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Are We Alone in the Universe?
NYT ^ | 11-20-13 | Paul Davies

Posted on 11/20/2013 9:33:30 AM PST by Dysart

THE recent announcement by a team of astronomers that there could be as many as 40 billion habitable planets in our galaxy has further fueled the speculation, popular even among many distinguished scientists, that the universe is teeming with life.

The astronomer Geoffrey W. Marcy of the University of California, Berkeley, an experienced planet hunter and co-author of the study that generated the finding, said that it “represents one great leap toward the possibility of life, including intelligent life, in the universe.”

But “possibility” is not the same as likelihood. If a planet is to be inhabited rather than merely habitable, two basic requirements must be met: the planet must first be suitable and then life must emerge on it at some stage.

What can be said about the chances of life starting up on a habitable planet? Darwin gave us a powerful explanation of how life on Earth evolved over billions of years, but he would not be drawn out on the question of how life got going in the first place. “One might as well speculate about the origin of matter,” he quipped. In spite of intensive research, scientists are still very much in the dark about the mechanism that transformed a nonliving chemical soup into a living cell. But without knowing the process that produced life, the odds of its happening can’t be estimated.

When I was a student in the 1960s, the prevailing view among scientists was that life on Earth was a freak phenomenon, the result of a sequence of chemical accidents so rare that they would be unlikely to have happened twice in the observable universe. “Man at last knows he is alone in the unfeeling immensity of the universe, out of which he has emerged only by chance,” ... Today the pendulum has swung dramatically..

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: abiogenesis; alone; crevo; fauxiantrolls; rareearthnonsense; scientism; universe
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1 posted on 11/20/2013 9:33:30 AM PST by Dysart
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To: Dysart

I hope not, I want to find planet of the beef.


2 posted on 11/20/2013 9:34:33 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: Dysart

No! . . but I’ve got to go home soon!


3 posted on 11/20/2013 9:34:44 AM PST by 2nd Amendment (Proud member of the 48% . . giver not a taker)
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To: Dysart

They will invade the Earth any day now, make us into their slaves and impose single payer on us to get rid of the weak ones.


4 posted on 11/20/2013 9:36:49 AM PST by sickoflibs (Obama : 'If you like your Doctor you can keep him, PERIOD! Don't believe the GOPs warnings')
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To: Dysart

This question is the ultimate example of navel gazing.


5 posted on 11/20/2013 9:36:55 AM PST by DManA (enis)
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To: Dysart

The facts point to the theory of relativity being pretty sound. If there are 40 billions chances for live to evolve, then surely one if those civilizations would have figured out faster than light travel if it were possible. Without faster than light travel, there’s really no point in getting too uptight about it, since even if there is life we’ll never know about it.


6 posted on 11/20/2013 9:37:36 AM PST by GunRunner
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To: Dysart
There probably are lots of habitable planets in the universe, and they probably have life.

Since the distance to the closest would be measured in millions of light years, it's the same thing as being alone in the universe.

7 posted on 11/20/2013 9:38:15 AM PST by E. Pluribus Unum (Who knew that one day professional wrestling would be less fake than professional journalism?)
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To: Dysart

This is a pretty special place, thousands of parameters being just right for us.


8 posted on 11/20/2013 9:38:46 AM PST by ryan71 (The Partisans)
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To: DManA
This question is the ultimate example of navel gazing.

...thus providing the New York Times an excellent opportunity to do what it does best.

9 posted on 11/20/2013 9:38:50 AM PST by Oberon (John 12:5-6)
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To: Dysart

This is another example of wearing rose-colored glasses. They say that there are 40 billion chances for life on other planets, but if so, what are the chances that we are the most technologically advanced? 40 billion to 1. If a planet had life and was only 100 years more advanced than us, they would be able to contact us and communicate with us.


10 posted on 11/20/2013 9:40:06 AM PST by jimmygrace
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

Where would that life come from?


11 posted on 11/20/2013 9:40:32 AM PST by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter admits whom he's working for)
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To: MrB

Only the Shadow knows.


12 posted on 11/20/2013 9:42:25 AM PST by E. Pluribus Unum (Who knew that one day professional wrestling would be less fake than professional journalism?)
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To: Dysart

What a killjoy: destroying the hopes of all red-blooded men of finding the Planet of Wild Cheerleaders. . . (evil grin)

But for a REAL stretch, they should search for intelligent life inside the Beltway. . .


