08 May 2008

On alien life

This article explains why the author thinks finding evidence of life on Mars would be a bad thing.

These kind of arguments annoy me because they seem to contain a basic error. Science, like any belief system, is based on faith. In the case of science, it’s faith in the assumptions that underpin the scientific method. One of these assumptions is that the observable universe is solely the product of the operation of natural laws, i.e. that it is pristine and natural.

The problem with the Fermi Paradox is that it uses this assumption as evidence. However, we have no reason for believing that the assumption is true. We just have to accept it on faith.

Let’s assume that an intelligent technological species evolved somewhere in our galaxy several billion years ago. They built von Neumann machines and sent them off to colonise the galaxy.

If I were designing those machines, I’d give them another purpose on top of replicating themselves. I would programme them to seed life in suitable places – for example, rocky planets at the right distance from their sun to have liquid water on their surface, like our planet. The easiest way of doing this would be to reconfigure the stuff that was already there (basic amino acids etc) and let it develop naturally. If one of those machines rolled up here about 3.8 billion years ago and did this, the end result would be what we have now.


Anonymous said...

Thats always been my theory... but then there were the Golgafrinchans

David Cauchi said...

Well yeah, there's something to be said for the quarantine theory. Look at us. As a species, we're pretty fucking stupid. We believe in all these absurd things: religion, economics, laws.

If you were an alien, would you want to have aything to do with us? You'd keep us around for entermaintent value ('what will the idiot apes do next? Oh look, they've invented captilasm! How long will it take to fuck up their plamet? 2000 years? 1000? Oh no, just 500'). It's unbelievable, people seriously believe their whims and desires justify the murder of other living things on an industrial scale. Fucking hell! I saw a comment recently that said 'I choose to run long distances, so I need to eat red meat'(!!!).

And look at laws. They've been around for at least 6000 years. And have they dealt with crime over that time? Of course not, that's not what they're meant to do. They're just an excuse to have a standing force of trained killers to keep us in line.

Fuck I hate people. Arseholes.

Oh dear, I'm a bit pissed and totally unjustifiedly ranting. I could go on, but will stop now.

David Cauchi said...

See? Too pissed to spell even.

stephen said...

I love you, David.

David Cauchi said...

Why ta!

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