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03/22/2006

THINK

                  The Universe & Life & Everything

Drakes_equation      Drake's Equation.

N = N* Fp Ne F1 Fi Fc Fl.

               Whereas ...

N is the number of communicating civilizations in the Universe.

N* is the number of stars in the Milky Way. Our galaxy.

Fp is the number of stars with planets around them.

Ne is the number of planets that could sustain life.

F1 is the number of THOSE planets where life evolved.

Fi is the number of THOSE planets where intelligent life evolves.

Fc is the number of THOSE planets that communicate.

Fl is how long THOSE planets exist.

   Now, there 100 billion stars in the Milky Way. Current estimates are that between 20 and 50 percent of those stars have planets. It is thought that between 1 and 5 of those planets are capable of sustaining life. Life could begin on anywhere between none and all of those planets. Let's say it does on 10% of them. Intelligent life may or may not exist on any of those, but just for the sake of argument, let's say it does on 1%. The Earth has a life span of about 10 billion years. Life has been here for almost half a billion years. There's no telling how long it will remain.

Let's do the math. If you use the bottom parameters and multiply you will get 100,000 as the answer. That means there should be 100,000 planets with life that communicates. But let's be brutal. Let's say there are only 100.

The Milky Way is but one of perhaps several trillion galaxies in the universe. And it is fairly small as galaxies go. Many galaxies are thought to have 1000 times the stars.

As you can see, it is mathematically impossible for life to NOT exist elsewhere.

HERE is a place where you can do you own computations. It is very easy to use.

This is the beginning of a multi portion post. Do the math. Think about it and leave your thoughts in the comments.

                               I'll resume this post in 2 days.

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Comments

Did you ever look at string theory?

THAT will blow your mind.

J.

I have Jim.

I have some doubts yet.

The idea that one place can approach another place inter-dimensionally appeals to me.

I think there are enough neutrinos extant to give 'weight' enough to the Universe and also its quantum behavior to satisfy my imagination.

I think when it is all described, the Universe will appear like a very large vessel of Jello.

Comprised of quarks and beholden to few 'rules' as we perceive them.

You shake that bowl on one end and the other side moves right now.

If you cut that bowl of Jello into thin slices, leaving them in position, yeah, the distance between each slice will appear as an impossible chasm to transit for particles larger than quarks.

But if you assume the bowl, the Jello and the table on which it sits as being made of all the same stuff, then that transit is not anything.

'Strings' are just our attempt at conceptualizing what I just stated.

Personally, I consider that a good step but a feeble second or third step in the right direction.

There now, I have succeeded in blowing not only your mind but anyone else's who happens on this comment.

My bad.

Yo, Dawg...you be's one more smart dude.

I confess to superficializing the game. I scanned the equation, looked at the numbers and thought, "Of course".

Then, as is sometimes my wont, I shot from the lip because the first thing that popped into my mind was the difficulty in establishing on a quantitative basis whether "intelligent life"...or indeed, any life exists in the cosmos.

The answer is overwhelmingly YES!....qualitatively. But that's based on our understanding of physics (as we know it) and the universe (as we know it).

With the dimensions of the cosmoverse (I know...I just invented that because I can't think of the right term right now), there's a time lag certain that transcends not only our lifetimes, but probably several times the history of the solar system.

So someone sends a "message" ....and manages to guess as to what we think the optimum frequency, format, etc. should be. At say, 10 million light years, our existence is a mere nanosecond in a year....in that timeframe.

Without further trivializing the issue, I think God pretty well scoped this thing out. Had he wanted us to contact each other, it would prob have already happened. On the other hand, how amusing it would be to have four, or a dozen "civilizations" living real time on the same planet/space, just in different dimensions....a la "Flatland".

Interesting stuff, dog. Without embarrassing you, you have a multifaceted personality.

An interesting person, indeed.

Jim.

You mentioned 'string theory' Jim.

It goes fairly far in convincing anyone of the possibility of faster than light speeds of ... well, everything.

Theoretically, quantum physics has to accept faster than light anything.