13 posted on 11/20/2013 9:43:01 AM PST by Salgak (http://catalogoftehburningstoopid.blogspot.com 100% all-natural snark !)
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To: Dysart

40 billion habitable planets is a very loose destination of habitable probably using only two components of the over 150 components of habitability of earth. I am not alone because I have God. The poor atheists must be quite lonely.


14 posted on 11/20/2013 9:43:14 AM PST by mountainlion (Live well for those that did not make it back.)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
There probably are lots of habitable planets in the universe, and they probably have life. Since the distance to the closest would be measured in millions of light years, it's the same thing as being alone in the universe.

I agree.

15 posted on 11/20/2013 9:43:26 AM PST by Dysart (Obamacare: "We are losing money on every subscriber-- but we will make it up in volume!")
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To: Dysart

There certainly would if God created it there...


16 posted on 11/20/2013 9:43:29 AM PST by babygene ( .)
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To: jimmygrace
If a planet had life and was only 100 years more advanced than us, they would be able to contact us and communicate with us.

Other than the fact that they are probably millions of light-years away, you are absolutely right.

17 posted on 11/20/2013 9:43:48 AM PST by E. Pluribus Unum (Who knew that one day professional wrestling would be less fake than professional journalism?)
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To: Dysart

I soitanly hope so. Nyuk nyuk nyuk


18 posted on 11/20/2013 9:43:59 AM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi)
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To: Dysart
Mathematically we are alone. Fermi Paradox Link here.
19 posted on 11/20/2013 9:44:16 AM PST by central_va (I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: Dysart

Based on current evidence...Yes.


20 posted on 11/20/2013 9:45:19 AM PST by Bloody Sam Roberts (Hey Nancy! Ya think these problems could've been avoided if you'd read the bill before passing it?)
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To: cripplecreek
This dude has found the planet of the man
21 posted on 11/20/2013 9:45:22 AM PST by al baby (Hi MomÂ… I was refereeing to Obama)
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To: ryan71

maybe there is only one parameter


22 posted on 11/20/2013 9:46:08 AM PST by bigheadfred
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To: jimmygrace
If a planet had life and was only 100 years more advanced than us, they would be able to contact us and communicate with us.

The obvious problem with that position is conceivably, that other, more advanced otherworldly civilizations might be so cosmically distant that they cannot communicate with us-- yet.

23 posted on 11/20/2013 9:47:53 AM PST by Dysart (Obamacare: "We are losing money on every subscriber-- but we will make it up in volume!")
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To: Dysart


24 posted on 11/20/2013 9:48:08 AM PST by JoeProBono (SOME IMAGES MAY BE DISTURBING VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED;-{)
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To: jimmygrace

They may be bale to communicate with us, but why would they? Would it not be better for them to observe and study us before making that determination?

As for advanced technology, they may very well be here and communicating amongst themselves without our knowing about it. Imagine if we were to be able to take our technology back in time and observe older civilizations. We would be able to move about and communicate in a stealth manner that they would be unable to detect. So why would not an advanced civilization do the same?

Mathematically speaking, extra-terrestrial life is a certainty. The real question is, “in which form does it exist”? Amoebas in primordial ooze? Early development? Superior and tremendously advanced? Who knows.


25 posted on 11/20/2013 9:49:32 AM PST by Buckeye Battle Cry (Audentis Fortuna Iuvat)
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To: Dysart
“One might as well speculate about the origin of matter,” he quipped.

It's not a joke. Matter does evolve -- Evolution of Minerals (Scientific American).

26 posted on 11/20/2013 9:50:41 AM PST by MUDDOG
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To: GunRunner

Not necessarily. 40 billion chances doesn’t necessarily mean 40 billion species with advanced technology. Even if they ALL have intelligent life we don’t know how many of them got a jump start on us and are ahead of us in the tech curve, how many are behind us, how many “screwed up” when they got to the nuclear stage. And even if some have FTL how many of them are moving in our direction. Our level of detection in the universe is still pretty scant, we’re seeing suns and planets from THOUSANDS of years ago, we don’t really know what’s happening in most of the galaxy now, or even fairly recently.


