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'Human' More Likely Than Not Only Radio-Capable Life Form In Observable Universe

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/26/2014 Category: Science
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,071 times Debate No: 67532
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (36)
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Resolution : 'Human' is more likely than not the best the observable universe can produce in terms of technological advancement, defined as achieving radio or better. I think it likely any other intelligent, radio-capable life (if any) in the universe ... past, present or future ... will be carbon copies of homo sapiens.

Rules : This is not a theological or philosophical debate. Purely theological and/or philosophical arguments automatically forfeit debate. Opinions expressed must have factual and/or observational support.

Pro will argue it is more likely than not our specific biological design/configuration is one of the requirements to achieving radio technology or better.

Con will argue it is more likely than not our specific biological design/configuration is not one of the requirements to achieving radio technology or better.

Round 1 is for acceptance.

Round 2 is for arguments.

Round 3 is for rebuttal/closing arguments.



I accept the terms of this debate!

I may use CAPS, but only for emphasis - not for shouting!

I will remain mindful in the objection to using philosophical principles as arguments, as stated in the debate rules, without "factual and/or observational support." I don"t expect to have any theological arguments, but, if so, will also abide by the outlined rules.

As the con in this debate I hope it is realized, by both my opponent and the voters, that I am not arguing that there IS a non-human life form in the universe capable of achieving radio technology or better; rather I argue that the biological design of humans is not a requirement of radio, or a superior, technology. Obviously I cannot provide an example of any non-human organism having achieved this technology, but I can, however, certainly show that it is more likely than not - in fact more than likely - that our specific biological design IS NOT one of the requirements of radio technology or better.

Also, this is my first debate here at! I've read the terms of service, and will comply accordingly, but please be sure to let me know if there are any community rules, customs, or courtesies I am missing or not following.

I look forward to the debate that is to follow!
Debate Round No. 1


He was so sure. Astonishingly, he still is.

"He is also interested in the possibility that the very numerous red dwarf stars, stars that are much less bright than the Sun, might host habitable planets. In this regard, he has noted that the behavior of various objects in our own solar system – in particular the resonances between their rotation and orbital periods – when applied to some of the newly discovered extrasolar planets, strongly suggests that most planets orbiting red dwarfs will not keep one face towards their star, and thus are more likely to be habitable. If this is proved correct, it will increase by almost ten times the probable number of habitable planets in the Milky Way." [1]

And it won't make a difference. But the last thing I want to do is rain on his parade.

I feel very sorry for him. He is 84 now, and I am pulling for him to live long enough to detect a signal. Hard to believe he was 30 when he flipped the switch. [2] I was almost 8. He had every reason to believe space would be flooded with signals. Well, maybe not every reason, because in his exuberance, he failed to observe a few critical things. But he had 'good' reasons.

When Frank Drake came up with his equation, it was still unknown if there were any planets beyond our solar system. Ask a devout Christian if there were and you would get laughed at ... or possibly beaten up. They took their special status in the universe very seriously. If God had made other planets He would have said so.

When I was in the 6th grade I was getting progressively sicker of the religious sermons that passed for science class. With 2 grades to a classroom, I had already been through it the previous year. As with other teachers, ours wore several hats. He was also the PE teacher, the football coach ... and the minister for the island's one Baptist church. I was the only known atheist and Mr. C. hated me in the worst possible way. As far as he was concerned, Satan himself was sitting there in his classroom in the guise of a little kid.

I raised my hand. He saw it but ignored me. Did I mention I was not allowed to speak in that class? I kept my hand up. This was starting to freak out the rest of the class. I wasn't allowed to talk to them either. Nor look at them. And yes, I had gone the entire previous year without saying a single word in that class. Or any other class. This had started 5 years earlier when I stood up in Sunday school and denounced God.

Mr. C. had refused to allow me in his class at the beginning of 5th grade, but they didn't give him a choice. He told me the 1st day if it was up to him I would be dead.

I just couldn't take it any more. Once again I stood up. At about 4'4" and 60 pounds I was quite small for my age. I heard gasps from some of the girls. He stopped and looked over at me, surprised, then that smug little half-smile played across his face. He was maybe 40, and 6' and around 240 of solid muscle he was sure he could take 'Satan'.

"What?" Softly, menacingly.

"You are wrong." I said.

He looked around the class, his face broadening into a smile.

He turned back to me. "What did you say?"

"You heard me. You are wrong. There are trillions of stars out there, at least. You would have to be an idiot to believe our sun is the only one with planets." I sat back down. The class was in shock. Silent, not breathing. I knew ...

His face drained of color. He reached for the heavy yardstick he had hit my hands with dozens of times and walked slowly toward my desk back in the far corner.

"Put your hands out."

"No." More gasps form the class.

"I want ask again. Put them out."

"No." He slammed the yardstick down on my desk.

"Get up."


"GET. UP."

"Go f*** yourself."

I was vaguely aware of lying on the floor up against the wall. I didn't really feel my ribs break when he kicked me, then he was on his knees smashing his fists into my head, screaming I was dead. I could hear other screaming too then I woke up in the nurses office.

The doctor came to the island once a week, and it wasn't his day, so I was taped up, and Mom took me home. The rest of the year I was in the 7th/8th grade class. They didn't fire him. I don't think he ever got arrested. They told me later he had hit me in the face with his fist hard enough to lift me out of my chair. It took two equally big male teachers to pull him off.

Yes, I was really hoping we would discover extra terrestrial intelligent life. But I had already suspected it was very very long odds. And even if we did, it wasn't coming here to take me away.

