Evolution and the Problem it May Cause for the Search for Extraterrestrial Life

Okay, I'm no scientist... but I wanted to make this proposal.
I have noticed for some time now a possible flaw in the search for life on other planets. In many cases both the media AND scientists seem to imagine life as looking at least somewhat similar to life on Earth... plants, animalistic things, etc.

I think that this approach may seriously limit or even block the search by making it so that scientists may not recognize life when they find it.

All of the structure of life that are familliar to us are results of 3 billion years of the evolution of life ON EARTH!! The evolution of everything we know of has occurred as natural selection responded to changes in the environments that organisms lived in. Mass Extinctions caused enormous twists and turns in evolutionary history and defined everything we have today. Conditions that have existed and do exist on our planet may not have occurred on another life bearing planet. The only thing we REALLY know to be consistent is the original primordial soup of chemicals required for the evolution of the earliest life forms. Everything else, from organism kingdoms, to structures of organisms [from the limbs, eyes, and vertebrae of animals, to the stems, leaves, and photosynthesis of plants, all the way down to the organelles in microorganisms!!] ALL of that was the result of natural selection which only went the way it did BECAUSE IT WAS IN A CERTAIN ENVIRONMENT AT A CERTAIN TIME!!

There really is no telling what kind of life forms could have evolved on another planet!

Scientists say that a most basic thing that could indicate life on another planet is the existence of water.

Actually... that might not be true. While water is required for the original primordial soup, there is no telling if evolution may have evolved organisms out of a need for it.

Oxygen isn't a necessity either! On this planet there once existed organisms that didn't need it [in fact it was toxic to them] ... arcaeabacteria.

My point is, what may at first look to be a "dead planet" might not be. How could we recognize life when our perceptions of what life is is entirely based upon what has happened to evolve on this planet?

Chances are that the conditions in the evolution of life on another life-friendly planet were quite different than this planet... meaning that the organisms that evolved on it would probably be unrecognizable to us.

Tags: aliens, complications, evolution, extraterrestrial, extraterrestrials, for, from, in, life, natural, More…on, other, planets, search, selection, space

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I don't know of any scientists who say that there IS life out there. I know of a number who say that 'the odds are good'.
Hundreds of billions of galaxies, millions of trillions of stars. The odds are good that life happened somewhere besides Earth. Can we say for sure? Nope. And any good scientist will admit it. But even without the Drake equation (which is mostly useless because we don't have accurate or even nearly accurate values to plug into the variables) we can estimate that at even unbelievably high odds against it, there is a good chance that there is life other than on Earth. Of course, that life is probably not intelligent and may not even be multi-cellular (if it has cells at all).
Good point. But the point I was trying to make was something else entirely: Is it possible that scientists have "tunnel vision" with regard to what life would look like if it WAS there? Why couldn't life manifest in energy? Or AS [not on] collossal celestial bodies? Or in some other format we aren't looking for?

Life does manifest in energy.

But you have to go with what you know. It is troublesome enough to come up with a definition of what life is. But of course you could come up with a definition that makes rocks come alive, only it wouldn't be very useful. Would seem like animism on a cosmic scale what you are proposing.

While you are right that we might have trouble recognizing life on different planets, because of all kinds of Earth-specific adaptations and environment impact-feedback loops and so on, there is reason for some optimism that we might recognize it and that it might at a certain basic level be actually quite similar to us.

There is a reason why we are made of the stuff we are made of, and that is that the stuff we're made of is quite common. And that it happens to have the right chemical (valence, polarities, bonding energies) properties. Not is this stuff abundantly present only on planet Earth but to be expected on other planets to a very far, but maximum distance as well. (This is when stars reach a certain level of "metallicity" - meaning they are younger stars that consist of more heavier elements like carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and so on. So there is an age limit at which (planetary) chemistry becomes sufficiently complex.)

The mechanisms involved in (bio-)chemical evolution that would give rise to basic metabolic mechanisms and even the base-pairs that form the basis of the entire genetic coding system (and consequential the possibilities for active - catalytic - metabolic systems of reactions and feedback loops forming autonomic systems) are not actually Earth-specific, they exist in interstellar space and can be synthesized under cryogenic circumstances. Even R/DNA might have a very humble and simple beginning in the abundance of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons on primordial Earth as they are elsewhere in the Universe.

All things unforeseen could happen, lots of surprises here on Earth of life adapting to the most inhospitable places imaginable and beyond, but when alien-hunting you have to go with what you know.

However as a counter note let's not get carried away, not that i expect a guy who doesnt believe in god to believe there might be aliens that are like super man.... my point is the other disturbing thing is people expecting aliens to look awry or have some form of power be it teleportation and what not from their type of evolution.

I'd say maybe even you might be amazed to find a more benign form of survival for the fittest let's say plant forms secrete this that other's eat and so on that predation and so forth isnt there. I might sound impying other world need be better but my implication is they can be anything, the question is why a monster or the next thing to superman.

p/s i read an article which i will post the link once i refind it of other possible lifeforms not similar to ours

i dont take aliens too seriously, not that i am a skeptic of them but the chance we will ever meet in this century, anyway i am more amazed by multiverse theory

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