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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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