Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 22nd Feb 2017 22:43 UTC
In the News

Not just one, but seven Earth-size planets that could potentially harbor life have been identified orbiting a tiny star not too far away, offering the first realistic opportunity to search for biological signs of alien life outside of the solar system.

The planets orbit a dwarf star named Trappist-1, about 40 light years, or about 235 trillion miles, from Earth. That is quite close, and by happy accident, the orientation of the orbits of the seven planets allows them to be studied in great detail.

One or more of the exoplanets - planets around stars other than the sun - in this new system could be at the right temperature to be awash in oceans of water, astronomers said, based on the distance of the planets from the dwarf star.

Science is awesome.

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Comment by Drumhellar
by Drumhellar on Thu 23rd Feb 2017 00:10 UTC
Drumhellar
Member since:
2005-07-12

This system has six earth-sized planets in the habital zone - our own sun has three (Venus, Earth, and Mars)
Five of these plants have a density comparable to Earth.

Of the six, three are close enough where the mantles may be heated by gravitational forces, increasing the odds of active geology, which may be a prerequisite for a stable, life supporting atmosphere.

Finally, because they pass between us and their host star, and because their star is an ultracool dwarf, it gives us the chance to study the atmospheres of each planet.

Even cooler, if there are aliens, they would have a star 5x bugger in the sky than our sun is, and on closest approaches, neighboring planets would be twice as large in the night sky as our moon.

That's quite a sky to live under!

Reply Score: 9

RE: Comment by Drumhellar
by Morgan on Thu 23rd Feb 2017 03:49 UTC in reply to "Comment by Drumhellar"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

I would imagine at least one of the planets is tidally locked which means that if there is life, it would be in the planet's own "Goldilocks zone" on the surface, the twilight area. Not too hot, not too cold, just enough daylight/darkness to sustain some kind of life.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Comment by Drumhellar
by Drumhellar on Thu 23rd Feb 2017 19:36 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Drumhellar"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

Sadly, it isn't clear that a tidally-locked planet could support life.

Some models suggest that water would eventually be locked in the dark side, as liquid water is carried by the atmosphere to the dark side, where it freezes out and stays, leaving the bright side a desert.

Though, this really only applies to 1:1 tidal locking.

Mercury, for example, is tidally locked, but has a 3:2 orbit to day resonance, due to its highly elliptical orbit.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Drumhellar
by BlueofRainbow on Thu 23rd Feb 2017 14:41 UTC in reply to "Comment by Drumhellar"
BlueofRainbow Member since:
2009-01-06

Has SETI pointed its search toward this system?

If there is life on one of these planets and it has reached the stage of radio/television broadcasting, being just less than a half-light-century from us, they may have already have heard us and answered back!

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Drumhellar
by alphaseinor on Thu 23rd Feb 2017 17:56 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Drumhellar"
alphaseinor Member since:
2012-01-11

Wideband radio transmissions probably will never reach that far, if they are interested in hearing from us, or us hearing from them, we listen and transmit on the resonant frequency of hydrogen... using a very narrow band.

If they have been doing tv or radio transmissions, it's unlikely a wideband signal would ever make it to us.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by Drumhellar
by Drumhellar on Thu 23rd Feb 2017 19:19 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Drumhellar"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

Sadly, they probably can't hear us.

Voyager, with its 20 watt transmitter, is at about the limits of signal strength in terms of usability.


For radio signals to reach TRAPPIST-1 at the same strength, you'd need an 8 gigawatt transmitter. Currently, in the US at least, 5 megawatts is the legal limit for transmitter strength.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by Drumhellar
by Alfman on Fri 24th Feb 2017 16:03 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Drumhellar"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Drumhellar,

Sadly, they probably can't hear us.

Voyager, with its 20 watt transmitter, is at about the limits of signal strength in terms of usability.


For radio signals to reach TRAPPIST-1 at the same strength, you'd need an 8 gigawatt transmitter. Currently, in the US at least, 5 megawatts is the legal limit for transmitter strength.



I haven't done the math, but I agree an omnidirectional transmitter would have to be incredibly strong to reach large distances. Either that or have an incredibly large antenna array to receive it. Once we found intelligent life, focused antennas with super high gain could reach arbitrarily long distances given the low attenuation in outer space, but the chances of randomly pointing them at a civilization doing the same thing are very slim.

It would be very a costly endeavor, the civilization would have to be willing to put a lot more resources than us into such a program. Such programs must necessarily span hundreds of years to account for propagation delay without any guaranty of success. Even if you do locate something and try to respond, either side could have given up by the time their signals reach each other.

I wonder if an artificial event like an atomic bomb could create distinct enough signature that it could be clearly distinguished from natural events? Assuming this were true, it could be used as a beacon, although we'd have to be looking in the right direction at the exact right moment otherwise we'd miss it.

