Re: Wot, no Data?
The Doctor deserves to be in there too. Okay, he's a photonic, not an android, but he's still AI...
6034 posts • joined 31 May 2010
The Doctor deserves to be in there too. Okay, he's a photonic, not an android, but he's still AI...
"Having said this, I'd be REALLY interested in your ideas for a hypotheseis to test how a caterpillar could evolve the DNA necessary to turn into a butterfly, through small mutations and natural selection. A lot of what purports to be science is really just 'faith' based guesswork, and would be called such if it were not for the big names spouting it."
Here is a great place to start: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/insect-metamorphosis-evolution/
Short answer: we don't have all the pieces of that puzzle yet. That doesn't mean we won't get there. It just means you are pointing to a current area in which our knowledge is incomplete and saying "hah, god must exist, because you don't understand this fully!"
There's nothing rational about that. If I pour a half-filled wide-brimmed cup of water into a tall, short-brimmed cup and it fills the cup, a young enough child will think it magic. They don't understand the conservation of volume.
I could tell the child that it is god that does this, and that he should accept that it is god because he doesn't understand how it is possible for such a thing to occur.
Alternately, I could set up some experiments by which the child could play with moving a volume of liquid around different containers for himself and allow him to understand the concept of conservation of volume through experimentation.
In the first instance, the child's understanding stops at the moment faith is injected. God is the answer and thus no further questioning is required. In the second instance, the child learns something about the world, god is not required and the child is one step closer to being able to formulate his own questions, craft his own hypotheses and experimentally test to see what may or may not be the reason behind something.
"What force started the big bang?"
Ultimately, we don't know. String theory has some neat ideas, but they are as yet something we cannot prove. Why should I believe this "proves" god, rather than is simply evidence of a gap in our knowledge?
Where is the evidence that a gap in our understanding of the universe means god exists?
"How did chemicals gather to create life?"
Interesting you should ask. Please read all my other posts in this particular comment section for the answers. I've covered it many times. There are also links to lab-created artificial metabolisms. To be perfectly honest, I am absolutely convinced that - given the progress we've made thus far - we will have recreated the early mechanisms for life creation and created fully artificial life in the lab within my lifetime. This is no longer a question of "if", but of "when".
"How did a single cell organism become a multi-cell organism?"
You can start here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multicellular_organism#Evolutionary_history
But I'll do you a favor and summarize it for you. The long story short is that single-celled organisms have a long history of living together, frequently in what are typically referred to as "mats". The short version is that "mats" of single-celled organisms are far more efficient at using their environmental resources - and responding to dangerous events, like toxins - than cells are on their own.
Bacteria also evolved the ability to exchange DNA long before multicellularity evolved. In large part, this was an evolutionary adaptation to cope with viruses. They also evolved the ability to create bacteriophages: essentially viruses that seek out and destroy bacteria that the originating bacterium doesn't like.
Over time, cells accumulated enough DNA from their "chosen" companions that they could theoretically perform the functions of any of a number of different types of cell. This doesn't mean they would, but merely that their DNA contained the information.
Eventually, a freak of evolution occurred: cells gained the ability to alter their functionality based on environmental/epigenetic factors. A cell in the middle of the mat would perform one set of functions. A cell on the outside would perform another.
Once cells had reached this point, they had no need of other species. So, to put it midly, they killed them off. Life is about the propagation of your own genetics, after all.
One cell, with one set of DNA could perform multiple functions in the mat. It could reproduce it's own lineage and that lineage could do everything required to take advantage of the environment. It didn't need to devote any resources to helping another species - or another individual - survive.
Some time after this, these single-species mats began rapid specialization, and things like "an outer protective layer that encloses all of the organism's cells" were developed. This helped separate the organism from it's environment more completely, and helped prevent other organisms from invading the mat and stealing resources. Thus a multicellular organism is born.
I am aware of at least 15 different instances in our evolutionary record in which multicellular life evolved independently. There are probably more.
"What is the origin of Sexual reproduction?"
Well that is an operation in semantics. Do you mean the evolution of modern genetalia? There's a fish responsible for that one; in fact, it's genital claspers eventually evolved into our legs.
Do you mean simply the combination of two gametes to form an offspring? That's more complicated. I'm a little rusty, but here's my understanding:
Sexual reproduction had to have evolved at least 1.2 billion years ago. All sexually reproducing creatures share a common ancestor, and that ancestor developed sexual reproduction before it developed multicellularity.
The theory goes that while other groups of single-celled organisms were developing into bacterial mats - and eventually multicellular (typically multicellular + symbiont) life - our ancestor solved the same set of evolutionary circumstances in a completely novel way.
Instead of inducing horizontal gene transfer with another bacterial species, it "unzipped" it's DNA during mitosis, and didn't "zip" it back together. That's one hell of a mutation: it basically turned DNA back into RNA!
Now, single stranded DNA is highly unstable. It's not remotely as conducive to life as double-stranded DNA. It is, however, possible for cells to live - and eventually to divide - using RNA instead of DNA. The mitochondria is a great example of a cell that did this (before it invaded us!)
But DNA is better. Eventually, two of those RNA-only cells recombined and merged their genetic structures. The result was a randomization of genetics, or...sex.
So this strand of life solved the need to rapidly respond to environmental changes by evolving the ability to unzip itself, split in two, then re-merge, randomizing genetics. We have no hard data on how long that went on before it also underwent the evolution to multicellularity, but it was probably quite a while.
The long story short is that when multicellular organisms arose from that particular branch of "unzipping" single-celled organisms, they took with them the concept of sex. It was rather a long time before that evolved into what we think of as genitalia, but the progression was fairly straightforward.
"You say: What's more, why you[r] god, and not someone else's? Why your interpretation of how god works, and not mine? Why one god and not many?" Again, that's a theological question, not a scientific one. I have many reasons why I am trusting in God, I'm happy to elaborate based on logic and my experiences to anyone who wants to hear."
No, it's a scientific question. Science needs to know what it's testing for if it is to look for it. You don't just say "I am looking for a new particle". You do the legwork to figure out what the particle should look like, it's mass, behaviour, composition and decay vectors. Then you have something to look for and go look for it.