27 posted on 11/20/2013 9:50:52 AM PST by discostu (This is Jack Burton in the Pork Chop Express, and I'm talkin' to whoever's listenin' out there.)
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To: Dysart

Are We Alone in the Universe?

Yep. We are. Except for the God of Israel and a few billion angels.


28 posted on 11/20/2013 9:52:15 AM PST by lurk
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To: Dysart

Even if there were advanced civilizations out there, I don’t think they’d be visiting us as frequently as UFO reports indicate.


29 posted on 11/20/2013 9:52:45 AM PST by MUDDOG
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To: Dysart

All evidence thus far points to our being “alone.” Everything else is speculation.


30 posted on 11/20/2013 9:52:53 AM PST by RegulatorCountry
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To: jimmygrace

But would they want to? And would we understand it? And how long would the transmissions take? Technically we’ve sent out communications (both on purpose and just a by product) but they haven’t gotten very far. And the communication methods we use now would be completely useless in communicating with us 100 years ago.


31 posted on 11/20/2013 9:54:03 AM PST by discostu (This is Jack Burton in the Pork Chop Express, and I'm talkin' to whoever's listenin' out there.)
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To: Dysart

Once upon a time I hoped we were not alone, if only for the curiosity value.

Now I’m afraid there may be other planets where a majority of the global population are morons.


32 posted on 11/20/2013 9:54:09 AM PST by relictele (Principiis obsta & Finem respice - Resist The Beginnings & Consider The End)
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To: sickoflibs

33 posted on 11/20/2013 9:54:56 AM PST by mikrofon (V for Vittles)
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To: GunRunner

I claim there is no technologically capable life in the galaxy.

First, you can’t be in the center 2/3 where 95% of the stars are because every billion years or so a solar system wide cataclysm will occur.

Second, your planet needs lots of water or else the climate varies too much.

Third, you need lots of water, but not so much that there is no land or else there is no technology.

fourth, the dinosaurs had 300 million years on earth and failed at technology. Technology is really hard.

fifth, you probably need an unusual moon like ours which stabilizes our orbit (rotating dumbell is more stable than a rotating sphere).

Our moon is really large relative to the planet. It also was likely created by a very unusual collision. This is because the moon is a lot like the earth’s crust and has no iron core so it did not form by acreation. It also means our iron core is bigger than normal and the crust is thinner than normal as the core of the colliding body and earth’s core merged and the crust go blasted into orbit by the collision. This is important or else you get a small core and a thick crust like mars and eventually you get a dead planet.

Our crust is thin and the core is still active so we get outgassing and we get plate techtonics and carbon recycling.

Sixth, mars should support life as it has a good star, is in the habitable zone, in the outer 1/3 of the galaxy, is the right size, used to have a lot of surface water, and it is still dead.

Seventh, under the optimal conditions of planet earth, it still took 5 billion years for tech to blossom here.

ET will not be coming anytime soon I think.


34 posted on 11/20/2013 9:55:49 AM PST by staytrue
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To: Dysart; All
"Are We Alone In The Universe??"


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35 posted on 11/20/2013 9:58:32 AM PST by musicman (Until I see the REAL Long Form Vault BC, he's just "PRES__ENT" Obama = Without "ID")
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To: relictele
Now I’m afraid there may be other planets where a majority of the global population are morons.

So we'll fit right in, then.

36 posted on 11/20/2013 9:58:50 AM PST by Vroomfondel
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To: staytrue

Exactly. Look at all the things that had to be just in the right place for life to exist on this planet...the chances of this occurring randomly, are infinitesimal, at best.


37 posted on 11/20/2013 9:58:57 AM PST by dfwgator (Fire Muschamp.)
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To: Dysart

In my Father’s house there are many mansions.


38 posted on 11/20/2013 10:00:14 AM PST by Excellence (All your database are belong to us.)
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To: Dysart

Life is rare on Earth, and most likely non existent everywhere else in the Solar System. Even here on Earth where life has existed for billions of years, civilization has only been around for a few thousand years and technology for a few hundred.


39 posted on 11/20/2013 10:01:55 AM PST by Moonman62 (The US has become a government with a country, rather than a country with a government.)
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To: mikrofon

I love these scifi images of sleek spacecraft. But Star Trek’s Borg have it right: a box is the most efficient way to build a ship that never touches atmosphere.


