The Instigator
tvellalott
Pro (for)
Winning
21 Points
The Contender
zucky
Con (against)
Losing
7 Points

It is reasonable to believe that Alien life exists

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
tvellalott
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/14/2011 Category: Science
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,345 times Debate No: 14389
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (9)
Votes (5)

 

tvellalott

Pro

OPENING
Hello!
The resolution is obvious: I am of the opinion that it's extremely LIKELY that Aliens exist and believe this is a reasonable position.

Here is my reasoning, based on common arguments arguments against Alien life. I am not building a strawman against my opponent, but giving an insight into my position.

PLEASE, NO ARGUMENTS BASED ON THEOLOGY.

ARGUMENT
"Life exists here, therefore it is reasonable to assume it exists elsewhere."

To quote Douglas Adams "The Universe is a really BIG place"

Well, given that time restricts how far into the Universe we can see and ultimately impossible to know if other Universes exists, it's impossible to say how big.

However, here [1] we see evidence of light 14 billion lightyears away.
That's pretty damn big.
This more than anything proves to me that there MUST be life elsewhere in the Universe. It would be illogical to assume otherwise.

Here [2] we see that a German supercomputer simulation put the number of galaxies in the universe at 500,000,000,000, five hundred BILLION.

The science behind these estimates is sound and I'll paraphrase source 2; "In order to create these estimates, astronomers use a powerful telescope to deeply study a region of the sky, gathering light for hundreds of hours. Astronomers count up the number of galaxies in the cone of space that makes up the deep image, and then use this as an average for the rest of the sky."

With hundreds of billions of galaxies, each with millions of stars, we are talking about trillions or even quadrillions of planets.

To assume that no other single celled organism exists on any other planetin the whole universe is, quite frankly, ridiculous.

SOURCES
[1] http://www.cfa.harvard.edu...
[2] http://www.universetoday.com...
zucky

Con

This is my first debate on DDO, so please bear with me.

To be clear, I am working under the assumption that when the proposition mentions Aliens, he means organisms who meet the same life requirements as we do - which are:
1. Reproduction
2. Response to environment.
3. Metabolism
4. Growth/Aging
http://wiki.answers.com...
Also, the planet must be able to sustain life, and so it must meet the following requirements:
1. Water
2. Breathable atmosphere
3. Gravity
4. Heat
5. Nourishment f the life form
http://wiki.answers.com...
http://wiki.answers.com...

All the Proposition seems to be saying is that because the universe is so big and there are so many stars, it would be logical to assume that there are other organisms somewhere out there.

My argument, which directly refutes the propositions claim, is that the probability of other life is virtually zero.

Yes, there are many planets out there. Therefore it would be logical to assume that some of them have some of the aforementioned requirements. But the probability of the planet to fulfill the 5 requirements and of the life form to fulfill the 4 requirements is so low that it is extremely unlikely for there to be Alien life forms, and therefor extremely illogical to assume that there are such beings.

And so, because of the extremely low - virtually nonexistent probability that there is a planet which has the 5 requirements, and of that planet to host a life form that has the 4 requirements, I beg to oppose.
Debate Round No. 1
tvellalott

Pro

Thank you to zucky for accepting this argument. Welcome to DDO and the best of luck to you.

REBUTTALS:
These are two direct quotes from my opponent:
"My argument, which directly refutes the propositions claim, is that the probability of other life is virtually zero."
"...the probability of the planet to fulfill the 5 requirements and of the life form to fulfill the 4 requirements is so low that it is extremely unlikely for there to be Alien life forms, and therefor extremely illogical to assume that there are such beings."

Virtually zero? Extremely unlikely? Given the scope of the Universe, this seems akin to "Almost definitely".
I don't know if he intended to agree with my resolution, but that is what I take from these statements.
Regardless, I'll rebutt his other comments in two-pronged style:

My opponent is under the impression that Earth-like planets are uncommon. Perhaps... but here is some food for thought:
Scientists believe a planet must be in the "Goldilocks zone" [1] for it to sustain Earth-like life.
It is interesting to note that earlier in the life cycle of our closest star, the Sun, Mars would have been in said Goldilocks zone and Earth would have been a more Venus like enviroment [2]. (The Azioc/Hadian period [3])

In other words, many billions of years ago, we may have had an Earth-like planet in our own Solar system. IN - OUR - OWN - SOLAR - SYSTEM. That doesn't seem so uncommon to me.