There are many different gods described. They're all different. Evidence to support their existence would therefor reasonably be different. Don't dodge the question just because it's uncomfortable, or try to make this about "science versus god" when you aren't presenting scientific evidence for both the existence of your deity and why your deity is the "correct" one.
Facts, not faith.
"When you say there is "no evidence" for a god (creator) that is absurd. All the evidence is open to interpretation."
No, evidence isn't open to interpretation. If there are multiple possible hypotheses that evidence could support, then you create new experiments at you attempt to eliminate possibilities. You don't resort to faith.
"What hypothesis have you applied to your "Gaia" type philosophy? Eh?"
Absolutely none. Which is why I hold it up as a possibility that requires a proper testable hypothesis, experimental design, and then evidence before it could be accepted. It isn't a faith. Or a belief. It is a possibility. One that I arrived at by examining the complex interactions of neurons, and the emergent properties of conscious that are given rise by those interactions.
The question that emerged from that study was "could there be other complex interactions which give rise to similar emergent properties that would be reasonably termed consciousness." The followup was "at what scale could these interactions exist that would cause that." The next question was "would time be a factor? Human consciousness is given rise by sub-second electrochemical interactions...would a "larger" interactive system be capable of a form of emergent consciousness operating at geologic timescales?"
None of that is requires faith. I have questions derived from experimental observation. I am hoping to one day create a testable hypothesis. Until that point, I maintain that there exists the possibility of a "Gaia"-type meta-consciousness. Because I have before me at least the rudiments of a hypothesis that explains how that consciousness might exist. I am driven towards these questions - and the possibilities inherent in them - through evidence.
If it turns out that I am wrong, my views on the world, my ego and my understanding of the universe are not altered. There was no faith involved, and no personal commitment to the idea.
"BTW, why is it that you guys, whenever there are two POSSIBLE explanations for a phenomenon, (a) naturalistic and (b) "God did it", why assume always that the naturalistic answer is the correct one? "
A) "You guys"? Lumping people who disagree with you together much?
B) I assume that the universe arose without a creator because currently we have no need of a creator to explain the universe. There is no need of a creator to explain life, evolution, stellar formation...any of it. It's called Occam's razor. Given a set of diverse possible explanations for an event, the simplest one tends to be true.
I don't believe in a creator because I have yet to encounter something for which a creator is necessary.
I also don't believe in a creator because every single time that someone has pointed to a gap in our scientific knowledge and said "aha! You can't explain that, thus god" we ended up explaining it. Sometimes hundreds of years later, but we got there.
So: given the evidence why would I assume a creator? It's the least likely of the available possibilities. What's far more likely is that our understanding of the universe, as individuals and as a species, is simply incomplete.
"Is that not your BIAS? Of course you BELIEVE there is NO evidence for a god, so therefore the answer HAS to be naturalistic."
That fact that you might, for example, look at the structure of an eye and believe that it has to be evidence of intelligent design doesn't make it so. You are simply choosing to confirm your own faith by ceasing to investigate. I, and people like me, choose instead to continue to investigate.
Lo and behold, testable hypotheses for the evolution of the eye emerged.
Now, Jesus-botherers proclaimed the complexity of the eye to be conclusive evidence of their god. Scientists continued to investigate and found that there was no need for a god to exist in order for the eye to arise. So please, tell me why any other thing, ever, should be a point in my understanding of the universe in which I simply choose to stop learning and start believing?
Faith doesn't have a good track record of being right about anything.
"Trevor, you say: "I do not exclude the possibility that there may be a creator." But in reality you do. You are only saying this in the hope you appear thoughtful and reasonable. Be honest with yourself."
No, I don't have a problem with the possibility of a creator...if and when evidence emerges that one is required. A gap in our knowledge is not evidence that a god exists. "God did it" is not the default answer to everything.
I accept that there could be a creator that created the superstrings which then extruded our universe. Maybe branes were the work of a creator. But the possibility that one might exist doesn't mean one does, that I should believe one does, and certainly not that I should ascribe mere gaps in understanding to the work of a mysterious creator.
For me to believe in god there needs to be actual evidence both of a requirement for god in order for our universe to function and that there is such a thing as a god, and that they created and/or direct all things.
Until then, god doesn't exist. The afterlife doesn't exist. There's no evidence of it. There's no need for it.
What is, however, likely is that religion evolved out of a combination of a need of individuals to believe there was something beyond death and enterprising sociopaths seeing that there is a vector to controlling large groups of people by manipulating both a fear of death and controlling the cultural moores that govern the right/method/individuals with whom people may reproduce.
So I ask myself what's more likely:
1) There is a creator of all things for whom there is no evidence and no scientific requirement, but somehow certain people "chosen" over time have been told by this creator what is truth and what is not, and we should do what they say.
2) Some folks figure out how to manipulate others en masse, wrote (or had written) the basis of their social control and then viciously went after anyone who threatened their power.
I have zero evidence to support 1). I have lots of evidence to support 2).
Scientology is a great example of a modern religion having been created, with all the same keystones as, for example, the Abrahamic religions (like Christianity, Judaism, etc). Why should I believe 1) instead of 2) when there are multiple documented examples of 2)?
What evidence is there for god, beyond pathetic attempts to point to gaps in scientific knowledge and claim god should be the default answer? The scribblings of a sociopath or desert madman? Why are they more valid than the scribblings of anyone else? Or the actual evidence science has gathered?
I can accept that a creator of some variety may exist, even thought there is no evidence for one. I am open to that possibility.
I can, however, say with near absolute certainty that your particular god doesn't. You worship the rules of a man set forth to control other men and earnestly believe it describes all that is in the universe.
I, on the other hand, question everything. Evidence put forth by a man can be compelling, and better inform future questions, but they are only actually relevant as answers if they can be experimentally verified.
That's the difference between science and faith.
Mars and Venus are Earth like. For all the very many reasons I've stated. Sadly, Venus likely doesn't have any life currently. (Which is not to say it never did.) Mars may have some life, it almost certainly did in the past.
The fact that you mistakenly believe that for life to arise everything must occur exactly as it did on Earth is not my problem. There is no rational basis for your belief. It doesn't agree with basic chemistry or with distribution statistics.
