Author Topic: In the beginning was......WHAT ?  (Read 3707 times)

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Offline shnozzola

Re: In the beginning was......WHAT ?
« Reply #116 on: October 13, 2013, 10:04:59 AM »
You just have to look at all the strange properties that have helped man along. I think the universe only requires a few elements to work, but we've been left with a load of toys to play with. Without silicon, we would have no windows, telescopes or semiconductors. Hydrogen and oxygen just happen to combine, to make a ubiquitous solvent, with a specific heat of 4x everything else. Planets have magnetic cores, which create a field that wards away radiation. There just happens to be a metal with a density of 2.6, for making aeroplanes and another one that stays liquid at room temperature. Iron, the major result of a super nova, just happens to be great for building s**t, and making knives. We just happen to have copper and aluminium: two strong, non toxic non-degrading conductors; without which, electronics would never have started.

Are you being facetious?  Isn't this like saying the earth is the correct distance from the sun so we have a pleasant home?  - instead of simply saying we are evolving here because this type of life is possible, with all these "tools" just because we are able with our evolved intelligence, which is questionable anyway. 

Take your copper/aluminum example - mercury is also a useful metal - but it is toxic.

 And take oil or coal or uranium, they are a mess to work with - toxic in many ways, corrosive, dangerous vapors, half-life, etc. etc.  Why wouldn't we have a fuel that we can eat and use for heat?  (Ironically, dried horse manure is safe and useful for heating, if not eating :))  Besides, why wouldn't we have a southern California type climate worldwide so we need no heat?

And why don't we have breatheunderwaterium that we rub on our lips and stay under for an hour? Why couldn't we just be "made" to breathe underwater?  Why don't we have flyatonaceus, that we eat to fly around, from nestimondium to nestimondium, the common metal that synthesizes into houses when left alone?

Did I not understand your post?
« Last Edit: October 13, 2013, 10:13:11 AM by shnozzola »
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Re: In the beginning was......WHAT ?
« Reply #117 on: October 13, 2013, 11:01:26 AM »
So the whole universe was made for people? Just so that people could build aeroplanes and make electronics ?

Argument from incredulity, and a strawman. We don't really know that anything outside our own brain really exists, let alone things outside the solar system. It could just as easily be designed to facilitate any intelligent life, or life that already attained the purpose. (We could be just rejects, if that makes you feel better.)

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This assumes that brains capable of making aeroplanes and electronics were also designed.

It doesn't assume. Tends to indicate that the system was designed to facilitate things like that.

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Chimpanzees don't make aeroplanes and electronics.

They aren't the pinnacle of creation. Anyone, or any group can be a fail.

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It is a pity that the planet was not designed well enough to prevent people from starving to death or from disease,

If it was designed in that way, it would not cause evolution. It would be created perfect, finished, and be static and pointless. Therefore no point in doing it.

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or that the laws of physics made it easy to build spaceships to colonise other planets or build time machines.

That might be a bit of a backward way of looking at what our future holds. 60-70 years ago, we all thought that we would fly around in UFOs by 1990. Nobody really envisaged the way computers developed. There could be other twists, where we find ways of travelling, without moving, and ways of going back in time, without going anywhere, such as simulating this world backwards, or creating a similar world, using quantum computers. In which case the inhabitants of the simulated world will all be sitting around talking about a God who isn't there. (Or could be there, depending on who ran the simulation, or what the point of it was.)

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Offline Foxy Freedom

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Re: In the beginning was......WHAT ?
« Reply #118 on: October 13, 2013, 12:02:39 PM »
So the whole universe was made for people? Just so that people could build aeroplanes and make electronics ?

1) Argument from incredulity, and a strawman. We don't really know that anything outside our own brain really exists, let alone things outside the solar system. It could just as easily be designed to facilitate any intelligent life, or life that already attained the purpose. (We could be just rejects, if that makes you feel better.)

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This assumes that brains capable of making aeroplanes and electronics were also designed.

2) It doesn't assume. Tends to indicate that the system was designed to facilitate things like that.

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Chimpanzees don't make aeroplanes and electronics.

3) They aren't the pinnacle of creation. Anyone, or any group can be a fail.

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It is a pity that the planet was not designed well enough to prevent people from starving to death or from disease,

4) If it was designed in that way, it would not cause evolution. It would be created perfect, finished, and be static and pointless. Therefore no point in doing it.

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or that the laws of physics made it easy to build spaceships to colonise other planets or build time machines.

