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The Contender
Pro (for)
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E.T. Exists!!!

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/20/2014 Category: Science
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,410 times Debate No: 63546
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (32)
Votes (1)




My contention is that it is probable that there are no intelligent beings in the universe except on earth. It is so probable, in fact, that I will say "E.T. does not exist", provided this claim be taken as "there is no evidence E.T. exists, and E.T. is not likely to exist, either.

My argument will be divided into two sections. The first of which is to silence the conspiracy nuts. The Pro need not respond to it, unless they want to it. It is merely to set the scene. The second section is my actual argument against the likelihood of E.T.

Section One: The absence of evidence

1. UFOs perform no feats that cannot be replicated with either holograms or what military air-craft could feasibly accomplish, assuming covert military projects are 20-40 years ahead of publicly acknowledged tech. An extraterrestrial hypothesis to account for them is possible, but neither plausible nor necessary.

2. There is no credible physical evidence of aliens or alien technology. An extraterrestrial hypothesis is unnecessary, when evidence is lacking. Most, if not all, of what is presented as evidence are obvious hoaxes.

3. The founding researchers in alien abductee accounts --- Budd Hopkins, John Mack, David M. Jacobs, Whitley Strieber --- all have deep issues with credibility in honesty, methodology, discernment and personal ethics. And even if the entire field were not highly suspect on that account, no credible evidence has been presented by any of these researchers, or any of their intellectual heirs.

4. The "ancient astronaut" theory is rooted in the following assumptions:
a. That if an architectural design is (allegedly) not understood in the ancient world, "therefore aliens."
b. That ancient myths are even remotely credible. (AA theorists overlook stories of people transforming into animals, as it so happens, and other such nonsense that doesn't fit their theories)
c. That human genetics cannot be explained through natural evolution and inter-breeding with other early hominids
All these assumptions are flawed.

5. The panspermia theory, while possible, is neither necessary at this point nor especially plausible, not to mention that there is no direct evidence to support it. It is based purely upon the perceived lack of evidence or coherency in the abiogenetic account, and the theory itself is proof of nothing other than the wild imaginations of the science-nerds who came up with it.

Section two: The evidence of absence

The fact of our cosmos being able to support life on even a single planet is extraordinarily unlikely. Conscious life as we know it, to exist, requires the cosmological constant to inhabit a spectrum of such extreme minutia that it would require 10 to the 120th power other dead-on-arrival universes within a multiverse-model to exist. Said a little different way, if our own universe arose out of random probability, as in a slot machine, then for it to occur once would require 10 to the 120th power other slot machine sessions for us to mathematically posit that a universe that could support life would arise --- according to Steven Weinberg, that is. And he would know.

What is 1 to the 120th power? Science now estimates that there are 10 to the 78th power to 10 the 80th power number of atoms in the cosmos. This means that there must be more incredibly more alternate universes where life as we know it would be impossible than there are atoms estimated in the observable cosmos.

(Keep in mind, "cosmos" in this case doesn't mean other galaxies or solar systems. What is meant is whole, parallel, alternate universes, like in the movie Castaway, staring Tom Hanks).

Therefore, it is incredibly unlikely that there is other life in this universe at all, for when we consider how extraordinarily unlikely an event it must have been for the first primordial forms of life to emerge abiotically even once, and then add in how extraordinarily unlikely the variables of a single aspect of our cosmos is (the cosmological constant), then it becomes clear that other lifeforms in the cosmos are implausible. It is far more likely that they do not exist, that we are entirely alone, and that consciousness has risen with this planet of ours, and it shall, in the fullness of time, die with it as well. And this is assuming the multiverse model is correct. If there is not an actual multiverse as described, and if this cosmos is the only one, then the likelihood of there being life dwindles even more dramatically.

It is reasonable, then, to assume that we are alone in the cosmos, that there are no ETs.


And yet, it happened. Life can be proven to exist on at least one planet, Earth.
From there, we can conclude that all of the variables necessary for life to exist are set within our universe, because if they weren't then we wouldn't be having this debate.
The possibility of another universe containing the necessary variables is irrelevant to the possibility of life existing within this universe. Whether or not our universe exists independently or as part of a larger multiverse space only brings in the question of the universality of set variables.