Our concept of 'existence' might entail 'parallel universes'.

I am real iffy there.

That concept speaks more to our inability to grasp what our reality may be.

We just have to, just to think about it.

I just can't buy it.

Communication is indeed possible at speeds exceeding the speed of light. That has been demonstrated time and time again.

That we can't do that yet is of no consequence to me.

We couldn't communicate AT the speed of light 100 years ago.

The concept of parallel universes is convenient right now.

I suspect the reality of that concept will be that we have over estimated 'time' in our equations.

I just heard that the Universe went from the size of a grapefruit to 90% of what it is now in less than a trillionth of a second.

Where's the time gone Jim?

I took a class in Quantum physics from a physicist from James Madison University. The class was held at the University of Virginia and most of the students were professors and members of a secular humanist group. The professor talked all about everything you've mentioned here. It was a long lecture. At the end, he said are there any questions? I was the only one who raised my hand. I said, "Um, could you bring this down to Soulville?" ha ha ha... the place went into a polite applause cum laughing gig. And a big sigh, too. The professor looked a little peeved, but he gave it a try.

Afterwards during cookie time, I ended up talking with a couple of guys. We talked about string theory and quarks and neutrinos. We made some dumb jokes about neutrinos going through our cookies. We asked each other our professions. Both these guys were physics professors at UVA. I busted out laughing and said you guys should know a whole lot more than I. One of them said, "Well, I know all about string physics. I have a tennis ball hanging on a piece of string in my garage. When the ball bonks against my windshield, I know to stop." HA HA....


So, the thing was, God was never mentioned, of course. Jim you mentioned God straightaway. And Steel and you are talking about 'life' out there, perhaps paralleling ours. That would make sense with the quantum thing. Seems to me until someone figures out where the hand of God fits in, we won't know much. That is, there will always be dissent until that puzzle is completed or satisfied.

I wonder, if in the 'other' parallel universe, God takes care of his creation? He sure doesn't bother here on Earth.


But I have the answer anyway.


The Parker brothers created the universe. They went out one night to admire their creation and lay down on the lawn and looked up at the stars and galaxies and planets and thought.... 'how cool.....what can we do next?'

They created Monopoly to manage their creation.

Mmmmm, good discussion.

Much as A. Square in Flatland could not possibly conceive the idea of a sphere in his world, so are we unable to conceive of objects or phenomenae in higher dimensions. Only when one attempts to 'climb the ladder' for a view from above, can one try to better understand the ideas and concepts present in our world.

The term 'string theory' is just a term used to describe one possible way of looking at the universe. Another perception, if you will. Basically, if one were to imagine the universe as comprised of teeny little vibrating 'strings' than one could conceive the idea that different length stings vibrating at different frequencies could be responsible for the everything in and around us. Much as the strings on a violin or guitar produce different notes when different size strings vibrate at different frequencies.

The theory isn't actually postulating that there are 'literally' jillions of these strings that make us up. It's just a way of trying to visualize something that is inherently (bear with me on this one...) un-visualizable. hahahhahaha There you go Teach!!!

I find the theory no less palatable than, say, the idea that the universe is comprised of 11 to 20-something dimensions. Four of them making the universe we see and inhabit and the rest 'rolled-up' somehow so infinitesimally(sp) small that we could hope to locate or odserve them directly. Yet those ones that are 'rolled-up' could be what are responsible for such wierd stuff as Einstein's 'Crazy-action-at-a-distance' or dark matter.

Hmmm, I seem to have gotten off-topic a bit somewhere. My apologies. I think I need a brain massage.

Forget that, Ak.... You owe ME a brain massage for that one. :)

The reason we have problems with our conception of this is that our brains learn best by comparison/metaphor. We only 'know' what we know, what we can comprehend, and usually that comprehension has taken place because we were able to associate one thing with another, synthesize, and evaluate the information to form 'new' thought or knowledge. We have nothing to compare the universe to, and yeoww... what do we have to compare string theory to? Although, I got a nice little hit from the violin string...