You espouse nothing more than faith - and a "god of the gaps" argument which boils down to "anything we haven't directly observed yet can't exist/means we're special/god did it" sytle bullshit - and demand it be accepted as fact.
I espouse an examination of the totality of our scientific knowledge to draw reasonable inferences from the data.
1) The basic chemistry that gave rise to life is fairly simple.
2) Lab reproductions of artificial metabolism indicate that there could actually be quite a variation in the conditions required for life to start.
3) Life didn't start on an Earth that looks anything like it does now.
4) The geochemical conditions of a primitive Earth can occur in a broad range of planet sizes and in a fairly wide-banded habitable zone.
5) Planets are the rule, not the exception
6) There are trillions of stars which could give rise to planets with relevant geochemistry.
7) "Comet catcher" planets like Jupiter are everywhere.
8) There is no actual evidence a large moon is required for life to start, and the hypothesis behind that bit of unique-earther "wisdom" is shaky, at best.
I could go on and on.
Short version: the only thing even remotely interesting about Earth is that it happens to currently be the only place where we know of life existing in large enough quantities to have altered the environment of the planet. Otherwise, there is absolutely nothing remarkable about this dump at all.
Earth is as "special" as you, personally are. I.E: not at all. One amongst many. Interchangeable. Disposable. Irrelevant.
Arguing that is must be special based on nothing more than that we haven't yet detected something identical is no different than arguing god must exist because science cannot yet explain everything. It's the "god of the gaps" argument and it proceeds from nothing more than vanity and fear of mortality. You aren't important and when you die, you decompose. That's it.
Get the fuck over it.
Statistically, there will be other planets out there which support life. We have no evidence, and not even any promising hypotheses to explain why life would be so rare and difficult to form that it wouldn't form wherever the basic conditions for it were met. We have no evidence, and not even any promising hypotheses that demonstrate why the basic conditions for life would be rare...let alone restricted to this one planet.
On the contrary, all our evidence - and the majority of our scientific hypotheses - point to the fact that life is hardy, adaptable, can arise in a range of conditions, and that those conditions are likely to be widespread throughout the universe.
Now, the conditions for advanced (read:multicellular) life to develop, thrive, and last more than a few billion years...
...that's another story entirely. But even then, there is absolutely zero rational reason to assume that those conditions only exist here.
Nothing except one individual's overwhelming desire to believe they're relevant. They're not.
I exclude the possibility of a god for very simple reasons:
1) Multiple testable hypothesis to prove the existence of said god have been advanced, none of them have returned evidence.
2) No evidence for god has ever been found to exist.
3) There are far more rational and logical explanations available for that which we encounter than "god did it".
4) We create hypotheses to test these alternative explanations and - lo and behold - we obtain evidence. Quite often that evidence serves to make the "non god" hypothesis even more likely than they already were.
In short: there's plenty of evidence that there's no requirement for a god to exist in order for our universe to make sense, and there is absolutely zero evidence that god exists.
What's more, why you god, and not someone else's? Why your interpretation of how god works, and not mine? Why one god and not many?
If you accept god through faith there are eleventy squillion questions that arise, each that have no testable hypothesis.
I do not exclude the possibility that there may be a creator. But I won't believe in one until there is evidence of one either. Until that point, it is far more rational to believe that "god" is nothing more than the creation of scares, simple, flawed human beings.
But feel free to present a valid testable hypothesis that provides actual evidence for god.
And, for the record, I'm not a "humanist". Not even remotely. I'm actually far closer to a gaian, in that I believe that the possibility of a consciousness vaster than ours is at least possible, and that it might arise from the interactions of all the various elements of the universe itself, rather than having an organic basis such as our own brains.
I don't, however, believe that such a consciousness would necessarily even be aware of on of it's own sub-components (e.g. humans), or that there is "an afterlife". There's no evidence of either.
For that matter, I don't believe that this meta-consciousness exists, merely that it is a possibility...though a completely irrelevant one until we find a way to test for it.
Evidence is what matters. Not faith. Faith is nothing more than a soothing mental balm for the frightened and the easily led.
Earth wasn't "Earth-like" when life arose. You don't seem to understand that. Worse, you get caught up in semantics. When a scientist says "Earth-like" they do not mean "exactly like the Earth". Certainly not "like the Earth as it is today".
YOU are the one who is trying to artificially insert that requirement into the conversation, when there is no reason whatsoever for it to be there. You keep asserting that there is only one "Earth-like" planet, because you are choosing to set the language to something other than it's common use in order to "win" an argument on the internet.
There is nothing circular at all about my reasoning or my logic. You are grasping at semantics in desperation by not actually countering anything I've said.
We have, for example, zero proof that a large moon is required for life to arise. Note, I did not say "for life to thrive" or "for multicellular life to arise" or so forth. Just "for life to arise". We don't have any real reason to believe that a moon is required.
There are some reasons to believe that it helps rather a great deal with the diversification of life - mainly in making it from the "hydrothermal vent" stage to the "cyanobacteria" stage. But even that's is pretty wild conjecture at this point.
And Mars did have oceans.
But hey, keep trying. Eventually, if you assert it enough, you have to "win"...don't you?
Hey there religious type. Neil deGrass Tyson has the answer to the god of the gaps argument on Youtube. I am not going to write it out. if you actually care about the answer to your question, you'll watch it.
If your god exists, then I invite, challenge and taunt him/her/it into smiting me right now for blaspheming against his/her/it's existence. No "free will" arguments, please, this is an open invitation for a smiting. The Prime Directive isn't violated.
Well, shit. That was fucking anticlimactic. I really thought that a metaphysical being was going to...wait....
...I feel something...
...I think it's lunch related.
Yeah, still here. Sorry. Your god doesn't exist. And your god of the gaps argument is provably ridiculous.
Actually, we've got three earth-like planets right here in our own solar system. We have found a number of systems with earth-like planets, some with multiple.
