A simple experiment... Coincidence or simple incidental
Posted 16 April 2012 - 12:37
I was curious if we might want to try a simple science experiment? The point of which is to either suggest the possible validity or not of a scientific theory.
The experiment is to subject many of the incidental interactions that result in an organic evolution, which has resulted in most of the organic features of this planet.
The main point is to focus on the potential and not the theoretical. The intent is to be scientific and not moralistic. This is not intended to stack up points; but, to point out that given the probability of a given physical/chemical condition that the chance of organic creation and evolution either is a product of natural non-directed happenstance or could suggest something else.
For this experiment, I believe a good place to start may be, to start with the Miller-Urey Experiment in 1953. If any member takes offense and can suggest a viable alternative with experimental support (either physical or theoretical/logical) then that branch of this thought experiment is to be considered null.
If any member objects to this experiment flatout, then I humbly request your PM and upon getting 20 PMs, (as we average 40 readers in this forum), I will close this experiment, period.
Now as to an example to help describe the size of the chance values we are discussing, consider that for 7 Billion people on the planet today, what is the chance that anyone of them will look up at the sky, within their lifetime and in an image in the clouds, see a four leafed clover? Or better yet, see a contrail or scud cloud evolve into a dinosaur looking cloud.
More pertinent, what is the chance that from all the possible visable stars within our galaxy that one would have been created with the correct mix of previous nova materials to create a rocky-metal/oxide spheroid with sufficient hydrogen-oxygen-carbon-iron and planetary physics to replicate the co-current conditions as seen today on Earth. Suggesting to be similar would require, a high similarity in the star/solar system size, age, composition and neighborhood. (Not to say that life could not exist in other forms under different circumstances /conditions.) This is simply to focus on the chances of a replica of our solar system and a planet in the "Goldie-Locks" zone with greater then a @95% similarity (or roughly 2 std deviations), (considering Mars is roughly 85% similar and Venus is around 75%, roughly... With both suggesting a shortage of hydrogen. (One apparently is iron rich, the other, carbon.)
#2 Guest_Chris Lloyd_*
Posted 16 April 2012 - 21:50
Are you asking what are the chances of there being life on other planets?
probability of a given physical/chemical condition that the chance of organic creation and evolution either is a product of natural non-directed happenstance or could suggest something else.
Are you asking whether this is natural or forced by something else other than a chemical reaction?
I presume your reference to the clover leaf is to demonstrate the infinite poosibilities within the Universe. Such that there should be another earth somewhere else with another LDC asking the same question on another internet forum about the possibilities.
If I have got this all wrong of course, then perhaps you could actually ask a question instead of talking around what is clearly a pointed question.
Drake's equation will give you a rough idea to the chances of these interaction taking place.
#3 Guest_Chris Lloyd_*
Posted 16 April 2012 - 21:53
Drake's equation btw
The Drake equation states that:
N = the number of civilizations in our galaxy with which communication might be possible;
R* = the average rate of star formation per year in our galaxy
fp = the fraction of those stars that have planets
ne = the average number of planets that can potentially support life per star that has planets
fℓ = the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop life at some point
fi = the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop intelligent life
fc = the fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space
L = the length of time for which such civilizations release detectable signals into space
Posted 17 April 2012 - 00:11
As to life no. As to finding a possible twin of Earth yes, in as much as it has a 95% similarity in physical characteristics. As to life, lets us simply restrict ourselves to the probability of a similar history resulting in a life form that maybe similar to something in Earths evolutionary tree, more specifically, let us limit it to the plant or flora kingdom as most of the simplist forms of life start with light or heat driving the conversion of the primary available elements into a temporarily dfferent form.
The reason for the limitations is to try to limit the conditions to the development of a fairly tight genetic characteristic. Land water ratios will vary according to the dominate climatic conditions. The necessity for a hot molten core is a requirement as are plate tectonics. An approximation to the ratio of the dominate minerals will likely be subject to the nova donor and the accreation distance from its primary star.
As to the suggestion I am "dodging the subject", could be a possibility; however, I am attempting to leave the door open. Certain physical events will occur under similar conditions, if the current Earth we inhabit has its beginning in a former star gone nova, then it is likely that under similar conditions, a new star could form from the remanents of similar stars. The inner planets of Sol likely formed from the materials formed by the collapse of a former star, likewise a new star having many of Sols characteristics should also form given similar beginnings. The significance being that for similar stars in our galaxy of a similar age, size and planetary/Primary system that there should be a similar distribution of matter in the solar disk. This then leads to the next hypothesis, if there are similar distributions of materials, it has to be related to the inital mass of the dust cloud and a similar rate of rotation.