5) That might be a bit of a backward way of looking at what our future holds. 60-70 years ago, we all thought that we would fly around in UFOs by 1990. Nobody really envisaged the way computers developed. There could be other twists, where we find ways of travelling, without moving, and ways of going back in time, without going anywhere, such as simulating this world backwards, or creating a similar world, using quantum computers. In which case the inhabitants of the simulated world will all be sitting around talking about a God who isn't there. (Or could be there, depending on who ran the simulation, or what the point of it was.)

Is the universe friendly to intelligent life or hostile to it?

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Offline Angus and Alexis

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Re: In the beginning was......WHAT ?
« Reply #119 on: October 13, 2013, 12:48:19 PM »
I would say hostile, as not many living things can live in the vacuum of space...
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Offline Benny

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Re: In the beginning was......WHAT ?
« Reply #120 on: October 13, 2013, 12:52:36 PM »

1) Argument from incredulity, and a strawman. We don't really know that anything outside our own brain really exists, let alone things outside the solar system. It could just as easily be designed to facilitate any intelligent life, or life that already attained the purpose. (We could be just rejects, if that makes you feel better.)

Is the universe friendly to intelligent life or hostile to it?
"Intelligent life" is a very broad area.  There may be life light-decades away, that we don't know about, that is resistant to most or all of the universe's troubles, and can use the"eternal nothingness" of space to their advantage.  For them, the universe is fantastically friendly.  For us, not so much.  Are we the norm?  Are they the norm?  Are we the only game in town as far as intelligent life goes?  We have no clue as to what form of intelligent life is best-suited for the universe because we have no clue what other life is out there.  And (I think) therein lies his point: we could be a failed mutation, like the woolly mammoth, just waiting for the universe to put us out of our misery.  But our success as a species is in no way a reflection on the state of all intelligent life in the universe.

(AH, correct me if that's not what you meant, but that's how I understood it.)
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Offline Angus and Alexis

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Re: In the beginning was......WHAT ?
« Reply #121 on: October 13, 2013, 12:56:19 PM »
*snip*

Are you suggesting that...out there somewhere a species has become immune to the effects of vacuum, UV radiation, etc?

I mean...how would it respire?
It couldn't use photosynthesis as there is no carbon dioxide.

I can only imagine sentient self replicating machines using solar power...
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Offline William

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Re: In the beginning was......WHAT ?
« Reply #122 on: October 13, 2013, 01:03:20 PM »
Angus, life (as we don't know it) could use any energy gradient to organise itself.
Right here on earth we have plenty of life forms living off the sulphur vents at the bottom of the ocean.
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Offline Angus and Alexis

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Re: In the beginning was......WHAT ?
« Reply #123 on: October 13, 2013, 01:46:30 PM »
So hypothetically sentient spacefarring organic "ships" could exist?
Damn, i need to read more O.o...
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Offline William

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Re: In the beginning was......WHAT ?
« Reply #124 on: October 13, 2013, 01:50:03 PM »
I'm glad you said: "ships".  Aqueous chemistry makes it far more likely ;)
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Offline wright

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Re: In the beginning was......WHAT ?
« Reply #125 on: October 13, 2013, 02:19:52 PM »
For some reason, life seems to be propelled by all these little quirks. It all seems very well planned, and it takes skill to convince yourself that it's not planned.

Key word: "seems".

Seriously? As opposed to the total lack of evidence that it was planned? This sounds like a restatement of the weak anthropic principle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weak_anthropic_principle#Variants), which is pretty easily refuted (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weak_anthropic_principle#Criticisms).

Could you provide an example of the "skill" you say it takes to convince oneself the universe is unplanned?
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Offline William

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Re: In the beginning was......WHAT ?
« Reply #126 on: October 13, 2013, 02:40:53 PM »
For some reason, life seems to be propelled by all these little quirks. It all seems very well planned, and it takes skill to convince yourself that it's not planned.

AddH, has somebody from the Discovery Institute hacked your account? ;D

IMHO it takes a devious use of "skill" to cherry pick the bits that support the notion of "planned".
There's so much wasted space and stuff in the universe. So many needless extinctions on our planet. Too many threats and challenges to make it remotely "planned".