Oh, you mean a class-M world with a gaia-type ecosystem? Well, you're an idiot. Earth wasn't a class-M world when life took hold here. Life probably couldn't have if it were. When life started on Earth it was through a hot iron-magnesium metabolism to which free Oxygen was deadly. In point of fact, life had to evolve quite a bit before it was able to make it to the point of both causing the oxygen crisis and surviving it..
In addition, there is nothing special about Earth, or Sol. There are literally tillions of Sol-like stars out there. From our investigation, stars having planets is the rule, not the exception. The sheer number of these stars guarantees that somewhere out there a planet formed with roughly the same chemistry as an early proto-Earth and did so within the habitable zone.
Three fucking planets did this in our own stellar system. We're not entirely sure what happened to Venus yet; somehow it lost most of it's rotational momentum. We think there may have been a Theia-like impactor that - unlike Earth - struck it retrograde and contained mostly volatiles. This would explain why it has such a thick atmosphere and doesn't rotate.
...but it also tells us that within our own stellar system there are two planets that have remarkably similar histories.
Earth got really lucky. The late heavy bombardment deposited a lot of Nitrogen, but and we were just big enough to hang on to some of it, but too small to hang on to most of it. We didn't turn into a Neptune. Early life probably played a huge part in ensuring we didn't lose most of that atmosphere, as it caused it to be continually recycled.
The fact that we had obtained enough water helped too; the carbon dioxide slowly dissolved in our oceans into carbonate. This is really critical, because while methane and carbon dioxide were vital to keeping a young Earth warm while the sun was 30% dimmer than today, as it warmed we absolutely needed both the carbon sink capacities of the ocean and the mediating effects of life to prevent a runaway greenhouse effect from turning Earth into Venus.
And...we almost didn't make it several times! Earth bordered on a Venus-like "hothouse Earth" a few times. A few times it went wildly the other way as well; too much CO2 was sequestered, and we had "snowball Earth"s. Life itself is the only reason we have been able to escape the fates of both Venus and Mars.
Mars may well have had life. Mars' problem was that it was just too damned small. Had Venus coalesced where Mars is we wouldn't be having this conversation today; we'd be spending our free time studying the awesomeness of life on another fucking planet.
Mars started with Nitrogen, CO2, a decent amount of spin, water and surface temperature warm enough to have oceans. But it was too small. The dynamo inside cooled before life could take hold and become the primary mediator of planetary climate. The magnetic field collapsed. Solar winds blew the bulk of atmosphere off.
There, but for a fortuitous high-speed encounter with Theia, go we.
So right here in our own stellar system there are three examples of Earth-like planets. At least one of three (probably two out of three) managed to give rise to life. One of our three managed to birth enough life quickly enough that life took over regulating the atmosphere in order to keep the planet balanced so that life could continue.
There are trillions of other Sol-like stars, and trillions upon trillions more where planets, moons or even largish asteroids could exist within the habitable zone which could have given rise to life. Planetary formation is the rule, not the exception, and that we've detected Earth-like planets in habitable and near-habitable zone orbits.
Given all of that it is perfectly reasonable to assume that the formation of Earth-like planets that are at least theoretically capable of having had geochemistry similar to proto-Earthis common. Statistically, in fact, it's quite likely to be common.
That's before we get into moons with relatively similar geochemistry forming around gas giants orbiting dwarf stars within the habitable zone, or the "habitable dwarf planet/large asteroid clusters" theories about dwarf planets.
So no, Earth is statistically likely to not be special. Sol provably isn't.
And yes; the comets seeded life here. After the Theia impactor, they had to. We'd lost our atmosphere, and volcanism couldn't provide us with nearly enough Nitrogen or Hydrogen to make up what became the air and the oceans. We needed volatiles delivered during the late heavy bombardment, or we simply wouldn't be here. We'd be a largish Mars or another runaway CO2 greenhouse planet like Venus.
Life itself - in the form of bacteria, etc - may not have come from those comets. But the building blocks of it...water, nitrogen and complex chemicals like amino acids - absolutely did. That is "soft" or "pesudo" panspemia, and all evidence we have strongly backs that theory. To the point that no other theories even come close to making sense.
Your desire to feel important, special, or chosen by some sky fairy just don't factor in to reality. Reality doesn't care what you think...because reality doesn't have a personality, and doesn't care about anything.
I never said people of faith can't be intelligent. Deluded, yes. Out of touch with reality, sure. But there's nothing about faith that makes someone innately stupid.
Intelligence is the ability to process large amounts of information quickly. Wisdom is the ability to process that information correctly. It is this latter talent that people of faith miss.
There is no god. Cope.
There's nothing "turtles all the way down" about science, or even pesudo-panspermia, which is what's mentioned here.
Pesudo-panspermia posits that the basic chemical building blocks for life arrived on Earth from "out there". For reasons I've detailed in other comments here, this makes perfect sense, given the history of the planet. It also relies on abiogenesis for the combination of those building blocks into the first Terran lifeforms.
As for "where did "everything" come from", it's increasingly accepted that the Big Bang was not the beginning of all things, but merely the beginning of our particular universe. Our universe is likely to be one amongst many, with the others potentially having different laws of physics.
I could get into far deeper physics about "our universe didn't spring from nothing", but the point is that there are some solid hypotheses and even a few testable theories that can bring us pretty far back in the history of our universe. Milliseconds after the big bang kind of stuff. As for the before, we have some hypotheses, but no ways of testing them yet.
There is no need to rely on faith in science. Just the attempts to answer questions. Without faith. Just because we won't obtain the answers in our lifetimes doesn't mean the answers won't ever be found. And it sure as hell doesn't mean faith is the answer to anything.
Panspermia comes in two forms:
1) Life here started out there (true panspermia)
2) Life here started because things out there delivered to earth the relevant complex chemistry during or after the late heavy bombardment (pesudo-panspermia)
The first is unknowable until we explore a lot more.
The second is highly likely, given the formation of the moon, and the damage done to the surface during the late heavy bombardment.
To the best of our knowledge, this is the history of the earth:
1) Earth accretes from the protoplanetary disk, accumulating all sorts of yummy elements.
2) Earth is whacked by Theia, a body roughly the size of mars. This completely liqufies the mantle. Heavy elements sink to the core. Silicates rise. Lots of stuff gets thrown into orbit, but not much of the really interesting stuff (like Uranium, gold, etc), because that was too heavy, and sunk to the core of the Eath.
