The Instigator
Brendan21
Pro (for)
Winning
39 Points
The Contender
sherlockmethod
Con (against)
Losing
26 Points

it is more probable that aliens exist than not

Do you like this debate?NoYes+1
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Vote Here
Pro Tied Con
Who did you agree with before the debate?
Who did you agree with after the debate?
Who had better conduct?
Who had better spelling and grammar?
Who made more convincing arguments?
Who used the most reliable sources?
Reasons for your voting decision
1,000 Characters Remaining
The voting period for this debate does not end.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/26/2010 Category: Science
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,659 times Debate No: 12420
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (9)
Votes (14)

 

Brendan21

Pro

Aliens most likily exist. It is statisticily impossible for earth to be the only life in the universe.
sherlockmethod

Con

I thank Pro for starting a fantastic debate, and I "want to believe" in reference to aliens, but I must disagree with my over enthusiastic opponent at this point as we do not yet know how life arose on our planet and; therefore, cannot determine the probability of it forming on others as of yet. I will deal with a few semantic issues first:

Aliens: Pro specifically said planet earth in his opening statement so he cannot wish to show that "aliens" in regards to illegal aliens in a certain country satisfy his definition. So for the purposes of my response the term "alien" (left undefined by my opponent) should be an organism existing on a planet other than earth. This organism need not be intelligent. I see no need to determine the fine line between life and non life as that is another debate. I leave to my opponent whether he would consider a virus to satisfy his position.

Stipulations: I support the evidence that life can arise by natural processes and has done so on our planet.

I will take a complete negative position for this debate.

Point 1:
Aliens most likely exist

Rebuttal: Show me.

Point 2: Statistically impossible

Rebuttal: I do not know what Pro means by statistically impossible in reference to this debate so I ask for a definition. What is/is not statistically impossible concerning a process that we cannot fully define at this point in our knowledge?

This debate is four rounds so I will reserve my negative case for Pro's first presentation. Bring your best stuff and you should come out on top, but my position will be a negative one in the respect that we cannot determine the statistical impossibility of a process that we are currently unfamiliar with at this moment in time.
Debate Round No. 1
Brendan21

Pro

I agree with Con that my argument in round 1 was vague to say the least. I agree upon his terms of aliens.

1) Statistically impossible

It is statistically impossible for there to be only one planet out of the trillions to have any form of life on it. The cosmos is littered with galaxies, each one littered with stars, ranging in age on a cosmic scale. Some stars have planets revolving around them, most of which are huge gas planets like our Saturn. But some planets fall into what is called the Goldilocks Zone, where life, according to earth standards, could exist. I also add this though, what about moons? The gas planets in our solar system have many moons, ranging to size from a small rock to a small planet. If our gas planets have moons, why not others in the cosmos? These moons could also have a possibility to harbor life.

2) Formation of life

It is mostly agreed upon that life sprang up from primordial goo, when molecules were colliding into each other at random and over millions of years, by chance, life came into existence because of a lucky combination. If this theory is true, why shouldn't this happen all over the cosmos? Why is it limited to one planet? It took millions of years for this to happen on earth, but the cosmos has been around for billions of years. Stars range in age in the billions of years some times. An older solar system has an even longer time to go through the stage for life to come from non-life. For this reason, not only is it more probable that aliens exist than that they don't, but it is also likely that some where else in the cosmos, an older civilization is out there, and they are much smarter than we could even comprehend.
sherlockmethod

Con

I thank Pro for his response, but still maintain the Con position as Pro has not made his case.

Statistically Impossible:
I still do not know what this term means. Pro restated the point that the non existence of life on other planets is statistically impossible, but did not define this phrase. I believe any probability above zero, no matter how small, is statistically possible. Pro can win this one without the use of statistical impossibilities so I recommend he either defines statistical impossibility or drops it altogether. I am not sure any event is "statistically impossible" when dealing infinity and so on, but I think Pro may be saying the likelihood of life not occurring on other planets, given the large number of planets in the universe, is so little as to function as zero probability. This discussion arose on a math Q/A on the web. http://mathforum.org...
Not the best stuff, but I see no need to ruin a debate by spewing "lies, damn lies, and statistics". Pro is positing this position:
1.Given that life arises by natural processes
2.Natural processes occur in all parts of the universe
3.Given the large number of planets/moons, etc.
4.Natural processes are more likely to form life on other planets as opposed to not.
I recommend leaving "statistically impossible" out of the debate altogether.

Rebuttal: Fact-we don't know how life arose on our planet. We are getting closer, but we are still missing vital parts of the explanation. We cannot say what the probability of life on other planets would be, until we understand what conditions are necessary for life to form. I fully agree that if life occurs on other planets then we can say the organisms probably evolve as we have a robust theory of evolution, but the formation of life itself is still beyond our understanding.

Pro needs to show how we can determine the likelihood of an event (as he declared the event [life formation] as being "more likely") when we do not understand the event itself.

Such a conclusion is without warrant.