Edited 2017-02-24 16:04 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by Drumhellar
by Drumhellar on Fri 24th Feb 2017 23:21 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Drumhellar"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

I wonder if an artificial event like an atomic bomb could create distinct enough signature that it could be clearly distinguished from natural events? Assuming this were true, it could be used as a beacon, although we'd have to be looking in the right direction at the exact right moment otherwise we'd miss it.


Lasers would be a much better option - far more efficient, safer, better controlled, and far more visible.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by Drumhellar
by Alfman on Sat 25th Feb 2017 03:42 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by Drumhellar"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Drumhellar,

Lasers would be a much better option - far more efficient, safer, better controlled, and far more visible.


The chances of hitting anything dozens of light years away is astronomically small. Even if we happen to hit some detector momentarily by chance, there would be virtually no way for us to keep it pointed there since everything in space is moving rapidly. The aliens receiving the signal are likely in a solar system moving tens of kilometers per second just like us. The vast majority of space is empty, the odds are in 50 years when our signal finally arrives it will pass right through empty space without hitting anything at all.

Therefor we're forced to us to use a more divergent beam to cover much more area, but then even our most powerful lasers would become weak, so it's not clear to me there's a benefit over a more powerful RF emitter.


The idea with the atomic bomb wasn't to be efficient, safe, or even controlled, but rather to create a very strong & distinct EMP signature to send a message that tells everyone else listening in space exactly where to focus their communication arrays in order to establish more efficient communications with us. In other words, it would serve more as a locator beacon rather than a primary communications channel.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Comment by Drumhellar
by kwan_e on Sat 25th Feb 2017 16:44 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by Drumhellar"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

I'd have thought a nuclear explosion would rank slightly above random noise spike, when there are regular high energy explosions all over the universe.

Also, we can track the motion of stars, which are predictable for the most part in the time span we're talking about. I seem to recall there was a recent study done about what it would take for a laser to dominate a star's light at long distances. So you don't have to aim it precisely at a planetary detector, because such a laser would occupy the same small dot in the sky from the other planet's point of view.

Edited 2017-02-25 16:49 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Comment by Drumhellar
by Alfman on Sat 25th Feb 2017 21:50 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by Drumhellar"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

kwan_e,

I'd have thought a nuclear explosion would rank slightly above random noise spike, when there are regular high energy explosions all over the universe.


I would imagine the nuclear reactor deep inside of stars emits a distinct signature from an artificial detonation out in the open, but we'd need to talk to astronomers who monitor these sort of things...and I don't know any.

Also, we can track the motion of stars, which are predictable for the most part in the time span we're talking about. I seem to recall there was a recent study done about what it would take for a laser to dominate a star's light at long distances. So you don't have to aim it precisely at a planetary detector, because such a laser would occupy the same small dot in the sky from the other planet's point of view.


IMHO this is putting the cart ahead of the horse. Sure we can track stars, but that doesn't do us any good without knowing which star systems have intelligent life waiting for our signals to begin with. Assuming it were distinctly detectable, a couple large broadcast detonations could increase the odds of contact significantly over galactic laser roulette.

The thing is, any approach we try assumes that they're trying the same thing. Even if someone were theoretically trying to contact us today, who knows if we're actually prepared to receive their signals.

Edited 2017-02-25 21:55 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Comment by Drumhellar
by Drumhellar on Sun 26th Feb 2017 06:52 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by Drumhellar"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

The chances of hitting anything dozens of light years away is astronomically small. Even if we happen to hit some detector momentarily by chance, there would be virtually no way for us to keep it pointed there since everything in space is moving rapidly.


Not at all. Lasers aren't perfectly collimated beams of light; they actually diverge. At a distance of 40 light years (the distance to Trappist-1), the light from the beam will have a cross section of a couple hundred AU, or about double the maximum extent of Pluto's orbit.

That is a large enough area that it becomes fairly easy to hit a star accurately.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Comment by Drumhellar
by Alfman on Sun 26th Feb 2017 18:37 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by Drumhellar"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Drumhellar,

Not at all. Lasers aren't perfectly collimated beams of light; they actually diverge. At a distance of 40 light years (the distance to Trappist-1), the light from the beam will have a cross section of a couple hundred AU, or about double the maximum extent of Pluto's orbit.

That is a large enough area that it becomes fairly easy to hit a star accurately.


I realize that, but by the time the signal diverges that much the strength of the laser is going to reduced by a factor of around 7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. Obviously the same thing happens with RF, but it's much easier to generate a high power RF transmission than laser. Oh well, I still think the main problem is knowing where to actually point it to begin with.

Edited 2017-02-26 18:39 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Nice to hear
by Kochise on Thu 23rd Feb 2017 05:54 UTC
Kochise
Member since:
2006-03-03

So we can definitively stop worrying, finish wasting our current mainland, extincting all remaining species, exploiting every square foot of soil, because in the end, there will be even more savage planets to conquer.