N = R_{\ast} \cdot f_p \cdot n_e \cdot f_{\ell} \cdot f_i \cdot f_c \cdot L

N = 1,000 to 100,000,000 advanced, radio-capable life forms in the Milky Way. They say it wasn't serious, but just a 'marketing' ploy to get funding. Not. To the hopeful the Drake Equation was a solid guess, with most optimistically taking the high end.

I forgave Mr. C. long ago. He couldn't help believing what he did. From what I understand he died before the first exoplanet was discovered. Pity.

Knowing that every star has at least 1 planet hasn't changed much for the DE. Other more realistic numbers have been plugged in, and the range now is a low of 2 IN THE OBSERVABLE UNIVERSE to 280,000,000.

Assuming earth exists from natural processes ... and us ... and taking into account what we know about the adaptability of life under extreme conditions, it is a safe bet there is life all over the observable universe.

So why no signal?

We can finally be certain that there are numerous 'chances' for life to exist. So we can eliminate the possibility that there just aren't that many planets. The lower bound to the number of stars in the observable universe is 10^23. Could realistically be as high as 10^26 or even higher.

We now know the physical laws are the same everywhere. The basic materials are ubiquitous. If our solar system is 'typical' ... and we have no evidence of it forming under bizarre and/or completely unique conditions ... 10^22 earth-like planets is not unreasonable.

The excuse from SETI that we have examined 'carefully' only about 1,000 stars is absurd. For one thing, Seth has been saying this for 20 years. The reality is, we have 'glanced' at much of the sky. If a tiny low energy photon can make a several billion year journey across the cosmos, then so can a radio wave.

In any case, 1,000 stars after 50 years? 20 stars a year? We wouldn't make a dent in the available number of stars if we looked for another billion years at this rate.

So a couple of simple observations. If a wide variety of design configurations living under a wide variety of planetary conditions could create radios this renders as moot every proffered explanation, such as they are too advanced, too alien, too xenophobic, too cautious, life destroys itself, life destroys others, life is destroyed by natural causes, we aren't listening properly, etc, etc. Because the universe would be jammed with radio signals. It obviously isn't.

A few years back, Seth Shostak hypothesized there could be a 'barrier' between us and the rest of the universe. When he said that I wanted to send him an imaginary face palm.

We are getting ordinary photons from across the cosmos. X-ray. Microwave. Infrared. Ultraviolet. We use radio telescopes. Unbelievable.

So constraints on biological design and the planetary conditions are self-evident.

Let's take a closer look at earth.

Ever see a great white use a cell phone? How long have sharks been around? Roughly 350 million years.

Turtle? I think about the same. If we gave either species another billion years would they ever produce a radio?

Not if they still look like a shark and a turtle. What about birds? They can be pretty clever. The common crow is considered highly intelligent. For a bird. They actually use 'tools' ... in a manner of speaking. And it only took them about 200 million years to get there. Other birds build nests ... crude habitats. Some even put roofs on them.

Think they will ever build a radio? Not as long as they are birds. There is another feature we see in these 3 species. They have essentially stopped evolving. They found their niche.

What about the octopus?

Ok, none of those were ever going to build a radio.


They range in size from Madame Berthe's mouse lemur, which weighs only 30 g (1 oz), to theeastern lowland gorilla, weighing over 200 kg (440 lb). Based on fossil evidence, the earliest known true primates, represented by the genus Teilhardina, date to 55.8 million years old. An early close primate relative known from abundant remains is the Late Paleocene Plesiadapis, circa 55–58 million years old. Molecular clock studies suggest that the primate branch may be even older, originating in the mid-Cretaceous period around 85 mya. [3]

Tens of millions of years to build a radio. They advanced all the way to using sticks to fish out honey from a hive.

Hominids. [4]

Millions of yeas. No radio.

Jump to homo sapiens.

200,000 years.

All those 'potential' species had lots of time and pretty ideal conditions.

Humans really didn't do much for the first 195,000 or so.

Then they took off. Sort of. The Egyptians were great builders. But never came up with radio.

Humanity invented a lot of things over the next 2,000 years. [5] But not radio.

That work started around 1820, involving several men and close to 90 years. [6]

Humanity created 'radio'.

Umm, no, it didn't.

You see, 'humanity' didn't build a radio. It was no more than 1,000 men in recorded history who had the mental leaps. If we assume about 100 billion born in the last 200,000 years, that averages out to about one genius for every 100,000,000 humans.

Even being human wasn't enough.









intrinsicsimplicity forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Intrin and I are starting over. We are stupid noobs and screwed up. Don't bother voting.


Resuming arguments in corresponding debate.
Debate Round No. 3
36 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Pywakit 1 year ago
Ok ... ready when you are.
Posted by Pywakit 1 year ago
@ intrinsic

Will do.
Posted by Pywakit 1 year ago
@ intrinsic

Will do.
Posted by intrinsicsimplicity 1 year ago
Sounds good. Let me know when you restart the "The Most Prolific Purveyor of Human Misery in History: The Insidious Evil of Christianity" debate too, I've been following that one as well.
Posted by Pywakit 1 year ago
Let's give it a few days and see what happens. If we don't get yelled at I will give you a heads up so we can coordinate starting a new one. But I will put your name in as CON anyway.
Posted by intrinsicsimplicity 1 year ago
Oh wow, voting period is 9 days. Whenever you'd like to start the next debate sir, just let me know!
Posted by intrinsicsimplicity 1 year ago
Pywakit, do you want to just wait until this debate expires, to open the other?
Posted by intrinsicsimplicity 1 year ago
If you'd like to I'd be more than willing, yes!
Posted by Pywakit 1 year ago

hey. want to start fresh?

we can just pop our arguments into a new debate I think.
Posted by intrinsicsimplicity 1 year ago
is the 10,000 a word limit, or a character limit? Do spaces, punctuation, and empty lines count towards the limit?
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