So what are the variables that are necessary for life to exist? First, we must realize that the physical laws that govern events in this universe are universal in nature, or basically, they apply everywhere in the universe and that not even a galaxy at the edge of the observable bubble plays by a different set of rules [1].

With that in mind, we can confidently assume that another planet, in the right conditions, would create a proper environment for life to originate. Assuming, of course, that the way it is theorized to have happened on Earth would be repeated. So what are the "right conditions" for life to originate?

While we are obviously ignorant of possible life that don't have the same requirements as our own, our current definition of "life" only applies to life that would exist similarly to Earth-Life, so this narrows our conditions to only those that Earth-Life requires to exist.
These conditions for planets are:
1. They're a comfortable distance away from a star similar to our sun. That is, they're far enough away to be out of the heavy heat and radiation zone, but not so far that they're extremely cold. This just-right distance is called the "habitable zone."

2. They're made of rock. Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus in our solar system are made of gases, so we don't expect life to be able to survive there.

3. They're big enough to have a molten core. Earth's core gives us a source of geothermal energy, it allows cycling of raw materials, and it sets up a magnetic field around the planet that protects us from radiation. Mars probably had a hot liquid core at one time, but because it's a smaller planet its heat dissipated more quickly.

4. They are good candidates for having a protective atmosphere. The atmosphere holds carbon dioxide and other gases that keep the planet warm and protect its surface from radiation.

Those are just for planets and only for planets that would follow a similar existence to Earth. A moon could have all of the necessary conditions for life to exist, but allow them in a different way, such as Europa [2]. Even a rogue planet, a planet detached from it's mother star, could possess the proper requirements [3].

The estimation for habitable planets has been reported a number of times, each within the range of a few billion to tens of billions [4]. For the sake of this debate, I will use the lowest reported value of 2 billion for my final point in this round.

The amino acids that are necessary for building DNA and RNA has been created in the Miller/Urey experiment, Juan Oro's testing of Hydrogen cyanide and ammonia, and found within meteorites that have fallen to Earth [5].

By combining all of these factors, we can see that even if there was a 1 in a million chance of life originating on a properly conditioned place, it would still occur two thousand times in just our galaxy alone. This, of course, only addresses the chance of microbial life existing. Microbial life, while still extraterrestrial life, is not intelligent life, so this argument doesn't directly address Con's.
But this does:
The age of the Universe is estimated to be around 13.7 billion years old [6], The first confirmed signs of life existed 3.5 billion years ago [7]. It took a minimum of 3.5 billion years for Earth to possess it's first intelligent life. Let's cut the amount of habitable planets that are likely to have life down by a factor of 100 for a sake of random events happening that would prevent life from advancing too far, so that leaves just 20. There has been 4 (rounded up from 3.9) 3.5 Billion year time scales since the big bang, let's forget the first one since that is likely to be too hostile for something as fragile as life. Now we are left with three time scales, which we then multiply by the 20 that do likely to have at least microbial life, and we get 60. That's 60 different places in the galaxy where intelligent life, at least as advanced as us, are likely to exist. I would then multiply that by the number of galaxies in our universe, but that doesn't seem necessary.

Debate Round No. 1


Thanks again to Pro for engaging in this marvelous debate.

Now to win:

1. The Pro rightly points out that the existence of life proves conclusively that this universe supports life. The point of my bringing up the unlikelihood of our current universe is to fore-echo the unlikelihood of life within that universe. For example, it is unlikely that I will win the lottery, no matter how many times I play. If I do win it, it is unlikely I will do so twice. And if I do happen to win it twice, it is unlikely that I will be struck by lightning during my second win. And even if I am struck by lightning on my second win --- an incredibly unlikely event --- it is even more unlikely that I will be attacked by a dapper honey-badger during the process. But even if I win the lottery twice, am struck by lightning and bitten by a honey-badger while turning in my second ticket, it is inconceivably unlikely that the honey-badger, a natural loner, would have a partner in crime, leading to violence at the paws of two dapper honey badgers will being toasted alive to grease by lightning.

To summarize, my argument rests upon unlikelihood, and lack of probability, and an improbable event within another improbable event is doubly improbable.