3) The Earth resolidifies (mostly), trapping virtually all volatiles in a silicon, iron and magnesium matrix.
4) Massive volcanism is accompanied by continued bombardment from space. Carbon dioxide and methane are vented from the young planet en masse.
5) The bombardment seeds a young earth with Nitrogen, Hydrogen and more complex chemicals based upon them. (Ammonia, water, etc.) Enough falls to form the early oceans. Very little land is above sea level.
6) The planet continues cooling. Plate tectonics starts. Life arises.
7) Early carbon dioxide metabolism begins. Most oxygen absorbed by oceans, rocks.
8) The oxygen catastrophe occurs.
9) Multicellular life arises.
Panspermia here is of the "pesudo-pansermia" variety: the volatiles necessary to make things go were delivered to a young earth by comets after the big whack. Considering that fits with standard accretion theory, I don't see your beef.
It doesn't mean that the goo which became us congealed "out there" as opposed to "here". But it does mean that it's somewhat unlikely that all the chemical processes required to make every single chemical required for life arose on Earth itself.
Which, if you think about it, makes perfect sense. The various chemicals required for life all have different formation requirements. A protoplanetary disk is huge. The idea that some of these molecules formed elsewhere in the system and then found their way here after the big whack is pretty logical. I'm sure that some of the chemicals required to make it all go did form on Earth as a result of volcanism after the big whack. I'm equally sure that we needed the late heavy bombardment to seed Earth with things like nitrogen and hydrogen or we simply wouldn't be here to have this debate in the first place.
So please, do some research into "pesudo-panspermia" or "soft panspermia". It is not the same as "all life floated in from elsewhere", but it is a great metric fuck of a lot more likely than "all life started here".
Where, exactly, do you think Earth got it's C, H, O and N? Hmm?
The organic molecules came from the comets. After Theia whacked into a young Earth, there weren't exactly a hell of a lot of volatiles on the surface to play with.
Look, life existed before there were bacteria. In fact, life existed before the development of the cell wall. Consider, for example, L-Form bacteria, which exist without a cell wall just fine, thanks.
A modern bacterium is the result of at least three billion years of evolution. They did not spring into existence fully formed. They were not "designed". Each organelle, each protein used, everything got there through billions of years of trial and error.
Life is nothing more than self replicating chemicals. There's nothing special about it. Viruses are a great example of the border between "alive" and "not alive". They're little more than chemicals that interact with their environment (typically a host cell) to create more of those chemicals.
Some viruses have protein sheaths similar to a cellular membrane. Most don't. What really separates viruses from actual life is that viruses don't have a metabolic process of their own. They are - for lack of a better term - their own catalysts for reproduction, but they need to hijack the metabolic processes of a living organism in order to reproduce.
However the basic metabolic processes underpinning life itself have been shown to occur outside of a host cell in the lab. They are not hard. They don't require anything particularly special in terms of geochemistry.
We know now that you don't require anything "uncommon" for the basic pre-life metabolic pathways to form spontaneously. From there, you throw some Deep Time at it and voila: life. The most successful reactions will continue.
Eventually, these metabolic processes were enveloped in lipid membranes. Most likely very similar to viral sheathing. Those metabolic reactions protected by a lipid membrane were more successful than others. Those metabolic reactions that could regenerate their own lipid membrane were more successful than those which relied on accreting their membrane from the environment.
At this point, you're off to the races. A protective lipid membrane along with a self-perpetuating metabolic process? Sounds like life to me! From there, additional organelles developed. The lipid membrane evolved in complexity to become a full blown cell wall. The precursors to RNA invaded the protocells and the ability to store information on metabolic catalysts evolved.
Now, what's truly remarkable is that life probably successfully evolved on our planet more than once. This can be seen in that some of today's organelles we can't explain as being the result simply of metabolic evolution; they are probably degraded endosymbiotes. (I am sure you are familiar with the history of the mitochondria, so I'll skip the concept of endosymbiotes for now.)
These degraded endosymbiote organelles don't show evidence of having ever had their own RNA, but do show evidence of having had different metabolic chemistry than the originator cells from which our branch of life sprang. In essence, life started in more than one place, but one type of life was more successful inside the cell membrane of another type of life.
Again, here viruses can be instructional. There are several viruses we believe do not share a common ancestor with precursor viruses. They, in effect, are their own branch of pesudo-life. They spontaneously came into being through the chemical interactions of their environment and it turns out that when exposed to a cell they could hijack it's metabolic processes and perpetuate.
So yes, there are a lot of amino acids. There are a lot of proteins. But they are not all essential for life; only for life as we know it today. Life that's been through billions of years of evolution to accrete complexity and adjust to new environments.
The Earth was not a class-M planet to start. There was no oxygen/nitrogen atmosphere. Life created that. Primordial earth was a very different place than it is today, and only the smallest fraction of the organisms alive on Earth today would be able to live on the Earth that first birthed the forms of life that would ultimately populate our planet.
Yet you point to a modern bacterium and attempt to say that anywhere life is to arise every single amino acid and protein must be capable of spontaneously self organizing all at the same time?
You do not understand the first thing about the evolution of life. Not the very first thing.
The chemical requirements for the development of metabolism and accretion of a lipid membrane are not abnormal in the universe. Increasingly, we are seeing that the presence of relevant amino acids and other precursor chemicals is not abnormal either.
Given the sheer age of the universe and the sheer number of places both these common environments and common chemicals interact, I do not remotely understand why you would believe that it is statistically likely that Earth is the only place life ever arose.
Even if life is only capable of arising on one in several hundred trillion rocky bodies and it takes an average of 2 billion years after the formation of a stellar system for basic cells to arise, we're still talking about hundreds of billions of bodies across the universe on which life arose. And there is no reason whatsoever to think that the circumstances for life to arise are so unique that they would only occur on one in every several hundred trillion rocky bodies. The chemistry is just too simple.
But hey, believe life is somehow "special" if you want. You'll be wrong, and I'll understand statistics.
