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The W - Random - Understanding the Vastness of the Universe in a Philosophical and Religious Context
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ekedolphin
Scrapple








Since: 12.1.02
From: Indianapolis, IN; now residing in Suffolk, VA

Since last post: 95 days
Last activity: 5 days
#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.76
(Note: This is a little something I put together as a Note for my Facebook page; I repost it here because I'd also like to get the thoughts of my fellow W's on the subject.)

[EDIT: Sorry, I didn't mean to choose that logo! My bad!]


The Milky Way Galaxy contains, at minimum, 100 billion stars, and perhaps as many as 400 billion. We have already identified 539 extrasolar planets, with another 1,235 yet to be verified. And those orbit only a negligible percentage of the known stars in our galaxy.

We have absolutely no idea how many galaxies there are in the universe, of course, but in one image alone from the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, 10,000 galaxies were visible. The largest galaxies we know about are thought to contain 100 trillion stars.

Astronomers believe there are hundreds of billions of galaxies in the universe.

So why do so many human beings scoff at the idea of life on other planets? When we stop to truly consider the vastness of the universe, the likelihood that we are the only planet capable of supporting life has to be almost zero. Personally I think those people have more of a philosophical or religious axe to grind than actual facts, figures or logic on their side.

Now, having said that...

How many sentient races do you figure there are in the galaxy? And do you think that God has revealed Himself to them as well, and made them in His image, like he made us?

If there are other sentient races in the galaxy, it stands to reason that Earth doesn't have a monopoly on sin. If mankind became so sinful that God sent His Son to die for us (with due deference to my non-Christian friends), do you suppose those other planets needed a Messiah as well?

I would personally be very surprised if human beings discovered other life in the galaxy within the span of my own lifetime, especially given our recently lackadasical approach to the space program. Heck, I figure I'll be old and grey by the time they even bother to set up a permanent base on Mars.

But if other life exists in the galaxy, and the means eventually comes to pass for us to reach these far-off places, there are many questions we ought to consider. Such as the topic of cultural exchange, and how much we should share with these aliens, and how much of their culture we should allow to influence ours.

About alien religions, and whether we should even attempt to convert an extraterrestrial to an Earth religion. Did Jesus die for Y'rrb of Alpha Centauri, too? I tend to doubt it. But obviously, I don't know.

About finding a means to communicate in the first place, for that matter.

These are questions that I imagine human beings will eventually have to think about, assuming we manage not to wipe each other out long before any extraterrestrial contact takes place.

And while we're on the subject, we're destroying our world so thoroughly that we need to get some heads together and get serious about the topic of terraforming the Moon and Mars.

(edited by ekedolphin on 26.3.11 0532)


"You are boring me to death, and I'm already dead. You're boring me back to death."
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Mr. Boffo
Scrapple








Since: 24.3.02
From: Oshkosh, WI

Since last post: 420 days
Last activity: 381 days
#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.31
I have to admit you have an interesting combination of science and religion present in your post.
Yes, given the vastness of the universe there is probably any number of life somewhere in it. Note that this is not necessarily intelligent life. We could be talking about bacteria growing on a planet a million light years away.

You can however adjust the Drake Equation to get whatever scenario you think is true. The variables in it are very much up for debate, and it's possible to construct a scenario in which there is no other intelligent life.

When you talk about identifying life, there's also the matter of how long that society is capable of communicating. We've only been capable of recognizing radio signals of extraterrestrial origin for what, 50 years? That's a microscopically short period of time on a universal perspective. There's the possibility that extraterrestrial life was sending out radio waves that hit the Earth in the 1600s or whenever (right before their Krypton-type extinction), and of course we would have been unable to hear them.

In terms of face to face contact with aliens, that seems unlikely to me because of the distances involved. Obviously there are always advances in technology, but I think near light travel is destined to stay in the realm of science fiction like traveling backwards in time, transporters, and flying cars for everybody. Even if we do find radio signals from intelligent life at some point, I doubt we'll be able to have a dialogue with them, again because of the distances involved.

I can't really talk about your greater point about religion, because I don't believe in God and anything I say about it is bound to sound condescending. i.e. Jesus didn't die for anyone's sins, let alone the Y'rrb.

I'm also not very optimistic about full-time bases outside of Earth. I think with the energy and resources needed to make some place permanently livable, we could easily fix whatever problems we've caused on the earth.
2P4E
Boerewors








Since: 4.1.05
From: SE12, London, UK.

Since last post: 412 days
Last activity: 24 min.
#3 Posted on
    Originally posted by Mr. Boffo
    We could be talking about bacteria growing on a planet a million light years away.