This should suggest that if there are similar chemical and physical processes in both solar systems some form of life should exist and given similar events in the stars systems history should predict a similarity of lfe forms. The questions we would then explore would range to well what if Orephus hit at 2 billion years rather then 1 Billion? What if it was a direct strike rather then a glancing blow? What if there was not a K-T event, what if instead there were a series of lesser bombardment that lasted for 1 million years? In short, the chances of life on this planet at this point in its history, much less intelligent life, looks pretty slim. Given 7 Billon stars what would the chances of a similar planet and history resulting in even simple plant life be?
Drakes formula is far too general, for conditions to exist for carbon based flora life to flourish are astronomical. For the events from Earths past to allow for organic life of a similar character would be even greater yet. For this life to obtain intelligence or self awareness would be even more rare. Hence, for two systems to have a very high similarity, to have a evolutionary similarity is even less common. In essence, it would seem that though on the surface there can be a high similarity in the physics and chemistry, the circumstances that lead to the development of intelligent life is absurbly small.
I do not want to be preachy nor do I want to suggest life on Earth is simple coincidence, I was hoping to get both PoVs to share how they saw the world... As to my examples it is as models, I was suggesting the exploration of the possibility that a pre-requesit conclusion could be accomplished via simple coincidence. The point being how could you hope to plan for a set conclusion if you cannot control the circumstances leading to the conclusion. As opposed to the idea that if you put several trillion stars worth of hydrogen in a black box that near one, circumstances should not only lead to life; but, self aware life...
Posted 17 April 2012 - 12:53
Now to go a little further in our thought experiment, if we needed to locate the potential of a Earth type planet, if all other things were to remain the same we need to find a neighborhood similar to Sols. Now here comes a big issue, was the material from which Sol was created come from our neighbors or from outside the neighborhood. The current philosophy would suggest, Sol, Proxima Centari and Ross248 would have to of been seeded from materials from outside of the neghborhood as nether a white dwarf, blackhole, or pulsar seemed to have formed in our general vacinity. (Keeping in mind that Barnards Star has been in this vacinity for nearly 12.5 Bya or roughly 2By after the "Big Bang". Of course, if Sol and our closest neighbors were in the orbit of an event horizon that might explain part of the red shift we see outside our neighborhood and with that large a mass so close even suggest a significant time distortion in relation to the rest of the galaxy.... Sorry, I degress...) What if the material forming Sol did not come from outside the neighborhood, what if older nearby stars in the transition to main sequence ejected a portion of their core and this region of space, harboring Sol, happened to to be the nexus of the wavefronts of those explosions. What are the chances of that?
Pure coincidence would appear to be getting smaller; however, this thread of thought is based on an unsubstanciated logic train. The point is we do not know many things and yet we plod along as though hypothesis is likely true, I do not intend to nor condone the creation of strawmen here. However, if there is a better explanation for the source of material for the Sol system, can explain the large dust cloud like voids and explain why we would have not one; but, many main sequence red dwarfs in such close proximity to both each other and two possibly three small main sequence yellow/yellow-orange stars, I would be curious to explore those thoughts...
Posted 17 April 2012 - 14:41
And extending further into an infinite universe (as many physists now believe we inhabit) then there is an infinite number of planet earths and us!
This post has been edited by PaulKn: 17 April 2012 - 14:42
Posted 17 April 2012 - 15:59
The only reason for noting our solar system is that it is the only one we know of currently having life. Even with two more planets in the habitable zone, the conditions necessary to allow for sustained organic life appears very narrow. More so then any current optomistic "formula".
Given the low probability of life sustaining conditions, I am suggesting two ideas, one that "guided design" seems impossible, if both the evidence and theology are valid. While at the same time, the potential of coincidence from stuffing several trillion stars worth of hydrogen in a box, while providing the basic laws of physics and chemistry and yet from that soup to actually get something to grow, that can percieve of themselves, much less, the universe, seems unbelieveable.
Very similar to Climate Change theory, I suspect the truth lies between the PoVs. At immediate issue is how or what did the "Genesis of the Sol system" look like. To have 6-8 stars within 10 light years, with many being red dwarfs and bi-solar companions suggests a common ancestor for the stellar neighborhood. At issue, are two things, the diversity of age and a lack of a visable "kernal" from which we have formed. I believe this should prompt research into to other "clusters", do they indicate a point of origin?
The other big issue is the elipse of the proximity to our closest neighbors. The diversity between apparent closeness versus age; (IE: A nearly circular or broad side of an elipse for stars closer to our age. While very narrow encounters with much older stars.) Of course, even within small populations there can be counter intuitive examples. The problem is there is a high amount of varibility for objects of similar origin, if they are indeed similar.
Before I would be searching out life, I think we would better spend our time searching out our origins. If there is life out there we will meet them in due time. We need to learn to solve our own problems.