ARGUMENTS
Lifeforms that exist outside of Earth-like conditions.

My opponent also makes the assumption that Earth-like conditions are a REQUIREMENT for life.
Here [4] we see Scientists who put some bacteria microbes on the outside of the ISS [5] and when they checked them 18 months later, found many of them still alive.
Here [6] we see bacteria living at the bottom of the ocean, that gain their nurishment from basalt rocks.

This shows that not even all the life we know to exist needs "Earth-like" conditions to survive.

CONCLUSION
Remember the resolution.
It is my burdon of proof to show that it is a reasonable position to believe life exists outside of our planet, not to prove that life does exist.
Given the incredible uncertainly regarding much of the science of Astronomy and Abiogenesis, all I can do to forfill this burdon is show how incredibly likely it is that life does exist. My opponent has taken the position that is extremely unlikely. The strange thing is, this only makes my resolution stronger. If he, my opponent gives some chance to it, however unlikely a chance that is, isn't he argeeing with me?

I have researched this thoroughly and have seen nothing that remotely suggests that there is NO life out there. No matter how unlikely one concludes life outside of Earth to be, the fact we exist shows that life can form and become sentient in our harsh, unpredictable Universe

So what is more likely, that we are the sole life in the entire Universe or that we simply haven't yet and may never find other life?

VOTE PRO

SOURCES
[1] http://science.nasa.gov...
[2] http://www.space.com...
[3] http://cas.bellarmine.edu...
[4] http://www.bbc.co.uk...
[5] http://www.nasa.gov...
[6] http://www.windows2universe.org...
zucky

Con

The Burden of Proof on the Proponent is to prove that it is REASONABLE to believe that there is alien life. So by showing that the chances of that are virtually nonexistent I disprove the proposition. How my proponent takes virtually zero and turns it into almost definitely I have no idea.

The proponent in his argument stated that:
1. Many billions of years ago Mars might have had the possibility of HOSTING life.
2. Earth-generated life can SURVIVE in adverse conditions.

But the proponent fully ignored the fact that he needs to prove that the probability of abiogenesis is high enough to be reasonable to believe in, Which it ISN'T. http://www.cs.unc.edu...
And merely stating that earth-generated life can survive in adverse conditions does not prove that. Neither does the fact that Mars could have hosted life prove that.

Another view is that the fact that MANY BILLIONS OF YEAR AGO Mars COULD have hosted life does not make it reasonable to believe that there is NOW life over there. And the fact that it was that long ago that a planet close to the conditions of ours had the remote possibility of hosting life, surly the chance of a planet that is dissimilar to ours has a virtually zero chance of hosting life now!

So again, I say that the chances of life on another planet are virtually zero, therefor unreasonable to believe in.
For this reason I beg to oppose.
Debate Round No. 2
tvellalott

Pro

Let's assume for a moment that abiogenesis didn't happen. That leaves biogenesis, right? The theory that life can only come from other life...
Where did our life come from?
Since I expressly asked that theological arguments weren't to be included, this argument seems to support my resolution more than negate it; life came from elsewhere in the Universe.

Moving on...
First of all, I completely AGREE with the source you cited.

"How my proponent takes virtually zero and turns it into almost definitely I have no idea."

Let's next assume that the numbers behind your source are ridiculously underestimated and the chance of getting one DNA monocle right through abiogenesis is 1 to the power of a googol...

I've shown that two hundred billion galaxies in our Universe is a conservative estimate.
I've shown evidence that the Universe is at least fourteen billion years old.

Let's say that one relevant chemical reaction has happened in each galaxy, every year for fourteen billion years.
That's 2.8 to the power of 21. That's less than 1/5.

However, like any number put into the Drake Equation, these are simply estimates.
However, I obviously grossly underestimated all of the numbers I used as well as multiplied the numbers my opponent cited.

