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Rational Spiders

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  1. 1. Do you think extraterrestrials exist?

    • Yes, I've been abducted.
    • Yes, I've made contact with them.
      0
    • Yes, I've seen them.
    • Yes, I've found evidence of their existence.
    • No, I have no evidence supporting their existence.


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Drawing inspiration from page 73 of Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, would rational Martian spiders be held accountable to the same standard of justice that humans are held to?

For example, if they crash-landed into my house and proved to be rational, could I sue them for the damages? (I'm sure we could negotiate some sort of payment other than US Dollars).

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Does mathematical probability suggesting other planets with life count as evidence?

I don't have any direct evidence that there have been aliens to earth for instance, but I still hold the completely rational belief that for how large our universe is it would be astounding if there wasn't other life.

Mathematical probability is valid. So in what way did you use it to come to that conclusion?

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Drawing inspiration from page 73 of Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, would rational Martian spiders be held accountable to the same standard of justice that humans are held to?

For example, if they crash-landed into my house and proved to be rational, could I sue them for the damages? (I'm sure we could negotiate some sort of payment other than US Dollars).

This is a question about legal systems. The same question could be asked of a Frenchman, or a Somali warlord.

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Mathematical probability is valid. So in what way did you use it to come to that conclusion?

Strict logic may define it as arbitrary (I dont know), but check the Drake equation. In our current context of knowledge, and dismissing mystical fantasy, it appears extremely unlikely that we could possibly be alone in the universe.

However, alien visitation to earth can properly be written off as arbitrary fantasy without evidence. (for which there is none, to my knowledge)

Edited by JayR
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I'm still not sure if it is proper to mark the yes I have evidence of them box.

Why not.... YOU are evidence! We are on a planet in space. There is nothing mystical about Earth. I agree that we don't have enough evidence to know for sure, but it is not arbitrary to hypothosise that there is another ball out there among the zillions similar ours.

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There our hundreds of billions of stars in a single galaxy and hundreds of billions of galaxies. Every star has the potential to have planets - and thanks to telescopic advances astronomers have started identifying planets - hundreds so far - and yet it's so hard to see those planets that the planets identified are almost all giants - planets the size of Jupiter or Saturn or Uranus or Neptune - planets that the Earth would fit inside of several times over. And yet out of only a few Hundred planets discovered so far, they've already found one that has the *potential* of being habitable to humans.

http://io9.com/#!5651589/astronomers-have-discovered-a-habitable-planet-20-light-years-away

Billions of billions of billions of planets in the universe, and in the first few hundred we find another capable of sustaining our form of life - and who knows what other forms of life may exist.

Is this evidence that extraterrestrials exist? No. But it certainly suggests (not proves, merely suggests) that Earth is not nearly as "unique" as many people would like to believe.

Sadly - none of the poll answers provided fit my thoughts - so no answer given there.

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Of course there is also a massive difference between "habitable" worlds and worlds which actually have life on them. It would seem that life was almost bound to arise on Earth eventually, however we cannot be certain that this is quite so true on other "habitable" worlds, though it would seem quite probable given sufficient time given that some of the components of the organic molecules which evolved into life here on Earth seem to be able to exist practically everywhere.

Mathematical probability does not count as evidence. Evidence is all about proof while probability is a statement that under certain conditions, X will happen a certain proportion of the time. This is clearly not evidence for anything and the fact that one might estimate that there is certain chance of X happening does not count either.

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Of course - I did not suggest that probability equals proof. However, probability *does* constitute support - for as long as it remains possible to occur (when probability is greater than zero) it cannot be said that the possible is not true, nor that it is. To conclude either way would be arbitrary.

But - since life has arisen on one planet that we know of - I consider it perfectly *likely* to have arisen on another - and indeed on many others.

The real question isn't to me whether there is other life out there - but how old it is and whether it exists on planets capable of sustaining technological advances. A highly lively but completely wet planet is highly unlikely to ever develop technology, for instance.

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The sense I've gotten from the popularized science is that single celled life is expected to occur quickly and inevitably (apparently life showed up here something like 3.5 billion years ago, or less than 1.1 billion years after the earth first formed), and can survive in a broad range of conditions (look into "extremophiles"). (I am not sure whether it can originate in such a broad range of conditions; but once originated it can live in some bizarre habitats.) The truly difficult step might be multicellular life, and it appears that multicellular life is only possible here to eukaryotes--cells with a defined nucleus and mitochondria. Now it turns out that mitochondria are really other cells existing within the eukaryotic cell in a sort of symbiotic relationship. They have their own DNA. Mitochondria as part of our cells probably developed via some fortuitous, and by no means sure-to-happen, occurrence and we have no idea how likely it (or something equivalent that would allow for multicellular life) is that it would happen on other worlds. One thing arguing for likelihood is that apparently the same thing happened with plants to create the chloroplasts (so plant cells have two different kinds of symbiotic cells within them), so it has happened twice here. That could mean it's likely to happen elsewhere, or that that first eukaryotic cell had a specific genetic makeup allowing it to live with other cells within it--and maybe that particular gene is unlikely to turn up and we just got lucky here.

