The Atheism UK (Mingle) Forum closed on 16th November 2020. Instead, Atheism UK has a page and two groups on Facebook.

Welcome Guest 

Show/Hide Header

Welcome Guest, posting in this forum requires registration.

Pages: 1
Author Topic: The consequences of ET for religion


thebarman
Boron
Posts: 5
The consequences of ET for religion
on: November 25, 2014, 00:51

http://theconversation.com/is-your-religion-ready-to-meet-et-32541

I found this article interesting. It discusses the potential impact the inevitable discovery of extra terrestrial life will have on mainstream religions. It's encouraging to me that this discovery could be the nail in the coffin I, we, are waiting for that could signal the demise of religions everywhere as they struggle to reconcile their terrestrial beliefs with the overwhelming evidence suggesting it's all a load of gobble.



MattR
Calcium
Posts: 156
Re: The consequences of ET for religion
on: November 25, 2014, 12:43

For me, a distant second reason for longing for the discovery of intelligent life elsewhere has always been to give religion a deserved kicking. Unfortunately, the nutters are resilient. A few will join new 'ET ' cults and a few will abandon faith altogether. However, most of them will absorb the new knowledge into their existing belief systems as they always do (not that they generally deal in 'new' knowledge, but occasionally they have to). Sure, it will take some contortions, but that is what they are good at after hundreds of years of scientific discovery and progress by the rest of the planet.

The flip side of this is that religious belief will be a horrible humiliation for humanity. Basic cosmological reasoning tells us that any extraterrestrial intelligence we make contact with will almost certainly (read 99.9...%) be millions of years more advanced than us. They will NOT be religious. What will they make of a pathetic little species that still clings to childish fairy tales? Could this be the reason that we haven't made contact yet - because they don't think we are worth it?

Probably not. It is perhaps simply the case that intelligence (i.e. radio transmitting intelligence) is so rare and the distance so enormous that we just haven't stumbled across each other yet. Maybe the odds are so remote that we truly are unique in the Universe. And that is a very scary thought, bringing me back to my main reason for longing for contact with ET. It would be a tragedy of infinite proportions if humanity is the best the Universe has to offer. A tragedy that shows up the parochial little fumblings of religion for the navel-gazing tripe they are.



thebarman
Boron
Posts: 5
Re: The consequences of ET for religion
on: November 25, 2014, 20:56

I refuse to accept the notion that humanity is the best the Universe has to offer, as that plays right into the hands of dogmatic poppycock. I guess that means the only way the discovery of ETs could end religion is if they are both sentient AND atheist. It's a shame that's probably a bit of a stretch within our lifetimes.



Zool
Neon
Posts: 17
Re: The consequences of ET for religion
on: November 28, 2014, 09:41

Quote from thebarman on November 25, 2014, 00:51
http://theconversation.com/is-your-religion-ready-to-meet-et-32541

I found this article interesting. It discusses the potential impact the inevitable discovery of extra terrestrial life will have on mainstream religions. It's encouraging to me that this discovery could be the nail in the coffin I, we, are waiting for that could signal the demise of religions everywhere as they struggle to reconcile their terrestrial beliefs with the overwhelming evidence suggesting it's all a load of gobble.

I like your use of the word 'inevitable'. πŸ˜€

Though I think it's totally out of place - sorry. I'd say finding god's hiding place is just as 'inevitable' as finding ET. It ain't happening. Ever.

Billions of star systems exist and yeah, one or two may have 'Earth-like' planets like ours with conditions just right. What are the odds though of life spontaneously arising on one of these rare planets, though? I'd have to guess pretty remote but if you factor in time, the more time we allow, the more likely it'll likely happen, of course. But still, the chances are ridiculously slim.

Now, the Earth's 4.x billion years old approximately. Hominids have been around for a couple of million years or so (iirc). Modern man, a few thousand years. Technological man, 50-100 years?

Now the depressing bit:

I'm guessing we'll wipe ourselves out anywhere between the next hundred and the next couple of thousand years unless a really great world leader comes along and convinces us to REALLY save ourselves / flee the planet in big star ships carrying nuclear fuel. Etc. Etc.

So, in ALL ETERNITY, we'll only have a window of a few thousand years to find ET, at most, probably.

We were a miracle. We need ANOTHER miracle (existence of an intelligent ET). And both miracles need to happen simultaneously for us to find each other. By definition and design, we're intelligent. But I can't imagine meeting an ET dinosaur to be cerebrally stimulating for long unless they're able to communicate with us effectively. Can you? I'd rather look for needles in haystacks, if you get my drift.