My WHOLE point from the beginning has been that the Universe is a BIG place. We really have no idea how big, since we are severely limited by our relatively primitive technology.

Remember, my opponent has not shown any evidence to show that there is no chance (zero) that life could exist outside of Earth and I have shown lots of evidence to show that there is a chance (no matter how insignificant) life exists out there in the Universe.

Life exists here, therefore it is reasonable to assume it exists elsewhere in some way, shape or form.
zucky

Con

About life on our planet, I just say or planet is unique, both in that life happened, and that life evolved on it to what its like today. According to the logic that it is reasonable to believe alien life happened, we should have found it by now, because it would have been abundant. And yet we did not find any traces whatsoever! Something in the proponents argument is already off.

I am sorry this turned into a definition debate, though the fact that it did supports my argument.
The debate turned into a debate over the burden of proof on the opponent - does the opponent have to prove that there is no chance at all for life, or that there is a minuscule chance of alien life. Remember - virtually zero chance of alien life means that it would be unreasonable to believe in it. According to the definition "It is reasonable to believe alien life exists" the burden of prof on the opponent would be to prove that it isn't REASONABLE, not that it isn't POSSIBLE. consequentially, the fact that the debate is whether or not I did that, means that I DID prove that the chance is minuscule, and therefor i proved my case.

The proponent has repeatedly said that his argument is that the universe is big, and that therefor there is a chance of alien life. I don't disagree that it COULD have happened - I believe that it is unreasonable to believe that it ACTUALLY happened. The proponent doesn't need to prove the possibility, he needs to prove the reasonableness of that belief.

The fact that he himself has stated:
"My WHOLE point from the beginning has been that the Universe is a BIG place."......"Life exists here, therefore it is reasonable to assume it exists elsewhere in some way, shape or form.", means that he only believes there is a REMOTE chance of alien life, not that there is REASONABLE chance.

Considering the above, I must oppose.
Debate Round No. 3
tvellalott

Pro

FINAL REBUTTALS

I just say or planet is unique, both in that life happened, and that life evolved on it to what it’s like today.

This is why I find the idea that aliens exist not only reasonable, but almost certain.

You see, I cannot possibly fathom something only happening once in all the billions of years that all the billions of galaxies have existed.

------------------------------------------

According to the logic that it is reasonable to believe alien life happened, we should have found it by now, because it would have been abundant. And yet we did not find any traces whatsoever! Something in the proponents argument is already off.

No. No, no, no.

Consider this analogy:

You’ve lost your keys.

When can you conclude they aren’t in the house?

Do you stand in one place, turn around in a circle and conclude that because you can’t see them, they are lost.

No.

If you truly wanted to be sure that your keys aren’t in your house, you must search your house. Failing that, you must search harder. If you still can’t find your keys and you’re certain you’ve searched to the best of your abilities, then you can conclude they aren’t in the house.

And they still might be in the house!

Ok, it’s a poor analogy, but my point is obvious.

No right-minded astronomer on Earth would conclude that we have searched to the best of our abilities. We haven’t even searched very well. We’re standing in the middle of an oval, turning in circles trying to find what could be a microscopic insect. We’re not even sure what we’re looking for. Aliens might be completely outside our understanding.

------------------------------------------

The fact that he himself has stated:
"My WHOLE point from the beginning has been that the Universe is a BIG place."......"Life exists here, therefore it is reasonable to assume it exists elsewhere in some way, shape or form.", means that he only believes there is a REMOTE chance of alien life, not that there is REASONABLE chance.

I would argue there is a remote chance of life existing in our solar system. If you imagine an orb starting out at the centre of Earth and expanding out; the larger the orb is, the more reasonable it is to believe that Aliens exist in that area. If the orb stretched out to be the size of the Universe, I would be certain you would find life in that enormous area.
------------------------------------------


CONCLUSION

I admit. I don’t know.

Nobody on Earth was proven aliens exist, despite thousands of eyewitness accounts.

But you know they’re there. Out there, in the endless Universe, something ELSE has happened. Something happened here (and yes, we don’t know what) and it’s bound to have happened elsewhere. There are too many galaxies and stars and planets.

