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Still Waters

Widen the goal in the search for alien life

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We need to cast off our biological blinkers in the search for life beyond Earth and turn to physics, says cosmologist Charley Lineweaver

What's wrong with the definition of "life"?

Almost everything. For a start, we don't really have one. When you ask a biologist, "Are viruses alive?", half of them will say yes, and half will say no. We don't want a terrestrial-life-only definition. We want one that could apply elsewhere in the universe. This is important because NASA is trying to build an instrument to detect life elsewhere.

http://www.newscient...alien-life.html

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Posted (edited)

The real challenge and scare is in proving or disproving that extra-terrestrial life might just have landed here on our world thousands of years back, as evident from strikingly similar depictions in cave paintings, stone sculptures found all over the world.

The depiction of saucer shaped flying craft and helmeted beings looking just like modern day astronauts are very thought provoking and leaves even the most convinced of skeptics at a loss for words and fumbling for a suitable explanation.

Paintings down the ages also depict saucer shaped flying craft.

Many have mused on either side, 'am i wrong?'

The answer to that is elusive given what most cite as merely circumstantial and dismiss them as hallucinatory products of a collective conscience. Not improbable, considering the wheel appeared almost at the same time across many civilizations.

But looking at these cave paintings, I for one am fearful for what we could be facing.

The wider search for ET life is definitely a feeble official presentation for those who want to hear what they want to hear. That's as far as it gets.

Whereas they already know and are convinced that out of every 100 reported sightings, some are hoaxes by dumb pranksters, some are weather phenomena, some are misrepresentations for some sick reason, but NOT ALL ARE FALSE. That last part is wrapped up tighter than a lead casing of plutonium.

But given the fact that 95% of people think and react alike, imagine the chaos that will follow if the real UFO public sightings are accepted by ANY government.

NO. There has not been any real form of aggression demonstrated so far by these UFOs that will have far reaching consequences on human life and trade and commerce.

So, keep it under wraps, and give 'em what they wanna hear. 'THERE ARE NO SUCH THINGS AS UFOs.'

*snipped duplicate post*

Edited by libstaK
duplicated post.

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I am not sure it is wise to take cave paintings and carvings literally.

Think about some of the animals explorers had encountered, like the whale. Some of these sailors/explorers seen whales spouting mist and the subsequent drawings made these creatures look like something from a mythology book.

What I am getting at is that IF there were aliens that landed here, is it not possible that those who seen them were so scared their accounts of the sightings became rather...exaggerated?

However I do have to agree that when we try to search for alien life, we are trying to find things that look just like Earth's life forms. Other planets that may have life on them may have different atmospheric compositions and thus life will have evolved in order to adapt to those conditions.

I mean, look at our own planet, we have found undersea life living, quite happily, right around volcanic vents that spew out scalding hot and often acidic water or finding pockets of condensed salt water that is so concentrated, heavy and caustic that it forms its own pools under the ocean surface. On top of that there is a whole community of sea creatures living in it just as readily as fish swimming among the coral reefs would.

I do think that in order for any progress to be made, we need more rationality and level headedness instead of freaking out, so to speak, and making assumptions rather than studying it.

I don't see aliens as these glowing beings that ooze love and light nor do I see them as naked, savage beasts that want to kill everything. Maybe most are similar to us in that they are explorers and such.

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I am not sure it is wise to take cave paintings and carvings literally.

Think about some of the animals explorers had encountered, like the whale. Some of these sailors/explorers seen whales spouting mist and the subsequent drawings made these creatures look like something from a mythology book.

What I am getting at is that IF there were aliens that landed here, is it not possible that those who seen them were so scared their accounts of the sightings became rather...exaggerated?

However I do have to agree that when we try to search for alien life, we are trying to find things that look just like Earth's life forms. Other planets that may have life on them may have different atmospheric compositions and thus life will have evolved in order to adapt to those conditions.

I mean, look at our own planet, we have found undersea life living, quite happily, right around volcanic vents that spew out scalding hot and often acidic water or finding pockets of condensed salt water that is so concentrated, heavy and caustic that it forms its own pools under the ocean surface. On top of that there is a whole community of sea creatures living in it just as readily as fish swimming among the coral reefs would.