I just fucking hope there is already life out there that will defend themselves from our coming, leave us to drift in the void of space as only option. Perhaps we'll return back and finally understand how much valuable Earth is.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Nice to hear
by delta0.delta0 on Thu 23rd Feb 2017 07:31 UTC in reply to "Nice to hear"
delta0.delta0 Member since:
2010-06-01

If we manage to live past this century without completely knocking ourselves back to the stone age with nuclear war, then more than likely we will terraform mars and savage its resources before we go further afield, that is if we carry on with our current capitalist and greed driven society.

If we do manage to survive the next 100 years though I think humanity as a species will grow up and stop its "teen" tantrums, as a species our evolutionary stage is like teenagers - we lash out at each other quite a bit.

We've gone past the stage of babyhood and childhood where its all a wonder / magic, we are starting to make sense of our surroundings and the universe.

I like many physicists, believe in the presence of a God, an unknowable entity behind creation, because I believe in the presence of a soul.

I know a lot of intellectuals disagree with this notion of spirituality, but science and religion or science and faith go hand in hand. To have faith in there being something greater than ourselves outside of our understanding takes no greater leap of faith than believing science is the true answer to everything. The fact that the universe can be defined and quantified in simple beautiful mathematical equations makes me believe that there is intelligence behind creation.

Really our greatest problems will be solved when we embrace both science and faith - faith to give us a moral and social grounding and science to advance us and our understanding of our surroundings.

To dismiss the spiritual is to bite off your nose to spite your face. This does not mean I believe in the corruption of faith by many world religions for personal gain, or the ignorance of scientific fact that doesn't fit into the narrative they try to sell, but to also ignore the beauty that lies within the simple equations that define the parameters of the universe is also ignorant.

Many biologists are fixated on evolution as this disproves the creation stories in the Bible and therefore equate this to mean that its all a bunch of lies.

The problem of course is that the bible is a bunch of fables and tales that explains morality to humanity in its infancy a breed of people that at the time believed thunder and lightning was caused by some great man living on top of a mountain (Zeus).

These same people adopted Christianity and modified it to fall in line with their own beliefs. So while the moral and ethical code, going back to the Jewish 10 commandments is still valid (actually further back to Zoarastrian, Buddhist and even Hindu ethics, they are all from the same source, there is only 1 God, if you believe in God), the social teachings make absolutely no sense in this age and to try and make meaning or to place absolute belief in the dogma is crazy, I understand this.

Same can also be said of Islam, many and I mean a vast majority in the west do not understand where Islam comes from, before Islam women were traded as commodity between the arab tribes. There was constant struggle, fighting and complete break down between the various arabic nomadic tribes. Islam helped unify the arabs and further it did one thing very important it established learning, the value of ancient texts - the translation of ancient understanding and then the upgrading and improvement of said text. None of the ancient Greek, Roman, Persian or Egyptian understandings would have ever found its way into the modern world, if it wasn't for the work carried out by the early Islamic scholars. Islam started the pursual of higher education, of modern education systems and laying the foundations for modern science. It is now like Christianity corrupted, its time has come and gone, but that doesnt remove what it started and to deny this is as fallacious as believing evolution never occurred.

Its the acceptance that we are not alone, that we are not unique. That ultimately there are consequences for all of our actions and that there are forces well beyond our understanding. Even DNA is a freaking programming language - intelligence doesnt just pop into existence, our self awareness didnt just evolve there is a reason for our existence, we evolved, but our evolution was designed and intended to produce us. I am also sure we are not and will not be the only form of intelligence out there, there will be many, many more civilizations/species at different periods of evolution, those more advanced probably just ignore us as we are not ready / too young to understand.

Its crazy how history gets corrupted, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myth_of_the_flat_Earth I mean at school I was taught that people actually believed the earth was flat, and scientists where killed trying to prove the earth was a sphere. When looking at ancient history, we know the Greeks, Persians and Egyptians all believed the earth was a sphere. Changing history to suit your own narrative is frankly terrible and unfortunately too much of this has occurred and is stil perpetuated as fact. To deny the good that religion has done, is just as terrible as denying the attrocities committed in the name of religion. Same can be said about our modern capitalistic "democratic" societies that have caused countless wars and countless strife for profit and material gains.

Without balance, without understanding, without morality, without humility we are all screwed.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Nice to hear
by adkilla on Thu 23rd Feb 2017 08:58 UTC in reply to "RE: Nice to hear"
adkilla Member since:
2005-07-07

I believe that it is a fallacy to recognize religion as a tool to build society when it has a far broader scope other than what is depicted in modern Christianity or Islam. If you were to average it out between various structures of religion that have come into existence, you would have a structure of deities, a priestly class and the common people. Deities include more than just mythical characters, it also includes monarchs that hold claim to be divine. It is a structure created to benefit a select few and to extract loyalty from the common people to do their bidding. Law and order is created to control the masses so that they may extract maximum value from the common people. But often the common people have no idea why these rules exist (even if they are good) other than the punishments that'll be meted out if they broke them (in the present or the after life). When Napolean ruled, he brought forth many of the principles of Enlightenment that shattered this structure and open the discussion of human rights, not merely the rights of a certain class or God. It is because we have transcended religion and are instead motivated by knowledge and wisdom to do what is best for the common good, that is when the human race attain stability and long term peace.

