 technological lifeform. But I doubt the universe is here to eventually create us.

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Aliens might be extraterrestrial or extradimensional. In the first case, all that can be stated and debated has been covered, but in the second case they could already be here without us knowing. Light goes through windows (and lenses :headbang:) without losing its coherence, we can still exploit the information it carries as images; Wi-Fi and other radio waves go through walls without being disturbed, their message can still be decoded. At every second millions of neutrinos travel through us, but the flow of neutrinos exits undisturbed.

Thus beings made up of particles we can't perceive with our material senses, and can't detect with our current machines, could very well be here now, move around, cross walls not feeling them, and do all kinds of things that might even affect us, while we don't know.

Not sure if they would exactly qualify as extradimensional when I think again, because are they here among us, or separated by a dimensional boundary? But extradimensional is the word for what is neither us, nor extraterrestrial flesh and bone beings, so it's the word I used. What would be a better word for such beings, if they share our three dimensions without detection?

I was going to write "our four dimensions", however why assume they react to time like we do? Seems that this kind of discussion is really about laying out the right questions, after that the rest is only personal preference, or solid intuitions based on personal experience that can sadly not be communicated to others.

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If life developed here on Earth, it did so because the appearance of life was a consequence of the fundamental laws of physics, chemistry etc, and therefore it seems logical that it may develop anywhere in the Universe where conditions permit. So I'd personally go with there being widespread life of a basic kind in the Universe, with occasionally more highly developed life (we may be kidding ourselves, of course, that we ourselves are "highly developed").

Chris

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The poll at the beginning is so full of anthropomorphic assumptions that there is only one box I could tick, the one for 'maybe they exist.'

I'm repeating a point I've often made before, but so many people assume that advancing intelligence leads to advancing technology. This is utterly anthropomorphic and, it seems to me, entirely unfounded. It is perfectly possible to envisage high intelligence and low, or no, technology.

Other assumptions in the poll include the attribution of human-like emotions to aliens. This is absurd.

Olly

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On 30/10/2017 at 21:13, Tim said:

We don't know the mechanism whereby nonlife turns into life, so we have no way of estimating the odds … It may be one in a trillion trillion (it's easy to imagine that), in which case, Earth life may be unique in the observable universe,"

Tim's quotation from Paul Davies raises another question. Is it simply a question of 'odds?' Before Darwinism people, quite reasonably, reflected on the 'odds' of something of animal complexity arising by chance. However, Darwin reduced the role of chance by many orders of magnitude when he introduced natural selection. Natural selection is a 'driver' in evolution. There may be other such drivers, as yet unknown, tending to increase the probability of life forming.

By the way, do we have an agreed definition of 'life' here? Genuine question.

Olly

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1 hour ago, ollypenrice said:

 

By the way, do we have an agreed definition of 'life' here? Genuine question.

 

Well we normally define that (at least since Darwinian times) by the distinction between animate and inanimate objects and living objects and non-living objects.

Concrete is inanimate, it doesn't reproduce, move on it's own, take in nutrients, etc. And generally is made up of inorganic compounds. It is associated with not having a life of it's own.

Bacteria for example, is animate, reproduces, can move,  takes in nutrients, and is generally made up of organic compounds. Animate objects are generally defined as having a 'life' of their own making. And are said to be 'living'.

Intelligence on the other hand, is defined by the gathering of knowledge and applying of learnt skills with 'reason'. So we can say that within the animate group there are two branches. Those with intelligence and those without. Now that is a dangerous statement to make when it comes to AI and robots.

A robot may well have a life of it's own, is made up of inorganic compounds and can appear to be quite intelligent. But is it a life form? And is it a living being? The clear answer to that must be no, robots are definitely not living creatures, so we can rule out all AI and robots as 'living' creatures. So things that may have intelligent qualities are not necessarily a prerequisite for having 'life'.

The other characteristic that can define life is, does it have a soul? That of course can depend wildly on cultural beliefs. Ask an old school Aboriginal if rocks have a soul and he'd most likely laugh at you. To the ancients, even the rocks were living beings.