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Forgot to mention that if they ever detect oxygen in a planet's atmosphere, that's an almost sure sign of life, as it would indicate the presence of photosynthesis. (The reverse is not true--if a planet has no oxygen it does not mean there is no life. Earth had very little oxygen in its atmosphere until sometime between 1.6 and 2.5 billion years ago, when photosynthetic bacteria evolved (some of these more than likely became chloroplast symbiotes). Most of the bacteria living up to that point could not tolerate free oxygen in the atmosphere and were killed by this "pollution". Those that could use the oxygen ended up with very efficient metabolisms, with far more energy than those other bacteria.

Any real biologist out there please feel free to correct anything I botched.

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There are hundreds of billions of planets; if the average chance of life developing on a planet is as small as one in ten billion we would still expect multiple planets with life.

Mathematical probability is a method of figuring out probabilities based on evidence. You didn't use it to figure out that the chance of life developing on a planed is one in ten billion, you just asserted that it is.

Where did you get that number?

Why not.... YOU are evidence! We are on a planet in space. There is nothing mystical about Earth. I agree that we don't have enough evidence to know for sure, but it is not arbitrary to hypothosise that there is another ball out there among the zillions similar ours.

It's also not wrong to hypothesize that life is a unique phenomenon. "There is nothing mystical about Earth" is not an argument against that hypothesis.

If we were to find a second source for life, independent of Earth, then that would be grounds to dismiss my hypothesis, and we'd be left with yours. Until then, both are valid.

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If we were to find a second source for life, independent of Earth, then that would be grounds to dismiss my hypothesis, and we'd be left with yours. Until then, both are valid.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/6660045/Bacteria-from-Mars-found-inside-ancient-meteorite.html

How do you rate this?

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Of course - I did not suggest that probability equals proof. However, probability *does* constitute support - for as long as it remains possible to occur (when probability is greater than zero) it cannot be said that the possible is not true, nor that it is. To conclude either way would be arbitrary.

But - since life has arisen on one planet that we know of - I consider it perfectly *likely* to have arisen on another - and indeed on many others.

The real question isn't to me whether there is other life out there - but how old it is and whether it exists on planets capable of sustaining technological advances. A highly lively but completely wet planet is highly unlikely to ever develop technology, for instance.

No, no you are not the one I was replying to when I said that probability equals proof , it was somebody else expressing this view. I however probably did fail to make this clear.

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The sense I've gotten from the popularized science is that single celled life is expected to occur quickly and inevitably...They have their own DNA....and maybe that particular gene is unlikely to turn up and we just got lucky here.

Very interesting information on the uniqueness of life. If other planets are able to support the birth of life they may contain much different forms than are found on Earth.

A blast strong enough to propel a rock from Mars to the Earth would most certainly have turned the rock to a semi-liquid molten state. How any life form could survive that is beyond me. If that can be proven, I'll be less skeptical.

Back to the original question however, which only the second poster felt was more relevant than there own personal conversational desires, can any rational non-human be tried in an existing judicial system or would a new judicial system need to be created?

Maybe one of the abductees would like to weigh in with their first-hand experience.

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That is an interesting assertion which I trust you are able to prove with actual physics?

No, I'm no physicist. I'm merely speculating.

In other news, how has no one made a Spider Man joke yet? Along the same lines, does anyone remember anything from the X-Men movies that could help answer my question? I seem to remember the mutants being ostracized from society but I'm not sure if that was legal action or just a bunch of angry people.

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That meteorite contains strong evidence of bacterial life on Mars 3.6 billion years ago. It's not proof though.

The other problem is that actual living bacteria could've taken the same route to Earth, 3.7 million years ago, that those fossils took just recently. That is a very plausible scenario (because of how recently this meteorite came to Earth, we can conclude that these events are frequent), and it means we still don't have two sources for life, just one: Mars.

To dismiss the hypothesis that life is not unique, we need proof. Only then can we safely assume that life is abundant in the Universe.

As for intelligent life, I think many generations will pass before humanity comes close to determining whether it's unique to Earth or not. Europa and Enceladus seem to have hidden oceans, but aside from those two unknowns we can safely state that there's no other complex, let alone intelligent, life in the solar system.

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