Life "must" exist elsewhere but why?

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Re: Life "must" exist elsewhere but why?

Post by Atreyu » March 30th, 2017, 6:01 pm

Steve3007 wrote:Atreyu:
Now, of course, one could argue that science, when using the term 'life', merely means 'life as we know and define it' (carbon-based' life), but again, that was why I said it's a shame. Rather than considering 'life' outside of their narrow definition, and considering what it could or might be, they assume that the life that we know is the only life worth discussing, thinking about, or searching for....
The entire post up until this point seemed to be demonstrating that there is no point in searching for anything other than "life as we know it" - for the higher forms of life that you demonstrated with your mathematically illiterate horse analogy. There's no point in searching for something that we have no ability to find, is there?
It can only not be discovered in our current state of awareness. The idea is that they might be found in an augmented state of awareness. If the horse becomes "enlightened" and its psyche rises to the level of our own, it will then be able to understand the human condition, and will immediately realize that a man is the more intelligent species.

In a higher state of consciousness a man might be able to directly perceive the Earth as a living organism, i.e. in a higher state of consciousness he might be able to "see" it.

And my point was basically that it's too bad that science isn't concerned with learning about the possibilities of attaining such a state of consciousness, particularly considering that such a knowledge is definitely out there...
Steve3007 wrote: Atreyu:
However, if you define life in a more broad and encompassing way - life as we might not know or recognize it - then I would argue that it is everywhere.

I can't argue with that. Trouble is it just shifts the problem onto the question of how broadly you are defining the word "life". If you define it in the broadest possible way then, by definition life is everywhere, because "Life" is another word for "The Universe". You don't need to argue for it. It's true by definition.
True, but I would never argue for such a ludicrously broad definition. In my definition, "life" implies a certain awareness, perhaps any awareness. If the Universe is not aware of anything I would certainly not argue that it is "alive"....

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Re: Life "must" exist elsewhere but why?

Post by Steve3007 » March 30th, 2017, 6:49 pm

In my definition, "life" implies a certain awareness, perhaps any awareness.
That seems to me not too bad a definition of intelligent or perhaps conscious life. But I'm not sure I would accept it as a definition of life in general. I think it could be argued quite convincingly that a plant or a bacterium is clearly alive but doesn't possess awareness in any meaningful sense. But I don't think there is any hard dividing line between living things that are aware and living things that are not aware - things that can be regarded as complex biological analogues of machines.

Also, this definition of life, like pretty much all definitions (in my opinion), is only really meaningful if it goes hand-in-hand with the way in which it is observed or measured. The definition of awareness is inextricably linked to the method that we propose to use to decide if any given thing is aware. What criteria do we use to determine if awareness is present? We have a pretty good idea when we are dealing with familiar things like human beings. But it's more problematic when looking for life elsewhere in the universe. And we've been caught out before - seeing patterns and regularities thought must be evidence of intelligent life but which have turned out to be things that most people (but perhaps not all?) would not regard as any kind of life, like pulsars.

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