Naturally, the odds get a little better if we just hope to find evidence of a past civilisation / our extinct civilisation to get found by a future non-terrestrial civilisation. Picking up their radio waves is maybe the most likely scenario (/ getting ours picked up)*. Still, crap odds though!

In space, no-one else uses twitter. Do they? πŸ™‚

*Edit - where the other intelligence may have long ago already gone extinct?



Zool
Neon
Posts: 17
Re: The consequences of ET for religion
on: November 28, 2014, 10:47

This thread's really got my interest piqued now! πŸ˜‰

So, I eventually checked your link...

The mad prof is affiliated to a bona fide US uni though it's hardly Ivy League. Al Gore is one of its alumini so draw your own conclusions there.

He does go on to shamelessly promote his book (warning sign?) and then proceeds to seem like he's taking the whole article seriously by even including references to some of the world's religions (he's that serious. I was hoping it was just tongue-in-cheek / quack material but I guess I'm wrong there).

So, I googled the odds.

Paddypower offer some crazy 'value' if you're a betting man. Here's their link: http://www.paddypower.com/bet/novelty-betting/novelty-bets/alien-existence

The professor's subject is astronomy, something I admit to knowing fairly little about by comparison. I do however have a degree in Zoology and evolutionary theory was my fave subject here. I just don't know his strength in that department. I'd expect to know a little more than him on this subject (though I could be wrong, of course).

Regard's Earth's ONE instance of 'intelligent life' developing in its history (from probably 50 million or so candidate animal species that have ever existed), I'd have to say your average life-supporting planet would never see intelligence. One out of 50 million, I repeat; I have to.

If dinosaurs hadn't gone extinct, I'm pretty sure mammalia wouldn't have radiated off in all the directions it did, leading to us (in particular). Therefore, we'd have had a MUCH longer wait for 'intelligence'.

Can an organism be intelligent without being human? Without being mammalian?

Parrots were never going to grasp pens, here, for example. Primates did (ie. us) but if it weren't for them / cheeky monkeys (at an outside bet), I'm pretty sure all roads would have led to nowhere.

So, humans? Where are WE really heading?

One poster mentions the possibility of alien life being "millions of years" more advanced? I can't buy that.

Can intelligence last a million years without the drastic measure of doing a battlestar galactica and speeding off in different directions so as not to have to EXTERMINATE the brethren???

We call it war. Then, there's pollution, bird flu, asteroids and the bubonic plague.

The flipside of this is clean fusion technology and warp drives straight out of Star Trek. And SCIENCE FICTION.

I know which I think is more likely.

Either way, should we meet ET and s/he be 'intelligent' and a little bit friendly also, I'm guessing we probably wouldn't have the same religions.

Still, it's just a little too off-the-wall for me, this one!

πŸ˜€



Zool
Neon
Posts: 17
Re: The consequences of ET for religion
on: November 28, 2014, 11:01

My final quick point I'd like to add involves technological advances:

Maybe we're not at the peak of industriousness, but I can't see us being far off. Can we go smaller than nano-technology? Atoms can only be split so many times, also. And I think the only thing that will ever travel at light speed is light itself.

Maybe we could converse using light from a great distance? I just doubt very much we'll ever chat with aliens over a nice cup of tea, for instance.

So, no, no and thrice no. Aliens probably don't exist (contemporaneously). We'll never meet them if they do / we wouldn't get any sense out of each other (them being less intelligent, if you ask me).

In my humble opinion.

πŸ™‚



MattR
Calcium
Posts: 156
Re: The consequences of ET for religion
on: November 30, 2014, 19:45

Quote from Zool on November 28, 2014, 11:01
Maybe we're not at the peak of industriousness, but I can't see us being far off. Can we go smaller than nano-technology? Atoms can only be split so many times, also. And I think the only thing that will ever travel at light speed is light itself.

Was it Rutherford a hundred or so years ago that advised a young man not to pursue a career in physics as virtually everything that could be discovered had been? And then Einstein came along, not to mention Niels Bohr, Erwin Schrodinger etc πŸ™‚

But no one is speaking (seriously) about faster than light travel. It will, of course, be radio communication, and a very stilted conversation at that. But, but... 200 billion stars in our galaxy. One hundred billion galaxies in the visible universe. That's a lot of zeroes. And where there is life (actually not even life is necessary) there is evolution. And where there is evolution, evolutionary niches will be filled. And one very obvious evolutionary niche is intelligence.

