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Old 06-09-2010, 07:22 PM   #16
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It's just speculations.

In 2005, the Huygens probe collected data on Titan's atmosphere as it descended to the surface.
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Old 06-09-2010, 09:11 PM   #17
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I think Life, by it's very nature, will always evolve, so a single cell organism will eventually become multicellular, that will become more complex, etc etc. Life wants to live and will always look for better ways to survive. Eventually, I believe all life becomes "intelligent".
Bacteria have dominated the planet perfectly well for 3.5+ billion years, I don't see multicellularity or intelligence as imperatives.
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Old 06-10-2010, 08:45 AM   #18
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Bacteria have dominated the planet perfectly well for 3.5+ billion years, I don't see multicellularity or intelligence as imperatives.
I think some bacteria will remain bacteria, and some bacteria will evolve into something more complex. If you follow it back far enough, it all comes from the same "life source". I believe life as a whole will always head towards a more efficient way to live. It may be random, driven by mutations, I don't know, but I don't believe you will find a planet that has nothing but bacteria for billions of years.
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Old 06-10-2010, 11:59 AM   #19
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Even if some sort of intelligence evolves, theres no reason to assume that we'd be able to communicate in any meaningful way. Think about all the species on earth. How many are we able to communicate with? Even if a chimp just happened to be an alien on another planet, we'd still have to find it before it found us. Or insects; They're the most successful animals on the planet and have been evolving for millions of years, yet intelligence as we see it is not necessary for them. Even an octopus, that displays a high level of intelligence, but has evolved under much different conditions that humans, will probably never evolve into a creature that we can communicate with in a meaningful way. A human level of intelligence is only one of many evolutionary solutions to make a species successful. Its not an endpoint or inevitability
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Old 06-10-2010, 01:52 PM   #20
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That's very true. And quite interesting. I've never really thought about it, but blue whales can't communicate with humpback whales. Chimps can't communicate with orangutans. Or rather, their communications between each other are at a base level, like, "Back off or I will attack". Weird. Now I'm intrigued and want to know why.

If we do come across some species that shares an intelligence level as we have, perhaps we can figure out a way to communicate.
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Old 06-10-2010, 03:48 PM   #21
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If we ever managed to invent technology in the future to go to another inhabited planet we would have to worry about our diseases and viruses and theirs wiping each other out.
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Old 06-10-2010, 04:03 PM   #22
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I find it funny that for all our common fears about "alien invasions" and that sort of thing happening on Earth, we see no issue with the idea of going to other planets (or moons, or whatever). I'm all for investigating space and seeing what's out there and even communicating with whatever we find if we're able to, but we always eventually wind up talking about it in terms of perhaps living in other parts of space someday. Wouldn't that be an "alien invasion", too?

Colonization knows no bounds, though, I guess.

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Old 06-10-2010, 04:07 PM   #23
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I find it funny that for all our common fears about "alien invasions" and that sort of thing happening on Earth, we see no issue with the idea of going to other planets (or moons, or whatever). I'm all for investigating space and seeing what's out there and even communicating with whatever we find if we're able to, but we always eventually wind up talking about it in terms of perhaps living in other parts of space someday. Wouldn't that be an "alien invasion", too?
Not if we only send rich, white, English speaking folk. Then it's just Incoming Freedom.
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Old 06-10-2010, 08:45 PM   #24
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I think some bacteria will remain bacteria, and some bacteria will evolve into something more complex. If you follow it back far enough, it all comes from the same "life source". I believe life as a whole will always head towards a more efficient way to live. It may be random, driven by mutations, I don't know, but I don't believe you will find a planet that has nothing but bacteria for billions of years.
Multicellularity is quite a big leap, and if you looked at earth for the first 3 billion years all that you'd find would be unicellular.

Evolution doesn't play a long game - all that matters is the survival of genes into the next generation - it isn't directed towards any goal.
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Old 06-11-2010, 02:24 PM   #25
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Multicellularity is quite a big leap, and if you looked at earth for the first 3 billion years all that you'd find would be unicellular.

Evolution doesn't play a long game - all that matters is the survival of genes into the next generation - it isn't directed towards any goal.
I would say life has a goal, and that's to live. Evolution is a tool it uses.

I'm not sure, but I believe the unicellular life forms were varied. Is that correct? In so far as bacteria, algae, amoebas, paramecium, etc are all unicellular - but different types. That's some sort of evolution right there, no?
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Old 06-11-2010, 10:09 PM   #26
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Evolution is a consequence of the second law of thermodynamics, and it happens in any system where there is replication, heritable variation, and differential survival.

Any system that satisfies those criteria will demonstrate evolution, and it definitely took place on Earth when it was dominated by unicellular forms. But the myriad variation of single celled organisms shows that there is no intrinsic drive towards multicellularity.

I agree that multicellularity is great, and it's opened up a lot of potential, but I doubt that it is an inevitability. In the same way I doubt that sentience is an inevitability, we have vast numbers of planetary systems to play with, but I think the biggest unknown in the Drake equation concern chance in evolution (we simply don't know enough to put any number on it).

To say that life has a goal of living sounds like a truism, and I can think of at least one exception to it (the evolution of aging, or death).
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Old 06-11-2010, 10:33 PM   #27
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To say that life has a goal of living sounds like a truism, and I can think of at least one exception to it (the evolution of aging, or death).

I think by 'life', Beav was referring to it more in broad terms rather than at an individual level (ie, the goal for genes replicate perpetually).
That said, I'm interested in what you mean by this. There would be no reason for an organism to evolve traits that would take effect after the breeding age. That would be like putting the cart before the horse
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Old 06-11-2010, 10:48 PM   #28
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Then we should define the terms life, living, and goal. I see life as a very interesting property of chemistry, and it makes little sense to use a loaded term like goal (I feel it implies thought or design) to describe it.

There's a good review on the possible reasons behind aging on the wiki article.

Evolution of ageing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 06-11-2010, 11:04 PM   #29
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Interesting link, AW. Its not something I though there was much debate on. I had always assumed that aging was a result of the accumulation of random defects in cell replication. Is that not a reasonable conclusion? (Its its covered in the link, I apologize. I'm still making my way through it)
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Old 06-11-2010, 11:20 PM   #30
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This is a freaky organism

Turritopsis nutricula - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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