Moving on to the more pressing issues (and I am in total agreement with the Pro's 1-4 conditions of life-bearing planets, and wouldn't dream of refuting them):

2. The Miller-Urey experiment uncovered that over 20 different amino acids necessary for life could arise from conditions which occurred on the early earth. However, for life to arise requires more than the mere presence of amino acids, however charming they might be. The amino acids must form into a highly complex protein chains, at the very least, and these chains are unlikely to form in a purely aquatic mileau. Unless you can demonstrate the steps which would lead to the highly complex chain in an environment equivalent to early earth conditions, the entire theory remains untenable. The best sounding theory I remember having read is micro-crystal scaffolding as found in soft clay structure being what determined the initial shape of these chains, but there is by no means a scientific consensus that this is the best theory.

If the clay-scaffolding idea is correct, then life would require a planet not only able to support the amino acids, but also a planet with the right type of clay. And, even then, the right chains of protein must have been formed, somehow became self-replicative, and not have been destroyed. The list goes on.

Even the "metabolism first" theory of life's origins --- which seems very promising to this mind --- has not been demonstrated with any degree of certainty.

Quoting Robert Shapiro:

"The small molecule (metabolism first) approach to the origin of life makes several demands upon nature (a compartment, an external energy supply, a driver reaction coupled to that supply, and the existence of a chemical network that contains that reaction). These requirements are general in nature, however, and are immensely more probable than the elaborate multi-step pathways needed to form a molecule that can function as a replicator. . . . They have not yet demonstrated the operation of a complete cycle or its ability to sustain itself and undergo further evolution. A 'smoking gun' experiment displaying those three features is needed to establish the validity of the small molecule approach." That 'smoking gun' experiment is still yet to come."

Suffice to say, to determine the probability of other intelligent life in the cosmos, we would have to know:

ay) how many life-supporting planets (or moons) there are,
bee) how many of these planets possess the necessary mineral and atmospheric conditions to support life
cee) how many of these planets are old enough and have the right conditions for life to have evolved to an intelligent stage
dee) what the likelihood is of life arising at all on a planet with the necessary conditions (it is theoretically possible that a plant could have the conditions, and life simply not arise)

But we can be certain of the following:

I. A universe which supports the conditions of life as we know it inhabits an incredibly small spectrum of potential variables, making the life anywhere in the multiverse extremely unlikely (though not impossible) [also, the multiverse theory is, to my mind, the theory which makes life most probable.]

II. The origin of life itself is not yet understood, but all experiments and theories currently point to it being a quite difficult and rare scenario. The primordial soup/RNA world hypotheses would mean that life is incredibly improbable, whereas the "metabolism first" hypothesis would, at the outset, seem to make it more probable than the former theory, but still highly improbable. Yet, even so, there is no conclusive proof for any of these theories, which does not speak well of their likelihood (though it must be admitted that one of them, or something like them, did happen at least once).

Many who think that life is a fairly common event in the universe seem to equate the arising of life with other common natural processes. If we do find that life arises easily within certain conditions, I would be the first to concede that these conditions are likely to appear in many places throughout the universe and, time-wise, life is therefore likely. Yet at present there does not seem to be any evidence that life is an "easy" occurrence. Out of the various theories we have about the origin of life, all have gaping holes in them. I would say that the view that life, as a freak accident, arose in one planet and then gave rise to intelligent beings who seeded other planets with life (panspermia) is a more plausible basis for life being present throughout the universe rather than life arising on multiple planets, separately. Yet as there is no evidence for this theory I must believe, with great sorrow, that our consciousness-producing earth is Rare --- at least until further evidence.

Now, keep in mind that I do not say that intelligent extra-terrestrial life is impossible. I only state that it is improbable considering what we currently know of science. The burden of proof is on me to state why it is reasonable to conclude that life is highly improbable, and the second, equally awesome burden of proof is on the Pro to give us something which would persuade us of life's likelihood on a scientific basis. I hope I have done so.

To summarize, when the Pro writes that "That's 60 different places in the galaxy where intelligent life, at least as advanced as us, are likely to exist", my argument is that all our current evidence points to life arising out of an insanely improbable and Snicketaean series of unfortunate events and, if that is the case, then we can reasonably go to sleep tonight safe in the safe assurance that we are alone, that life is meaningless, and our tortured little flash of life is an awful exception to the majestic, blind rule.