Trillions of Planets, Goldilocks zones, and Uncertainty:

I agree we have more planets in the universe than we can count right now, but I also agree that no two planets/moons are identical. http://news.vanderbilt.edu... (This example deals with binary stars) This should not surprise us as we know that random events such as meteor strikes affect the current state of planets depending on when they get hit, the size of the strike, etc.
What are all the elements needed for life to form? We do not know yet.
What particular "earthlike" aspect should we be looking for to find life? We do not know yet.
Given that differences exist between all planets/moons and celestial bodies in general, what basis do we have to support a higher likelihood assessment that any planet other than our own can accommodate life given its differences? Not much.

For voters, a Goldilocks zone is defined as a zone which allows a planet to have surface water. http://en.wikipedia.org...

As for life, the assumption needed for these planets to be considered more viable for "earth like" life is that surface water is necessary for life formation. This is a good assumption, but given the numerous unknowns in abiogenesis, we cannot say what earth like feature is the best to produce life. Surface water is a good start, but surface water is not the only factor, nor do we know if it the most important at this point.

Given the large number of uncertainties concerning abiogenesis, I conclude that claiming a more/less likelihood of life formation on other planets, at this point in our knowledge, is unwarranted.

My opponent presented information concerning abiogenesis and this is not necessary as I stipulated that life can arise by natural processes. He did err in suggesting the "primordial soup" is widely accepted. http://en.wikipedia.org...
The deep sea vent concept is making a good show right now. http://www.livescience.com...

I fully agree that life arises by natural processes and, as of yet, we do not know what those processes are so we cannot claim with much accuracy the likelihood of life on other planets until we know more about it. As much fun as the intelligent being idea presented by my opponent may be, it is not relevant to this debate.

Pro has not made his case; therefore, he has not met his burden in this debate.
Debate Round No. 2
Brendan21

Pro

I see now that because the burden of proof is on me, I will not win this argument. However I will not simply stop arguing because that wouldn't be Irish of me.

1) Goldilocks Zone

My opponent has already helped me define this term. We know for a fact that in our solar system alone 2 planets exist in the Goldilocks Zone, earth and mars. Both of the planets have water (on mars it is ice), which is the number one thing all known life requires. If the 2 planets in our Goldilocks Zone harbor water, why shouldn't at least a few hundred thousand other planets in Goldilocks Zones across the cosmos also have water? Some planets surfaces are probably all liquid water.

2) Formation of life

While we do not know that is the actual case of life on earth there are many theories, many my opponent has kindly mentioned. Some also believe in Panspermia, in which life originated in the cosmos. No matter the cause for life on earth, there is no reason to believe that it would be limited to only 1 planet. No matter what theory you believe, aside from God, it would make sense that at some time, (past, present, or future) for we are talking about billions of years after all, that life would have come into existance else where not on planet earth.

3) Planets

My opponent has stated that no 2 planets will be alike. Why not? We are talking about billions and billions of planets, some are bond to be similiar, just as some are unimaginable different. There is a huge cosmic sea, and only so many elements. It is most likely that there are planets that look incrediblely similiar to earth.
sherlockmethod

Con

I will respond to my opponent's points and conclude next round

1.Goldilocks zones: I defined this term for DDO voters and I fully concede that Goldilocks zones exist. These are planets that may or may not be in an ideal location to have surface water. As I stated, we do not know what all the elements are for some type of life formation…yet. As such we should not conclude the likelihood of life on other planets. I have already addressed this point.

2."[I]t would make sense that at some time, (past, present, or future) for we are talking about billions of years after all, that life would have come into existance (sic) else where not on planet earth." Until we know the outline of the process this statement is without warrant. I made this point in my last round.

3."My opponent has stated that no 2 planets will be alike. Why not?" I linked an article referencing binary stars to show that two celestial objects can be very similar, but not identical. I never stated that two planets cannot be alike, only that they are not identical. We do not know what all the elements are for life formation (we don't know if Goldilocks zones are the best place to look) [1] ; I agree that surface water is a good place to start, but I cannot bring myself to make a conclusion at this point. My point is the differences in our planet's history and current condition may be the key. Again, we simply do not know.

4."It is most likely that there are planets that look incrediblely (sic) similiar (sic) to earth." Why, Pro? And if such planets exist, they exist in the Goldilocks Zone, but we cannot tell if the differences are the key. Must a planet be merely similar? If so, what differences are allowed? We just don't know.

I am, as stated in round 1, presenting a purely negative case. I am forcing Pro to support his claim and going into the conclusions, I cannot say that he has, but I love this debate. Good luck in your final round, Pro!

1.http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 3
Brendan21

Pro

During this debate, me and my opponent have been arguing whether it is more probable that aliens exist than not. Not that we have proof they exist or that they even do. The question is, which is more likely, for us to be alone in the cosmos or that somewhere else there is life?

1) Goldilocks Zone

Because we know that planets do lie in the Goldilocks Zone, there is a chance life could exist at any one of these worlds, and out of all the worlds, it is less likely for us to be alone.

2) Time

Because the universe is billions of years old, it is most likely that some other planets have gone through the process to form life.