For us to save the human race from its own ultimate doom, we must put an end to religion. Children should no longer be brainwashed by any form religion but thought humanism and civics. Ask yourself, does anyone who've learned why they should not steal, as thought by their religion, understand the actual significance and implications of theft? Would you accept slavery (of any form) in today's modern world? Keep in mind that both the Koran and the Bible condone slavery. We did not give up slavery because we were religious.

I hope one day we transcend to the point we make Gene Roddenberry's fantasy a reality. If you think I am being a silly optimist, then here is a quote from a real life modern hero, Dr. Jonas Salk:"There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?"

Edited 2017-02-23 09:00 UTC

Reply Score: 6

RE[3]: Nice to hear
by delta0.delta0 on Thu 23rd Feb 2017 12:29 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Nice to hear"
delta0.delta0 Member since:
2010-06-01

Hi Adkilla,

I think you misunderstand me. I do not believe in a class system, I do not believe any one person is above or below me or is more or less spiritual or more or less important. Clergies are a man made thing. We are all part of the same species and we are all equal, balance in all things is important.

I don't particularly want to get into a religious debate, as all that will do is create contention and strife and that was not my intention.

Don't let dogma of any one particular side cloud your judgement, openly seek the truth with a fair and open mind. That is all that we can do. Everyone will come to their own understanding, but what is important is to accept the differences.

The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established.

Edited 2017-02-23 12:29 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Nice to hear
by Kochise on Thu 23rd Feb 2017 12:42 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Nice to hear"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

[...] what is important is to accept the differences [...] until its unity is firmly established.


Does not compute...

Edited 2017-02-23 12:43 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Nice to hear
by delta0.delta0 on Thu 23rd Feb 2017 13:12 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Nice to hear"
delta0.delta0 Member since:
2010-06-01

unity in diversity my friend.

Unity does not mean we all have to think the same and be the same, they aren't mutually exclusive terms.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Nice to hear
by tylerdurden on Sun 26th Feb 2017 02:22 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Nice to hear"
tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

Cognitive dissonance intensifies...

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Nice to hear
by delta0.delta0 on Sun 26th Feb 2017 07:39 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Nice to hear"
delta0.delta0 Member since:
2010-06-01

;) Last thing I want to do is antagonise anyone. Its a touchy subject. It shouldn't be, but it is.

My beliefs are unchanged, although I certainly do feel a bit more uncomfortable having shared them. Maybe I am displaying cognitive dissonance ;) Its really difficult discussing anything related to religion or faith nowadays, it really shouldn't be. Look up unity in diversity or the harmony of science and religion.

I think the thing is I don't believe in religious rituals, the notion of heaven or hell or that everyone is damned for not following my beliefs.

I do believe that science is the only way to discern / prove fact from fiction, but that this doesn't conflict from spirituality (which pretty much goes against most traditional dogmatic views from either end of the spectrum)

Really we will only know after we die. Only way to scientifically prove the existence of an after life, is dying, not sure how you can write a paper to prove the existence or lack thereof 6 foot under. So I choose to believe as it make me happy, each to their own. I was agnostic for a long time. Its really a personal thing and each individual will eventually come to their own understanding over the passage of time.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Nice to hear
by darknexus on Thu 23rd Feb 2017 13:44 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Nice to hear"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

I don't particularly want to get into a religious debate, as all that will do is create contention and strife and that was not my intention.

In that case, religion is not a topic to bring up whatsoever. In fact, I would say that not being able to have a reasonable discussion about religion more times than not is part of that "lashing out" phase you mentioned.
For me, it's simple. Religion needs to go. Note that I do not mean spirituality, nor do I mean any one person's beliefs or set of beliefs. Religion, as I see it, is the co opting and coercion of spiritual beliefs for the purpose of control and governance. To be better, humanity absolutely must be rid of "religion" as we now know it. Philosophical and spiritual matters are important, but religion has no place.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Nice to hear
by Kochise on Thu 23rd Feb 2017 14:25 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Nice to hear"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

Has religion ever helped science and/or computers to evolve/improve ?

Perhaps mankind on a philosophical level, but to me it remains a void work made out of thin air that only echo to faith, love and whatsoever stupid concepts never followed with the purposed dedication people say they put into it through the official manual aka Holy Bible from the One True God rev B.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Nice to hear
by Lennie on Thu 23rd Feb 2017 17:35 UTC in reply to "RE: Nice to hear"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

terraform mars and savage its resources before we go further afield


For resource it is very likely some companies will go mining the asteroid belt. Probably even sooner than we go'll terraform Mars.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Nice to hear
by StephenBeDoper on Fri 24th Feb 2017 03:03 UTC in reply to "RE: Nice to hear"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

I like many physicists, believe in the presence of a God, an unknowable entity behind creation, because I believe in the presence of a soul.