This begs the question of original thought. Is there such a thing? Yah... prolly Einstein had some for sure. But for most of us, even our imaginations are fettered by 'what we know'.

How easy it is to say God invented it all. Okay. So, tell me how you know. And if He did, why'd he make it so man's brain could only conceive of Him via faith? And make games like Monopoly. If we learn best by comparison, what compares with God? That is - IF He wants us to know Him?

What I want to know is how many life forms COULD there be in the Universe.

The entire Universe.

Will somebody please address THAT?

Ah! THAT's where I got off topic.
I would have to say, Steel, that the answer may be unknowable. In the way that infinity is unknowable. There's just to danged much SPACE out there for to try to quantify how much of a thing there could be. To paraphrase comedian Michael Black, "We spend all this time looking for sentient life 'out there' and I'm still trying to find just One... ON EARTH!!!"

We could get into a(n always convoluted) discussion on what constitutes 'life' or conciousness, but as far as lifeforms... man... who can know? On even just the one moon around Saturn there may be tens, or thousands, or more. How many on Earth alone? We're not even sure of that.

In the huge vastness, we may have observed a world with Hubble that has, in the time it taken for the light of the planet to reach Hubble, since developed sentient life. Perhaps THEY are, even now, looking for US!!! But in the time it takes for the light from Earth to reach their planet, we may likely be gone. So they may see a sentient civilzation, come to meet us and find a barren world.

I just don't know how to go about trying to figure out how many different forms of life there could be.

I'm going to have to stew a bit.

> we may have observed a world with Hubble that has, in the time it taken for the light of the planet to reach Hubble, since developed sentient life. Perhaps THEY are, even now, looking for US!!! But in the time it takes for the light from Earth to reach their planet, we may likely be gone. So they may see a sentient civilzation, come to meet us and find a barren world.<


I SO love this! The idea of standing on my deck looking up at the light of a star that shone the Vikings the way across the North Atlantic.... or more... light that shone on the first electrical impulse of life coming out of the oooze millions of years ago..... what a hard thing to wrap your mind around. But so neat once you get it. wow....

I have to go get some Twinkies and a Coke to take this all in....

*%^$#@#*

I just posted the most elegant answer to the question as to whether life exists elsewhere, anywhere and anyhow.

'Life' and its existence here there or anywhere is NOT the question.

It does exist somewhere else but here.

It HAS to.

The math proves it.

How much of it do you suppose exists?

>How much of it do you suppose exists?<

A bunch?

Are you having a little tantrum. I thought you were going to say you 'just posted the most elegant answer to the question as to whether life exists elsewhere, anywhere and any how.....but you lost it. Like when your computer loses an email because you didn't feed that thin-slotted opening thing enough Twinkies.


Steel. How are we supposed to KNOW how much life exists out there? You say the math proves it's out there. Does not the math also prove how MUCH life there is out there? Or do you just want us to guess? Wouldn't it be better to determine the kind of life you're talking about? Sentient beings? Slugs? Wharf rats? La cucharaches?

Want me to quit commenting? :) Me bein' not so sentient at the moment because the speed of light is sped from my corner of the universe.

We can NEVER know exactly how much life there is.

Drake's Equation tells us how much life there HAS to be.

Let me try this ...

The Heisenberg Principle.

You CANNOT know how fast anything is going AND know where it is at the same time.

As counter intuitive as that might sound on the face of it, upon reflection, it must be so.

You are the most sentient human unit I have ever met.

Think about THIS.

Can we go faster than the speed of light?

I really don't think we can know how much life (any life) is out there. Or even how many different sentient lifeforms there could be. We don't enough of a grasp on what constitutes 'life'.
Even when trying to avoid attaching the defintition of 'life' to the defintion of intelligence, one still struggles with the criteria for life itself.

Metaphysically, this discussion could get real sticky, real fast.

We could arbitrarily assign these qualities to life...
Organization... Metabolism... Growth... Adaptation... Stimulus Response... Reproduction... and go from there but truth to tell, I just have don't know how to quantify how much life.

The existence of matter is impossible. Uhh, did you say to carry the one?