So, remember. When the scientists prove that aliens exist, I’ll be the guy saying “I told you so!”

…right before we’re destroyed by their death-rays.


Seriously though, I think I have provided enough evidences to show that it is reasonable to believe aliens exist, even if you don’t believe it yourself.

VOTE Pro

zucky

Con

I'd like to thank tvellaltt for making my first debate a good debate.

For rebuttal:

"I cannot possibly fathom something only happening once in all the billions of years that all the billions of galaxies have existed." Really? You only happened once, the Chinese ethnic group only happened once. American English only happened once. Unique things happen all the time, say Life is unique.

Considering my proponents refutation consisted only of an assumption, this point goes to the opposition.


A key analogy? You know the key existed before it was lost, and you know where you lost it, so this analogy is totally irrelevant.
"No right-minded astronomer on Earth would conclude that we have searched to the best of our abilities. We haven’t even searched very well."
That's irrelevant - the debate is whether its reasonable to BELIEVE that alien exist. My point wasn't simply that because we didn't find any they don't exist. It was that according to the logic that alien life exists because of the billions of years of the universe, then that time should have made it abundant, and seeing as one were found, the logic of the statement fails.

Considering that the proponents logic fails, this point was well refuted by the opposition


The orb is an interesting idea, but the orb theory means that the further one is from the center, the orb's effect is lessened. So the fact that the proponent agrees that the chances of alien life in our solar system are remote, he must agree that the chances of life further out are minuscule.

Considering the proponent agrees with the resolution, the proponents arguments all fall.

The oppositions argument has consistently been that the chance for alien life is virtually zero. Considering the rebuttals above, this point has been well proved.


Debate Round No. 4
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by SuperRobotWars 6 years ago
SuperRobotWars
PRO PRO PRO PRO PRO PRO . . . [not all caps]
Posted by gavin.ogden 6 years ago
gavin.ogden
Oh my good lord! I actually agree with Charles! Noooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted by zucky 6 years ago
zucky
@charles0103

While its true we can't know whether aliens would be like us at all, in order to debate whether its reasonable to believe they exist you need some basic assumptions - i.e. they are somewhat like us. If there aren't any, the whole debate is who can rationalize his fantasies better.

Aside from that, I'd like to thank tvellallot for a good debate, and I'd like voters to vote for the arguments based on how good the arguments are vis-a-vis the other arguments, and not based on what the voter originally believed.
Posted by tvellalott 6 years ago
tvellalott
I should make a point of asking in round one that votes give RFD's or not vote at all. I always forget and it would probably be ineffective anyway.
Posted by Charles0103 6 years ago
Charles0103
How do we know that if there are aliens that they would have evolved like us? Who are we to say that they need water or oxygen? Heck, they might not even communicate like us so if we do meet them we might just awkwardly stare at each other (assuming they have eyes). I really don't know, nor do I care. I just hate how people who believe in other intelligent life thinks that they would be so much like us.
Posted by gavin.ogden 6 years ago
gavin.ogden
Pro just demolished Con...
Posted by popculturepooka 6 years ago
popculturepooka
Where is Geo at?
Posted by writinggirl123 6 years ago
writinggirl123
sorry, let me say the last two sentences again:

why do i believe that they don't live on other planets anymore? well, for one thing our technology is getting so advanced that i'm sure we would have found them by now!
Posted by writinggirl123 6 years ago
writinggirl123
i believe that aliens DID exist! first off, when scientists sent those robots (i apologize for forgetting the name) to mars, they did infact find that there were crevices that they believed used to be rivers and lakes. it is for this reason and this reason only that i believe life forms DID dwell on other planets. why do i not believe that they don't live on other planets anymore? well, for one thing our technology is getting so advanced that i'm sure we would have found them by now!
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by SuperRobotWars 6 years ago
SuperRobotWars
tvellalottzuckyTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
tvellalottzuckyTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by elizabeth1666 6 years ago
elizabeth1666
tvellalottzuckyTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:34 
Vote Placed by ErikMontague 6 years ago
ErikMontague
tvellalottzuckyTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:50 
Vote Placed by gavin.ogden 6 years ago
gavin.ogden
tvellalottzuckyTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:60