The REAL question, I suppose, is: "is humanity the current pinnacle of 'life' in this universe?"
No, that's a separate question entirely. There's simply no way to know the answer to that one unless we can observe all points in the universe simultaneously. That question is one that may well be forever beyond our capacity to answer.
But the answer to the question of "is there life out there that isn't Terran" is "so likely to be yes that the possibility of the answer being no is indistinguishable from zero".
As for "being forever alone", you presume that we'll never go faster than light. I don't. Every time man thought he had firmly reached a frontier of natural laws past which no technology could enable further science, someone with fewer biases came along and enabled us to smash those barriers.
We don't have good theories on FTL yet. IMHO, that's likely because we're stuck in a mindset that doesn't allow us to think beyond our own scientific biases.
By all rights, virtually everything we hold up as "truth" today in science will eventually be proven wrong...or at least incomplete. Newton giving way to the quantum world, etc. That's sort of what the march of science does. So...Terran life may well not be doomed to be alone forever.
Whether or not we encounter other life at least as developed as we are is another story. And what - oh what - will we do if we run across life that is so far advanced over us that they look at us as we look at ants? Wouldn't that be a blow to our collective ego?
God of the gaps arguments! Yay! Religious types are so predictable.
Remember, just because science can't prove that our universe is the result of a brane extrusion today doesn't mean we won't have that taped in the future. Meanwhile, your "god" is - and remains - nothing but an ever receding pocket of scientific ignorance, constantly retreating in the face of new new knowledge.
Tides go in, tides go out! Religious types are aught but clockwork ignorance.
Disagree all you want, it won't change the facts. All the precursor chemicals required for life exist bloody everywhere. There are any number of simple ways that life can start, and any number of ways it can continue through to the point that the remarkable things happen, like the development of cell walls and eventually multicellular life.
Hell, for all we know new life is springing up every day from scratch all over this planet, but it ends up being out competed by the stuff that's been around for 4.6 billion years and never makes it to the point of "acquiring cell walls".
Life isn't special. It's just a bunch of chemical interactions. You're just a sack of chemicals that interact in a fairly mundane fashion.
There is nothing special about Earth, about Sol, about our stellar system, about the comets that seeded life here...none of it. Our inability to detect (currently) life on other worlds has no bearing whatsoever on it's existence, or lack thereof.
The probability of life arising on another world is down to one simple question: "how rare are Earth-like planets?" The answer to that is quite blatantly "not very". And we get more and more confirmation that Earth isn't special with each passing year. The less special our planet is the more likely it is that life arose somewhere else in addition to here.
Given the overwhelming number of galaxies, the number of stellar systems per galaxy the number of planets per stellar system...the chances that Earth is the only place in the entire multiverse where the exact conditions existed to give rise to life are basically zero. Not exactly zero, but so close to zero as to not be worth consideration.
The chances that life only exists on Earth are pretty much the same as the chances that the exact deity of your neighborhood church is real. Oh, it's possible, I guess...but so vanishingly small a possibility as to not be worth consideration.
Every test we can run says that the laws of physics are the same throughout the universe. And a lot of very smart people have tried very hard to put that to the test. With the laws of physics being the same all over the universe, the sheer amount of stuff in this universe pretty much guarantees that the exact same confluence of chemical events will have occurred more than once, and life will have arisen.
Did it ever develop cell walls? No idea. Did it ever become multicellular? No clue. Did it evolve into something unrecognizably different? Probably. But I would bet my life, and lives of everyone on this mudball that we are not alone. The statistical probability that the same chemical events that led to life only occurred once are just that low.
Why are humans so important? Maybe we'll seed another planet with microbes before we expire, and their descendants will solve the mysteries of the universe. Maybe humans will evolve a second time, on another world, and know us only by large circular devices we've left scattered about the galaxy that offer instantaneous transportation between worlds.
Maybe a lot of things.
But I remain firm in my belief that the answers will be found out through the methodical and logical exploration of reality rather than bleating plaintively at the night's sky, asking the shadows to grant us dominion over others.
"you have to accept that it is 'possible' life is limited to Earth"
Yes, but it's really, really unlikely. Statistically indistinguishable from zero.
"the real question still remains unanswered"
For now. Science will find the answer, eventually. Though likely not within our lifetimes. The evidence is pretty damn conclusive, however, that the answer is not "god".
Though please, do try using the god of the gaps argument. I'll just have NDT destroy you over and over in my mind. :)
Google should just block all European IPs for a week and let the Europols know in no uncertain terms that the populace will be made aware of who is responsible for this.
Now I wonder what the people's reaction would be: start up competing services, or lync the politicians. And if they did start up competing services, would those services be remotely as effective as Google? Would the EU, deprived of Google's capabilities suffer economically?
What is the value of Google's best in class-ness? What is the political value of letting the people use what they want? And is dealing with Europols actually worth Google's time? I'd love to know the answer to all.
Fat lot of good a standing army is against cruise missiles, ICBMs and drones.
"The planets are part of the Solar system, so they cannot be dragging themselves with themselves."
Don't we all drag eachother? :)
"People treat you the way you treat them. Yes you will have the occasional A-hole who is rude to you without reason, which is the exception, but if everyone is treating you the same way then the fault is with you."
Obviously that only applies to people agree with you, eh? Because the fact that America has so many people that loathe it can't possibly because America's actions, culture and the attitude of it's citizens have earned it the overwhelming enmity it experiences. No, no...it's clearly that those who dislike America have earned America's douchbaggery by not worshiping America.
Yup, I see it all now...
"We all know you are more anti US than an ISIS website but this is ridiculous statement."
No, it's not.
"When the article is about a subject you do not know every term or acronym about then doing a little research on those terms or acronyms is not unexpected. I would do the same type research for any word, term, or acronym I did not know regardless of the subject of article - storage related, UK gov, security, etc. Luckily there is this new thing called the internet that allows people to learn the meaning of words, terms, and even acronyms with very little effort."
Actually, I was taught to explain the acronyms in my articles, especially when I felt there was a more than reasonable chance that my audience wouldn't know them. This is my issue: the presumption that we would (or should) "know" these acronyms. We shouldn't. There's no reason for us to know them. Thus expansion of them - or a link to an explanation - is good form, and recognizes that there is a world outside the US borders. The concept that the onus should be on the reader to hunt that down is, to me at least, nothing more than USian arrogance and pride.