Ak,

Seems to me the way to answer 'what is life' is to think: Life begets life. Otherwise, what is the point of 'being' life.

Sexual reproduction/mitosis. Seems to me that makes the best qualifier for life.


Good night all you brilliant minds..... hugs and quarks and neutrinos... :)

There are as many kinds of life out there as man can imagine. Some of which cannot be detected by the human eye, or any devise man can create for such detection, because they may be so fast moving as to be undetectable, or so slow, they may appear as stationary objects.To deny this possibility is the hieght of arrogance,saying, in effect, we are the only form, shape or location populated by any thinking beings. That is just downright silly.Consider the constant discovery of new life forms, right here on our own planet. Now, if creation is going on all over our own little corner of the cosmos, does it not invite speculation as to the same sort of thing happening in other places?

Steel, we don't even yet know how many life forms there are on the Earth--how can we accurately guess how many are elsewhere?

And about your "bowl of jello" illustration--

I realize that any analogy is imperfect, but when you wiggle a bowl of jello at one end, it doesn't wiggle at the other end at the same time, but at a later time, depending on the speed of the shock wave through the jello.

Not that I know what that speed is. ;o)

Hence this illustration doesn't address the "speed of information" problem. But it does have a fascinating connection to quantum entanglement, which may be what you meant to start with.

Tina,

Exactly. That's the whole point. What the exciting thing is to ponder, though, is the possibility of sentient life 'out there'.

Answer: 100%.

Based on the number of stars with planets, galaxies the probability that there is life on other planets is 100%.

But I should add a variation of Occam's razor credited to Ernst Mach: which he called the Principle of Economy, stating that there is no difference between something that exists but is not observable and something that doesn't exist at all.

twinkies anyone? I'll get the cold milk.

Occam's Razor is fine for deconstructing a theory. So is the Principle of Economy.

What both do, however, in contrast to deconstruction, is stop the imaginative process. When we deal with questions about the universe, we have to rely on imagination and what theories we can 'trust' to this point.

Applying either Occam's Razor or the Principle of Economy for this quest would just hamper it instantly.


Patty..... can I have Coke instead of milk? Milk makes me gag.. :}

Where's the time gone Jim?
Posted by: Steel Turman | Mar 22, 2006 5:05:09 PM

Time is definitely a figment of our imagination.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
How easy it is to say God invented it all. Okay. So, tell me how you know. And if He did, why'd he make it so man's brain could only conceive of Him via faith? And make games like Monopoly. If we learn best by comparison, what compares with God? That is - IF He wants us to know Him?
Posted by: Phoenix | Mar 22, 2006 9:17:07 PM

It wants us to know it, but we have to figure it out ourselves...The joke is on us, and we have to struggle with this "scientific theory", while it watches and laughs, playing monopoly.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
So, the thing was, God was never mentioned, of course. Jim you mentioned God straightaway. And Steel and you are talking about 'life' out there, perhaps paralleling ours. That would make sense with the quantum thing. Seems to me until someone figures out where the hand of God fits in, we won't know much. That is, there will always be dissent until that puzzle is completed or satisfied.
Posted by: Phoenix | Mar 22, 2006 7:33:33 PM

I had a thought for this post too but quantum crap gives me such a headache I can't put my thoughts into words....hmmmmm maybe my parallel lives can, lol.
My theory is that the quantum theory is where science and faith(?God?) intertwine, neither will be totally understood nor will they ever have a resolution.
Gonna go take some ibuprofen, Aloha ka kou.


Hands down, you guys are still top of my list of interesting people I'd like to get stuck with in an airport bar during a snow storm.....

Thank you Betty.

She does all the talkin' and I 'have her back'.

Tuxedo?

I have long thought that time is a construct and is relative.

That aside, I gather that you are from Hawaii.

Describe where you live - please.

I have been posting those of late.

Dennis ...

Yeah, carry the one and divide by half.

Add 4 and take two of those and call me in the morning.

The existence of matter is impossible.

If so, then it doesn't matter. Matter, I mean. E.g., it isn't material to the issue. If it's not material to start with. So matter, if it matters, being immaterial, is immaterial.