(Not to get too far off track; but, my concern, is that we would be acheing for a confrontation or put ourselves in a competition we can not win, when we should be concentrating on improving our own lot. The subduing of "Alien" races or planets should not be our primary motovation, when it comes to Astrobiology. Nor should we be seaking out short cuts, in the technology of others. The laws of science appear universal, given that then we will only improve our lot if we discover and apply science ourselves. Kind of a "Not Invented Here" attitude, else we could open ourselves up to a self erradication possibility. After all, like on "V", the warning to take home is, "Beware of strangers bearing gifts...")
Posted 17 April 2012 - 16:12
It shouldn't be unbelievable, because it happened!
Did it happen more than once? That's a harder question, and one that can't be answered easily. Extrapolating from a sample of 1 is not a good idea.
If we can find independent life on Mars, Europa or the like, then all bets are off. That's the only way to answer the question for the time being, except in the highly unlikely event of SETI detecting something. Anything else is just speculation and not really science.
Posted 17 April 2012 - 16:50
Unintended/Incidental? That is the question...
If so and there is sustained similar life elsewhere, then based on the physical/chemical laws we should be looking for regions of the galaxy with a very high degree of simularity and not be wasting effort chasing around red dwarfs/giants, due to proximity alone, unless they have a possible similar elemental "feedstock", IMHO. (A simple matter of reciprocity or better yet, co-dependance...)
As to coincidence, it is probable there are similar possibilities along the range that the Drake equation suggests up through some point, (IE: The emergence of a life form). (I am certain we do not have the time or resources to investigate a presence of life at some point in a solar systems lifecycle, that was not sustainable, if we are searching elsewhere for answers.) From the point life spontaneous exists, Drakes values for sustained life, I suspect, are too high...
Posted 17 April 2012 - 19:29
Here-in is part of the fun, to create a sugar processing gene appears to require 4 gene pairs in plants. All 4 appear to be subject to mutogenesis.
Hence, for any pool of water containing the chemical building blocks /amino acids it is possible for a short chain molecule to occur. If this happens, a short protein string can be created, not replicable; but, sufficient to create a bio-film. Create layers of this film and break it up into little pieces it might be possible to create microtubes of filaments.
To create a population will require similar events, energy sources and conditions. With the inital replication requiring a distribution from a controlled environment to a similar open environment, this would require both in contact with each other and a wide distribution of similar conditions... Are we sure these conditions were incidental? Could not the DNA strings just have ridden in on a extraterestrial object instead...?
This is beginning to sound like a fusion reactor, get all the elements in place, under isolated; yet accessable conditions. Have plenty of energy and feedstock co-located. Then wrap long chains of hydro-carbon pairs of saccrides/glycerides together react them with water such that the combination of chemical reactions repeat... Sounds more like Cold Fusion to me... Okay and we are suggesting that not only has this occurred once; but, are suggesting hundreds if not thousands of times and has for Billions of years? I'll stop here, I'm mudding up the waters...
Posted 17 April 2012 - 20:42
Extrapolate that backwards into the origins of the universe, then why shouldn't there be another planet with carbon based life forms on it. There are suns like ours, second generation suns that contain all that is necessary to produce life, all the nuclei that are the building blocks of life. That we are sure off. So if the same processes that formed our Earth was a good one, i.e. one that satisfied some universal law of the evolution of planets, then it is almost an asurity that the Earth is not unique. Similarly if the same processess that occured on earth that went on to produce life, then if an Earth-like planet exisits out there, it has had the same amount of time for those processes to occur, and given that as far as we know, the same fundemental laws of chemistry apply, no matter where you are in the universe, convergence is a good possibility. Life like earth life will probably prevail, as it is a good solution to the environment in which we exist. There may be some minor deviations, of course but given the fundemental processes of life, that of respiration and reproduction, which are incredibly simple yet form an incredibly diverse range of species, the chances are that a bipedal, upright, and probably sentient being exists somewhere other than here.
Posted 17 April 2012 - 21:24
I can see your point and I believe it fits in good with the Drake equation. Given like for like it makes sense that universal processes replicate universally. I think where I am most concerned is related with the persistence of life on this planet.
The combination of events leading up to life, could be 1 in 7B solar systems leading up to 10-15 additional Earth like planets in the Milky Way where life has occurred. Some solar systems closer to the galatic center some on the fringes.
More then likely the balance would be about our distance out, due to the accreation of universal matter, (ie: absorbing smaller galaxies or nearby galatic dust/hydrogen...*1) This would suggest that in our galatic arm alone there should be at least three examples. I think what I find most amazing is that life has persisted here for nearly 3B years....
(*1 Not a reference; but, a side comment: As to regional galatic materials, they are likely most similar due to, the rotational velocity and likely source region pulled into this arm likely contributes to a commonality of mass and composition.)