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5 years ago  ::  Nov 12, 2013 - 1:51AM #21
Posts: 12,199

Nov 11, 2013 -- 2:21PM, Idbc wrote:

(Hi IDBC! All my responses are in red, and bracketed. Yours are green, black, and grey. Perhaps you should use just one color for clarities sake?)

I know I am running out of time.  If there is no direct evidence found for life on other planets, moons, or other bodies found in the next twenty or thirty then time will have run out for me to know that there is extraterrestial life. 

(Good point, IDBC. I'm pretty much in the same boat. Surprised)

Since time as "run out" for appoximately 90% of life forms-species since the earth started supporting life it is reasonable to assume that time will  "run out" for the human species.

(Eventually. We've been pushing our luck for a while.)

I don't know if it is "absoultely" necessary to our surival as a species to find out that there is extraterrestrial life.  But it is I think may be neccessary to our survival to "search" for extraterrestial life.

(I think Clarke was emphasizing more the need to keep reaching as high as we can in terms of furthering the boundaries of exploration. It seems to bring the best out of us. Finding life on other worlds would be a nice bonus of space exploration. As Carl Sagan wrote, "the sky call to us")

I disagree.  It is clear that life is not "common"  in this solar system because if it was true then we would have found it.

(It is not "clear" at all.

Microbial life, for instance, poses challenges even to its discovery on Earth! We've only just recently, and quite unexpectedly, discovered it existing in the depths of the planet we couldn't even have imagined it could survive. Miles beneath the surface! And we've barely scratched the surface of Mars (not even scratched, really), and not even that on any other world. Microbial life on spheres in our solar system might turn out to be as common as it is here.)

Life may be discovered in our solar system, but it is "uncommon".

(I'm no longer sure just what you mean by "common", IDBC? :)

Extra solar planets were anything but "common" just a few short years ago, now it looks like they are going to turn out to be more common than stars!) 


There certainly may be life on other planets that are similar to earth.  But earthlike planets are uncommon.

(Again, you simply have no good grounds on which to make such a claim!

If - as the studies already mentioned compelling suggest - there is one Earth-like planet per sun-like star, then that would make for countless millions of planets, all perhaps capable of sustaining Earth-like life. I think that would make Earth-like planets rather "common" indeed.

And then there are the planets they may harbor life altogether different from ours.

A worm poking its head up out of the sand in the Sahara and looking around and concluding that life was rare on the Earth would amount to a pretty anorexic point of view.)

The more like earth those planets are then the more likely it is that there is life on those planets.   

(And that is why the probabilities for life elsewhere have increased exponentially as a result of the studies already mentioned.)

It is also probable that there are moons in other solar system.  If life can exist on moons, then it increases the probability that there is extraterrestrial life.

(There will doubtless be moons orbiting planets in other other solar systems with some of them possibly capable of sustaining life. Again, I think our species will look back in a couple of hundred years and smile with a bit of embarrassment at how benighted our appreciation of just how abundant life turned out to be in the cosmos.) 


I would agree that it does increase the probabilty that there is extraterrestial life. However I do think that there are limits as to how extreme an enviroment can be and still be able to support life.

(Of course there are limits to everything, but the expansion of the habitable-zone radically increases the chances of there being life throughout the cosmos.)

It is my understanding that Oscar Wilde was philosophically a "romantist". 

(It is largely irrelevant as to what 'philosophy' Wilde held relative to the point I was making. In respect to his views on continuing education, he was spot on.) 

It is my understanding the Oscar Wilde had reservations about the sciences attempting to explain the universe in purely materailistic-naturalistic terms.

(Perhaps you could quote a couple of passages from Wilde to this affect? I'm reasonably acquainted with his thought and have never come across anything that would suggest to me that he held "reservations" about sciences ability to explain the universe in "purely materialistic-naturalistic terms". If he was alive today, of course, any qualms he might have had about the ability of science to explain the universe in naturalistic terms would be now have been entirely eradicated from his mind.)  

It is quite possible that I have  "misrepresented" Oscar Wilde.  Or at least that I have a "different" reprsentation of him than you have. 

(Well, different in that your representation - as you have conceded - may be, at least in regard to his views about continuing education, completely inaccurate. Wink)

I do not doubt that he encouraged that people to have a life long education. 

(Which is somewhat different, to say the least, from what you originally said.)

So far as I know Oscar Wilde was not educated in the sciences.

(Actually, he made every attempt to keep himself abreast of the science of his day. More about that below.)

There are no quotes that I am aware of regarding science.

(Now that totally contradicts what you just wrote about him above as having "reservations" about "sciences" ability to explain the universe in materialistic and naturalistic terms. If he said nothing about science, how do you know that he held reservations about it?

In fact, Wilde was very familiar with the science of his day, much of which informed his artistic work. His 'The Picture of Dorian Gray" is a great example of this wherein one finds the science of hereditary very pronounced.)

He was an essayist, novelist, playwright and poet.

(Yes, I'm quite aware of all this. It all tends to qualify his view - despite what you claim he intended - that continuing education would have the effect of broadening the mind rather than "diminishing" it.) 

He is classified from a literay perspective as a "romanticts".

(Yes, but I don't know what you are trying to prove by rehearsing all these well-known facts about Oscar Wilde, IDBC!?)

I hope that Stephan Hawking's fear is wrong. 

(There is nothing that has been said by Stephen Hawking that would indicate to me that he lives in "fear" of an alien invasion. He seems to have been merely alluding to the fact that there may be predatory alien species out there in the vastness of space whom we might not want to reveal our presence to. Of course, that is all far too late now. Our radio signals have been travelling out into space at the speed of sound for decades.)

I would imagine that the might be similar to the intitial effect that less sophiscated populations had when the came into contact with Europeans.

(I personally don't think it would be the same at all. We now have a pretty good handle on the laws of the universe and many of the principles by which it works. We have a tremendous grasp of the principles of biology - having discovered man's true historical context, something that not one of the religions ever got right - chemistry, and the laws of physics, and very much else.

On the other hand, most of the peoples Western explorers came into contact with were essentially stone-age in their understandings of the world and technology. However technologically advanced any alien civilization might be, we would still have a great deal in common with them. The intellectual discontinuities simply wouldn't be as vast as that between European explorers and many indigenous peoples whose technology hadn't advanced much beyond stone implements.)


I would doubt  however that Stephen Hawkins would be someone who would "refuse to look through Galileo's telelscope."

(Stephen Hawking would certainly not be counted among the fainthearted when it came to exploring new possibilities, unlike those who indulge their backward and speculative fears about the search for life elsewhere.) 

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