I've read a few interesting points related to this recently (in part inspired by articles on arsenic based life) about how our definitions of what living things are, and ideas about what these other forms of life may look like, may be so weak and informed by our own form of life, that by looking for things that are in any way similar to us we could potentially miss extra-terrestrial life just by not being able to recognise it.

(edited by 2P4E on 27.3.11 2258)
Lexus
Bierwurst








Since: 2.1.02
From: Stafford, VA

Since last post: 5 hours
Last activity: 1 hour
AIM:  
#4 Posted on
I don't know if it was your intent, but I totally found that post to be hilarious.



"Laugh and the world laughs with you. Frown and the world laughs at you."
-Me.
Zeruel
Thirty Millionth Hit
Moderator








Since: 2.1.02
From: The Silver Spring in the Land of Mary.

Since last post: 8 days
Last activity: 1 hour
#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.02
    Originally posted by 2P4E
      Originally posted by Mr. Boffo
      We could be talking about bacteria growing on a planet a million light years away.


    I've read a few interesting points related to this recently (in part inspired by articles on arsenic based life) about how our definitions of what living things are, and ideas about what these other forms of life may look like, may be so weak and informed by our own form of life, that by looking for things that are in any way similar to us we could potentially miss extra-terrestrial life just by not being able to recognise it.

    (edited by 2P4E on 27.3.11 2258)


NASA said the study was fatally flawed and should have never been published.

http://www.slate.com/id/2276919/



-- 2006 Time magazine Person of the Year --

-- July 2009 Ordained Reverend --
2P4E
Boerewors








Since: 4.1.05
From: SE12, London, UK.

Since last post: 412 days
Last activity: 24 min.
#6 Posted on


Well, that's a shame. I suppose the basic thought still stands that there may be life (Jim) but not as we know it.

    Originally posted by ekedolphin

    Did Jesus die for Y'rrb of Alpha Centauri, too? I tend to doubt it. But obviously, I don't know.


Presumably it all depends on whether they rebelled against God or still exist in an innocent pre-lapsarian state. If the Y'rrb don't eat fruit then they'd probably not be so tempted by talking serpents to go scrumping in God's garden, and if they produce asexually i doubt they'd be ashamed by their nakedness afterwards even if they did. There'd need to be a whole other story.
lotjx
Scrapple








Since: 5.9.08

Since last post: 18 hours
Last activity: 10 hours
#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.05
They said God sent his only son to Earth nothing about daughters, aunts, nephews or uncle Jim Jack Jericho with the glass eye. I believe in intelligent life in outer space slightly more then I believe in all powerful white bearded guy who likes to random do things or has a giant plan. I do believe in a creator and maybe a will of the universe not to let things spin out of control to far. Yet, I don't think there is a great plan for everyone, I believe life is fragile not precious.

Its easier for me to believe intelligent life could be out there since the odds seem more in favor of that then the before mentioned almighty. I just think we live in the Alabama of space. There is not much out our way and we are not that close to the center of the universe. I do think there is a good amount of evidence that support the existence of others like ourselves instead of the big guy in the sky. Even as silly as it may seem, I do believe we have already been contacted and our government as well as certain other governments around the world have decided is too big for us to handle. It probably didn't have a happy ending either considering who the past leaders of this planet were.

The sad part is we have totally let go of any kind of real space exploration due to the cost as well as being far away from any world like our own. The reality of the situation is that we need to colonize. There are too many people on the planet as well as the constant population the planet has to take in from our needs. Eventually, we will get to the point where we either make a real commitment to space or let the species die and take the planet with us.

If there are intelligent beings like us out there I expect them to be just as mean, nasty, racist, ugly and evil as humanity. I doubt humanity has the monopoly on being douchbags. I just think they are smarter then us in a lot of ways though or they just didn't have a Dark Age to fuck them up like we did.






The Wee Baby Sheamus.
KJames199
Scrapple
Moderator








Since: 10.12.01
From: #yqr

Since last post: 5 days
Last activity: 3 hours
#8 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.59
    Originally posted by lotjx
    I believe in intelligent life in outer space slightly more then I believe in all powerful white bearded guy who likes to random do things or has a giant plan.
I swear that I thought he meant Santa Claus.
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It was a JOKE. Count the gramatical errors in the little essay. There are about 30 or 40. I often give this to my leadership classes so they can see whatimpression bad construction makes on you. I give them this and ask:
- AWArulz, CRZ is a bastard (2003)
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