I thank my opponent for a great debate, and would like to remind him once more that this debate is "It is more probable that aliens exist than not"
sherlockmethod

Con

My opponent only offered one point in his conclusion (an unnecessary clarification) so I will address this point within my short conclusion.

Pro presented a debate and made a positive claim so the burden clearly rests on him. The bottom line: He did not support the claim. The debate concerns whether aliens are more or less likely to exist. My negative position is simple: We do not know enough about the formation of life to conclude the likelihood of life on other planets, yet. Stating that life is more likely without a framework for the formation of life was not supported in this debate. I asked Pro to provide justification for this conclusion, but he never provided the framework for us to consider. I am well aware of the debate topic and my case has been little more than asking for support. Pro simply did not provide it. I had little to counter.
Until we know more about the formation of life, we are remiss in declaring the likelihood of the process. We just need to do some more work and that work is in progress. As of today; however, Pro's position cannot stand. Thank you for the fun debate and welcome to DDO.

Sherlockmethod.
Debate Round No. 4
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by sherlockmethod 6 years ago
sherlockmethod
Ls,
That argument is fallacious.I would never use it, but thank you.
Posted by Ls4baseball 6 years ago
Ls4baseball
This debate prob could have been won outright by con by looking a the probability of life forming naturally by chance, even over billions of years is so incredibly small as to be virtually impossible according to Borel's law. Even if you dont believe in Borel's law and you assume life was created naturally by chance, the implausibility of it happening on earth times the implausibility of it happening again somewhere else in the world are... well.... implausible lol. I mean idk maybe alien's are real, would be pretty sweet but I have no way of knowing and therefor haven't given it much thought, but to say it is likely on an atheistic viewpoint when in that cause we would have already defied logic, probability and chance are far fetched IMO.
Posted by sherlockmethod 7 years ago
sherlockmethod
Rodiquez47,
You need to focus on the debate, man. I am well aware of the likelihood of life on other planets, but took the debate to see Pro's argumentation.
Posted by Rodriguez47 7 years ago
Rodriguez47
"Sherlockmethod", you need to focus on logic. Iv'e concluded without any help before this debate before I just found out about the Drake equation that theres a very large chance that life exist. It's logic man.
Posted by sherlockmethod 7 years ago
sherlockmethod
Roy,
Thank you for the RFD. I think Pro had great arguments in his favor but did not utilize them. You seem to be hitting on my main point, i.e. we just do not know yet. Pro should have trounced me in this debate, but used the wrong argument. I was ready for the Drake equation, why not use it?
Posted by Brendan21 7 years ago
Brendan21
Thank you for the comment RoyLatham, I learned something new from it. I am aware of Titan, as well as Europa, a moon of Jupiter's with a layer of ice over what scientist agree is liquid water. I look forward to finding out if there is aquatic life under the ice.
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
What is at issue is closely related to the Drake Equation http://en.wikipedia.org... which purports to compute the number of planets in the universe with intelligent life capable of sending signals to communicate with earth. One set of assumptions, defended in he Wiki article, arrives at the number 10. However, this debate is concerned only with the number of planets with life, not communicating life. That is the product of five factors:

R* = the average rate of star formation per year in our galaxy
fp = the fraction of those stars that have planets
ne = the average number of planets that can potentially support life per star that has planets
fℓ = the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop life at some point
L = the average length of time developed life survives on a planet

This is 10 x .5 x 2 x 1 x 10^9 assuming life lasts an average of a billion years. That's my guess, but life on earth is at least a couple billion years, and simple life forms seem durable. So that's 10^10 planets with life. It would be very hard to justify factor estimates that would bring 10^10 down to less than 0.5, so there is probably life elsewhere in the universe.

Did Pro argue this well enough to justify a win? That's iffy. He did a lot of hand waving, but since he only had to get within a factor of ten billion of the results of a reasonable calculation, I'll say he did.

The best bet to find life in our solar system away from earth seems to be Titan, a moon of Saturn. So maybe the proposition can be confirmed in the next few decades. You young guys will find out.
Posted by sherlockmethod 7 years ago
sherlockmethod
Prove it!
Posted by FMA 7 years ago
FMA
Aliens exist
14 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by TheDizziestLemon 6 years ago
TheDizziestLemon
Brendan21sherlockmethodTied
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 Ls4baseball 6 years ago
Ls4baseball
Brendan21sherlockmethodTied
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 Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by RazaMobizo 7 years ago
RazaMobizo
Brendan21sherlockmethodTied
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 Rodriguez47 7 years ago
Rodriguez47
Brendan21sherlockmethodTied
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 Tallek 7 years ago
Tallek
Brendan21sherlockmethodTied
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:07 
Vote Placed by Pyromaniac 7 years ago
Pyromaniac
Brendan21sherlockmethodTied
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 Itsallovernow 7 years ago
Itsallovernow
Brendan21sherlockmethodTied
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 Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:06 
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
Brendan21sherlockmethodTied
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:32 
Vote Placed by boltz93 7 years ago
boltz93
Brendan21sherlockmethodTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 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 Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:02 
Vote Placed by dmarais 7 years ago
dmarais
Brendan21sherlockmethodTied
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 Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03