I do think that in order for any progress to be made, we need more rationality and level headedness instead of freaking out, so to speak, and making assumptions rather than studying it.

I don't see aliens as these glowing beings that ooze love and light nor do I see them as naked, savage beasts that want to kill everything. Maybe most are similar to us in that they are explorers and such.

Millions of alien civilizations will be aware of our existance.

They will have been able to detect life on our planet for billions of years and will have monitored its development. They will know we are here and what the technological level of our civilization is.

When the time is right they will make contact with us and I suspect that will be Judgement Day.

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When the time is right they will make contact with us and I suspect that will be Judgement Day.

I do not think it will be "judgement day". Why would it? Of all the imagined millions of civilizations out there, I do not see how or why ours is so "special" that it ever deserved any particular attention.

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I've jist noticed this chap's name is Charley Lineweaver. I'd like to nominate that for Name of the Week.

:D

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I wouldn't make the assumpton that life in an alien environment would have genes, cells, DNA, mitosis, meoisis or anything else like that. For all we know, those are just unique to life on earth, but we have no (publicly confirmed) examples of life from anywhere else.

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I think they might also already be here yet we might just be unable to detect their presence. They might be here merely to study us and observe our soceity, who knows perhaps they don't see us as advanced enough to varant contacting us. They might see us as mere monkeys to study!

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Millions of alien civilizations will be aware of our existance.

They will have been able to detect life on our planet for billions of years and will have monitored its development. They will know we are here and what the technological level of our civilization is.

When the time is right they will make contact with us and I suspect that will be Judgement Day.

This sounds rather like what I was talking about here..

I do find it interesting how the opinions of the views that ETs (whoever they may be) would take of us seem to fall under one of two stools* : either they'd be (a) Ascended Beings who live in Peace and Harmony and all the rest of that rather boring way of life that's attributed to them, wear white robes and have slightly unfashionably long blond hair, and go around being generally beatific, and so would either want to Help Mankind and ask absolutely nothing of us in return, or alternatively would keep miles away from us because we're so irremedeemably primitive and war-like; or

( b ) they themselves would be a horrifically rapacious and completely conscience-free race who would exploit us to serve their Sinister ends, and having used us, they would not hesitate to throw us away like a used fast food wrapper. A subsidiary theory that sort of combines both of these is that they'd pursue the theory of pre-emptive self defense, and would wipe us out with an antimatter bomb before we could spread our warlike and aggressive ways to he rest of the civilised galaxy.

Why would the ETs want to sit in judgement upon us? Why should we assume that we're that important? isn't it rather egotistical to assume that we're such a warlike and aggressive race [which is what people often say] that they'd want to wip us out before we could spread our warlike aggression to the Galaxy - that we're that important?

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Millions of alien civilizations will be aware of our existance.

They will have been able to detect life on our planet for billions of years and will have monitored its development. They will know we are here and what the technological level of our civilization is.

When the time is right they will make contact with us and I suspect that will be Judgement Day.

This sounds rather like what I was talking about here..

I do find it interesting how the opinions of the views that ETs (whoever they may be) would take of us seem to fall under one of two stools* : either they'd be (a) Ascended Beings who live in Peace and Harmony and all the rest of that rather boring way of life that's attributed to them, wear white robes and have slightly unfashionably long blond hair, and go around being generally beatific, and so would either want to Help Mankind and ask absolutely nothing of us in return, or alternatively would keep miles away from us because we're so irremedeemably primitive and war-like; or

( b ) they themselves would be a horrifically rapacious and completely conscience-free race who would exploit us to serve their Sinister ends, and having used us, they would not hesitate to throw us away like a used fast food wrapper. A subsidiary theory that sort of combines both of these is that they'd pursue the theory of pre-emptive self defense, and would wipe us out with an antimatter bomb before we could spread our warlike and aggressive ways to he rest of the civilised galaxy.

Why would the ETs want to sit in judgement upon us? Why should we assume that we're that important? isn't it rather egotistical to assume that we're such a warlike and aggressive race [which is what people often say] that they'd want to wip us out before we could spread our warlike aggression to the Galaxy - that we're that important?

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Posted (edited)

I do not think it will be "judgement day". Why would it? Of all the imagined millions of civilizations out there, I do not see how or why ours is so "special" that it ever deserved any particular attention.