If I am wrong, may my face be bitten off by the celurean space-panthers of Io.


Unfortunately, we have reached the end of humanity's knowledge on this topic. While we could debate all day about how protocells can be formed in a variety of ways, there is no conclusive proof that these protocells could turn into self-replicating cells. There simply hasn't been enough time and research devoted to this topic to pull any relevant sources of information from, so instead, I will be taking a separate approach in 4 different points.

1. Regularity of Commonness:
Everything we thought to be unique and "special" has turned out not to be. Outside of life, everything else is not only common, but numerous. While we have yet to find a planet exactly like Earth, we haven't even scratched the surface of all the possible planets to look at. The amount of sky and the radius around our solar system we've studied is a microscopic sliver of the sum total of our galaxy. We've also only been looking at places where Earth-life might have formed and survive, we don't even have an idea of other ways Exolife could form. Relying on the formation of Amino Acids into complex RNA/DNA chains is just our way of projecting our bias and ignorance onto the universe. While we don't have another example of possible ways life could exist, we should be trying to find other chemicals that could combine and become self-replicating. It's quite possible that DNA isn't even necessary for life and is only one of a variety of ways. If we did find a creature that didn't have DNA but possessed something else, would we even classify it as life? If we only assumed that planets like Earth were planets, we would be doing a disservice to the likes of the mighty Jupiter and Saturn. If we only classified creatures with agency as living, we would be doing a disservice to plants and fungi. It may be entirely necessary to broaden our scope of what "life" is so that we don't miss out on a great finding. We should not ignore the constant negation of the naive notion of uniqueness that we've assumed for so long.

2. Intrinsic Connection:
I wrote this a few months ago and I will share it here. Everything Spiritual is Psychological is Biological is Chemical is Atomic is Quantum. The difference between life and non-life is so close to nothing that it's a wonder we don't see rocks walking their rock-pugs around. The fact that a complex arrangement of non-living particles results in a living organism is simply mindblowing and it shows that there is nothing at all special about being "alive". The fact that a mixture of specific chemicals can produce emotions as invigorating as happiness, as powerful as anger, and as mysterious as love shows that the difference between what we've given "special" qualities to and ones we've denoted to be mundane is just an illusion. When we understand this, it opens up entirely new ideas about what's possible, and leaves us with the powers of a god once we can manipulate this intrinsic connection.

3. Missing Link:
The Origin of Life, The Source of Consciousness, The Origin of Creation, and the Wants of Women are all unanswered questions that humans have been trying to answer since the first curious thought. After a great many years of study, testing, and theory creating, we have reached the Penultimate status of discovery for all of these things. We have discovered that the universe came from a singularity, that all life on earth came from one common ancestor, that all conscious thought comes from the chemical firing of neurons in the brain. But, we have yet to answer where the singularly came from, how the first life form came about, or how exactly a combination of neurotransmitters can produce something as incredible as thought. We have traveled a long road to reach this point and we are only getting better and faster with coming up with results, but we don't know the answers to these questions yet. Or, perhaps, we may never know the answers to these questions. Even if we searched the entirety of the universe for life and found none other, it still doesn't answer whether or not it could have formed in a different place than Earth, only that it didn't. Even if we traveled to the past as far we possibly could, we would never reach the point where the singularity existed alone, there was simply no time to have passed at that point. Even if we mapped every single neural connection point and tracked the movements of transmitters of a person their entire life, we would still not be able to predict what that person is thinking, only what they might be thinking. We are so close to the end that humanity can almost taste it, but it's just as likely that we will never reach the end as it is that we will, only time will tell if our technology allows us to transcend our current mental limitations.

4. Alternative Idea:
I present an alternative idea, one that encompasses both of our arguments. There is no other intelligent life in the universe besides humanity. There is no Galactic Federation run by aliens, no Universal Trade Commission, no nothing we have imagined in science fiction novels... yet. WE are the first intelligent species, it is humanity that will spread life throughout the universe, it is humanity that will form a galactic federation and it is humanity that will foster the growth of living things into their own versions of intelligent life. There are no intelligent lifeforms right now, but with our eventual growth and spreading into the galaxy, we might become the instruments of change necessary for life to form elsewhere. It could be that one day, an alien child will look up at the stars and wonder if there is someone looking back, and it will be us.
We certainly have enough time to accomplish this.