When I was at school, no one knew for sure whether others stars had planetary systems. Now data is coming in constantly showing that not only do most stars have solar systems, but that these frequently include planets that could be in the 'Goldilocks zone'. In other words, there are planets everywhere in the Universe that are suitable for supporting life.

The odds of intelligent life aren't anything like 50 million to one. They might be evens, they might be a googleplex to one, but data from the earth is irrelevant, except in one intruiging sense. We have only studied one planet that has conditions suitable to life and guess what? Intelligent life DID form.

Of course, intelligent life may tend to destroy itself in time, but I'd bet it isn't a forgone conclusion. So I reckon there are probably (well, that's my guess of the Drake Equation) millions of intelligent species in the history of the Universe. And I reckon many of them will have survived beyind their childhood and be around today. And therefore, any that we make contact with virtual certainly be millions of years ahead of us.

And, like I also said before πŸ™‚ they will NOT be religious. Would we expect ET to believe in Father Christmas and fairies?



Zool
Neon
Posts: 17
Re: The consequences of ET for religion
on: December 1, 2014, 10:26

Some interesting points there Matt though it seems we're at the opposite ends of the spectrum here and I'm pretty sure neither will budge no matter what 'evidence' is presented. Hardly a problem, of course. πŸ™‚

What I would like to mention though on this subject that fascinates me so much is how you wrote, "It would be a tragedy of infinite proportions if humanity is the best the Universe has to offer."

If it's just all the rape, murder, deceit, greed and warmongering characteristic of the human species, I'd have to say lots of animals display such 'unpleasant' traits. We're hardly unique here, even on Earth. Surely any other intelligent life form(s) would possess them in the same abundance as we do. I imagine natural selection forces could operate on a universal scale with any such hypothetical alien life 'red in tooth and claw' also. In fact, could anyone imagine it any other way?

To long for a better place sounds a little like something the nutters across the road from us would come out with, if you know what I mean! And that's probably the reason I'm so anti-ET! πŸ˜‰



MattR
Calcium
Posts: 156
Re: The consequences of ET for religion
on: December 1, 2014, 12:39

Ha ha! Fair point Zool. I was being a bit disinegenuous when I dissed humanity. And I'm sure you are right that evolution anywhere must involve murder etc on a vast scale (and any religious nutter that claims that proves something about Darwinists should engage their brains before their keyboards).

My real point was that in a visible Universe 558,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 miles across (I looked that up), it would be a bit disappointing if we were alone. To borrow from Sartre, it makes me a bit nauseous.

I think the quest for ET is in the best traditions of humanity's thirst for exploration. It feels more like a scientific endeavour to me than a religious one. However, I take your point. I get in trouble for apparently being too rational, but I've said elsewhere that everyone is capable of believing things despite lack of evidence πŸ™‚



Zool
Neon
Posts: 17
Re: The consequences of ET for religion
on: December 3, 2014, 18:21

Of course, I understand I could be accused of something similar: a belief that we are the only intelligent life-form around is quasi-religious too, I guess.

And don't get me wrong please, the search is more than justified imho as it captures our imaginations and no doubt leads to many other spin-off technologies that we'd probably have to rely on war for otherwise. Now, if we could just stockpile all our nukes on the moon... pointing AWAY from us...

πŸ™‚



AdamZain
Calcium
Posts: 206
Re: The consequences of ET for religion
on: December 4, 2014, 00:51

I agree with others here who have pointed out why it is highly unlikely we will ever meet any intelligent aliens. This is probably a very good thing. Given that hardly anyone on earth is a vegan, and that we (most of us) consider it morally OK to exploit other species - that we perceive to be lesser in technological intelligence, then it follows that if some advanced alien race were to land here, they would not only be likely to use us for meat, experimentation, entertainment or slave labour, but they would also be morally justified in doing so, according to our own standards.

We don't even assign rights to our very closest genetic relations - the great apes, which have been virtually wiped out in their own territories, not to mention used in labs, circuses and as meat. The situation for the pig - another close relative - is even worse. It follows that if a species appears that is superior to us in intelligence to a similar degree as we are in comparison to, say an ape or a pig or cow, then we can expect a very unpleasant time indeed.

In considering that possibility, the only thing we can do is to hope that our own 'enlightened' morality regarding other species is profoundly wrong - and is not shared by intelligent aliens. But if we're hoping it's wrong, then why do we subscribe to it?