So. Hey, can we just drop the matter?


ha ha ha ha ha............ Obi... :)

Sure--just don't drop the matter on your foot...

Hmmm, I would have to argue with the statement that the existance of matter is impossible and posit that, instead, the existance of 'nothing' is impossible.

The concept of 'nothing' like our concept of time is no more than a construct of the human mind. One conveniently used to define the absence of matter. But when one tries to define 'nothingness' itself, one discovers that one really cannot.

Heh.

'Nothingness' is the absence of everything.

THAT can be found between Reno and Las Vegas.

Okay, I lied.

It can be found between the ears of Howard Dean.

Oops, did it again.

It can be found between 'here' and 'now'.

Yeah, that's the ticket.

Ak,

You surely filled up the matter of nothingness with some good stuff that mattered. I am glad you're back. People have become silly for some reason. Not me.

"The concept of 'nothing' like our concept of time is nor more than a construct of the human mind."

Can you describe solipsism? In other words, does anyone know what time it is? Do we all perceive time the same way? In order to describe 'nothingness' we have to believe WE aren't even here to describe it. Try faking that. But how, then, can a person engage in solipsism?

Dang.

Do you think real scientists get real stupid after a while contemplating all these theories? I bet they have some cool jokes in the lab.

Like:

"Foster. Pull my string."

"Quark you, Bosley. I'm not falling for that neutrino-minded gag again."

I will have to create a new category now.

You just made me piss my pants.

Okay, I lied.

My robe.

Occam's Razor is fine for deconstructing a theory. So is the Principle of Economy.

What both do, however, in contrast to deconstruction, is stop the imaginative process. When we deal with questions about the universe, we have to rely on imagination and what theories we can 'trust' to this point.

Applying either Occam's Razor or the Principle of Economy for this quest would just hamper it instantly.


Patty..... can I have Coke instead of milk? Milk makes me gag.. :}

Posted by: Phoenix | Mar 23, 2006 10:21:13 AM

Where's the time gone Jim?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Phoenix you can have Coke or Pepsi which do you prefer?

...............................................

So is it the imaginative process that gives us the theory of One Designer? (and) if we include imagination as part of the theorative process wouldn't we also include the theory of Intelligent Design?
...........................................

What is the origin of matter?
.............................................

Coffee anyone? I just brewed a fresh pot.

Thanks, Patty. Cream and Splenda, please. Mmmmm.

So is it the imaginative process that gives us the theory of One Designer? (and) if we include imagination as part of the theorative process wouldn't we also include the theory of Intelligent Design?

Imagination can give us anything we like...which is why we have Intelligent Design. Many people REALLY want to believe it, and will therefore construe almost any fact as supporting it.

For imagination and science to work together, imagination must work within the realm of the possible, that is, not contradicting any well-supported theory.

(I would have said "not contradicting any known facts" except that, in science, there ain't such a thing. All knowledge is tentative. But many, many theories are so well-established that folks get lazy and refer to them as "known facts.")

Phoenix,

No, we can't blame you for any silliness going on around here. But some of us will jump on silliness at the first provocation, yea, without any provocation at all.

Forgive us. This post is my penance. After this, I can be silly again...

Phoenix,

When I was a teenager, I went through a brief period when I imagined that all of the world existed merely in my mind, and was a "simulation" created by God just to see how I would react to it (as if I were merely a lab rat). So this wasn't exactly solipsism, since God was involved, but it was close.

I guess my own approach to solipsism is like my approach to everything else: I believe what I have reason to believe, and I don't believe what I have no reason to believe. I could be dead wrong, but it has served me well thus far. And if I'm the only thing that exists, it hardly matters anyway--I'll have a happy life believing whatever, and then...whatever. ;o)

Steel,

I have long thought that time is a construct and is relative.

How does that fit in with general relativity? Not the "relative" part, but where you said time is only a "construct?"

Wouldn't that make space a mere construct as well?