There are now fewer cheetahs left in the wild than spots on a cheetah's skin. That's a sad "quirk" that isn't propelling anything worthwhile.
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Offline William

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Re: In the beginning was......WHAT ?
« Reply #127 on: October 13, 2013, 03:06:09 PM »
Hydrogen and oxygen just happen to combine, to make a ubiquitous solvent, with a specific heat of 4x everything else.
Iron, the major result of a super nova, just happens to be great for building shit, and making knives.
And these two above, in the presence of oxygen, happen to combine to form rust ... fucking useless RUST!!!
Rust is not just fucking useless, it's incredibly destructive and costly to prevent.
A planned universe would outlaw fucking rust! >:(



There just happens to be a metal with a density of 2.6, for making aeroplanes ...
I give you the mosquito - made from "spruce and plywood attached to a steel-tube frame".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Havilland_Mosquito

We would've engineered our way around the absence of aluminium without too much hassles.
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Offline Graybeard

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Re: In the beginning was......WHAT ?
« Reply #128 on: October 13, 2013, 03:22:22 PM »
I would say hostile, as not many living things can live in the vacuum of space...
I agree.

"Intelligent life" is a very broad area.

Yes, and we must not be too specific.

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There may be life light-decades away, that we don't know about, that is resistant to most or all of the universe's troubles, and can use the"eternal nothingness" of space to their advantage. For them, the universe is fantastically friendly.

Were that so, would they not have proliferated, travelled/spread and detected us? I flatter myself that we are interesting. Perhaps they could be something like an amoeba but then they wouldn't be intelligent, or if they were, we would cover them with Draino anyway.

The point is that the density of the universe as a whole is very small, and yet these creatures that can survive and multiply in the emptiness would have had aeons to breed, evolve and multiply in the empty, cold and irradiated spaces.

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Are we the norm?  Are they the norm?
It is more likely we are. Well, not us; something we can point to as "life". In order to deal with basic raw materials to make a civilisation, they would have to be a reasonable size.

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we have no clue what other life is out there.  And (I think) therein lies his point: we could be a failed mutation, like the woolly mammoth, just waiting for the universe to put us out of our misery.  But our success as a species is in no way a reflection on the state of all intelligent life in the universe.

I agree but we are talking percentages here, and percentagewise, we are looking at something of a reasonable size.
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Offline Benny

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Re: In the beginning was......WHAT ?
« Reply #129 on: October 13, 2013, 04:09:06 PM »
(NOTE: This post is entirely speculative.  Obviously we're not talking about this life form as if we know it exists, we're just discussing the logistics if there is such a creature.)

Are you suggesting that...out there somewhere a species has become immune to the effects of vacuum, UV radiation, etc?

I mean...how would it respire?
It couldn't use photosynthesis as there is no carbon dioxide.

Fair point.  I'd have to go out on a limb and say that there might be a form of stored energy that allows them to have all/most of the energy they need for survival at birth.  Maybe a mitochondrion-like structure that takes up most of the room in the creature's body (save for the brain.)

Were that so, would they not have proliferated, travelled/spread and detected us? I flatter myself that we are interesting. Perhaps they could be something like an amoeba but then they wouldn't be intelligent, or if they were, we would cover them with Draino anyway.

The point is that the density of the universe as a whole is very small, and yet these creatures that can survive and multiply in the emptiness would have had aeons to breed, evolve and multiply in the empty, cold and irradiated spaces.

Probably, but I doubt something even on the scale of an amoeba could travel at near-light-speed and maintain any sort of structure.  Sure, there's been quite a lot of time since the Big Bang, but I think it's absolutely possible that they can exist without being able to detect our existence yet.  Maybe they're a rather new species, not around eons ago.  And, if my "mitochondrion-like structure" hypothesis above is considered, maybe their locomotion skills are far weaker than their intelligence.
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Offline jdawg70

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Re: In the beginning was......WHAT ?
« Reply #130 on: October 14, 2013, 12:50:00 PM »
Are you suggesting that...out there somewhere a species has become immune to the effects of vacuum, UV radiation, etc?

I mean...how would it respire?
It couldn't use photosynthesis as there is no carbon dioxide.
Not sure exactly what you mean by immune, but unless you mean that in the most literal sense (as in completely unaffected by), then one need not to look 'out there' somewhere to find the species you are looking for:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tardigrade

I'm not suggesting that tardigrade's would be capable of spawning a technologically sophisticated civilization in the vast emptiness of intergalactic space, but I am suggesting that the bounds and constraints of the set of conditions necessary for life aren't known with any real confidence.  The knowledge of the bounds and constraints for sentient life are just about as squishy.
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I can only imagine sentient self replicating machines using solar power...
Next time you're at the bottom of the ocean, have a peek at a hydrothermal vent.  Solar energy isn't the only known base of the energy chain.
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Offline Benny

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Re: In the beginning was......WHAT ?
« Reply #131 on: October 14, 2013, 01:06:55 PM »
I'm not suggesting that tardigrade's would be capable of spawning a technologically sophisticated civilization in the vast emptiness of intergalactic space, but I am suggesting that the bounds and constraints of the set of conditions necessary for life aren't known with any real confidence.  The knowledge of the bounds and constraints for sentient life are just about as squishy.

