panspermia or rare-earth?

Discussion in 'General Science' started by bribri, Mar 18, 2011.

  1. bribri

    Thread Starter Member

    Feb 20, 2011
    133
    5
    so the Drake-Equation has gradually become more acceptable as an indication of life-forms, even civilizations occurring throughout the universe.
    forms of bacteria and spores may actually be able to survive the vacuum, temperature extremes and radiation of space --- and even be able to escape the earth's atmosphere. further, the survival of lifeforms who might happen to crash-land on earth is turning out to be not such a crazy idea.

    is our galaxy relatively teeming with life?
    or are we just very special case?

    panspermia's main problem, as far as i can see, is no real evidence of life on mars and venus.

    so how about it? viruses from outer-space?
     
  2. someonesdad

    Senior Member

    Jul 7, 2009
    1,585
    141
    Remember the Drake equation was formulated to stimulate conversation and ideas. It has absolutely no experimental support at all. Zip. Nada.

    Similarly with the idea of panspermia. It does, however, rather beg the question of how life evolved.

    Still, these are fascinating areas of speculation -- and always remember the word speculation is in there because the experimental data are lacking. Otherwise intelligent adults can get into ridiculous religious arguments about these topics based on their beliefs (and I'm using the term "religious" in a wider sense than usual). My own personal belief is that the universe is much stranger than we can imagine with our puny anthropomorphic minds... :p
     
    PackratKing likes this.
  3. bribri

    Thread Starter Member

    Feb 20, 2011
    133
    5
    yes indeed... and very successful in achieving it's intended results!

    yes, but perhaps one is more provable than the other.

    well if you mean 'the origins of life'.
    the mechanisms of evolution seem pretty well understood... but panspermia postulates the possibility of ongoing extra-terrestrial input. on the 'primordial soup' level, i would tend to lean towards ideas of the process not being merely confined to the earth. being so long ago, it's just difficult to say... the jury is still out on more recent additions.
    without having yet synthesized life in a petridish, it's still just easier to describe distribution and variation than genesis.

    yes. i suppose the 'graviton' occupies a similar area... but this may yet be one day proven by its absence.

    amen!

    i agree.
    but whatever the true nature of reality, i think we'll always somehow be at the centre of the universe. to really even begin to understand the universe, to stare god in the face (as it's sometimes termed) is to be rendered insane. if humans just can't handle the truth, perhaps we'lll settle with a few clever analogies to things we are capable of beholding.
    there's an old saying which goes something like this: "better to be half-smart; the wholly smart are seldom happy".

    i can't help being drawn to the so called "Velikovsky Affair". it's one thing to just be wrong... but to be so 'gloriously wrong'! i think that such fire-brands are the life-blood of science.
     
  4. someonesdad

    Senior Member

    Jul 7, 2009
    1,585
    141
    Hmm, you need to review some of the basics of science. Experimental science never proves anything -- the best you can do is confidently reject your null hypothesis.

    Of course, this isn't helped by the popular, quasi-literate press... :(
     
  5. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    20,766
    2,536
    The core of science is data and experiment. If there is neither, it is conjecture, and outside the realm of science. Much of what the "Velikovsky Affair" was about is the fact that the theories Dr. Velikovsky proposed were verifiably wrong. I will agree that the scientific community does have a problem with new ideas, and the tendency to vilify those who propose radical new concepts. Sometimes you just have to wait for the old men to die before a legitimate idea can have it's day, but in the case of Dr. Velikovsky this never happened because his ideas were fundamentally wrong.

    The Drake equation was a thought experiment, it isn't really about science. It is an attempt to put some numbers on something we have no way of knowing either way. The only way we will ever know one way or another is we get out there and start accumulating data, or they come to use.

    The concept of tectonic plates is a very good example where the old men had to die for a new concept to get a chance. Now it seems obvious. I wonder what other ideas are lurking out there. One problem with jumping on a bandwagon is if a new concept radically violates the current laws of physics they probably aren't worth that much. Experiments will always be crucial, and the current laws exist because of a large body of experimental evidence.
     
  6. bribri

    Thread Starter Member

    Feb 20, 2011
    133
    5
    well, i'd be talking about proof (evidence) rather.

    but there's a strong relationship between the two. in the grand scheme of human endeavors, science must generate meaning in order to be valid.

    gloriously wrong!
    but i think that there's something to be said for taking a stance.

    as far as i know, much of what Freud put forth has been relegated to the garbage pile, but his methodologies remain valid, and very much in use.

    there is an authority to create meaning. as history suggests, this was once the exclusive domain of religious leadership, and is now quite firmly on the shoulders of the scientific community.... perhaps not exclusively but certainly significantly.
    it would of course be nice if science could maintain its autonomy from political dimensions, but then few things can.

    well, he wasn't ALL wrong all of the time of course, but controversy is risky business, a point to which his life would seem to attest. fictional or not, i still find his ideas worth thinking about. he gets an A+ for creativity.

    on an aside, i remember seeing an article about the HAARP project's success at generating a small northern-lights display (they made a green dot in the ionosphere). according to the article, when asked about the applications of such a technique, the scientist interviewee was only able to offer "uhm, advertising?" as a suggestion. it felt like a particularly short-sighted, uncreative, pointless, and perhaps even insulting suggestion.
     
  7. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    20,766
    2,536
    That was Heinlein's idea, he predicted the experiment about 40 years before it happened. In his short story the perp got to retire from his ill gotten gains, and the scientists didn't really care because they got their measurements anyhow.
     
  8. bribri

    Thread Starter Member

    Feb 20, 2011
    133
    5
    which one?
     
  9. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    20,766
    2,536
    The man who sold the moon.
     
  10. PackratKing

    Well-Known Member

    Jul 13, 2008
    850
    215
    I dunno 'bout the rest of you, I for one, don't really wanna meet anything attaining biological adulthood after surviving the extremes of outer space to crash-land on earth .........:D
     
  11. bribri

    Thread Starter Member

    Feb 20, 2011
    133
    5
    ah, i see.
    Delos D. Harriman, "semi-legitimate businessman" : )

    you may already have! ooooooooo!
     
  12. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    20,766
    2,536
    Nothing semi about it, the guy got rich, the moon got colonized. I don't think it will be that easy, but I'm a long time dreamer, same as Mr. Heinlein was. The space plane and the SCRAM jet I posted will go a long way to making the dream possible.
     
  13. bribri

    Thread Starter Member

    Feb 20, 2011
    133
    5
    oh i haven't read the story yet, just quoting the wiki.
    something about spreading rumours of mineral wealth on the moon and planting diamonds in the rocket to play on investor greed.:rolleyes:
    must have been the inspiration for a doctor-who serial called "the ribos operation".

    yeah, i've always wondered why ram-jet/scram-jet tech been a bigger priority.


    on the haarp aurora projector thing... i was kind of convinced for a while that the "norway spiral" must have had something to do with the giant ionospheric-heater installation they have up there near tromsø. but it seems that it was just some russian missile test gone wrong. looks pretty sci-fi though.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    20,766
    2,536
    Stargate, here we come!

    If you haven't read the book I highly recommend it, even if it is a bit dated. Robert Heinlein will always be one of the big three SciFi writers in my book. If you haven't read all his stories you have some treats in store for you. There is a reason why the newer crop of writers (even the really successful ones) pay homage to the Master.

    About the planting diamonds twist, after his astronaut came back, he wanted to know what to do with the real diamonds he had found in abundance.
     
  15. bribri

    Thread Starter Member

    Feb 20, 2011
    133
    5
Loading...