August 18, 2003

This might be more fun:

Here's another entry from Magic: The Gathering that I made when I should have been blogging.
It's addressed to Gordon DeSpain, a curious man, well-invested in magic, and the last part is addressed to a blogger who signs under the handle "Geem.".
(Strangely, the links to "Anomaly Hunters" -- and several other links for Gordon -- aren't working. I hope he's doing all right.)


I believe your premise, "Infinity Is", is arbitrary and unfounded. Einstein's equation T = t`/sq.rt. of 1-(v^2/c^2) where (t`) is rest(local) time, and describes the Relativistic time dilation (T). It's why a body cannot be accellerated to a relative velocity (v) of light (c). This prevents matter from being "disconnected" from other matter since information can't travel at a greater speed. Infinities are incoherent and therefore un-physical. All particle experiments varify this.

As far as the Galaxy and Universe teeming with Life, that may be true depending on your definition of "teeming". Consider these facts:

The Earth is a fertile place for Life to thrive. If Life is to permeate the Galaxy then it sure as hell is gonna grow here. Over and over and over...
But, so far as we can tell (and we can tell pretty good), all Life on Earth is related. This means that on this oasis -- this 5 billion year old Life supporting paradise -- Life began once. ONCE!! ...about 2-3 billion years ago. So, while Life seems very resilient here in warm bosom of home, it may not be as common in the Galaxy or Universe at large as we'd like to believe.

For intelligent creatures to arise out of that Life that may exist on other planets, a complex and unstructured chain of events has to occur.
Of all the millions upon millions of species that have lived and gone extinct over billions of years, only Homo Sapiens (again, as far as we know) has been capable of building a spaceship.

We came from tree-dwelling primates; with hands good for grasping branches rather than the paws and hooves of ground-dwelling quadropeds.
We, and our Ape cousins, began spending more time on the ground, gaining in size.
Exanding deserts forced Us out of the jungles and onto the plains, where our hands became tool makers. An omnivorous diet fed complete proteins to our brain which helped us to solve the problem of survival by allowing us to adapt to swift changes in the environment. When drought came we walked away rather than thirst and starve like our less cerebral fellow critters. Eventually we were US.

But all this intelligence and problem-solving adaptability wouldn't be put to building a technological world of computers and spaceships unless we had heavy metals readily available.
Iron, copper, gold, etc there and ready for mining.
In order to have heavy metals close to the surface of a planet you need some serious erosion of the top soil to take place. You need tectonic plates moving and pushing against each other, building mountains and changing the course of rivers. We have all that in droves on Earth; not because it's warm and wet, but because of that Monster Rock in the sky.

It's been said that an Alien visitor might consider the Earth-Moon a Duel Planetary system. The relative hugeness of our satellite isn't remotely approached anywhere else in the Solar System.
But, perhaps it can also be said, that such visitors would not be surprised at that, since they would probably have a similar body at their homeworld.

Assuming all of the conditions are met on another planet somewhere out there, there's another problem. The Galaxy is billions upon billions of years old. Species -- perhaps even intelligent ones -- are extant and extinct in a cosmic blink of an eye. If another spacefaring species were to have evolved somewhere else, AND be visiting us now...the TIMING would have to be astonishingly coincidental.

Life is certainly resilient and persistent. Also, perhaps the distinct Phyla could be the result of several different times that Life has begun on Earth. But even that would support the idea that Life would evolve pretty much according to the bio-chemical processes we've witnessed here.

As for what other different forms that Life might take, I think they certainly would be corporeal, material things, and evolve according to the laws of chemistry. (Perhaps not "organic". Silicon is as active as carbon, but not so plentiful. A planet where silicon-based Life would be created would probably mean that silicon is so much more plentiful than carbon, which isn't likely.)

Life that is not, by our experience, anything we would recognize as "alive" -- bodiless? un-"real"? -- is an interesting thought, but, since I have no way of recognizing it as alive, and know of no physical process that would produce an intelligent non-corporeal being, I can't say that I have any expectation that such a creature could exist.

You're right that my non-belief (not DIS-believe) comes from my non-experience of UFOs. I make no claim that you're UFO sightings never happened, nor that the unlikely coincidences that would put them here now haven't happened, but only that I have no evidence that they did. And so I do not BELIEVE in them. Though, if they're there, I'd really love to meet those travelers!

Carl Sagan used to say that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." Your claims of having seen UFOs are fantastic, and I'm not easily given to fantasy.

to Geem:
I didn't mean to leave an impression that I believe that it's impossible that we could be, or have been, visited by aliens. I just haven't seen the evidence that we have. And, for the reasons I blathered on about earlier, I do think it's unlikely (though any credible evidence could change that).

I fully accept that the possibilities of what is and can be that are out there among the stars -- and here at home -- may be "infinite", and I/we (humans) may not be able to comprehend those possibilties any more than my cats can understand a bran muffin recipe. But I can't BELIEVE (i.e. take it on faith, or on suspect evidence) the PROBABILITY that intelligent spacefarers have been here.

Bell, Edison, Franklin et al made amazing discoveries due in large to their imagination. (and, of course, someone who's decided that cancer can't be cured wont be the one to find the cure for cancer.) But imagination alone only gets you to see a possibility; critical thinking and scientific method are what will make it Real.

I gather we agree on these things, though...and are each merely stressing the yin and yang of it (tastes great! less filling!).

Posted by Tuning Spork at August 18, 2003 11:42 PM
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