MattR
Calcium
Posts: 156
Re: The consequences of ET for religion
on: December 4, 2014, 09:57

Hmm, good point Adam. I've long felt that I should be a vegetarian (not sure about vegan), but I'm reconciled to the morally deficient position that I'm going to continue eating meat... at least for now. Given this, it would be impossible for me to object if an alien wanted to eat me.

Fortunately (for me) that isn't likely to happen for at least two reasons. Firstly, nobody seriously expects aliens to land here. Contact will almost certainly be limited to very, very, very.... VERY slow chats by radio. Secondly, since they will almost certainly be massively more advanced than us, I think its reasonable to assume the aliens won't be meat eaters. For the same reason, I doubt they'd find any use for me as entertainment, labour or experimentation. Anyway, that's what I hope.

But imagine if we do receive that initial radio packet and the first image we see is a drooling creature, sharpening its hi-tech alien knife!

But anyway, while I agree earthlings are unlikely to meet intelligent aliens in the next, say, billions years, I do find the thought that we are alone very strange. 200 billion stars in our miniscule corner of the Universe, an omnipresent soup of chemicals that we know with absolute certainty CAN lead to life, countless planets that have existed for billions of years, and the life proliferating super-charged engine of Darwinian evolution... If we truly are alone, then I can't think of a better reason for believing in God πŸ™‚



Zool
Neon
Posts: 17
Re: The consequences of ET for religion
on: December 6, 2014, 00:51

Hmmm... This thread just keeps on giving! πŸ˜€

Aliens - animal, plant or something totally different?

Multicellular bacteria??? Don't know if you guys know much about cellular biology but on the off-chance you don't, I'd like to give you a crash course ( πŸ˜‰ ) to present a point that I think is relevant here. Please excuse me if you're already familiar with most / all of what follows though...

Cells contain a 'soup' - cytoplasm. In the cytoplasm, there are various structures - organelles - that perform key roles in allowing the cell to live. You have in this world two types of cell, prokaryotic (bacteria and their ilk, real basic stuff) and eukaryotic (complex life forms).

Now, in complex life you have 2 organelles that could be of great interest here: chloroplasts (used by plants to convert light, carbon dioxide and water into sugar and oxygen) and mitochondria (used by ALL complex life to burn sugar to produce energy).

The incredible thing about these two organelles is how they came to be present in eukaryotic cells but not in prokaryotic cells. Last I heard on the subject (20+ years ago), the most popular theory on the evolution of these organelles involved them both starting out as bacteria that were at some point engulfed by other bacteria-like cells (/ bacteria) and, with time / generations, incorporated into them.

This enabled eukaryotic cells to further evolve and evolve quite spectacularly into most of the life forms visible to the naked eye.

Life also went from unicellular to multicellular (but I'm pretty sure some prokaryotes managed to achieve this also, so we won't go there, I think...)

Now the point of all this:

Can complex life (ie. 'intelligent life' that could feasibly exist extra-terrestrially) arise without mitochondria? 'Mitochondria' that came from somewhere other than bacteria? These questions make me want to bang my head against the nearest wall. πŸ™‚

The ultimate point:

Everyone is familiar with plants, animals, fungi and bacteria (we won't go near viruses as they're pretty alien themselves!!!). But then there are others (if I recall correctly) that have been reclassified over the years including protista and protozoa (again, iirc).

So, if there are aliens and on the off-chance they're lightyears ahead of us in every sense of the word, could they be something other than animal that maybe would make them totally benign like plants (other than the relatively few carnivorous ones of course) or relatively benign like fungi.

There could be symbiosis (different life forms living together as one to their mutual benefit, to the point where the division lines get very blurred indeed) too.

Can a non-terrestrial plant-like life-form have a brain??? Maybe, I'd say (hypothetically).

We know there's at least one route to intelligence, the path unicellular organisms followed all the way to us. But there could be so many worlds teaming with life so basic that only a microbiologist could find anything of interest to play with. And I do worry that's a circular argument (first sentence, this paragraph).

In these worlds, in no way could we take the evolution of intelligence for granted. I reckon. And I do think that some form of carnivorous lifestyle would be a pre-requisite. But no way can i be certain.

Sorry for all the long reads πŸ˜‰ I was going to discuss dentition and diet regards vegetarianism in particular but I'll save that for another forum maybe? πŸ˜‰



Zool
Neon
Posts: 17
Re: The consequences of ET for religion
on: December 6, 2014, 01:13

An interesting spin-off question just occurred to me:

Can you believe in really, really smart aliens* and 'god created US in his own image'?