Like with nations here on earth today, unless you wish to be totally isolated, travel and trade makes you a part of other nations through sharing culture, disease, animal life, and science knowledge through that which travels. I imagine that in space, as below so above, and the more contacts that are made the more the need for a commonly shared law exists.

Edited by Bella-Angelique

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Looking at the way the universe works it could be very possible that humans are the most advanced species in our galaxy. Took numerous generations of stars to create enough rocky material to form planets, and earth was created soon after. At best, an alien civilization would be a few hundred million years ahead. That is assuming that there were no extinction events. Our solar system is located in the outer reaches of our galaxy, likely the last place that a civilization would look for a habitable world. I am positive that Earth has not been visited for billions of years.

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If aliens have any intelligence, they surely would not want to mingle with us.

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I love how Hollywood makes us believe ET will attack us. If they wanted our resources and our planet they would have done the deed a long time ago? Also, if they wanted us as slaves why not enslave us before industry and advancements in military technology? If ET is watching and waiting for First Contact, they are probably waiting for humans as a people to be united worldwide before anything else. That is a ways away.

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I love how Hollywood makes us believe ET will attack us. If they wanted our resources and our planet they would have done the deed a long time ago? Also, if they wanted us as slaves why not enslave us before industry and advancements in military technology? If ET is watching and waiting for First Contact, they are probably waiting for humans as a people to be united worldwide before anything else. That is a ways away.

Welcome cjr3285 ! Good idea there,and mostlikely Were either First on the menu or were too far out to even go for drive thru !

Keep postin !

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A very healthy discourse and exchange of ideas. I'm loving it :)

Yep, if they wanted to take over, they'd have done it long ago.

But as some say, why ET ? Why any particular interest in our world ?

Suppose all the UFOs depicted were to have been of earthly origin all along ?

Now this is scarier. It means there is another alternative race ( caucasoid, mongoloid or negroid in appearance) having access to superior flight capabilities implying more advanced technology, mingling with us freely while maintaining that distinctive distance and secrecy between themselves.

Ahhhh forget it, just wild speculation on my part.

Well, time will tell what many religions speak about, famously coined as 'judgement day.'

I would take that as the day of revelation of who we are and where we stand in this puny world somewhere in the vast and infinite universe.

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I am thinking this bloke is after his 15 minutes. I am a bit shocked that a level headed Aussie would take such a new age approach.

He is calling hurricanes and stars alive, a star is a chemical reaction isn't it? And a hurricane is a temperature inversion isn't it? And I cannot see that his approach will lead to any discovery, just a great deal of renaming. He just seems to want to get his name into a book, I am a bit bewildered as to what is being accomplished here?

What is this all about?

Many biologists define life as anything that undergoes Darwinian evolution.

We pretend that makes sense, but if you look it makes no sense at all. What is the unit of Darwinian evolution? Is it the gene? Is it the cell? Is it a multicellular organism? Is a city evolving? How about Gaia? Is that a life form?

A Unit? I think this guy is a unit. A gene is a stretch of DNA isn't it? And Isn't DNA something of a Darwinian marker? Gaia? WTF is he on about?

Maybe his genius is beyond me, hopefully someone can help me out here, LOL I am looking at you Badeskov my saviour in science! :D Am I looking at this the wrong way mate?

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A Unit? I think this guy is a unit. A gene is a stretch of DNA isn't it? And Isn't DNA something of a Darwinian marker? Gaia? WTF is he on about?

Maybe his genius is beyond me, hopefully someone can help me out here, LOL I am looking at you Badeskov my saviour in science! :D Am I looking at this the wrong way mate?

Hey psyche,

Couldn't agree more. Darwin's theory of evolution in a nutshell is meant to explain the rise of Species, its absolutely not a TEST for what is or isn't LIFE.

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Hey psyche,

Couldn't agree more. Darwin's theory of evolution in a nutshell is meant to explain the rise of Species, its absolutely not a TEST for what is or isn't LIFE.

Nasa did say themselves that life can evolve quite differently. Oh and I think darwin is tied to life as it appears on this planet, but who knows maybe his theory will be sound elsewhere. Can't wait for the day when we might test that! That is if we will be alive!

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Nasa did say themselves that life can evolve quite differently.

