The Instigator
Benjjamin
Pro (for)
Losing
14 Points
The Contender
Fkribs
Con (against)
Winning
19 Points

Any extraterrestrial life is likely to be very similar to life here on earth

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 8 votes the winner is...
Fkribs
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/16/2009 Category: Science
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,181 times Debate No: 10478
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (8)
Votes (8)

 

Benjjamin

Pro

The various constraints on life (i.e. must derive energy from its surroundings, must compete, and coexist with other organisms through evolution, must self replicate, must hold details for its own self replication, must arise from the same 'primary' interstellar gases [hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen] from which all solar bodies are sprung) suggest it is likely to be limited to a set of ergonomic mechanisms/patterns that can only function within a limited range of terrestrial conditions
Fkribs

Con

Although there are "various constraints on life" there are also unlimited variables to how an organism can be constructed. The real debate here is what's considered "very similar". Many different environs can be produced on different planets and just the slightest change can alter an alien drastically. You said "any life" which would mean every planet in the universe would need to have earth-like beings and, therefore, the same variable conditions to Earth. The probability is nearly impossible.
Debate Round No. 1
Benjjamin

Pro

Chemical behaviour is proven and predictable. Atoms adopt/lose electrons according to the wavelength of energy absorbed. Chemical bonds, e.g. DNA, break down under certain conditions. Evolutionary pressures select for the most successful features. If any terrestrial planet must lie within certain parameters in order for life-requiring reactions to occur, life arising on that planet to be similar to life on Earth, have similar drives that result in the evolution of similarly adaptive features
Fkribs

Con

While that may be true, you cannot ignore the fact that it's quite possible that certain parameters could exist that we aren't aware of yet. None can say they know everything about the universe and there's always more than one way to skin a cat. Earth might very well be one exception to the norm of what average life in the universe looks like. Suppose on a different planet, only the body plan was different and one of those creatures came to Earth. The being would hardly be deemed "very similar".
Debate Round No. 2
Benjjamin

Pro

I argue for similarity, not identicalness. Bodily features may vary. It is thought that 5 digits per limb advanced through evolution solely because animals with such digits fortuitously emerged on to land 1st. New discoveries abound, hinting at the possibility of totally different organisms. But, while basic bacterial life can emerge from harsh conditions, sentient life of high-level consciousness is more fastidious. I contend that we are unlikely to meet the fantastic aliens of movie fantasy
Fkribs

Con

I can't help but bring up the topic of the debate again. You said "any extraterrestrial" and "very similar". The idea that ALL life foreign to our planet would be very similar seems absurd. I agree that we aren't likely to run into aliens from Hollywood but there are too many variables of creation for every possibility to be considered "very similar" to Earth. I contend that Pro's instigating statement is too vague and broad to be accurate and I maintain my position that the topic is implausible
Debate Round No. 3
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by Benjjamin 7 years ago
Benjjamin
It seems incredibly unlikely to me"

I really don't mean to offend anyone by saying this. I really don't. But, I think that when debating, as in the style done on this site, one should back up their contentions with, at the least (as I have done) a logical, deductive argument, and preferably (as I have regrettably neglected to do) referenced evidence.

I shall endeavor to learn more, but it is my understanding that initially RNA, then later DNA arose in the same manner as organism features, I. it was the most efficient design of the available functioning possibilities. That is to say, once proteins had emerged from the heat fuelled, chemical chaos of action emerging from deep sea vents (black smokers), RNA was successful as the most metabolically efficient method to allow these proteins to a. assemble into symbiotic patterns b. survive, and c. self-replicate.

It could be argued that given different elements, temperatures, atmospheric compositions, or climatic conditions, a different mechanism would emerge as the 'most metabolically efficient method' to allow proteins to do a, b, and c. However, if this were so, why do we fail to find advanced life on other terrestrial planets within our solar system? Planets that are hotter, colder, richer in CO2, more geographically violent, larger, smaller, that are subjected to different gravitational forces, follow a more erratic/elongated orbital path around the sun, etc. This range of conditions has failed to foster life (in the sentient sense). I concede that the range of conditions available in our solar system is relatively small given the number of galaxies in the universe, however, the entire gamut of variables (e.g. heat, metallic composition, orbital path) on whose axis conditions CAN vary is far more constrained. Therefore diminishing the likelihood of discovering sentient life elsewhere in the universe that is completely unique and different to life on earth.
Posted by daniel_t 7 years ago
daniel_t
@Benjjamin: All the aliens that humans can conceive of are just variations of, and therefore similar to, life on earth. If you are asserting that you think (intelligent) aliens will look like humans in makeup, then I have to disagree; that seems incredibly unlikely to me.