I close this round by saying, we can ponder statistics and probabilities all day, but in the end, we don't know. We just don't freaking know, and it is our duty to find out.
Debate Round No. 2


The Con's last post was very well said, and I can't really critique it on a sound scientific basis, for --- like the Con points out --- we simply do not know enough about the origin of life to say for certain. For the sake of the debate as a whole, and to do justice to the problems science seems to be facing when it comes to this question, I'll take this time to illustrate a few potential problems, aware that they could be resolved as we learn more:

1. Regularity of Commonness

It is true that science generally uncovers that the things we once thought unique were not unique at all. Nevertheless, we must also admit that the facts we know of the universe at present do not exclude unique things from occurring. Until we know how life has arisen, we are totally in the dark about how "unique" or "common" life is in the universe, at large. Yet I think we do have a hint when we look at the radical difference between even the most rudimentary forms of life vs non-life. If abiogenesis is correct, then even the least complex model of how life arose is still almost impossibly complex to fathom when we look at the particular details. True, life resembles a kind of large-scale mimick of simple chemical processes such as absorption, retention, transformation and repulsion, excretion, etc. but the complexity involved in a simple cell is unmatched in its functional symmetry, unity and action, if we compare it to known chemical processes. Insofar as it so radical different, yet clearly derived from natural elements, it would be too far a stretch to imagine that it is something common in the universe --- unless, of course, we know how it came about.

Now for some craziness:

2-3. Intrinsic Connection / Missing Link

I don't have much to add to this by way of critique. I will say that we can perhaps plot out consciousness as a vast, trillion-fold system of individual electro-chemical reactions which, working in concert, produce a unified field of intentional and receptive awareness, but the problem is how we get to the initial biological structure of the first living consciousness.

But, of course, the answer may come from some other field of science rather than biological studies. I have a very vague and fuzzy notion that there must be some principle of symmetrical organization that "influenced" these chemicals to act in concert, just as certain chaotic weather conditions can produce the elegant patterns of a snow-flake.

4. Alternative Idea

This could well be possible, but I doubt humanity will make it that far. In order to colonize space, we need to leave the planet. In order to leave the planet, we must be able to derive enough resources from the planet itself to get us off world. At the current pace, we have too many people, are using up too many resources, and not putting nearly enough money into space travel. Technology, while wonderful, is still limited to the raw materials that make things work. If we use them up, even if we are capable of going off world, we won't be able to, and we will perish and die --- forgotten, as if never having existed.

Also, even if we do make it off-world, we need to continue to produce space-ships, space-stations, etc. and this will require mining the resources of other planets. However, if we over-mine (which will likely happen, considering our current trajectory) and do not drastrically keep the population in check, then we may find that we are limited to the solar system. If that is true, our entire civilization is just another exercise in futility, equivalent to all the other mass die-offs of history.

The only thing which would prove me wrong is if we both have enough resources to get off the planet, firstly, and if there exists enough in our solar system to leave it and colonize the rest. But even if we have the proper resources, we are trusting that human beings will make the proper decisions in this regard. As we speak, the United States --- the arguable leader for a long time in space-technology --- is wallowing in filth and inertia, and, as a whole, seems to be losing its resolve to survive. If Russia weren't so degraded, I would have more hope for it. India is deeply backward in many respects, despite the incredible brilliance of many Indians, and I fear that their democracy will prevent the necessary territorial and economic expansion that is required for them to lead the way. The E.U. is a joke and a half. This leaves us with China as the horse to bet on for future space-colonization. They alone have an authority which is centralized enough to ensure population control, and as they incorperate more free enterprise into their system, I think they are capable of making as many technological strides as the U.S., Europe, Israel, Japan, etc.

But even then, national competition still casts its shadow on the world. The best scenario I see is the BRIC nations coming together under the central direction of a Sino-Russian pact to counter the West. Ideally, the West will dwindle away into computer-obsessed pleasure-junkies, and such tools as virtual reality, drug legalization, etc. can be used to make the West impotent and sluggish, so that it will die away peacefully and perhaps give the more authoritarian structures the benefit of its flourishing technology.