"Oddly enough, things like names, acronyms, and all sorts of other things get reused in this world. In your example, CA represents Canada in the country code listing and California in the US state code listing. Georgia the name of both a state in the US and a Country in Eurasia."
Yes, but what I abhor is when an international tech magazine, like The Register - or pretty much anything else on the internet - will say things like "Mountain View, CA". It's just assuming you'll know that CA is a second level administrative division within the US because you automatically think everything is in the US first. Instead of, I don't know, assuming you're saying "City, Country"...like those same publications do for ever fucking city in a non-US country.
I won't say "Edmonton, AB" unless I'm writing for a Canadian paper. I will say "Edmonton, Canada". Because I don't expect my readers to know what "AB" stands for. It's a second-level administrative division.
Even more - and this one really pisses me off I wouldn't just use the city name. If I just said "Vancouver", for example, there's no reason to assume I'm talking about Vancouver, BC.CA. The yanks have one of their very own in Washington.
Similarly, if I talk about London, I wouldn't just use "London", because in addition to the proper one in Ontario I understand that there's also one in the UK.
The issue here is the assumption that we're either all American, or that we should be thinking like Americans. That "America first, last and always" is the "proper" way of thinking, instead of a little bit of effort to put yourself into the mind of the Azerbaijani who might be reading your scribblings.
depending on how technical the article is, I don't expect too people who don't know what a SAN is to read an article about how to resize LUNs. So in a really technical article I won't spell out LUN or SAN. (Though I will if the target is more CIOs than sysadmins, or a far more general audience than ultra-deep-dive nerds.)
I will, however, spell out other acronyms like Software as a Service (SaaS) (and do so in exactly that manner, the first time) in a storage article. This is because I don't expect a hard-boiled storage nerd to know all the cloudy acronyms. It's not his job.
This particular article may have been about american politics, but it's topic affects the entire fucking world. The results of this are of critical import to everyone around the world. There is no reason whatsoever to assume that all readers are conversant with US terminology, idioms and abbreviations.
So, could someone go and look that stuff up on the internet? Sure. But it is about respect. It is about checking your assumptions and knowing your audience. Just like CA California/Canada is.
I, for one, am sick and tired of non-Americans being treated as though we're second class global citizens. But I wouldn't expect an American to understand the first thing about any of that. It's not about "one little incident". It's about a fucking lifetime of it.
It's not a malicious thing on behalf of the author, or even the commenters defending the practice. I am sure that it is entirely subconcious. In a way, that makes it even worse. It's just...ingrained. This externalization of non-Americans. The diminution of them, rendering them - in thought at least - as something "other". Secondary. Not quite people.
It is something I've had to put up with when I deal with Americans my whole life, and it is irritating as hell. And, to be blunt, now that they're not the world's only superpower anymore...I don't see why I should "just take it". It's time they learned to respect the rest of the world.
"Same reason Americans should know the difference between MP and PM."
Um...they don't? Most of them don't even know what a prime minister is. Why the hell should we waste our time on their worthless nation when they can't be assed to make the effort for the rest of the world? I'm rather sick of the presumption that rest of the world will - or should - know shitty litlte esoteric tings about the US. Their little politislang for branding the interchangable corruption globules that run that shite-hole is a great example.
CA means Canada, not California. Georgia is a country, not a state. Etc and so forth. We can have this converation again when US citizens reading technology websites are expected to know Canadian political slang, or recognize Azerbaijani cities and tier 2 political divisions from context. Then we're talking about a level playing feild in which I feel it's okay to expect the rest of the world to "just get" Americanisms.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go learn the subtle differences between Oblasts, Okrugs, Krais, Republics, Federal Cities and the Jewish Autonomous Oblast in Russia. Far more interesting, and I don't loathe their government quite as much as I loathe the United Citizens of MoneySpeech.
Why should we learn American political acronyms? Fuck America!
Whereas I don't trust the NSA (or the censor-happy Brits or Aussies, for that matter) any more than the Russians, Iranians or Chinese. Why should we trust your government? Because you say so? You're nobody!
Options 1 or 2 will occur. Just because Option 3 is the right thing from an engineer standpoint or an IT policy standpoint doesn't mean it will occur. People don't want to learn about how computers work. They just want the fucking things to work.
"What you said" - that people will learn about firewalls and learn to configure them - will not occur. Will not. History informs us pretty well about these things. People gleefully use tools they don't fully understand all the time. The more complex it is, the less time they spend learning it, unless it is their actual job (or a personal hobby) to learn about it.
And, to be blunt, IT is a really bloody boring hobby.
"so people will get into the habit of using the router's firewall configuration instead"
Ivory tower bullshit that is completely out of touch with reality.
"Normally if I plug something random into my home router if I leave stuff defaulted, then it's stupidly configured, but only accessible to me, in my house."
IPv6 wishes to solve this for you.
Systemd is coming for you...
"You know, they might have improved it since 1998."
They got worse. Now they use Bing.
I see a rash of sysadmin suicides about to occur. Bleary-eyed sysadmins hauled out of bed at "why is this even a time that exists" in the morning will be asked to work on some server for which only RDP is working. Desperate to get a patch, they'll immediately open IE to download Firefox. After swatting away a dozen irritating things trying to convince you to use IE, realizing they have to change some irritating setting before they can download and run the Firefox installer and then getting to run they'll finally launch a proper browser.
They get hte browser open, punch in the error code only to realize that the search has gone through Bing, and Bing can't find anything on Microsoft's own web properties worth a damn. Despairing at the futility of life, they will kill themselves with a shredded Mighty Mouse, because it seems more logical cramming Microsoft's craptastrophe upon people who quite clearly were trying to get away from the insanity in the first place.
Moral of the story: friends don't let friends Bing. And only enemies for life make Bing the default on anything.
It isn't my site. Belongs to a tall skinny bloke who's pretty much the nicest man you'll ever meet. Not only is the software amazing, the fellow himself his as excellent as his product.