What's the significance of there being physicists who believe in a god? That seems like the "honour by association" fallacy (the inverse of "guilt by association). Einstein married his first cousin - yet the fact that he was a noted physicist doesn't automatically make that a good idea.

know a lot of intellectuals disagree with this notion of spirituality, but science and religion or science and faith go hand in hand. To have faith in there being something greater than ourselves outside of our understanding takes no greater leap of faith than believing science is the true answer to everything.


False Equivalence. The only aspect of science that's taken on "faith" is the assumption that natural phenomena have natural, non-magical causes. No one who properly understands science would claim that it is (or is intended to be) "the true answer to everything."

Really our greatest problems will be solved when we embrace both science and faith - faith to give us a moral and social grounding and science to advance us and our understanding of our surroundings.


Except that no positive correlation between religious faith and moral behaviour has ever been shown. In fact, there's statistics suggesting it's the opposite (at least when measured by the moral standards of most religions): the most religious areas of the US also have the highest (per capita) rates of divorce, teen pregnancy, abortion, unwed mothers, etc.

http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2009/06/religious-teens-have...
http://www.livescience.com/5728-teen-birth-rates-higher-highly-reli...
https://reproductive-health-journal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.11...
http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_dira.htm

To dismiss the spiritual is to bite off your nose to spite your face.


False dichotomy - a scientific worldview in no way precludes spirituality or religious belief. Off the top of my head, that's demonstrated by people like Kenneth Miller (a cell biologist & well known opponent of creationism, who's also a Catholic) and Robert Bakker (a paleontologist who's also a Pentecostal minister) - as well as the "physicists [who] believe in the presence of a God" that you mentioned earlier.

Many biologists are fixated on evolution as this disproves the creation stories in the Bible and therefore equate this to mean that its all a bunch of lies.


By "many," I take it you mean Dawkins? And who else...? Also, not sure if you're aware, but that's one of the favourite arguments used by "Young Earth" creationists - though it's usually stated a bit less subtly, along the lines of "people only accept evolution as a excuse for not believing in God."

In reality, biologists are "fixated" on evolution because it's a well-supported, robust theory that's also a major aspect of their fields of study. Would you also criticize computer scientists for being "fixated" on programming languages?

intelligence doesnt just pop into existence, our self awareness didnt just evolve there is a reason for our existence, we evolved, but our evolution was designed and intended to produce us.


I was agreeing that the rest of that paragraph, right up until this sentence. First of all, that claim doesn't pass the "Hitchen's Razor" test: "Positive claims require positive evidence; extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence; and claims made without evidence can be dismissed without evidence."

Secondly, while my interests are more in cosmology and astronomy, I'm aware of several scientific explanations that have been proposed for the evolution of consciousness/sapience - for example:

https://bsj.berkeley.edu/?p=384

Third, no one claims intelligence "pop[ped] into existence" (no one honest/informed, at least). It almost certainly came about as the result of a series of many small successive changes that compounded over large periods of time - just like every other trait that came about via evolution.

Its crazy how history gets corrupted, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myth_of_the_flat_Earth I mean at school I was taught that people actually believed the earth was flat, and scientists where killed trying to prove the earth was a sphere.


That's correct, though there are plenty of valid examples of religion holding back the advancement of knowledge by hundreds of years - with the persecution of Copernicus & Galileo (and anyone else who challenged Ptolemaic geo-centrism) being the obvious examples.

Without balance, without understanding, without morality, without humility we are all screwed.


On that point, I agree with you. But I see no reason to believe that religious faith is the only way, or the best way, or even a particularly good way to achieve that.

I'll cherry-pick humility, since this is already getting fairly long: in terms of making one conscious of their own insignificance in the grander scheme of things, religion doesn't hold a candle to science - especially the "big picture" fields like cosmology. The sum total of human history is barely even a rounding error when measured against the scales of time, size, and distance of our universe; every single atom that makes our bodies was part of something else before we existed, and will go on existing long after we're dead. I wouldn't exactly describe the comprehension of those concepts as "spiritual" experiences (if only because that seems horribly pretentious to me) - but to the extent that I've ever had any use for spirituality, that's been more than sufficient.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Nice to hear
by delta0.delta0 on Sun 26th Feb 2017 04:01 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Nice to hear"
delta0.delta0 Member since:
2010-06-01

Im actually really happy reading a lot of the rebuttals to my original comment. Its good to see and read other view points. In some I can see the questions we set ourselves (independent thought is a great thing) and the general agreement that there are wider issues at hand.

I am sorry for strongly wording some of my views. It is just my view, that's all. Its as correct or incorrect as your own.