Will this happen? It depends on Russia and China. India's democracy will prevent it fromt taking the initiative, and Brazil, like most Latin America countries, is too deeply under the thumb of the West. The animosity of India and China, also, is very regrettable. Hopefully the Uighar uprisings and the prevalence of Islamic extremism will make China less and less inclined to support Pakistan as a hedge against India, but this again brings us to whether testosterone will win out and entomb us or whether the calmer heads will prevail.

Likely the former will happen. "Life is a long study for death", I believe a Greek philosopher once said. Sentient life may be a terrible accident, producing pain, screams and tears in a cosmos which, formerly, was without them, and we may be forced to collectively conclude that:

Sleep is good, death is better --- truly,
but greatest of all is to have never been.
--- Heinrich Heine

On that note, I leave it to Con to cheer us up. :)


Therein lies the problem. It is that type of thinking that prevents us from blasting off toward Cigna 8 on our 40% Speed of Light spaceship. It is this "competition, us versus them" mentality that has created an ever deepening rut. By splitting humanity into groups based on the specific patch of dirt they reside on, we split our powers of innovation and derail any attempts at true progress. Only by joining together can we overcome the obstacles that lay before us.

Going into space should not be thought of as an option, a business opportunity, a triumph over rivals, or the idea of science nerds. It should be thought of as humanity's next step in evolution, a milestone of a maturing civilization. Granted, it won't happen the way we imagine for quite some time, the Enterprise is going to take us awhile, but we have around 5 billion years to get there... and only 5 billion years. Regardless of what people feel, we HAVE to leave this planet eventually, it won't be an option when our sun starts getting hungry. Of course, 5 billion years is longer than the Earth is old right now and most of us believe we will have killed ourselves by that time, but not if every country becomes apart of the United Countries of Earth, and not if we change our way of thinking. Space travel should be thought of as similar to our avoidance of extinction. There's no real logical reason why we should avoid extinction, it's just something that is an unquestionably bad thing. In fact, it is both the question and the answer. Space travel exists above our petty disagreements, it transcends our political and religious squabbles as it affects every human being. It makes me shake my head when I see people ask what the point is to go into space, or that it's too hard and expensive, don't let your mind be that small! This is so much greater and important than anything we have ever done in the past that it's surprising we aren't out there already. This goal is immune to such ridiculous and restrictive things like cost and difficulty.

Okay, but, what IS the point? How do we front the costs of this? How do we get everyone on board (literally and figuratively)? Where do we go? How do we get there? What's out there that we want? What does this have to do with the debate?

The Point:
Before we can discuss The Point, we have to understand how meaningless that question is. What's the point of waking up in the morning? To go to work. What's the point in going to work? To make money. What's the point of money? To use as a currency for things like food and shelter. What's the point of food and shelter? So I don't die. What's the point of avoiding death? So I can stay alive. What's the point of staying alive? So I don't die... ad infinitum. We get to a circular argument and we never reach the true meaning of our actions. Because, there is no meaning, and thus no point. We have to try and break this impeding mindset of finding a reason to do things. We have to let "beneficial for all humanity" be enough of a reason to move forward as a species, lest we continue to ponder in our dark corner of the universe till our time is up. While we could point to a great number of reasons why space travel should be attempted, it all boils down to, we just have to.

The Cost:
Payment is an arbitrary human invention based on our selfish need for a reason to do hard work. It is what keeps us (most of us) from sitting under a rock smoking peyote all day while watching the clouds. It is a simple way of avoiding true altruism by making both parties benefit, usually with the seller getting the most. The fact that NASA has to ask the government for money, but the military is drowning in it, is just disgraceful. If all the countries on the planet combined into one, money won't be an issue. If the United States gives 25% of their military budget to NASA and space companies, money won't be an issue. Money is only an issue right now because the U.S government is run by morons with more interest in getting re-elected than the country they're supposed to be running. This type of problem will never solve itself or by a soft touch, it must be solved with force. The price of space launches are hyper inflated due to companies taking advantage of NASA's semi-large budget, this is quite literally corporate fiends slowing down our progress so they can make an extra buck, a shameful pus filled sore they are for doing so.