If you simply assert that all life must have DNA or RNA as its base, then you might be able to sustain that sort of argument with enough research sources.
Posted by Benjjamin 7 years ago
Benjjamin
cheers for your comment daniel_t. i agree with what you have said. Just to clarify then; when i said 'we are unlikely to meet the fantastic aliens of movie fantasy', i had in mind aliens such as those from District9, Independence Day, or some of the more striking aliens used in futurama (i know this is a cartoon, and as such intends to, and can create far-fetched, imaginitve characters. I cant think of any further adequate movie examples, though im certain there are movies with such 'far-fetched, imaginitive aliens' featuring). The largely humanoid fellahs and fellahesses from Stark Trek etc (as far as i know, for i dont watch it) would be within the realm of 'similar' in the way i originally intended it.

I definately will cite evidence in my next argument. Quotes and references.

I do argue that all life in the universe would have DNA. Though it was, at best, only inferred by my arguement, i should have stated it explicitly.

'Likely' was the wrong word to use in my argument title. To save confusion, maybe i should have just sated 'any extraterrestrial life will be similar to life here on earth'

I mean 'similar' in the sense of 'not identical to'. I attempted to clarify this in my final rebuttle. Hence, I opined 'bodily variations may occur'.
Posted by daniel_t 7 years ago
daniel_t
Benjjamin, you should have cited the book and used some quotes from it.

Arguments: Con.

Pro changed the contention in his last argument. "I contend that we are unlikely to meet the fantastic aliens of movie fantasy." If the resolution was true, I would expect that the movie aliens would be exactly what we would meet.

Pro never explained how likely is "likely" or how similar is "similar". Is he arguing that all life in the universe will have DNA, or that all aliens probably look much like the ones in V and Star Trek?
Posted by Benjjamin 7 years ago
Benjjamin
you maybe right Freeman, though im not sure. Ive just read a intoductory book on 'astrobiology' by Lewis Dartnell. Basic as it is, it puts forth clear and logical argument (both from the Author, and other scientists in the field) that life 'from other worlds' is likely to have significant and visible similarities with our own.

I apoogise that i have no verbatim, empirical evidence to support what i am about to say. However, one could argue that as energy in the form of matter, heat, or light etc, obbeys the same observable laws where ever it may be in the universe, (a macrolevel example: the heat of a star always effects the atmosphere of an orbiting planet proportionate to its distance from that star), one could follow that the energy contained within the atoms, molecules etc of a prebiotic planet will behave and respond in a similar fashion to how they did on prebiotic earth.

Indeed, it seems that advanced forms of life cannot emerge on other planets within our own solar system that do not meet the right atmospheric, temperature, light, geographic, hydrospherical, etc conditions. Although life his enthusiastically searched for and argued for on the planets of Mars and Venus, the Saturn moon Titan, and the Jupiter moons of Europa and Ganymede, it is only at the level of bacteria. Furthermore, the theory of Panspermia argues that bacterial life may have been more widespread at a more infant time in our solar systems history, and was spread between planets during a period of meteroic bombardment. If this theory is true (the least one can say is that it is held up by many reputable scientists far more knowledgable than myself) it seems other planets within our solar system were given the 'chance' to produce life, and all but Earth failed to do so due to inhospitable conditions.

I should look myself. And i may do when it is not so late, but, if, Freeman,you could post me a link with evidence that directly refutes what i am arguing, i would be very grateful
Posted by Freeman 7 years ago
Freeman
Pro is wrong.
Posted by Koopin 7 years ago
Koopin
I agree with Pro
Posted by Freeman 7 years ago
Freeman
Almost all biologists would be against this motion.
8 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Vote Placed by Chrysippus 7 years ago
Chrysippus
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Vote Placed by Fkribs 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by Koopin 7 years ago
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