I agree there is no positive correlation between labelling yourself as being a particular religious denomination and morality, or for that matter that being religious somehow makes you morally superior, but ask yourself this what do those studies you linked to actually show ? Think about it. There is a big difference between what you practice, what you believe and what you say you believe.

With regards to science and faith:

https://www.edge.org/conversation/paul_davies-taking-science-on-fait...

This is quite interesting, and worth a read.

If you read the comments Paul Davies, points out the following:

Historians of science are well aware that Newton and his contemporaries believed that in doing science they were uncovering the divine plan for the universe in the form of its underlying mathematical order. I am depressed that reminding scientists of this well-known historical fact should elicit such a shock-horror response. As Scott Atran points out, the argument that science is based on faith is not new. Evidently Western society is so steeped in monotheism that the monotheistic world view, which was appropriated by science, is now regarded as "obvious" and "natural." As a result, many scientists are unaware of its theological origin. Nor do they stop to think about the sweeping hidden assumptions they adopt when they subscribe to that scientific/theological world view, assumptions that are in fact are not shared by most other cultures.


again most notions of religion from a western perspective anyway is the Christian (specifically Catholic) Doctrine, but this raises what I was trying to say about scientific faith more succinctly and eloquently than I could ever hope to do so.

Personally I believe there is a good amount of faith associated with science and you can deny this if you wish, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't exist in all scientists (I am a "scientist" as well). Currently its become popular to bash religion and for good reason, but in a hundred years time our world view will be significantly different to what it is now and in a thousand years time even more so. What is popular now, might not be so popular then and some of what we take as fact now, will probably also be disproved (its happened before and will happen again). Our understanding will continue to evolve and we will probably have religious debates still.

With this said never underestimate ego, we all suffer from it.

I agree we will probably start mining asteroids very soon even before Mars (I did actually think this, but went with Mars anyway) Mars I am sure will be our next target and a place where we will eventually colonise. Venus is an interesting planet too - if its atmosphere can be fixed it could be habitable

We have 2 planets in the habitable zone and 1 with sentient life - a system with 7 planets, 6 in the habitable zone I wonder how many are habitable and how many have sentient life and how wildly different life would be on each planet.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Nice to hear
by ilovebeer on Fri 24th Feb 2017 15:59 UTC in reply to "RE: Nice to hear"
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

If we do manage to survive the next 100 years though I think humanity as a species will grow up and stop its "teen" tantrums, as a species our evolutionary stage is like teenagers - we lash out at each other quite a bit.

I agree that humanity is immature but I don't believe any time-frame will result in humanity shedding its' greedy, abusive, destructive nature. As modern humans we've had a few hundred thousand years to figure it out and as a broader species we've had far far longer, and still haven't gotten it figured out.

I don't think humanity will change until we're on the precibus of extinction. When our only options are grow up or die out.

I like many physicists, believe in the presence of a God, an unknowable entity behind creation, because I believe in the presence of a soul.

This makes no sense to me. Why would the belief in a soul, which I assume you mean to be a `higher self`, make you believe in a god as well? I believe in a soul but do not believe in any gods, creator entities, or otherwise. I believe creation (and life) occur as a result of natural processes of the universe.

I know a lot of intellectuals disagree with this notion of spirituality, but science and religion or science and faith go hand in hand. To have faith in there being something greater than ourselves outside of our understanding takes no greater leap of faith than believing science is the true answer to everything. The fact that the universe can be defined and quantified in simple beautiful mathematical equations makes me believe that there is intelligence behind creation.

I absolutely disagree. Faith is the belief in something with no quantifiable reasoning. Science is the unperfect quest of quantifiable proofs and facts. That they are opposites doesn't mean they are ying-yang. Science proves itself and doesn't require you to have faith in it. What science uncovers as true is true regardless of what you believe or have faith in. Instead of crediting an `intelligent creator` for the mathematical beauty of the universe, why not credit the laws of nature and math itself?

Really our greatest problems will be solved when we embrace both science and faith - faith to give us a moral and social grounding and science to advance us and our understanding of our surroundings.

I reject this as well. Faith is not required for moral or social grounding in any way. People can easily be morally and socially grounded in the complete absence of faith. In addition, it's science that can encourage those things by giving us a better understanding of our surroundings, others, and ourselves.

Many people use religion and/or gods as fill-in-the-blank answers to everything we haven't yet discovered or learned. They're the go-to answers for those who want answers now, who think they need answers now. I don't believe what lies beyond our current ability to perceive, study, of prove is a god. It's a lack of the right tools, which we may or may not develop in time. If not, it's because we are a species with many limitations. Some things may simply be out-of-reach due to the nature of what and who we are. That doesn't justify just sticking "god" in every blank spot.