40 posted on 11/20/2013 10:02:16 AM PST by pabianice (LINE)
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To: mikrofon
They will keep us docile by giving us free phones that can pull up porn websites.

Oh and social sites like facebook so we can spy on ourselves for them.

They will fatten us up with food stamps.

41 posted on 11/20/2013 10:02:21 AM PST by sickoflibs (Obama : 'If you like your Doctor you can keep him, PERIOD! Don't believe the GOPs warnings')
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To: Dysart

I’m Venus bound...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7_YNTQmtGg


42 posted on 11/20/2013 10:02:32 AM PST by stormer
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To: dfwgator

I think there is probably life around. It may even be intelligent like a salmader, or even a dog. But technology seems really hard, even on earth. And it seems life is really hard even on relatively friendly mars.

So I say 40 billion to one is not good enough odds for me.


43 posted on 11/20/2013 10:03:24 AM PST by staytrue
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To: Dysart

Listen up people!

We have been placed on the Intergalactic Federation’s DO NOT CALL List.

We’ve been quarantined

They’re all tired of receiving unsolicited transmissions of Miley Cyrus twerking, Madonna and her snow cone bras, the Khardashians, Lady Gaga. They especially despise Rap.

Unless we stop it, they will send armies of Moose-shell biosynths to punish us. That would be the multi-segmented thorax decapod version with a more horrible voice than the original.

So cut it out. Save our chilrun.


44 posted on 11/20/2013 10:04:38 AM PST by Covenantor ("Men are ruled...by liars who refuse them news, and by fools who cannot govern." Chesterton)
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To: pabianice

If you are trying to Warp space time, then a spheroid may be easier than a box.


45 posted on 11/20/2013 10:04:58 AM PST by staytrue
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To: GunRunner

We could communicate with distant civilizations via radio. Low data rates and long message delay times, no doubt. The Milky Way, our “hood” is 100,000 light years across. If we try to communicate with a relatively nearby civilization, say 1000 light years distant, we could send a message today and would not expect a reply until 4013, or about the time between the present and the birth of Christ.

Of course, if you could travel near the speed of light, you could travel to this distant civilization in what for you would seem like a relatively (no pun intended) short time, but by the time you get back, the earth will be 2000 years older, and your mission will be the stuff of ancient legend, no one expecting to ever see you again.


46 posted on 11/20/2013 10:06:09 AM PST by Lonesome in Massachussets (Doing the same thing and expecting different results is called software engineering.)
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To: staytrue
Our moon is really large relative to the planet. It also was likely created by a very unusual collision. This is because the moon is a lot like the earth’s crust and has no iron core so it did not form by acreation. It also means our iron core is bigger than normal and the crust is thinner than normal as the core of the colliding body and earth’s core merged and the crust go blasted into orbit by the collision. This is important or else you get a small core and a thick crust like mars and eventually you get a dead planet.

Our crust is thin and the core is still active so we get outgassing and we get plate techtonics and carbon recycling.

We also get a nice magnetic field that conserves our atmosphere and protects us from harmful radiation.

47 posted on 11/20/2013 10:08:10 AM PST by Moonman62 (The US has become a government with a country, rather than a country with a government.)
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To: staytrue

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rare_Earth_hypothesis


48 posted on 11/20/2013 10:09:31 AM PST by Moonman62 (The US has become a government with a country, rather than a country with a government.)
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To: Dysart

There’s a big sign just beyond Pluto that says “Warning, this solar system inhabited by liberals, stay away!”


49 posted on 11/20/2013 10:11:10 AM PST by Hot Tabasco (I don't call "911", in my house, I AM '911"....)
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To: Dysart

I personally don’t care for our definition of habitable.

I think of Mars as habitable in the sense that we’re technologically advanced enough to survive and even thrive there if only in domed habitats. In a few hundred years we may be technologically advanced enough to restart the nuclear furnace at the core of Mars and start rebuilding an atmosphere.

Humans are the most adaptable species ever to exist on the face of the planet. We can adapt to things slightly outside our required parameters. The technology of today and the future can greatly expand those parameters.


50 posted on 11/20/2013 10:11:30 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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