So in conclusion, I think we can only define 'life' on a collective basis and within our own cultural group or belief system. Because things are defined in the Western cultures by Science does not necessarily make them true.

On a much grander scale of things, we could say that everything contained within the Universe is 'life'. Definitions will always change and so, I think that an agreed definition of what life is, will only ever exist as being true at certain periods of time and within our own social, political and cultural framework.

 

 

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4 hours ago, ollypenrice said:

Tim's quotation from Paul Davies raises another question. Is it simply a question of 'odds?' Before Darwinism people, quite reasonably, reflected on the 'odds' of something of animal complexity arising by chance. However, Darwin reduced the role of chance by many orders of magnitude when he introduced natural selection. Natural selection is a 'driver' in evolution. There may be other such drivers, as yet unknown, tending to increase the probability of life forming.

By the way, do we have an agreed definition of 'life' here? Genuine question.

Olly

or I suppose, decrease. It's a seemingly complex thing evolution/life but at its heart as with cosmology, it's quite a simple thing.

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Everything is made of the same 'stuff' but to my mind, life replicates itself. I also think that's the meaning of life - replication. There's no purpose as such just leftovers.

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Furthermore, assuming that the system that started here is the only way it can happen (unlikely) are beings from another world that share much of our DNA make-up really alien?

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8 hours ago, Delasaurus said:

Well we normally define that (at least since Darwinian times) by the distinction between animate and inanimate objects and living objects and non-living objects.

Concrete is inanimate, it doesn't reproduce, move on it's own, take in nutrients, etc. And generally is made up of inorganic compounds. It is associated with not having a life of it's own.

Bacteria for example, is animate, reproduces, can move,  takes in nutrients, and is generally made up of organic compounds. Animate objects are generally defined as having a 'life' of their own making. And are said to be 'living'.

Intelligence on the other hand, is defined by the gathering of knowledge and applying of learnt skills with 'reason'. So we can say that within the animate group there are two branches. Those with intelligence and those without. Now that is a dangerous statement to make when it comes to AI and robots.

A robot may well have a life of it's own, is made up of inorganic compounds and can appear to be quite intelligent. But is it a life form? And is it a living being? The clear answer to that must be no, robots are definitely not living creatures, so we can rule out all AI and robots as 'living' creatures. So things that may have intelligent qualities are not necessarily a prerequisite for having 'life'.

The other characteristic that can define life is, does it have a soul? That of course can depend wildly on cultural beliefs. Ask an old school Aboriginal if rocks have a soul and he'd most likely laugh at you. To the ancients, even the rocks were living beings.

So in conclusion, I think we can only define 'life' on a collective basis and within our own cultural group or belief system. Because things are defined in the Western cultures by Science does not necessarily make them true.

On a much grander scale of things, we could say that everything contained within the Universe is 'life'. Definitions will always change and so, I think that an agreed definition of what life is, will only ever exist as being true at certain periods of time and within our own social, political and cultural framework.

 

 

I think some of your definitions are tautological but others seem valid. 'The distinction between animate and inanimate objects and living objects and non-living objects,' is surely tautological? They're animate because they're animate and they're living because they're not non-living. However, taking in nutrients, reproducing, moving autonomously, all seem promising. Intelligence is harder. For example, so far as we know plants move without 'intelligence' and yet they move where they need to move so they are, in the old sense of the word 'intelligent' of where the light is. Hmmm, this is a thorny one!

Olly

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If you are looking for a widely held scientific definition of what constitutes life then you do well by starting with the 7 processes defined by the mnemonic MRS GREN. All seven of these processes must be carried out to qualify as life. 

Movement

Reproduction

Sensitivity (must be capable of reacting to its environment)

Growth

Excretion

Nutrition

Jim

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54 minutes ago, ollypenrice said:

 Intelligence is harder. For example, so far as we know plants move without 'intelligence' and yet they move where they need to move so they are, in the old sense of the word 'intelligent' of where the light is. Hmmm, this is a thorny one!

Olly

That's what is described by "sensitivity" the plant is responsive to the external stimulus of its environment through light. 

 

Jim 

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