I personally don't believe in any god(s). I don't believe a `creator` outside of natural processes is responsible for the universe and everything in it. I believe science and math can answer all questions, but whether or not we'll ever be able to is something else. In place of religion, faith, and god(s), I have patience and time. If the `big questions` aren't answered during my lifetime now, there's always my next one. And the one after that, and after that, and after that, until they're answered or my higher self ceases to exist.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Nice to hear
by Alfman on Fri 24th Feb 2017 17:26 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Nice to hear"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

ilovebeer,

Many people use religion and/or gods as fill-in-the-blank answers to everything we haven't yet discovered or learned. They're the go-to answers for those who want answers now, who think they need answers now. I don't believe what lies beyond our current ability to perceive, study, of prove is a god.


Yea, many want to believe in a god, which is fine with me as long as they admit god is subjective. That's the difference between god and science. The scientific method forces us to reject theories that don't fit the evidence. Scientists, even stubborn ones, logically have to concede something is wrong when empirical data doesn't support the theory. This creates momentum towards the truth, even when it's been controversial. We may never attain the absolute truth, but our best theoretical approximations are always getting closer.

The best a religious scientist can do is say there might be a god, but it has to be taken on faith, otherwise they'd need to put up the proof. Something that isn't disprovable doesn't logically imply it is actually true. I could assert the andromeda galaxy has a planet filled with edible peaches. Is it true? Maybe or maybe not, but fantasizing about something that could be true does not have the same rigor as facts that are backed with scientific evidence.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Nice to hear
by ilovebeer on Fri 24th Feb 2017 18:28 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Nice to hear"
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

I fully agree. I too have no issue with those who subscribe to religion or believe in a god. However, as you said, not being able to prove something is false doesn't automatically make it true. Unfortunately rather than concede subjectivity, many believers opt for the circular argument of prove-it/prove-it-isnt. For them, god is real whether in the form of an all-knowing all-powerful deity or the construct of human imagination, it makes no difference. Their mind is convinced no alternative is possible. I'm thankful not to be shackled in that way.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Nice to hear
by delta0.delta0 on Sun 26th Feb 2017 05:51 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Nice to hear"
delta0.delta0 Member since:
2010-06-01

Man I love reading your comments. In fact the only reason I come on here still is because of the comments the regulars leave.

As modern humans we've had a few hundred thousand years to figure it out and as a broader species we've had far far longer, and still haven't gotten it figured out.


We have changed so much in the last hundred or so years though. I think we have advanced more in the last 200 or so years, than we have in the few hundred thousand preceding it combined (at least most parts of the world have any way). I am probably wrong, but we have made massive advancements.

I don't think humanity will change until we're on the precibus of extinction. When our only options are grow up or die out.


I agree, personally I think there is 2 scenarios which could massively change our course.

1. As you mentioned, we bring ourselves to the point of destruction and then grow up.

2. An alien ship suddenly appears and announces its existence. (Star trek sort of reference - although in star trek, 1 had already happened, actually more independence day reference)

I think as you mentioned 1. is the most likely event. If I were part of another alien civilisation I wouldn't even consider approaching us, frankly our governments and military are thugs. They would probably loot the ships to try and steal as much technology as possible and dissect the aliens, that is if the alien civilisation isn't even bigger thugs.

I kind of wish I hadn't brought up the religious discussion, but am happy I did.

I have no issues with any belief system or lack thereof. My intention wasn't to shove my beliefs down any ones throats, really the only reason I brought it up is Thom's running commentary I get that he is Atheist, but stop making out that atheism is the only and true way. Accept that some of us believe in God, some of us believe in a Soul, and I think all of us believe in science / the scientific method.

I of course do believe in the scientific method, but that doesn't mean scientists are somehow superior, less egotistical or less fallible than everyone else.

It also doesn't mean that science and faith are mutually exclusive.

In fact putting scientists on a pedestal, is no better than putting people with blonde hair and blue eyes on a pedestal. This is what I mean by acceptance and balance.

Prejudice and fundamentalism (even atheist fundamentalism) of any kind will only ever harm us as a society. We (including me) have a lot more growing up to do.

I don't want you to think that I am in any way attacking you, I'm not. Thom no ill will towards you at all as well, for the most part I like your running commentary and thank you for being my rss feed of sorts. I just think you need to be aware of this as well, thats all.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Nice to hear
by Kochise on Sun 26th Feb 2017 14:13 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Nice to hear"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

I get that he is Atheist, but stop making out that atheism is the only and true way. Accept that some of us believe in God, some of us believe in a Soul, and I think all of us believe in science / the scientific method

OK, but then stop always having a positive bias with a God by our side being an evidence that always have to figure in the field of possible, and if possible the main one, the others being only fanciful options, atheism being the marginal one. Sure that haven't closed the door to alternatives, but it sure shows your state of mind.

From now on, God haven't revealed its existence only through some books and the blind faith people put into this mythology, not backed up with evidences but some fairy tales, witnesses spreading their visions and monuments celebrating its supposed power and stuff. Not even a magical place left with glowing levitating stones as a proof or else. We have to believe without seeing. How convenient.