The Population:
We can't take everyone. Most of the criticisms aimed at space colonies, ignoring all the other questions, is how are we supposed to sustain 7 billion people on a planet that isn't anywhere near Earth in terms of resources. This is one of those things where our soft-hearted need to help the needy and weak doesn't apply. Similar to the movie 2012, but with far less rich people, we must be incredibly selective as to who we take into space. Specific qualities immediately stand out, such as: Physical Fitness, Mental Stability, Above Average Intelligence, Emotional Stability, adequate Scientific Knowledge, and the ability to produce offspring. These already eliminates a huge number of people and it will only shrink further when other restrictions are put in place. The people who are left behind will still have Earth for quite a long time, so it's not like we would be leaving them to their doom. Attempting to take everyone will result in certain failure.

The Destination:
Right now, we don't have a clear idea about where we will go. We can't just take off in a general direction and hope for the best, so we need to have a specific destination in mind before we really take off somewhere. All the other places in our solar system, even mars, isn't sufficient for building a true human colony. There have been a few planets that might support us that have been found, but they're very far away. We need to spend more time and money on building better telescopes to look around us for an adequate new home.

The Means:
Chemical rockets need to be trashed and forgotten about, they simply won't get us where we need to go in a proper amount of time. Ion Drives are nice, but they have worse acceleration than a dog with one leg. They can theoretically let us reach enormous speeds, but we'll need to see it put into practice before we can devote our energy to it. Other ways are being explored right now, and space devoted companies are speeding up progress, but we'll have to wait and see what all we can create. Perhaps the new hot fusion engine Lockheed/Martin claims to be testing could suffice. We must also remember that building a spaceship specifically to reach a destination is only one way of doing it, building a movable space habitat would be a more feasible plan. It would let us have a base of operations to explore space without having to take the risk of landing on a hostile planet. More technology to create self-sustaining production equipment should be a must have goal for this kind of thinking, since we can't just radio in to Earth for more resources... plus if we left those people behind, they probably wouldn't want to send us anything. 3D printing food seems to be a viable way of keeping everyone fed, we just need to find a way to keep getting bio material to print.

The Want:
Domination! Or, more accurately, flourishment. Spreading among the stars will increase our knowledge, increase our odds of survival, allow us to possibly find other life, give us access to more material to build with by mining asteroids and material rich planets, force us to adapt to changing environments and conditions that will drive innovation on a level we have never seen, give us a grand meaning to our existence, give us a chance to explore an almost infinite amount of space and never see anything twice (unless we get turned around), allow us to spread life to other planets that might one day evolve into a separate intelligent species, allow us to speciate from our Earthling cousins and become something even greater (genetic enhancements, artificial selection, etc). There are probably many more benefits to such a venture that I can't even fathom because it's something we have never done.

The Debate:
While none of this goes to help me prove why an intelligent species exists outside our own planet, it does address the debate topic itself. That one day we will become E.T. I don't see this as an if, but a when.
Debate Round No. 3
32 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by mightbenihilism 2 years ago
If hostile alien forces do arrive --- and, inshallah, they will --- I have a hard time seeing what possible strategy we could have which would make our condition better.

Theoretically, holding the earth hostage might work --- as in, "Go away or we'll blow up the planet!" But they may just knock out our power grid, and that'll be that.

Probably the best thing to do in such a situation is mass-produce a cocktail which would send everyone who took it into death's easy oblivion. That way we can at least escape the awful fate of being enslaved by the alien overlords or, worse, bred like cattle to feed their inhuman appetites.

Chances are, the military will make the decision. And, historically, militaries don't always make the best decision. They will probably shoot, and it'll probably tick the aliens off, in which case they'll invade, destroy and/or enslave us, and the human race will be just another speed-bump in the earth's gruesome history.

The flip-side is the aliens may be quite benevolent --- something like the "angels" of religious lore --- and they may actually seek to improve us. All bets are off if we start shooting, though.