I'd have to say the two are mutually exclusive. Naturally, I believe in neither so should sleep easily when I put my head down in a mo or two.

πŸ™‚

*Ie. smarter than us



Zool
Neon
Posts: 17
Re: The consequences of ET for religion
on: December 6, 2014, 01:28

A quick point on superior intelligence and diet:

I've met some extremely intelligent vegetarians / vegans in my time but their diet is so darned restrictive imho. I mean, I can eat anything they can eat AND EVERYTHING ELSE.

Nowadays, I can even download a myriad recipes using google. It's so exciting.

Can we really expect / hope more intelligent life-forms to not be interested in tasting us to see if our flavours agree with them or not? Also, whilst space is big and human forms of travel quite limited in comparison, can we really expect / assume / believe that more advanced life will never be able to reach us (particularly if we're prepared to consider the relatively remote chance of such life existing in the first place)? I'm not so sure.



AdamZain
Calcium
Posts: 206
Re: The consequences of ET for religion
on: December 6, 2014, 03:24

In answer to zool: first, on the vegetarian question, as far as being restrictive, I expect it would be possible to eat a different vegetarian meal everyday for one's entire life, without going near meat. Not sure how much variety you need. Also, how come, with all this amazing extra variety that meat affords, that nearly every B&B in the country serves the same effing breakfast; not to mention that when Brits go to Spain, they ask for egg and chips or steak. People who bang on about meat tend, in my experience, to have ludicrously unadventurous diets.

Second point - yes on the likelihood of alien life being mostly titchy little things that buzz around in soup and need a microscope to spot. We how have 5 Kingdoms here, some say we have 8: when I was doing A'levels we only had two. In the intervening years, we've discovered that macro organisms like ourselves are not really where it's at.

I do believe, though, that macro organisms would probably evolve in time and that carnivorous ones would be almost inevitable - much easier to ingest another organism than it is to grow everything from scratch - that's a simplification of course, but it certainly represents a niche that's worth following.

The big question is whether it is possible to be moral if you are killing others in order to live, and also what we define as criteria for avoiding killing something. Although, when it comes to aliens, this is not the sole - even the main issue. We kill plenty of other species that we have no food interest in, merely by removing the land they need for survival. If an alien race of vegetarians turns up, and if they share our morality in other respects, then they will take the land from us to grow their own crops, and will probably cull us as pests when we sneak back onto it to gather food. A few of us might survive in tiny special nature reserves - a couple of thousand should be sufficient, then the aliens won't have an extinction on their conscience.

Agree though that it probably won't happen. Most aliens, unlike the cows that Father Dougal sees, are both small and far away. I doubt we'll ever even detect them; in fact, I doubt we'll survive technologically, long enough to ever be detected by them.



Zool
Neon
Posts: 17
Re: The consequences of ET for religion
on: December 6, 2014, 10:47

Your first paragraph made me laugh out loud there, Adam! Sounded like you've got a lard-fried chip on yer shoulder, if you don't mind me saying! πŸ˜‰

I'm a little poor right now, so what I do is go look for reduced-to-clear food at Morrissons every other day. You should see the variety I get through and I'm always sure to pick up veggie meals that look good (kind of out of spite if you like πŸ˜‰ ).

Of course, a veggie with broad tastes, money and time can savour different meals all the time, but
an omnivore - all other things being equal - can eat so much more. We all have our favourites and the need for variety can go out of the window at times. I'd kill for a bacon and egg buttie right now but the same applies to vegetarians. One of my numerous sisters happens to be vegetarian. Other than water (doesn't contain nutrients anyway), I think her diet is made up of baked beans, cheese, tomato, onion (she likes simple pizzas) and potatoes (chipped / baked). I can't recall the poor lady ever eating anything else really. Oh yeah, I forgot alcohol and diet curke. And buttered white bread.

Therefore, I think unimaginative b&b breakfasts reflect just as much on a) the limited imaginations of the management and b) how it might take a while for your brain to CARE about variety so soon after waking up. I could be wrong of course - I often am. πŸ™‚

On the subject of morality, Adam, that's just an invention of man (kind of like god). What's wrong with a world teeming with amoral critters? I think with social animals, certain behaviours become more and more unacceptable which in drastic cases can lead to non-conforming individuals being killed / exiled. Human morals were a natural progression and we got a little carried away with things when the rule of law came about. Now you have things illegal that many would argue are hardly immoral. God or no god.