Patty,

I might be one of few people who will actually turn down a Pepsi for a Coke. Like in a restaurant when I say, "Coke, please." and the waitress says, "Will Pepsi be all right?", I say no and order iced tea with lemon. I'll take the coffee, though. Black. Strong. yum...


>So is it the imaginative process that gives us the theory of One Designer? (and) if we include imagination as part of the theorative process wouldn't we also include the theory of Intelligent Design?<

Is One Designer a theory? It's a faith.

I think the imaginative process did produce I.D. because too many people won't buy into the faith thing.

I haven't a clue where matter originates. Man.... if I had a choice of going forward in time or backwards in time.... You better believe I'd go back - all the way. I'd be a little afraid to go forward anyway for fear that the 'nothingness' Ak brought up would be what met me.....(not to personify 'nothingness' heh..)

Obi,

I have had what I consider two 'solipsistic' moments. I know that sounds weird, but it is really hard to just 'step into' that theory. Both times, I was severely, clinically depressed and super stressed. My first experience took place when I was walking in a big city near a park. I simply 'disappeared' from my surroundings, though, for sure, I was part of them as I was walking with purpose. The second time happened in my car in big traffic in a city. Both 'events' lasted about five minutes.

I wish I had the ability to describe the experiences adequately, but this much I can say: I was there fully engaged -walking/driving, and I was completely viewing everything from somewhere else. The odd thing, almost pleasurable - in fact, it was painfully pleasurable, was that *I* saw the world for what it is. The 'clarity' of my vision was so profound that I went numb..... or something like that. It was as if everything about the world/existence was sparkling clear.

I just got the willies describing that. It was like a deja vu of universal proportions, as well.........

It's really hard to describe such an epiphany to someone else, isn't it?

Yes. Extremely difficult. I just reread what I wrote and it so does not explain what happened. There is no way to explain it.... I just know it happened, and I know it was as frightening as it was enlightening.

I know one thing - I could not have 'lived' in that cruel, cold, beautiful truth of clarity. My mind was not capable of handling it.

Epiphany is good..... evanescent epiphany about truth. ? But, the universal deja vu component was bigger.....

Okay, I only had a minute and thought to in and read this post and comments. So about an hour later I have devoured most of the comments, while understanding very little. I was right on the very same line of thinking when Obi came up with this notion that we don't even know how much life there is on this orb, so how can we possibly even guess, using math, and hope we are relatively close to accurate. Now I must ask. What is the definition of Intelligent Life? Is it that we can communicate our thoughts with the written word over a thousand miles and over a thousand years? Time must be tied up in strings because I'm still here.

Good question, Mouse: "What is intelligent life?"

Maybe it is any life that has adapted to its environment enough so that it thrives.

Maybe it is any life that has adapted to its environment enough so that it thrives.

By that definition, bacteria are way more intelligent than we are.

Wait a minute, Phoenix--you might be on to something there...!

No, Obi.

Bacteria's 'thriving' is just different from humans' 'thriving'. We are more complex, but that doesn't have anything to do with intelligence.


Yes, our complexity allows us to 'be' intelligent, but in a bacterium's world, he is as intelligent as he can be in his environment in the evolutionary chain.

I wonder if there are dufus bacteria like there are dufus humans.

Actually, many ant colonies, beehives, etc. exhibit an emergent intelligence that doesn't exist in any individual members of the colony. The colony routinely determines the shortest routes to food sources, optimum locations to dispose of waste materials, etc.

That, to me, is fascinating.

A part of me thinks that I am just a piece of sunlight allowed to dance upon the earth for a time. With this in mind my belief would be that all matter is a life form of some kind or another. I can see the Universe as a small part of a much larger thing. Knowing that there are vast amounts of nothingness(?) lurking between the atoms that make up that which is me and that which is earth and that which is space, it is all alive.

Obi, I think that ants are intelligent beings too. They will even cut a leaf off of a bush to make a boat to cross a river when the need arises. My cat is an intelligent being as well. My dog has it made as I walk tethered behind it scooping up it's poop. Any intelligent alien race watching us from afar would think that the dog rules our civilization.

Sorry Steel, my strings are untied.

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