But perhaps these peeps are true, God being so big, or so little, or so inter-dimensional, we haven't yet created a tool accurate enough to see the tip of God's mighty toenail. Perhaps we'll see "Him" (or "Her", why have it necessarily to be a "Man" after all ?) sooner or later, thanks to science improvements, new theories and algorithms backed by new evidences. But currently, it's just a matter of personal belief I do not agree with.

So leave religion topics out of science ones, until further "proofs" are being given/found. The track record of religion going against science -flat earth, creationism- then embracing it timidly centuries later, is not to be recalled to your narrow-minded memories. I shouldn't have in the first place to start with.

Edited 2017-02-26 14:24 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Nice to hear
by delta0.delta0 on Mon 27th Feb 2017 06:35 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Nice to hear"
delta0.delta0 Member since:
2010-06-01

Hi Kochise, this has been the first and only conversation I have mentioned God or Religion ever here and I have been visiting this site for years. Why does God have to be a man or a woman at all ?

I think your mixing up faith with religious dogma. What I think I have shown is that religion actually has had a major part in science. Even the big bang theory was originally hypothesised by Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître A Catholic Reverend, it is incorrectly credited to Hubble. He was also an early adopter of computers for cosmological calculations. Newton was also a theologian.

The modern scientific method was developed by Ibn al-Haytham an Islamic scholar.

Ibn al-Haytham is widely considered to be one of the first theoretical physicists, and an early proponent of the concept that a hypothesis must be proved by experiments based on confirmable procedures or mathematical evidence—hence understanding the scientific method 200 years before Renaissance scientists.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibn_al-Haytham

Its incorrect to ignore or downplay the role that religion has played in forming modern scientific methods, or to believe they are completely diametrically opposed. That is not to say that religion should be blindly believed or followed, its a personal thing.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Nice to hear
by Kochise on Mon 27th Feb 2017 11:01 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Nice to hear"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

I don't clearly understand, is there a better religion for science ? Buddhism for instance ?

What do you call faith, is it about a agnostic greater natural order of things of a patriarchal figure ?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Nice to hear
by Vanders on Sun 26th Feb 2017 01:01 UTC in reply to "RE: Nice to hear"
Vanders Member since:
2005-07-06

Did you seriously just claim to be a physicist and then use the irreducible complexity argument? Good grief.

Reply Score: 2

Science! (a la Thomas Dolby)
by karunko on Thu 23rd Feb 2017 07:25 UTC
karunko
Member since:
2008-10-28

Science is awesome, but only when they are not painting "stars and stripes" all over it.

The linked article mentions NASA five times, the Hubble Space Telescope once and even the Allen Telescope Array (that has absolutely zero to do with the discovery) and just mentions "telescopes on the ground".

So, to give credit where credit's due, here's the complete list:

"As well as the NASA Spitzer Space Telescope, the team used many ground-based facilities: TRAPPIST–South at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile, HAWK-I on ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile, TRAPPIST–North in Morocco, the 3.8-metre UKIRT in Hawaii, the 2-metre Liverpool and 4-metre William Herschel telescopes at La Palma in the Canary Islands, and the 1-metre SAAO telescope in South Africa."

For a proper press release you could check http://www.eso.org/public/news/eso1706/?lang or, better yet, the actual article from Nature: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v542/n7642/full/nature21360.ht...

RT.

Edited 2017-02-23 07:26 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE: Science! (a la Thomas Dolby)
by dionicio on Thu 23rd Feb 2017 15:21 UTC in reply to "Science! (a la Thomas Dolby)"
dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

Thanks, Karunko :-)

Reply Score: 2

It's a Trapp
by kwan_e on Thu 23rd Feb 2017 11:08 UTC
kwan_e
Member since:
2007-02-18

Trappist-1, named after a robotic telescope in the Atacama Desert of Chile that the astronomers initially used to study the star, is what astronomers call an “ultracool dwarf,”


Should have called it Tyrion.

Reply Score: 7

Future is Out-there, Thom...
by dionicio on Thu 23rd Feb 2017 15:13 UTC
dionicio
Member since:
2006-07-12

If We allow ourselves to arrive there.

Reply Score: 2

Beer
by jal_ on Thu 23rd Feb 2017 15:51 UTC
jal_
Member since:
2006-11-02

Belgians discover planets around a star called "Trappist"? Are we sure we aren't being hoaxed?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Beer
by Lennie on Thu 23rd Feb 2017 17:36 UTC in reply to "Beer"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

Nope, they've names them after Belgium beers.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Beer
by jal_ on Fri 24th Feb 2017 08:16 UTC in reply to "RE: Beer"
jal_ Member since:
2006-11-02

Yeah, I figured, but it made me scratch my head a few times ;) .

Reply Score: 2

Finally!
by leech on Thu 23rd Feb 2017 19:46 UTC
leech
Member since:
2006-01-10

I can go back home!

Reply Score: 2