Incorrect. The company will be shut down, its asset seized. if it is deemed a criminal endeavor then anything they haven't managed to effectively launder and hide will be pursued by the cops. They will use civil forfeiture laws to seize every stitch of property that the people in question have in the USA, down to the clothes off their backs.
But they won't be going to jail. That would be piercing the corporate veil. Muchos big nono, especially in a red state, and doubly especially now that money = speech and judges are elected in that country.
So the individuals in question will be stripped of everything they own in the USA. But if they had 12 brain cells to rub together, they have a fuckpile of the stuff offshore. Without a criminal record, they can basically move to Costa Rica, transfer enough of the money out of their Caymans (or Russian) accounts to live well and retire.
Whatever's left they can use to remotely fund another, similar scheme with the "lessons learned" from this one, and pay extra special attention to how they launder their money.
The chances of these guys going to jail in the USA are pretty damned close to zero.
"Or, let's say, confiscate the proceeds of the swindle and put the perpetrators in prison for a long, long time."
Piercing the corporate veil. In Florida. Ahahahahahahahahahahahahaha...
"Linux has no registry"
Systemd/Linux distributions do.
Ninite is the only software I recommend 100% without hesitation and to which I will openly admit to being a completely unashamed and unreserved fanboy.
I am normally viciously against brand tribalism. But we all get one. Ninite is my one.
Well, shit. That's a lot of work replacing things in the field. :(
I'm not your friend, chum
The problem isn't "spin off" or "don't spin off" (unless you're an activist shareholder looking to liquidate the company.) The problem is "shit or get off the pot".
The EMC federation is notorious for having spectacularly hostile internal politics within each of the companies, and viciously brutal inter-company politics as well. They do not act like a joined up federation of companies working towards a common set of goals. They are - to put it bluntly - the worst managed chaebol in history.
So either spin the companies off into their own affairs where they can compete openly and freely amongst eachother (and thus set about maximizing their own profits) or properly organize the chaebol so that there is no overlap.
Compete with one another or compliment one another. But this coopetition thing is hamstringing profits and market share alike.
And where are all the angry commenters who so vociferously denied "friction" internal to the federation companies, or between them? "Oi, Trevor, yer daft" it was said. "You obviously have an axe to grind" I was told.
Any company with a US legal attack surface great than "nonexistent" simply cannot be trusted. Ever.
Chinese cloud vendors popping up like weeds too. Prefer Swiss, myself, but not a lot of choice once you've decided that American isn't acceptable.
Meh. Buy Maxta. Marry it to Ontap. Wibble, wobble, pwn.
I am a left libertarian by nature. I believe strongly in civil and individual rights, but also that A) humans aren't rational actors and B) a truly free market is a myth. As such, I believe in a balance between "things the state should be doing" and "things individuals should be doing".
In my view, things like "a social safety net" and "public health care, education and emergency services" are exactly the sort of thing the state should be doing. Taking care of public utilities and natural monopolies. And I agree 100% that if you pay into that system for your whole life that it should be available to you if you need it.
But it is a form of mandatory insurance. This is because people are not rational actors. There are always those who will choose not to have insurance to cover their health care, education, vehicle, etc...then demand that society "do something" when they are injured/need to be retrained/get their vehicle smashed up. History has proven over and over that this group of people will never make a rational decision and, to be blunt, there is no reason for society to pick up the tab just because they're cheap bastards.
By the same token, the state has no business telling us what we can and cannot do about the overwhelming majority of crap that it has land-grabbed over the past 75 years. Who you can and can't sleep with? What the fuck? That is no business of the state.
Similarly, what religion you delude yourself with (or don't), or which piece of shiny crap you buy is nothing the state should be poking it's nose into. The list goes on.
Randian bullshit is a religion, no different from any other. It is not grounded in fact. It is filled with nothing more than faith. The idea that "people are rational actors", for example, has been disproven over and over and over and over again. Yet Randians demand that we base all our economic and social policy off of this lie.
This is no different than trying to use the state to enforce any other religion on people.
A proper nation is one governed by evidence-based legislation. Not religion. And the job of a government is to serve it's people. All it's people. Not just the few, not the elite. Not just the lucky, or the privileged or those who make exactly the right series of choices at every juncture in life.
All it's people.
That means that we must give up some amount of control over our income in order to collectively provide for our society. There is decades of evidence that this produces wealthier, healtiher, more stable nations than anarchism or Randianism.
Now, if you want anarchism, go to Somalia. They do it right there. If you want pure Randianism, try Kansas. The Christian Science Monitor has a truly fantastic look at the results of it's governor's pure Tea Party Randian governance here.
Short version: Randianism is based on faith and provably doesn't work. So a rational libertarian will study the evidence, find the points of minimum government required to achieve an optimally stable and universally beneficial society and then push to see that society built. One that intrudes the least necessary on the life of the individual, but provides for the whole of society.
Nations have gotten very close to perfecting this balance without ruinous economic hardship for the state or the individual. So it isn't impossible. But it requires reliance on evidence and not faith.
"Be nice to Richard"
Always. He's fucking fantastic people. Without qualification, I'd be there for him, brother from another mother style. Doesn't mean we won't disagree about things from time to time.
Except...public cloud "doubters" never doubted this particular use case. Software was rewritten specifically to work with the public cloud, it is a definable, burstable workload, it runs as a batch (input workload, receive result, you don't need to be connected all day to it) and it has a definable cost.
That's completely different from taking a legacy "must be up 24/7" workload and tossing it into the public cloud. Especially one where the developer has no intention of (or can't, because they're out of business/lack skills/etc) rewriting the thing for the public cloud.
The public cloud is not "pay for what you use", it is "pay for what you provision". If you need to provision the workload to be available 24/7 then the public cloud is a terrible value for dollar. If you need to essentially run an HPC batch process, then it'll do you just fine.
Someone has been reading Otherland...
This is the single most rational and well explained overview of this whole mess yet published. Have a pint on me, Kieren, and my sincere apologies for the public pantsing the Randian religious types will now attempt on you.
^ What. The. Fuck. What the fucking fucking fuck. What the fucking fucks of almighty fuckety fucks.