πŸ™‚



AdamZain
Calcium
Posts: 206
Re: The consequences of ET for religion
on: December 6, 2014, 21:46

As far as poverty goes: reduced-to-clear food at Morrisons? Luxury! I dream o' t' reduced meals at Morrisons. We currently pretty much depend on the coop's reduced department. If we have a Christmas tree this year, we will be forced to eat it afterwards to get through January - probably blend it for soup.

Anyway I've no chip on my shoulder re. breakfasts - just an observation on the nation's eating habits re. variety. Also, veg is cheaper than meat; you can buy more veg for your money therefore more different types, therefore many more permutations and combinations available, so more variety for those of limited means. We eat a lot more veg now that we're broke than we did before.

Re. morality: that fact that morality is invented by humans - or more precisely derived from a basic desire to restrict suffering in ourselves and others - does not reduce its importance. Rather the opposite. It is the human ability to understand or imagine suffering in others, combined with the intellectual capacity consider its effects, that enables us to make moral judgements. Morality is not just some randomly invented habit we have, based on our feelings - it is a logically derived set of principles based upon our understanding of the nature of feeling, and our own experience of what pain, suffering, grief, happiness etc. actually feel like to us. A mistake that relativists and probably post modernists make is to confuse the two. Morality is real, and we have invented - or at least codified it (if that's the right word). That should give us a sense of satisfaction, not amoral nihilism. Morality is real and valuable.

As to the question of what is wrong with a world teeming with amoral critters - such a world will also be teeming with suffering and pain. A benevolent designer would not have designed our world, for that reason. And it's something we can only fix with regard to our own behaviour. As a zoologist, you'll know the problems you get when you remove predators from a system - overpopulation of the prey species, massive increase in intraspecific competition and consequent starvation and potential degradation of the local environment, due to increased herbivore activity. Total suffering probably goes up if you prevent predators from killing their prey. Humans are in a different position; we've stepped outside normal predator-prey population dynamics, courtesy of our technological advancement and the consequent ability to colonise most parts of the world, and to exploit even those parts we do not colonise. As a result, we have to think through what we do and how we do it, both to avoid disaster for ourselves, and to have some consistency with the moral principles we have generally agreed on (but also generally ignore when we make decisions en masse).



MattR
Calcium
Posts: 156
Re: The consequences of ET for religion
on: December 8, 2014, 08:59

Quote from Zool on December 6, 2014, 00:51
...present a point that I think is relevant here...

...The incredible thing about these two organelles is how they came to be present in eukaryotic cells but not in prokaryotic cells...

...Can complex life (ie. 'intelligent life' that could feasibly exist extra-terrestrially) arise without mitochondria?...

...We know there's at least one route to intelligence, the path unicellular organisms followed all the way to us. But there could be so many worlds teaming with life so basic that only a microbiologist could find anything of interest to play with...

...In these worlds, in no way could we take the evolution of intelligence for granted. I reckon...

Sorry if I've missed the point Zool, but if you are making an argument for the unlikelihood of intelligence arising, isn't the argument from mitochondria just a particular example of the overall argument about the difficulty of getting from 'primordial soup' to Mastermind? I'm sure the chances of complex and multicellular life forming are astronomically remote. So it's a good thing (IMO) that we have astronomically+ large numbers when it comes to the space and time available. I still think it would be mighty peculiar if we were alone in such a vast spacetime.

Regarding the fact that mitochondria don't appear in all (or more) cell types on Earth, I'm not sure this is significant. Do we know it would confer an evolutionary advantage on all cells? Wouldn't there be cells that got on perfectly well without mitochondria? Maybe the mitochondrial trick happened many times and continues to happen, but those cells don't thrive either because it isn't beneficial to them or they get out-competed by the things that became the animal life we now see.



MattR
Calcium
Posts: 156
Re: The consequences of ET for religion
on: December 8, 2014, 09:02

As an aside, my expectation of us discovering alien intelligence doesn't necessarily mean we will be co-habiting the Universe. That radio signal we inevitably πŸ™‚ pick up may well come from a race that has long been dead, given the length of time it may have taken for the signal to reach our solar system. In fact we probably won't know whether the sender is still around or not, so our response will have a particular melancholy attached to it. Aside from the fact that it couldn't be received for a very long time, we won't know whether there is still anyone there to hear it.

Pages: 1
Mingle Forum by cartpauj | ElegantPress by Theme4Press and SOFTthemes | Sponsored by Sasina Therapy
Version: 1.0.34 ; Page loaded in: 0.083 seconds.