Hey hooko22,

I don't mean to be rude when I ask where did NASA say that? I thought it was obvious that all Species have 'evolved' differently than others.

Oh and I think darwin is tied to life as it appears on this planet, but who knows maybe his theory will be sound elsewhere. Can't wait for the day when we might test that! That is if we will be alive!

Why would it be different?

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Hey hooko22,

I don't mean to be rude when I ask where did NASA say that? I thought it was obvious that all Species have 'evolved' differently than others.

Why would it be different?

No no I think I might not have voiced it well enough. I meant they did some sort of press release on the fact that life could be made out of some material composition or something like that, that scientists previously had thought was impossible. Please forgive me I'm not exactly a science nerd!

Oh and as to why would it be different. Who knows maybe the way of life over there might be all together completely different, I'm merely voicing my contemplation. Not stating something I think is fact, like I say no one knows and who knows!

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Oh and as to why would it be different. Who knows maybe the way of life over there might be all together completely different, I'm merely voicing my contemplation. Not stating something I think is fact, like I say no one knows and who knows!

i suspect that life out there could very well be completely different from anything on earth, or anything we could even imagine as life. I don't see any reason why it would even have to look like us, have cells, DNA or anything like that.

It could even be artificial life of some kind.

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Hey psyche,

Couldn't agree more. Darwin's theory of evolution in a nutshell is meant to explain the rise of Species, its absolutely not a TEST for what is or isn't LIFE.

Gidday Mate!

Been far too long since I have seen you posting :D I hope all is well with you.

This guy seems to be a little all over the place, he is saying Hurricane's should be classified as alive. I am just not understanding what he thinks this will accomplish.

Cheers.

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Nasa did say themselves that life can evolve quite differently. Oh and I think darwin is tied to life as it appears on this planet, but who knows maybe his theory will be sound elsewhere. Can't wait for the day when we might test that! That is if we will be alive!

I think with regards to life, Intelligent life and life are quite different in many ways, which would you be referring to?

With regards to non-intelligent life, I woud agree, bit with regards to intelligent life, I think there are certain parameters that need to be met.

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I saw this chap on an ABC program called 'Big Ideas' here in Australia, he was on a panel with Carol Oliver from SETI and some other chap who's name escapes me.

I found it hard to believe this panel was made up of real world-class experts, there seemed to be a lot of nonsense with a few interesting tid-bits thrown in. I thought their ideas regarding intelligent extraterrestrial life were extremely naive. They scoffed at the possibility that any visiting extraterrestrials would be hostile, asking what could they possibly want from us? On the grounds that anything they could get from the Earth they could get from somewhere closer to home. Er....hello, anyone home? The planet for a start. I think good planets like this one are very few and far between, all of the extra solar planets found so far are just useless rocks.

I thought Lineweaver's ideas were curios rather than particularly interesting. It may well be an unimaginably great discovery to find any kind of life that originated on another world but lets be honest, we're only really interested in physical thinking beings with a technology level at least on par with ourselves. A "living" rock isn't going to 'cut the mustard'. You can expand the definition of life as much as you like, but what's the point? No-one outside of the professional scientific community is going to be interested, let alone impressed.

On this program Carol Oliver stated that SETI had picked up some interesting signals that had been repeated "2 or 3 times". I sent her an email asking if these signals were narrow band and if they had any modulation on them. (Modulation being information encoded on the signal) It's extremely unlikely that a modulated narrow band signal would occur in nature, and would be the SETI 'Holy Grail'. I didn't get a response. I emailed another SETI scientist, Seth Shostak, who responded the next day. He told me that Carol Oliver was talking historically and the equipment used to detect these signals was not capable of detecting modulation. Just as with the equipment that 'heard' the WOW signal, they had no idea if it contained any information. For all we know It may be possible for a narrow band signal to occur in nature, but a narrow band signal with modulation, that would have to be synthetic, a manufactured, structured transmission.

It seems to me that in the near term at least the only way we're going to detect a reasonably advanced extraterrestrial species, unless they call in for lunch, is by listening for them as SETI is doing. I think it would be far more useful if they expanded the capabilities of their receiving equipment to include various types of demodulation capability, if they haven't already.

If we could have detected modulation on any of these signals we would know for sure we aren't alone right now.

Edited by Occams Razor

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