Maybe we should shoot flowers at them. That way, it will be up to them to interpret if we are hostile or not. That will give us more time, perhaps.
Posted by Atmas 2 years ago
I think humans should prepare for the worst so we won't be taken by surprise. We don't have to attack them, but treat them the way we treat people who trespass onto government territory. I would hate for a powerful alien race to come to our planet with nothing but curiosity and then we react as if we are under invasion and send our puny weapons to bounce off their craft. I imagine it would be like tribal people with slings attacking our tanks, you don't want to wipe them out, but it doesn't seem like you have any options other than running away or killing them all.
Posted by mightbenihilism 2 years ago
Yes, 'twas fun.

I think the outcome of the debate reflects the human situation when it comes to E.T. --- it might be good to be alone in the universe, or it might be a horrifying prospect for future humans.

Similarly, it might be good to have aliens somewhere out there, flying around, kind of like the Jetsons, or it might lead to horrors so unspeakable that even H.R. Giger wouldn't paint them.

I think there are aliens, though. Probably lots of them. They're probably ugly as hell, too. And smelly.
Posted by Atmas 2 years ago
Well, looks like we tied. Good debate, Mightbenihilism! I certainly had fun.
Posted by Atmas 2 years ago
The question is, who had the BoP? Lol
thanks for the comments and vote Dookieman and missmedic
Posted by Dookieman 2 years ago
This debate was close, and I don't feel persuaded by either side. Con points out that the cosmological constants are set up in such a way that it makes the idea of intelligent life arising unlikely. But Pro states that even though that might be true, our universe nevertheless is still able to harbour life, and given that our universe is extremely old and vast, it's hard to imagine that there is not or has never been intelligent life. A debate topic like this is hard to vote on, which is why I call it a tie for the time being. I will be happy to clarify my points if anybody ask.
Posted by missmedic 2 years ago
It is human arrogance to think that other life does not exists. Even if the chances are a trillion to one, with billion if not trillion of galaxies and each of these galaxies having billions of star systems like our own, mathematics and logic makes it a probability. To dismiss the possibility is to show ignorance.
Posted by Atmas 2 years ago
I think it's strange that there's a question as to whether RNA is the original molecule of DNA. OF COURSE IT IS! That's just scientists being vague until they have the final answer, but come on! It's so obvious! It's literally looking at two halves of a puzzle piece and saying, "Well, we don't know if the puzzle REALLY is the product of these two halves, but it seems likely". >.> anyway, that's my rant about that.

And the amino acids forming into nucleotides can be done with either continuous high external energy transfer (like boiling heat) or by an instant flash of extreme external energy (lightning, volcano erupting, etc). It's just like fusion in a star, it's nothing crazy, you just need something to give the stuff a little push.

Also, if we find out that life originates from clay, I'm going to kick a priest in their smirking face. Saying, "You got lucky punk! You were wrong about everything else!"
Posted by mightbenihilism 2 years ago
Hmmm, protocells forming like snow-flakes:

"When phospholipids are placed in water, the molecules spontaneously arrange such that the tails are shielded from the water, resulting in the formation of membrane structures such as bilayers, vesicles, and micelles."

This is also cool:

"Recent research has shown, however, that RNA nucleotides can be formed without the need for pure ribose. Importantly, the starting materials for the reaction can utilize starting materials that are considered prebiotically plausible, and provide high yields of RNA nucleotides. These results have greatly bolstered the argument that RNA nucleotides may have been found in abundance on the early Earth.

Assuming the presence of pools of RNA nucleotides, how did long strands of RNA form on the early Earth? Ribozyme function is likely to require strands of RNAs that are composed of at least 30-40 nucleotides. Research from James Ferris' group at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute suggests that the formation of long strands of RNA may have been catalyzed by clays such as montmorillonite. The charged clay surface attracts the nucleotides and the increased local concentration of nucleotides causes bond formation between nucleotides, forming a polymer of RNA (illustrated in the animation on left). "
Posted by mightbenihilism 2 years ago
I loved what you said about what it will take to be a space fairing species and I couldn't stop laughing when I realized how horrific both our contentions must sound to some types of conspiracy theorists:


It's damn true but I think this qualifies us as reptilian/Rothschild overlords.

It will be interesting to see what the voters think. Its not as sexy a topic as Islam, the Trinity, or Mario's Buddhism, but. . .
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Dookieman 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.