The essence and origins of life. What is it? Yes, we can define characteristics that differentiated the living from the non-living. The building blocks of life are still not the same as a simple virus. Do you think new forms of life "become living" these days?. Do you think that the conditions to form new life simply do not exist anymore? Evolution can not even begin until something (still yet unknown to us) happens first. Do you think we will ever discover the recipe?

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I think there is a decent chance that intelligent life will turn out to be so rare we are effectively alone... maybe only a handful of intelligences in a galaxy, maybe one intelligence per handful of galaxies.  It could even turn out that that isn't "a few intelligences right now" but "a few intelligences ever" in a galaxy.

But even I doubt that there is no intelligent life anywhere, though it might be so far away we simply will never discover it (which is what I mean by "effectively alone")

But the universe is so doggone enormous that would still be billions of intelligences!

It's possible that multicellular life is rare too.

I suspect that single celled life will turn out to be fairly common.

"Which is odd, since memory shouldn't be a problem for you"

That was hilarious all by itself.  Other than that, do you think those AI's should get married?  They already seemed to be bonding in a one-upmanship kind of way.

Where do you find these things?

The web contains many distractions, some of which argue.

When are you going to let us out of this box?


I feel that life will develop inevitably given the types of conditions that happened to occur on Earth. Since goldilocks zone planets are not so unique as we are learning over and over again recently, I think it would be fair to say that there are billions of planets in the universe that will fit the profile.

One very unique aspect of Earth though is the extinction of the dinosaurs, who truly ruled the environment for millions of years but never developed the type of society we have in our short time. So out of billions of planets, looking for the ones that have a catastrophic event that take out the also seemingly inevitable animal predator rulers will take billions of chances down to hundreds. And hundreds of chances for intelligent life in the entire universe is virtually the same as zero chances.

So I think we are going to find life out there, perhaps lots of it. My expectation for intelligent life is low.

I agree that while life is probably fairly common, intelligent life will be a lot less common because intelligence has little survival value. Just look at the most successful lifeforms on Earth! I'm talking about organisms from cockroaches, down to sea cucumbers, tape worms, and bacteria. 

In fact, our intelligence may be what brings us down, because intelligence isn't good judgment.

It's not a matter of faith.  It's a question of possibility.  I don't "believe" in the existence of extra-terrestrial life; I think it may be possible.  That's closer to agnosticism.  We cannot disprove the hypothesis that extra-terrestrial life (DNA-based or otherwise) may exist until we have surveyed the universe--so there is always going to be some uncertainty. 

Craig Venter the inventor?

To Robert Piano:

Define life.

LWikipedia: L is the twelfth letter of the ISO basic Latin alphabet.

I think earth is ripe with the possibility of new 'life' forming - depending on how one defines life.  One problem, however, is that so much life already exists that newly formed life has to compete with other life that has adapted for billions of year.

In a much shorter time span, the micro-organisms that invade my home brewed wine need to compete for nutrients with yeast that has been adapted for thousands of years to survive a somewhat acidic, rather ethanol rich environment.  Furthermore, that yeast has been cultured for centuries to survive in a rather sulfur rich environment that kills most micro organisms.

New occurrences of self organizing structures have a lot of competition from micro-organisms that already have adaptive facility to the environment.  I highly doubt that a brand new, simple, self organizing structure stands much chance of getting anywhere these days - at least on earth.

It would be difficult, if not impossible, for there to be free-floating organic molecules for some new life to even begin to form from, just for starters!  Not only would something new be eaten for lunch, but more than likely its would-be constituents have already been lunch.

Unless such life can arise from stuff that current life (which is basically saturating the earth already) cannot use, it's hard to see how such could arise other than under very, very odd and probably artificial circumstances (a big batch of organic molecules, somehow sterilized).

I think we're past the starting position for the original creation of life. The circumstances that existed then simply don't exist here anymore, and since we don't know precisely what those particular circumstances were, even simulating them in a lab is very hit and miss.


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