...which is why I think a tardigrade-like intelligent species is plausible.  Imagine a tardigrade with a similar brain-to-body ratio that a human has.  That would be a deadly combo.
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Offline Truth OT

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Re: In the beginning was......WHAT ?
« Reply #132 on: October 15, 2013, 11:27:29 AM »
I'm not suggesting that tardigrade's would be capable of spawning a technologically sophisticated civilization in the vast emptiness of intergalactic space,

The above gave rise to this thought:

I believe we are guilty of attempting to personify all possible forms of intelligence that may exist. Our own biases and limited understand seems to want to mold anything that can be civilized or advanced into our human prism. We expect for them to be bi-pedal, stand upright, and utilize technology to make their lives more advanced without even considering the possibility that they may not have human limitations that require the type of technological assistance we require. Additionally, an alien species may not be limited to the 5 senses we are limited to in experiencing and defining what reality is to us. They may have other senses we have yet to imagine and they may communicate in ways that wouldn't even reveal to us that they were even sentient beings. We would do well to come to grips with the ideal that what we have or can even imagine may only be but a small fraction of what exists or of what is possible within existence.

Offline jdawg70

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Re: In the beginning was......WHAT ?
« Reply #133 on: October 15, 2013, 12:48:02 PM »
The above gave rise to this thought:

I believe we are guilty of attempting to personify all possible forms of intelligence that may exist. Our own biases and limited understand seems to want to mold anything that can be civilized or advanced into our human prism. We expect for them to be bi-pedal, stand upright, and utilize technology to make their lives more advanced without even considering the possibility that they may not have human limitations that require the type of technological assistance we require. Additionally, an alien species may not be limited to the 5 senses we are limited to in experiencing and defining what reality is to us. They may have other senses we have yet to imagine and they may communicate in ways that wouldn't even reveal to us that they were even sentient beings. We would do well to come to grips with the ideal that what we have or can even imagine may only be but a small fraction of what exists or of what is possible within existence.
Hell, non-alien species aren't limited to the 5 senses we have.  Ask a shark.

You are right; we look at the rest of the universe through human-colored goggles, and I think it is important for us to recognize that.  At the same time, however, I do see the value in making certain bias-laden assumptions when engaging in an exercise such as 'searching for life'.  As I said before, with what can be reasonably called 'life' (which is yet another interesting topic of discussion), we are kind of flying blind as we do not have any real knowledge of what the true constraints are, or rather, what actually is necessary for life, in general, to exist.  In order to make any kind of search meaningful, we've got to put some constraints around what it is we are looking for.  Things like 'presence of water' or 'presence of organic material' are, in a sense, artificial constraints brought about by our own hubris.  But we've really only got 1 data point (Earth-like life) to extrapolate from, and we have to have some kind of starting point.

So I do think it prudent for humanity to make some biased assumptions when trying to find alien life.  But until a) a coherent, agreed-upon definition of life is established and b) the requirements and constraints for what would or would not enable said life to exist is determined, we need to keep in mind that it's possible that we just plain don't recognize alien life when we see it.
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Offline Fiji

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Re: In the beginning was......WHAT ?
« Reply #134 on: October 16, 2013, 01:42:12 AM »
We have more than five senses jdawg70, we have a sense of time, temperature and motion to name just a few.

I agree that looking for a place with water, carbon and energy makes sense. But, yes, who knows what we might run into? In Star Trek they had these intelligent inorganic microcomputers in a layer of soil that had all kinds of metals with salty water running through it. Who's to say that that is utterly impossible?
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Offline Angus and Alexis

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Re: In the beginning was......WHAT ?
« Reply #135 on: October 16, 2013, 02:03:52 AM »
We also have this rare one called common sense.  :P
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Offline Benny

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Re: In the beginning was......WHAT ?
« Reply #136 on: October 16, 2013, 02:19:41 PM »
We also have this rare one called common sense.  :P

I don't know why it's called "common sense."  With the amount of mindless preachers that come to this forum, it's easy to see how uncommon it is ;)
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